Table of Contents


Story: To Build a Belly Dance Temple

The Temple Design

Temple Priestesses

Tarot Card Challenge

Tarot Readings


The 11 Card Belly Dance Temple Layout

The Empress

Magi and Delilah

StrengthDeathStarhierophantLoversMoonJusticeWheel of FortuneThe SunHigh Priestess

View any of these original Tarot paintings, by An-Magrith Erlandsen, in detail by clicking on them above or in either of the diagrams below. Each card will open as a new window in your Web browser.

Magi, AKA An-Magrith Erlandsen, has prints for sale and she welcomes commissioned orders. Her artwork can be found at Gargoyles Statuary in Seattle's University District. These orginal Tarot paintings measure five feet tall. She is working to complete this series which will be published as a complete Tarot deck in the future. Contact MAGI.

The 11 Card Belly Dancing Temple Layout
with Dancing Priestesses in the Center

A click on any station will open the Tarot Card in stunning detail.

Solstice Temple priestessloversdeathhierophantstarempresssunstrengthwheel of fortunejusticemoon

Fibonacci Spiral

As I was drawing the layout, I traced my pencil past the stations and I immediately realized there was a spiral contained in our temple design. I remember a while back reading about the Fibonacci Spiral so I looked on the Internet for a Web site describing it. The mathematical pattern is one of Mother Nature's essential design building blocks. Oh my goodness! Can you see what I see?

A click on any arrow will open the Tarot Card in stunning detail.

justicewheel of fortuneempresssunstrengthmoonhierophantdeathstarpriestess

Learn More!

Fibonacci Numbers and Nature

Ancient Technology, Modern Technology, Elemental Technology

The Golden Mean Spiral

Sympathetic Vibratory Physics

The Golden Ratio

If one begins in the hallway just to the left of the Hierophant and passes by the Lovers, then into the gallery passing the Moon and the Sun on the left, Justice and the Wheel of Fortune on the right, to stand in the chamber before the Empress and then continue into the sanctuary at the southeast corner to circumnavigate the cardinal directions in a counterclockwise fashion (as the Dervish turns); east to north to west to south. Then proceed on to the center of our carpets and into the center of our sanctuary.

Tarot Challenge — see layout designs above

StrengthI am convinced that the cards laid out in this installation foretell elements of the year 2003, but I have not the skill to decipher them. I challenge anyone out there who is versed in the archetypal symbols to offer an interpretive reading. We will post your work alongside this article.

It is important to realize that this layout is three-dimensional — even four-dimensional with the time it takes to walk the spiral — rather than flat on a table. The paintings were hung from chains in the ceiling and bordered our walled enclosure.

Once again we find even more detail, as the Hierophant card stood at the temple’s entrance facing the South. The Lovers stood next to it facing the West.

As you entered the gallery, the Moon was on the left, Justice was on the right, followed by the Sun on the left and the Wheel of Fortune on the right.

I intuitively felt that the veiled gallery represented mists, layers of thought, and pages of memory or possibility and potential. Thinking of the temple as representing the human body, I see the entrance and passageway as being symbolic of the lungs (or, before birth, the umbilical cord) bringing the life force into the body.

From the passageway, we are brought into a small chamber draped in purple veils, to stand before the Empress card and contemplate her countenance. She stands taller than all other paintings. Perhaps this station represents the heart.

Inside the inner sanctuary, each wall held a card representing the four points of the compass. To the East, the Star; in the North, the High Priestess; to the West, Death; and at the South, Strength.

In the center were two carpets, one on top of the other. These symbolized the Earth and Sky, as well as inside and outside, and provided the stage for the Temple Priestesses to do their work.

The dancers were like the hormones, enzymes, and blood cells circulating through the body, and perhaps they functioned as a cleansing agent like the spleen as well. The sanctuary was the central, most vital area of the Temple, like the torso of the body. Head in the north where the High Priestess resided, the right arm was the Death card and the left arm was the Star. That is, unless one thought of a body face down, then the reading would be reversed. Strength was always in the South whichever way one faced, and would seem to represent the lower belly and the sexual organs. These were my thoughts. . .

I then reminded myself that this layout holds a multidimensional perspective, as again, these cards were not turned up flat on a table, but suspended in space as we were moving and dancing around them. So many more possibilities do exist.

I leave it to you readers, those who know the Tarot so well, to send us your thoughts, contact the Belly Dance Temple Priestesses: