October 21, 2019
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Tarot and Geopolitical Divination (Court de Gébelin, 1781)


Sightsee the Tarot is a series on my channel
through which I take you on a tour of tarot books, spreads, techniques and tips, different
decks, and more. Today we are going to explore geopolitical
divination with the tarot, inspired from Antoine Court de Gébelin’s 1781 treatise, Le Monde
primitif, analysé et comparé avec le monde modern, or The Primeval World, Analyzed and
Compared to the Modern World. Court de Gébelin asserted that the ancient
Egyptians left instructions on how the tarot could be used to divine on geopolitics, but
then he also says we don’t really know how these Egyptians used the tarot for geopolitical
divination. So…he says he’s going to take it upon
himself to reconstruct how this might’ve been done. Alrightey then. Let’s hear it. But first, what exactly is geopolitics? Basically, international relations. Foreign policy. Understanding how nations interact with one
another, the ebb and flow of power between them, and how geography affects political
and social influence. So geopolitical divination with the tarot
is using the cards to divine on our current global political landscape. Court de Gébelin gets really specific about
the tarot pip card correspondences to the geography and civilizations of our world. Well. His world. And his world leaves out like three-fourths
of the earth, but it’s all good. I’m not bitter that he left out China. Are you? I’m fine. I’m totally fine. So I’m going to run through the geopolitical
assignments for the pip cards rather quickly, and you can pause, take notes, only if it
interests you. There’s a supplemental download with card
meanings specifically for geopolitical divination with Court de Gébelin, so be sure to download
that. All right, now let’s get started! According to Court de Gébelin, the Suit of
Wands corresponds geographically to the Bread Basket of the World. The ten pips correspond with ten major regions
in this area. Ace of Wands is Upper Egypt. Two of Wands is Lower Egypt. Three of Wands is Middle Egypt. Four of Wands is Ethiopia. Five of Wands is Libya. Six of Wands is Tunisia. Seven of Wands is Morocco. Eight of Wands is Algeria. Nine of Wands is Mauritania. And finally, Ten of Wands is West Africa,
from Guinea to Nigeria. The Suit of Cups corresponds with the North,
which Court de Gébelin attributes to (quote) “the origins of science and reason” (end
quote). The Ace of Cups is Armenia. The Two of Cups is roughly where modern Georgia
is today, in Eastern Europe right before West Asia. Wait, we need to shift the map over east. The Three of Cups is Central Asia, the Islamic
part of Inner Asia, that’s Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan. The Four of Cups is Afghanistan to Pakistan,
through India to Nepal to the Himalayas. Five of Cups is modern day Turkey and also
the nations around the Black Sea. Wait, let’s move back to the previous map
of the north. The Six of Cups is Bulgaria and Romania, just
north of Greece. The Seven of Cups is from Serbia through Romania,
Moldova, and Ukraine, also northward to include Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and
all the way to Poland. Eight of Cups is the Arctic, way North, where
the giants live, says Court de Gébelin. The Nine of Cups corresponds to Celtic Europe. And finally, Ten of Cups is Greenland and
Iceland. Now we get to the Suit of Swords, the suit
of great monarchies, great conquest, and great revolutions. The Ace of Swords is the Arabian Peninsula. The Two of Swords is Israel and Jordan. Three of Swords is Palestine. The Four of Swords is Lebanon. The Five of Swords is Syria. Six of Swords is around where we now find
modern-day Iraq and Kuwait. Seven of Swords is western and northern Iran,
or antiquity, the Median Empire. Eight of Swords is the coastal area of Iran
by the Persian Gulf. Nine of Swords is the Persian Empire. The Ten of Swords— doh—it’s not pictured
on the map, but you can picture it in your head, right? East Indies. East of India. Finally, the suit of Coins, or Pentacles,
which Court de Gébelin attributes to southern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean. The Ace of Coins is the island of Crete, part
of the Greek islands. The Two of Coins covers the other Aegean islands. The Three of Coins is Greece mainland. And now we’re headed West, toward Italy. The Four of Coins is Italy, the boot. Five of Coins is the island of Sicily. The Six of Coins covers the Balearic Islands
off of Eastern Spain, which includes the islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera. The Seven of Coins is southern region of the
Iberian Peninsula, that’s Spain. The Eight of Coins covers the central and
eastern regions of the Iberian Peninsula. While the Nine of Coins is the southwest region
of the Peninsula. The Ten of Coins… wait… hold on…. The Ten of Coins is modern-day Portugal and
then the Canary Islands, which is just off the coast of Morocco and the Western Sahara. Bear in mind that the first printing of Court
de Gébelin’s Monde Primitif was around actually 1776, which is the time of the American
Revolution. So his geographic attributions are kind of
within the physical scope of the political regions he would have been most familiar with. Later on in the 1900s, Aleister Crowley gives
his geographic attributions for the tarot, which cover much more of the world than Court
de Gébelin’s. One more layer of meaning for geopolitical
divination with the tarot. The Wands correspond with agriculture and
artisans. You may remember this from our episode on
Papus. The Cups correspond with the clergy and priesthood. The Cups will denote the culture and religion
