During a reading the other day, with a delightful client; charming, brave and resourceful, we looked first at a number of questions focussed on her two businesses. Then the conversation moved to children’s activities and prospects, and in respect of her son, 18, I drew the Four of Cups and said, is this how he’s been sometimes, lately? Fed up, irritable and restless, wanting to do something new but not yet able to decide, or make a start?
The card prompting this question was the Four of Cups, a card commonly nicknamed ‘the bored boy,’ and whether you’re a boy or not, it’s an unpleasant state of mind, even while it’s not exactly a problem you can do nothing about.
So, what might be the path ahead for him? I drew The Eight of Pentacles, and as you can see, it shows an apprentice at work, happily engrossed, so much so, he is burning the midnight oil, watched by a mouse who’s probably hoping for a crumb of his supper.
‘I think he will do well in an apprenticeship, head and hand working together in unity, making or crafting something,’ I said.
He was wondering about something like that, the client said, maybe technical drawing.
Yes! Good choice.
‘What about the RAF?’ I said, ‘I feel it might be worth his while to see whether they’re recruiting.’
‘That’s amazing!’ she said. ‘How did you know? He has been talking about a technical apprenticeship in the RAF.’
OK then, his next port of call is sorted, and if he doesn’t end up there exactly, it will be something of that kind.
The 4 of a bored boy becomes the 8 of a busy boy, and to be busy, is very often to be happy.
Is the word or idea of the RAF anywhere written in the cards? No, of course not. This was just another instance of a word springing out, using a card as a diving board. Gob-shiting, I call it. Such are the various ways of reading the Tarot.
My brother and his wife were selling their house. The Moon card reflected, amongst other more specific things, their uncertainty about when it might sell and where they would go next.
It had been on the market the previous year and they had pulled it due to lack of buyer interest. It had gone back on the market in late May, and now it was mid June.
I whirled my cards about blind and drew the Three of Wands. Since Wands cards deal with travel, property, sales and movement in general, the immediate appearance of this commercial card was encouraging for better luck this time around.
‘There’ll be viewers soon,’ I said. ‘The future is not set in concrete but chances are good, you’ll have a suitable offer on it within three viewings, or within three weeks, three months max.’
‘We’ve had three viewings already, sis, he said.
‘Oh, OK,’ I said, ‘Well, I’ll be picking that up, I expect, but the cards often say several things at once. It’s still looking likely there’ll be developments sooner rather than later.’
Big deal, one might say. How very oracular and vague.
Well, er, quite. Oracles are not always easy to decipher, even for the oracular practitioner.
I now drew the Ace of Pentacles. This is the Tarot’s ultimate house, job and money card.
My brother and his wife have moved to a country lane near Stroud. This card proved a quite literal foreshadowing of their new home.
Illustrations from The Gilded Tarot, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti. Buy on Amazon and other places or visit his website: http://www.ciromarchetti.com/
‘Positive developments round about the middle of July,’ I said, ‘It’s looking like the sale of house, or it’s job-related or both.’
Then I drew the King of Swords and the Queen of Pentacles. ‘I’m seeing your buyers here, I think. They’re a couple, just as you’d expect. She’s probably got dark hair and maybe eyes; very house proud, and he…well, he might be a legal advisor, or policeman; or it’s possible, a military man.’
The following week they had an offer on the house which they neither accepted nor declined, as it was well below the asking price and early days, the prospective buyer wanted to push for a very early completion. Then they received another offer a few days after that from another prospective buyer, a few days later. It was closer to the asking price, and less urgent for completion and they accepted.
Sales can fall through of course, and they had quite a rocky time of it but the sale went through and what made me smile was this news of the buyer: a family man, married with three children, and whether currently serving or not, my brother doesn’t know, but the buyer was not only a soldier but a Gurkha.
