Perhaps The Dawning of a New Tarot Deck

by Maurice James Blair


In September 2008, a mixture of a developing financial crisis in global markets with other cosmic forces led me to a creative Tarot exercise. In the weeks that followed, I revised the initial results into what I believed to be a useful pattern - and possibly the dawning of a brand new deck.

Part One: The Main Framework

Here is a possible framework for a new Tarot deck geared strongly towards big business:

Four suits of the minor arcana:

* Marketing
* Operations & Management
* Public Relations
* Finance & Accounting

The fourteen cards within each suit of the minor arcana:

* 1 through 10
* Staff
* Supervisor
* Vice President
* President

The twenty-two cards of the major arcana:

0. Conflict
I. Chemistry
II. Entrepreneurship
III. Chief Financial Officer
IV. Chief Executive Officer
V. Business Philosophy
VI. Salesmanship
VII. Competition
VIII. Honesty
IX. Reflection
X. Solvency
XI. Motivation
XII. Sacrifice
XIII. Bankruptcy
XIV. Action
XV. Deceit
XVI. Crisis
XVII. Goals
XVIII. Uncertainty
XIX. Confidence
XX. Profitability
XXI. The Economy

Now for a few comments on the cards and their relations:

The Four Suits

“Marketing” is most central to what product or service to supply, and “Operations & Management” is most central to how to provide the product or service to the market.

“Public Relations” as an element revolves around interactions with the public in a primarily emotional way, and “Finance & Accounting” as an element revolves around interactions with the public in a primarily logical way.

Another approach to this modeling could be to say that:

1) “Marketing” and “Public Relations” more strongly emphasize dealing with the psychological constraints.
2) “Operations & Management” and “Finance & Accounting” more strongly emphasize dealing with the physical constraints.
3) “Marketing” and “Operations & Management” are more oriented toward treating the company and its customers as a unit (and less oriented toward treating company, customers, and general public as a unit).
4) “Public Relations” and “Finance & Accounting” are more oriented toward treating the company, its customers, and the general public as a unit (and less oriented toward treating the company and its customers as a unit).

To some degree, the relations of these four elements or suits may transcend or contradict the groups of statements just made, yet these statements may provide a useful approach at times.

The Fourteen Cards within Each Suit

For a given suit, 1 through 10 can represent amounts of resources available for activities, the degree of conscious effort devoted to an activity, or something else involving the suit. The four face cards may represent people at different levels of responsibility or forces interacting at those levels: Staff at the basic level of responsibility, Supervisor at an intermediate level of responsibility, Vice President near the top level of a department, and President at the top level of a department.

The Major Arcana

Much the way that P.D. Ouspensky’s 1913 essay “The Symbolism of the Tarot” presented pairs consisting of “Card I. The Magician” and “Card 0. The Fool,” “Card II. The High Priestess” and “Card XXI. The World,” “Card III. The Empress” and “Card XX. Judgment,” “Card IV. The Emperor” and “Card XIX. The Sun,” etc. as an insightful approach, the alternate framework here lends itself to this type of analysis.

“Card I. Chemistry” and “Card 0. Conflict” form a complementary pair. From some limited perspectives, all business activity revolves around conflict: conflicting aims, conflicting interests, the challenge of needing time and money to create value versus needing to save time and money in order to be efficient, and more. From some more expansive perspectives, it is the chemistry between different people, departments, and organizations that enables conversion of conflicts and shared interests into mutually beneficial relations.

“Card II. Entrepreneurship” and “Card XXI. The Economy” are related to the “big picture” of stewardship of organizations and how these organizations interact with each other at the microeconomic level to form the macroeconomic level of activity. Broadly conceived, entrepreneurship involves the beginning of an organization, the ideas and ambitions of owners, the interactions of top-level management with the owners, long-term strategies, and much more. Broadly conceived, the economy involves all main activities that generate transactional value throughout the world, and to some degree reaches into all other activities through codependent relations.

“Card III. Chief Financial Officer” corresponds to the person most centrally concerned with measuring and coordinating the flow of financial resources. “Card XX. Profitability” corresponds to the value people focus on the most as a basic measurement of financial performance. The chief financial officer plays key roles in providing a foundation from which the company has the chance to be profitable.

