At first glance you all are going to think I have completely lost my mind, but bear with me on the system there is a learning curve, The Journey into Egypt Tarot is still using the full moon cycles like in MAAT but they are precessed to the real sky. The deck is structured around the ancient Egyptian calendar year (and this rocked my world) was 12 months with 3-ten day weeks. Picture the horoscope with its 12 houses. These houses are broken down into thirty "degrees" in an astrological and typically subdivided into 3 decants ('deca' latin for 10). For example in traditional western Sun Sign Astrology on vernal equinox the sun moves into Aries in the real sky (check any astronomy app) the sun Moved into Pisces on March 11th and it will be there until April 17th and the full moon is in Virgo on March 27th. I started using Astrology in the 1970's long before I had even heard of tarot and after using the Real Sky since 2009 I have found Real Sky to be very deep especially when viewing it through the ancient Egyptian Zodiac. My website has a whole page on the Egyptian zodiac symbols the designs are based on the ceiling medallion at DenderaTemple.
I have separated the deck into 3 Gates- The First Gate is The World and the 4 aces This is the First of Three gates in the Journey into Egypt. It is a simple overall view of our universe. The Earth Geb and the Sky Nut as the primordial couple, The World card takes center focus in The Journey into Egypt Tarot. I think the best card meaning for The World card is the personal myth or personal worldview. When this card comes up in a reading it is time to take a look at your personal worldview. Ask yourself “What is my personal myth?” The World card is surrounded by the 4 elements and the 4 directions which in Egypt is quite different than it is here.But I tried my best to get myself into an Egyptian state of mind.
The Second Gate is the cross quarter days illustrated by Trials of Isis. The Second Gate in the Journey into Egypt Tarot is The Trials of Isis A personification of the solar/seasonal cycle. 8 cards play out the the passion plays of Osiris and Isis.
The Fool -Osiris(Vernal Equinox)
The Devil- Set (mid-point between Equinox and Solstice the beginning of the season of the Deficiency in Egypt)
The Drowned Man-Isis's search for Osiris (Summer Solstice)
The Lovers-( Isis finds Osiris and brings him back to life the Nile Floods life returns The season of the Inundation begins /Set discovers the Lovers and DISmembers Osiris, the Nile runs red with fertile silt from the heart of Africa/ Isis REmembers Osiris Horus is conceived.
Judgment Osiris becomes the God of the Dead (Autumnal Equinox) The Tower The djet pillar the season of Emergence begins the power of Osiris in the Duat can not be contained it emerges from the earth in the form of new vegetation.
The Sun -Horus is born (Winter Solstice)
The Wheel of Fortune Horus triumphs over Set the cycle begins again.
Trials of IsisThe 8 cards aligned with the cross-quarter days tell a personified seasonal story of Osiris and Isis. These 8 seasonal cards lined up to the cross quarter days also cover many of the main issues people have questions about when they come for a reading.
These cards start at the Vernal Equinox with the Fool~The Fool at due EAST is the new beginning the first set on an adventure.
The Fool is Osiris/ Orion followed by Isis the dog star. This card represent that leap of faith this tricked by his jealous brother. Osiris is foolish he trusts his brother because he judges his heart against his own. This is the innocent Fool who rushes in but if he had been cautious and kept himself safe there would be no story to tell and no experience to learn from. And this is the case with anything untried, the new does not come fully formed it is a risk it comes in bursts of knowledge that must be pieced together like a coat made out of patches... arranged and rearranged until it is just right. Set is next
The Devil representing the antagonist of the story. Another topic of a reading the reading about the one who has done us wrong, stolen our innocence, the nemesis, the villain The Dis-memberer... Set is also the one who takes us apart helps us see ourselves more clearly. He is necessary in the process he is the compost the rot the filth that also makes the garden grow. He is the shadowy stinky, "growlie" slightly scary bits we don't want to face. He makes us fight he gives us purpose he wakes up the sleeping ones. He lands in the seasonal calendar of Egypt between vernal equinox and summer solstice at the end of the Egyptian harvest season as the sun begins to grow too hot again and the Nile started to recede dangerously low, the desert would start to encroach. With this card the question about "mine enemy" is asked.
The Drowned Man-(typically the Hanged Man) comes the question about stagnation, when nothing is happening and you are waiting suspended for something to happen in your life. The Drowned Man is illustrated as Isis searches for her lost husband who has be floated down the Nile in a gem encrusted sarcophagus, trapped, drowned, floating, waiting to be found. The time of the year is the Summer solstice the sun crosses the Milky Way sits suspended in the same spot in the river of the sky then slowly loses light.
