Monday, November 10, 2008

The Fool

At left is The Fool from The World Spirit Tarot. What makes this Fool different than most is the birds. Okay, yes, she's standing on a rooftop instead of a cliff, but it's still a precipice and a dog still tugs at her in what looks to be a useless attempt at stopping her from falling.

The LWB that accompanies this deck doesn't have much to say about the birds. The birds do carry flowers usually held by The Fool himself.

The birds don't mean much to me at the moment symbolically, but I don't doubt that I'll draw this card for someone one day and suddenly the birds will have meaning. At least for that reading--this is how the tarot seems to work. The symbols on any tarot card can jump out at you quite differently from one reading to the next. The rooftop (instead of a cliff) might have some very special meaning in a specific reading one day as well. For now, it's just a symbol of a blind leap of faith.

Oops, wait a second, I do see meaning in those birds. The meaning is negative, however, I see them as a symbol of the Fool's attempt to do the impossible. She loves the birds so much she has climbed up onto the roof to be with them and is so caught up in being with them that she's about to step right off the roof. Perhaps she has forgotten that she doesn't have wings and can never be a bird. While I'm not one for squelching dreams, the fact is that if you haven't gone to med school, you can't be a doctor. The Fool needs more preparation before she can fly like a bird. In a nutshell, she's putting the cart before the horse.

Essentially, I see this Fool as I do most of them. A carefree spirit moves ahead with no thought to the consequences. The logical, cautious part of the self (the dog) is ignored even when it tries to be heard.

The Fool, like all the cards, has a good side and a bad side. Sometimes we need to just MOVE for movements sake, other times acting this way can lead to ruin. The trick is knowing when to give in to our carefree nature and when to allow logic and good sense to take the lead.

Looking back at my last tarot journal I am reminded of other meanings The Fool has for me.

Inspiration in any form.
Creative energy.
Following your heart/dreams/ideals despite outside pressure.
A new journey, a new beginning, a clean slate.

But The Fool can also carry a message to the querent, "Look before you leap!" There are other messages The Fool might be bringing to the table such as, "Are you holding yourself back?" "Are you acting rashly?" "Are your attitudes and actions harming others?"

My favorite note on The Fool from my old journal is, "The Fool should be too busy getting back on his horse to worry about how he looked while falling off of it."

If I were going to associate a rune with The Fool, it would be the blank rune. Yeah, yeah, you rune traditionalists hate the blank rune but I'm not a traditionalist. The blank rune fits The Fool nicely.

The Magician

At right is The Magician from the Celtic Dragon Tarot. Except for the dragon spirit guides and the book open on her table, this Magician is par for the course.

This Magician's book makes me think of the Wiccan "Book of Shadows" which is a personal (for each witch) journal of belief, spells, magic, and the like. I love that this Magician has her book of spells at hand and I can't help but think of her as a witch in this deck.

Like other Magicians, the tools of her trade are around her. Her tools are also the suits of the Minor Arcana--a cup, a wand, a sword (in this instance, her sword takes the shape of an athame which has a handle shaped like the head of a dragon), and pentacles (in the form of accessories).

The candle can also be seen as a symbol of her energy, a sign that she works "in the light," or it may simply be viewed as a light source. Sometimes a banana is just a banana, after all.

In the positive, I see The Magician as someone who has great talent and skill. They have everything they need to accomplish whatever goal they set for themselves. The card represents creative power, manifestation, turning ideas into reality, greatness or the desire for greatness. This card could come up for anyone with a strong desire to manifest someone in their life or for someone with great potential to do so.

In the negative The Magician may represent someone who is wasting their talent or whose abilities are hidden or stifled. The lazy genius comes to mind with this card's darker side. I also think of greedy televangelists when I see this card negatively. Its dark side could certainly represent a trickster.

I associate the rune Dagaz with this card because so often The Magician is depicted with the symbol of infinity somewhere on the card. The symbol doesn't appear on this card, but that doesn't mean I won't think of it if I am working with this deck.

High Priestess

At left is The High Priestess from my mini The Illuminated Tarot. It's a really tiny deck, I love it. She has larger ones. It's one of my favorite decks.

The upside of HP: That in you which is sacred, your higher self. Otherworldly experiences, intuition, meditation (usually a message to start doing it), psychic ability. To me, this card IS mysticism. She represents spirituality, perhaps the occult, she's the inner goddess (men have her too). She can speak to us through our subconscious, through our dreams.

She sits between the conscious (her throne on solid ground) and the unconscious (the ocean behind the veil), she is fairly quiet and calm.

I'm not much for the symbolism of the pillars of Boaz and Jachin. Those pillars tie back to Solomon's Temple and that kind of history and lore has never appealed to me. I see the pillars primarily for their opposing colors. Nothing is black and white, the High Priestess knows this and so she stays in between them--in the gray area.

I do love the crescent moon at her feet, what's more magical than having one foot on the moon?

In the crook of her arm is the Tora--I see this book not as the ultimate law but as a book of secrets. The High Priestess knows things--through meditation things are revealed to her. To me, that's what that book represents.

