For students of Tarot, or the just curious, a few words about The Ace of Cups.
Meanings: Inception, Awakening of Love, Creativity, Vision and the Empowerment of Intuition. It is Beauty. It is The Element of Water, it is The Chalice, The Holy Grail. Sometimes it indicates a coming birth. I have known it accurately indicate healing and recovery from illness or after an accident. It is Grace.
It is known as the Ace of Hearts in a deck of playing cards.
‘My Cup Runneth Over’ is the moment that cannot be surpassed.
Whereas the Ace of Wands, Ace of the South, refers to the primal spark, the fires of Creation, the Ace of Cups, Ace of the West, is the matrix of Life.
The Ace of Cups speaks of Source. Physically, The human body runs primarily on water and minerals. Every physiological process that happens inside the body needs water. The human body is made up of more than 70% water. The blood is more than 85%, the brain more than 80%, muscles more than 75%, and the liver is 96% water.
But beyond the immediate physical, what is our most distant physical story, back to the point of Creation, or as some might prefer to think of it, life’s origin in space, or divinity? Dust from space ultimately cross-reacted making water, an epic of chemistry which made the seas, where Life on Earth began.
We are undines, raised by evolution from the deep.
Sublimis ab unda.
The poem below, for me echoes the deeps contained within the image of The Ace of Cups. It’s from a little known contemporary poet of rare subtlety, yet also directness and integrity.
A poem, like a song, like a picture, a sculpture, a photograph, a smile, a kiss, is a manifestation of the Ace of Cups, of the moment, but eternal.
Here is a Ace within the Ace.
Small Object of Desire
I suppose I should have picked my wedding ring
but that is personal and finite to me
as is my two faced charm on a silver chain
triangular, goldstone, tourmaline
But I chose this, lifted from some shore line,
a smaller bit than I’d found and lost before;
a spindle from a whelkish structured shell
more beautiful than any sculptor’s form.
It gives only a hint of its infinite fetch,
newel staircase, ramp to raise the megaliths,
invasive toxic spirochete to invest my blood,
screw my life force with its sickening brood.
No porcelain is half so fine,
that comes from Meissen’s arcane kiln.
This is the divine, the spiral double helix.
Where else should it be but on a beach?
My small object of desire, refined by tidal pull,
inch long, white and deeply curved,
maths of all dimensions along its reach,
shape and key to life, needs only my breath to live.
So exciting! Well, maybe, if you’re interested in how psychic Tarot reading works. The Tarot’s Eight of Swords talking about…. real life damp and drains.
There is Tarot you learn by book study. Then there is the Tarot you develop through experience, in which you discover or allocate new meanings for the cards via association and your own intuition. An example from my own experience is in readings featuring the Eight of Swords.
Standard Keywords: Frustration, feeling trapped or stuck, being unable to see a way ahead, chagrin, mortification, sometimes melodrama. A drama queen. One may be making a mountain out of a molehill. Passivity, the person is awaiting rescue when she only has to step forward with care and negotiate past the fence of swords, but she lacks focus, or else the nerve to try.
This is what you will read in any Tarot study guide. But sometimes, you look at a card and think, no, that’s not it. Why not? Perhaps it makes no sense in the context of the discussion. What else is the Tarot trying to flag up for attention using the stock of images at its disposal?
Your choices when this happens in a reading, dismiss it as an aberration or try to get to the bottom of it. Stay relaxed, an idea may present itself.
CASE STUDY ONE: An email reading for a lady I had never read for before:
No background was provided, and Tarot, like Reason likes a context. Nonetheless I decided to try rather than request further clarification first, and I drew The Eight of Swords in a key position.
What I sensed and shared was, ‘no matter where you work, and I sense a kitchen table with negotiated time slots free from family use, the place of work must be free of damp. I see wet feet. Whatever that space is, that’s got the wet feet situation going on, if you recognise it, do not use that room as your workspace.’
Response: She identified herself as a psychic living and working not far from me. My reading had answered the question she had not wished to specify. She had been thinking of converting her shower room, which was in any case old and tired and in need of a revamp, into a room for receiving her own tarot clients in. Now, she was going to reconsider.
CASE STUDY TWO: A Skype reading for a family member, buying property for the first time in France. Was the flat a sound buy?
The Tarot was rather negative, pointing out all manner of defects, structural and social, some of which she made sense of right away, being aware of them already. Others however, remained to be verified. Drawing the Eight of Swords I suggested the Tarot sniffed something diabolical (The Devil card) down in the basement. Uh oh. Trouble with the drains? This, she said, was not a problem. Nor need it be her problem in any case, as the flat she was after had no basement.
The purchase went ahead, and she was delighted about the new home and remains so. However, the various problems sensed before purchase announced themselves one by one, and the drain problem declared itself almost immediately on moving in , when the floor had to be taken up in the communal entrance hallway to sort them. It didn’t matter, such is life, all the same, she was unaware of the impending work at the point of buying.
One day the Tarot is going to use the Eight of Swords to tell me about someone’s toilet. I just know it. How rip snortingly excitin’, do I hear you say? No? The point is, Tarot is merely a map key of the psyche, tattooed on card stock. Man’s soul may be a butterfly, we’ve got to sweat the nitty gritty of daily life, so the Tarot’s insights will surely go there.
Curiosity about Life, respect and generosity. Life invites ongoing learning. Progress demands it.
‘Schools out for EVER. School’s out COMPLETELY’…though it never is, or shouldn’t be for anyone with a curiosity greater than an amoeba’s.
Teachers: great ones, good and bad ones, the malevolent or indifferent. The ones I remember with affection, I remember for a variety of reasons.
Gentle bachelor Mr F always wore a salmon pink jumper and taught history. I was in his good books for ever, after asking a guest historian, a Professor David Hampson, what was later termed in my report, as ‘a very perceptive question’…an over-egging of my achievement my family found hilarious.
Mr F died of cancer quite young, and was remembered by later pupils as prone to violence. But it was the affliction of the tumour in his brain, creating cruel change. He threw blackboard dusters at people.A most gentle person.
It wouldn’t be allowed today.
Big, loud, red-faced Mr W, was Head of Hawk House, of which I was an incumbent and he taught me Maths. You’d hear the roaring from his office after assembly as he dealt with one bully or another.
‘Ohhh,’ he’d roar.’So you think it’s clever to get a little first year lad by his ear, do you? Tell me, how do YOU like it when I do THIS?’
‘Aayaa, ayaa! No sir!’
‘Ayaa, ayaa! no sir!’
‘Well, don’t you do it then, or you’ll be back in here for some more.’
It wouldn’t be allowed today.
Meeting me in the corridor at break times he’d press me to the wall with his enormous belly, and, stinking of cigarette smoke, he would bellow good naturedly from his great height. ‘Hello! SILLY WOMAN! How are you diddling?’
I knew, as did my sisters at the same school and as young people immediately do know; he was OK, not even remotely creepy, so we only laughed about it, while avoiding it if we could. I only smile at the memory but…
It wouldn’t be allowed today.
One of my ‘life lessons’ came from an elderly and very gentle science teacher. Mr Vest (yes, really) gently admonished me one day for my untidily presented homework. Embarrassed, I explained that my pen was leaky.
He said, ‘Now Katie, I know you like sayings. What’s the saying for this situation?’
I couldn’t guess which one he might mean.
‘A bad workman blames his tools’ …
An apple for teacher. But our memories are the apples they have given us, crisp and sharp, rosy and polished, maggoty and rotten.
A regular client – she’s been using my service six or seven years now- owns a boutique where I live. She is a rock and a gem. has been in business more than 20 years and employs a 4-8 staff at any given time. She wanted the Tarot’s inputs as part of planning her buying trip to London Fashion Week.
How did this work?
Tarot had previously forecast a challenging year to come for her business in 2012, with a need to diversify.
Responding to this, a few days ahead of her buying trip to London Fashion Week, the client briefed me with checking out a list of 20 fashion collections which she had shortlisted as buying possibilities.
My brief was to dowse through this list, identifying which collections represented the best buys for her boutique in terms of likely future sales revenue.
How did I set about it?
I carried out card counting spreads in respect of each collection listed. Ithen checked these findings against my pendulum. A clockwise swing of the pendulum was positive corroboration. An anti clockwise swing of the pendulum was a negative which demanded further enquiry for clarification.
Collections getting a positive reading of 6/8 or better were flagged up as Green for BUY
Collections getting a positive reading of 5/8 or 6/8 were flagged as Amber-Green BUY SELECTIVELY
Collections getting a positive reading of 4/8 were flagged as Amber OCCASIONAL PIECES
Collections getting a positive reading of 3/8 were flagged as Amber-Red IF IN DOUBT LEAVE
Collections getting anything below this were flagged as Red. WARNING!
The Tarot offered other comments and suggestions.
It is too soon to verify the sales forecasting.
But a note from my client confirmed that with the Tarot’s help, I had at least accurately anticipated her reactions upon actually seeing the colelctions for herself in person. This reinforced her own instincts and she told me, this reinforcement from another quarter helped her arrive at her decisions more quickly and with confidence.
It afforded her a ‘second opinion’ to draw on when she was unsure. An inside track with no vested interest other than in giving reliable service.
Tarot is at the Questioner’s service. The Questioner is always charge and remains in control of the use he or she chooses to make of the information.
What a business dowser can do, at the least, is offer a virtual psychic companionship, resulting in avoidance of waste, risk and loss through uncertainty in difficult times.
Is it profanity, is it unspiritual to use the Tarot for business, for money making?
Well, is it profane to help people working for their daily bread, who are providing work for others in the process?
It is Life which is sacred, not the 78 pieces of cardstock which comprise in physical terms, the oracle of Tarot.
The Tarot is a portal for reaching inward, then reaching outward, to me, ‘myself’, to ‘you’, to ‘us’, to ‘them’.
Tarot says ‘Miaow’ A Tarot reading for a cat??? Oh yes. I kid you not.
A few summers ago we had a broken down old patio replaced. Sam, who did the work for us, asked me to look in my tarot cards….on behalf of his cat, Bilbo.
Sam lived alone with his cat, and there were no problems so far as Sam was aware, but he wondered how his cat was doing.
What might Bilbo want to say to him, given an opportunity?
Mini Reading for Bilbo
(Performed In Absentia)
Card One: The 8 of Swords. Entrapment, frustration, chagrin, damp. Swords is a suit referring to sharp things and clear things…like windows.
My feeling about this card prompted me to put it to Sam that Bilbo had a difficulty in getting outside whenever he wanted to. Sam confirmed this to be the case. He lived in a downstairs flat. Bilbo usually had to go in and out by means of the sash window. There were no cat flaps, so if Sam was not there, Bilbo’s options were to be inside or outside.
Card Two: The Page of Coins Reversed. This is a card of Earth, and of small amounts of money, while Pages often refer to pets and also small items and objects.
Bilbo seemed to be saying to me he wanted a pot of earth. This prompted me to ask Sam, what were the toilet arrangements for Bilbo? Sam explained that he kept a litter tray in the flat. What was it lined with? Pellets or what? Shredded newspaper. And just outside the flat window, there was a shrub in a pot, which Bilbo liked to sit in and scratch at. There was no garden in front of the flat, only an area of hard standing. I therefore suggested Bilbo might like some nice deep ‘diggable’ cat litter for his tray, and maybe a ‘play tray’ full of soil outside. Oe more shrubs in pots.
Card Three: The Page of Cups…a card of kindness, and love, and childhood, also love letters or visits.
Bilbo did not think in terms of love, not having the words. Nonetheless, like a baby that cannot yet speak, he loved Sam, and a very little affection in return made him very happy. Just as one would expect, Bilbo lived in the moment. This card also suggested that he was physically in good condition (Cups is a healing suit), and that he was, in general, happy and content. Cups being the water suit, he probably liked fishy tastes (not all cats do, birding is more natural to cats than fishing.) This was confirmed.
I asked, what about these love letters or visits I was sensing?
What about them? Sam wanted to know. I thereupon drew:-
Card Four: The Queen of Cups Reversed. Indicative of a lady with certain qualities of self-indulgence, or to feelings of unhappiness, a lady who did not reciprocate affection?
The reading was for Bilbo and purely complimentary, done over coffee. Therefore in answer to Sam’s question, I confined myself to asking whether a blonde lady visited his flat sometimes? The answer was yes. I then asked, had he noticed that Bilbo made himself scarce when this lady was in the flat? Yes, he had noticed. Bilbo, for whatever reason, did not view this lady with favour. Did this surprise Sam? He thought a moment then said, no.
I heard from him a few weeks later, that Bilbo had a new kind of cat litter now. The lady was unlikely to be around again. What Bilbo had been picking up or reflecting had been Sam’s own feelings about the situation with the lady. This figured, absolutely. It made perfect sense, as pets are sensitive to atmosphere and ‘their’ human’s mood.
Ethically dubious, do you think, reading for the puss cat without his express permission?
The Tarot is self regulating. If Bilbo had not wished to be observed or shall we say, eavesdropped on, and the Tarot had therefore not wished to read for him, any feedback obtained would have been nonsensical to Sam.
I’ve learned that the Tarot does not disdain to speak of whatever concerns the person approaching it. The Tarot’s an oracle of the human heart and warmed by human hands.
The image below is of a watercolour drawing I did many years ago, a portrait commission of a cat called Tuppenny.
On Father’s Day, The Tarot reflects on The Emperor…
The Tarot’s Emperor flags up the spirit of Aries, the Ram, first fiery sign of the Zodiac, and with it the image of the Patriarch, for good or ill.
If you ask ‘when?’ and I draw this card, the event in question is likely to occur late March-late April.
The Emperor is in many ways, the opposite number of The Hermit, who is ruled by Virgo and walks alone. The Hermit has learned many things, understands many things, and will shine a light for others. But the Hermit walks the quieter paths in life, and has to be sought out while The Emperor feels perhaps even more alone in the midst of noise and action.
A woman can be represented by The Emperor card. Male or female, you could be the Emperor yourself, for example, in your role as a business owner, or as a manager, or police officer or in many other roles.
In an abstract sense this is a card of ‘rendering unto Caesar.’ But Emperors themselves owe duty. Emperors can be brought down. The regalia of power is in token of service. There is no loyalty without reciprocity.
In a reading, it is likely to be turning the conversation to a senior male figure in your life; a father or grandfather, a husband, and often he is older than you, maybe an employer. Occupationally, The Emperor may be a police officer, a military man or woman, or a worker in the Civil Service or judiciary.
The appearance of this card has several times alerted me to the fact I am sitting with an off-duty police officer, whether male or female. Once it showed me a judge. A terrified mother visiting family in the UK but living in the US asked me to look and see what a judge in the US was going to say about a case against her son, charged with sexual assault.
I warned her in strong terms, not to rely upon any reading, that I could get it completely wrong. But she wanted to know the worst I could see, to help herself prepare to support her son and his family, whatever the outcome. It had taken a heavy toll and the son had become very depressed waiting for the hearing, had been suspended from his job because he was a teacher of minors, and had attempted suicide.
