Christian Science on one hand teaches us about the unreality of what we see with the material senses, and the duality which is to be displaced daily, that which is not real. Our mission is clear, to see ourselves not as WE see ourselves but as God sees us, without blemish, sin sickness or death, ensuring the Temple is restored and Man has his rightful place as God’s reflection. It is firmly rooted in the Christian tradition, restoring the idea of Christ’s healing from the 1st Century.
The Tarot on the other hand appears to represent the very thing we are trying to displace. It nurtures the little “me”. It shows pictures of sin, death, material love and even the devil appearing to give human form to mortal mental processes. One of the opinions of it also claims to heal duality. Its roots are shrouded in mystery and has no clear demonstration to speak of except perhaps false hopes for material living. Having said that Mrs Eddy claims the language of Spirit is symbol. The Tarot also lets us see what God sees but more as a spectator at the movies and with a starting point which is not always seen as God.
The question is can Tarot be redeemed as a valid system for exploring consciousness?
I believe the answer to that question is likely yes. If Christianity has been misplaced, abused and reduced to a superstitious God which Christian Science seeks to correct then is it not also feasible that the Tarot has some elements of Truth and has been kidnapped by balloon pants, fortune tellers and mystery on one hand and psychology on the other? If the Christ heals, Science and Health heals if the cards could reflect the same, could they not heal? What if the Tarot, instead of telling people what career to choose was used instead to show people how God sees them? From the same plane as the Christ message? What if they display the same allegories that we read in some Bible stories? Is the Tarot then a language, like symbols speaking to mankind in an impersonal way? Can it link to Christianity and does it need to?
Now, this doesn´t mean that we need to accept fortune telling and the like but it does mean that in the future there likely will be a scientific exploration or explanation for the Tarot involving Quantum Physics and some kind of comparative study of the Jewish kabbalah system which is one of the systems the Tarot claims to express. In fact there is already such a claim. But low level thinking tends to extinguish any higher expression down to very basic wishcraft or fortune telling. As that falls away, what will be left? As religion vanishes, whatever Tarot system survives may well become a formidable enemy or friend of Truth or perhaps some religious version of a healing system encompassing tenents we know. It would first need to make the leap into one of the great religious traditions and declare its history. It would then have to rid itself of mortal mind and present itself as an aid to humanity as a whole (rather than just who Mrs Smith will marry) and lastly it would need to have some form of demonstration. As there are literally dozens of packs of Tarot on the market, it would need to have the correct artwork and its meanings changed – that sounds like a huge task but very achievable if someone were to present it in the impersonal CS way.
There are those amongst us who have claimed that Christian Science is a system of numbers or some hidden scientific formula which Mrs Eddy had worked with. Had this been true then certainly there may have been a connection between these two systems. Tarot supposedly incorporates numerology. The reality however is that systems make numbers, rituals make numbers, the formulae are worked out from the discovery, not vice versa. It is therefore unlikely that Mrs Eddy was working with mathematics, more likely a group of students simply have found coincidences which appear in systems after they are studied. I am willing to concede that she had a style of writing with multiples of the number 4 but that would have been either a Victorian writing style or to reflect the idea of the book of Revelation and city foursquare. I really don´t think it goes any deeper than that.
The same with the Tarot, many people are finding mathematical formulae in it but again, every ritual or system has mathematics. This really is simply the nature of mathematics nothing more. We find maths in everything in fact its a way of explaining things, not a purpose of those things. Maths were not created before the system, but by default systems have maths. Actually everything has maths and can be reduced to numbers.
Bearing in mind Mrs Eddy’s remarks about the Jewish religion it’s unlikely she worked with the Kabbalah even if both systems seem to look similar in some kind of way. She makes it very clear that she does not like ritual nor superstition.
In the Kabbalah,, the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet, supposedly represent the 22 Tarot cards called the Major Arcana which in turn wrote the opening sentence of the Bible and are sacred to Jews. So the Tarot in many ways is an expose of the belief that the alphabet created the world.
As I mentioned earlier, I don´t believe there was any intentional mathematical coding placed in Mrs Eddy’s system, (at least not in any serious way) it is possible however that she chose 26 Bible Lesson subjects to match the 26 letters of the English alphabet, the “Qabbalah” (English version, notice the different spelling) was very fashionable in her day. We know that she did believe in the “Anglo Israelism” movement that English people were the remnant of the lost tribes of Israel. Which, today is an almost laughable concept. It would be easy at this point to accept the argument that 26 letters 2+6=8 take us to the holy realm of the city foursquare 4 by 4 and the 16 chapters of the textbook etc. But by today´s standards, that view of English superiority would make her very racist. We do know that she traced her genealogy back to King David (via her British Ancestry of course) but she never published it. It is now is in the Mother Church Archive somewhere.
If you want to read more about Jewish Kabbalah and Tarot, a good site is www.psyche.com. It certainly would explain a lot about creation but it lacks demonstration to make it practical, other than giving people false hopes in the tarot’s lowest literal sense. This site however does work to provide an academic treatise. There are plenty of sites willing to discuss the mathematics of Christian Science as well such as those by Rolf Witzsche, Max Kappeler and John W Doorly.
Even in kabbalistic terms if we start seeing energies as “personal” it immediately removes us from the God of Christian Science which declares human personality as that of mortal mind. That means that in no way can the Tarot help us with “a problem” As there is no personal mind, why would we run to pick up a pack of Tarot in the first place if we feel something is wrong? re-assurance? That really doesn´t sound right. There may however be a place that one can study it regularly, in the same way as we do for the Bible Lesson. Let us be clear however, branding what we don´t understand as white or black magic or catholic or superstitious or whatever is not going to help. We are looking at ways to view it as something which could be perceived as a Spiritual tool.
I think Tarot doesn’t have a long way to go if its looking to sit within religious circles, but it may struggle to get higher without a new narrative. It at least needs to be presented in a way that it is clear where it has come from and indeed where it is going. Unlike Christian Science which has a history based on the 1st century Christianity and has infinite possibility, Tarot (asides from its links to the Jewish Kabbalah is still completely mysterious. A declaration also needs to be made concerning its “lowering into the abyss” by opinions going no higher than the human mortal mind. In other words, the very idea that fortune telling or anything related to personal thinking, needs to be removed. The card of death does not need to tantalize someone into believing someone or something will die in her life but may well express how all beliefs, human in nature need to pass away in waiting for the light to shine through. This lesson itself though is not from God it is man striving to go higher.
In conclusion then:
Tarot may well open up as a valid tool to work with Divinity, but from what standpoint? Art, numerology, a system with demonstration? It needs to be something much higher than the current presentation. Perhaps as a language on its own but an impersonal one.
Christian Science and Tarot may hold the same allegories. One from the Bible, the other also or at least ideas from myth or Consciousness but with the same meaning.
Tarot would need to give up on the idea of person before God and become an illumination unto man (not the other way round). Man being defined as humanity not the little “me”.
Will it allow us to glimpse God enough to heal? That remains to be seen. The illumination needs to be immediate, whereas currently, the Tarot presents Spiritual awareness of man, who is and remains in darkness catching a little glimpse of the light. Whereas Christian Science presents man as in the light, but feeling he is stuck in the darkness.