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The Cosmo Meditations Tarot

by Carol Herzer, 1985

(This text is also available in PDF format.)



Zero is infinity. This is the microcosm, the unseen inner order of the universe. It is the interdimensional transition point, where pure mind enters the realm of matter. The dark circle is a mirror into the infinite. Reflect upon it and watch it drop out into deep space, into the void. The circle is symbolic of completion. It is a complete cycle, when cut in half and rejoined it becomes a wave. The sine wave pattern with waves within waves on the right side of the card is the circle in another form. Here, however, the circle and the wave are as yet undivided; this card represents a concept which cannot be seen, any picture is only a suggestion of the state of being implied. It is nameless, timeless, wordless, pure.


One is the creative. It is the Cosmic Father, the seed, the Word and the power of mind and vibrations creating and ordering the physical universe. Half of the circle of the infinite is seen at the top of the card. Stars are emerging from it into a cone shaped space, falling into patterns as they create individual worlds and galaxies. This dark, purple-blue space represents the visible universe, the golden rays above it are the realm of pure mind and creative power. At the center of the card a cosmos is forming through the interaction of the 4 elements. Fire, at the center, is the Sun and spirit. Purple dust clouds are the element Earth and the body of the Magician, responding to the waves and harmonics of the Sun. Air, as mind, and Water, as emotions, surround and nurture this new world in it's conception. The body of the Magician is taking the form of a great bird, which will appear again later in the cards to follow.


Two is the receptive. The Goddess is the Cosmic Mother and the hidden mystery of Nature and the womb of life. Within the crescent of the Moon, deeply immersed in dreams, a sensitive, delicate face is forming from opalescent, iridescent clouds. As moonlight is reflected on the water below, waves cross waves, creating interwoven, intricate patterns. The face is that of a child in the womb, his eyes do not yet see the light of day. Between his fingers he holds a tiny pearl, seeing it with intuitive inner vision. The image suggests emotional sensitivity and the reflective, receptive, unconscious mind. This is the source of the personal unconscious, which will be opened and released in card 12. Two is one + one, and the seed, conceived by the creative powers of the Magician in card 1, has divided, starting the process of gestation which leads to the next image, that of card 3 and Birth.


The heart and Love are the doorway into this world. This card represents the Earthly Mother and physical birth. Three is perfect balance and harmony. On the horizon the Sun is rising. This is the birth of a day or the beginning of a life. The Sun is light, consciousness, and creative spirit emerging from the cosmic ocean. Below the heart is a large, single teardrop, each of us is a drop in the ocean of life. The reflected light of the Sun on the water has taken the form of a beautiful, graceful woman. She is Venus, art, and beauty. We, like she, are reflections of spirit and light upon the waves. Resting upon the heart is a diamond, light is focused through it from the planet Venus, itself a clear, bright diamond in the sky. Each person is a jewel, every individual is a diamond, a creation of light (love) and form; the creative and the receptive, found in arcana 1 and 2.


Four is physical power,it is the cross of matter, magnetic attraction, and vital energy. This is the Earthly Father and the expression of individuality and Ego. A powerful, spiraling cross rides upon the crest of a great wave. Galactic clouds form in the currents and eddies of this vital, physical, highly charged energy. Forces of attraction and magnetism draw forms together, creating a sense of identity and individuality. Think of the cross as an active, dynamic, unstable energy, tossed high upon the waves of the cosmic ocean. Tension and challenge bring the opportunity for growth and achievement. Four is the combination of 3 and 1, The Ego is a reflection of creative energy (1) and Love (3). It also can be seen as a combination of 2 and 2. Emotions and feelings (2) reflect back and forth upon each other; this interaction fuels the motion of the spiraling cross of matter, the Ego, the individual.