You can see the phases of the moon in her crown. Very feminine, and very wise as it reminds us that there are cycles to everything--rythyms. Awareness of life's rythyms make it easier for us to ride the waves life throws at us. This is one of the secrets the HP knows.

The pomegranates on the veil (beetween the earth and sea, between the conscious and unconscous, between the body and soul) to me have no deep and special meaning. I've always liked pomegranates and for that reason alone I like just about any tarot card with pomegranates on it. This fruit has deeper meaning for others, however, but that's between them and their cards. I can't discount the symbolism of the forbidden fruit, however. She's tasted the fruit, her eyes have been opened. But the cool thing about pomegranates is all those crazy seeds--and the uber feminine shape of them, of course. But all those seeds, seeds of wisdom come to mind.

This card doesn't have a downside for me. At worst it appears to tell someone that they should be meditating more or, at the very least, taking more time for quiet contemplation.

The Empress

At left is The Empress from The Illuminated Tarot. It's my favorite version of The Empress, I think because of the stars! The Empress is often shown as a pregnant woman, although one can't be sure of that in the Illuminated version.

She is meant to represent not so much fertility but the ability to provide, nurture, and manage.

I associate her with the suit of Cups because of her loving, mothering nature. Not to mention that as a fertile female she represents the divine vessel--and if the cup isn't a vessel, what is it? I also associate her with Mother Nature.

Like The Emperor and the Priest, she can represent authority, institutions, the medical field, or education. But I always see her more positively than the Emperor or the Priest.

I see her as a good omen of prosperity, health, or fertility. A keyword that comes to mind when I see her is "comfort." Doesn't she look comfortable on her cushions under the night sky?

In the negative, she may represent issues with a mother figure or with an employer--not necessarily female. She could represent emotional disturbance or physical loss (disability, health). She can represent someone(s) who are overbearing, perhaps over-mothering. She can represent losing touch with nature or a need to take better care of the kids/home/spouse/self.

The Emperor

At right: The Emperor from the Hanson Roberts Tarot Deck.

I have never liked The Emperor. He and the Hierophant have always annoyed me and I see them both in the same light. But, then, I've always been one of those uncomfortable with authority and with the church. Not that I'm equating those two... entirely.

For me, The Emperor represents The Powers That Be. At worst he represents someone/thing that is smug, self-important, and possibly invested with too much power. It's difficult for me to remember that not every official is bad and that I shouldn't be so prejudiced. I try not to assume, when I see The Emperor, that there is some negative force at work.

The Emperor can represent individuals or institutions. He might represent marriage (yup, that's an institution), a large company, a government office, the church, a belief system, a school or educational system, the medical field in some capacity, or the law (specific law, police officer, judge, lawyer).

I rarely get much from the symbols held by or surrounding The Emperor. He reminds me a bit of the Two of Wands who I sometimes also see as somewhat smug and invested with too much power/things/money (than he knows what good to do with).

For the most part, when The Emperor comes up in a reading I feel as if there is a message to the Querent about seeking some kind of help (medically, legally, etc.) or finding some resolution with a problem pertaining to the marriage, legal authority, education, or with a medical issue. What The Emperor is representing is usally apparent within the context of the reading.

The Emperor may also come up to represent responsibility. Or the need to take some! I often see this card when someone is asking a question like, "I don't know what I'm going to do, I feel lost/helpless/confused." If this card comes up I remind them that they may need to ask for help from either the state, their health care professional, a mental health care professional, or from a friend or family member who may be in a position to help them.

I also sometimes see The Emperor as an admonishment to be more disciplined and logical and to take charge of a situation.

In the negative, The Emperor may be pressure from a figure(s) of authority such as judgmental parents or a domineering spouse. Any demanding, unforgiving, critical influence might be represented through The Emperor. Even a person's own relentless compulsions may be shown through this card.

The Hierophant

At left is The Hierophant from The Gilded Tarot. This is probably my least favorite card in the tarot. But this comes from my inner prejudice against organized religion and I do try to set this aside when I'm reading since organized religion (and all other religion) is only one of the many things this card can represent.

More so than The Emperor, I think this card can represent education, or the opportunity to educate or learn. It may represent belief, faith, or the perception of things. I also see it as sometimes representing conformity and/or peer pressure.

Like the Emperor, I see this card as symbolizing medicine, law, mental health, institutions, or marriage. It could also be a symbol of truth or meaning.

I may see this card as a message to someone that they are the final authority on what is okay and what is not okay to believe in their lives. Sometimes we need permission to believe what we want/need to believe or maybe we need permission to explore other belief systems. The Priest may come up to give us that permission.

At his worst, The Hierophant may be symbolizing unhealthy rigidity in some aspect of the querent's life. Intolerance, prejudice, bigotry, self-righteousness, pretentiousness, or hypocracy may all be represented by this card. Unhealthy, irrational, exclusive belief systems can be pointed out by the appearance of The Hierophant. And as he can represent conformity, he may also symbolize someone's feelings of inadequacy or disenfranchisement.

