The Golden Compass & The Tarot


So I just finished re-reading this book called “The Golden Compass” about an 11-yr old girl called Lyra in an alternate world where people have their souls outside their bodies, which they call “daemons”, who take on the form of animals and have personalities of their own.

Lyra sets out on an epic adventure alongside her daemon, called Pantalaimon, (whom she affectionately refers to as “Pan”, like the Greek God), in order to free her Father, Lord Asriel, from prison, who is being kept there by her mother, Ms. Coulter, because of his “heretical experiments” on Dust, a mysterious particle that is falling from heaven that can only be observed through special instruments, and which Lord Asriel believes can solve the mystery of parallel worlds.

Lyra is also running away from her mother, who works for the Church, and who is conducting cruel experiments on Children by cutting away their daemons from their bodies to “keep Dust from settling on them”, because to them, Dust is representative of the original sin, and they want to destroy it.

Lyra, alongside her friend Roger, finally reach the North and save Lord Asriel, who takes Roger and kills him by ripping away his daemon, and then uses the tremendous amount of DUST that is released by his unnatural death to open a bridge between the worlds in the Sky. He walks out of his world, and into our own… and Lyra, devastated but intent on finding the source of Dust herself to thwart both her parents’ aims, follows him into the unknown.


How did Lyra get to the North?

She had this device called an “Alethiometer”, effectively a type of Golden Compass with different symbols and rotating needles that she could read by getting into a ‘trance’ state, and asking questions on what to do and where to go and how to get there. Depending on which symbols the needle landed on and the combination between them, she got her answer. And the Alethiometer was always right.

At first Lyra reckoned it was a spirit who was moving the needles. But as she deepened her relationship with the “Alethiometer”, which epistemologically means “Truth-reader”, she began to feel as if the needles were being moved by something more mysterious, a deeper, higher conscience of sorts.

THE TAROT is like Lyra’s Alethiometer, it is the equivalent in our world to this instrument.

The tarot cards are symbols, and the symbols have symbols within themselves, and the meanings of the cards vary depending on the placement and order of the spread.

Lyra intuitively related the meaning of the symbols in her golden compass. When we read the Tarot, a sort of intuition is needed too, which is built by deepening our relationship to the symbol, as well as our understanding of it.

Which is done by…

Meditating on the Tarot.

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