I drew The Emperor and Justice and felt she would like this judge, and be greatly relieved by the outcome and told her so, and at the very moment I did so, three greetings cards displayed on the top shelf of a tall bookcase at the far end of the room, flew out mid-air and fluttered to the floor. A draught, obviously, but I could not discount the possibility of psychokinesis, given her acutely worried state.
Psychokinesis is not a dead spirit, nor is it a psychic power in my observation, just as a poltergeist is neither of these things, but is a stray effect or function or dysfunction of the living body’s electrical field, and is spontaneous and involuntary, even if odd, weird or occasionally alarming.
It was many months before I learned the outcome from the lady’s relatives in the UK. The judge had thrown out the case, saying, and these were his actual words apparently, ‘what a crock of sh*t.’
Impersonally, the card signifies government and large corporations organisations, the Armed Forces, the Law, and global or government organisations. If you are job-hunting and this card comes up, you are likely to find work before long, no matter who the prospective employer may be, while if you have specifically applied to an organisation of this kind, your application looks likely to succeed.
The Emperor in real life gets many a bad rap. Many a drubbing. Often well deserved.
The Emperor in his negative aspect is a tyrant or a coward, a bully or a petty pedant. A human monster even.
The ambition of Emperors have over and over again been catastrophic for the peace and happiness of their fellow humans.
Marcus Antonius: And Caesar’s spirit, raging for revenge, With Ate by his side come hot from hell, Shall in these confines with a monarch’s voice Cry “Havoc!” and let slip the dogs of war, That this foul deed shall smell above the earth With carrion men, groaning for burial.
But today we think of him at his very best, in his highest, greatest guise.
He is a chevalier, a sheltering tree, Rule with compassion, defender of the small and weak. He is the ardent lover. He is the one who will fight and die if that is what it takes, to defend his home and his people. Children and animals are drawn to him, and he is ready to run and play with them, play like a child. He still knows how.
Birds nesting in his branches, will feel themselves secure. He represents the path of reason and fair play and is ready to uphold it by word and deed.
He is active in creating order, fixing, mending, making, inventing, reining in his strength at times, exercising it at others so that order prevails, and not everyone gets splattered with the filth of chaos.
Compassion in action, and not just fine words demands courage, nerve and know-how. For compassion of deed and not just words, you have to look to the strong man or woman.
In all the light and shade of his complexity, The Emperor represents ‘our’ own menfolk, the ones we befriend, honour, love, respect and appreciate. When not ready to ding them with a saucepan.
Red earth of Adam.
Fathers or not, all men are sons of ‘red earth’, born to strive, to quest, to come home and rest, to see and not to say all that he sees, trusting few with his thoughts or his deepest fears, un-throned Emperors, every one.
‘The hunger for meaning and purpose is nothing less than the human homing instinct — the Fourth Instinct — at work. But in the tangled maze of history, we have been sidetracked; in the long journey home, we forgot our destination. Indeed, we were told that it does not exist.’ Arianna Huffington.
But where is ‘home’, beyond it being the people in your life?
‘There’s that feeling I get, when I look to the west’.’ Led Zeppelin.
‘My sun shall rise in the East, then shall my soul be at peace, ‘ Vangelis.
‘From all points of the compass flock’d birds of all feather.’ Source: Gutenberg. Org
From the beginning, we have been a migratory animal, in some parts of the world, more than others. Several cards in Tarot talk of home, rightly so, as it is a key ingredient of human experience, and a ruling perception. The Ace of Pentacles, Ten of Pentacles, Four of Wands, and Six of Cups all tell stories of a person’s home in a reading.
The Tarot’s Ace of Pentacles, which sometimes talks about food, money, or books, or bricks and mortar says, Earth itself is the nest, the Soul of Man is in the roots of the species. Below is The Ace of Pentacles from The Gilded Tarot, publisher Llewellyn, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.
Here was an instance of using tarot card counting to arrive at a qualified forecast.
My daughter, 16 at the time, was learning piano. She went for lessons once a week and practiced – ahem, sometimes– on a small, reconditioned 1930s piano in the dining room. We had been hearing a lot of renditions of ‘Oliver!’ – Fagin’s song about reviewing the situation, ‘I think I’d better think it out again!’
At Christmas I got a phone call the piano teacher, to say my daughter would soon be due to put in for entry for her Grade 2 exam, but she wasn’t going to be ready as she wasn’t putting in the necessary work. Well, I asked my daughter, did she want to go for it or not? It was her decision, but if she decided to go for it, I expected her to show that she meant business.
She opted to go for it, upped the practise sessions, and had the exam 29 March, held at school during the school day. She came dragging home with a long face. ‘I made loads of mistakes,’ she said, ‘in both pieces.’
What did the Tarot think, she wanted to know. Had she passed? She couldn’t see how, she was sure she had made ‘loads of mistakes’.
‘And what did you do? I asked.
‘I kept going,’ she said.
Slips might not have mattered as much as she feared if the examiner had detected an overall fluency, I told her. The examiner would expect slips due to nerves and overall ‘flow’ would have been the indicator of underlying technical competence.
I drew 8 cards and turned them over. Six were upright, which to me signified a yes answer from tarot. Two were reversed, upside down, indicating a no answer. Therefore the Tarot thought it highly probable, a 75% probability that she had in fact passed, despite her feelings about it.
Two cards in particular were encouraging. The Page of Swordsmade an appearance and was upright. This was a lucky sign because my daughter is herself a Page of Swords, born under Aquarius. Facially, the card resembles her too, and the hair is not dissimilar, nor the build.
The Queen of Swords was another of the cards drawn in its upright or positive aspect. Was the examiner an older lady, elegant and well-spoken? I asked her. Yes, she said, sort of old-fashioned, serious, but very nice.
‘She liked you,’ I said, I sensed that this Queen had recognised in her a young ‘page of music’.
Because the suit of Swords has strong correlations with Science – Physics in particular- and Medicine, Mathematics and Music.
These two court cards appearing amongst the six upright cards reinforced my confidence on her behalf and anyway, the thing was done, and I told her not to worry. And she did pass.
Not a cheerful tarot tale today, but terrible and sad. Such is life sometimes. But maybe also indicative of something so very much more than that.
On March 2nd, I had the cards out to get a sense of the following day. My husband, Il Matrimonio had flown to the States, and my 16 year old daughter had required a little support in previous days to deal with a nasty little outbreak of attempted bullying. A venomous sneak weasel boy, though this is unfair on weasels which are such attractive animals in many ways.
Looking out in respect of both situations I drew cards which made me feel like I had been hit in the stomach.
Justice Reversed with the Knight of Swords Reversed is a seriously unpleasant combo. It brings with it such ideas as a judgement against someone, injustice (but for whom?) attack, violence, anger, ruthlessness, cruelty, murder, sudden violent fatality.
The Knight of Swords Reversed is, I personally feel, the card most to be dreaded of the cards of the Minor Arcana. Upright, it has certain stern but powerful virtues, speed, decisive action, incisive thinking, swift invocation of force, attack, resolute defence, a knight rides out for you full pelt, or you yourself, are that knight.
From The Gilded Tarot: Ciro Marchetti: Llewellyn.
In other words, drawn right way up, the card promises everything you’d howl for if you needed the cavalry. Drawing it reversed I knew a pang of dread.
The three of Wands was the reason I did not think this was not about my daughter. It’s a card of overseas, so now my thoughts switched to Il Matrimonio, and since Swords correlates to the element of air, I thought, what about his flight? Was he having trouble at Immigration? Just then, he rang. No, he was fine, he had landed, very excited at collecting his hire car, (the big baby!)
So what was it? Suddenly the thought came into my mind ‘death sentence.’ Where had that come from? What string had the Tarot plucked to send me such a dire vibration? I went to the computer and, on another impulse Googled ‘death sentence.’
And my eye went straight to a link. I opened it and read a piece that had just been posted, 6 minutes previously, which would have been almost simultaneous upon my drawing of the cards. The item was copyright, but it was in that days news in the States, in particular Alabama.
In short, tragedy. In short, murder. in 2008 a young man, an ex-soldier who had served in Iraq called Courtney Lockhart abducted and killed an 18 year old student called Lauren Burk, shooting her in the back as she tried to escape.
Wednesday 2 Match 2011, and Courtney Lockhart, a man with a daughter of his own, had his earlier sentence reviewed, of prison without parole, and in the presence of Lauren’s grieving family, and in his mother’s presence received a death sentence from the judge who had decided to overrule the jury.
Had this double death-knell then been felt so acutely and at the same time so deeply it’s vibration had crossed the Atlantic to reach an utter and previously completely unaware stranger?
Well, actually, is that so hard to imagine?
If it is possible to read tarot for people at a distance, which it certainly is, why should this not have travelled through the ether to an intuitive who was extra-receptive and ‘facing the right way’ because she was tuning in on her own daughter’s security and was also in a psychic sense ‘facing west’ with a husband flying state-side?
Did this vibration originate with the sentenced man and his family, or the victim’s family? Did it emanate from one of these individuals, or all of them rolled up together in a snowball of agony, a Munchian scream in the ether? Or from the residual energy, the ghost if you like, of the poor little girl herself?
It makes me think yet again that the world, and we, are so very much more than matter which is really energy slowed down. Life isn’t discrete, isn’t so lumpen. It’s more like a vast invisible web, dew drops where the sun catches it, beautiful and ugly. Bluebottles trapped, struggle darkly iridescent.
I was in good odour with a regular client. In June 2010, a reading indicated that her husband had reason to be hopeful of early retirement with a viable retirement package. He had been wanting to go for some time, but hadn’t found an early way out that he would find acceptable financially.
The cards assessed the chances of an opportunity materialising before the end of 2010 as 6 out of 8, odds I translated as meaning it was highly likely, though not inevitable.
