Sunday, 13 January 2008

The Tarot

The Tarot is a familiar esoteric device, known to millions of people in the West. Its origin is unclear, but as a tool to contact intuitive knowledge, it has become famous, and it is the basis for the normal pack of playing cards, which we all use. As with many devices, it has changed over the years, but if we look at a medieval pack, we can usefully relate the images, which we find to the evolution of human beings on the path of the god and the Goddess.
The Tarot pack has two parts; the Major Arcana, of twenty-two cards, and the Minor, which contains fifty-six cards. The Minor Arcana consists of four suits; Wands (Clubs), Cups (Hearts), Swords (Spades) and Pentacles (Diamonds). In addition to the ten numbered cards in each suit, there is a Page, Knight, Queen and King, so it differs slightly from the standard pack of playing cards.
[We have used an original Tarot pack that was copied from a medieval pack from the British Museum. Since that time various Tarot packs have been changed, until the original meaning has been totally obscured. This is why we are using one of the oldest packs ever discovered and not a modern pack used by fortune-tellers.]
The Major Arcana's twenty-two cards are numbered; each is different, but together they form a unit. They trace the path of spiritual development followed by human beings seeking to learn and grow. What is interesting is that they form a circle. The path begins and ends with 'The Fool' card, showing us that our evolution does not progress in a straight line, as we are taught by patriarchal society. This cycle of growth and change can not only be related to the paths of the god and Goddess, but to almost everything else. Time, for example, is seen by our society as having the dimension of a straight line. If we look behind us we see the past, which is unchangeable, and further along the line is the future. At their intersection is now, the present moment.
If we can free ourselves of our fixed ideas about time, we can help ourselves enormously. Imagine, for example, that instead of being a creature, which travels along a road between birth and death, that you do not move at all. You are still, and the events of your life come towards you. It's a bit like the video arcade games in which you have to steer an imaginary car along a road which rushes towards you, complete with any number of obstacles, bends and other vehicles. There seems to be movement, but in actual fact it is an illusion. All that happens is that the images on the screen change. Now, add to this picture a further idea. You are steering. Which bit of road you encounter depends on you, and the direction you have decided on. Possibly, the apparent choices are determined at a very deep level by the nature of what you have to learn, but you can still steer away or towards the images on the screen. So far, so good, but this metaphor does not depart too much from standard reality. The only difference is that instead of you moving through time, time moves through you, and allows you freewill. Now we have to add the circular nature of it all. Let's go back to the video arcade game. After standing in front of the screen for a few minutes, you notice that the road begins to look familiar. You've seen that red car before, and that palm tree; and wasn't it over there that you crashed into a brick wall three games ago? It all comes round again. Another opportunity to undo mistakes, and learn from them. Perhaps the form has changed, and the obstacle looks so unfamiliar that you don't immediately recognize it, but the chance to avoid the same error is presented again and again.
This may seem far-fetched, but it does provide a different way of looking at one's experiences. There is always hope, because nothing is finished with forever. Mistakes can be corrected. In our patriarchal model of time, the past is irretrievable, and there is no chance to undo errors. But if we look at Nature, the cyclic view of existence is clearly illustrated. Plants, animals, people die, but the constituent elements continue to form new life out of the death of the old. It does not have to be physical death, of course. A caterpillar 'dies' to become a chrysalis, then 'dies' a second time to emerge as a butterfly. We undergo psychological 'deaths' of all kinds during our physical life. The child becomes an adult, the virgin becomes a mother. What is worth conserving from each stage is retained, yet growth continues. All that happens is that the fundamental energy which is the source of everything changes form.
The cyclic view of existence has another profound implication for our lives. A linear view of progress through life and time severely limits us. There is a beginning and an end, so we become goal oriented. Many religions reflect this. The end in view for most Christians is to become 'perfect,' and go to Heaven as a result. In Eastern religions, the objective is Enlightenment. The goal is impossible, of course. As we move towards it, someone moves the goal posts, and changes what is defined as 'perfection,' because society itself never stands still. Even if we take the sacred book of a particular religion as defining perfection, interpretations will differ, and new slants on the material will occur to forward thinkers.
If we see instead, that there is no end, and that we are always changing, always in the process of becoming, there can be no ultimate fixed goal. We can of course have short-term ones, towards which we move because of our desires, but we will realise that they are not fixed for all time. The energy locked up in who we are at any given moment can be transformed i.e. it can change form, and this can go on indefinitely.
