In today’s episode Doug Qapel Duncan gives an overview of the major arcana from the Tarot. He goes over all 22 of the cards from the Fool to the World, giving pithy summary statements about each one and brief comments on how you can use or work with them.
The mandate of Planet Dharma is to help people awaken in this lifetime. In this recording you get a sense of this, both via the urgency of making every aspect of our experience conscious, and the framing of these 22 archetypes as an integrated path of spiritual awakening rather than simply a divination tool.
If you are interested in doing a deep dive into the Tarot, Planet Dharma is running a retreat called Tarot & Western Archetypes this summer. The retreat will take place at the beautiful Clear Sky Center in the British Columbia Rockies. There will also be the option to join virtually for those who are unable to travel. You can visit planetdharma.com/tarot for more information.
Host: Welcome to Dharma if you Dare, I’m Christopher Lawley, Planet Dharma team member, and producer of the podcast. In today’s episode Doug Qapel Duncan gives an overview of the major arcana from the Tarot. He goes over all 22 of the cards from the Fool to the World, giving pithy summary statements about each one and brief comments on how you can use or work with them. The mandate of planet Dharma is to help people awaken in this lifetime. In this recording, you get a sense of this, both via the urgency of making every aspect of our experience conscious and the framing of these 22 archetypes as an integrated path of spiritual awakening, rather than simply as a divination tool. If you are interested in doing a deep dive into the Tarot, Planet Dharma is running a retreat called ‘Tarot and Western Archetypes’ this summer. The retreat will take place at the beautiful Clear Sky center in the British Columbia Rockies, and there will also be the option to join virtually for those who are unable to travel. You can visit www.planetdharma.com/tarot for more information. And now here’s today’s recording:
Qapel: The Kabbalah and the Tarot.
The tarot uses 22 major archetypes and we can give little names for this. The Fool, basically your mantra here is “the self is magnificent.” How many times a day do you say that? How many times a day do you say “I’m a fool for life, life is magnificent”? And then they divide into three sections of seven. So 21, and then The Fool is 22. The Fool sits outside the tree.
The first seven are principles. The Magician, life is magic. Do you go around thinking life is magic? Well start with those two: ‘The self is magnificent and life is magic, you’re free’… for the rest of your day. But things get more complicated. The High Priestess engages our conscious mind with our unconscious mind. The Empress carries our regenerated self.
The Emperor is the elimination of things you don’t want or things that aren’t helping or things that aren’t leading you where you want to go. It’s kind of a bit of a dictator, I suppose: Not this, not this, not this, this! Not this, not this, not this, this! So with the Emperor, you write your own constitution. What are you on about? And like I said earlier and have to repeat again and again: If you’re not determining what your constitution is, then your conditioning is determining what your constitution is, and you’re living your life basically in the same frame of reference as your parents, your grandparents, and everyone else. The whole point of the path of awakening is the development of your will. The development of your will to choose that which transcends your will!
The Heirophant explains the mysteries to us. The Lovers (everybody wants the lovers) is integration, is blessing. The integration of these things is a blessing. That’s the lovers – the integration and communication is the beauty. So when you talk about the lover’s card, it’s the integration of your conscious and your subconscious /your unconscious… your engagement with communication with other people, integrated in your being and you’re in communication with each other. From that spot you are the lovers.
And the last one in this line is The Chariot: through clear vision is victory. The victory is the Chariot card. Cancer card. The victory comes from understanding the first six through the clear vision of understanding .
Okay with those seven principles, you’re ready to go to work.
The next seven are about the path or agency. Strength, the Leo card, guided desire is powerful. The Hermit, the Virgo card, the great Self tries to illuminate the truth to us. The Wheel of Fortune keep planting the seeds you want to reap, keep planting the crop you want to grow, keep planting the state you want to be in. Justice. Is the process of elimination by which you find out what you really want. “Oh, I thought it was that, no, I thought it was that, no. How about this? No. How about that? Yes.” Basically you narrow it down. Justice is the sword cutting off, it’s like sculpture, you’re cutting off that which isn’t part of the thing you’re painting. What do they say about sculpture? That you remove the stuff that isn’t necessary and then you’re left with the statue – kind of like negative art.
The Hanged Man, power of stillness. Now if you see the Hanged Man card, you’ll see that he hangs upside down and it looks like he’s tied to a cross but his foot is loose. He’s a dancer. If you turn him right side up he’s the World card – The dancer and the Hanged Man are mirrors of each other. The power of stillness in order to be able to dance in the world from clarity. Now the ego is never quiet. The ego doesn’t know how to be quiet. The ego’s whole job is to not be quiet because the ego is hanging onto objects and if the ego gets quiet, then objects start to dissolve and that freaks the ego out. But it doesn’t freak out the transcendental. The transcendental doesn’t need the ego particularly. What the ego does is allows us to experience the transcendental and know it. This is the fall from the garden of Eden. We were in an awakened state in the garden of Eden but we didn’t know it. So in order to know it, we had to fall out of it. That’s the Hanged Man: you get out of it, you see what you’re in, you wake up to it, now you’re in it and you know it – that’s the power.