Nothing is inevitable but Death…and taxes, so the saying goes. The future consists of so many complex variables, I find it more meaningful to attach a weighting to ‘predictions’, or forecasts, as I prefer to think of them.
What’s the difference? Well, a prediction is a statement about the future presented as a virtual fact, a done deal. A forecast is an indication of the likelihood that something will happen, leaving space for the workings of undetected random chance and free will. Society uses all manner of forecasting…from the weather to the Stock Exchange. tarot readers just offer another, personalised form, intuitively collected using tarot symbols as tools of assessment and translation, as our equivalent of the gathering and statistical analysis of hard data.
The chief cards I drew indicative of a viable ending coming into view over time’s horizon were The Emperor Reversed, Justice and Judgment.
The Emperor often indicates a man of mature years, or an organisation, generally a large one. His employer was a global defence company. Justice = Law, contract. Judgement = as in Judgement Day, in a benign way, a time of reckoning, the right time for completing or ending something.
I heard today he was invited to go in December, as part of a larger redundancy programme and – which will not necessarily the case for all such invitees – he is delighted.
There are many depictions of animals and birds in the Tarot. They form a great part of the human landscape physically, intellectually, emotionally, spiritually, and symbolically. If there’s a heaven, what would it be without them? I wouldn’t mind, personally if mosquitoes, maggots, deadly snakes and komodo dragons didn’t make it. Spiders would be all right as long as they were non-venomous and less than two inches in diameter. However, it’s not me in charge.
The songbird traditionally most associated with Christmas, or to give the winter festival its older name, Yuletide – is the robin redbreast. The cheeky, dumpy little European robin, Erithacus rubecula is a member of the flycatcher family.
Its preferred habitats are woodlands, hedgerows, parks and garden. Its staple diet is worms, seeds, fruits and insects. It will fight over sunflower seeds and it adores mealworms. You can buy these in dried form in lots of outlets including many supermarkets. They look revolting though people used to baiting fish hooks won’t mind them. Robins have been to take mealworms by hand, so irresistibly delicious are they to robin-kind.
Male and female European robins are identical to look at, adults of both sexes having the red breast, while young robins have no red breast, and are a speckled golden brown colour. The lack of red breast in the young defends them from territorial attack by adults. The robin lives a little over one year on average. If it lives beyond 1.1 years it may achieve twelve years and has been known to reach the age of twenty, but long life is rare.
The robin’s endearing appearance belies its feistiness. It’ll fight to the death for its territory, and one in ten die in combat. They have been seen to chase off pigeons much bigger than they are. The one in my garden right now however, is rather timid and will scurry into the rosemary when a pigeon appears. Well, I suppose they are individuals just as we are.
Robin redbreast builds a cup-shaped nest in a hole or hidden in ground cover, and will sing all year round. Click here to hear its song and for other general information from the RSPB:-
The robin received the human pet name of ‘Robin’ in the fifteenth century. It has a special place in the library of legends embedded in the Tarot, and a robin may be observed in some decks, including the King of Pentacles card in the Sacred Circle Tarot Deck.
It belongs there by virtue of the symbolism and superstitions attached to it.
Some older people consider the robin a bird of ill omen, a harbinger of death. It is considered unlucky for a robin to fly into a house as Death is expected to follow. For this reason, a Christmas card with a picture of a robin on it is not always welcome with people aware of this tradition. But compassion and care for the dead is also attributed to the robin. One legend says that it tried to help Christ by pulling off a thorn from the crown Jesus had been made to wear, injuring itself in the process – hence its red breast. Another old tale says that it was a robin who found the bodies of the lost ‘Babes in the Wood‘, and who buried them with a golden coverlet of fallen leaves.
If your robin seems shy, it may be a visitor from Europe. British robins haunt gardens more than their European relatives, are more used to human contact and are bold in comparison with European winter visitors which tend to favour woodlands in their native lands.
All right, you robin.
I’m on my way out with sugared bread (for energy it’s better to give them cake or sugared bread than plain bread) Here are some more of those revolting mealworms, and let’s hang up another half coconut of fat and nuts. But note this, my fine robin friend; this is not just for you, but is for sharing with the blue-tits and coal-tits, the blackbirds, sparrows and the finches.
The North Wind Doth blow
And we shall have snow
And what will the robin do then, poor thing?
He’ll hide in a barn
To keep himself warm
And hide his head under his wing, poor thing.
Let’s see what the robin currently peering out from the safety of the big rosemary bush, will communicate via the Tarot.
Are you a cock or hen robin?
Answer card: The High Priestess. Just to make sure, I pull another card and get the Moon Reversed. Meanings: I am a hen bird. I am solitary right now, I want no mate. This is not the time.
What are you thinking right now?
Answer card: The Empress. Meaning? What have we here? Food! I have discovered a new harvest! Being provided for, I must eat my fill while I can.
I pull another card, just as the robin flies off again…and, strangely enough, the card is The Chariot.The robin has flitted just a short distance to sit on top of the seed feeder hung in the bare branches of the laburnum tree.
Why have you gone to sit there?
