.. Esoteric Tarot Course

Lesson 1

Greetings Initiate and welcome to the Tarot Course of the Esoteric Mystery School taught by our Tarot Mistress Bridget from Texas. You will need the following supplies for this course:

  • 78 Card Deck of your choice (required)
  • Notebook, Tablet or some kind of computer document to serve as Tarot journal (required)
  • “The Tarot Trumps and the Holy Grail,” by Margaret Starbird (buy if you can afford it)
  • “Tarot Journeys,” by Yasmine Galenorn (buy if you can afford it)
  • “Tarot in Ten Minutes” by RT Kaser (buy if you can afford it)

You may remember the “Touch of Tarot” section in the first three Catechumen lessons. If it’s been awhile since you took those Catechumen lessons, please go do a quick review the Tarot portions of them now.

Does Tarot have Esoteric Kristian roots?

There are several different theories on the origin of the “Tarot.” Some say it goes all they way back to ancient Egypt. The earliest decks mentioned in history were during the middle ages, about 700 years ago. Tarot is truly an ancient art, but not quite as ancient as some might wish. However, the use of small items, stones, straws, symbols, etc. for divination does indeed go back to the earliest civilizations on this planet. In Margaret Starbird’s book “The Tarot Trumps and the Holy Grail” she shows almost beyond doubt that the Tarot holds the “Great Secrets of the Middle Ages.”

If you have this book, please read the Preface, Chapter 1 and Chapter 2.

The Tarot very well could have originated in Northern Italy and the Languedoc of Southern France. Starbird states in her book — the tarot trumps formed a virtual catechism for the suppressed tenets of the alternative Christian church the “Church of the Holy Grail,” whose tenets of faith included the partnership of Christ and his bride, the woman whom the Gospels called “the Magdalene.” After all, the oldest tarot deck known to man, now sitting in a museum is French. It is the Tarot of Marseilles, seven hundred years old and only consists of the 22 Major Arcana (22 trump cards). These are the most powerful cards, contain many hidden esoteric symbols, and you can do complete meaningful readings with just them.


Trumps – origin: Old French “trompe” meaning trumpet.

In the poem, The Song of Roland, the trumpet blast of the hero splits the rocks of Pyrenees when he signaled for help. The preaching of the True Gospel was seen as a trumpet that could split the “rock” of Peter’s Church. Then there is the trumpet blast that brought down the walls of Jericho.

The trumps contain knowledge if we choose to see it, the same as the Bible. In fact, it is said the Tarot was a way of teaching using picture symbols because not everyone could read and only a very few had access to a copy of the scriptures. Of course Tarot taught heretical and alternative Christianity, what we now call Esoteric Kristianity.


One of the requirements for this course is to start yourself a Tarot Journal. It can be part of your existing Magikal Journal or “grimoire” as some people call them, or it can be totally separate. Be creative—you can name it My Oracle or My Tarot Grimoire, or Tarot Journal. One of our members named hers Divination Studies. If you are not able to set one up on your computer, you will have to do it the old fashioned way. Get a three-ring notebook and decorate it if you want. Or you may prefer a small spiral tablet, which will later fit in a purse-sized pouch with your deck and/or runes, and pendulum if you have one. Using a notebook is actually kind of nice because you can put pictures and designs into it easier than you can into a computer file.

0 – The Fool

This card is marked with the number “0” and is named the Fool. Today if someone called you a fool you would probably take offense. Do not look at this card in that light. The fool is about a different kind of foolishness (!) and we will find out exactly what it is as we take a look at this very first card in the ancient oracle of Tarot.

Go to your journal now and start a new page with the word FOOL at the top. Write beside the word FOOL the number 0. Now make a list of every single thing on your fool card—young man, dog, cliff, bush, etc. etc.—depending on what is shown on YOUR card. Then do this quick exercise:

Quick Exercise: Get your deck and take out the Fool card. Really look at the Fool from your deck. Close your eyes now for a minute and picture your Fool card. What do you see immediately with your mind’s eye? What three things / objects / symbols from the Fool card pop into your head first? Write them in your journal now with a 1. 2. and 3.


The “0” represents ground zero, the beginning of the journey. Margaret Starbird also points out that the “0” in French called l’oeuf (the egg), is phonetically connected with the English word “love.” As in the game of Tennis, a score of “0” (l’oeuf) is called love. This same egg shape is a symbol for new life and spiritual rebirth through enlightenment.

The Fool card shows a young man approaching the edge of a cliff. His head is held high and he looks straight ahead, unaware or unafraid of danger. He carries a wand in his right hand with a pouch on the end of it. And a white rose in his left hand. The sun blazes overhead, a dog is at his heels, and the mountains are in the background. The white rose symbolizes his innocence. With few possessions, a faithful dog who follows him blindly, he is bright with promise (the sun) and unaware of the pitfalls (the precipice).