The Lovers

Meet The Rohrig Tarot! Its cards are enormous, over six inches long and over three inches wide, which they almost have to be in order for the deck's artwork to appreciated. The artwork is exceptional. I love this deck, I only wish it were easier to shuffle. This deck can't be shuffled, not really. I keep hoping they'll one day create a pocket version.

The Lovers is not a card I usually see as representative of a couple in love. As it's a Major Arcana card and therefore tending to pertain more to our karmic lives than our earthly lives, it's not hard for me to see other meaning in this card than romantic.

In many decks you see a couple embracing and while one partner seems content, the other seems to look very sad or resigned. I've drawn this card many times and seen it as a message that, no, s/he's just NOT that into you.

In other decks The Lovers often shows three people who are posed in such a way that you can tell that one of the three is trying to choose which lover to keep and which lover to break it off with. For this reason, The Lovers is often a card about choices, decision making, and consequences.

This card is sometimes depicted with a spiritual or celestial being looking down on a couple. In this instance, it's may have some romantic meaning for me, but not necessarily.

In those decks where The Lovers are depicted as Adam and Eve, I might see this card as having to do with knowledge, learning, exposed secrets, or of a sign that someone is indulging in something "forbidden."

Because The Lovers can come up to represent karmic unions, to me it may mean someone is trying to come to terms with their own duality. For instance, someone may may be new at exploring their spiritual side and be having trouble finding the balance between their daily life and their spiritual journey.

In the negative this card makes me think of the Two of Swords. It may come up to represent a difficult choice, especially one where no outcome is desireable. It can certainly indicate relationship difficulties, but not necessarily of a romantic nature. Like The Devil it could be representing temptation or indecision. Reversed it may be a symbol of divorce or of a rift forming between two or more people who were very close.

The Chariot

At left is The Chariot from The Gilded Tarot. Luscious deck, isn't it? It was a birthday gift from a friend. Not a deck I'd have ever purchased for myself, I'm not fond of computer generated art in the tarot, but this deck is just so gorgeous. I am really delighted with it. Easy to shuffle too!

The most obvious meanings of The Chariot are movement, travel, or a warrior.

I personally rarely see much meaning in the black and white sphinxes (gold and silver on this deck). But that's just me. And that isn't to say that one day, with the right Querent, and the right question, one or both of the sphinxes may suddenly have a clear message for me. For now, I more or less ignore them. Or perhaps it's more appropriate to say that they ignore me. That's one of the funny things about the tarot--even after years of use, under the right circumstances, a card may suddenly hold a whole new meaning for you. Egyptian symbology has never called to me. But I don't want to discourage anyone from exploring their meaning. This MY tarot journal, not THE tarot journal.

The warrior aspect of this card also rarely comes up for me, but it can indicate someone "doing battle" in some aspect of their life. It could also indicate a champion--perhaps the Querent herself is a champion in some way or perhaps the card comes up to represent a champion in his life.

In general when this card comes up I see it as a message to the Querent to take charge of their life's direction or to take hold the reins of whatever situation they may be asking about. I see this as an empowering card, one that reminds us that we control the direction of our lives.

In the negative I may see this card as a sign of someone who is out of control. Or perhaps someone who has no direction. This card could indicate the lack of someone's ability to manage their life or an aspect of their life.

It's a Major Arcana card, however, and can somtimes indicate that there are greater forces at work. We can only control what WE do, not what others do. But what WE do is oh so important.

There is another aspect of this card that does have meaning for me at times. Health and vitality! Sometimes I see this card in regard to someone's health as either an indicator of their excellent physical state or as a message for them to get in gear and move their bodies.

Where this card comes up in the reading is key to its meaning, not to mention the cards that come up with it. This is to be said of all tarot cards, of course. One of the reasons I don't turn one card over at a time in a reading is because I need to see the entire context of the reading before I begin intepreting. If I do one card at a time, I'm more likely to misinterpret the message I'm supposed to be getting. The cards interact with each other--it's important to me to see them as a whole at first, then break them down.


The Hermit

Wheel of Fortune


The Hanged Man



The Devil

The Tower

The Star

The Moon

The Sun


The World

Ace of Cups

Two of Cups

Three of Cups

Four of Cups

Five of Cups

Six of Cups

Seven of Cups

Eight of Cups

Nine of Cups

Ten of Cups

Page of Cups

Knight of Cups

Queen of Cups

King of Cups

Ace of Coins

Two of Coins

Three of Coins

Four of Coins

Five of Coins

Six of coins

Seven of Coins

Eight of Coins

Nine of Coins

Ten of Coins

Page of Coins

Knight of Coins

Queen of Coins

King of Coins

Ace of Wands

Two of Wands

Three of Wands

Four of Wands

Five of Wands

Six of Wands

Seven of Wands

Eight of Wands

Nine of Wands

Ten of Wands

Page of Wands

Knight of Wands

Queen of Wands

King of Wands

Ace of Swords

Two of Swords

Three of Swords

Four of Swords

Five of Swords

Six of Swords

Seven of Swords

Eight of Swords

Nine of Swords

Ten of Swords

Page of Swords

Knight of Swords

Queen of Swords

Sunday, November 9, 2008

King of Swords