"Inner" cycle of cards 1 through 9
"Outer" cycle of cards 10 through 18
"Transcended" cycle of cards 19 through
b) Cards 1 through 6 - Path of Balance (harmony)
Cards 7 through 12 - Path of Lifes Lessons and Opportunities
(Cause and Effect)
Cards 13 through 18 - Path of Rebirth (Transformation)
Cards 19 through 21 - not account for in text on these
cycles, but they would appear to be a transcended triad.
c) Splitting of the 21 major arcana into triads. There
are many different definitions relating to a triad. One I recently encountered is
associated with degrees of the mystery schools. It defines the triad as: 1) knowing, 2)
doing, 3) being. Knowing is the book learning needed for entry into the mystery
schools. Doing is the practice of practicing what is learned during Knowing.
Being is the responsible use of the tools gained during Doing. This triad
model corresponds nicely with the triad model of maiden, mother, crone.
When the 21 major arcana cards are split into triads,
they form major and minor triads. Cards 1 through 9 have a three major triads (1-3, 4-6,
7-9) with a minor triad in each major triad. The second cycle of 10 cards again for three
major triads with minor triads in each major triad. The last three cards (19-21) form a
separate triad. I have tagged this separate triad with the title of
"transcended". However, the form and function of the last three cards deserves
One possibility is that there are three
"super" triads in the major arcana. The first is associated with cards 1-9, the
"inner" cards. During this first cycle one develops the tools of Knowing.
A full cycle of 9 is used to emphasize the many steps required during the first stage of
the triad. The "inner" cards show the archetypes associated with gaining and
enhancing knowledge. Much of this work is inward, and hence the association.
The second phase of the "super" triad are
cards 10 through 18. The "outer" cards show the archetypes associated with the
exercise of knowledge in the practice of Doing. The effects are external, and will
affect others. Many of lifes biggest pitfalls (The Devil) and lessons (The Tower)
are present here.
The last phase is very short. It consists of only three
cards instead of the ten. Why? The Doing function of the triad gains no new
knowledge or techniques. Everything that is needed has already been established. The
emphasis is instead on the proper, or "transcended", use of powers during the
act of Being. The World marks the end of the final triad. The World represents the
full maturity of being. It is the archetype of one who has mastered all inner and outer
trials. With this total mastery, one is ready to begin again. Hence, the placement of the
Fool, and the being of the path again at The Magician as the triad recycles.
Examination of Inner and Outer card associations: