Amber is a Tarot card enthusiast who enjoys sharing their knowledge with others.
What Is So Special About Tarot Cards?
I decided to do a special article on Tarot cards, separate from all other tools of witchcraft. This is because the more research I did on the cards, the more I learned that they were very complex and that there was more to the cards than most people think. Plus, after reading the article, you'll learn that Tarot cards are not just of the Wiccan culture.
When most people think of Tarot cards, they think of “fortune telling.” However, according to the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, "The most powerful sources of information come from within; and the Tarot aids in coming in contact with one's Higher Self."
So, Tarot cards are not simply a deck of cards that "tells us our fortune" or "predicts our future." There is so much more to them. They are said to be a tool of divination, of connecting one to the spirit world. The cards can reveal aspects of our past, and give advice on settling present situations.
They are said to address parts of our subconscious, issues we may not even notice we are dealing with until the situation has been brought to light. This, in turn, can help aid us on issues we are aware of in our conscious mind.
Tarot Cards Encompass All Religions
Most often they are thought of as a tool used by Wiccans and witches, but they have illustrations and concepts of several religions and were used by people of many other religions all over the world.
Did you know on some cards there are pictures of angels, and one even depicts Adam and Eve? There are also Egyptian Gods, Greek Gods and Goddesses, Hindu Chakra's and spiritual concepts, and Norse/Viking/Pagan Gods and Goddesses. What I find so fascinating about what the cards reveal is that they appeal to all religions and many different religious concepts. I believe this is to reach out to people of all different belief systems.
For instance, let's examine the Empress card, a card depicting a woman, sometimes pregnant, and this woman is often called a "mother figure." Remember that all decks are different, and illustrations vary.
In some decks, there is an image of what seems to be a Jewish/Christian angel—a woman with wings. In other images of this same card, the woman has no wings but is drawn with a huge resemblance to Mary, the mother of Jesus. These cards can be interpreted in many ways:
- To a Jew or Christian, this is more than likely how one would view the woman, as an angel, or as Mary the mother of Jesus, because this corresponds to the Christian/Jewish faith.
- However, to a person who practices faith in the ancient Greek mythology, this woman is either Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty, or Demeter, Goddess of fertility, and often called the "Earth Mother."
- To those who believe in the Pagan gods and goddesses, she is Freyja, the goddess associated with love, sexuality, beauty, and fertility.
- In ancient Egyptian mythology, she is Bast, the cat-headed goddess who was associated with fertility and childbirth.
- In Hindu, she is Durga, the divine mother, or Lakshmi the goddess of wealth and fertility.
So it is adamantly clear that the Tarot cards encompass all religions, not just Wicca. They are very complex and there is so much to be learned about these cards. Let's start with the history and etymology of Tarot cards.
History and Etymology
The Etymology of the word “Tarot” is somewhat of a mystery but there are various theories where it originated. Some say the word Tarot corresponds with Italian culture, that “Tarot” is actually an English and French word that derives from the Italian word “tarocchi,” which has no known origin or etymology.
The name Tarot could also have relevance to the Taro River in northern Italy, near Parma; and therefore the process of reading would have originated in northern Italy, in Milan or Bologna. Yet, evidence far predating this has been found.
The early Tarot symbolism was deeply rooted in Medieval and Renaissance Europe, but over the centuries it has grown to incorporate everything from Astrology and Kabbalah to Runes (which predate the Tarot by 1000 years) and the I Ching (which predates the Tarot by 2500 years).
One theory believes the word Tarot comes from the Arabic word طرق (turuq), which means “ways.” There is also the question of whether the word tarot is related to Harut and Marut, which were mentioned in a short account in the Qur'an. According to this account, a group of Israelites learned magic from two angels by the names of Harut and Marut. This theory is due to the phonetic resemblance of tarot card images to (Harut) هاروت and (Marut) ماروت.
Similar stories about the two angels are also told in other sources than Qur'an, such as the Jewish Midrash. According to Midrash, the two angels were punished by getting hung by their feet in Babylon. This position is depicted on a Tarot card called “The Hanged Man” which is commonly found in the majority of Tarot decks and illustrates a man hung by one foot from a wooden cross.
There is also an interesting correlation between the terms "Tarot" and "Torat" in that they are actually the same in reverse. Considering that in the middle east "Torat" is a common pronunciation of Torah (تورات), this strengthens the theory that Tarot cards are derived from ancient Jewish sources.
Although the Tarot was first used in a game called Triumphs, it was quickly adopted as a tool for divination, and popularized by occult societies such as the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.” Today, Tarot cards are the most popular tool for spiritual connection in the West.
The practice of Tarot cards as a divination tool is in evidence as early as 1540 in a book entitled, “The Oracles of Francesco Marcolino da Forlì.” However, the cards are used only to select a random oracle and have no meaning in themselves. But manuscripts from 1735 (The Square of Sevens), and 1750 (Pratesi Cartomancer), were documents containing rudimentary divinatory meanings for the cards of the Tarot, as well as a system for laying out the cards. In 1765 in Russia, a man named Giacomo Casanova wrote in his diary that his mistress frequently used a deck of playing cards for divination.
Tarot cards would later become associated with mysticism and magic in the 18th and 19th centuries. The tradition began in 1781, when Antoine Court De Gébelin, a Swiss clergyman, published Le Monde Primitif. This book was a speculative study which included religious symbolism, and its survival in the modern world. De Gébelin first asserted that symbolism of the “Tarot de Marseillere,” had connections to the Egyptian deities Isis and Thoth.
Gébelin further claimed that the name "tarot" came from the Egyptian words “Tar,” meaning royal, and “Ro,” meaning road and that the Tarot, therefore, represented a "royal road" to wisdom. Even though De Gébelin wrote this treatise before Jean-François Champollion had deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphs, the identification of the tarot cards with the Egyptian Book of Thoth was already firmly established in occult practice and continues into the present day.
Variations of Tarot Cards
There are many varieties of Tarot decks, and there is no standard number of cards, however, many decks contain 78 cards. Despite the varieties of Tarot decks, the suits and their meanings are the same, however, the illustrations vary. Decks have various themes such as nature, animals, fantasy, dragons, and more.
The most common deck in the United States is the “Rider-Waite deck,” which was created in 1909 by A.E. Waite, a prominent member of the occult group the “Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.” It was a 78-card deck and was the only available deck in the United States for many years, which is why it is considered the original Tarot deck of the United States.
The Tarot deck is made up of the “Minor Arcana” and the “Major Arcana.” Like regular playing cards, the Minor Arcana of the Tarot deck includes four suits. But it doesn't consist of spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs. The suits are as follows:
- Circles or pentacles
The cards within these suits are numbered one through 10 and also includes the court cards: the king, queen, knight, and page. Each suit has meaning regarding a specific approach to life.