The Major Arcana of the Tarot pack takes us through a cycle of change. There is order in that change. Just as you cannot run before you can walk, so you can't learn some truths before others. Though each of us has an individual curriculum of personal development, we can still generalise about the nature of the lessons to be learned by humanity as a whole. What form these take, however, varies from person to person, because we are unique. Those who learn only through pain, for example, will experience painful events designed to allow them to move away from a particular way of perception. Those who learn through joy, in contrast, will move towards what will provide happiness. Learning to tell the difference between the two is a fundamental task for all human beings.
In order to understand the Tarot cards from the viewpoint of the paths of the god and Goddess, we have to pair them, one male card and one female one. The World card, which is nominally the last one, is twinned with the Fool card, the first one, which joins the cards into a circle. The Fool card is thus a beginning and then another beginning, forever, because it cannot be separated from its twin.
The World (Tarot)
Before the beginning, and at the end, if we are thinking in time, comes the World card. It shows a nude woman surrounded by a plaited wreath in the shape of a vagina. She appears to be stepping forward, signifying that she is being born from the Great Mother. Surrounding the wreath are the figures of an angel, bird, bull and lion. These represent our three-dimensional world, which traditionally is said to be formed from the four elements of Air, Water, Earth and Fire. Air is Aquarius, the angel, Water is Scorpio, the eagle, Earth is Taurus, the bull, and Fire is Leo, the lion. Part of the woman's body seems to be draped with a cloth, and in each hand she holds two small rods. The cloth is a partly unrolled scroll, showing that there has been a beginning to the logical or intellectual mind. It covers her sex-organs, fulfilling the same role as the fig leaf in the Biblical story of Adam and Eve. Although animals live in the same way as they were created by the Great Mother, and act instinctively, already humans are trying to 'improve' what She has given them. The cloth symbolises the beginnings of individual creativity.
The Fool,(Tarot)
The other card of the pair is the Fool card, the male one. Whereas the woman seems serene and at peace, the young man in the Fool card appears confused, with little comprehension of what is around him. He is very badly dressed, giving the impression that he is barely able to look after himself, and he carries a small bundle on a stick. It could almost be a packed lunch prepared for him by his mother, because he has decided to explore on his own for a while. His only companion is a small dog. In later packs, the Fool is depicted walking off the edge of a cliff, but in the mediaeval one, he is simply starting to walk down an incline. It is downhill all the way on his path away from the Great Mother, but he has to go, and wants to go, to see what it is like being separate and independent.
The Magician, (Tarot)
The next card is Number One, the Magician. Since he is far better dressed than the Fool, it implies that man is now more able to look after himself. In front of him is a small table, on which are various items he has either made or is selling. Here is a person who thinks more than the Fool, and sees himself as quite clever or resourceful. He seems to be coping quite well without the assistance of the Great Mother, and has both ideas and creations which do not directly come from her.
The Priestess, (Tarot)
The Priestess, Number Two, is the twin of the Magician. If a priest is the mediator between god and man, then a priestess is the link between Goddess and Man. At this stage of evolution, women are still almost totally instinctual, and well connected to the Great Mother's wisdom. The Priestess stands between two pillars, and carries a scroll on her lap, signifying that she is part of, and controls the status quo. Human society is still largely dependent on her, although men are beginning to move away from the Great Mother and from their intuition. The Magician, in his attempt to gain personal, or ego-consciousness, is losing contact with the Great Mother, but he is not yet able to survive on his own. He is reliant for advice and for knowledge on the Priestess, who instructs him in every area. We know from recent research that it was the women in Neolithic times who grew the crops, threw the pots, and practised animal husbandry. Men had to learn these things when they wished to become independent of women's guidance. Eventually they appropriated control of them, or diminished the status of such activities. The Priestess represents the level of consciousness of society when it was peaceful and harmonious for century after century. Man had the time to evolve his conscious mind without harming others, since it was women who ruled, and he could not implement any new ideas without their co-operation. Their wisdom saved him from bringing in changes which would disrupt the balance of society.

The Empress, (Tarot)
Card Number Three is the Empress. The parallel card is the Emperor. Man has now reached the stage where he has sufficient confidence in his abilities to oppose the collective will of matercentric society. When we look at the Empress card, we see her seated in a wheat field. In the background is a forest and a stream, signifying that she is part of all Nature, and not apart from, or superior to it.
The Emperor, (Tarot)
The Emperor has set himself above others, thus creating the first hierarchies. The mountains represent the position of the god in this pecking order. He is in the mountaintops, or in the realms of the sky, not the fields and streams. He is remote and therefore unknown and to be feared. The Great Mother, in comparison, is within us all, as she is in the whole of Her creation. There can be no superiority or inferiority in being a particular part of Her creation. We are all equal, yet uniquely valued and cherished by Her.
The Hierophant, (Tarot)
The next card is the Hierophant, Number Five. When the Emperor began to control society, he discovered that although he could rule through the use of violence and fear, society collapsed under those conditions, into chaos and disorder. For a while, it seemed that there were only two alternatives; the rule of women, which was harmonious, but unexciting to a patriarchal male, or the rule of men, with its resulting turmoil and fragmentation. A new figure emerged, who used fear in a different way. The male priests, who at first worked with the priestesses, gradually took over their role within society. Gods were invented to compete with the Great Mother. Women, being largely unconscious, offered little resistance to this, and slowly, the gods became pre- eminent. New goddesses were invented, since the memory of the Great Mother was still there, but they were inferior to the gods. They represented qualities which were in line with men's wishes for women's new role in society. They were caring rather than powerful. Women by and large accepted this, and became submissive to the propaganda of the priests. Fear of the invisible god and his retribution for breaking the rules of the priests became a way of controlling them.
Because men at this stage of evolution were fundamentally both selfish and irresponsible, and could not see another's point of view, the Father god which was created by the priests had to be very strict about what was and was not allowed. This was enshrined in codes of religious behaviour, and as quickly as possible, incorporated into the law of the land. Since the priests could not watch everyone who might be transgressing these commandments, the god was declared to be omniscient and omnipresent. If he didn't punish you for being disobedient to his rules while you were alive, it was because he had something even more awful in store for you when you died. Hell. The propaganda worked. Men who could not be controlled by violence, feared the wrath of god. Not all of course, but enough so that society ticked along without collapsing in a heap at frequent intervals. In some countries, particularly Eastern ones, the figure of the Emperor was combined with the god. He had a large enough ego to wield the power of life and death over his subjects, and see himself as divine. His belief in himself, plus widespread conditioning, meant that many of the people accepted his divinity as a reality.
This use of fear produced the first manifestations of guilt. People could never be as perfect as the priests said the god wanted them to be, and they were encouraged, especially if they were female, to feel unworthy. They could try and try, but since the Fall of man, they were doomed to be sinful. This made the gap between a perfect god and human beings even wider, and man began to feel terribly lonely as well as fearful and guilty.
The invention of a Father god had another interesting spin-off for the Hierophant and the Emperor. The propaganda could be extended indefinitely into areas which the rulers did not wish other men to go. If the god was seen to disapprove of wealth, for example, and you couldn't go to heaven if you were rich, this left the field clear for the rulers to accumulate property and power without the opposition of true believers. If we scrutinise our own belief systems, we will find that this propaganda is deeply imbedded in us. Often, we aspire to be 'spiritually evolved' by following the rules laid down by patriarchal priests many years ago. We have to repeat that there are no rules, only Love. Behaviour which arises from fear of displeasing a deity, or in the hope that it will bring favours from him, does not spring from love, but external rules and belief systems. We must find our own way to our own truth, by listening to the voice of the Great Mother. Sometimes it may be found in books, religious codes or the words of gurus, but all must be filtered through ourselves, to see whether the teachings are relevant to our own path.
The Lovers, (Tarot)
Card Six, the Lovers, shows the figures of two women and a man. One of the two women, who appears to be older than both of the others, seems to be pushing the man away; the younger woman is holding on to him. The man is looking back towards the older woman. Above is Cupid, whose arrow is pointed towards the younger woman and the man.
This card symbolises the changing status of women as patriarchal society begins. The man no longer has the opportunity to marry a wiser and older woman, but has to have a partner who is inferior to him, for the sake of his growing ego. He selects a patriarchal woman, who will defer to his wishes, and see herself as his servant. Usually, this will mean that she is the same age as him, or considerably younger. Such a woman cannot mother him except in a very limited way, and he cannot learn from her intuitive wisdom, since he is supposed to be superior to her. Though he suffers the loss of guidance from the matercentric woman, and looks back longingly towards her, he needs the younger, patriarchal female at this point in his evolution. Her passivity, obedience and ignorance will force him to grow, and become independent of both the matercentric woman and the Great Mother.