Creative Intelligence is symbolized by a 5 pointed star. The Initiate is an individual who is developing creative self awareness, inner harmony and emotional balance. Sounds of cosmic music flow through the clear and open mind of the Initiate. His body is like a bell, resonating to the powerful vibrations of the cosmos as he discovers it's inner order. Behind his head is a brilliant golden white circle of light, the light of Sun and creative spirit. Rainbow rays shooting out into space are the music of his mind, generated by Love and emotional energy. Above his head is a transparent, sky blue petal, it will become the top of the tree in card 12, releasing and opening the unconscious mind. Five is a synthesis of 1 and 4 or 2 and 3. The active path of the Initiate as a creative individual is seen in cards 1 and 4. Love with the balancing of emotions is the receptive path to self awareness and is reflected by the blending of cards 2 and 3.


This is the path taken by the Initiate on his way to awakening and enlightenment. Before beginning, choices must be made. Values are symbolized by a black and a white pyramid at the beginning of a winding trail that leads through a wide, green valley. Dedication to life, love and positive values, respecting life and valuing love, will bring creative freedom and the liberation of the mind from fear. A lack of values leads to a fall, with the destruction of one's world. The number 3, Love, is at the root of the meaning of 6. Love reflects back upon Love, creating attraction, desire and polarization. Two intertwining hearts at the top of the card are a reminder of this. Six is 2+4 or 1+5. Emotional sensitivity (2) and personal magnetism (4, Ego) are elements which combine in the creation of attraction and desire. The Initiate (5) creates his world (1) using creative intelligence to make choices on the Path.


The number seven is the union of spirit (3) and matter (4) and the balancing of polarities; male and female, dark and light, good and evil. Choices made on the Path (6) lead to union and commitment. Union is symbolized by a triangle, spirit, resting upon a square, matter, They form a small temple, it also resembles a chariot. The Chariot, from the traditional Tarot, is an image of challenge and confrontation. Brilliant golden rays reflected in the sky recall the golden light of the Magician, card 1. The arrow of the Will stands between two pillars, they imply duality and the polarities found at the roots of relationship. Seven is a combination of 3 and 4 as well as 2 and 5 or 1 and 6. As 3 and 4 it is Venus, the Empress or earthly mother, and Mars, the Emperor or earthly father. Their relationship is based on physical attraction. Two and 5 also equal 7, they are the High Priest and High Priestess. Their relationship is based upon spiritual attraction. Finally the Magician, 1, must manifest a strong clear Will, 7, to be able to create.


A figure 8, laid on it's side is a symbol of balance. Perfection is a balancing of desire through deep involvement. Think of yourself as the rose red jewel in the center of the card. It's intense, deep color is an expression of vitality and desire. The jewel itself is a symbol of the inner transformation and purification that takes place in committed relationships, found in the preceding arcana. The card image is a geometric design with two jewels. A white, four sided one above is cutting and polishing the red, 8 sided one below. As the jewel is perfected sacrifices are made, the original form is forever lost. Using the cards, explore the combinations that add up to 8. Two and 6 are the emotional choices underlying deep involvement. Love and creative self awareness ( 3 and 5) balance emotional involvement. At the root of the meaning of 8 is 4+4, two individuals, two Egos, interact, shaping and forming each other.


Nine is synthesis and the integration of patterns of peace and harmony. In the number 9 there is an interweaving of all the previous numbers, the mandala form at the top of the card is an expression of this. There is a light at the top of the mountain. It is a guide to all those traveling on the path in the valley below. The mandala In the sky is a reflection of mental integration that is forming, clouds around it were created by many minds joining together in harmony and love. Using the card paintings as a guide, explore the interweaving of energies and archetypes that combine to bring mental and emotional balance and integration. Expand your imagination by synthesizing imagery and ideas, finding patterns if relationships and interconnections with all the preceding arcana that add up to 9, these are 1-8, 2-7, 3-6, and 4-5.


