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…
The Chariot Card from the Gilded Tarot, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.
I was playing with the cards, no particular question, just a few things on my mind. I pulled The Chariot card, but it was upside-down, Reversed.
I drew it with the Strength card and this was also Reversed but I wasn’t sure of the message. The function of questions in tarot reading is to provide a framework for interpretation. Sometimes though, the challenge is what question to frame, and then, the trick is to just start pulling cards, refine with further questions, or wait for an insight.
The car was behaving itself, so it wasn’t a vehicle malfunction message, which it certainly can be, drawing The Chariot Reversed. I asked my eighteen year old daughter how she was getting on with her driving lessons. She’d only had five lessons, and was loving it, or so I thought, but she replied that she wasn’t enjoying them any more.
I asked why not. She’d had a scare last time, she said, turning left. She’d struggled to steer, the wheel locked, and another driver got impatient. More than that. Furious.
‘Steer!’ the instructor shouted.
‘It won’t turn any further!’
She felt shaky afterwards. Other drivers were so aggressive, she said. Tail-gating, gesticulating, sticking their fingers up as they overtake. They could see this was a learner, learning with Mr Pass, in his mini with its big sign on top, and they were learners once.
So, her nerves had been a little rattled. Maternal counselling followed, a small bracer. Keep your mind on what you’re doing, stick your fingers right back up at them. Testosterone twats. They were learners once. We imagined a few scenarios, she began to laugh and concoct in he rimagination enjoyable ways of deliberately causing annoyance, pressing the buttons of the petrol stress-heads. Laughing draws many a sting.
So, what had the Tarot done, here? Nothing unduly dramatic, it had merely waved a flag, causing me to pay attention to something that had been passing under the radar. For her first three lessons she had been eager to go out, and she’d come in whoop-whooping, and now, waiting, she was saying, ‘I’m not in the mood.’
The shine had come off the learning. Now that the Tarot had drawn it to my attention, I could offer perspective and encouragement, the polite word for a gentle kick up the rear.
The Chariot Reversed stood for Driving, negatively aspected. Strength Rev represented the experience of intimidation. She’ ll have to turn Strength right way up, and not let into her emotional space any unmannerly Mr Toad stress-merchant who wants to go at 50mph in a 30 mph zone, and thinks they are an expert and infallible, forgetting respect.
If you’re Mr/Ms Toad. Take it easy. Poop-poop! Remember what happened to Mr Toad. Remember the hare and the tortoise.
I was looking in my cards to help Il Matrimonio. He was due to drive down to Leicester the following day, to meet with a telecom company with a view to a one off contract in Project Management. He wanted to know what hints and tips I might have for him, in consultation with the Tarot, and what was the forecast for the outcome.
I drew The Chariot Reversed, The Six of Pentacles and Judgement. This row of 3 cards represented the story arc and timeline for the next day.
Chariot Rev: Car trouble was possible, hopefully minor. I saw no injury. The following two cards were mitigating factors in deciding the problem was not too serious.
The Six of Pentacles: I felt they might not want to pay the proposed rate of £850 daily. I felt they would offer a rate in the £600’s.
Judgement: I saw a contract, comfortably acceptable as in the best interests of both parties.
I warned him to drive with extra caution and that the daily rate was the obstacle to be negotiated as the man himself did not have the final say on budget for the task, but had to refer it to committee.
There was nothing of sharp practise in respect of this to the best of my ability to detect. The Magician Reversed or the Seven of Swords would have been the signs of that, for me.
As it was a reading for Il Matrimonio I did not have long to wait to know the outcome.
The car problem was the exhaust. It pretty much fell off at Stoke. Fortunately he was not on the motorway at the time, and was able to carry out a temporary repair . He pulled in at a petrol station. He got oil on his shirt cuffs, and it was a bit fraught, but the car behaved thereafter and, getting the call, I booked it in at our local garage for next day.
The company wanted the service but already had a list of preferred suppliers in situ.
A rate of £650 was agreed and paperwork has now been signed with a contract for a few days work initially, perhaps more later. I feel there will be more because the Judgment card is like that. The Two of Swords also represnts a contractual agreement, but Judgement trumps it in terms of scale or longevity.
The Sixes in Tarot are generally indicative of something beneficial:
In honour of St George’s day, I’ll try the Tarot out as an interviewing tool, as a Translator across Time and Truth. St George’s Day, April 23rd, is also thought to be the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare.
The Tarot tells no lies, but it stands to reason, factually speaking, there can be no getting at ‘the truth’ of St George. A legend may contain grains of fact, while representing the poetic truth of an amalgam of people or myths. As the poet, Kathleen Raine expressed it, ‘Myth is the Truth of Fact, not Fact the Truth of Myth.’
What some call fantastical, or lies, even damned lies, if they don’t apprehend poetic truth, for others is just taking a possibility for a walk, an interesting exercise with judgement in abeyance. Let’s suspend judgement just for a moment, as we enter the Tarot’s Imaginarium.
That poor dragon. Call the RSPCA. Well, that’s another way of looking at it, by way of a change.
George, if I may, if you can hear me, what can you tell us about yourself? The Six of Swords Rx:
I am the other side of The River. I hear you only faintly, your words are not my language, and yet I understand you. There must be a translator somewhere. I have forgotten many things, but I remember I was a traveller. I made long journeys over the sea as well as by land. When I was small I’d go looking for frogs amongst the bullrushes in the pebbled stream, near where I lived. It was good luck to find a frog.
I didn’t read as well as my father wished, I had some letters, taught me by an old Persian with scarred legs – I didn’t know how he’d got those. He knew about numbers and about the stars. Sometimes he would let me sit by him, and show me maps of the sky.
You’re reputed to have killed a dragon. What can you tell us about that? The Queen of Cups/Ace Pentacles Rx.
There was something once, but I wouldn’t call it a dragon. It was a water-drake, a filthy great eel, attacking fishermen, robbing nets some place I stopped off, they saw I was a military man and they offered coin and a night’s lodgings if I would help them hunt and kill it, and they were in difficulties, so I did.
What about the rescued princess?
Queen of Cups Rx
Princess? I don’t know. There was a woman, still beautiful, not young. Nothing to do with the drake. I was passing through, the problem was mentioned, good coin offered (Ace Coins Rx) I went out at night with the fishermen. One guided the boat, I saw the great eel showing silver at the surface, and threw my lance. We had to withdraw and wait. There was no question of pulling the lance out of this thing, or pulling it from the water still alive. Its mistake was in coming so close to the surface when the moon was so bright. I’d never seen one so huge. They said it had taken a child.
Another thing happened that might have become a story of a dragon. A battle chariot came down on us. A huge thing with its horse team decked out in the semblance of a beast, with a beast’s head carving. I flung a spear, it went through the spokes of one of the wheels. My farthest throw ever, they said. Maybe that’s the root of the story. It was that, or the eel. I kept a pine marten once, for a season, but I don’t imagine that will qualify.
What was your profession?
The King of Swords
(This ties in with known history) Oh, I was ‘miles’, a soldier, I became ‘miles’ after the death of my mother, and I went on to become an officer. A thing to be said for Rome was, it rewarded skill and service, it gave you chances. I wasn’t popular, or perhaps I simply mean, I wasn’t easy and outgoing. I was known for a certain reserve, nothing to do with rank. I was rarely the worse for wear, I laughed at jokes, but I didn’t make many. But the men didn’t give me a hard time either about getting promotion. I tried hard to be fair, always, didn’t put on airs, and few of them could see further or clearer than I could, or better me with a lance. I had a horse, a grey mare called Usa .
(Reading note: I got this name by ‘hearing’ it. Sometimes insights come this way in a real life reading. I had to look it up, and I found that ‘Usa’ is not listed as a Roman or Cappadocian name, but it is a Sanskrit name, meaning ‘Dawn’. My surprise was at finding the name actually existed, I hadn’t come across it before.)
What else, George?
Whatever I said I would do, I did. In my life I had two homes, two peoples, two purses and they were sometimes empty. I was always divided. But it was not in my nature to function divided. I looked at this, or I looked at that, the rest went into the background. I think others besides myself might have paid a heavy price for that. I could not see that at the time. Or if I did, I could not, or would not change it.
Is it accurate to say you were a Christian? The Hierophant Rx
The word echoes. I remember that I found myself out of step, dangerously so.
Why was that?
Perhaps it was just the world I had came into.
What do you remember about leaving Life?
Seven of Wands, Ace of Cups.
There must have been pain and fear but I don’t remember. I can only see blows coming at me to know it was not gentle. Then I was looking down from a height, the peace of knowing I had escaped and was free. Little else.
Did you have children?
The Three of Swords Rx
I feel I was mourned from afar. A son. I last saw him, before embarking overseas again. He had lately been apprenticed. Tooling of leather, I think. He was enjoying the work. Perhaps he continued to become a craftsman or merchant (3 Wands) I hope Life was good for him, I hope he got what he needed and wanted, but what his life path was like afterwards, I can never know.
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.
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’.
The Tarot’s Moon card: Things That Go Bump In The Night…
The Tarot card that might be talking about things going bump in the night, and we don’t mean burglars, or …well, you know…is The Moon card: Its meanings: Dreams, Illusions, Shadows, Psychic Perception, Deceit, Danger, Fear of the Unknown, Paranoia.
Things that go bump in the night. If it’s filmable, if it’s reproducable, I don’t think it’s the real/unreal thing.
Why? Because such experiences are perceptions of the Amygdala. The eyes see what the brain sees, projecting, not reflecting. This is the vision of the psychic eye. It does not mean that it is not ‘real’.
Reports of ghosts may be considered suspect for a number of reasons. For one thing, they can be good for business…certain businesses. There was an interesting legal situation in the ’90s when a famously haunted Lancashire property, Chingle Hall, was sold at a value to reflect its haunted status with tourist income potential, which did not, em, materialise as substantially as expected.
This doesn’t mean there aren’t ghosts anywhere, anytime, ye who cry scorn and derision. It’s something so easy to do, just dismiss it, if it hasn’t happened to you. Ghosts are not performing seals, or maybe it requires a certain kind of sensitivity to be open to that perception. Which begs the question, what is a ghost, anyway?
Have I experienced anything of that sort, myself? Yes, I have, on a few occasions. The first occasion was long before I ever thought of learning Tarot, and it was extraordinary although the full strangeness did not hit me right away or even for some years. I was ‘fetched’ to a scene where a man had just died, and it turned out to have been the man himself who had done the fetching. There was the body, round the back of M&S in Leicester, there was the ambulance, and the paramedics, trying to resuscitate him, but he was now too far outside himself, and very shocked at its suddenness, poor man.
These days, there’s a small dog on the staircase just now and then. I’ve seen it running down, fading in and out of view. Nothing unpleasant whatsoever. I’ve seen it in the kitchen and on the landing, and I’ve seen it run under the dining table. It’s the size of a large terrier with pricked ears and a short dark coat. I see the movement and the shape, not the detail.
I imagine it’s some kind of energy residue; a print or a memory of a previous household pet.
Other things over the years have been sadder, stranger, creepier, and I have definitely not wished to encourage them.
I’m not asking if you ‘believe’ in such. If you don’t, you don’t, and many don’t. I get that. But, I have heard a lot of stories, presented quite matter of factly, by people in perfect possession of all their marbles. If you are interested, look up the books of TC Lethbridge, psychic researcher and academic with a scientific background. He said, ‘today’s magic is tomorrow’s science,’ and I think he’s near the mark.
The world is not only stranger than we know. It may be stranger than we CAN know. Why should recognising possibilities and the limits of current understanding be a barrier to enquiry?
Tarot, Runes, our dreams, myths and songs, are some of the many boats available for exploring these deep waters. Some may prefer to stay in harbour, and not explore at all, and that’s fine; they needn’t. But not everyone has the choice, the current pulls them out. I chose Tarot but I didn’t choose the things that went before, I learned they were part of my make-up. For all our intellectual achievements and aspirations, resistant to ‘superstition’ or not ‘we’ remain an instinctive animal. We rely on it for our safety. If someone gives you the creeps, then they give you the creeps, and there’ll be a reason. Police, Emergency Services Personnel, the Military, all need good instincts, or else.
To be psychic is only an extreme form of instinct. This is our nature and our default. Factual truth may also be poetic. Stories come from someone’s experience, and myths and fairy tales from a collective experience. In this sense, however fanciful, even ghost stories contain some essential truth. They do not lie.
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.
You don’t have to be ‘psychic‘ in order to learn tarot, which is a skill of divination, in which one attempts to uncover hidden or semi-hidden information or understanding. You do have to be interested in symbols and associative thinking, you do have to be receptive, but to be ‘psychic’ helps sometimes, to make the symbolic more precise, and to talk in every day, concrete terms, about specifics.
Am I ‘psychic’? Yes, to an extent, and so probably, are you, but what does it mean?
The word ‘psychic’ may comes from the Greek, ‘psyche’, meaning soul and derived from the word ‘psychikos’ meaning, mental, of the mind. ‘Psychic’ implies soulic knowledge, the soul entering and leaving the body on the breath. The word intuition also refers to an inner knowing, that which is our inner tutor, and which we all possess as an inseparable element of normal human instinct.
So what is the difference between being intuitive and psychic? It’s subtle. Perhaps it’s most simply defined as a matter of precision or degree.
The intuition provides us with impressions, feelings, and reactions. Time being of the essence where safety is an issue, intuitions arrive instantly, in advance of any hard evidence to explain them. Intuition is a courier of super-fast intelligence, bypassing conscious processes. Everyone is intuitive. It is a function of competent, normal intelligence, but not everybody, maybe for cultural or ‘intellectual’ reasons, feels comfortable about acknowledging it.
Some ‘diss it’ by saying they will deal only with ‘proven facts’ or evidence or reason.
Yawn. Well, let them, if they want to limit themselves unnecessarily. But this, it could be argued, is actually anti-intellectual. The mind is a whole, not a pie servable in slices.
Psychic insights come when they come, are instantaneous and specific. Something may be ‘seen’ or ‘heard’ or ‘smelled’ or dreamed of, but it will be particular, unlike the formless but none the less powerful, and even life- saving promptings of the intuition.
The High Priestess, pictured above, represents both the Intuition, and the Psyche and psychic promptings, or refers to a person who may be female or male, who works or serves as an advisor, or seer.
Reading for a client one evening, I sensed she was holding something back, and to encourage her, asked her directly about a ‘rude man’ I kept sensing, a bully with a loud voice, fair or ginger, a salesman of some kind? The card triggering this was the King of Wands Reversed.
My client said she knew who this was; a man who had a market stall near hers, but she insisted that she’d come only for advice regarding retirement. Courtesy demanded I take her at her word, and we carried on, but I remained uneasy that she hadn’t shared the real worry, and so I hadn’t had a chance to try and help. Such was my feeling.
After she had gone, I was lying in front of the television with a cup of tea, when I suddenly ‘saw’ her in my mind’s eye. She was holding a big round pot in both hands, and she was mending it, with great care and attention.
Oh! I thought. Well, I had mentioned to her that I could see her taking up pottery (prompted by the appearance of the Page of Coins) But I was struck, the mental picture was so vivid.
Next day she called, but I had someone with me and couldn’t call back straight away. When I returned the call, the phone rang for a long time before I rang off. She called again and at last we spoke. The lady now wanted to tell me what was bugging her about the rude man. He was an unwanted admirer. He’d told her that he’d been to me for a reading, that I had performed psychometry on his wrist watch (psychometry is a psychic reading performed using as a focus an object connected to the person being read through a history of physical contact or at least, proximity) I had predicted, so this man said, that he and this lady were going to marry.
So her real reason for coming to see me had been to check this out. Would I say anything that would correspond with this man’s account?
The gentleman was a fibster. What a lot of porky pies and utter ……
I did not know him, I had not read for him, nor do I offer psychometry readings. Nor would I ever have said such a thing. I do not offer predictions, but forecasts, offering a sense of the odds on a question, but nothing prescriptive, for whom am I to disregard the possibilities of free will or the wild card?
I told her this, we chatted awhile, and as a light hearted way of signing off the call, I mentioned my vision of the night before.
‘ That’s why I couldn’t pick up the phone when you rang!’ she said. ‘That’s why I
had to call you back. I had glue all over my hands, trying to fix a pot I broke yesterday!’
The vision had therefore been an instance of psychic, as opposed to intuitive ‘knowing’.
It’s a matter of record now, I’m as sane as the next person, or at least as sane as any one of us could prove ourselves to be, but I am a ‘potty’ psychic.
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.
During a reading for a lady who worked as a hypnotherapist, the Tarot suddenly seemed to suggest it was time to put her cigarette out. This was the feeling I got, drawing The Ace of Wands Reversed, although it may mean many other things
The client confirmed that she did smoke. She had taken it up again recently, not feeling settled in her job, which was a new job.
Looking at the cards laid out before me. My eye was drawn to one in particular; the Page of Cups.
The Universal-Waite Page of Cups: U.S. Games Systems.
This card symbolises offers and gifts. It may be an invitation, a proposal, a new friendship, or a birth. It may be announcing an engagement or wedding ring, or recovery from illness, or a new creative or spiritual project. I have also come to associate it rather less romantically, with fish oil supplementation, for reasons you’ll guess at, studying the image.
Something about the pink of his sleeves arrested my attention, and before I knew I was going to say it I asked. ‘Do you eat a lot of those pink and white marshmallows you get in bags?’
‘God,’ she said, ‘I absolutely love them. I’ve usually got some in my handbag. How on earth did you know that?’
It was the Page of Cups who ‘told’ me, triggered by colour association. The thought popped into my head, so I said it.
This is not unusual in a reading. One can study card meanings and they will take you a long, long way in reading for someone, but associative thinking triggers individual insights no book can teach you. The trick is to learn to trust the first thought that comes into your hed. This means risking being wrong, but if you’re not ready to take that risk, you won’t be able to validate the accuracy of such insights, which is to advance in skill.