The Minor Arcana cards represent more minor, practical daily ups and downs in life. The Major Arcana is not associated with the suits. They include the picture cards that represent principles, concepts, and ideals. They are numbered one through 21, with the 22nd card (the "Fool") marked as zero. The Major Arcana cards represent strong, long-term energy or big events in some area of life. Seeing a Major Arcana card about a particular subject in one reading and then getting a Minor Arcana card about the same subject in the next reading would mean that this subject is becoming less important in your life.
There are two different types of Tarot readings: Question readings and Open readings.
In question readings, you are addressing a specific question. Tarot is not intended to answer specific yes or no questions. Most say it also shouldn't be used to make decisions, but instead should be used as a guide to help you make the decision yourself. For this reason, the way a question is stated is very important.
Open readings address the larger aspects of your life rather than a specific problem area or question. They're usually done when you're entering a new phase of life, such as getting married, graduating from college, or starting a family. You can somewhat direct the reading if you have a general area you want to cover, such as your career or health, but that's as specific as the direction gets.
Before a reading is performed, the cards are shuffled by the person receiving the reading. Some say this transfers that person's energy of the deck. The person receiving the reading should also be concentrating on the question or area for which they want guidance while he or she shuffles the deck. In some more traditional circles, a more elaborate sorting and separation of the cards is performed.
Once the cards are shuffled and the deck has been cut, the reader lays out the cards in a pattern called “the spread.” There are hundreds of types of spreads. Each position in the spread has a meaning, and there are many different types of spreads, ranging from those that incorporate a single card to spreads that include all cards of the deck. Which spread is used is up to the reader and the specific type of question or reading. Some spreads focus more on a specific type of information. For example, one spread might focus more on emotional matters, while another might bring in more information about the influences of others. The spread you use could also be determined based on the kind of deck you have. One of the most common spreads is the “Celtic Cross.”
There are many more spreads for Tarot card reading, and readers can even make up their own. In using the Celtic Cross spread, you can see that there is an order in which the cards are laid down for the spread and that each card position within the spread has a meaning. There are many different meanings that each position can have. The card meanings are combined with the position meanings. In addition, combinations of cards or card pairings also affect meanings. Each card possesses a pictogram and title that represents a specific concept.
Tarot cards have different meanings depending on where they fall in the spread. Once the cards are laid out, their meanings are interpreted based on their positions and their neighboring cards. Because Tarot cards each have one picture that faces in one direction, it is possible that cards will be facing the opposite direction when dealt. When cards are reversed, this changes their meaning. Below is how you'd perform the Celtic Cross spread:
- Begin by looking at the Circle/Cross section. The cards in this position represent what is happening in your life at the time of the reading.
- Next, look at the first six cards in pairs. These cards paint a picture of your immediate situation. The cards in position 1 (the central issue) and position 2 (the secondary issue that can either be opposing or reinforcing) will identify the central theme of the reading. The cards in position 3 (the root cause that can be an unconscious influence or deeper meaning) and position 5 (your attitudes and beliefs, a conscious influence, your goal or an alternate future) represent things that are going on within you at different levels. And, the cards in position 4 (your past, a receding influence or something that has been resolved) and position 6 (the future or an approaching influence or unresolved factor) represent how people and events are flowing through your life.
- Next, look at the Staff section of the spread, again considering cards in pairs. Looking at the cards in position 7 (as you are, as you could be, as you present yourself and as you see yourself) and position 8 (your outside environment, someone else's point of view and you as others see you) tells you about your relationship with your environment.
- Finally, look at the card in position 10 (the outcome-overall, your inner state, your actions, or effects) to see the projected outcome.
Lastly, go back and review the cards that led up to that outcome, and see if there is a card that stands out as the key to that outcome. Then, look back at card 5 to see if the projected outcome is also shown as an alternate outcome there. Look at the card representing the near future in position 6 to see if it supports or contributes to the projected outcome. Finally, look at the card in position 9 (guidance, key factors, hopes, and fears or overlooked factors) to see there is any relevance there.
Other Types of Spreads
- Trinity Rainbow Layout (Alchemical and Chakra cards)
- The Moon Goddess Layout (Alchemcial cards only)
- Body, Soul and Spirit Layout (Alchemical and Chakra cards)
- Seven Chakra Body Mapping (Chakra and Alchemical cards)
- Earth Attunement (Alchemical cards and Chakra cards)
- The Elemental Pentacle Spread
- Five Point Star/Pentagram spread
- Diamond Spread
- The Key Layout Spread
- The Hagall Spread
- The Horseshoe Spread
- The Pyramid Spread
- The Planetary/Seven Point Star Spread
- The Magic Square Spread
- The Flying Bird Spread
- The Circle Spread
- The Triangle Spread
- The Romany Spread
- The Consequence Spread
- The Fourfold Vision Spread
- The Mirror Spread
- The Twelve Card Spread
- The Traditional Three Card Spread
- The Hexefus or Star of David Spread
- The Coming Year Spread
- The Star of Discovery Spread
- The Star of Recovery Spread
- The Star of Hope Spread
- The Star of Illumination Spread
- The Tree of Life Spread
- The Zodiac/Astrology/Horoscope Spread
- The Relationship Cross Spread
- The Tetractys Spread
- The Wheel/Seventeen Card Spread
- The Week Ahead Tarot Spread
- The Scales of Justice Spread
- The Examination Spread
- The Sword Spread
- The Voice of Your Tuition Spread
- The Little Medicine Wheel Spread
- The Path of Wisdom Spread
- The Partnership Spread
- The Coming Mothers Spread
- Looking for Love Tarot Spread
- Career and Job Tarot Spread
- Personal Growth Tarot Spread
- Decision-Making Tarot Spread
- Moving Tarot Spread
- Daily Tarot Spread
- Birthday Tarot Spread
- Holiday Tarot Spread
- Karmic and Past Life Tarot Spread
- Time-Based Tarot Spread
- Chakra Tarot Spread
- Dream Tarot Spread
- Fact-Finding Tarot Spread
- Health and Body Tarot Spread
- The Mandala Spread
- The Triple Goddess Spread
- The Eclipse Spread
Tree of Life/Autumn Equinox Spread
The Major Arcana
The standard Tarot deck consists of 78 cards divided into two sections; the Major and Minor Arcanas. The word Arcana is the plural of Arcanum, which means "profound secret." To the alchemists of the Middle Ages, the Arcanum was the secret of nature. The Tarot cards are therefore a collection of the "secrets" that underlie and explain our universe.
The 22 cards of the Major Arcana are the heart of the deck. Each of these cards symbolizes some universal aspect of human experience. They represent the archetypes—consistent, directing patterns of influence that are an inherent part of human nature.
Each card in the Major Arcana has a name and number. Some names convey a card's meaning directly, such as Strength, Justice, and Temperance. Other cards are individuals who personify a particular approach to life, such as the Magician or the Hermit. There are also cards with astronomical names, such as the Star, Sun, and Moon. They represent the elusive forces associated with these heavenly bodies.
The Major Arcana cards are special because they draw out deep and complex reactions. The images on the Rider-Waite deck are evocative because they combine esoteric symbolism with recognizable figures and situations. The symbolism is subtle but effective.
A Major Arcana card is always given extra weight in a reading. When one of these cards appears, you know the issues at stake are not mundane or temporary. They represent your most basic concerns—your major feelings and motivations.
Many interpreters view the major Arcana as showing the different stages on an individual's journey of inner growth—what some call the Fool's Journey. In these systems, each card stands for some quality or experience that we must incorporate before we can realize our wholeness.
We all travel this road to self-actualization, though our trips more often involve detours, backups, and restarts than smooth progression! Our specific paths are unique, but our milestones are universal. The 22 Major Arcana cards are markers of the path of inner development leading from earliest awareness (card 0 the Fool) to integration and fulfillment (card 22 the World).
I've included many Tarot card images in the article. Why so many you may ask? I really want to show a variety of images and influences of all cultures and religions in the Tarot cards. My main goal of the article is not just for my reader to learn the history, art of reading, and meanings of the Tarot cards. I want my readers to open their minds to something new that may be different than their own culture, or even considered "wrong" in their religious traditions.
I am not saying that I am trying to persuade readers to use Tarot cards as a divination tool, but rather to not fall prey to stereotypes that Tarot card reading is "evil," and making a judgment before truly understanding it. There are Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Egyptian, Greek, Native American, and Wicca influences in almost all cards. Although it may be most commonly practiced by the Wiccans now, and considered somewhat taboo, originally, when the cards were created, they were used to connect to all religions, not just pagan.
Tarot Cards: Table of Contents
0. The Fool
1. The Magician
2. The High Priestess/Papess
3. The Empress
4. The Emperor
5. The Hierophant/Pope/High Priest
6. The Lovers
7. The Chariot
9. The Hermit
10. The Wheel of Fortune
12. The Hanged/Hanging Man
15. The Devil
16. The Tower
17. The Star
18. The Moon
19. The Sun
21. The World
0. The Fool Tarot Card
- A new cycle or a fresh start. Discovery, new beginnings, optimism and happiness, innocence, spontaneity, and free spirit.
The Fool is numbered 0, the number of unlimited potential, and does not actually have a specific place in the sequence of the Tarot cards. It is said to correspond with air.
In Norse Mythology: Balder
The Fool in Norse Viking pagan lore is Balder, the Norse God of youth, purity, and innocence. The Fool Tarot card meaning deals with that youthful exuberance we feel when starting out on a new adventure or taking a journey of faith. The message of the fool is to be mindful of the gap between reality and possibility, don’t get caught up or bogged down in reality, try to maintain a certain innocence, and welcome possibility.
In Hindu Culture: Sahasrara
In Hindu culture, this card represents the violet, Crown chakra, the spirit called Sahasrara. The crown chakra (Sahasrara) is the seat of higher consciousness and the master chakra of the body. It represents the connection we have to the central nervous system and the center of the brain. Recent studies have linked the controlling glands to consciousness, and new studies indicate that they actually respond to light, giving credence to the idea of our third eye. The release of old patterns, effortless manifestation, understanding others and ourselves intuitively, and renewed compassionate awareness is what concentrating on the crown chakra yields. As it has been said, we are spirits in human form, when we remember this essential truth and act on it we become truly aware.
Violet was once the color reserved for Roman, Egyptian and Persian royals, and it was considered the color of blood. In Greek mythology, the dog of Hercules discovered the dye, when it came back with his mouth stained purple from chewing on snails along the Levantine coast. In the last days of Rome, the mollusk Murex was becoming scarce, due to overfishing. Dyers reputedly smelled like dead fish, according to written accounts, but cloth dyed that color was worth its weight in gold. So smelling to high-heaven became the smell of wealth. It is a color not only rich in hue but also in human history.
This is symbolic of youth blossoming into adulthood and how the fool young and full of ideas can become someone infamous and amazing.
The Fool makes no plans or gives no thought to possible complications along the way. Happy to be doing something different, the Fool blindly sets out where all else may fear to tread. The card often depicts a young person walking toward the edge of a cliff. There are two possible interpretations: Either he is so naively focused on a goal in the distance, that he does not see the danger at his feet; or he is fully aware and is about to take a leap into the unknown (a leap of Faith) trusting that all will turn out well.
So, the card could mean you learn from your mistakes. Or, it could mean you need to step back and reflect on “the bigger picture.” Are you so absorbed in something you don’t notice your surroundings, that you are metaphorically “about to jump off a cliff?” To draw the Fool could mean you should let go of all you think you want or need to be happy, and focus on happiness itself. That to find happiness you should surrender your control to God, and have faith that although things may not turn out the way you expect, you will get that which you need in the end. Some questions to ponder if this card is drawn:
- Am I following my dreams?
- What do I value most . . . my beliefs or my image?
- Do I fear adventure or do I fear practicality?
- Are you so absorbed in something you don’t notice your surroundings, that you are metaphorically “about to jump off a cliff?”
- Am I thinking of the bigger picture when I make decisions?
- Do I lack faith?
Reckless choices, folly, indiscretion, naivety, foolishness, and risk-taking. You’re not remembering who you are, you are acting foolish. For some reason, you are not happy with the way things are, and you are not willing to trust that things will improve. Instead, your tendency is to berate yourself or others for circumstances outside of your control. Find a way to trust that everything will work out.
1. The Magician Tarot Card
- Determination, conscious awareness, power, journey, initiative, organizational and communication skills.
The Magician is associated with the planet Mercury and carries with it skill, logic, and intellect. The Magician is the bridge between the world of the spirit and the world of humanity.
In Hindu Culture: Ajna
In the Hindu culture, this card represents the indigo blue, Third-eye, brow chakra called Ajna. The Brow or Third-eye Ajna chakra center is called “the seat of the soul.” It governs our awareness, our ability to foresee things and visualize desired outcomes. It is the Clairvoyant-Intuitive part of our brain residing in the frontal lobe, which corresponds with our higher brain functions. Our ideas about reality and our ability to create that reality are derived from this chakra. The color associated with Ajna is dark midnight blue, or indigo. Vincent Van Gogh’s painting “The Starry Night” makes great use of that color. When it is working properly, we are able to visualize easily, our memory is sharp as is our ability to reason. We know almost instinctively how to help someone without their asking, and we trust our intuition and ourselves.