of the nation. The Swords correspond with lawyers, judges,
nobility, and the military. This is the civil law and policy of a people. The Coins or Pentacles correspond with commerce
and the occupations designated by money. This is the economics of a region. The four suits of the Minor Arcana are also
layered with attributions to the four regions of the world. Okay fine, so Court de Gébelin does make
some mention of my peoples in East Asia. The suit of Wands or Batons is associated
with the southern quadrant, namely Africa. The suit of Cups is north, where the Celto-Sythians
are from. The suit of Swords denotes the occidental
people, or East, as in the continent of Asia. And the Suit of Coins, or Pentacles, is Europe,
the West, which I suppose includes the Americas? I’m not sure. It’s not explicit in the text. If we’re using racial terminology from the
late 1700s, what Court de Gébelin would have been familiar with, then, well, shall we say
people of color fall somewhere either in the suit of Wands or the suit of Swords, and the
Caucasoids would be either Cups or Coins. Some of you seasoned tarot readers might be
scratching your head just a little bit because yeah, these attributions are a little bit
different from present day majority view. The court cards of each suit represent heads
of state or key political figures in the corresponding regions. The Kings of the tarot court represent either
the heads of state from each of the noted regions of the world that their suit corresponds
with, or they represent an influential leader in the occupational industry that the suit
corresponds with. The Queens, according to Court de Gébelin,
represent religious thought, moral codes, cultural customs, political sentiments, and
general public opinion of their respective regions, corresponding to their suits. The tarot Knights represent the achievements,
heroism, battles won, and the exploits of the nations and peoples they represent. The Squires, or tarot Pages, are the up and
coming, the rising stars, the new talent, new blood in the four respective occupational
fields or, alternatively, their respective geographic regions. So the Page of Wands could signify rising
stars in the environmental or agricultural sciences. The Page of Cups in spirituality and religion. Page of Swords in law and policy, or the military. And the Page of Coins in money, business,
or the stream of commerce. Encoded into the Major Arcana are the four
stoic or cardinal virtues, and this will be instructive in geopolitical divination. Court de Gébelin notes the Four Virtues to
be Key 8: Justice, Key 11: Fortitude, which is needed to keep the peace and unity of the
nations, Key 12: The Hanged Man, which he says should be Prudence. We’ll get to that later. But here, it stands in for Prudence, the correction
of abuse and the awaiting of the success of our labors and trials. And Key 14: Temperance, which is compromise
and treaties between nations. As for Key 12 being The Hanged One and the
cardinal virtue of Prudence, Court de Gébelin chalks it up to an unfortunate misinterpretation
by the tarot card maker. That’s convenient. For the rest of the Majors, he attributes
them largely to astrology that is then used to forecast the fates of the nations. Keys 3 and 4, Empress and Emperor, are the
temporal leaders of the world, ordained by Heaven. Keys 2 and 5, High Priestess and High Priest,
are the spiritual and religious leaders of the world, ordained by Heaven. Key 6 is titled Marriage, and here the three
figures are the personification of Truth, Honor, and Love. Court de Gébelin emphasizes to us that Truth
is definitely the woman here. Key 7 is Osiris, Court de Gébelin tells us,
and so we can infer that this key is the Key of rebirth and afterlife. Here, early on in tarot history, Court de
Gébelin emphasizes the importance of sevens in the tarot architecture. In geopolitical divination, the Majors signify
the political and moral status of the nations that you’re divining on. Key 16 is Avarice, or greed, the pursuit of
money, status, power, and material gains. This is the road to Fall. Now, on the other end, Key 9 is the Philosopher-Sage,
and Court de Gébelin goes on a bit about this guy. He really likes him. This Hermit guy here is the most triumphant
of them all, because he is self-aware, virtuous, knowledgeable, and wise. Oh, this is a little random, but fun fact! Key 13, Death is assigned the pronouns she/her. I don’t know why that amused me. Okay. Key 17 is the Dog Star, or Sirius, also known
as the Big Dipper and the seven stars here symbolize the Sacred Seven Planets. Then you’ve got The Moon and The Sun, which
Court de Gébelin says will help you to predict timing when juxtaposed with the zodiac cards. Key 20: The Last Judgment, is also the mark
of Creation, says Court de Gébelin. It’s the prophecy of a rising power. Key 21, he tells us, is Time misnamed The
World. The eagle Court de Gébelin attributes to
Spring. The lion is summer. The bull is autumn. And The young man is winter. We, then, are the Fool, in our folly. Court de Gébelin doesn’t exactly leave
us with detailed instructions on how to use the tarot for a geopolitical divination. He just says it can be done and he gives you
his attributions. That means I kinda have to, you know, make
it up. And that’s what I’m doing from this point
on. I’m making it up. If you want to try out my made-up geopolitical
divination method, first download the supplemental handout. So this is what I’ve made up. Inspired by our previous Sightsee the Tarot
episodes. First, I’m going to deal out the deck into
two piles, two cards here, one card there, alternate until I’ve got two piles, in honor