The Lovers midway between Summer Solstice and Autumnal Equinox the story goes that Isis is finally reunited with Osiris the Nile Floods and she is about to bring him back to life. When an angry Set discovers what she is up to and he Dismembers Osiris cutting him into 14 pieces (like the waning moon). At this time of year the blue green flooding Nile would turn to red from the silt of central Africa. The Nile would turn the color of blood. Isis would REmember Osiris and conceive Horus who would be the new life that would avenge his father. DISmembering and REmembering is a shamanic practice a ritual for finding the essential self. On a mundane and yet very important level this card is about the readings we ask for regarding relationship. It is not until we REmember who we really are that we are remotely ready for the kind of relationship The Lovers card represents. Lovers play this our for each other all the time as we project our shadow on each other. The Lovers card of the Second Gate represents the readings we do regarding relationship.
The Judgment card falls on the Autumnal Equinox the story of the Trials of Isis continues as Osiris becomes the Judge of the dead. Here the sun sits at the balance of light as the daylight hours become shorter. This card covers the readings we do about ourselves when we dig deep for the judgments about our own behavior or the behavior of others. We stand looking at ourselves in the tarot mirror asking the deep questions about who we are and who we are for other people. How we judge the world is how we judge ourselves.
The Tower in the Journey into Egypt is more about the positive effects that occur after the trauma than the trauma itself. It is illustrated by the raising of the Djet pillar, an effigy of Osiris that is placed in the fields in celebration of the crowning of a new king and the Emergence of new growth in the fields, for it is now between the time of the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice when the Egyptian sun is gentle enough to nurture tender plants. This card speaks of a reading that can be done to show the benefits that come from adversity the creativity that comes from necessity and lack.
The Sun corresponds to the Winter Solstice and the birth of the sun in the form of Horus( and also Ra) this is Isis's first triumph over Set. It is the symbolism for all births in the form of the manifestations of all things that take time, work and great effort to produce. In the Story of the trial of Isis here is where Isis gives birth to her son Horus now she must nurture him and take care of him until he is old enough and strong enough to defeat his uncle and avenge his father. The birth is the beginning but there is still much work to be done.This card is symbolic of readings we get in regard to our children or our creations. The last card in the Second gate is the card of the the beginning and end it is.
The Wheel of Fortune. It takes us full circle. Horus triumphs over Set new life wins out over the rot and the cycle then begins all over again. This card represents readings done about money and changes of fortune, when we want to know about staying on top. When we learn that all victory is fleeting in an ever changing and dynamic universe. The Wheel of Fortune is the view of the sky as recorded in a remote time a time called the Zep Tepi the first day. It is the source for the Zodiac symbolism of found in Gate 3 of this deck. The stone ceiling medallion found at Dendera and built during the Ptolemy Era was based on ancient scrolls recorded and rerecorded kept by scientist priests from the earliest known skies of Zep Tepi.
The Third Gate is The Real Sky Zodiac/Full Moon Cycles using the Courts(King, Queens and Princesses) as Full moons and Princes as ascendant, midheaven,descendant and nadir. Minor cards describe details of month and represent the 3 ten day weeks of the month.
The changing stars of the South-
A Historical Perspective on the Age of God Kings
The Age of Aries
As an allegory for Moving from one age to another.
Author musings… “When I did the research on the Stars of the South, the stars that brought the rain, the stars that changed, I began to uncover the idea that the ancient Egyptians may have seen these stars we call the zodiac as the personification of the patterns of reincarnation. These stars disappear into the sun and reappear at certain times of the year. Over time different constellations would appear at the horizon during the Equinox. These stars represent the “Age” and they would hold their place at the horizon portal for about 2100 years and then the preceding sign would take its place. The priests and priestesses kept track of these movements, and during these times the nature of their supreme gods would take on the attributes of the changing forms in the sky. This is that liminal space where the stories of human beings and gods commingle and I took the opportunity to play with some of the personalities of history to illustrate this point, and the lives of a few ancient Egyptian characters emerged as my key players. Once again I would take the view of multiculturalism and four cultures would emerge as my four suits. I started at the end of the classic Period of Egypt."
The Sword suit represents the last dynasty of Egypt and the integration of Rome into Egyptian culture. The suit of Swords represents burning emotion, destruction, deception, pain and loss, survival, emergence, and regeneration. It is the journey that takes its players into the domain of the immortals.
The suit of Coins is representative of the culture known as the “Shepherd Kings”, the Hyksos of the north a band of warrior kings who had domesticated the horse and invented the chariot. They ruled in Egypt for about 200 years, for about as long as the United States has been an independent nation in the land of the Indians. These Hyksos kings would eventually be driven out by the descendants of the first bloodlines of the Egyptians during the time of the 18th dynasty. In this deck I have taken the view that the Hyksos were, in fact, the race of people known as the Hebrews or Israelites. Researching both cultures during this period I saw a story line emerging. The suit of Coins and the suit of Wands are told from these two cultural viewpoints.
