“Arcanum” is such a weighted word. It only shows up in the biggest of dictionaries. It’s hardly ever used. Have you ever heard it? Probably not, and that is all right. I wanted to use it because it is ancient in flavor, and feels more complete to me than “Arcana” and is more accurate than “Arcane” (which suggests something that was over and done with long ago). The twenty-two cards in my Arcanum are somewhat the same as you would find in any Tarot deck, but also very, very different.
One of the differences is my view of the Fool. Another is gender polarity within the Major Arcana. From the very first sketch of “The Magician,” I knew that I wanted mine to be feminine, but after years of studying esoteric systems I realized that there is a balance throughout the first five cards of the Major Arcana that relates to an ancient concept of the energies represented by this card. I could not, for a long time, imagine giving up “The High Priestess” or “The Empress” as feminine energies, but nor did I want to give up “The Sorceress” and this caused a conundrum for me. Grudgingly I drew a High Priest and his face shows my distress about the whole concept of giving up the High Priestess. This High Priest would not be the Hierophant. No, he was absolutely falling into the role of the Knower, the Intuitive. It was very uncomfortable for me for quite a while. No amount of studying helped me understand the balance that this expressed.
However, slowly, over the past few years I have come around to a new realization of knowledge that is more primitive than our Western point of view, one that embraces wisdom from cultures that pre-date the Greeks and Abrahamic faiths. When one realizes how the Greeks and Abrahamic faiths changed our self-concept completely, and tries to imagine a world that predates their world-view and philosophies, one begins to discover, right before her eyes, a school of thought expressed in the artwork and scattered writings trying to defend a different truth about the dual gender within each of us. I am glad to offer this different point of view, not to make the later one wrong, but rather to enhance understanding and comprehension about our miraculous nature. Therefore, you will find The Sorceress (feminine active), The High Priest (masculine reflective), The Emperor (masculine providence), The Kunti (feminine medial), and The Amazon (feminine warrior) leading to The Lovers, and finally The Kosmic Chariot in the first set of seven cards.
There are other surprises in my Arcanum that will require further explanation. My hope is to write a short explanation of the poetry, and the designs (when they are posted). However, like any decks’ Major Arcana, the important thing to understand is that every one of the 22 cards refers to our macro-cosmic path. These are events that simply will happen to us once or many times through out our lives. Our challenge with Major Arcana energy is to raise our awareness of these opportunities and challenges and make the most of them by using our Minor Arcana habits as wisely as we’re able to and to understand when we need to grow in self-acceptance, in action and in our hearts. We respond to Major Arcana cards rather than change the energy itself. Our response to Major Arcana energies gives us clues as to how we’re getting on with life itself.