The modern Tarot deck has 78 cards. Of these, 22 are called the "High Arcana" or "Major Arcana", meaning most esoteric or secret. There has long been speculation as to the origins of the Tarot, and a plausible answer for at least the 22 High Arcana would be ancient Egypt. More specifically, the initiatory priesthood and the initiations themselves.
The images on this page are composites assembled from individual photos and are representations of the 22 Egyptian images as described by Neo-Platonist author and philosopher Iamblichus in his opus Egyptian Mysteries - An Account of an Initiation (circa 320-350 A.D.). The reason these appear on this website, is because the inspiration for these renditions came from experiences and encounters that occurred in the period before and during Ancient Amador's creation. The images are individually assembled from a single photograph per image (except where noted) using the framework of the Egyptian originals as bones from which the rest is waxed.
These reproductions utilize images of nature, art, and architecture. Extra effort to stick to the geometry, proportion, and spirit of the originals has been made. Improvements may appear at any time to any image. It bears mentioning that a vast amount of assistance and inspiration from the Realm of Spirit was gracefully granted to these (and all Ancient Amador) efforts, for which deep personal gratitude must be, and is, heartily expressed. Where mistakes are present, rest assured they were not the ones at fault.
As in this picture, there is something in an image that seems topically, metaphorically, and geometrically (and sometimes ironically) appropriate to transform into an other image. The following were assembled with love, aided by Spirit, and presented here for those who would be interested.
The numbering system secret to the ancient Magi was an important part of their method of enlightenment a well as their worldview, presumably. It was simple enough to understand, so that anyone who knows it will have no difficulty remembering how it is implemented as well as applied to any kind of activity that involves numbers. It goes like this: Numbers have a secret value as they are the sum of all the preceding numbers totaled up including themselves. The product is the secret value. Totals with multiple digit sums are added to each other directly until a single digit is produced. Thus the secret value of 7 is 1+2+3+4+5+6+7 which equals 28 so 2+8=10 subsequently 1+0=1.
7 has a secret value of 1. You'll notice image 7 is The Chariot. With a secret value of 1, it is in the Path of Osiris (I - Absolute Activum).
This method can be performed with all whole numbers.
The secret numbering system has a particularly large influence on the Tarot, and most particularly on the High Arcana and there are three paths the numbers follow. Since 2 has a secret value of 3 ( 1+2=3), one may assume that the Path of Isis really deals with matters of Spirit as well (and it does).
Using this method, coupled with Divine Grace and an understanding of the characters and interactive nature of the 22 positions, one may gain insights and wisdom beyond casually obtained and applied knowledge. (e.g. The Ryder-Waite deck references the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge as well as the Tree of Life in his 78 card deck.)
However, these images are not to be worshiped in any sense, rather, they are teaching tools and meant to convey concepts, advance understanding of the stations between Creator and creation, and at times may serve as a catalyst between the Spirit and material planes...
The positions are numbered on top or bottom of the images and the chart (above) denotes the three paths the numbers flow through. For more understanding and further research, one may obtain the book Egyptian Mysteries: An account of an Initiation by the 4th century Neo-Platonan philosopher known as Iamblichus. Weiser publishing novelized this tome, and though currently out of print, one can likely be purchased online from a number of the usual sources.
I - Absolute Activum
A photo of The Milky Way galaxy and a photo of a butterfly supplied the material for this collage.
First in the path of Osiris is a symbolic revelation of his essence
The path of Osiris includes positions 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, and 19
II - The High Priestess
A photo of a butterfly provided the material to be metamorphosized here.
1st in path of Isis
The Path of Isis (The High Priestess is Isis) includes numbers 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 20.
III - The Queen
A butterfly supplied the imagery for the Queen and a perched Horus (representing Spirit), ready to take a wing. The Orion Nebula also is featured.
1st in path of Horus (Spirit)
Path of Spirit includes images 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, and 21
IV - Pharoah
A grasshopper at rest was photographed for the sole purpose of creating this collage.
2nd in path of Osiris
V - Hierophant
A butterfly was the key and solitary source here.
2nd in the path of Isis
VI - Wisdom and Sensuality
Another butterfly (different from the one used for 0, 1, 3, 5, 8, 11, 15, 20, and 21) was chosen to donate its likeness .
2nd in the path of Spirit
VII - The Chariot
3rd in the path of Osiris
VIII - Justice
The butterfly was again, on balance, the best image to use here.
3rd in the path of Isis
IX - Pilgrim
An astronomer's photo of the Orion Nebula was the "give and take" for the Pilgrim.
3rd in the path of Spirit
X - The Wheel of Fortune
A photo of a newt with its toad friends was utilized for this assemblage.
4th in the path of Osiris.
XI - Courage and Magical Strength Is assembled from the butterfly pic seen throughout this collection.
4th in the path of Isis
XII - The Trial is pieced together from a photo of a out-of-commission Star Mill windmill that had survived three windstorms, but had seen it's time. Retired but still standing, it's an appropriate model for this collage.
4th in the path of Spirit (Horus)
XIII - The Reaper
A pair of rather amorous houseflies (both consenting adults) on a pear in a basket had their privacy dashed for the photo-op that became this image of radical change and new beginnings.... and of course, death.
XIV - Rebirth
A tree root in a lawn transcended the yard-realm and is now reborn here in cyberspace.
5th in the path of Isis
XV - Injustice
This is comprised of the butterfly from VIII Justice, only as its polar opposite and with its very own characteristics. it is thought.
5th in the Path of Spirit (Horus)
XVI - Destruction
The windmill from XII - The Trial has a water tower next to it. The photo used for this image had both structures. Converted here in this collage shows the conflict, wrath and results thereof.
6th in the Path of Osiris
XVII - Unity
The same root that provided the basis of XIV Rebirth gave itself to this collage.
6th in the path of Isis
XVIII - Passion and Chaos
The opposite twin of a photo of a butterfly (unique to this image) was tapped for this collage.
6th in the path of Spirit (Horus)
XIX - The Sun
The honeymooning flies from image XIII - The Reaper were interrupted once again to make this collage.
7th and final in the Path of Osiris.
XX - Judgement
The butterfly from VIII-Justice and its twin from XV-Injustice (They are both from the same photo) were present for this collage.
7th and final in the path of Isis
XXI - The Rhythm of Life
The butterfly makes its last contribution to this gallery for the dancing Isis amidst the four creatures of the vision of both Ezekiel and of St. John from Christ's Revelation while John was in exile on the Greek Isle of Patmos.
7th and final in the path of Spirit (Horus)
O - The Madman
The butterfly's "twin" made it's final (or initial) solo appearance for this image as source (or destination) material.
The Madman has no path but mathematically would be path of Spirit at the beginning, and path of Osiris if at the other end... There is much more here than meets the eye, but don't get analysis paralysis.
Without background graphics and bereft of anyone's personal timeline, these 22 images are more or less interchangeable with their simple parentage (i.e. the original black on white paper images about 1/4" square).