Robert M. Place teaching in Beijing
The Brentwood Public Library
A Lecture on the History of the Tarot
June 23, 2020, 7:00 to 8:30 PM
Follow this link to register:
Tarot Essentials with Robert M. Place
at the NY Open Center
Because of the stay at home order,
this class will be conducted on Zoom.
Three weekly sessions on Wednesdays, 6 – 7:45 pm;
May 13, 20, and 27, 2020
at The New York Open Center, 22 East 30th Street, New York
follow this line to sign up
The Tarot is a deck of cards that can be used as a tool for developing intuition, but it is more than this. The cards in a Tarot deck contain symbolic images that express a mystical philosophy, a philosophy that stems from the mentors of Western culture, Pythagoras and Plato, and that has been cherished by mystics and sages over the centuries. The philosophy is expressed not only in individual pictures but in the structure and organization of the deck. Effectively, the Tarot is a map of the spiritual universe, a mandala, divided into separate components but maintaining the pattern through the relationship of each component to another. When this philosophy and structure is understood and the cards are used as an intuitive device, a communication happens between the conscious self and a source of wisdom in the unconscious that I call the Higher Self. Used in this way, the Tarot is like a personal sage that one can converse with whenever guidance is needed. As day to day decisions are made from this place of wisdom, using the Tarot becomes a spiritual path.
In this three-part class we will first study the symbolism of the Tarot as its Italian Renaissance creators intended and come to see the spiritual message contained in the deck. Then we will learn and practice techniques for developing intuition and reading the cards as a message from the Higher Self. Students will need a Tarot deck created by Robert Place or the Waite-Smith Tarot.
For this class it is recommended that you buy The Tarot, Magic, Alchemy, Hermeticism, and Neoplatonism by Robert M. Place. The course is based on this book and you will get the most out of the class if you read it. The book will be available at the Open Center bookstore. You may also buy a copy of from this website and read it in advance of the class.
For more information on the class contact the New York Open Center
Tarot at the Met
An Afternoon of Tarot and Oracle Card History at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Because of the coronavirus outbreak,
Tarot at the Met is canceled
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
from 2:00 pm to 4:30 PM
(this event is filled)
I will once again take a small group of people into the back rooms of the Metropolitan Museum to look at the museum’s collection of historic Tarot and divination cards, ranging from the earliest woodcut Tarocchi, printed in 15th century Italy, to rare 19th century Le Normand divination decks. All accompanied by my talk on the history and symbolism of the cards. This year we will also see one of the oldest and richly illustrated books on divination with cards, Le Sorti, published in Venice in 1540.
The afternoon at the Met is $85 per person, prepaid. Each participant is also responsible for obtaining a ticket for entrance into the museum for the day. There is only room for 14 people at this event so don’t delay; it will fill up quickly. I will be handling this event myself; so all arrangement must be made through me.
To register contact me at:
Payments can be made by PayPal, check, Visa, or Master Card, or by requesting a PayPal invoice.
I will be participating in the World Divination Association Lenormand Summit On Line
on August 17. 2020
My Chinese workshops are also being conducted through Zoom.
Please contact Giselle Gao for details
The next workshop on Alchemy will be held on August 26 and 27, September 9, 10, 16, 23 , and 24, and October 7, 14, 21, and 28, 2020
Alchemy and the Tarot: Using the Cards for Personal Transformation
with Robert M. Place
In the summer of 1987, I was reading a book on alchemy when I became fascinated by an illustration representing the Philosopher’s Stone, the magical catalyst and universal panacea, whose creation is the goal of the alchemical Great Work or Magnum Opus. The illustration depicted the Stone as a type of mandala with a heart in the center of a cross and surrounded by a thorny wreath. The cross divided the background into four sections, each containing an image representing one of the four ancient elements: Earth, Water, Air, and Fire. Besides the obvious connection with the Christian icon called the Sacred Heart, I saw another correlation. In a flash of insight, I realized that the symbolism of the design was entirely interchangeable with that of the Tarot’s World card. The dancing nude on the World, like the heart, stands in the center of a wreath and she can be interpreted as a symbol for the soul. The creatures representing the four evangelists in the corners of the World are also symbolically connected to the four elements through their correlation to the fixed signs of the zodiac. This realization was like a key that opened a lock to a forgotten door. I was mesmerized as images poured out of this new portal in my mind. They formed a parade of alchemical illustrations that were spontaneously paired with Tarot trumps and it became clear to me that the series of Tarot trumps describes the alchemical Great Work. This insight led to years of research, and to the creation to one of the most beautiful and meaningful modern Tarot decks, The Alchemical Tarot.
The Alchemical Tarot is designed to illustrate that there is a close connection between
alchemical symbolism and the Tarot. The Fool and trumps in The Alchemical Tarot
each relate to an alchemical material or process, which is part of the Great Work or Opus of alchemy that leads to the creation of the Philosopher’s Stone, a mystical catalyst that transforms what it touches to its highest form. Composed of the mysterious fifth element, it can cure any illness, turn lead into gold, and turn an ordinary person into an enlightened sage. Although this symbolism is clearly expressed in the Alchemical Tarot, it is illustrating a philosophy that is found in every Tarot and that is a valuable tool for improving our lives.
In this class we will discuss the history and symbolism of alchemy, see how this symbolism relates to the Tarot’s Fool and 21 trumps, and learn how they capture the alchemical Opus. We will explore the relationship between the four elements and the minor suits and learn what alchemical symbols they contain. We will learn how the Tarot can be used as a psychological tool and practice transformative alchemical spreads designed to internalize the symbolism and bring forth a personal transformation. The spreads will include the quincunx spread, through which we can see how the four elements relate to a client’s personality; the Seven planets spread, with which we can see the planetary influences within each person, and the Opus, which will take the client through a process of alchemical transformation.
The class will consist of three parts:
- A discussion of the philosophy and practice of alchemy stressing the role of transmutation and the mystical quest for enlightenment.
- A demonstration of the symbolic connection between alchemy and the Tarot, using the Alchemical Tarot as a model.
- A demonstration of Tarot spreads designed to make use of alchemical symbolism and guide the querent to a personal transformation.
Here is a list of my students
who graduated from my course
The Soul Centers Reading
with the Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery
Held in Hangzhou, China in November, 2019
Zhou Si Yu,
Fu Xian Hui,
Zhuang Wuyingzi Ada,
Julia Wang Jun-wei,
Nong Guo Zhu,
Yang Jun Wen,
May Shi Long Quan,
Kan Gui Hong,
Christine Li Sugar
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Issue 58 of the Restored Temple of Hermes was sent out on December 10, 2019. If you did not receive it you may need to send me an updated email address.