The next male card, is Number Seven, the Chariot. We are now seeing the patriarchal society in full flower. A man stands in a chariot pulled by two horses, which he is making no attempt to steer. There are no reins for the horses, and the man has his hands unconcernedly in his pockets. On each of his shoulders there is a face, each looking in opposite directions. These represent the intellect and intuition of the man.
Patriarchal man likes to believe that he is guided by his intellect, and that his society's rules and laws reflect this. As far as he is able, he denies the place of emotions in the world, and sees them as generally messy, especially if they are 'negative' ones. He is unhappy with the idea of intuition, since it clearly can't be controlled, and sometimes gives him ideas and impulses which are radically different from those allowed to him by patriarchal society. If he believes himself to be clever, he insists that his intelligence comes from the development of his intellect, and that all of the improvements he makes to the world are logical and rational.
At first sight, it would seem that the man should be in conflict, that the two forces, of intellect and intuition, will pull him in opposite directions. But the horses are not running wild; they are moving in harmony, without the guidance of the man. The two faces on his shoulder appear to be ignoring each other, since they are looking in opposite directions, but this is just at the conscious level. Underneath, the man is following the will of the Great Mother, and is not entirely motivated by his mind, as he fondly supposes. Though he insists that the Great Mother does not exist, and ignores and denies his intuition, this is for the sake of his ego, which needs to feel all-powerful at this stage in his evolution. In reality, the underlying harmony of the world continues, unaffected by the beliefs of his limited mind.
Card Eight, which is Justice, is unusual in that it depicts a woman representing this concept. Throughout the patriarchal era, the administration of Justice has been controlled by men, either formally, in the shape of courts, judges, tribal leaders etc, or informally, through the advice of wise old men. Only recently have we seen women judges, lawyers, politicians and priests. The introduction of Law and Punishment only really began within a patriarchal society, along with ideas about Justice, so how come a female figure represents it?
The answer lies in the different forms of what we choose to call Justice. In a male-dominated world, the ideals of truth and justice are never realised, especially for women and disadvantaged men. Laws, by and large, are designed to protect those who have from those who have not, and maintain the status quo. It is easy to see that under such conditions, fairness, equality before the law, and the meting out of true justice cannot easily happen. Even when judges attempt to be fair and equitable, they cannot succeed, because they are applying their limited minds and their social conditioning to judging people who are largely different from themselves. A judge, moreover, is never likely to be appointed to this position unless he whole-heartedly agrees with the rules of the patriarchal game, and has played them for many years.
So when we see a woman as the figure of Justice, we know we are talking about true Justice. This is not the end of the story, however, because we are far enough into the cycle to be meeting a patriarchal woman in this card. In her right hand is a sword, which is man's version of how to achieve justice, through violence, punishment and fear. She has accepted this. However, in her left hand, the hand of the Great Mother, she holds a pair of scales, which indicates that she has not forgotten true justice for all. Throughout recorded history, many women have attempted to achieve true justice, using whatever powers patriarchal society has allowed them. Only recently have they been acknowledged, and named in our history books, instead of being dismissed or forgotten by the chroniclers. A good example is Lady Godiva. Her story as it comes down to us is quite trivial. She is remembered vaguely as the woman who rode naked on horseback through the streets of Coventry, covered only by her long hair. The 'peeping Tom' who dared to look at her was struck blind for his audacity. In actual fact she was a strong-minded woman who insisted that her husband relieve the common people of extremely burdensome taxes. He jokingly agreed to do this if she would ride naked through the streets. Such was her courage that she agreed, despite the effect this might have on her in such a narrow-minded society, and her husband capitulated. It is interesting that all we have left of this story concerning such a daring and concerned woman is the fact that she was naked.
This card also shows the beginning of conscious suffering for women. Having very little sense of self, she would be oblivious to her own pain, but keenly aware of the suffering endured by others, particularly children, the sick and the poor. It would be this awareness which leads her into seeking justice, even if she is impotent to achieve it. The difference between her and men who are asking for justice at this stage, is that they want it for themselves, but she seeks it for others.
Card Nine is the Hermit, which suggests a man who is alone. Though he has forgotten the Great Mother's existence, he has no consolation from the god. He has seen through the propaganda of the priests, and no longer believes in a divine father. As far as he knows, he is the only intelligent life in the universe. The Hermit holds a lantern, which represents the small and limited light of his intellect. He looks old and world-weary, almost in despair because he cannot throw enough light with his tiny lantern to dispel the darkness around him. When he looks into his own light, he sees himself as a god, but if he looks into the darkness around him, he feels impotent and ignorant. The darkness holds many terrors for him. It contains the Great Mother, whom he thinks he has abandoned, and he fears punishment for this at an unconscious level. His dilemma is acute. The light makes him feel safe, but he has realised he must enter the darkness if he is to be cured of his suffering and despair. To see in the dark, he must put out the light of his intellect and abandon self-control. This requires both courage and trust. The Hermit card is about man on the verge of surrendering to the Great Mother. He may remain in this position for a long period of time, summoning the courage to enter the darkness, but his movement is inevitable because he has nowhere else to go.