In Norse Mythology: Odin
The Norse Pagan Viking God for this card is Odin. Odin (/ˈoʊdɨn/; from Old Norse Óðinn) is a major god in Norse mythology, the Allfather of the gods, and the ruler of Asgard. Homologous with the Old English "Wōden", the Old Saxon "Wôdan" and the Old High German "Wôtan,” the name is descended from Proto-Germanic "*Wōdanaz" or "*Wōđanaz". The day Wednesday (Wodensdaeg) is named for him.
Odin is a principal member of the Æsir (the major group of the Norse pantheon) and is associated with war, battle, victory and death, but also wisdom, Shamanism, magic, poetry, prophecy, and the hunt. He was most known as the master of magic and god of war.
Odin is pictured either wearing a winged helm or a floppy hat and a blue-grey cloak. Odin has only one eye, which blazes like the sun. His other eye he traded for a drink from the Well of Wisdom and gained immense knowledge.
He can travel to any realm within the 9 Nordic worlds. His followers knew that if Odin chose to, he could reward them well.
Odin can make the dead speak in order to question the wisest among them. His hall in Asgard is Valaskjalf (“shelf of the slain”) where his throne, Hlidskjalf, is located. From this throne, he observes all that happens in the nine worlds. Gazing over the lands of men, grants, dwarfs and elves, none could escape his all-seeing eye.
He presided as leader over the great hall of Gladsheim, which contained the 12 seats belonging to the council of the gods.
His second hall was Valhalla, the hall of the chosen dead. Here resided Odin’s favorites, the Einheriar, the fallen warriors in battle. It was believed they were magically restored to health. Together they would fight by day and, would feast by night.
He possessed two ravens, Hugin (thought) and Munin (memory.) They would fly off in the morning and spend days searching the land; at nightfall, they returned to whisper into his ears all they had seen and heard. He also kept two wolves as hunting dogs, named Geri and Freki.
The trickster god, or the god of wisdom, Odin stands with the four elemental weapons. The sword of air, the shield of earth, the chalice of water, and the wand of fire in the form of the magical spear, Gungnir, forged by the dwarfs. His wide-brimmed hat hangs low, covering the empty socket of the sacrificed eye. His two ravens circle high above, and behind him stand the two wolves.
In Egyptian Mythology: Isis
ISIS (ISET, ASET, AUSET) was an Egyptian goddess of magic, wisdom, renewal, healing, power, love, marriage, motherhood and the dead. Isis was one of the oldest gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt. Sister and wife of Osiris, mother of Horus. One of the most famous and the most influential goddesses not only in Egypt but in the whole ancient Roman Empire and perhaps even in the modern era because Catholic and Orthodox Marian cult is largely based on the one of Isis. Isis was her Greek name, but she was known to the ancient Egyptians as Aset (or Ast, Iset, Uset), which is usually translated as "(female) of throne" or "Queen of the throne". At one time, her cult was worshiped in every temple in the land. In fact, the first shrine dedicated specifically to her was built by Nectanebo II in Dynasty Thirty.
From the Hellenistic period throughout the whole era of the Roman Empire, the cult of Isis became increasingly popular in the lands far from Egypt and she became of one the main deities of the ancient world. She was venerated during the mysteries called Navigium Isidis (literally The Vessel of Isis) in Rome on March 5th. The celebrations included processions with the offerings of milk and spices, flowers, torches, lanterns and her sacred objects; her worshipers were singing and dancing.
Another popular Roman celebration was Isia, which was taking place between October 28th and November 3rd/4th. It was retelling the story of resurrecting Osiris; both priests, priestesses and common believers were divided into guilds: pastophori were carrying small chapels during processions and melanephors were wearing black gowns to remind about Isis’ grief after Osiris’ death.
She was venerated by many inhabitants of Rome including emperors: Caligula built a temple of her on the Campus Martius which was called Isis Campensis i.e Isis of the Fields, among her worshipers were also Vespasian, Titus, Domitian, Trajan, Hadrian, Galerius and others.
In African Culture: Sangoma
There is also the African Tarot card with the word Sangoma. Although Sangoma is a Zulu term that is used to commonly describe all types of Southern African traditional healers, there are technically two main types of traditional healers within the Nguni societies of Southern Africa. An Inyanga is concerned mainly with medicines made from plants and animals, while a Sangoma relies primarily on divination for healing purposes and might also be considered a type of fortune teller.
A Sangoma is a practitioner of “Ngoma,” a philosophy based on a belief in ancestral spirits (Zulu: Amadlozi), and the practice of traditional African medicine. Sangomas perform a holistic and symbolic form of healing by drawing on the embedded beliefs of the Nguni culture. These healers are Southern African shamans who are highly revered and respected in a society where illness is thought to be caused by witchcraft, pollution (contact with impure objects or occurrences), or through neglect of the ancestors.
These healers fulfill different social and political roles in the community, including divination, healing physical, emotional, and spiritual illnesses, directing birth or death rituals, finding lost cattle, protecting warriors, counteracting witches, and narrating the history, cosmology, and myths of their tradition.
In the Nguni culture, it is believed that ancestors in the afterlife guide and protect the living. Sangomas are called to heal, and through them, it is believed that ancestors from the spirit world can give instruction and advice to heal illness, social disharmony and spiritual difficulties. Traditional healers work in a sacred healing hut or “Ndumba,” where they believe their ancestors reside.
Sangomas believe they are able to access advice and guidance from the ancestors for their patients through possession by an ancestor, channeling, throwing bones, or by interpreting dreams. The Sangoma may burn incense (like Imphepho), or sacrifice animals to please the ancestral spirits. Snuff is also used to communicate with the ancestors through prayer.
For an ancestral possession, the Sangoma works themselves into a trance through drumming, dancing, and chanting. The Sangoma allows their spirit to step aside for an ancestor to take possession of his or her body, and communicate directly with the patient, providing specific information about the problems of the patient. During this process, the Sangoma speaks in tongues, or foreign languages according to the specific ancestor, or dances fervently, that can seem beyond their physical abilities.
Ancestral spirits can be the personal ancestors of the Sangoma, the patient, or they might be general ancestors associated with the geographic area of the community. It is believed that the spirits have the power to intervene in people's lives causing affliction, and the Sangoma can connect to these spirits that are causing harm to a patient. For example, a crab could be invoked as a mediator between the human world and the world of spirits because of its ability to move between the world of the land and the sea. Helping and harming spirits are believed to use the human body as a battleground for their own conflicts. By using Ngoma, the Sangoma can create harmony and appease the spirits, which results in the alleviation of the patient's suffering.
Another way Sangomas perform a divination is by reading bones after they are thrown. Throwing the bones to access the advice of ancestors is an alternative practice to the exhausting ritual of possession by an ancestor. The patient or diviner throws bones on the floor, which may include animal vertebrae, dominoes, dice, coins, shells, or stones; each with a specific significance to human life. For example, a hyena bone signifies a thief and will provide information about stolen objects. The Sangoma or the patient throws the bones but the ancestors control how they lie. The Sangoma then interprets the reading in relation to the patient's afflictions, what the ancestors of the patient require, and how to resolve the disharmony. In the same way, Sangomas will interpret metaphors present in dreams; either their own or their patients.
When the diviner comes to an acceptable understanding of the problem, and the patient agrees to the Sangoma’s advice, he or she will instruct the patient on a course of medicine. This may include the use of Ngoma, referral to an Inyanga herbalist, or recommend a Western medicine regimen. Traditional healers will often give their patients “Muti.” Muti are medications made from plants, animal parts, and minerals, all imbued with spiritual significance. These Muti often have powerful symbolism; for example, lion fat might be prepared for children to promote courage.
There are medicines for everything from physical and mental illness, social disharmony, and spiritual difficulties, to potions for protection, love, and luck.
In Southern Africa, it is estimated that there are as many as 200,000 indigenous traditional healers compared to the 25,000 Western-trained doctors. Traditional healers are consulted by approximately 60% of the South African population.
So, we've looked at the gods and goddesses that represent the card, let's find out a little bit more of its meaning, and why it has such a high significance in earning the images of such important deities.
A serpent devouring itself encircles the Magician's waist, an ancient symbol for death, renewal, and the cyclic nature of time and eternity—creation and destruction. Before him are the four symbols of the Minor Arcana, the Wand, Cup, Sword, and Pentacle, which are the basic elements to create whatever he desires.
The Magician represents a focused, goal-oriented individual who harnesses the power of creativity, especially through willpower and determination. This Tarot card meaning deals with the ability to utilize every resource we have available to us. The Magician has absolute power over all circumstances; he is in control of his own thoughts, and therefore the ruler of his reality. When we pull the Magician card, it is an indication that we have more power than we realize to change our circumstances and reminds us of our unlimited potential. Some questions to ponder if this card is drawn:
- Am I aware of my own power?
- Am I recognizing my fullest potential?
- Am I applying myself effectively and beneficially?
- What action can I take to move in a better direction?
- What resources are available to me, and how do I tap into them?
Poor self-image, timidity, and tendency to delay new projects. You are manifesting your own sorrow. You have far more control over the situation than you give yourself credit for. Don’t underestimate the power of gratitude and forgiveness. Bestow them on yourself and others every chance you get, and soon you’ll find that things are aligning the way you desire.
2. The High Priestess/Papess Tarot Card
- Unconscious awareness and mystery. Intuition, higher powers, and the subconscious mind. Studies and increased knowledge; a good sign for education.
The planet associated with the High Priestess is the Moon. The High Priestess is also known as the Greek Goddess Persephone or Artemis, Egyptian Goddess Nut, or Selket. Selket is the Scorpion Goddess that corresponds with the Virgo sign of this Tarot card. Nut is the Sky Goddess one of the most ancient and oldest of the Gods and in many ways a mother Goddess. Other representations of the High Priestess are the Corn Maiden and the Norse Viking Pagan Goddess Frigg and wife of Odin.
In Hindu Culture: Svadisthana
In the Hindu culture, this card represents the orange, sacral chakra called Svadisthana. Svadisthana is located just below the belly button. It governs our creativity, our ability to give and receive, our sexuality, our sense of sensuality and fulfillment, and of course, procreation. Our sense of awe is also derived from this chakra. When it is working properly we are able to find fulfillment in our work and our relationships and we can give and receive without effort. If this chakra is too weak, we may have trouble feeling connected to our partner or to our work. We may find it hard to see the creativity that we bring to our job, and feel undervalued or unappreciated in some aspect of our lives.
In Egyptian Mythology: Selket and Nut
Selket is the divine scorpion goddess of the Ancient Egyptians. There are many alternate forms of her name: Selkit, Selkis, Selchis, Selkhet, Selquet, Serqet, Serket, Serket-hetyt, Serkhit. Her name means “the one who causes the throat to breathe.” She was the divine scorpion goddess who ruled over medicine, poisons, toxins and death. She was the goddess of fertility and the underworld, insects, family and tribes, and the protectress of marriage and conjugal union. She was also a helper of women in labor and childbirth. Her priesthood was connected to the healing of poisonous bites and she was frequently appealed to by magicians and others for protection from venomous bites.
Selket is said to be the daughter of Ra and Isis, the wife of Horus, and the mother of Harakhte. She symbolized the scorching heat of the sun and her veneration center was most likely Tell El Amarna, the Sun City of the heretic pharaoh, Akhneton. There is no historical evidence as to what date her feast or festival was held on, but a logical assumption would be October 23, the start of the astrological sign of Scorpio.
She was associated early with the god Nun and originally adored in the southern lands. She was absorbed into the cult of Horus in time and then became a guardian of the dead. Selket was one of the Great Goddesses of the Delta. The others, Nephthys, Sekhat-Hor, and Nor, joined Selket in watching over the infant Horus in the marshes. She also joins with Neith in their aspects as Sky Goddesses and watches over Amun and his wife, so that no one disturbs them in their marriage bed.
She is depicted as binding up demons that would otherwise threaten Ra, and she sent seven of her scorpion goddesses (Tefen, Befen, Mestet, Mestetef, Petet, Theteth, Maatet), to protect Isis from Set. She was the protectress of Qebehsenuef, the son of Horus who guarded the intestines of the deceased. She is mentioned in the Pyramid and the Coffin Texts as one of the four goddesses (Isis, Neith, and Nephthys being the other three), who protected the canopic jars that contained the viscera of the deceased.
Nut or Nuit: Her name translates to “Sky,” and possibly the origin of our word for night. She is one of the oldest deities found in Egypt. In the Ennead of Egyptian mythology, she is seen as a star-covered nude woman arching over the earth. Mostly depicted in human form, Nut was also sometimes depicted in the form of a cow. She was originally the goddess of the nighttime sky but eventually became referred to as simply the sky goddess.
Her origins are found in the creation story of Heliopolis. In this story, she is the sky goddess above, and her brother god is the Earth below. The goddess Nut was the daughter of Shu and Tefnut, the wife and sister of Seb, the Earth-god, and the mother of Osiris, Isis, Set, and Nephthys. She was the personification of the heavens and the sky, the region wherein the clouds form, and in every portion of the reign in which the sun rose.
In Norse Mythology: Frigga
Frigga was considered to be the patroness of marriage, her health being toasted at wedding feasts. She was the goddess of the sky and was represented in clothes the color of the clouds. Sometimes she would be dressed brightly, in garments as white as snow, and at other times more darkly, reflecting the ever-changing nature of the weather.
She had the ability to see into the future, but seldom revealed what she saw. Throughout the writings of the Northern peoples, the power of prophecy was usually ascribed to women.
