A Tarot building block is a basic unit such as a symbol, number or element.
Building blocks – like letters of the alphabet or bricks in a house – are combined to create a new entity. The whole is greater than the mere combination of the individual parts.
The Building Blocks of the Tarot are as follows:
Major Arcana – 22 steps in the life journey; archetypes, sequence numbers, astrological correspondences and visual symbols.
Minor Arcana – 40 cards (14 keywords) consisting of the element, number
(numerology) and the artist’s interpretation of the image.
Court Cards – astrological associations created from the element, season and modality. (The meanings of astrological signs are also derived from smaller constituent parts – a combination of the element, modality, season and ruling planet.)
The combination and synthesis of the building blocks provides the signification of the card. Understanding how the meaning is derived allows a true comprehension of the cards and precludes learning the cards by rote.
There is a common misconception that the meanings of Tarot cards are predetermined and need to be learned according to ‘the book’. Standardised meanings have developed as a result of generalisation and ignorance of the fundamental parts that contribute to the cards’ interpretation.
Tarot card interpretation is a creative process that derives from personal life experience, taste and predisposition. A building block is like the artist’s basic material. The artist will create a work according to a unique and individual process. Just as two architects would never combine building materials in the same way when designing a house, the derivation of meanings of the cards is highly individual.
In working with building blocks we are not trying to reduce the Tarot to a facile system, nor do we seek to demystify, simplify or rationalise it. The building blocks are in themselves based in the mystery of all Creation, but are rendered “bite-sized”, making it easier to grasp in the beginning than the more complex combinations. In understanding the component parts, we understand the inherent nature of the Tarot. The understanding of the building blocks themselves gives a firm basis upon which to ground the imagination and psychic ability.
Our courses teach the building block method. It is simple and easy to learn without losing sight of the mystery, magic and symbolic richness that the Tarot represents.