Ocho de Bastos — Tarot Lukumi

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Luigi ScapiniArtist: Luigi Scapini

Author: Tata Emanuele Coltro Guidi


“Oya and Chango, even if they are sweethearts, always quarrel with each other. Chango, after a terrible quarrel, shows her a cut head of a goat. Oya, very bored, shows him a dead’s skull, and Chango disgusted goes away, sending many lightenings, representing his rage, to the world.”


“Too much force applied too quickly,” writes Robert Wang. It is like a bomb going off. People react before they think about what the other person said or did or know what the other meant. The lord of swiftness acts in haste. After an argument we have to go back and think about what we were arguing about. What went wrong? Oya and Chango do not know how to communicate properly. Perhaps it is merely because they are man and woman. Man and woman communicate differently and expect different things out of a relationship. What one sees as flattery the other sees as overbearing.


Every interaction between two people is a relationship to some degree. The more interactions two people or two groups of people have, the more meaningful the relationship. A meaningful relationship can be volatile— such as Oya and Chango’s, or the relationship between waring countries, or the relationship between two drivers caught in rush-hour traffic— or it can be calming. Most often, there is a mixture of the two: though a volatile couple, Oya and Chango are primarily lovers.


Near the beginning of any voluntary relationship, it is healthy to gravitate towards calming relationships and shy from those that make us uneasy. Too much force applied too quickly results in broken friendships or friendships that never get a chance to start. Because communication is both cultural and personal, there is no way to eliminate miscommunication. Both parties need to slow down, back off, and try to learn the other’s ways if they wish to get along.


I love this deck.

Cuatro de Oros — Tarot Lukumi

Friday, January 27th, 2012

Luigi ScapiniArtist: Luigi Scapini
Author: Emanuele Coltro Guidi

Conscious of my changing shape and lifestyle, I said

“Tell me something about my body,”

and drew this card, reversed.

I love this version of the Four of Coins. I love this deck.


Interpretation: “The power of the four elements is represented by the four towers of King Chango’s castle. We can see the four attributes of Chango on the coins. This card means power and economic and social steadiness, it is the power of a just leader.”


A small mythology: Chango, the god of thunder and lightning, was second to spring from the body of Yemaja and is the second-most powerful god of the Yorubas. He dwells in the clouds in an immense brazen palace, with a huge court and a great number of horses. Besides being thunder-god, he is also the god of the chase and of pillage. Veneration of Chango enables a great deal of power and self-control.


Coins are about money and material goods. Like many cards, the Four of Coins has both positive and negative aspects no matter which way it falls. I asked about my body— commonly seen as a material possession— tho the objective of many religions is to transcend such a limited viewpoint. Nonetheless, one’s body is a form of wealth— or poverty.


Thus, in this instance, the Four of Coins signifies accomplishment of goals and attainment of great physical ability. It indicates bodily conservatism and of a strong sense of self-preservation, as the body is often equated with the self. It indicates material attachment to the body and the physical realm. It warns of the risk of greed: of coming to value only the physicality of being. I must continually work hard to maintain the status-quo of my aging self and sustain my ongoing obsession with bodily preservation. I am forever trying to create order amidst the chaos, to bring a state of calm and stability into my life.


Veneration of Chango enables a great deal of power and self-control. Likewise, veneration of one’s body enables a great deal of power and self-control. In order to empower others, it is necessary to humble one’s self, let go of power, and release control. The Four of Coins reversed asks me to loosen my hold on my body as it is— or as it recently was. While difficult at first, this is an important aspect in my personal development, the development of my child, and the development of life unfolding now before me.

The Star — Tarot Lukumi

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

Artist: Luigi Scapini
Author: Emanuele Coltro Guidi
Interpretation: “The stars are so far that they don’t listen to anyone. The path (avatar) of Yemaya, Yoruban Goddess of the sea, called Asesu is a deaf Entity. Yemaya Asesu goes on with her business and doesn’t listen to much. The patiki tell us that before listening to questions she counts all the feathers of a duck who was sacrificed as ebbo to her.”
Part of the purpose of the Tarot Lukumi deck is to build a bridge between the world of Cuban Santera (Relga de Ocha or Relga Lukumi) and the occult tarot to demonstrate universality of the rules of Magic. I am especially fond of this purpose.
Throughout the history of the occult tarot, different readers have used their preferred method of magic to divine meaning from the cards: Astrology, Kabbalah, Masonic Hermetism, Jungian psychology, and so on. In order to find meaning in a foreign system, one must find the correspondences with an understood system. This is the basis of syncretism. It is also the basis of learning to love one’s neighbor as one’s self.
Santeria is an anamistic religion coming from the syncretism of the religion of the west-African Yoruban tribes people and Catholicism. Following their abduction to the Indies for the purpose of slavery, Spanish law mandated that these people be baptized Roman Catholic. But Catholicism was not a big hit among the slaves. [If someone abducted me from my homeland; placed me on a ship in a manner similar to which I do not approve of cattle being treated; left me there for weeks with minimal life support on a nauseating ocean voyage; separated me from my family & sold my children & subjected me to a life of forced labor I, too, would have trouble accepting their notions of god.] In attempt to appease their tormentors, many slaves pretended they were Catholic. Thus began the syncretism of Yoruba and Catholicism into Santeria.
The Star, in this image, is pictured as a mermaid sitting on a sandbar pouring water from two conch shells into the sea. Behind her is the sacrificial duck whose feathers she counts before listening to questions. In the sky are seven stars.
I learned the star as a card of hope, and when I think of hope, I think of Pandora. In Greek mythology, Prometheus, champion of mankind and traitor to the gods, stole fire from heaven. Zeus punished Prometheus by binding him to a rock. A great eagle ate his liver every day; the liver grew back and was eaten again the next.
The gods, still bitter that Prometheus had given the gift of fire to man, then took vengeance on humankind by means of Pandora, the first mortal woman. Pandora was endowed with every gift known to women: beauty, grace and desire from Aphrodite; cunning and boldness from Hermes; gardening msp free vip codes from Demeter; manual dexterity and spinning from Athena; sweet singing and lyre playing from Apollo; and a pearl necklace from the god of the sea who promised she would never drown.
The gods then placed every plague and sorrow into one jar and presented the jar to Pandora with the instructions do not open under any circumstance. Pandora was then presented as a gift to Prometheus’ brother.
So of course Pandora, endowed with an ample amount of curiosity, opened the jar. Out poured Death, Sickness, Insanity, Pestilence, Addiction, Greed, Theft, Lies, Jealousy and Famine and on and on until all the evils were loosed upon the earth. Then out the bottom, just before she managed to slam the lid, flew Hope. It is Hope that sustains humanity.
Anyone who calls on a deaf goddess who counts all the feathers of a duck before listening to a question really has run out of places to turn for help. It is when we feel most alone and lost that we need to call on hope the most.
Shining, shining in the basket’s bottom,
a jewel of hope lies beneath
the monsters of destruction.