If systems of divination – such as Tarot, Runes, or Astrology – can be seen as microcosms of the larger Universe that they peer into, then doesn’t it make sense that these systems themselves must appear somewhere within their own boundaries? That is, if Tarot, for example, does exist in the Universe, and if Tarot is a model of that Universe…then doesn’t Tarot also have to appear within Tarot?
So where does it do that? And where do the Runes refer to themselves? Where does Astrology talk about…Astrology?
Let’s take these one at a time, starting with Tarot. I believe I first saw the following idea put forth by Mary K. Greer in her book, Tarot for Your Self. The notion here is that Tarot captures itself – among other things – within the borders of the High Priestess card.
This conclusion makes fabulously good sense to me, and feels utterly on point, and I feel certain that I would have landed on this same association for myself even if I’d never read Ms. Greer’s book.
As you may know, The High Priestess is a keeper of arcane knowledge. She sits between the polarities of Light and Dark, and of Life and Death, calmly luminous in her twilight, threshold state, just sort of eternally knowing stuff. I like to think of her as the sort of cosmic Librarian who presides over the vast institution where the Akashic Records are kept. She’s the gatekeeper to all wisdom that ever was, is, could be, and will be…and if you approach her with the right mixture of curiosity and respect, she just might share some of her secrets with you…and couldn’t we say the exact same things about Tarot?
Over in the realm of the Elder Futhark Runes, I direct your attention to the P-Rune, the one called Perthro. This is a very mysterious and very mystical symbol. Some Rune scholars hold that Perthro is arguably an intruder into this Runic alphabet, as there’s some evidence indicating that the Germanic tribespeople who employed the Elder Futhark didn’t actually even have a P-sound in their spoken language! And if that’s the case…then what is that letter doing there? Who invited it, and why…? Well…maybe it’s there to contain all the other letters, is one possibility…
Just look at the shape of it. If you were to rotate it 90 degrees in a counter-clockwise fashion, it would look very much like a Rune pouch sitting on a flat surface, with its mouth slightly open, allowing access to the Runes inside. Visually, then, it certainly feels like a Rune that talks about the Runes.
But also consider the meanings that are most commonly associated with Perthro. It’s directly translated most often as meaning either “dice-cup” or “vulva.” The former term indicates an actual prop that was once used in a game of chance played by the people who worked with the Runes back in their pre-Viking day. The latter term makes reference to the external portion of the female genital anatomy…which has certainly been characterized by no shortage of people as a gateway to mystery! These attributions could definitely be seen as compatible with the possibility that Perthro is where the Runes refer back to themselves.
And in more general terms, when Perthro appears in a reading, it’s taken to mean things like magic, secrets, fertility, and creativity. Again, the overall vibe feels very consistent with a symbol that’s meant to embody the Runes themselves as a whole.
And finally, what about Astrology? Where does this particular esoteric science indicate itself? Probably the most commonly held viewpoint on this one would be that if you want to see Astrology talk about Astrology, you look at the very individualist Planet called Uranus, and also at the symbols most closely associated with it, including the Sign of Aquarius and the Eleventh House.
Uranian energy tends to be very unique and innovative, and it can correlate with instances of genius and eccentricity. It can be very progressive and forward-looking. It often operates like a lightning bolt: it builds in mostly unforeseen fashion, and then erupts in a flash of brilliance…quite like the way in which epiphanies triggered by the study of an astrological chart can manifest.
But like I said, Uranus and its associated symbols are the ones that are most often cited as carrying the energetic signature of Astrology itself…but I don’t know that I see the fit here as being quite as terrifically on point as saying that The High Priestess is the Tarot card that talks about Tarot, or that Perthro is the Rune that encompasses the Runes.
It’s my own belief that in the astrological realm, it makes some sense to see any divinatory system as also correlating with the dreamy Planet, Neptune (not to mention the Sign of Pisces and the mystical Twelfth House). We obviously have no standardized and measurable proofs we can consult when assigning these kinds of values to our divinatory symbols, so much of what we arrive at here will be down to personal taste…but I don’t feel quite as ready to say “Uranus is the astrological symbol of Astrology” as I am ready to champion The High Priestess and Perthro as the self-referencing members of their own respective divinatory sets.
But whatever system of divination you favor, if it’s one of those that involves the use and interpretation of a given set of symbols, you can almost bet that one of those symbols will refer back to the very same system of divination that it hails from. And when these are the specific symbols that start to appear for you with some frequency, it could be a sort of uber-message telling you that you, personally, have some special bond with that particular system, and you might do well to dive into it more deeply…