Some call the Tarot The Devil’s Picture book, but what about the Tarot’s Angels? Depending on the imagery of the deck, we might see the angel of Judgement. We might see the angel of Temperance. In some decks the Christian figure of The Devil will be represented instead by the wild god, Pan.
Judgement from The Gilded Tarot, permission of Ciro Marchetti
I do not see my card and rune activities as spiritual in nature or intention. I think that I am communing with an ancient part of myself, and that this part of myself is also communing with the ancientness of the other person, when I am reading for another.
Not spiritual. It’s just about the Mind, Perhaps this is splitting hairs. What does it matter? It is simply a question of language. Well, the thing is, language may attract or repel. I generally prefer to eschew religious or spiritual language, that’s all, but neither would I ever say I was an atheist. I don’t find it helpful or meaningful to take up any fixed positions on the imponderables of life, while meaning, value, usefulness, and beauty is wherever and however you find it.
But to do a reading, I must prepare myself to read, to put myself into that place where I even dare to read for a complete stranger.
Daring is needed. So why is that? Well, call it performance anxiety. I could be asked about anything at all. I do mean anything. I am often asked about relationships, of course, romantic relationships, family relationships, work relationships. I am asked a lot of ‘if’ and ‘when’ questions. When will I move job? When will I move house? Who will I meet and when and will it work out? I’m also asked a lot of business questions, by business owners, and the stakes have often been very high indeed.
Sometimes I am asked truly oracular questions. Once I was asked ‘where is my brother? How is he?’ And was then told the brother had died, and that he killed himself, but, where was he, and how was he? And the Tarot offered me such an story to share in answer to this question, it was fit to make anybody’s hair stand on end, but in such a way, that if the Tarot is the Devil’s picture book, then he’s a whole lot kinder than we give him credit for, and he’s overdue a reassessment.
I described where he was now, a small boy again, lost in that moment, happily splashing in a puddle. The Tarot told me he didn’t remember his death or what drove him to it, not a thing, but it looked to me as if he was coming back again very soon and might even land again close by. Then I received a message the following week, very happy and excited, a bit tearful, to the effect that the client’s sister had just found out she was expecting a baby, and maybe…what if….
What if indeed. Maybe this was a reincarnation. Maybe it was something else I picked up along the way while investigating the stated question. It was and is, beyond me to issue any definitive proposition as to which, but it wasn’t me. Not the everyday me. It came via The Sun card. Meanings: the sun, birth, childhood, happiness, innocence, animals, healing.
The Sun card from The Golden Tarot, by Kat Black
I cannot prepare for a reading. I can only prepare to try and respond. I tidy the bathroom, I fill the kettle, I prepare the room, the reading table, and I try to settle my mind, and to get ready to point into whatever wind I’m about to feel on my face, so as not to let in doubt.
Readings work on flow. I need to make myself as inconsequential as possible, and take myself out of the equation, so, spiritually or non- spiritually, I don’t worry which, kicking the whole thing ‘upstairs’, and saying to myself while getting ready,
“Great angels of the elements, please help me to help (person’s name)
Uriel, great angel of the North
Gabriel, great angel of the West
Michael, great angel of the South
Raphael, great angel of the East.
Earth and Water, Fire and Air
Please help me to see what most needs to be seen
Please help me to say what most needs to be said
For the highest good and harming none
Uriel represents the north and the element of Earth, and Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn
Gabriel represents the west and the element of Water, and Pisces, Cancer and Scorpio
Michael represents the south and the element of Fire, and Aries, Leo and Sagittarius
Raphael represents the east and the element of Air, and Aquarius, Gemini and Libra
The Tarot, whatever else one thinks it is or isn’t, is a cultural, artistic artefact, and so are angels as depicted in art and literature through the ages.
Uriel, ‘Flame of God,’ angel of earth and the north is the colours of red, gold and amber. Uriel, angel of self-trust – and therefore, wisdom of decision-making. He ‘stands at the Gate of Eden (Nature) with a fiery sword,’ as pitiless as nature, ‘red in tooth and claw.’ He guards the gates of Tartarus, battling the very baddest of all things bad, though probably some get out again anyway. Uriel needs to be tough, but he is also the archangel of salvation, and opens the gates of Life to let the dead pass safely out and onward, no waylaying by ‘evil nasties’, and he is working alongside the archangel Michael on this job. Uriel is also a culture vulture, depicted as the angel of poetry and patron of the arts, often shown carrying a book or a papyrus scroll representing wisdom. His Tarot card is the Ace of Pentacles/Coins/Earth.
‘Pennies from heaven.’
Uriel, Wikipedia and The Ace of Pentacles from The Gilded Tarot, permission of Ciro Marchetti
Gabriel, ‘Strength of God,’ is the angel of water and the west, and is the colours of white and silver. Gabriel is one of the two archangels specifically named in the Bible in both the Old and New Testament, the other being Michael. S/he is God’s messenger, often portrayed as female, she may be holding a trumpet and is the patron of communications, helping writers, teachers, journalists and artists to convey their message, to find motivation and confidence, and to market their skills. S/he helps in overcoming fear and procrastination in all difficult communication, and in areas related to children, during conception, pregnancy, childbirth and child rearing.
Gabriel by Van Eyck: The Ace of Cups, The Gilded Tarot, permission of Ciro Marchetti
Michael, ‘Who is like the Lord,’ angel of fire and the south is all colours of blue.This might seem out of keeping, but his fire is blue lightning, and his angelic legions wore armour of blue lightning, both in fighting fallen angels, and cutting free trapped human souls who hadn’t managed to rise upon death, and were vulnerable to attack, drifting loose in the ether, stuck by their own weight in Purgatory. Michael figured as the greatest and most revered of angels in many scriptures and spiritual traditions. In Muslim lore, he is the angel of nature who provides both food and knowledge to man. Michael is the protector of police officers, patron of police departments and law enforcement agencies around the world.
‘The Divine Spark’
Wikimedia: Epstein’s Michael and Satan, Coventry Cathedral and The Ace of Wands, Legacy of the Divine Tarot, permission of Ciro Marchetti
Raphael, ‘Healing of God,’ archangel of air and of the east is all colours of green. Archangel Raphael is the angel of truth, wholeness, healing, body, mind and spirit. Raphael is the rain-man, responsible for precipitation, medicine, also science, mathematics- and music. Many hospitals are named after Raphael in Latin speaking countries today. Pray for help then watch out for clues, ideas and inspiration. Raphael will not intervene to prevent a timely death,’ his war is against prolonged suffering of pain. Raphael is very curious, fascinated by humanity’s innovations, rather like Odin in Norse lore, and like Odin, likes to mingle with Man, travelling earthbound in disguise. He is reputedly the most approachable of the archangels, and is the angel to apply to for protection during travel.
‘The Sword of Truth’
Source: Wikimedia Commons: Raphael, and the Ace of Swords, The Legacy of The Divine Tarot, Ciro Marchetti
Until next time 🙂