Card Ten, the Wheel of Fortune, represents the state of mind of women who are at the same stage as the Hermit. They have accepted the beliefs of patriarchal society up to now, and worshipped the father god. When man began to reject the father god, and turn to atheism, women reluctantly followed. Now they have nothing to believe in, but too little ego to see themselves as masters of the universe, as men do. Women can only now believe in Fate, that whether things go well or badly is a matter of luck, not divine order. To them, as well as to men, the universe is a soulless mechanism, which neither knows nor cares about their existence. Since they are far away from consciousness of the Great Mother, the voice of the intellect is stronger than their intuition. They are beginning to develop self-awareness, which involves suffering, because they become aware of all the pain involved in a patriarchal society. The next step for women is to stop surrendering to men, and gain self-awareness. It is as difficult a task as the Hermit's, but like him, they have nowhere else to go. One of the factors which will assist them is the inevitable 'fall' of man from his position as lord of the universe. On the card we see the royal lion, which symbolises the individual male ego, looking fearfully at the chasm he is about to be toppled into. Although change is inevitable, he does not wish it, and because he has lost his sense of spiritual purpose, he can only be afraid.

The next female card is Number Eleven, Strength, which is paired with the Hanged Man. On it we see a woman holding open the jaws of a lion. Later versions of the Tarot often depict a Herculean man on this card, because of patriarchal attitudes, but it is interesting to note that many recent versions have reinstated the female.
The strong woman is someone who has developed enough of an ego to be authoritative within male-dominated society. More and more, we can see this type of woman emerging in our own world, because our Western society is largely at the midpoint of the cycle, where this card is placed. Although this type of woman is assertive and powerful, she still has many patriarchal ideas. She has observed the methods used by men to get their own way, and is copying them. What she wants for herself is also largely dictated by patriarchal values, so she is likely to seek for wealth, power and status, using her new-found strength. Later on she will discover what it is she really wants. As she looks around at patriarchal females, she is likely to be angrily dismissive of them, because this has been her past for millenia. She will almost see herself as a man, and avoid choosing anything which smacks of traditional female roles. She is likely to be even more ruthless and competitive than the men around her, so she cannot be called a matercentric woman, but she may be seen that way by herself and others.

The Hanged Man, Number Twelve, parallels the Strength card. He is a Hermit who has finally abandoned his intellectual striving, and hangs between matercentric and patriarchal society. His enigmatic smile shows he is no longer suffering, but he is still not sure who he is. His conscious mind has relaxed its rigid grip, allowing messages, fears and long-buried taboos to emerge from the darkness of his unconscious, but he is not yet a matercentric man. He has reversed his direction, and no longer aspires to 'heavenly' patriarchal values, but the rope holding him shows he has not yet surrendered to women and the Great Mother. Though he is submissive, he has very little awareness of the Great Mother, and no idea what his next step might be. In his confusion, he may become a substitute patriarchal female, as the woman on the Strength card has become a substitute male, and behave in what he sees as a 'feminine' way. Or he may become what patriarchal society deems a 'wimp,' a dropout, 'hippy,' 'toyboy' or 'New- Ager.' All these negative labels show he is no longer identifying with his traditional role as a male, and as far as patriarchal society is concerned, he is going backwards.

Card Number Thirteen is the Death card. It is the card which represents the Twentieth Century as a whole. In simple terms, this might be because we have the capacity and will to bring death to huge numbers of people, and because vast numbers have died through famine, war and ecological disaster. We have the wherewithal to destroy all life on this planet with our weapons of war, and the by-products of our civilisations are killing the biosphere.
