The Empress

Mother’s Love

The Empress embodies the Mother of Creation, the female half of all creation. She is the Goddess of Fertility, and offers love, creativity, luxury, beauty and grace.

When she shows up in the cards, it indicates a deep connection with femininity. Whatever your gender, the Empress calls you to get in touch with your sensuality. Use all of your senses and draw on them to experience pleasure and deep fulfilment.

The Empress also encourages you to spend your time in nature. Allow yourself the time and the space to enter into a different frame of mind in which you can truly connect with the Earth and receive her wisdom into your heart and mind. Take a trip to your favourite natural setting, whatever that might be, and give yourself the time to simply breathe in the energy that the Earth offers. The Empress offers you the solid foundation of being grounded in the material plane.

This is a deeply nurturing and caring card. It suggests that you are blessed by maternal, protective forces or influences. She offers a reminder that our children are our future, and we are responsible for their growth and development.

Depending on the other cards in the reading, the Empress can also indicate that the energy of the Song is about to intervene directly into your life. You may not know what brings the good fortune, but the sense of being looked after and nurtured is no accident. The Empress offers a gentle reminder that you are worthy of the Mother’s loving embrace.

The High Priestess

Guardian of the Subconscious

The figure of the High Priestess is a powerful one. She sits before the Tree of Life, beneath the arch of the Gate of Consciousness. She guards the space, keeping the knowledge she holds from those who are not yet ready to receive it.

The High Priestess sits in front of the thin veil which separates our conscious awareness from the subconscious. She knows the secrets of how to access the deep, true knowledge of the subconscious and bring it into the light of conscious thought. She represents spiritual enlightenment and inner illumination, divine knowledge and wisdom. She has a deep, intuitive understanding of the workings of the Song and uses this knowledge to gently teach rather than to try and control others. When she appears in a reading, it usually indicates that you need to listen to and trust your inner voice.

Because the High Priestess represents a link to the subconscious mind, which cannot e accessed through the everyday world but only through the more cryptic language of dreams and symbols. When this card appears in a reading, you need to pay attention to your dreams and intuition. Look for areas in your life that may be out of balance or that require greater foresight and wisdom. Knowledge of how to fix it will not come through logic or intellect but through your inner voice, so be sure to allow yourself the quiet time needed to listen to it.

When the High Priestess appears in a reading, she can also indicate that your life is changing, or that you are being inspired to creativity. This card suggests an ongoing process, rather than a finished article, but it is still a good card to appear in readings for artists, poets and writers.

The Magician

Manifest Your Goals

The Magician is the first card in the Major Arcana numerically. He is a strong communicator, and balances all of the four traditional elements – earth, air, fire and water. This means that he can harness the mind, heart, body and soul in order to truly manifest whatever he wants.

When the Magician appears in a reading, it usually suggests a time when you have the energy, creativity, and power in order to create a new cycle of life for yourself. When this card appears, it is a clear indication that the time is right to begin the process of creating a new life for yourself.

This is a card which is all about manifesting your goals by using the skills and resources that you have available. It encourages coming up with creative ways to resolve the problems this new beginning will bring up. Just be very sure that you know what you are doing and why you are doing it. If you aren’t focused, you won’t be able to truly harness your potential.

When this card appears, you need to look closely at your goals. If you are to truly manifest anything, you need to be completely focused on one task, not on the hundreds that people usually has. Remember that creativity can be vastly practical, and keep your feet firmly on the ground when you are looking at ways forward. Keep thinking about what other skills and resources you can use, and keep yourself focused on moving forward.

The Fool

Playful Journeys

Within the ordered progression of the tarot deck, the Fool stands alone. Even within the other Major Arcana cards, he doesn’t quite fit in. Every other card has a number which gives it a distinct place in the order of things. The Fool is zero. He marks the beginning and the end of the deck, and of the Major Arcana.

The Fool is clearly a young man on a journey, with his faithful dog by his side and everything he needs over one shoulder. He suggests that you should turn away from worrying that you might not have what you need to press on with whatever the Song has in store for you. If you trust in your own strengths, and trust the Song to provide everything else that you might need, you will have fully embraced the basic message the Fool brings.

For those willing to look deeper into the multiple levels of this card, however, the messages of the Fool are far greater. At this level, you need to understand that his name is a joke, or at least mislabelled. While his actions certainly appear foolish – he is apparently about to walk off a cliff, after all – he is anything but. Instead, his depth of knowledge of the truth of the Song, and his innate trust in his own ability to face whatever consequences his actions may bring, make him beyond wise. Indeed, the truly wise can often seem foolish, because they do not need the trappings of ‘wisdom’ to know their own power and knowledge.

The Fool encourages you to trust your instincts. Listen to what your heart is telling you to begin with, and only once you are certain of that message should you turn to the practical side of making those messages reality.

If you are just beginning your journey, the Fool is as good a companion as you will ever find. He will help you to overcome the obstacles before you, and remind you not to take yourself too seriously. Play is essential, and there can never be too much laughter in the world. So play, laugh, let your cares rest for now. Let the Fool remind you that the world is full of joy and wonder, if you just allow yourself to see it.

Talking Tarot

 

Tarot is one of the world’s most well known and popular divination systems. There are many theories about how and where it began, but it has certainly been around for the last few hundred years at least.

A tarot deck is composed of a total of 78 cards, which are then divided into two distinct sections – the 22 cards of the Major Arcana, and then 56 cards of the Minor Arcana, which is further divided into four suits. The suits of the Minor Arcana are very similar to the suits in a normal deck of playing cards. As a general rule, the Major Arcana reflects major turning points in our lives – our commitments, triumphs and tragedies, while the cards of the Minor Arcana deal with the more day-to-day aspects of life. When used together, they offer a guide to the potential incidents and issues that we have to handle.

Beginning to Read the Tarot

Tarot is a very user-friendly form of divination, which is perhaps the source of its constant popularity over time. This is due to the highly visual prompts each of the cards provide. By learning to interpret the Tarot, you are continuing the age-old practice of communicating through pictures and symbols.

When you feel ready to offer a reading to someone else, it is important to consider the environment you are using. While it is perfectly possible to give readings in a noisy bar (I have done this, so I know!), it is far better to have a space set aside, or at least quiet. Too much background noise can disrupt your concentration, not to mention the interruptions you are bound to get from people who are either highly skeptical or else simply curious of your readings.

At the beginning of a reading, the other person (also known as the ‘querent’) should shuffle the cards while focusing on the subject or issue they want the reading to illuminate for them. Once they feel they have done this for long enough, they should hand you the deck.

A Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Before your querent arrives, gently clear and focus your mind. Try to let go of your own personal issues. This gets easier with practice, although it can help to focus on a single image for a few minutes.
  2. Clear the deck of previous influences by making sure that all of the cards are upright. I find tapping each edge of the cards three times helps to clear them very effectively, but use whatever method works for you. Some readers pass the cards through sage smoke or incense. Experiment, and find a method of cleaning the deck that works well for you, and don’t be afraid to change this method as you grow into your abilities as a reader.
  3. Next, shuffle the cards yourself. Make sure that you keep your mind clear while doing this.
  4. Hand the deck to your querent. Ask them to concentrate as clearly as possible on the issues that they are currently concerned about, and ask them to shuffle the deck.
  5. Choose whichever spread you feel most comfortable with – future posts in this series will go deeper into the various possible spreads and how to interpret them.
  6. Read the cards. This does not have to make sense to you. You will find that readings which confuse you make perfect sense to your querents. Remember, you know nothing of the situation which has brought your querent to you, and try to avoid making assumptions about their life which could taint your reading.
  7. Finish by giving a summary of the reading and asking the querent if they understand what the reading has revealed.

Finishing a Reading

When you finish a reading, you should always ask the querent if they understand and accept the information you have given them. It is with this final step that you will be able to monitor your skill as a reader, and it is also a great way to boost your confidence.

Don’t be discouraged if your querent doesn’t understand anything the cards have said, particularly when you are still learning. Mistakes do happen, and they are always a learning experience.