The Egipcios Kier Tarot
I am fascinated by the Egipcios Kier tarot and I think it is an interesting model of what a tarot or oracle deck can be. I have, however, had a hard time finding a thoughtful analysis of the symbolism found on each card. There is the Little White Book that came with the deck, written by Stuart R. Kaplan, but there is much that I find lacking about some of its suppositions and glosses. Plus, how in depth can one get in such limited space?
There is also the work of Nelise Carbonare Vieira on her website http://tarotdoor.com but that site is in Portugese, which I can’t read. Google translate is great but I am sure there is plenty that I am missing in the proverbial and literal translation. She also seems to have her own system of understanding the deck that I’m not sure I fully understand or agree with.
I would like to begin to do my own analysis and research on this important tool. This project will give me a good reason to do some of the more detailed research in Egyptian mythology and the use of symbolism found on each card. I have been using this deck for a few years and have come to have insights and intuitive leaps regarding the meanings of the individual cards. You may like that and you may not. But in the absence of voices on the subject, I would like to try to add my own to the body of knowledge. Essentially I am self-taught in the use of this deck and I would like to use this forum to explore it more deeply.
Let’s explore together. As always your thoughts are welcome.
The Egicios Kier Tarot
1. The Magician
Meanings: Mastery, divine consciousness, divine intervention, magical ability, learning and knowledge, vivifying energy, health, beginnings, confidence and self-awareness.
The Magician is the first card of the Egipcios Kier tarot and therefore has an especially important part to play. The fact that the deck is numbered 1 through 78 without separation of suits or court cards suggests to me that the sequence is important and that there is at least the connotation of a continuum or cycle. That there is the semblance of cycles in a tarot deck based in ancient Egyptian mythology should not be surprising.
At the top of the card we have the sigil of the Solar spirit Och from the Arbatel. This is the first of the solar symbols on this card. The Arbatel says of Och that he...
"governeth solar things; he giveth 600 yeares, with perfect health; he bestoweth great wisdom, giveth the most excellent Spirits, teacheth perfect Medicines: he converteth all things into most pure gold and precious stones: he giveth gold, and a purse springing with gold. He that is dignified with his Character, he maketh him to be worshipped as a Deity, by the Kings of the whole world."
The bottom, terminal end of the Och sigil has astrological symbol of the Sun incorporated into it. I am not familiar with this little detail and this example is the first I've come across it. The Sun symbol at the bottom of the Och sigil falls between two eyes, right about where the Third Eye would be located. These two eyes are the Eye of Ra and the Eye of Horus, dieties in their own right and parts of the god Ra. On one level the eyes represent the Sun and the Moon, respectively. They are the consciousness of Ra. It is through our own consciousness that we can become aligned with the gods and thereby they become a symbol of the magician assuming the mantle of godhood through consciousness.
To the left of the eyes is the Egyptian hieroglyph of a kite which E.A.W. Budge lists first in his hieroglyphic dictionary as the sound of the letter A. It is for this reason that it is used on this card.
To the right of the eyes we have the letter A given in what is called the Alphabet of the Magi. The Alphabet of the Magi dates back to the 16th Century in Italy and was used in the construction of talismans. It was purported to have been transmitted by angelic spirits. Here again it is for the attributes of the letter A as the beginning of the alphabet that it is included.
In the middle register we have the image of the Magician. He is in an active posture, with one foot in front of the other. On his head is a circlet crown with a cobra ureas serpent on his brow. His hair is a plaited wig. His wealth is signified by his jewelry; lapis bands on his arms and wrists, a large, lapis pectoral ornament around his neck. In his raised left hand he holds a mirror with a wand handle. The tilt of his eyes suggest he's looking into the mirror. His right hand is low, at his side, and he points down toward the ground. He is wearing a stiff skirt that appears to be bound with a lapis belt. In front of him is a cube shaped altar. On the side of the altar is the figure of a ibis bird, the bird sacred to Thoth, the Magician of the Gods. The edge of the altar is delineated by two bands that meet at a right angle. The top of the altar has three objects on it, a sword, a jar, and a coin. With the wand in the Magician's hand these represent the tools of the Magician and the four elements. Bellow the Magician, obscured in hashmarks of darkness, is an isometric drawing of a cube. This is a foundation stone of the universe.
At the bottom of the card is the title band. On the left most side is the astrological glyph of the Sun. Next to it the astrological glyph of the sign Leo, sign of the Sun's rulership. Next to that is the name of the card, The Magician. To the left of that is the Hebrew letter Aleph and further to the right the number of the card in sequence, 1.
One of the predominant meanings of this card is consciousness and awareness. Being the first card in the deck it also has connotations of waking up or first becoming conscious. This consciousness has qualities of being self-aware. The Magician, as he gazes into his mirror wand, points to the ground as if to say, "I am the real one over on this side of the mirror," (but of course the image is doing the same thing). With self-awareness comes mastery. With consciousness comes the ability to identify with other consciousnesses, including the all powerful gods. This is indicated by the Eye of Ra and the Eye of Horus at the top of the card.
Solar iconography is often about self and identification. This is why the Sun sign is often what people refer to as "their" sign. The Sun is symbolic of the self. Carl Jung wrote that the astrological symbol of the Sun, a circle with a dot in the middle, is a graphic representation of the self. Here the identification of the Magician to the Sun is more explicit. Egyptian mythology is a solar theology. The goal of the aspirant was to be able to die, traverse the Underworld, and be reborn just as the Sun does each day.
In traditional European astrology the Sun is the king of the planets and controls their disposition through their waxing and waning phases. The Sun keeps time and dictates the seasons. The Sun has dominion over the entire universe.
The Egipcios Kier tarot represents a journey through the Underworld and begins with the Magician, as master of himself and his world, taking up his wand and gathering his tools to walk the path. He is full of energy and backed by the will of the gods.