Answer card: The Seven of Wands Reversed. Meaning: I am new to this garden and I must be careful. This is a good vantage point from which to spy out enemies and not be taken unawares.
What’s your favourite time of year?
Answer card: The Empress Reversed. Meaning: A time when there are plenty of fruits and seeds, but there are still sheltering leaves on the trees. A time when there are still long hours of light to feed by, and sometimes there’s still warmth…the night is not so bitter, the air does not bite so hard. My legs creak like sticks at first light when I must move for food or die. How I wish it could always be the time of the Empress.
OK, verification may not be an option as with readings done for domestic species. Still, I have done animal readings before, and know intuitive communication can work inter-species. Maybe it would not work with all species, but the tarot affords a means of extending perception beyond the boundaries of self, and living things share common drives and goals. Sentient and sensate beings, whether bare or feathered, scaled or furry, are inextricably subject to vagaries of environment, the common denominator in shared consciousness.
During the severe winter of 1962/63, the UK robin population was worse than decimated, reduced to an estimated 50-60 breeding pairs. Spare a little if you can, for your fellow creatures outside this winter.
Well, it has been a white Christmas here where I live by the sea on Lancashire’s usually mild, if sometimes windy Fylde coast. It did not strictly count as white, for anyone who might have placed a bet on it, as no new snow fell, but it looked white all right.
Il Matrimonio, the husband, asked me, thinking of prospects for inter-familial travel, did I see a thaw coming by today, Monday?
I performed a single card reading and drew THE KNIGHT OF WANDS.
East Card: Thoughts, intellectual preoccupations, planning.
A central card or simply an extra card placed alongside may be used to identify the question or concern that is the motivation for coming to the reading.
This may or may not be logged in the forefront of the client’s conscious thinking at the reading’s outset and may emerge later. Don’t be put off too much if you’re new to reading, share the meaning of a card and a client refutes it. Don’t argue, accept the rebuttal and wait…very often it will emerge during the reading that the Tarot was right, and the client just needed a little more thinking time or to settle into the conversation first.
In the North I drew The Chariot Reversed. A card of Travel, Transport, Ambition, Partnership, Cohesion, Teamwork, Success achieved through focus and determination. Being drawn Reversed…was he currently experiencing trouble with transport or a sense of dissatisfaction with his job?
Not with transport he said, looking baffled. Yes, to the dissatisfaction at work question. He was a building labourer, a skilled one, and that was OK, he liked the work, but he had a hunger for learning, and a taste in reading and curiosity in metaphysical matters that he found was not readily understood by his work mates.
This formed the greater part of the discussion that followed.
But for now that did not seem to be all of ‘it’…what about his car or van, I asked? This was probably not a serious problem, positive surrounding cards indicated it as a passing concern, but it was lodged in the material and financial department of this small spread.
The MOT was due on it the following week, he said, and he was not looking forward to the bill one bit.
Aha. The Tarot was picking up on basics. And so it should.
Idly playing with my cards at the dining table, I asked Il Matrimonio what he was doing with the fish tanks. He kept two tanks of tropical fish at that time, guppies in one, neon tetras in the tank in the dining room.
Male guppies are colourful, every individual’s unique. The females are drab coloured. They produce live babies, but the adults tend to cannibalise the newborns if they don’t make for the weeds as soon as they emerge, and hide there until they’re too big to be eaten. Awww. So sweeeet.
Neon tetras are small and slim, blue, red and white, with a zingy neon strip along their sides, as the name suggests.
The hubby explained that he was introducing a young male guppy into the tetra tank for his own safety. Whereupon, using my old Universal Waite deck that day, I drew The High Priestess. (US Games)
However, I work with reversed cards, and I drew her reversed. A reversed card is not necessarily negative in connotation. It may simply flag up an area requiring special care. But I felt this was a warning, to be read in a literal sense.
‘I don’t think you should do that,’ I said. ‘I’m seeing danger here from a lady who is blue, white and red. I think the tetras will have him if you put him in there, and I think he won’t last two weeks.’
(Tarot can work like this with timing. The High Priestess is Major Trump 2.)
Il Matrimonio was having none of it. The tetras were no risk to the guppy, they were too small, completely harmless. What did I know about tropical fish, etc etc?
Eff all, it is true. Please, any proper a-fish-ionad-os reading this, do not troll me on this score. But the reader does not have to factually know. That is the point and indeed the potential usefulness of oracular divination.
‘Ok,’ I said, ‘in which case it is a warning against the tetra tank. I wouldn’t put him in there.’
‘Well, he won’t last if I leave him where he is.’
A few days later, poor guppy was gone. RIP. Not so much as a fin left.
Not saying the tetras did it any harm. It might have been something about the tank, and maybe guppy was toast whatever Il Matrimonio did, but they certainly cleaned him away.
All we had left were the tetras, swimming innocently about, the piscine little High Priests/esses in their grotto.
What a few weeks it has been for anyone using the Tarot to try and divine the Election outcome. On May 4 I looked in the cards and saw a riot of apparent contradiction. Cross- referencing a number of question-and-answer columns, I seemed to be witnessing the following scenario post May 6:-
Gordon Brown still in situ in No. 10
BUT David Cameron the ‘winner’…just
AND a Hung Parliament was probable. (chance 3/5 or greater.)