It is also, however, the card which denotes the death of patriarchal society. It has almost completely discredited itself; people no longer believe naively in 'Progress' through Science, or that politicians and religious leaders have a premium on truth, so the old ways must die to make way for the new. This will not be an overnight process. Many people are still firmly patriarchal, and will require much more time before they are ready to become totally disenchanted with death, war and suffering. The ways in which they will choose to accept the death of patriarchy are manifold. Some will require an event of great magnitude before they are willing to change; death from starvation, or in some other highly painful and dramatic scenario. We will feel great pity for those who ask for such suffering, but it is entirely their choice, and must be respected. If we can help them, and they wish to accept our help, we can alleviate the suffering, but we cannot forcibly change their consciousness to ours. We can only point out that their way brings pain, and maybe there is a better one. If we do this, we must also remember that we do not have all the answers, and that we too have a great deal to learn.
Other people may 'die' to patriarchal thinking in an apparently gentler way. The realisation that they no longer wish to live in a world of conflict comes gradually, on an internal level. They may not know how to change what they see around them, but they do know that they are no longer in support of it. If they use violence to effect change, then they are still partly patriarchal, but there is essentially no necessity for this. It seems impossible, but all changes can be made inside, and then come into being in the external world. We can, for example, dream of a happier world, in which there is harmony. If we believe it can happen, it will happen, and if enough of us believe it, the whole basis of life on the planet will change. We still have to face the long-buried pain which we have hidden from ourselves, believing we had no option but to live in a world of fear, but we do not have to meet any more suffering 'out there'. Those who have realised that they have brought suffering to others can also move into a happier world without the necessity of punishment for their 'sins.' There must be complete willingness for change to occur, and for the benefits of selfishness, insensitivity and 'superiority' to be relinquished, but it can happen. What is required is forgiveness, of self and others, for all the mistakes that have occurred, and an acceptance of the Great Mother. This may occur in many forms, because we are all so different, but the content is the same. Love.

Card Fourteen, Temperance, shows an angel pouring liquid from one vase to another, equalising the masculine and feminine forces, and bringing them into balance. No-one would argue that a balanced world is what we are all now seeking, but we differ not only in the ways we wish to achieve an equal society, but in our definition of what it is. Our limited minds theorise about it, but our concepts are based on our present thinking. We look round and see what we think is wrong with present society, and devise a Utopia which will rectify its mistakes. Our ideas about positive aspects of a 'perfect' world are also a product of our present consciousness, and must also be limited.
There have been many strides in achieving a 'fairer' world in recent times. Men and women have looked at the position of disadvantaged people, such as the slaves in America, or the industrial poor in England, and poured their energies into achieving reform. More recently, there has been the Women's Liberation Movement, and pressure groups to eliminate oppression ranging from Apartheid in South Africa to the imprisonment of dissidents by repressive regimes. These reflect growing matercentric values, but as yet we have only just begun. We cannot stop at superficial changes, and we won't, because as our consciousness changes, even more ideas will occur to us. One of the icons which will inevitably fall is the simplistic concept that equality involves the power, wealth and opportunity which is available, being shared out amongst all people. This is not going to give us the spiritual growth we require. Not only does it decide for us what we might want a fair share of, based on patriarchal values, it looks at the world from a highly mechanistic and material viewpoint. We must abandon these ideas as anything other than temporary ones, and see that it all has to go in favour of disadvantaged people like women, and what they might want, before the balance can be restored. We realise that this idea will be opposed by many. Some, because they have been the 'haves,' not only fear the loss of their advantages, but the revenge of the 'have nots,' who will now be in what they see as a position of power over them. Their projection of their own behaviour patterns onto others will not allow them to see that there is no necessity for the same abuses of power to occur. But to the extent that they both fear it, and welcome it as some sort of 'atonement,' it will happen.
The 'have nots' may accept the idea of equality for a while. If you have had nothing but deprivation and cruelty for millenia, the prospect of half of whatever is going will seem attractive. If you add to that, the conditioning they have received from the rulers and religious leaders about 'fairness,' then they are even more likely to accept that equality is a good idea. It allows them to feel moral superiority over the 'haves', which is good news for their growing ego.
However much people want an 'equal' world, it is not an imminent proposition. At the level of our spiritual evolution, we must complete our cycle. This involves the restoration of the Great Mother to our consciousness, and experience of whatever it is that we have not yet learned. Men need the opportunity to serve others unselfishly, and feel the universe from a position inside its wholeness. They have had the opposite experience, of being served, and of seeing themselves as separate from the rest of creation. Women need the experience of allowing themselves to be loved and served, and of perceiving themselves as separate beings. They already know about the unity and interdependence of all life, and the subjective experience of this is familiar to them. Now, they require the view from outside that unity. Eventually, balance will be restored, and we will be able to achieve true equality, but for now, we have many lessons still to be learned before it can happen.