Ten is the Wheel of Life and karma. After reaching the peak of the mountain (card 9 ), one is prepared to go out to sea on the ocean of life. After mastering one's inner, personal world it is possible to master ones fate and karma. The image is of a spinning wheel, carnival like in appearance, with a galactic cloud spiraling in the center. The wheel is suspended on and almost invisible pole, this pole is a number 1, and the wheel is a zero, creating an image with the elements of the number 10. A rainbow of light pours out of and into the wheel, transparent faces in the sky above are taking form. They are welcomed by the open arms of the Goddess (2). She is juggling strings of planets while galaxies swirl above her. At her knee is a jewel, it is the jewel of card 8, perfection. Look at all the combinations of cards that add up to 10. Three and 7 are Love and Will. Two and 8 are the balancing of emotions. Six and 4 are an individual on the Path. To become a master of life, the Magician, 1, must join forces with the inner guide, 9.


With arcana 11, a second level of energies is begun, and it reflects back to the first ten cards. Look to parallels, like 1-11, 2-12, 3-13. Also look to additions, so there is a link between 11 and 2 because 1+1 + 2, continue this pattern as you explore the arcana. Eleven as Kundalini is the power of mind over matter. Compare this card to the Wheel, place them side by side. The tide has gone out, revealing layers upon layers of earth and matter. The arrow of the Will is at the bottom of the card, it will penetrate the many layers, awakening different centers of energy reflected below the sun on the horizon. Take card 1, the Magician, and place it directly below 11, making a continuous picture. Both cards are about the creative powers of the mind. One is on a universal level of expression, 11 shows the same process on an individual level. Look at all the combinations of preceding cards that add up to 11, making visual mandalas with the cards. Each combination is an aspect of the process of the strengthening of the mind and nervous system, releasing the creative energy of Kundalini. Forces of a balanced Will (7) overcome the resistance of matter and the Ego (4). Strength of mind can be developed through the process suggested by 3-8, Love and involvement. Place card 3 at the top with 8 below it , place 11 below 8. This creates a visually integrated mandala for contemplation. Dedication (6) to creative inner awareness (5) is another combination of energies linked to Kundalini. The Initiate, 5, is in deep meditation, the twisting path on card 6 resembles the path of Kundalini, spiraling around the arrow of the Will. Make a mandala with 11, 9 and 2. Two, at the bottom, is duality, and is at the root of all mental processes. It also is feeling and sensitivity to Nature (the Goddess). Combine this respect for life and the body with a fully developed and creatively integrated mind (9). This brings strength of mind, opening to doors to Initiation and awakening. Place the Wheel below the Magician ( 1 + 10). See how the images flow together, the sky above the wheel is the universe of stars and galaxies. The creative power of the cosmos flows through the wheel, releasing Kundalini and higher consciousness. Place card 11 above the Magician, see the visual connections, remember the conceptual ones.


This is an uprooting and opening of the personal unconscious mind. Patterns of unconscious behavior have their roots in past relationships and experiences. Faces in the sky, entwined in the roots of a tree, are one's family and all those closely involved with emotional transformations in one's life. The tree with it's roots in the sky floating near the edge of the cosmic ocean is drawing the light of the stars above into the floating, receptive mind. The beach, like the state of mind suggested, is a nether-world, neither here nor there, a zone of transition. Hidden and forgotten experiences float to the surface. Sensitivity and selflessness help bring about a reversal of perceptions and a different view of reality. Look at the arcana as a story, a sequence, a journey. The personal unconscious (12) merges into the collective unconscious (13). The mind, free from Ego, reaches out into the realm of collective realities.


Ego Death is a release of the mind from the body and a comes with a loss of individual identity. However the soul remains intact. As one merges into the collective unconscious there is a tremendous release of power, total transformation, healing and purification. The image is of dissolving figures, looking out into space, beyond the limits of time and physical, material definition. Crosses fading into the distance represent positive, highly charged energy, symbolic of matter and the physical world. A multicolored lightning bolt expresses the powerful energy of the release of the mind from the body. This card is associated with Pluto, ruler of Scorpio. A dark eagle like bird form, symbolic of Scorpio, is beside the horned skull of a bull, an image linked to Taurus. The polarity of Scorpio Taurus, Birth and Death, or Love and Ego Death, is seen in cards 3 which is linked to Venus, the ruler of Taurus) and 13 and Scorpio energies.