Known by the name ‘Volva’ these women appear to have followed similar practices to the shamans of more recent times. They have been recorded as entering into a self-induced trance before being able to foretell the future.
In the High Priestess card, the colors of her white gown and the cloak of deep red, edged in black, that hangs behind her over the throne, representing the three phases of the moon, and similarly the three ages of womanhood. Beyond the throne stand the twin stones that mark the entrance to her temple, these stand for the duality of opposites, and reflect the horns of the moon.
The High Priestess sits between the darkness and the light, which is represented by the pillars of Solomon’s temple. The letter B on the left pillar stands for Boaz, signifying negation, and J on the right, stands for Jachin, meaning beginning. Behind her is the gate of the great mystery, as indicated by the Tree of Life in the background. The veil behind her hides a wealth of secret knowledge. She holds a copy of Divine Law in her lap.
She instinctively understands the connections between nature, philosophy, science, and religion. A crescent moon at her feet and a full moon crown reveal her willingness to illuminate some of that which is hidden. She is a symbol of duty (because Persephone ate a pomegranate seed in the underworld which forced her to return every year). This is why there are pomegranates in the picture.
The High Priestess represents intuition, secret knowledge, and the realms of the psychic and supernatural. She determines the manner in which the secret knowledge should be expressed, and only she decides to whom, and how much knowledge is revealed. It can also indicate hidden information that has yet to be revealed. Drawing this card may refer to changes taking place within you; the gathering of energy before a physical action is taken. There could be a surprise in your immediate future. Some questions to ponder if you draw this card:
- Am I listening to my inner voice?
- Is there something hidden in your subconscious that may need to be brought to light?
- Do you have repressed feelings that you feel are bursting to come forth?
- Is there some part of you that you have been neglecting, such as dreams put on hold?
- Are there secrets being kept from me?
- Are there secrets I am concealing that I should reveal?
Hidden agendas, need to listen to the inner voice. Failure to heed to intuition and knowledge or prior experience. You have fallen prey to the illusion that the physical world is all that is real. You perhaps feel disconnected from the world, and so have taken refuge in a reality vs. illusion discussion with yourself. You need to remember that we only experience a percentage of reality as physical.
The lesson here is not to discount your abilities both physical and non-physical. For some reason, you have given in to the feeling of being disconnected from your higher self. Remember that there is more to this life than the physical, and trust that you do have certain physic abilities, even if that gift is simply trusting your intuition.
3. The Empress Tarot Card
- Fertility, abundance, and material wealth. Marriage and pregnancy. Fertility, femininity, beauty, nature.
The Empress is the archetypal Earth Mother, the Feminine Principle, Greek Goddess Demeter, Pagan Norse Viking Goddess Freyja, and the Goddess of Fertility. She can also be thought of as Mary, mother of Jesus in the Christian religion. Ruled by Venus, the planet of love, creativity, fertility, nurturing, art, harmony, luxury, beauty, and grace.
In Hindu Culture: Muladhara
In the Hindu culture, the card represents the red, root, or base chakra called Muladhara. The base chakra is called MULADHARA, which means ‘root’ or ‘foundation’ in Sanskrit. Red is the longest wavelength of light that we can perceive. It is reputedly one of the first colors we see when we open our eyes as babies, and it is also one of the colors that can be restored to the color blind with laser surgery. The color red is a complex symbol of blood, birth, anger, passion, life, and death in human psychology.
In Norse Mythology: Freya
Freya is the golden-haired, blue-eyed goddess of beauty, love and lovers. Besides being the goddess of beauty. Freya was also the leader of the Valkyrs. Together they transported half of the dead heroes to her hall. This was Sessrymnir (the many seated), in the realms of Folksvang. Here the dead would be served by faithful wives and the women who had died before marriage.
She had many followers amongst women. Some were known to go with their husbands into battle, being killed as their men were killed, or to have thrown themselves upon their husbands’ funeral pyres. They believed that if they died together, they would go side-by-side into Freya’s joyful hall and be together forever.
Freya is the personification of the Earth. She can both give and take away. She is fruitfulness and receptiveness. She could, when she so wished, take the shape of a bird. At other times she traveled in a chariot drawn by two cats. The cat and the swallow are two of the animals sacred to her.
Sometimes the Empress is depicted as being pregnant and can be a sign of pregnancy. Or she could be conveying a less literal message. The child she is carrying could be a metaphor for the waiting period until our dreams manifest to reality. She represents the womb of creative ideas.
The Empress card it is a clear indication that we're on the right track with our artistic endeavors and should be encouraged to participate in the activities that instill love in our hearts, and creativity in our souls. She also represents being passive, not taking action. Perhaps there is a spiritual lesson, and we must be passive to open ourselves up to learn. The Empress' presence in a reading is often a message to turn down our intellect and listen to intuition. Or in other words, to follow our heart and gut instincts. Some questions to ponder if this card is drawn:
- Do I need to be more nurturing towards the ones I care about?
- Am I following my intuition/gut instincts?
- Am I afraid to open up/follow my heart?
- Do I need to be patient in the process of my desires unfolding?
- What does being a mother/having a mother mean to me?
Setbacks in case of pregnancy or matrimonial expectations and finance. Creative block, dependence on others. Are you feeling unloved? You need to go inward and reconnect with your ability to nurture from within. You perhaps crave connection with a loved one or desire a relationship with someone out of reach. Whatever it is that is making you feel unloved, you need to distance yourself from that thing and that feeling. You’re the only one that can make you happy, so resolve to reconnect with yourself and nurture the connection.
4. The Emperor Tarot Card
- Successful and strongly grounded person. Excellent management of material affairs. Authority, father-figure, structure, solid foundation.
The Emperor is the complement to the Empress. He is the Masculine Principle, the Animus, and the Patriarch. He represents power and authority. The ram is in this card, a symbol of Aries, the astral ruler of the Emperor. He is the counterpart to the Empress. In one hand, he holds a stylized Egyptian Ankh (symbol of life), and a globe (symbolizes his control of the material world) in the other.
He is factual, objective, realistic, and interested in that which is physical and concrete. He is as wise as his years because caution has served as the better part of valor in his life. This makes him an excellent source of wisdom and advice. He does not become carried away by fad or fancy—he sees through the most clever of disguises and nothing slips by his scrutiny.
In Hindu Culture: Manipura
In Hindu culture, the card represents the yellow, solar plexus, navel chakra called Manipura. The navel chakra or the Solar Plexus Chakra is located just above the belly button. This is the chakra of “fire within the body or the life force.” It governs our self-esteem, our confidence in our selves, and our inner strength. Our ideas about how capable we are, and our ability to create abundance is derived from this chakra. When it is working properly, we are able to see ‘golden’ opportunities in everything, regardless of what befalls us, we can find something good in whatever happens. We feel good about following our ‘gut instincts’, and we trust ourselves. We have confidence in our abilities and our place in the world.
In Norse Mythology: Tyr
In Norse Viking Pagan Lore he was Tyr, the god of war and martial valor. According to some sources Tyr was the son of Odin; others say that the two were brothers. In earlier times he was the supreme sky god of the Northern peoples; however his position later declined in favor of Odin, and this may explain the conflicting accounts Whatever the case, Tyr occupied one of the 12 thrones in the great council hall of the gods, Gladsheim.
His name was invoked by warriors, along with that of Odin, to give victory in battle. The sword was held sacred to him and sword dances were held in his honor. The rune Tiwaz associated with his name has been found scratched upon weapons to bring honor to the owner. Oaths were sworn upon sword blades. Once made they could only be broken upon penalty of the god’s wrath.
In Roman Mythology: Mars
He was a protector of the community, the giver of law and order. The Romans gave him the name Mars Thingus. This links together the aspects of the war god (Mars being the god of war) and the lawgiver; the Thing was the people’s assembly at which disputes were settled and laws established. These two concepts are also linked in the Icelandic practice of solving an important legal dispute by means of a sword duel.
If your goal was built upon a solid foundation, it will be realized. In areas of business, we are encouraged to consider all the facts, revisit our strategic plans, reconsider our partnerships and re-evaluate our allegiances. When we are unsure of circumstances, the Emperor reminds us that sometimes "doing" is the only method we have for "knowing." Drawing this card indicates that you should accept what is coming your way and that you will receive most (perhaps all) of what you desire. Some questions to ponder if this card is drawn:
- Am I being inflexible? Too practical?
- Am I hypocritical, do I practice what I preach?
- What's my strategy to accomplish goals and are they realistic?
- Am I skeptical of a certain person/situation?
- Am I grounded in life, or am I lacking control and organization?
Dislike for authority. Lack of trust, skeptical. Domination, excessive control, rigidity, inflexibility. You may feel that you have disappointed someone whom you look up to, or you may feel you have been judged in some way. Know that the ill feelings will pass, and the action you take now will determine how you are perceived hereafter. The most important thing is to reestablish your self-esteem when something bad happens. How you feel about yourself will color your world perception. If things have gone awry in some way, figure out the lesson that the event is teaching you.
Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes it may seem like a cosmic reason, outside of your control, sometimes it’s because of human emotions. The Emperor, like all good fathers, wants the best for you and he expects you to learn from your mistakes. How you handle life is up to you, but if you face it head-on, as best you can, with determination and love, you’ll find the resilience you need to lead your life on the path of virtue. This is what the Emperor expects of you. So forgive yourself of any shortcomings, and resolve to do better.
5. The Hierophant/Pope/High Priest Tarot Card
- Spirituality, learning and orthodox thinking. Religion, group identification, conformity, tradition, beliefs.
The Hierophant is known as the High Priest in some decks and is the masculine counterpart to the High Priestess. He is also known as Chiron or the Shaman. The Hierophant is ruled by the astrological sign Taurus. The Norse Pagan Viking rune for this card is Rad/Raido.
The Hierophant’s number in the Tarot is 5, the Pentacle, the number of Mankind. The Hebrew letter for this path, Vau (meaning ‘nail’), symbolizes both sacrifice and the steadfast link between the Divine and Mankind. It stands for the created Son, the lesser countenance of the Divine Source.
The card also represents the Hindu light blue throat chakra called Vishuddha. Benefits of a Balanced 5th Chakra include:
- Expression of the truth, one’s words hold weight with others.
- A creative outlet via communication, spoken, written or otherwise.
- Confidence in the ability to express oneself.
- Access to the Etheric communication.
The Hierophant is thought to be a master of sacred rites. The card depicts Acolytes kneeling before him and listening to him, for he is thought to hold great wisdom. The robes of the acolytes bear a design of red roses and white lilies, which symbolize desire and abstract thoughts. Between them at the Hierophant's feet are two crossed keys representing the conscious and the subconscious.
Unlike the High Priestess, the Hierophant is concerned with the actual application of spiritual knowledge to the physical world. In other words, he is in charge of how spiritual knowledge is used and how it is applied.
The Hierophant in a reading can indicate an overly stubborn adherence to one’s customs or lack of. If you are very set in your ways, it is often a sign that it is time to think about giving up your routines, your old traditions, and move on to a new way of doing things, to accept change.
Or, if you lack routine, and may have certain beliefs but often don’t follow your spiritual traditions, or have strayed from doing so recently, the card could be signaling that you should begin practicing and following your customs again, that you could have something to gain from it. The drawing of this card is a message for us to examine our belief systems, how we operate with these beliefs, and how they affect our lives. Some questions to ponder if you receive this card:
- Are my beliefs helping or hindering me? If they are hindering me, what changes do I need to make to better myself and my life spiritually?
- Do I have the conviction to back my faith? Or am I questioning if my traditional customs are right for me and my beliefs?
- When was the last time I examined my belief system?
- Am I disciplined and committed to spiritual development, or have I recently strayed from it, turned my back on it, or am questioning if changes need to be made with my beliefs or practice of customs?
- Am trying to gain religious/spiritual growth in my life?
- Do people look to me for spiritual advice, if so, do I feel I am answering their questions and giving advice righteously and accurately?
Restriction, challenging beliefs, or customs. Bad advice, slander, and distortion of truth. Lack of spiritual convictions. Organized religion and government with all of its political ramifications, creating an environment where oppression of the minority in favor of the majority is too often found. Interpretation that fails to nurture growth, take for example the American public education system. In order for public schools to stay funded, children must pass tests, but this doesn’t mean that the children are actually learning how to reason, interpret, or create.
We live in a culture that holds test scores in higher esteem than a meaningful paper, experiment, or painting. When you get this card, know that the Hierophant sees that you are being oppressed. There may not be any way to rectify the situation easily and it may take time for others to see your point of view. His counsel is to steady-on and knows that if what you believe is the right course, people will come around and agree with you eventually. Things will change, so clear away what misconceptions you can, and look for small ways to forge a new path.
6. The Lovers Tarot Card
- Intuitive choices and true relationships. Love, union, and values alignment.
The sign associated with the Lovers is Gemini. The two lovers in the card are sometimes thought of like Adam and Eve. They are blessed and protected by the angel, which represents the refinement of earthly desires. This particular angel is Raphael, the angel of Air.
One of the associations of Air is communication, necessary for a healthy relationship. There are twelve flames, representing the twelve zodiac signs, the symbol of time and eternity. The man looks to the woman, who looks to the angel, indicating the path of the conscious to the subconscious to the super-conscious. Or from physical desire to emotional needs, to spiritual concerns. The card is often colored in a lot of green, green is the color of the Hindu heart chakra.
So, let's start with the meaning of the heart chakra, called Anahata.
