The Four of Wands and the Tarot’s talking literally (again)

The literalism involved in Tarot card interpretation can be quite something. I recently drew the Four of Wands, using The Legacy of the Divine Tarot, by Ciro Marchetti.

 

Image may contain: outdoor

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Traditional meanings of this card: completion, good news, a celebration, a professional success, project completion, a new qualification obtained, property improvements, property move or sale, a party, a wedding.

And this made sense to the client at a professional level. But – and I have never felt prompted to ask this before using this same deck, reading this card in this way, I asked, does your property have an underground stream running beneath it?

Yes!  The client, mightily impressed at my lucky guess, had apparently called in a professional dowser in recent months,  suspecting this was the case, and had a very clear idea of how deep underground the water was, and of the path of its course beneath the property. The dowser in question does a lot of work for local farmers, the client told me, not walking out with rods, but getting darn accurate results with a pendulum suspended over the relevant map.

 

assorted pundulums

OK 🙂  Now, this connection is so easy to see, looking at that image from the Divine Legacy Tarot. So obvious if you just forget the card’s official book meanings for a minute, and concentrate purely on the image instead of viewing it symbolically or metaphorically.
The card could also be seen as a reference to dowsing, by the same token, and also as a representation of a cave or a magma chamber, I suppose, and instability or subsidence. (Yikes.) But, had I been using one of my other decks, would I have picked up on this information?

Perhaps not. Compare the card above with the Four of Wands from other fully illustrated decks.
golden tarot four of wandsRW 4 of wandsThoth 4 wands
Left to right: the Four of Wands from:
The Golden Tarot, by Kat Black
The Rider-Waite
The Thoth Tarot, Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris
Does one see that same aspect of feature? Is there underground water jumping out at you? Nah.
So there is the Tarot, and the reader’s familiarity with the traditional meanings of the cards. Then there is the deck that you are working with, with its variations, limitations and sometimes, as here, additional clues.
What is the reader to do, so as not to become limited by the iconography of any one deck?
You build associations by working with a variety of decks. The only thing that matters here is that your chosen decks resonate with you artistically (and therefore instinctively, and therefore emotionally, and therefore intellectually)
Much as I admire the artwork of many of its cards, though not this one especially, the Four of Wands, I cannot bring myself to work with the Thoth Deck. Can’t be doing with Crowley. Cannot.
But that’s all right. It, like Crowley, has a passionately devoted following and does not exactly need me either.
Until next time 🙂

Author: Katie-Ellen Hazeldine

Tarot Reader, Consultant & Writer in Lancashire, UK. Not fortune telling. Advisory readings with a focus on specifics and with forecasts as appropriate.

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