Now write in your journal what the symbols represent to you. What does the dog mean to you? The young man, the cliff? What about the color of the dog? Does the Zero concept speak to you? Don’t worry if nothing is popping into your head and crying out to be written down in your journal. Just leave a blank page and you can come back to it later as the symbols on the Fool card “speak” to you more. It is perfectly fine (and expected!) to write down PERSONAL interpretations of these symbols. YOU are the card reader; it is YOUR subconscious that the cards are trying to talk to. Even when you do a reading for someone else the cards are trying to communicate with you and thru YOU. So if the symbols or the card seems to say, the dog means loyalty, a companion in the questioner’s life, the ordinary mind that must be trained, or a warning device—or something totally different—write it down. It’s valid!

Below is a meditation taken partly from the wonderful book, “Tarot Journeys” by Yasmine Galenorn.

GUIDED MEDITATION: You are starting out on a new journey. You are wearing a light robe over a simple dress or trousers. The colors are jewel-toned: yellow and green, blue and red. In your left hand you carry a rose. In your right a backpack. A forest is behind you and a few steps ahead lies a dark abyss, waiting. You know that once you start this journey, you cannot come back to the exact place from which you started. Every journey, even the small ones, changes us and we are never the same.

You are now in the middle of a wide, grassy meadow. A dark forest, cloaked in mist and shadow, rises between you and the distant mountains. A rainbow arcs over the sky as the sun slowly sets in the west. A path runs through the grassland, down the knoll and into the forest. You follow it with your eyes until it disappears into the dark undergrowth. But when you look at the distant slopes, golden in the sunset, you notice that the path emerges from the other side of the copse to wind up through the nooks and crannies of the hilltop. It cuts through the mountain, unto the peak, and disappears over the top. A wind gusts by, the cool breeze of the evening is kissing your skin.

Inhale deeply as the refreshing air fills your lungs. Feel it dislodge any fears about change that you may have. Now inhale, and as you blow the air out from your lungs, release your fears up to the sky, to be cleansed and carried away. Inhale once more, this time the air brings with it a sense of anticipation, a stirring of wanderlust, and the desire for new adventure. Exhale once again, and release doubts and insecurities that prevent you from trying new things, from taking risks when the time seems appropriate. Now take a third deep breath. A sense of peace about the journey flows in with the cooling breeze. Exhale slowly, and you will be ready to begin a new cycle in your life. Look inside your knapsack. You will find a swirl of energy. This energy is ready to take the shape of whatever you need as you travel along. Examine this now.

A soft hooting from the forest tells you it is time to actually begin your journey. The sun is almost set, but the moon is beginning to rise and it will give you a clear light under which you may travel. Start walking along the path as you head towards the forest. For you know that somewhere deep in the glen lays the direction in which you must travel and while there may be many paths as you follow your quest, you have a sense of destiny about this journey.

The twilight shimmers around you. If you are not used to being out of doors, it may seem a little frightening. But remember; once a journey is undertaken, you can never go back to the exact place from which you began. Every quest, even the small ones, changes us and we are never the same. You travel alone, accompanied only by the haunting call of birds as their cries echo through the approaching night. A shift in the grass here or there tells you that some small animal recently wandered by, but it is difficult to see at this time and you hurry down the slope, suddenly longing for the protection of the forest. As you peer through the dusk, you see that the forest seems to be made up of maple and oak, cedar and fir, and the trees are thick with undergrowth. Huckleberries, fern, and vine maple wrap their way through the silent sentinels. Just before you reach the opening of the wood, you see something in the middle of the path, blocking your way.

It is a fountain, formed of agate and moonstone, and a ladle hangs from a nearby post. You pause for a moment, and then try to go around the foundation. A crackle in the air makes you slightly nervous, magic feels thick here and you aren’t sure if you want to approach the shimmering water in the dusk. But when you try to skirt the left, you find you can’t get past. A field of energy blocks your way and seems to extend as far as you can see. You find the same thing to the right. There is no help for it. You have to approach the foundation. Cautious, not sure what to expect, you make your way to the reservoir. The moonstone shines with a ghostly light under the rising moon. Carefully, look over the edge and into the hollow of dark, glistening liquid. The moon’s reflection ripples as a gentle breeze moves across the water. A silvery face begins to take form in the water. It is the face of a woman.

“Who are you?” she says. Tell her your name. Her eyes glitter, they are the color of aquamarine and her lips open delicately as she says, “Before you can continue your journey, you must think about what you are ready to leave behind. Think about what behaviors you have outgrown, what beliefs no longer work for you. You must recognize that which has passed out of your life before you can search for new dreams, new goals, and new adventures.” Sit on the edge of the fountain and think now about what you are ready to release. What beliefs no longer matter to you? What habits are you ready to break? What lessons have you recently learned and integrated into yourself? Think about all of these things for a moment. When you have thought about her words, the spirit smiles and says, “Now you are truly ready for the journey. Now you are ready for new growth and new lessons. There will be many obstacles along your path, many parts of your psyche you have yet to explore. Your strongest ally is your own honesty and truth. Without honest to yourself you will never rid yourself of illusions and self-deception.”