Temperance is a tempering of the Ego, replacing it with a cosmic soul force awareness. It is selflessness, sensitivity, and openness. This card is linked to the planet Neptune. Mists and visions rise up from the ocean of the unconscious. It is a very psychic dreamy place. The Sun is high above the water and partly hidden. It is creative, spiritual energy that is activating the water of sul and creative energy below, drawing it up into itself. This is the desire to drink of the waters of universal life. Not yet the peak of realization, it is the motivation to reach for the heights, and there may well be confusion and uncertainty along the way. The mind, now free of the limitations of the body, perceives other dimensions; realities different from the usual everyday way of seeing things. Fourteen is twice 7, 7 is the Will, and it's card image resembles a temple or chariot. Notice the play of words, temple and temperance. The Will, reflected back through another Will in relationships, opens the path to universal love and cosmic will. By polarity, 4 and 14 we have Ego and a state beyond Ego. Also look to the link of arcana 14 and 5, as the numerals of 14 are 1+4 and that equals 5. Temperance is where the processes go that were initiated by the Initiate.


This is the Devil card in the old Tarot. I call it the Veil of Illusion. The illusion is the misconception of concrete, physical reality being wrongly seen as the only reality there is. Fifteen is ten and five. These are the Wheel of Life and the Initiate. The veil is the greatest test of the Initiate on his path to enlightenment. He must confront the forces which bind us to this reality, riding the powerful dragon of the threshold like a great serpent in the sky. The card image is of sinuous, flowing waves, they are the same waves seen flowing through the mind of the Initiate on card 5. Look at the Wheel, card 10. The flowing waves seen in the Veil are forming in the cosmic ocean, above which the wheel is spinning. Card 15 is linked to the planet Saturn. It is structure, order, limitation, responsibility and mastering one's fate and karma by understanding transformation and the cycles of change in the cosmos. Look also to all the other links by addition to previous arcana.


This is the Fallen Tower of the Tarot. It is also the Planet Uranus, electric, erratic, revolutionary, liberating the mind from the limitations of the Veil. Choices made upon the Path (card 6) have an effect on the release of energy seen here. This is the same explosion seen at the foot of the mountain in card 6. Total materialism brings a rude awakening, the fallen tower of false values. With Love and respect for life as chosen values, the awakening is liberating and restores a free, creative flow of energy. The card image is of an electric storm. The highly charged atmosphere has a greenish glow, luminous fragments of electricity are turning into free floating stars, one of them is like a flower or butterfly. A lightning bolt strikes the magician's head, his hands reach out from the fiery water to channel the thunderbolt's charge into his magical staff, entwined with double spirals, also seen around the arrow of the will in card 11.


This is The Star of the Tarot. It is creative freedom, represented by an angelic bird. This is the peak of the development of a person's individual potential. It is highly charged, orgasmic energy, and is generated in relationships. ( Seven and 17 are a polarity pair). The electric storm of arcana16, Uranus and Awakening, has cleared, leaving the sky filled with brilliant, fiery stars. Above the mists and calming waves a bird with a human body form flies free, reaching the heights of individual spiritual and intellectual growth and expansion. Harmonic patterns and rainbows are reflected in the waters below, the flowing waves are the waves of Saturn (15), no longer binding and limiting. The wings of the great bird are like rows of waves, breaking at the edge of the cosmic ocean. Within the bird is the silhouette of another smaller bird, with a spiraling galaxy as it's wing. This body within a body is like a world within a world, we are, like the bird, reflections of the greater whole.


