Tarot Tuesday: The Orisha Tarot

Academic source, no credit to artist.

I’m not familiar with The Tarot of the Orishas, though the art looks beautiful. I can tell you about my own version of an Orisha Tarot deck. It demonstrates the narrative arcs of the Orisha, or Lwa, Ascended Spirits who came to the Americas with the African captives. The Major Arcana portray moments in their timeline, or portray their energy as an archetype, while the Minor Arcana depict more specific scenes from the lives of the ones who rule that suit. The Fool is Eleguá, as a child, and what other place would suit better the One Who is Called First? Ochosi is the Magician,  Yemaya the High Priestess. Obatalá in male and female form is the Emperor and Empress. Orula is the Hierophant. Ochún and Ogún are the Lovers. The Chariot depicts Changó and Oyá riding into battle. Strength is Ochún (her capacity to calm Ogún). Ogún is the Hermit. The Wheel depicts the four colors used in initiation: white, red, blue, and yellow, with Ayida-Weddo encircled round it. Ochosi shooting the arrow at Yemaya is Justice. Ogún as the wounded warrior is the Hanged Man, Damballah is Death. Temperance is Yemaya calming the waters at Obatalá’s behest. Eleguá is the Devil. Oyá throws lightning for the Tower. Obatalá walks among the Stars. The Moon shines bright over dancers at a ritual. The Sun is Olodumare. Judgment is Babalú-Ayé. Nana Buruku is the World. Eight Orichás would portray the Minor Arcana suits:  Changó and Obá – Prince/King and Princess/Queen of Blades. Changó carries a double headed axe and is not faithful to any one wife, making him somewhat of a wanderer. Obá cut off her ear in an attempt to win her husband’s favor and went to live in a graveyard when he denied her.  Ogún and Oyá – Prince/King and Princess/Queen of Staves. Oyá dances with a black iruke and Ogún fights Changó with a spear when Changó seduces Oyá away from him. Orúnmila and Yemaya – Prince/King and Princess/Queen of Cups. Yemaya is the Mother of the Oceans that hold life and give food. Orúnmila is Master of Divination and Yemaya’s husband. Changó and Ochún – Prince/King and Princess/Queen of Drums. Changó is the Lord of Drums, and Ochún the Orisha of Love and Beauty, which to me connects her to the generosity and earthiness of the Queen of Pentacles. I thought of Nana Buruku and Ayida-weddo, but they are more raw, creative powers, better suited to the Major Arcana.  Phew. Now that I have that out, I can go to bed, and hopefully whatever I feel in the back of my throat will be gone. Thanks to http://www.aboutsanteria.com and http://www.orishanet.org for the quick-reference on the Orichás!


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