Tarot and Alchemy: a short introduction

When you think of Alchemy, you usually think of the 16th and 17th centuries. You probably see the image of (old) men brewing all kinds of concoctions from which they try to make gold. The candlelight and the old books & manuscript add an occult touch to this image. You might think it is a bit silly, but many great discoveries have been made during these experiments! And nowadays,  we are actually able to create gold out of other commodities (although this is such an expensive process that the costs do not outweigh the benefits of the gold obtained). You could, however,  argue that these alchemists were the forerunners of our “modern” sciences (physics, chemistry, medical sciences).

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So Many Heads So Many … Correspondences

When I started out studying the Tarot somewhere in the nineties, I would diligently try to search for ‘true’ meanings and correspondences of the cards.  I wrote everything down neatly in my Tarot journal and all went well for a while.  But then I came to notice that the correspondences of the elements, the astrological correspondences or even the meanings were different everywhere!  And no one could clarify what ‘the truth’ was (alltough many claimed they could).  This was extremely frustrating! 

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The Number and Nature of Those things…

In ‘The Three Books of Occult Philosophy’ by Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, I came across the following. It is an excerpt from a poem about the elements by Publius Vergilius Maro, a famous Roman poet who lived from 70 to 19 BC. I think it is very pretty. If you are interested, you can download or read the books of Agrippa everywhere online (no copyrights). Some of the texts are difficult to read but the part about the elements is doable and also very interesting!

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