The Wand suit takes a novel view of the life of 18th dynasty “King” Hatshepsut. Hatshepsut was a strong and successful ruler who created a prosperous time for Egypt. She accomplished this through peaceful trade and expensive temple construction. When her husband Thutmosis II died, she co-ruled with her stepson Thutmosis III until she eventually assumed the title of king. History suggests that some kind of drama ensued, whether it was inner squabbling, or personality quirks, or issues of blood we may never know. In the repercussions that followed, Hatshepsut was omitted from the wall of kings at Abydos, her monuments destroyed, and her name obliterated within a hundred years of her reign.
The Suit of Cups makes the connections between the ancient rites of Dionysus from the Greek culture that reigned for 300 years before Roman rule. The primary religions of this mysterious race of people seemed to emerge fully-formed on the shores of the ancient Nile. The thread of star worship seems to have remained somewhat intact over the millennia and the remnants of egalitarian power structures can still be gleaned from its language, pictures, and sacred geometry. But before getting to the heart and soul of this deck, and to understand the system of the Journey Into Egypt tarot, we must first establish the reason for using real sky astrology by learning the science behind precession.”
Real Sky Astrology
Understanding the Science behind Precession The image below illustrates precession and helps us visualize how precession works. The arrows at the belt of the Zodiac delineates the elliptic, the imaginary line along which the constellations align with the equinox. Looking closely, we see how near we are to end of the Age of Pisces. At this moment in time, we are exiting the Age of Pisces and on the cusp of entering the Age of Aquarius. The Age of Pisces is known as the age of “I believe,” a time in history dominated by patriarchal power over and blindly following the so-called authority. If we simply look up at the real sky, we can observe that the Earth is moving into a new era. We are at the crossroads where we must question authority everywhere, even in our cherished occult, astrological sources.
The hardest thing about the Aquarian Age is that we can no longer just believe what we are told; we must discover the facts for ourselves. The new Aquarian Age is the “Age of Knowing” where we must in fact “reinvent the wheel”. Our survival as a species requires us to know the truth about everything and act based on what is best for the collective whole, because in the long run this is really what is best for ourselves.
The Science In astronomy precession refers to the gradual shift in the orientation of Earth's axis of rotation, which, like a wobbling top, traces out a pair of cones joined at their apices in a ~25,920 year cycle (called MAGNUS ANNUS* or The Great Year, also known as the Platonic Year in modern astrology). Precession, then, is the slow, wobbling conical motion of the Earth’s axis around the axis of the ecliptic; that is, around a line through the Earth-Sun orbit, perpendicular to the Earth’s orbit. The axis’ inclination averages 23.5° from the Earth’s polar axis. It is this tilt/ inclination of the earth’s axis that causes seasons. Precession is caused by the perturbating, or wobbling, axis of rotation think of this big juicy planet with it’s hot iron core big heaving oceans that rise and fall with the orbit of the moon.
Precession of the equinoxes means that the right ascension and declination of objects change very slowly over about a ~25,920 year period. Because earth’s angular momentum changes direction, "north" also changes direction. For instance, the so-called North Star, Polaris, just happens to be in the north at the moment. Over thousands of years, the direction ‘north’ changes such that the Polaris no longer acts as the North Star. This happens with predictable regularity. The astronomical positions of stars and planets are governed by sidereal years, not tropical years. A sidereal year is the amount of time it takes for the earth to complete a full orbit while a tropical year is the amount of time it takes to complete four seasons. Precession of the earth causes the axial tilt to wobble in a circle every ~25,920 years. That means that for every ~25,920 sidereal years, there will be an extra four seasons, or approximately one earth-year. The fact that ancient Egyptian priesthoods observed and recorded precession over many thousands of years is the premise for the book Keeper of Genesis (1996) written by Robert Bauval and Graham Hancock. Robert and Graham suggest that the ancient Egyptians' building of monuments is based on an ancient map of the sky and that the priests created rituals, or passion plays, to re-enact important celestial events. In particular, the rituals seem to focus on an event known as Zep Tepi ("First Time"), around 10,500 BC. What happened around 10,500 BC that precipitated these rituals? We know that 12,000-15,000 years ago the planet went through climate change as the Pleistocene (Ice Age) was drawing to an end. Though we associate the Ice Age with Europe and North America, there were dramatic climatic impacts on Africa as well. Savannahs turned to desert, as did regions that were once lush with vegetation. Grinding stones found at Nabta Playa suggest people living during that time resorted to eating grains as the native flora and fauna grew scarce.
