On Saturday evening, October 9, 1999, ArchPriestess Mary K. Greer, officiated a presentation called “The Living Tarot” during the annual FOI Convocation at Isis Oasis. FOI members previously chosen by Mary were assigned to represent the twenty-two Major Arcana as oracles of their archetypal energies.
Afterwards, Mary drew four cards from the Major Arcana to read the future of the Fellowship of Isis in the 21st century. The last of the four cards drawn was Death. When the card was shown, there was a sudden intake of breath and complete silence. ArchPriest Michael Artonn Starsheen, who had channeled the Death card earlier, stepped forward and gave a brilliant discourse on it's meaning. He gave us all reason to take heart and breath freely again; to realize the true implications of this card, both by it’s presence in the reading and by it’s placement.
The Rider-Waite Tarot "The World", illustrated by Pamela Colman-Smith
A Tarot Reading for the Future Role of the Fellowship of Isis in the New Millennium
by Rt. Rev. Michael A. Starsheen, ArchPr., H., ArchDr., SA
This article was originally published on the former "Lyceum of Isis of the Stars" website, and is reproduced here by permission of the author.
At the Fellowship of Isis Convocation at Isis Oasis (8-11 October 1999), Mary K. Greer, FOI Archpriestess, facilitated a reading using the Major Arcana of the Tarot to determine the direction of the Fellowship of Isis for the New Millennium. For the purposes of the reading, various priests and priestesses channeled the words of the Major Arcana archetypes, allowing them to interact and further interpret the meanings of the reading. The interpretations in this article are my own, drawn from (1) my personal knowledge of the Tarot, (2) partcipation and witnessing the Living Tarot Presentation, and (3) discussions with Lady Olivia and others afterwards.
Four cards were drawn for the reading from the Major Arcana signifying (a) the current state of the FOI, (b) the future goal, (c) the obstacle to overcome, and (d) the method for overcoming the obstacle to reach the goal. The cards drawn represented an interesting set of energies for the future of the Fellowship.
Major Arcana XXI - The World - The FOI in the Present
Major Arcana I - The Magician, The Future Goal of the FOI
Major Arcana VI - The Lovers, Obstacles within the FOI
The Obstacle card was Major Arcana VI - The Lovers. During the earlier part of the presentation, when the Lovers were channeling the energy of their card, they resolved the old duality by placing each other at eye level, with neither above nor below the other. This helps to make the obstacle clearer--our job is to remove false hierarchies between us and choose to treat everyone as an equal. This is a challenge because our present cultures are permeated with overt and covert rankings.
Major Arcana XIII - Death, Method of Achieving Our Goal in the FOI
The final card, representing the Method for Achieving Our Goal, was Major Arcana XIII - Death. The only way to bring us all into harmony and equality is to facilitate the death of our old, outworn notions of patriarchy and hierarchy, and replace them with a partnership-oriented society that values the contributions of each member. Riane Eisler discusses such a model for society quite thoroughly in her books, "The Chalice and the Blade: Our History, Our Future" and "Sacred Pleasure: Sex, Myth and Politics of the Body - New Paths to Power and Love." There are other folk working along the same lines. The transformation begins with each of us learning how to live in partnership and harmony with one another, then helping to teach those around us to do so.
This reading represents a significant challenge to the members of the Fellowship and the Temple of Isis. It is time for us to go beyond simply gathering more members, time to look outward to the future of our mother, Gaia, and how we can begin to live in harmony with Her and with each other. As a species, we have reached the end of a long experiment in self-awareness and individuality, which has manifested as systematized greed and power-over behavior. Our world cannot take much more of our destructiveness without either breaking or finding a way of taking us down with Her. This is the message of Death: transform or die. The work has just begun, and the caterpillar is ready to leave the cocoon.
© 2000, Michael A. Starsheen
Note: The images of the Major Arcana on this page are taken from the Rider-Waite Tarot. This deck was designed and illustrated by the artist Pamela Colman Smith under the direction of Dr. Arthur Edward Waite, well known author and occultist. Both were members of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. The deck was first published by Rider & Company, London, in December of 1909. Waite's accompanying book "The Pictorial Key to the Tarot" followed in 1910.