Death, everything is changing, transforming, always. Temperance. To guide. The guide here is experimentation and verification. Your guru is experimentation and verification. What the living guru, what the embodied guru is supposed to be doing is getting you to experiment and verify, not just taking some program you’ve been delivered from 1950 and your grandfather’s idea about what girls or men are supposed to be like and run it. Go out and experiment and verify, experiment and verify. Those are the paths or agencies.
The next seven are about the results of the experiences along the way.
The Devil is what holds you back. In other words, self obsessions.
The Tower. The tower wakes you up. It loads you up. ‘What am I learning now?’ is the tower card. When you fall from the tower, It’s because you’re not learning your stuff. The Star: all is revealed if we pay attention, if you pay attention, everything you need to know appears. The Moon: The body carries the messages that lead you to liberation. It’s in the organization. Everything you need to know is in the body, it’s all there. But you have to make it conscious, you have to make it aware, you have to bring it to life. And we don’t trust the body in our Western culture. We don’t really even like our bodies in the Western culture. We spend a lot of time adorning it and making it look wonderful and dress it up with clothes and parade it around. But fundamentally the Western ego does not trust the body because the body isn’t under its control. We’re suspicious of the body. Have you ever noticed that when you get a strange feeling or a strange sensation in your body, the first thing you think about is ‘what’s wrong?’ rather than that the body is just doing its thing? And this is why the Western culture is such a mess in terms of its diet, in terms of how we treat the environment and how we treat each other, and how we manage the gender dialogue – because we don’t trust the body. From the Christian point of view the body is evil, or maybe not anymore, they might have got over that one, but the body is untrustworthy. “My home isn’t here on earth in a body, my home is in heaven with a disembodied abstraction of a concept.“ Thank you, Plato.
Anyway, the Sun is regeneration through the directed application. So you go… ”hold it, hold it. I’m changing this program. I’m moving this over. I’m making this conscious. I’m doing my prostrations. I’m doing my Vajrasattva practice. I am rebuilding this structure. I am in charge of what this thing does. I’m going to use the body’s intelligence to liberate itself “… by applying the applications of practices and unfoldments that take you where you want to go rather than just drifting, like 99.9% of humanity from birth to death, oblivious, living out unconscious archetypes and arguing and fighting about them globally for centuries.
Judgment: The realization of the true self liberates us from restriction. So the true self liberates, the ego imprisons. Thus you have a book called Wasteland to Pureland. The prison of the ego and the Pureland of that which transcends it. Now, transcendence, by the way, has no interest in destroying the ego because the ego isn’t a problem – the ego is a tool. Transcendence uses the ego to explore and discover, transcendence uses the ego to manifest and enjoy the experience of life. Life is not broken, it doesn’t need to be fixed, it never needed to be fixed and it was never broken. Life is just life. So live it and quit worrying about everything. You are going to die! Do you care whether you die today or tomorrow or the next day? Only if you’re clinging to the ego. “Oh, I got to get something done.” What have you got to get done? If life isn’t broken, you don’t need to fix it, you don’t need to do anything. Therefore, dwelling in the transcendence of not having to do anything, what should you do? Manifest the archetypes! Go play, go discover! As Namgyl Rinpoche once said, your bible should be science fiction, showing you what we can do, and where we can go, and what we can discover, and what we can get up to. We’ve all kind of got ourselves under this control mechanism of western society. Control control, control… Keep you in your box, work for the money, work for old age, work for death… Come on, wake up! Get out there and live your life! if you die next week, die falling off a mountain rather than in an old age home.
Alright, and the last card is the World and the world is the true self as a dancer. So life is a dance. This kind of refers a bit to the Demchog in the Vajrayana practices, the master of the dance. So the Nine Moods of the Dance, that’s another kind of archetype, nine moods of the dance, and so on.
But you get the idea… that you’re in a dance, you’re supposed to be a dancer. Are you dancing?. Let’s go back to the first one in the Fool, which is …that self is magnificent? So if the self is magnificent, go be yourself, go dance.
Host: We hope you enjoyed this episode. Please rate and review Dharma if you Dare on your favorite podcast app to help more people find and benefit from these teachings. And don’t forget to subscribe to get episodes and bonus content sent directly to your device.
Looking to engage with cutting-edge 21st-century dharma in a way that’s right for you? Each year Planet Dharma offers a variety of programs and retreats to catalyze awakening for spiritual seekers. Over the course of this year in addition to the Tarot retreat, Planet Dharma will be offering a variety of in-person and online retreats of various lengths. These offerings will be complemented by online courses and Enlighten Up dharma talks, there’s also a dharma trip to the Baltics being planned for the fall. To learn more about these events and to see the diversity of material being offered, visit www.planetdharma.com/2022
See you next time and may all our efforts benefit all beings.