of MacGregor Mathers. You remember this, don’t you? Of course you do. But once I get that first Pile #1, for Horseshoe
#1 of 26 cards, I’m gonna stop there. Then I make the Horseshoe from the 26 cards
and read the cards in pairs, as were instructed from our Mathers episode. This time my intention is going to be for
these 13 pairs of cards to be geopolitical prophecies for the political climate I live
in right now. Or, to keep it simple, just do a three-card
reading. Ask to receive a geopolitical prophecy about
your world right now and then pull three cards to read as one cohesive divinatory message. You remember the Mathers episode, right? We talked about the three essential prongs
of predictive tarot reading, or traditional fortune-telling. And that was card knowledge, intuition, and
psychic ability. We’re going to work with the geopolitical
assignments from Court de Gébelin, then fine-tune that with our own intuitive knowledge. Once we’ve laid our foundation for interpretation,
we can then try to reach beyond to get as specific as possible with our prophecy and
exert that psychic ability. Let’s work with that three-card reading
from earlier, the Page of Wands, Judgment, and the Ten of Coins, or Ten of Pentacles. We start with ascribed card meanings. What did Court de Gébelin attribute these
particular cards to, in terms of geopolitics? We’re going to check the card meanings reference
sheet for that. But you’ll quickly see that it’s a little
bit vague and may not make too much sense, so we have to add on a layer of intuition
and reach in to our intuitive knowledge to better understand what these cards are trying
to reveal. If we had to deconstruct intuition, we might
say it’s a combination of your gut feelings, your emotional values, and then both sensations
and your automatic impulses. Let’s start with the Page of Wands. We’re going to list out all possible attributions
for this card, per Court de Gébelin. Then we move on to Key 20, Judgment, and do
the same thing. List out all possible attributions. Third, the Ten of Coins. Again, list out all possible attributions. And now we just meditate or scry in to the
images and the brainstormed list of words to see where our intuition takes us. In other words, the beginner-level step one
here for geopolitical divination is to set down some baseline card knowledge. Court de Gébelin reconstructed for us what
he believed the ancient Egyptians used for geopolitical divination. Next, we layer on our intuition. So here, trust your gut feelings. Lean in to your emotions, trust them, and
observe your own sensations and automatic impulses. So, for the Page of Wands, let’s say I can
narrow down what I believe this card is indicating by applying intuitive knowledge over the card
knowledge. Same with Key 20: Judgement. And again, with the Ten of Coins. I’m essentially using my intuition as a
process of elimination. Somewhere between intuition and psychic ability,
I’m narrowing it down even further, chipping away at the baseline card knowledge, especially
if I’m reading the positioning of that Page of Wands as being more “past” than “present”
or “future.” I’m reading Key 20 as revealing what’s
happening right now to this Page of Wands, this up and coming political figure, and the
Ten of Coins will be the main prophecy for what this Page of Wands public figure will
be able to do for the economy of a nation-state somewhere along the Atlantic coast. So what we just did back there was use our
intuition to round out card knowledge. Now don’t expect me to share with you what
I think that little three-card reading of mine foretells about American politics! But I’ve certainly got a very specific guess! The Papus reading method we learned in a previous
episode would also work great here. Start with the first tier of four cards, which
should all be from the same Minor Arcana suit. Following Court de Gebelin’s suit attributions,
if you want to read about one of the geographic regions, nation-states, or just occupational
industry related to the suit of Wands, then you only read the first tier four cards with
this pile. Yeah, Court de Gebelin made some mention of
Atlantis and the suit of Wands. Nice, huh? Northern Hemisphere, Scandinavian countries,
Eastern Europe, Celtic Europe, go for the suit of Cups. Or if you’re reading about the global state
of healthcare or religion and spirituality. The suit of Swords corresponds with the Asian
continent, or you can choose the Swords if you want to read specifically about law and
policy, or an international conflict. The suit of Pentacles corresponds with the
Western hemisphere, for Europe and the Americas. This is Southern and Western Europe. Then proceed with the first tier, or quarternary
four-card reading using your selected suit, drawing just from those 14 cards. This will divine upon the state of affairs
for that geographic region or the industry you’re reading about. For the three-card reading, the trinity within
the quarternary, draw from the Major Arcana to round out your reading for this region
or industry. And to really take it to the next level, the
twelve-card zodiac reading to consider all other relations, interactions, and influences. And just a reminder, the Papus divination
method came from our previous Tarot of the Bohemians episode. Now it’s your turn. Follow these step by step guidelines for now,
to train yourself with the deconstructed motions of geopolitical tarot divination. If you’re so inspired, expand upon and even
revise the geographic, ethnic, and cultural correspondences from Court de Gébelin, after
all, he wrote this in the late 1700s, and fine-tune your own method for using the tarot
to forecast world politics.