GB! I thought. And I meant Gordon Bennett! not Gordon Brown. It looked completely bonkers. I tried to rationalise what I was looking at and couldn’t. I couldn’t think of a formula or precedent, that would allow me to accept the Tarot’s preview as likely.
Now, to use the Tarot for divination on public matters or world events doesn’t feel at all the same as doing an interpersonal reading. When attempting to divine impersonal events, such as earthquakes for example, or the actions or thinking of a mass collective…such as the national consciousness, the variables are truly enormous.
Even so. Hindsight (or Back In Time, as Tarot author Janet Boyer terms it) serves here as a reminder that reading the Tarot can require NERVE.
We have come though an education system that doesn’t teach us to how to train or access our unconscious mind pro-actively. To live peaceably in society settings, the human animal has had to compromise individual instinct…which is why the divination arts are so often regarded with mistrust and disfavour. They theoretically represent a potential threat to society. Imagine the social consequences of all of us acting on our gut feelings about other people…we’d struggle to work productively in co-operative teams of strangers in the workplace for starters, wouldn’t we?
As a tarot reader it doesn’t necessarily come easy, trusting what you see in your cards when it doesn’t square with your rational analysis of the question. Learning to ‘just go with it’ is the simplest and yet the hardest thing of all.
And so, returning to the reading on the Election, we drew the Emperor Rev as an Emperor (PM, Government, authority figure, paterfamilias) departed – with gravitas and dignity in my personal view, just as he had conducted himself in the T.V debates – with gravitas and dignity.
And now we have two younger, smaller Emperors…
Let’s hope it’s a harmonious workable team, as in the Tarot’s Chariot card, able to forge smoothly ahead, and not the Chariot Reversed which would signify Double Trouble…
Below is the Chariot Card from the popular pre 1900’s IJJ Swiss Tarot Deck.
I would say to tarot students, ‘nerve’ develops with experience. Cutting your ‘tarot teeth’ reading for a forgiving audience -family, friends, friends of friends, doing lots and lots of them, will help you find your key strengths and affinities in working with the Tarot.
This develops confidence in your divination…the Tarot’s power is the power of self-trust.
Card 2 WATER / West stands the Suit of Cups: I look here for insights into matters of the heart, what’s going on in their personal relationships. How’s their mood? I look out here also for issues to do with health, healing and recovery, and for creative and spiritual preoccupations or questions.
Card 3 FIRE/ South stands for the Suit of Wands: here I’m asking myself via the Tarot, what’s driving them? What’s the dream right now? Travel and relocation plans may also show up here, and social aspects, and levels of inspiration and energy.
Card 4 AIR/ East stands for the Suit of Swords: here I’m looking for a sense of, what’s going on in their head right now? (apart from the reading, obviously) I look here for their plans, pending decisions, exercising choice and power, and any legal, medical or intellectual matters.
A fifth card is drawn for the centre of the cross, and here I am explicitly asking, what is the priority to be addressed in this reading session? What is THE Question?
Card 1 (N) Coins Four of Wands Reversed (dissatisfaction at work and at home. A home feeling incomplete
Card 2 Cups The Emperor Reversed (Bureaucracy, overbearing or absent male figure)
Card 3 (S) Wands The Three of Cups (Friendships, celebrations)
Card 4 (E) Swords The Wheel of Fortune (Thinking of making major changes, this being indicated as a good idea)
Question Card: Judgement
The Four of Wands Reversed
Client Response: This Card correctly indicated dissatisfaction connected to a home/property and/or a professional matter. The client had a flat on the market, no offers as yet, and had just bought a new house, but didn’t feel settled and was feeling anxious that she had made a false step. She liked her work but had been unsettled there recently, having difficulty with a new manager’s communication style. She was thinking of retirement (and this card when reversed means a LACK or ENDING or a NON-STARTING of a professional activity or satisfaction.)
The Emperor Reversed
Client Response: This card rang true. She confirmed both as concerns that were preoccupying her at this time.
The 3 of Cups
Client response. She wanted, not a husband necessarily, but a proper companion. The man in her life would not entertain the thought of marriage, nor would he court her, nor even come to visit her in her new home. She was beginning to feel, not only sad but angry about this (the growing anger shown again to me later by the 5 of Swords) Her new house did not feel like home…she felt she hadn’t had a ‘house warming’…
The Wheel of Fortune
Client Response: She was ready for change, beginning to think very hard about what she wanted and needed after retirement. She felt she wanted life to continue opening up…she didn’t want it to narrow, she dreaded the idea of a dead-end.
The Question Card Judgement: Retirement was approaching, the end of a major life chapter. A kind of Judgement Day. Her essential question was, What would her life be like after it?
There were strong signs of happiness in retirement, indicated as being about eighteen months down the line. The relationship problem wasn’t going to be an obstacle to this. If the man chose not to opt in more actively, I sensed she was going on to sail on regardless, and if he didn’t respond, he was likely to be left behind.