This stern king represents the concept of the expert, the authority figure.
He has strong associations with the Law, Science and Maths, Music, and Medicine, especially Surgery.
Thus a King of Swords can represent a doctor or dentist, the Queen of Swords if the doctor or dentist is female.
It was a good card to draw, in the circumstances. This dentist was going to be on good form. I felt reassured.
And how did it go on that occasion? Well, the dentist really was a
King of Swords
He even looked like one, except that he had a beard and smiled a lot. The extraction went smoothly.
What would I have done had I drawn ‘bad’ cards: For example; in this contect, these might have included:
King of Swords Reversed, Page of Swords Reversed, Ace of Swords Reversed, Temperance Reversed, The Moon, Tower etc?
Well, would have looked at it again, to clear the decks of my emotional projection that might be clouding the hard information I was trying to reach. Had I drawn a strong negative response three times in a row, I would have considered changing the appointment day, and hopefully, avert trouble and improve the outcome.
Does this mean I can always avoid a bad experience? Of course not.
On another occasion, I decided not to look in the Tarot. A wisdom tooth had to come out. That was that. I decided not to risk frightening myself. I would just experience it in the normal way and it was a ghastly experience. A nerve was damaged, leaving me with local parasthesia for 18 months. Had I ‘looked’ beforehand, I could have declined the appointment and re-tested with the cards against a new appointment.
But, prescience is not omniscience, Divination is of itself not magic, or magick, and Life is not all roses.
This is the risk of consulting with oracles. You might hear something you don’t like, and wish you had just found out at the time, without the forewarning, and then you wouldn’t have had the worry as well.
‘Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof.’ 🙂
But sh*t happens. And you might equally say, ‘forewarned is forearmed.’
In view of the fact that today is ‘Father’s Day‘, as if for a father, every day is not, I thought I’d talk about the ultimate Tarot card of Masculinity with a capital M, The Emperor.
In general, ‘The Emperor’ appearing in a Tarot reading signifies the current extra significance of an important man in your life, at an individual level. He’s a father, husband, employer, friend or advisor.
At a conceptual level, The Emperor stands for government, law and order, other big, hierarchical organisdations. He is the Armed Forces. He is the principle of protection and of the guardian at work in society and in the home.
See those ram’s heads on the arms of his throne? The Emperor is associated with the sign of Aries, the fiery ram. It may indicate a future event occurring at that time of year.
Image below is The Emperor from The Gilded Tarot, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti
Not surprisingly I’ve drawn this card when doing readings for police officers, both male and female. Women too can embody The Emperor’s qualities.
But once – and I won’t handle any more requests for lawsuit predictions; I drew the Emperor card, and it was talking about a real live judge. This judge was in the US. We won’t say where. My client was very anxious on her son’s behalf. He had been accused of sexual assault.
The details of the charge sounded so minor as to be almost laughable, but even so, and whatever the truth, the man faced serious consequences. He was a teacher and had been suspended from his employment as it involved work with minors, although the woman making the accusation was not a minor. He faced the possibility of being debarred from his home , denied unsupervised access to his children. He was, at the time of the reading, due to appear in court four days later.
A Tarot reading is not a substitute for suitable, professional legal, medical or financial advice. Forecasting is offered in good faith but is by law to be treated as being for interest’s sake. In consulting ANY oracle, you need always to be prepared for the possibility you really might not like the answer.
My client, his mother, wanted to be prepared for the worst, ready to support her son.
Based on this, I didn’t KNOW because a reader cannot KNOW for certain, ever. But I felt as certain as I could be, she was going to like this judge. I felt that the man was not guilty and that the judge would decide so.
Three weeks and several new grey hairs later, I learned the The Judge had thrown the case out. He had also offered this personal opinion:- verbatim (pardon me)
‘What a crock of sh*t.’
The Emperor at his very best represents order, structure, logic, sense and reason.
He is a chevalier, a sheltering tree, nests held safely in his branches. He is rule with mercy, compassion for the weak. He upholds fair play raising his shield so not everyone sheltering behind it gets splattered with rubbish and, er…manure.
He has another side to him of course: war, dictatorship, tyranny, petty officialdom, overbearing bureaucracy. The card may alternatively signify absence of structure and leadership. As a person, it may be pinpointing weakness or conversely, a bully boy. The Emperor Reversed is no joke, no doubt about it.
Historically, Emperors have often been catastrophic for the peace and happiness of their fellow humans, and Alexander the Great is no hero of mine; I’d rather nominate Dr John Snow or Charles Darwin, not only for their achievements, but for their humanity; as tender as tough.
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.