Card Fifteen is the Devil, the female card paired with the Tower. Normally, we think of the Devil as a man, but the figure in this case is clearly a woman, since she has breasts and wide hips. At her feet are two small females in bondage. Later Tarot packs often depict the devil as hermaphroditic, or show a male and female figure beneath her. The devil has clawed feet and bat wings, showing she comes from the night side, from the Great Mother. Her talons are those of an owl, which is not only a night creature but associated with Lilith, the first woman in Jewish mythology, who was replaced by Eve because she refused to be subservient to Adam. Many commentators on the Tarot claim that the devil/Lilith is imprisoning the humans, and that it is the 'sins of the flesh' which bind them to the devil. This is not so. The human females on the card are true matercentric women. They are nude, so free and unrepressed by taboo and dogma. Lilith is also matercentric, but represented as the Devil because this is how patriarchal society sees her. Any woman who fails to assume the role given to her by patriarchal men must be evil incarnate, fit only for ostracism or death.
The Devil carries a sword in her left hand. It is to cut the bonds of the matercentric woman, and set her free. To begin with, because most of society is still patriarchal, the freed matercentric woman will appear to be very 'devilish'. She will seem selfish, undutiful and immoral, because she is able to put her own needs first some of the time. Society will fear her, and attempt to bring her back into line, using a combination of tactics including violence, disapproval and the fostering of guilt.
The Tower is card Number Sixteen. Usually it shows a tall building struck by lightning, but in the mediaeval pack, the sun is the agent of destruction. Patriarchal society, seeing the god as light and sun, has attempted to reach him by the use of the intellect. Their tower has risen so high that it has been scorched. Those at the top are the ones destroyed, and we see them falling to earth. The individual and collective egos of those who have aspired to rise above the Great Mother, and have travelled the furthest distance from her, are the first to have their carefully built hierarchies shattered. They have placed themselves above others, and looked down on them, but their systems have become too massive and unwieldy to sustain. They may not see their 'fall' as a productive experience, but it is.
The sun and Tower also represent the imbalance between male/female, light/dark, conscious/unconscious in our society. Patriarchy has reached towards the light of consciousness until it has become unstable. The values of striving, achieving and conquering have been over-valued, and we must reorientate ourselves to include intuition, passivity and cooperation, the gifts of the Great Mother.
If we look at the Tower as a model of the way our society is structured, we see that it has become impossible to sustain. At the Tower's foundation are those people who are lowest in the pecking order. Most of them are either direct producers of goods and services, or, like mothers, essential to the continuation of human society. As we rise up the Tower, the people become more important, both to themselves and others, but they are not producers, however widely we define that term. They have little contact with the foundation of the Tower, either in terms of the people down there or the earth itself. Theirs is an intellectual, financial or power-centred height, which divorces them from the rest of existence in an artificial way. The aspirations of most people are towards these elevated positions, because they have more status, power and financial reward attached to them. No-one on the path of the god wants to be at the bottom, because it is seen as failure, so they either drop out of the system, or spend energy on 'clawing their way to the top.' The base becomes smaller and smaller, unable to sustain the growing numbers of those higher up, until it reaches the point where it can no longer support the Tower. It is too unstable and inflexible and has reached so high the sun has burned it.
Those who fall are rejoining the Great Mother, here pictured as the earth. If they are willing to see this as necessary for their own growth, they will turn onto the path of the Goddess. If they do not, they will try to climb the Tower again, using all the skills they have acquired in previous attempts. Eventually the penny will drop, but they may cause themselves unnecessary suffering before it does. The picture of failed financiers jumping from skyscrapers during the 1929 Crash is a potent image of this. Some will choose death rather than surrender.

The Star, card Seventeen, shows us a true matercentric woman living in a matercentric society, because she is nude. She holds two jugs, containing liquid which she is pouring onto the earth, healing it from the scars caused by its misuse during the patriarchal era. In the background is a tree, which was something revered by former matercentric societies. It symbolises a new appreciation of the way in which Nature sustains us.
The Star represents the Great Mother, because it is only at night, when stars appear, that we can see the whole of the Universe. During the day we are blinded by the sun, the light of the intellect and the conscious mind. These are important, but equally important is our view at night, when the sun has disappeared, and we can use our night vision; our intuition and our sense of the wholeness of all creation.
The male card twinned with the Star is the Moon, card Eighteen. In it we see the return of the dog which was the companion of the Fool. If you reverse the spelling of 'god,' you get 'dog.' Man believed himself a god towards the end of the patriarchal era, but that world has now been destroyed. His status is reduced to that of a dog within a matercentric society.
