THE GAMBLE-HOUNSOME TAROT – THE TAROT OF GNOSIS
WRITTEN BY STEVE HOUNSOME & ARTWORK BY PATRICK GAMBLE
The Tarot has fascinated me since, a great many Moons ago now, I was in my teens. Indeed, the older I get the more fascinated (for which read ‘obsessed’) by this ‘treasure house of images’ I become. This began, as many do, by an assumption that it would be great to be able to predict my, and others, futures.
This, like the majority of Tarot people, was how I began, venturing from amateur readings for friends to professional consultations, on the ‘psychic fair’ circuit in the 1990’s and beyond. The more I did this however, the less satisfied I became, and I wondered how this actually benefitted people, other than a ‘forewarned is forearmed’ idea.
I delved deeper into the history and mystery of these cards, and some 35 years or so later, have come to the conclusion that the Tarot cards do not actually ‘mean’ anything at all! An odd statement for a Tarot creator, author and reader to make, but what has become apparent to me is that the Tarot is a depiction of energy, and as such encapsulates that inherent sense of knowing, wisdom or more properly ‘Gnosis’ within the human being.
In a previous blog here, Philip was kind enough to point people towards my first deck ‘The Tarot Therapy Deck’, which was an attempt to show this ‘Tarot as energy’ concept, using the natural world as its template, since we all share this same inner connection and energetic reality as part of our being. It is this that is the source of the Gnosis of Tarot.
This deck was quite a departure from the norm of what can be called ‘traditional Tarot’, its images having no people or accepted symbolism that most Tarot decks contain. As I continued my Fool’s Journey with the Tarot, I found myself hankering after creating another deck. I faced a problem however, in that I am no artist, and a matchstick men Tarot might not be that appealing, such are the limits of my ability in this field!
Enter Patrick Gamble, a visionary and psychic artist I had the privilege to share a stage with as we presented a ‘Psychic Variety Show’. Patrick has the ability to see people’s Spirit Guides and paint these for them at individual sittings. We invited him to our home to do this, to which he bought many of his existing images, in a variety of formats. As I sat looking through these, it struck me that a good many of these were Tarot cards in the making, with some already fully formed!
I pointed this out to Patrick and asked if he knew this, but he shook his head saying that he did not know Tarot. I pointed out that I did, and the ‘Tarot of Gnosis’ was born! We agreed we would also call it ‘The Gamble-Hounsome Tarot’ in homage to the Rider-Waite, Morgan Greer, Hanson-Roberts and other ‘double-barrelled decks. Its title of ‘The Tarot of Gnosis’ though, points us towards what I believe Patrick’s wonderful artwork steers us to via the medium of Tarot, this being that natural ability nestling within all human beings, to know what is right for us, instinctively and deep within our self, if we but still and centre ourselves to access it. Use of these cards can also do this for us, by showing the energy level of our reality, which is the source of all that we are and experience.
So it was that between us Patrick and I adapted his existing energies and I came to view the project as ‘the Tarot deck that created itself’! With Patrick patiently responding to my repeated calls to add a symbol here, move a figure there and so on, ‘The Tarot of Gnosis’ underwent a nine month gestation period before it was birthed. In this time, I came to realise that to better express the energies of the cards as I wished to convey them, it would be necessary to take a departure from the accepted names of many cards.
So it is that the Magician became simply ‘Magic’, the High Priestess ‘Intuition’ and so on. It is these inner qualities, powers or energies that exist as facets of our Gnosis and to which the Tarot can guide us. The Major Arcana cards are an expression of those energies which we encounter with our whole, or the Soul level of our being; that which results when we combine the four elemental levels of our construction, and which is something ‘greater than the sum of its parts’.
Those elemental levels are the suits of the Minor Arcana, in this deck being called Pentacles, Cups, Arrows and Wands. These show us the Gnosis of our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels and selves, or the wisdom of the Body, Heart, Mind and Spirit. In this we have followed a quite traditional Ace to Ten format, but another departure was required for the ‘Court’ cards.
Typically Page, Knight, Queen and King, I again wanted to find terminology that first suited Patricks’ illustrations, as well as express that Gnosis I felt these characters portrayed. So it was our ‘Tarot family’ became known as Worker, Inspirer, Feeler and Thinker respectively. Hopefully these titles are self-explanatory in terms of how they operate, the manner in which they do this being determined by the suit to which they belong. In other words, the Queens run on their emotional response to what they encounter, the Arrows Queen for example (Arrows being the mental level of the human being) being an energy that points us towards realising that what we are feeling may well be because of what of what is in our minds.
In the accompanying book to the cards I have outlined the ‘Gnosis Method’ of working with the cards. This is essentially a small attempt at guiding people to a more sacred approach to use of the cards. By following this format it is easier to access that Gnosis within us and so benefit the more from the vast store of this which resides forever in the Tarot. Whilst it may have its origins in Northern Italy in the early 1400’s (as popular thinking currently has it), it is the knowledge that the Tarot depicts and contains that for me is more important, and this has been around a great deal longer.
Hopefully as we learn again to access and utilise our Gnosis we may recapture something of the sacred of our selves and lives, which can all too often seem so lacking today. I am therefore pleased to offer this deck and book in the hope that through its use, you are able to come to know more closely and consciously, your own Gnosis.
‘The Gamble-Hounsome Tarot – The Tarot of Gnosis’, Deck and Book, is available via Steve’s website – www.tarottherapy.co.uk, or separately via Amazon.
Steve Hounsome works with ‘Tarot Therapy’, as Author, Creator, Reader and Tutor. He is based in Poole, Dorset, UK and from here runs Courses in Tarot Therapy, which are also available by distance-learning. Steve also hosts a monthly Tarot Club and an ongoing programme of Groups, Workshops and Events, as well as appearing at various Events in the South of England. Steve is the author of 8 other books, including his three volume ‘Tarot Therapy’ series, plus a range of spoken word Meditation and Development CD’s
You can see full details or all Steve’s services and products at this website, and join his free monthly Mailing List, by sending your email address to firstname.lastname@example.org
Full details of Patrick Gamble’s artwork can be seen at his website www.patrickgamble.co.uk. Patrick appears at a wide variety of shows and Events across the Country, as well as running workshops from his base in Cornwall, UK. Patrick will be with Steve in November in Poole, for a weekend of Spirit Guide painting.