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THE ROYAL PATH OF LIFE
"The magical wheel discovered in the thirteenth century by Raymond Lully, which was to solve all problems, was the Tarot."
C. C. Zain, The Sacred Tarot, p. 53.
The same ambiguity characterizes the fool in the Tarot pack. In the lore about the Tarot cards the fool is sometimes regarded as the last card, sometimes as the first, and sometimes as being outside the sequence of the cards and forming a link between the last and the first, making a linear arrangement of the cards into a wheel. 3
William Willeford, The Fool and His Sceptre, p.212.
ROTA - TARO
For convenience in handling, these symbols, which stood for definite spiritual ideas, were engraved on plates. And thus it came about that each plate contained, in the language of universal symbolism, the explanation of some important spiritual fact...It was an esoteric interpretation of the spiritual truths associated with some planet or zodiacal sign. And attached to the plate was its corresponding number..." This "knowledge of spiritual things and the attainments possible to the human soul, were called by the Egyptians, The Royal Path of Life.
In Egyptian, Tar means path, and Ro means royal, and thus, even at this day, the plates are known to us as the tarot.
From THE SACRED TAROT by C C Zain, Chapter 2, copyright 1994 by The Church of Light.
Both Starkie and Blakely demonstrate that this idea of The Royal Path of Life, originated from Court de Gébelin:
"Court de Gébelin, in the eighth volume of his Monde Primitif (Paris, I78I), had described the Tarot cards as the sole surviving Book of the Ancient Egyptians. The word Tarot, he said, was from the Egyptian Tar, path, and Ro, Ros or Rog, royal-' The Royal Path of Life'. "
Walter Starkie, In Sara's Tents, THE TAROT PACK, John Murray, London, 1955.p.320.
"In support for his claim for an Egyptian origin, Court de Gébelin supposed that the word Tarot (or Tarocco) was derived from the two Egyptian words: tar (road), and ro, ros, or rog (king or royal). Also he refered to the word arosh which is said to be divisible into the syllables a (doctrine or science) and rosh (Mercury). This was repeated by Taylor.p.18. Others, including William Postel Wirth p. 34 pointed out that the word rota (wheel) could be transposed into taro and that it was included in the Rosicrucian phrase rota mundi wheel of the universe). [ref. An Encyclopedic Outline of Masonic, Hermetic, Qabbalistic and Rosicrucian Symbolical Philosophy p.CXXIX] W.Starkie [In Sara’s Tents] notes that the Hungarian word torok means ‘ a pack of cards’ and that it is derived from a Hindu word taru. This, of course, prompts the question of possible association with tar, the embodiment of wisdom (prajna) in the Tibetan religious system. Idries Shah [The Sufis p. 398] claims that the word is derived from the Arabic TaRIQa( the course of life, way of life, way upon which a person is travelling) and he indicates that the Arabic word turuq means ‘four ways.’ He records that the word TaRIQa may be expressed visually as a palm tree." [*]
John D. Blakeley:
Here, there is an undercurrent which suggests that we can interpret Rosicrucian as ros - royal and cruix or cross - as the ‘four ways’. That is, The Royal Crossroads.
ALLEGORY OF THE VIRTUES AND VICES
MEDIEVAL TAROT DECKS