The creative freedom experienced in arcana 17 has opened the doors of the past and unlocked memories. A full recounting of one's life is made, letting go of all attachment and resistance. Cosmic webs surround a crescent moon. The cocoon like threads are residues of past involvement and emotional attachments made in the process of the formation of the individual jewel seen in card 8, Perfection. (Cards 8 and 18 have a polarity relationship.) Emerging from a spiraling, shell like form, a turbulent waterfall releases the seeker, whose face looks back toward the moon. Reaching deep into the cosmic past, it brings cellular memories, body consciousness and Akashic records. The Threshold and the number 18 is like a bridge between the Star (17) and the Sun (19). The more personal, individualized energy manifested in the Star becomes universal in 19, the Sun (cosmic consciousness). Inner, emotional realities must be clear and free of fear and uncertainty before the spiritual fire of the Sun can be approached. 18 is 2 and 16, the universal matrix of the life web seen in 2 is energized and cleared by the thunderbolts of awakening found in 16. See what else you can find in all the other addition connections that add up to 18. This deck is not just a meditation, it is a tool to awaken your inner vision and ability to see the cosmic patterns.


The Sun is symbolic of cosmic consciousness, the awakened soul, inner light, claiming one's sovereignty as a free soul, and enlightenment. It is the cosmic will, union with what some call God (but not the personalized idea), and Universal Love. The card image, when reversed, shows a bird of paradise holding the Sun in it's beak like a communion wafer. As streams of energy and matter pour out into the cosmos powerful harmonics and vibrations unify the solar system, interweaving the patterns of interconnections between planets, moons, and other bodies. Enlightenment and universal love remove all darkness. Any feelings of alienation and separation are dissolved by fusion and cosmic fire. The Sun is creative, positive and powerful. Look back through the cards for references to the Sun. In 0, a visual and conceptual connection is suggested by an eclipse. The bird of paradise from the Sun card is just beginning to form in 1, the Magician. The Sun is on the horizon in 3 (Venus) and 11 (Mercury). From Neptune, (14) it is high and distant. A circle of light behind the head of the Initiate, 5, is the inner light of the Sun, seen in meditation.


Rebirth and regeneration follow the enlightenment experience of arcana 19, The Sun. All fear, separation, and alienation have been dissolved, uniting generations with love and acceptance In the traditional Tarot, this card often shows an angel blowing a trumpet, with people rising up out of their graves. The trumpet image has been transformed here into many little trumpet like seed flowers, floating down from a small, egg shaped planet. Each seed has an arrow, it is an individual, the arrow is the will. ( See cards 7 and 11 for more arrows.) Cosmic will is reflected in each individual who has been liberated by Love. In the sky a small bird is singing, his song is love. A heart above him is the heart of a greater bird, seen only in silhouette. A rainbow is flowing out from the sun-seed planet, this rainbow will reappear in the next card, Heaven World.


This is a visionary world, where peace and harmony create a crystal reality with love and light as a paintbrush. Crystals are forming from the starseeds of arcana 20, Generation. Every stone is a jewel, all matter is alive. We, like crystals, are transmitters of light and vibration; love is the vibration that unifies the world and the cosmos. A rainbow is generated by the combined energy of the mass of crystals below. Our world is a reflection of our values and aesthetics. Heaven World is the union of Sun and Moon, fire and water. (Nineteen, the Sun and 2, the Moon add up to 21.) Twenty one is also a 2 and a 1, cards 2 and 1 are the cosmic father and the cosmic mother, yin and yang, the creative and the receptive. Heaven world is created by a union and balancing of opposites

which is the basis of relationships found in arcana 7. another way to explore the stories and linkages found in the Cosmo Meditations Tarot is by way of the connections based on patterns of three and seven. The arcana can be grouped by three, for example 1-2-3 as a unit. Continue this pattern 4-5-6, and so on. Or one can make three levels: 1 through 7, place above this arcana 8-14, and finally above that 15-21. After a while your creative synthesizing mind will be functioning well, and your ability to read the cards and tell stories with them will be developed. Everything is connected to everything. And you will see things one time you did not see before. It is vast, and infinite. This is the Cosmo Meditations Tarot.


The following two arcana are outside the traditional tarot archetypes which end at 21. There is no 22, as sometimes that number is given to 0, the Fool card.