Il Matrimonio had gone out, Dad’s taxi service, collecting Brat No 2 from the pictures. Or maybe it was the pub, because 35 minutes later, it had taken a r-ather long time for this errand. What was occurring? I pulled a card from my Gilded Tarot deck and drew The Ace of Pentacles/Coins/Disks.
OK, They were just arriving home, then. And so they were, I heard the front door open at that very moment. We had also, the previous day, returned home from a long trip. You look in the Tarot to find out what you don’t know, but often what you see is what you do know.
The message here is I suppose two- fold. To obtain an accurate reflection of what you already know is to have a benchmark for the accuracy of forecasts. And, you might think you don’t know something, when actually, you do. The answer is just lodged too deep for you to recognize it, and Tarot digs to fetch it out into the light.
The Ace of the Earth suit, signifying or forecasting home, a new home or house, often with a green garden, a new contract or job or other new source of income, is considered a most fortunate card unless it’s drawn reversed. The best things of earthly life. It may also refer specifically to a physical object, I’ve known it flag up a lost ring and a lost briefcase, and in both cases, the items were recovered as foreseen.
There are the book meanings for tarot cards, then there are the meanings you add through working with them, but last night, the Ace was just doing what it says on the tin.
Shame there was no wild stoat, or ferret, ahhhh. A ferret went to sleep on my arm once, tail hanging down, and it snored nearly as loud as does Il Matrimonio. It was funny when the ferret did it, such is the unfairness of life.
The Tarot is a cosmic ferret. Great fun to send it down rabbit holes, and hold it when it snores, but it needs handling with care. The teeth are sharp and…. my God it can stink.
Inheritance is a meeting point of past, present and future, taking many forms, physical and immaterial. Goods, prospects, genes, ideas. How different in character will the legacy you leave differ or depart from the legacies you have inherited?
The Tarot’s card of Inheritance, both material and immaterial: money, property, ancestry, genes, culture, is The Ten of Pentacles/Coins/Disks.
See the harvest mouse, custodian of the family riches. These riches are about far more than money.Appearing in a reading right way up, I am being shown that the person feels well-supported by family. They have the security of a sense of belonging. Reversed, the picture is of someone struggling about this, labouring under a sense of alienation, or injustice over wills and other inheritance issues. Or they may be feeling that their family background has been a burden rather than a resource.
The Tarot’s comment to people coming to discuss the disinheriting of challenging children has so far been Justice above all. Equal shares between children, no matter what the relationship, no matter what the history. That one does not get on with a child is sad. It is a misfortune in life, and one may not like one’s child, just as a child may not like its parent. One might even love someone, without liking them. It happens.
But it could be argued that retribution through the power of inheritance is a betrayal of the principle of inheritance, that an unjust will is toxic and divides families for many years to come, perhaps for ever.
Where is our ‘true’ well-spring? Without knowing our family history, we’ll probably never know, and no-one can know all of it, but a lot can be guessed because it’s lodged in you somewhere still. You might be the spitting image of a great-great-grandparent. You might be wearing their face reborn, cast to reflect your own spirit. You might have their skills and talents, their voice and intonation, even their mannerisms, when all your life you had thought you were the ‘odd one out’.
“You and I can turn and look at the silent river and wait. We know the current is there, hidden; and there are comings and goings from miles away that hold the stillness exactly before us. What the river says, that is what I say.”
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.
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.
Love n light. Well, these are beautiful words and mean beautiful and all important things. But they will take a tarot card reader only so far in delivering meaning and resonance for the other person in a reading.
Readers must aim for meaning and precision, and avoid waffle at all costs. Being ‘psychic’ is one thing. Being a practitioner of a discipline is another. Effective communication is another. Clients want specifics.
They want to know what do the cards MEAN? For them? Right now? In terms they can get hold of and use, should they so choose?
We live in a physical world and must wrestle with ourselves, yes, at times, but so many life challenges focus on matters of practical substance, and this is not the lesser stuff. It is simply temporal, time specific where the metaphysics is the stuff of enduring truths and eternal experiences.
