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A Simple Exploration of Divine Tarot - Ramayana and the Minor Arcana Cards

Updated: Apr 6

Diwali is coming! And it is all about revisiting the essence of Ramayana in our lives.

Diwali, Ramayan & Tarot

The Ramayana is a Sanskrit epic of ancient India and Hindu mythology. The Hindu religion has two most revered epics, of which Ramayana is one.

The lessons from this epic underlie Hindu belief system and our value systems till date.

I would describe Divine Tarot as a form of divination.

Tarot is a pack of cards. Cards that tell stories. Stories that give insights into one’s past, present, or future. Cards that also act as a path of light for those seeking clarity and guidance reading in life.

On the face of it, Ramayana and Tarot may seem like a rare-to-find connection. But, if we dig deeper, we can discover such astounding and fascinating connections between the two.

Neither are the lessons of Ramayana simple, nor are the symbolisms of Tarot.

And yet here, I attempt to make this connection and complex concepts, a simple exploration - as simple as a Sunday evening stroll.

But before that, let’s skim through some basics.

About the Ramayana

The Ramayana is one of India’s most venerated epic. It is about love and duty. It is also about the constant battle between good and evil.

The lessons from this epic have been passed down to us over generations. It is deeply ingrained in Indian culture and Hindu mythology.

The epic is traditionally said to be authored by the sage Valmiki, composed around 2,500 years ago.

At its core, the Ramayana is a story of good versus evil, dharma (duty) versus adharma (unrighteousness), and the triumph of right over wrong.

The key character, Lord Ram, is the prince born in the kingdom of Ayodhya to King Dashrath.

He is also believed to be the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the preserver within the Hindu trinity of Gods.

Ram's journey, along with his loyal brother Lakshman and devoted wife Sita, forms the heart of this epic.

The turning point in this epic is when Ram is banished to the forest at the behest of his stepmother, Kaikeyi. He steps up to fulfil his duty and is accompanied by Sita, his beloved wife and Lakshman, his devoted brother.

This unjust and sorrowful exile sets in motion a series of events and characters that have shaped hindu philosophy.

The story tides through Sita's abduction by the demon king Ravan. Ram meets our favourite monkey-god, Hanuman, and with an army of monkeys, embarks on a dangerous journey to rescue his beloved Sita.

This culminates in the defeat of Ravan, and ultimately restoring dharma to the world.

It's a bit like an Indian superhero movie that has forever etched our personal value systems. We learn from and live by them even today.

Now, let's look at the Tarot and its Minor Arcana cards.

What is Divine Tarot, and What Are the Minor Arcana Cards?

Simply put, Divine Tarot is a deck of 78 cards. Each card has a unique image with so many details and symbols that give out a plethora of stories and meanings.

These cards are divided into two main categories: Major Arcana and Minor Arcana.

Major Arcana cards are often seen as signifying major events and considered more important. Minor Arcana cards, on the other hand, provide a whole lot of information about our day-to-day practical aspects of life.

In a way, one can think of it as such. Major Arcana cards are like those special days of the year, while Minor Arcana cards are basically all the other run-of-the-mill days.

The Minor Arcana has four suits: Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles. Each suit represents distinct parts of life. Each suit has ten numbered cards and four court cards (similar to the face cards in regular playing cards).

Now, let's draw parallels between the Ramayana and the Minor Arcana cards to reveal some generally unknown connections.

Wands Suit: The Journey of Lord Ram

Wands represents the suit of fire. This suit is all about ambition and physical movement.

In Ramayan, Ram sets out on a very difficult exile for 14 years. This needs highest level of courage and boldness to embark on something so challenging. Wands are about embracing challenges in the path to personal growth.

The exile is filled with action and fiery energy, similar to the Wands suit. There is constant action and drama that fires the thrill in those who seek adventure.

Wands are also about self-confidence and self-esteem. This is strongly evoked in Ram’s personality who is the epitome of calm and composed bravery. He represents someone who is very self-assured and has highest confidence in himself.

Nothing deters or sways our prince from his mission of successfully completing his exile.

His ambition and determination are the hallmarks of a warrior that stands for truth and justice.

Just like the Wands cards, his journey is a fiery adventure that tests his courage and resolve to accomplish his goals.

Cups Suit: Sita's Emotional Turmoil

Cups stand for emotions, love, and feelings. These could be feelings for others, or internal viz. self-love and inner peace.

Cups represent the element of water, which can, at times, be calm and serene and unpredictably, turbulent and overwhelming at other times.

Sita’s character in Ram is symbolic of the Cups suit. One can liken her with the Queen of Cups who has cultivated emotional maturity to be able to not only look out for others but also be in tune with your inner self.

She goes through a rollercoaster of emotions – love, sorrow, and longing.

Her connection with Lord Ram and her time in captivity with Ravan highlight the depths of her emotions, like the ups and downs we see in the Cups cards.

Swords Suit: Lakshman's Loyalty and Conflict

Swords stand for thoughts, intellect and communication. It is related to the air element, reflecting our mental aptitude and its importance in dealing with life’s challenges.

Lakshman's character is a fitting match for the Swords suit.

Lakshman is a person who rationalizes decisions rather than being swayed by his heart and emotions. A classic example is where he feels so compelled by his sense of duty and devotion to his brother, that he chose to leave back his newly wed and beloved wife Urmila and join his brother on his exile.

This is a clear victory of the mind over heart.

He faces many internal as well as external conflicts and battles in his quest to protect his brother and sister-in-law. But he is firm in his mind and faces challenges with clarity and intelligence.

He is a charming and true warrior (similar to the Knight of Wands) that fights for truth and justice.

Pentacles Suit: The Kingdom of Ayodhya

Pentacles suit stands for material wealth and the earthly physical world. This is associated with the earth element, representing the tangible aspects of our lives.

The Kingdom of Ayodhya was ruled by King Dashrath, father of Lord Ram, and later by Ram himself on completion of his exile.

Ayodhya was a thriving empire where its peoples grew and prospered materially.

There was love and trust amongst its people. People are happy, stable and secured under their king.

Ayodhya, like the Pentacles suit, represents a thriving kingdom with earthly prosperity.

Finding Harmony in Stories

The Ramayana and the Minor Arcana cards in Tarot might seem worlds apart, but when we explore their themes, we discover amazingly resonating connections.

These parallels demonstrate how universal themes of action, emotion, thought, and material well-being are interwoven into various narratives, whether ancient epics or tarot card systems.

It's a reminder that stories from different cultures and belief systems can resonate with each other and offer us new perspectives on life's journey, emotions, thoughts, and material wealth.

In this simple exploration, we've unveiled a connection that might inspire you to look at both the Ramayana and the Tarot in a new light.

So, as you continue your journey through the Tarot, keep the spirit of Lord Ram, Sita, and their companions close, and let their timeless wisdom guide your path.

Like they say, Tarot card reading is all about story telling. It contains the stories about most of us, and the connection with Ramayana just takes this a step ahead in our spiritual growth.

Read more about Ramayana and Major Arcana, and how they bring out valuable everyday life lessons.

 

 

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