The water ripples as she says, “Take the ladle and scoop up a mouthful of water. Drink deep and you will be allowed to pass into the forest, to your next destination on this journey, where you will have to face yourself and your inner truths.” Take the ladle and drink. As the water races down your throat, refreshing you, the fountain glows brighter and brighter and then, in the wink of an eye, it is gone, vanished into the night and the path into the forest is clear. You know that your next journey will take you into the woods. But for now, rest here, at the foot of the forest. All journeys take time; you cannot complete the cycle in a single evening.


1. Tell some of the things that the Fool card “spoke” to you. (write as much as you can regarding this, and be sure to put anything profound or not-so-profound into your Tarot Journal in the Fool’s section)

2. Think of some life lessons you have learned lately or in the past. How did these life- lessons alter you, change your behavior, or change your beliefs?

(write at least 3 paragraphs about this).

Email your answers to the Mystery School with, Tarot 1 Answers in the subject line.

And now some fun with the ENTIRE deck, the MINOR Arcana, too.

Remember the Element method of sorting the deck?—

  • Cups = Water
  • Staves/Wands = Air
  • Swords = Fire
  • Pentacles/Coins = Earth
  • 22 Majors = Spirit

Keep this little chart in mind and then try out the following Equal-Bar Elemental Cross Spread, developed by one of our Mystery School Associate Instructors, Mark Raines:

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Mark Raines writes:

Tarot Mistress Bridget and Dr. Katia call it the Equal-Bar Elemental Cross Spread, but I just call it the Tarot Help Spread.

I call it the Tarot Help Spread because it helps you help someone else. Often we want to help people emotionally and aren’t sure how … well, this spread tells you what is out of balance in their life, what they need to work on, what areas they might be ignoring, etc. I’ve tested it and it works pretty darn good.

It uses the five classical Aristotelian elements [Air, Fire, Water, Earth, Spirit], but narrows them down even further to: Intellect, Passion, Youth, Flesh, and Spirit. This is how it looks…

  1 4 5(6)




Intellect – Card 1

Passion – Card 2

Youth – Card 3 [this means like, youthful spirit, by the way].

Flesh – Card 4

Spirit – Card 5

How to Help – This card diagonally crosses the Spirit Card. It’s Card 6.

That’s how to lay out the cards, as an equal-bar cross. Notice how as you lay out the cards it’s like making the sign of the cross, forehead, abdomen, right shoulder, left.

The spread is arranged with the first four elements in a cross, spirit in the center, and the “how-to-help” card laid diagonally over top of the spirit card. Card 6 is also the advice card; it gives you or the one you’re reading advice on how to fix the problem/imbalance.

One of the 5 elements is usually ruling a person’s life at any given moment. Ideally, the Spirit card should have control over the rest of the cards. It usually doesn’t, and that’s what you want to look at, to find out where the person’s life is imbalanced or needs “adjusting.”

Often, emotional problems or any glitches in our everyday “peace” are due to lack of balance within and the dominance of a different element other than Spirit, which is the element that knows how to properly control the other four. With this in mind, the cards seem to tell you how to achieve a specific needed balance.

When I use this, I first try to intuitively realize which of the cards [which of the elements] is the ruling card [element]. One of the cards has dominance over all the other four, pointing out which element has dominance in the person’s life at the moment. Use the chart above to see if you’ve got a lot of water, fire, earth air or spirit showing up.

Then see what that all important “how-to-help” card is. Which of the five elements does it represent and which of the five is it positioned over top of. Is your number five card being over burdened with too much of what your number six represents? Or is your number six telling you more of what it represents is needed to counteract number five or all of the other four?

As usual, use your intuition and let the ideas, meanings and words just “pop into your head.” Look around inside your head while you’re staring at a card in the spread. What are your thoughts or sudden pictures/images in your head trying to tell you? Do you suddenly see a tree pop into your head, or your Aunt Jeannie’s face? This is the cards trying to talk to you using symbol language, putting pictures in your head—talking with pictures is the language of the divine and your subconscious, too, by the way!

This spread stresses balance within a person. It stresses the need for balance between the first four elements, and rulership of the Spirit element.

Exercises from Tarot Mistress Bridget:

1. Try this new spread several times on yourself and hopefully a friend or family member. If you don’t have anyone you can “bounce” off readings, write to me and we’ll hook you up with another Esoteric Tarot student or one of our staff would LOVE an occasional free reading. Hee hee. Write to the Mystery School with “need tarot pen pal” in subject line.

2. Also draw the layout of the spread into your Tarot or Divination Journal. I may want to see those journals some day, ladies and gents, so be a good diligent worker and create a nice journal putting all the required writings into it.

Tarot Study Hall |  Mystery School