The goddess Nemesis, in Greek mythology, acted through nature to balance the worlds of spirit and matter. She represents collective karma. The image is of a great, wave formed bird. Comets are entering the atmosphere, bringing fire and water. Hidden deep within the spiraling wave of the bird's body is a powerful and invisible force. The rainbow of card 21 suggested a connection between the condition of our planet and the collective emotional state of humanity. Nemesis is a further expression of this idea. She acts through droughts, storms, earthquakes, volcanoes and other forces of nature to balance and direct evolution. We are presently becoming acutely aware of the collective effect we have upon our planet. Nemesis can be seen as an emerging planetary mind, an intelligence based upon the union of man and nature, mind and matter.


Chiron is the wounded healer. This card is Ecology, bringing Cosmic Wisdom through a directly experienced spiritual awareness of nature and life, healing Mother Earth and at the same time manifesting and realizing planetary consciousness. In the cosmology of the Cosmo Meditations Tarot, this card points to an awakening of Cosmic Wisdom in a person's life, a recognition of the patterns of interconnection in all life processes, experiencing oneself as creative and creator. Chiron can represent crisis with purpose, revealing directions which will help in bringing about this inner awakening. The card image suggests the cycling and recycling of life energies within and around the Earth, which is shown as a jewel like marble suspended in space. The present Ecological crisis can be better understood in the light of the ideas linked to Chiron and card 24. It is a crisis with a purpose, bringing full recognition of ourselves as creators of our own world. Unconsciously we have created our situation, now consciously we must cooperate to get ourselves out of the mess we have made.


In this reading, all the cards are paired, each pair adds up to 23, the number of Nemesis. Card 0 is given the number 22*. Insight into the meaning and dynamics of Nemesis can be found in each of the following pairs. Use the cards, synthesizing image and concept in your meditations.
1-22 Look at the cards. The wave of 0* is contained within the body of Nemesis. In card 1, a bird shaped body is just beginning to form. Nemesis reflects elemental cosmic structure as she creatively transforms the world.
2-21 Harmony on earth is linked to emotional sensitivity and respect for Nature.
3-20 Love, with peace and acceptance between the generations.
4-19 The Ego returns to God. Survival through enlightenment.
5-18 Listening to the past. The Initiate tunes into deep cosmic memories, DNA, Akashic records.
6-17 Free and illuminated choices underlie the positive expression of Nemesis.
7-16 The collective emotional climate is a reflection of the struggles for awakening and 0 liberation that take place in relationships.
8-15 Deep involvement (8) and responsibility (15) are needed to consciously direct the evolution of the world.
9-14 Nemesis acts as both temperance (14) and guidance (9).
0 The self sacrifice and egolessness brought about by her extremes serve to encourage spiritual growth.
10-13 Ego death and transformation on the Wheel of Life. Purification and karmic balancing. These two cards can be seen to express the heavier side of Nemesis, with physical destruction through forces of nature.



The following list is provided for reference when comparing the Cosmo Meditations Tarot to the traditional Tarot major arcana. Where the names do not differ no second name is listed ( 1, 10, 14 and 19).


23 NEMESIS/no traditional correspondence
24 CHIRON/ no traditional correspondence

The Cosmo Meditations Tarot is a 24 card version of the part of the Tarot that is called the Major Arcana. This sequence is the essence and heart of the Tarot. A deck can have just this part of the popular 78 card deck and still be called a Tarot. A Major Arcana deck can be very effective as both a reading and a study deck. Readings are meditative and centering, focusing on fundamental energy patterns and their connections. In the traditional Tarot Major Arcana there are 22 cards, but in the Cosmo Meditations Tarot, there are 24. The two additional cards are: 23, NEMESIS (the Karma and responsibility of the collective, of all of us together), and 24, CHIRON (the wounded healer and planetary healing). They expand the Tarot cycle to include concepts which are an important part of our present time as we experience and the awakening of the planet into a maturing awareness of the levels of interconnectedness that permeate the universe. The Cosmo Meditations Tarot paintings visually express the energy of each of the arcana. Conceptually, the ideas behind the images flow from one to the next, revealing a life cycle of human experience. The meanings of the individual card images are strongly rooted in number symbolism, which comes from structure which can be found in many places; music, crystals, and the planets to name a few.