Modern historical records credit Greek astronomer Hipparchos (c. 190 B.C.E. – c. 120 B.C.E.) for the incidental discovery of precession during the Ptolemy Era (147B.C.E. to 127B.C.E). However, according to author Michael Rice Egypt’s Legacy, “...the ancients were dedicated watchers of the night sky.” Rice believes precession is fundamental to understanding the catalyst for the development of Egypt- its god kings are the products of Egypt’s philosophers’ realizations of astronomical changes. The Egyptians also, says Rice, went so far as "to alter the orientation of a temple when the star on whose position it had originally been set moved its position as a consequence of the Precession, something which seems to have happened several times during the New Kingdom." Precession is called “precession of the equinoxes” because the equinoxes move westward along the ecliptic, relative to the fixed stars. This suggests that observing the Equinox as part of ma’at (universal balance, universal law) is important.
The stars of the Zodiac move relative to the revered equinox sunrise and sunset alignments and these alignments are considered portals to the “Far World”. This Egyptian Underworld is called the Duat. The predictable movement of celestial bodies, as they disappear below the horizon and reappear, or shift signs, can be analogous to a journey “Between the Worlds”. Due to precession, the position of each sign changes over a ~2100 year interval relative to the background (fixed) stars, making these holy portals noteworthy. With this in mind, we begin to see the importance of the precession of Zodiac to the nature-based religion of star-watching priests in ancient Egypt.
The night sky, whether viewed as the backdrop for a heavenly storyboard or as part of the great celestial architecture of the body of Nut, seems to be inspirational to the Egyptian children-of-the-stars. If we look up and wonder, if we strive to “crack the code” of this wisdom, we too may learn our places in the universe as the ancient Egyptians did. The art, symbolism, and system of the Journey Into Egypt Tarot strives to achieve a workable interpretation of what these ancient people knew. This deck blends modern science, shamanism, and good old fashioned common sense. All of the information found in traditional astrology is based on interpretations of an antiquated sky, while real sky astrology uses the current, observable position of the cosmos. Using an inexpensive astronomy app can yield extraordinary insights.
The Journey Into Egypt Tarot is a challenge to shift the paradigm of our most cherished beliefs about astrology. *Annus Magnus (Latin) Great year; the precessional cycle of 25,920 years. Also, the interval between two successive ecliptic conjunctions of all the planets, including sun and moon. The Hindus date the beginning of the kali yuga from such a conjunction said to have taken place in 3102 BC. It was a general belief in antiquity that cycles of varying lengths marked the terminal or initial points of eras, the occurrence or recurrence of cataclysms, and the consequent recurrence of similar events.
The Zodiac/Full Moon Cycles
Using the Minor cards To get more meaning from The Major cards Egyptian Meanings of numbers for the pips
1 -Wholeness- the circle
2&3. Duality -Separation and polarity; since nature doesn’t allow polarity, there is an immediate recognition of the separation. Two, then, immediately becomes…
3. Creativity -fertility balance. The triangle
4. Stability -The four elements; the four directions; the cardinal points; solstices and equinoxes; the square; stability and structure. The four becomes a safe framework from which to view the ever-changing change; where wholeness meets creativity and duality meets duality
5. Love -The star with five points; the apple blossom; the wild rose; the five annual conjunctions of Venus with the sun; the disappearing and coming back; the five senses. Where wholeness meets stability and polarity meets creativity; balance and fertility
6. Time and Space –Eternity; the triangle on top of the triangle; the six-pointed star; the star gate. Where wholeness meets Love and duality meets stability; where creativity meets creativity
7. Initiation -The one as it recognizes its place in time and space. Where stability meets creativity and Love meets duality; where time and Space meets wholeness. The seven-pointed star; the seven sacred directions (east, west, north, south, above, below, and within)
8. Power -The cube; the box; the pyramid. A sudden recognition of “the box”; the realization of both the multi-verse and inter-dimensional realities; stepping in and out of the box. Where wholeness meets initiation; time and space meet polarity; where love meets creativity; stability meets stability
9. Reflection -The mirror; state of grace. Anything added to nine becomes itself. Nine is twin souls coming in contact with each other and they find themselves. Where power meets wholeness; initiation meets polarity. Where time and space meets creativity; love meets stability
10. Greater Wholeness -The greater “one”; a state of wholeness; recognizing the self in all things; Greater oneness. Where reflection meets wholeness; power meets polarity; initiation meets creativity; time and space meets stability; where love meets love
"I hope you will join me in exploring this new tool for divination. It has been a long hard 4 years in the making. And now it is time for the great unveiling." Julie
©2013Julie Cuccia-Watts all rights reserved.