“Card IV. Chief Executive Officer” corresponds to the person who leads the company in many ways and makes many key, top-level strategic decisions. “Card XIX. Confidence” involves a value without which the company cannot survive for very long; for example, confidence in the future is often even more important to a public company’s stock value than past and present profitability. One of the most important features of a successful chief executive officer is the ability to maintain and improve confidence, both inside and outside the organization.

“Card V. Business Philosophy” describes the core values and guidelines that an organization chooses over time. “Card XVIII. Uncertainty” reflects the many facets of risk management, unknown aspects of competitors, mysteries involving the markets, and many other things that can impact people at all levels of an organization. A company’s business philosophy and how it may change over time can be key to whether the company successfully manages ever-changing uncertainties.

“Card VI. Salesmanship” may signify a cornerstone of influencing people, both within and without a given department, organization, or industry. “Card XVII. Goals” corresponds to what people choose to aim toward achieving. Salesmanship can influence people to adopt or sacrifice particular goals. People’s goals and their degrees of commitment to those goals also play a key role in affecting how receptive they may be to attempts to influence them through salesmanship.

“Card VII. Competition” is key to whether a company can be profitable and whether an economy can be effective. Competition between individuals, departments, organizations, industries, and countries can be a source of great opportunity and great threat. “Card XVI. Crisis” reflects that the ebb and flow of competition, goals, and constraints sometimes lead to extremely threatening situations. How well people and groups of people use wisdom to compete or avoid competing can make all the difference in whether they survive a crisis.

“Card VIII. Honesty” reflects a value that keeps business and other human activities from descending into sheer mayhem. “Card XV. Deceit” reflects the fact that in many possible realms of business and human activity there can be many types of deception, both internal and external, both intentional and unintentional. Some may consider honesty and deceit to be completely opposite, while others may consider them to be two aspects of every communication, and yet others still may transcend these views.

“Card IX. Reflection” and “Card XIV. Action” involve deeply complementary parts of successful business. People need reflection in some circumstances in order to get a deeper handle of what is happening and what to do with long-term prospects. People need to act and act quickly to be effective in many circumstances. In many ways, people and organizations need a strong mixture of action and reflection to maintain both short-term and long-term success.

“Card X. Solvency” and “Card XIII. Bankruptcy” involve opposite extremes of ability to meet financial responsibilities. In many ways, one company’s solvency may depend on an intricate web of the solvency of many related companies. Perhaps another company’s actual or potential bankruptcy may present an acquisition opportunity, a grave threat, or both.

“Card XI. Motivation” involves the innermost drives within a person’s psyche, and as such permeates the choices, decisions, actions, and consequences of business activity. “Card XII. Sacrifice” displays something that is essential when people face trade-offs between different things they consider worthwhile - for example, family, money, time, and health. The degree to which someone feels motivated can play a big role in whether they have the power to make sacrifices essential to their future success.

Part Two: Background of Its Development

In 2001 to mid-2003 I studied a number of esoteric subjects, but knew little of Tarot. Part of this built on reading an English language version of P.D. Ouspensky’s Tertium Organum in 2000 from beginning to end and revisiting parts of it from time to time afterward. Another part involved reading James Legge’s translation of The Tao Te Ching in 2000 and subsequently revisiting parts of it.

In mid-2003, I started studying the Tarot deck, and, in the three years that followed, I purchased a copy of The Oswald Wirth deck and a copy of The Rider-Waite deck. One of the influential writings on Tarot for me is P.D. Ouspensky’s 1913 essay “The Symbolism of the Tarot,” which is currently in the public domain.

Actually, back in 2003, when I first became intrigued with the Tarot, it was from reading the alternate version of P.D. Ouspensky’s “The Symbolism of the Tarot,” which appears as a chapter within his book A New Model of The Universe. Around that time, I read portions of the 2003 version of Martin Yate’s Knock ‘Em Dead, and, relating the two together, took out some note cards and made line drawings to symbolically relate to the twenty business values he outlined as being essential to success as an employee.

From mid-2003 through the present I have found perspectives from Buddhism of great value in relation to esoteric knowledge.

Another current within the development of the business-oriented card names described here involved Napoleon Hill. In 2001 I purchased the Napoleon Hill CD Selling You! and listened to it a number of times over subsequent years, then in September 2008 I started reading the version of Think and Grow Rich available online.

Part Three: Possibilities of What May Be Next

If there are artists interested in exploring creating artwork for decks with the framework described here, close variations of it, or both, then I am interested in possible joint ventures pursuing major publication of the deck or decks that result.

© Maurice James Blair

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