The nature of man and dog are very similar. Both use a pecking order in which the strongest control the weakest. But a well- trained dog is also the most loyal, friendly and hard-working companion you could imagine. If it is badly trained, however, it can be vicious, an uncontrolled liability within a household where neither the dog nor the people are happy. Man is the same. If left to his own devices, he quickly begins to display aggression, and can be very harmful. Trained, especially through a wish to please his female 'owner,' he can be a magnificent creature; helpful, loyal and happy.
The presence of the Moon on this male card shows that man is now using intuition. He has allowed himself to be immersed in the waters of the unconscious, and returned to a relationship with the Great Mother. One of the dogs is shown handing some writing to a lobster which is emerging from the sea. Since the seas are controlled by the Moon, and both are symbols of the Great Mother, this suggests he is relinquishing the fruits of his conscious mind, in the shape of the writing, to Her. The last details on the card are the small buildings flanking the dogs. These represent the final remnants of patriarchal society. Unlike the Tower, they are low and insignificant, and later Tarot packs often show them as ruined. There is almost no trace left of the mighty world man constructed while he was on the path of the god.

Card Nineteen, the Sun, shows a small child on a horse. He is not attempting to control the animal at all; it can go wherever it wishes. We are now seeing the truly matercentric man. He is utterly content to be guided by his intuition, and has no need to exercise control. Patriarchal man felt it necessary to restrict and control everything around him, because he feared that chaos and loss would ensue if he did not, but this did not make him happy. He was afraid to relax his tight grip on the world and enjoy life. The child on the Sun card, however, is joyous, able to allow both himself and others total freedom. He is in the state Jesus Christ referred to when he said that we could not enter Heaven unless we become like little children.
The Sun shines down on this laughing child. Until now, the sun has been associated with the conscious mind and the intellect, and seen as the province of men. In a matercentric world, however, it is the man who is intuitive and passive, and the woman who is developing her intellect. So the sun which is giving such warmth and joy to the child is the matercentric woman. Man is happy to be guided by her, since she is more balanced in the use of her intellect than he was. She tempers everything with intuitive knowledge from the Great Mother, whereas he ignored it, and took society to the brink of destruction. The whole scene is one of growth and contentment, symbolised by the sunflowers blooming around the child.

The Day of Judgement is card Twenty. In order to understand it, we have to free ourselves of patriarchal thinking. What we read in the Bible about Judgement Day is orientated towards the punishment of 'sin,' and the rewarding of true believers with a place in heaven. We hear about the graves opening, and all souls being judged according to the rules of the god. Those who have broken the rules face a terrible fate. They will burn in everlasting flames. They are the 'chaff,' or the 'goats.' The 'wheat' and the 'sheep' will be with God. Though many Christians no longer believe in this scenario, others still do, and are hopeful of being 'good' enough to escape Hell. Even those who consider themselves progressive often still accept the idea of a 'sorting out.' They may see Hell as a state of mind, or the flames as some sort of purification, but the idea of judgement remains. Some are 'better' than others, and an external force i.e. the god, will decide which is which. After that, there will be rewards and punishments.
In a matercentric world there can be no judgement of this kind. We may make mistakes, but we can't 'sin.' Nor can we be judged by something outside us, since there is nothing outside us. We are all interconnected with each other and the Great Mother to form a whole. Only in a world of separate, disconnected parts, could anything outside us both judge and punish us, whether it's our fellow human beings or the deity. In the transition to a matercentric society, we may still continue to punish ourselves, or subconsciously give permission to others to do it, but by the time we have reached the level of development shown by this card, we will have gone beyond all such notions.
At the bottom of the Tarot card are three human figures. One is standing in a box, which symbolises our material, three- dimensional world. Above is an Angel, who appears to be blowing a trumpet. We are being called to leave the earth to explore new worlds and new dimensions, because we have all, both men and women, resolved the paradox of personal and universal love. We feel and know that we are part of the universe, yet we are still individuals within its wholeness.
Card Twenty One, the World, and its male twin, the Fool, both end the cycle and begin a new one. Hopefully we have learned from our experiences, and can move on into new growth, new creativity. Though there is indeed 'nothing new under the sun,' we will be more aware of our unlimited nature after a completed revolution. The woman returns to the Great Mother, fully conscious that she is both part of the Great Mother and also separate from Her. The Fool is now aware that he is a fool.