David Frank

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7 COMMENTS

  1. Darcy Rosner Posted on April 13, 2019 at 7:13 am

    The evolution of tarot is incredibly interesting. I’ve been reading since the seventies and I’ve found this whole tarot thing is a life long journey….it’s not just about our everyday practice it about the history and how we’ve moved through it with cards in our hands. Sometimes I don’t have enough room in my head!

    Reply
  2. Sunkissed Queen Posted on April 13, 2019 at 9:22 am

    This is some really in depth study! I love it.

    Reply
  3. Sovereign Self Posted on April 13, 2019 at 6:43 pm

    I've never really had any inclination to do divination about world politics but, given the current state of things, I might be spending some time working on this method. Wouldn't hurt to have it in the back pocket. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Lucy Chen Posted on April 16, 2019 at 4:07 am

    Do you read French, Benebell?

    Reply
  5. Lesson learner Posted on April 17, 2019 at 9:26 pm

    Such a fun and inspirationaly tempting part if the series we have here! Oh how this kind of thing happens to be mediated between duel interests of mine( like I'm the only one?!?!): Political dynamism/ Spiritual Volition, plus political intrigue is just juicy! Also couldn't thank you enough for the subs… suggesting that the subs be turned on? Either way it made note taking waay easier; as always thanks Benebell.

    Reply
  6. Lou Valcourt Posted on April 27, 2019 at 11:33 pm

    During the 16th 17th and 18th century death was considered feminine in Latin based countries in Europe (Spain, Portugal, France, Italy).

    Reply
  7. Thomas Elliot Posted on June 5, 2019 at 7:13 pm

    I couldn't follow this one. I guess Western pratices just don't attract me.

    Reply
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