I was doing a reading for a lady who worked as a hypnotherapist, when 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, and although it may mean many other things. I put this to her.
‘Why is the Tarot saying stub out that cigarette?’
It is important to emphasize the Tarot wasn’t making any criticism in saying this. It wasn’t presuming to nag the lady about smoking. It was simply sensing something, picking up on some thought that was coming from her.
The Tarot does not judge. It detects and it reflects. The reader might judge but they’d better not presume to do anything of the kind. It will get in the way of the view. It will interfere with their ability to do the truest possible reading, as in, truest to the person being read for, who is the only person who matters in that moment.
The client confirmed that she did smoke. She had taken it up again recently, not feeling settled in her new job. This job situation was the reason for the reading. But just before we got stuck in, and just by the by, something else leapt out at me, looking at the cards laid out before me.
My eye was unaccountably drawn to one card in particular; the Page of Cups.
This card traditionally symbolises offers, gifts, advents and arrivals. It might turn out to mean an invitation, a proposal, a new friendship, or a birth. It may be announcing an engagement or wedding ring, a 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 know, the ones you get in bags?’
She stared at me a moment then said. ‘Oh my God. I absolutely love them. I’ve got a thing about them at the moment. I’ve got some right here in my handbag. How on earth did you know that?’
She reached for her bag and opened it, producing said bag of marshmallows, and offered me one. I declined. I don’t eat or drink while reading, though visitors get a glass of water or a cuppa. Biscuits have been known to manifest.
So. Back to her question. How did I know?
Well, I didn’t ‘know.’ I had a sudden sense of knowing. This may seem an odd or meaningless distinction, but let’s take a second to consider.
I didn’t know. Not as such. How could I? I had a passing thought, and then I came out and said it aloud, even though I did not yet know where that thought had come from.
In this case my thought about marshmallows was triggered by the Page of Cups. It was the look of the card. My eye was drawn to his sleeves and tunic. Lateral thinking based on colour association. it triggered the thought that popped into my head, so I said it whereas as a beginner I might not have dared, for fear of being wrong and looking stupid.
This marshmallow thing was new to me. I have never said it before or since in respect of this same card. This was a purely one off interpretation, and 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 can trigger insights that no book can teach you.
The challenge for a reader is to learn to trust the first thought that comes into your head. This means risking being wrong, but if you’re not ready to take that risk, and don’t share that thought, you won’t be able to validate the accuracy of such insights, and that’s how a reader develops their skills and perhaps their so called psychic capability…by going off-script.
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.’
Today, the day of summer solstice, and the zenith of the sun, let’s talk about the ultimate Tarot card of Masculinity with a capital ‘M’, The Emperor.
‘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.
The Emperor stands for government, law and order, other big, hierarchical organisations. He is the Armed Forces, the Police, the Civil Service.
He is the guiding 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
The Emperor in his true dignity is strength with justice, courage with reason: a defender, 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. A bully. The Emperor Reversed is a very serious matter. War.
But greetings are due to The Emperor at the top of his game – best friend to womankind; those men that we love, and what we love best in men, sons of the red earth.
Let your Emperor wear his crown and ermine every now and then.
You may be an Empress, and you can wear yours too.
Well, Valentine’s Day…get lost. (I say this though I am happily married, except for when I want to kill him)
Once upon a time you were a fertility festival called The Lupercal. Men in wolf masks ran about the streets of Rome, in honour of the fertility god Lupercus, and in memory of ther she-wolf who suckled Romulus and Remus, symbolically thrashing (ie, lightly touching) any women they met who seemed of child bearing age. Any woman not wanting to be fertile had better have stayed indoors. Then Christianity claimed the festival, originally held on February 15th.
Valentine’s day, you’re a fabricated commercial-fest, but, still, you serve as a reminder of magical eyernal of the human condition – ‘that ol’ Devil called Love’.
The Devil speaks of passions and powerlessness. It betokens entrapment, frustration, a need to break free, even if the wish is not there.
Look at the picture below. The man and the woman are being held in bondage to one another and to ‘the Devil’…by the power of their animal nature; their physical passions (food, sex, drugs, alcohol, daily habits etc) to which they are ‘addicted’. In terms of human body chemistry, sexual passion might as well be regarded as an addiction.
I’ve only once encountered what you might call a vampire, in my professional reading work. One reading that left me so drained I had to go straight to bed afterwards, where I slept like a stone all night. My client was a very nice person to read for, but she was in the grip of ‘the Devil’ all right. She was married, with a passion for another man, also married. She was a good looking and glamorous lady. I could tell from the cards that the man had powerful charisma. In fact I had a ‘psychic’ moment and guessed who it was. He worked in the entertainment industry. She was shocked that I guessed his identity (but no more than I was!) All at once I seemed to ‘see’ him, looking out over her shoulder from the cards. I felt she might get a taste of what she was hoping for, but if she did, I could see no ‘happy ending.’
It was like being in a negative vortex. I hope she got free of her wish in time.
The Rider-Waite’s Devil card: U.S Games Systems
The Devil’s appeared in 3 readings recently, and each time drawn coupled with the Moon card, which signifies ‘hunting,’ fantasy, and emotional extremes. In each case, someone was having a hard time struggling to let go of a romantic relationship but it was now time they must. They were no longer welcome. In fact, one was now in danger of behaving like a stalker, although on none of these occasions did I personally feel anything like the negative physical impact of the ‘show biz’ lovers. But show biz is ‘ego, ego’ and a powerful aura, positive or negative is perhaps to be anticipated in such readings.
William Blake’s lllustration ‘A Whirlwind of Lovers’…from Dante’s Divine Comedy. where obsession Has Consigned the Lovers To A ‘Circle Of Hell’…meaning in Tarot…an unfree state of mind.
The Devil card drawn upside down, or in Tarot-speak Reversed or Ill-Dignified, is usually better for being drawn upside-down, as it often denotes clarity and liberation. So if you’re trying to give up a habit that’s proving harmful or restrictive to you it’s a sign you’re going to be able to kick that habit, whether it’s physical or behavioural.
The Devil’s a card known, with justice, for its powerful negative aspects. It speaks of fear, frustration, anger, unhealthy habits, obsession and addiction, and the evil that can ensue from these things. Usually, the situation that it’s referring to could do with overturning. The tough news is that it’s going to have to be you that overturns it, and maybe too, there is no real solution and the situation meantime must just be endured.
But The Devil isn’t all bad. As an image of Pan, god of all wild creatures, rather than in its guise as Christianity’s Devil, this beastly card is still strong stuff requiring careful handling but it signifies desire, animal magnetism, focus and passion…
It is charisma. It is a drive and passion to create. It is our connecetion to our roots in earth and our general animal vitality – (steady tiger!) – a strong glue for keeping relationships together over the long haul. As they say, a little of what you fancy does you good.
The anger of The Devil also comes in handy just now and then, should you be unfortunate enough to find yourself dealing with any bullies or tin pot gods. Let that Devil look out of your eyes, as you politely say ‘I beg your pardon?’
If a glimpse of your inner Devil wins you a bit of respite, and pushes cr*p out of your space, there’s not much the matter with that either.
No. The Devil’s not always bad. The challenge is to keep him in his place and not feed him too often, letting him get too powerful.
Just make sure it’s your naughty devil, or cheeky imp, that’s under control and inside the cage. Not you.
I rarely watch sport, and can’t bear all the roaring and howling that comes out of the telly when football’s on. Some of those commentators get really foamingly hysterical and could do with a slap. But who am I to naysay a national passion? The card below, the 6 of Pentacles, also known as Coins or Discs, is the card I have learned to associate with the ‘home crowd’.
I wouldn’t feel comfortable using the Tarot for betting purposes. Or safe. It would seem disrespectful, contrary to ethics, and if it didn’t work out, there could be unwanted comeback. And if it did work out, there could be unwanted comeback.
Maybe someone would like to make a movie about a tarot reader who gets a hit man set on to them by a cartel of evil bookmakers, because the reader’s giving too many winning tips and it’s costing the bookmakers big time. Hello, Quentin T? Are you there?
But if Tarot is a divination tool, what will it co-operate in divining for and what won’t it divine for? Does the ability to divine depend upon the reader having a personal interest or sense of connection to the question?
I live just down the road from Blackpool and Saturday was a big sporting event. Blackpool (the Tangerines) were playing Cardiff at Wembley. At stake, so I gather, a place in the Premier League and £90 million. High stakes indeed.
I laid out my cards in a counting spread. I laid out six cards and above them another. The six cards ‘count’ for one point each. The solitary card above them counts for two, giving a total of eight.
I laid out two of these spreads, one to represent Blackpool, the other Cardiff.
As I shuffled I asked to be shown the winning team.
Normally in a counting spread, a likelihood of something happening will be given by a result of drawing more upright cards than upside down cards, known as reversals.
I drew a count of three upright cards for Blackpool. Doesn’t look great, I thought. Then I drew a count of two uprights for Cardiff. Oh, I thought. That’s not a win either according to my usual system.
I decided that the Tarot had answered a differently phrased question. It knew what I was trying to get at and had answered me very directly, not by saying a yes or no, but by indicating the SCORE.
And a little over two hours later, we had the score: Blackpool 3: Cardiff City 2.
SEE VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS BELOW (…if you absolutely must.)
As a tarot reader, getting an answer that doesn’t seem to fit the question, be prepared to discover that the answer you’ll get is a correct answer to the question as the Tarot preferred to tackle it.
So in answer to the original question…no. Divination does not require an emotional connection from the reader. In fact, this could skew the results. Reading for yourself if you’re tired or anxious, or reading for loved ones where there is anxiety or hope attached to the question, may produce distortion of interpretation.
If reading for yourself, try pulling an extra card – a BIAS CARD to identify any such distortion.
When receiving a reading, bear in mind tarot and similar activities work best when your reader is in an ‘alpha state,’ a condition of relaxed consciousness. Scowling at a reader with cold suspicion, arms folded, is not conducive to the alpha state for either of you…because you too, will get most from your reading in the creative receptivity of alpha state.
If you follow football, you have pretty good hunches sometimes, and want to be even better at hedging your bets…you could do much worse than hone your intuition by learning a divination skill. Joking aside, such skills, whether you’re using tarot cards, ordinary playing cards, runes, divining rods, mirrors or pendulums…are a tool for life, with who knows how many applications.
Questions or comments? Just click on the comment tag below.
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.
The Sun card in Tarot foresees sunny weather at its most literal. It’s respite from care, the gift of the moment, childhood and sometimes the imminence of birth. It’s also travel, particularly to hot places. It is the return of the sun after the winter solstice. It is the zenith of the sun in the summer solstice. It is glory.
Reversed it’s the setting sun, delays and lesser joys, the passing away of childhood, nostalgia, beautiful, bittersweet twilight. It may mean getting something less than you hoped for, but what you get is still something to be happy for.
The Star card on the other hand, can and often has indicated a recovery from depression, sickness and despair, a guiding light. Someone can sees a way ahead now, they couldn’t see before.
Klytie was a figure in Ancient Greek mythology who fell in love with the sun god, Apollo. Each day she would watch him cross the sky in his chariot of fire. He could not come closer without destroying her, but when she died, he changed her into a sunflower so she could watch him forever, and understand that his love was constant, and he would never desert her absolutely.
The fire of the sun can also be cruel, savage when ‘reversed,’ and then we need cool, dark night or rain.
But we’re all sunflowers…looking for the sun by day and the stars by night.
Venus, ‘The Evening star’, is also ‘The Morning star’.
Klytie stands and tracks the sun From dawn until Apollo’s gone A patient and a hopeful eye In contemplation of the sky Her days are rooted, quiet, spent In upward focus, still, intent With other suns of earthly gold Arms outstretched for light’s sure hold And rich with cargo, every one Built strong with sugar from the sun.
She’s etched with frosts and winds of loss But comfort comes with Hesperus The Morning Star’s deliverance Alone she stands in fields of fellowship Hands asking to receive But with no strength to grip Yet keeping faith and trusting to the light The faintest and the coldest star Still promises Apollo from afar A spark to resurrect a phoenix in the night.
Sometimes in a Tarot reading, the issue being detected is literally a legal matter. For a true story about that see my later blog ‘Manpower. The Emperor Card.’
Very often though, it refers to our sense of natural justice, our wish to see fair play done. The Tarot may then kick in as a kind of agony aunt. When we draw it in a reading for ourselves, the advice is to remember to play fair, to try and keep a balanced view, to deal in facts and to keep a cool, calm head.
I recently drew a card, Justice Reversed (meaning injustice or delayed justice) in a tarot sitting with a new client. The client had explained that she didn’t really know why she had come. There was no specific problem to be addressed, she said, but she had a weight on her mind and would welcome a little help in getting free of it. The Tarot adores doing this sort of work.
The Justice Card (Rider Waite, U.S Games)
Justice Reversed was the first card drawn, the keynote card of the reading. Because it’s a Major Card and because of the lack of a clear single theme shown in the other 7 cards of the spread, I felt its influence was working on her in more than one respect.
She wasn’t depressed, I didn’t think. Not as such. (No Star card Reversed) There was illness in the family though. I drew The 4 of Swords nicknamed ‘the hospital’ card. There was great anxiety and conflicted feelings connected to the forming of a new relationship (The Devil) There was a much loved mother on her mind (The Empress)
My client hadn’t mentioned her job. She hadn’t told me anything, only that she had a baby son.
But drawing the Justice card, though Reversed, prompted me to tell her that she could discuss work if she wished, because I had experience of reading for commercial lawyers. She then said she was a commercial lawyer.
Now the Justice card, as with any predominance of Swords cards, can indicate that a client works in the legal profession. However, there are many more occasions when when there’ll be no such connection. So a reader seeing this card cannot assume the client’s job is in Law. But on this occasion the card had served to prompt a hunch. Thisis the bridge between intuition and clairvoyancy.
The client had been harbouring a sense of injustice following a promotion disappointment the previous year. She did not trust the reasons she had been given for not getting the promotion. The Tarot however said that justice had been done. She was still very young, had been in practice 4 years and had been judged not quite ready..it was no more worrying or sinister than that, and so letting go would serve her best now. Promotion looked as if it was in the offing in the not too distant future…positive developments were indicated for July-September.
This the client said she could imagine, as she was aware of activities in the pipeline around that time.
There were other, less easily resolvable issues attached to Justice Reversed, relating to difficulties with a father who had ‘disowned’ her because he hadn’t agreed with her choice of husband. The Tarot had things to tell her and she left saying she felt much better, calmer in herself. She had formulated a strategy now for handling the problem with her father, and other issues
The Tarot is economical. It has to be able to talk about any human experience at all, using a toolbox of only 78 cards. Each card is a plump and shiny-coated workhorse, and will do multiple jobs in the course of a single reading. Especially if it is a Major card – this can really ‘up the ante’.
Comments or questions welcome. See the comment tag below.
The Page of Wands from Kat Black’s beautiful GOLDEN TAROT (U.S Games) See reviews on Llewellyn’s website.
In November I had a telephone call from a young hairdresser I know. Let’s call her Cate. She comes over every six weeks or so and gives everyone a trim, except for the cat and the fish (two tanks of tropicals.)
Cate was ringing to let me know she has had her first child, and that it is a boy. This was not only wonderful news, but a ‘psi’ moment.
In Tarot, the card shown above, the Page of Wands, is one of several strongly associated with birth. Wands is the suit of Fire, of passion and the primal spark.
Dowsing to find out the numbers and sexes of future children is an old wife’s hobby, and there are arguments for not doing it. The surprise is part of the excitement of the arrival of a new baby. But precisely because no-one expects it to be accurate, people still do it, for fun and out of curiosity about their latent psi talent.
I dowsed for Cate when she was a little more than five months along, using a smoky quartz pendulum. Most of my divinatory work is with cards.
Earlier, back in April I asked a young client if she was expecting a baby or thinking of starting a family—seeing a page of wands and the page of cups prompted my question. My client answered that she was not expecting a baby, but then she returned in June and told me that she was three months pregnant, had in fact been pregnant at the time of the April reading, but hadn’t known it herself at the time.
I have had some interesting results with pendulums previously…and a pendulum is sometimes the quickest tool for a short yes or no answer to a question. But whatever divinatory method I am using, I never claim I KNOW anything until a client has confirmed it. That would be hubris. I will only ever say what I feel, always acknowledging the possibility I might be wrong.
So, dowsing for Cate, using the pendulum, I asked the baby if it wished to tell us: was it a boy Yes or No? There was a pause. The chain began to gain momentum and the pendulum began to describe a vigourous clockwise circle. According to my programming with the question, this was a yes, the baby was communicating he was a boy.
I then asked: are you happy to tell us: are you a girl? The pendulum began to describe a vigorous anti-clockwise circle, meaning no. I performed this three times and got the same response each time. Therefore…according to the pendulum, a little boy was on his way.
The baby’s official due date was the 25 October. I felt the baby would beat that date but didn’t say so. I felt the birth would be OK but there might be some tough moments. Again, I didn’t say so. I felt the outcome would be fine and I did share this, because it could do no harm to add to her confidence and strength.
The night of the 23 October, I dreamed I was in a corner shop standing behind two girls talking. One said to the other, ‘did you hear? Cate’s had the baby?’ It was so vivid I made a note in the morning to remember it. I have just been told the labour began on the 23rd, and the baby arrived in the early hours on the 24th. Synchronicity of psi with real time.
So what was happening here? One idea is that dowsing works on the interaction between two detected electro-magnetic fields…when a positively charged field meets a negatively charged one, there is a answering movement in a divining rod, or ring or needle. Worked metal is an obvious conduit but many rock specimens may also possess ‘charge’ and amber which is fossilised resin is also known for possessing charge. Any living thing possesses charge…it’s why we sometimes receive static shocks from hairbrushes or getting out of a car.
I can’t know for sure, but perhaps the crystal on the chain detected the baby’s electro-magnetic field, and I had given it a language for telling me what it was sensing.
The tool itself may be doing little, is another possibility, and its value
is in detecting and exaggerating a twitch or tremor of the dowser’s body. This twitch or tremor is unconscious in origin. It means that the autonomic nervous system has detected information. The ANS has no language, only its ability to transmit chemical and electrical stimuli, resulting in physical movements. It knows something the conscious mind does not, and makes the dowser perform a movement puppet like, by means of electrical impulses travelling from the brain down the spine and ultimatrely to the finger tips. This movement might be so subtle that if it weren’t for the movement of a hazel rod, in the case of dowsing for water, or the swing of a pendulum in other types of dowsing, it would be missed by the naked eye. The movement of the tool amplifies this tiny signal from the brain.
So welcome to this world, little boy. May you stay as long as you like, be amazed as you should be, do and learn plenty with happiness not harm, and may all good luck go with you.
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.
Mustard was a 13 year old gelding, and he competed in dressage. This much I had already been told before looking at his cards. My brief was to enquire about his general happiness and well-being, and to see whether the Tarot could pick up on any of his preferences or wishes. Here are a few of the cards we got, and an indication of the feedback I received from Mustard’s owner.
How was Mustard feeling about life at that moment? I drew the 4 of Pentacles. This card of material stability indicated that he generally felt safe and secure, and enjoyed his current routine. He didn’t seem too keen on sharing. He liked to hang on to any good thing he was given. He was by temperament, steadfast, slightly conservative, not given to impulsive behaviour. He liked a little bit of variety in his routine ‘but not too much’. His owner laughed at this description, saying she recognised it. He could be stubborn.
The 7 of Cups suggested to me that Mustard was sensitive and responsive with a good imagination. His owner confirmed this, saying he was the most easily trained pony she had worked with, very quick on the uptake.
I asked to know more about something he liked, and the 3 of Cups suggested Mustard had two special friendships. These must have been a horse and a pony he shared his field with during day time, his owner explained.
I asked about what might be coming up in the near future for Mustard. I drew the 6 of Swords, a card of possible relocation which made me ask if Mustard was aware of any plans for him to move. The answer was maybe; he was going to be moved very soon to a new, bigger stable with 30 horses and ponies.
The 5 of Cups , a grieving card, indicated Mustard would not like separation from his two old friends. His owner said he would still see his friends. Their owner and she rode the horses out together and would continue to do so.I suggested she try telling Mustard this, sending him a visual message of him going along the lanes with his old friends. He might not be able to understand the words but he might receive the ‘TV’ picture and the emotion she attached to that. Who is to say he could not?
I drew a general advice card for Mustard. This was The Moon card and I sensed he felt afraid if stabled alone at night.
There were dogs barking somewhere near outside, Mustard seemed to be telling me, and he didn’t like that. Not at all. And strange shadows scared him. I suggested his owner leave an old coat with Mustard when he is alone, so her scent can reassure him in her absence. She confirmed that there were dogs on a neighbouring farm. There were two or three Jack Russells and they barked a lot. It hadn’t occurred to her they might worry Mustard with night barking as she wasn’t usually there at that time, but she was moving him to the bigger stable because she was aware he didn’t like being alone at night.
I drew a card to signify something Mustard else might worry about.
The 5 of Wands suggested Mustard was anxious in competitions. He didn’t like loud noise and if ever asked to, would be nervous of jumping a 5 barred gate. I suggested his owner try rubbing a little Rescue Remedy on his nose (not on the sensitive bits) the next time they competed, the following weekend. The owner did try it, and reported her surprise at noticing a difference in his body language from usual: she said he was much more ‘laid back.’
I drew another card, asking to know about something Mustard would enjoy but hasn’t got? I drew the Page of Pentacles, and The Moon card. These somehow suggested…and this was purely an intuitive impression – mangold or swedes. I was told he has never eaten one, to the best of the owner’s knowledge. Well, I hope he gets to try one soon so we will know. Meanwhile, on this point the Tarot remains unproven.
I was told Mustard was receiving citronella products to minimise insect bites. Tarot is not a vet and does not claim to be but The Empress Card suggested if there was any question of supplementing his diet in any way omega 3/6 oils – vegetable based, as with hemp or flax seed instead of fish oils might benefit him. Something to do with his grains or feed might not be suiting him…the card shows a field of what looks like wheat or corn.
Months later, I heard that the owner had changed Mustard’s hay intake, and this apparently sorted the problem.
Other species read for so far: dogs, cats, hamsters, fish and birds. I’d probably struggle with anything too different from ourselves.
I seriously doubt I could read for a worm or a jellyfish, and lack of verification would be an issue, but at some level all life is interconnected, I’d be open to trying.
Such is the real life web represented by the Tarot.
An Exploration of the Shadow Side of Lost Dudeists Everywhere: Astrology, Tarot, Metaphysics, Tinfoil Hat Conspiracy Stuff, Other Weird Stuff, and sometimes Fertility Goddess Icons (Scantily Dressed Pinup Girls)