Romantic love, affection, caring and compassion, great strength, and the ability to change, this chakra governs our hands, heart, lungs, and circulatory systems. It is our center of balance. If this chakra is under-stimulated, we may suffer from indecision or anxiety, fear of rejection, and clinginess. If it is overstimulated, we may not be able to express “love," and we mistakenly identify lust, and longing with love, and arrogance with power.
This Tarot card meaning is all about love and everything it entails. Without a doubt, this is one of the more straight-forward card meanings in the deck. This card comes up when we are contemplating a new romance, when we're obsessed with another person, or when we are in more than one amorous relationship.
On a lesser scale, the card may surface when we are developing a partnership in business. It may also indicate matters regarding friendship and family. When we talk about the subject of lovers, there are other factors that come into play, such as issues relating to trust, respect, devotion, commitment, compatibility, and compassion. In fact, any time we enter a new relationship, whether it be for love or friendship, we are in a give and take position.
The Lovers card is a reminder that balance is essential. So the card may be telling us to analyze the pros and cons of a new relationship. Are we receiving from our significant other as much as we are giving? And respectively, are we giving as much as we are receiving? Not appreciating our significant other or committing and offering as great as an effort as we should in a relationship could be a sign we could lose it if we don’t “shape up.” Receiving little from our significant other, a feeling of being unappreciated, or the lack of effort from our significant other could be a sign we need to move on.
Although the heightened experience and whirlwind passion is incredible, deep inside we know that this experience alone doesn't make a solid foundation. This is where temptation makes its appearance. We're tempted by the trappings of certain things in a relationship (sex, money, prestige) but at its core, the Lovers card represents "the package deal," and this card reminds us that we are all capable of having that whole package deal in a relationship.
So, we also need to make sure other aspects of our life are not suffering or being neglected due to a new infatuation. Is this new relationship a positive addition to our lives? If so we must also wonder if the card is signaling it’s time to take the next step. A transformation from a lustful fling to a deeper relationship. Are commitment issues, mistrust, and insecurities holding you back from something beautiful? Some questions to ponder if you receive this card:
- How do I feel about trusting others?
- Am I giving in a relationship as much as I receive? Do I receive as much as I give?
- How do I feel about my relationships? Do the pros outweigh the cons?
- Is my relationship affecting other aspects of my life and the people I care about?
- What relationships in my life do I need to re-examine?
- Am I always on my guard or can I allow myself to be vulnerable?
- What will it take for me to have a passionate, loving, trusting relationship?
Internal conflict and contradiction. Disharmony, imbalance, misalignment of values. When the Lovers card is reversed it doesn’t necessarily mean that the love affair is over. The general interpretation means disharmony. Something is amiss. Something isn’t being said, or perhaps something is being misinterpreted. There is a stifling, choking feeling with this card, like a weight on your chest. Release is called for, whether it is in a conversation in the boardroom or the bedroom doesn’t matter. There is an insidious energy that is discouraging harmony and needs to be eradicated.
Take the first step in identifying what you bring to the mix. If you are the victim and not being understood, then make a point of being understood. If you must, be brave and walk away from an unhealthy situation. Whatever is going on, disharmony is indicated. Concentrate on healing yourself.
7. The Chariot Tarot Card
- Triumph and success. Self-confidence and willpower. Control, victory, assertion, determination.
The Chariot is associated with the astrological sign of Cancer. A prince sits within a canopy of six-pointed stars, representing the celestial influences at work in this Tarot card. His chariot is drawn by two sphinxes, black and white. One sphinx represents mercy, the other severity. He keeps both in line with a wand of willpower, for if he doesn't, the sphinxes will pull him in opposite directions leading to disaster. The symbols on his tunic are alchemical symbols, representing spiritual transformation. The square signifies earth, a sign of strength of will. The laurel and star crown indicate the highest attainment in spiritual evolution.
To drive a Chariot, especially in battle, it takes a lot of skill, determination, and control to maneuver to victory. One false move at a high speed and the chariot would easily topple. It was not a mode of transportation for the light-hearted. Needless to say, the Chariot represents the tremendous focus, determination, and drive that is used to accomplish a goal and “win the battle.” The card is a reminder that when one lets go of doubt and fear and focuses only on the wished-for result, triumph is assured. These are the attributes the Chariot card brings to a reading.
An often overlooked item of “chariot-battle” is that the best plan of attack in a chariot is from the side. So, the card may be trying to tell us that coming upon our problems from the side—or a different angle, will often give us the perspective we need to overcome an obstacle or give us a different plan of attack for success. Often, the Chariot card shows up when there is an obsession about work, a question about goals, or an issue of over-achieving. So maybe the card could be reassuring you of your success and hard work and telling you not to worry so much about perfecting everything.
Above all, it embodies victory through self-mastery, and the bringing together of powerful and possibly conflicting forces to work in harmony toward a common goal. This card represents a person who is knowledgeable, experienced, well rounded, and a master of their own potential. People who possess these abilities are great teachers. Success is endless with a strong power of will.
In Norse Mythology: Thor
The Chariot card in Norse Viking Pagan mythology depicts the infamous God Thor. In Norse mythology, Thor (from Old Norse Þórr) is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, lightning, storms, oak trees, strength, the protection of mankind, and also hallowing, healing, and fertility. The cognate deity in wider Germanic mythology and paganism was known in Old English as Þunor and in Old High German as Donar (runic þonar), stemming from a Common Germanic *Þunraz (meaning "thunder").
Thor is a prominently mentioned god throughout the recorded history of the Germanic peoples, from the Roman occupation of regions of Germania, to the tribal expansions of the Migration Period, to his high popularity during the Viking Age, when, in the face of the process of the Christianization of Scandinavia, emblems of his hammer, Mjölnir, were worn in defiance and Norse pagan personal names containing the name of the god bear witness to his popularity.
Into the modern period, Thor continued to be acknowledged in rural folklore throughout Germanic regions. Thor is frequently referred to in place names, the day of the week Thursday ("Thor's day"; Old English Thunresdaeg, Thunor's day) bears his name, and names stemming from the pagan period containing his own continue to be used today.
In Norse mythology, largely recorded in Iceland from traditional material stemming from Scandinavia, numerous tales and information about Thor are provided. In these sources, Thor bears at least fourteen names, is the husband of the golden-haired goddess Sif, is the lover of the jötunn Járnsaxa, and is generally described as fierce-eyed, red-haired and red-bearded.
With Sif, Thor fathered the goddess (and possible valkyrie) Þrúðr; with Járnsaxa, he fathered Magni; with a mother whose name is not recorded, he fathered Móði, and he is the stepfather of the god Ullr. The same sources list Thor as the son of the god Odin and the personified earth, Fjörgyn, and by way of Odin, Thor has numerous brothers.
Thor has two servants, Þjálfi and Röskva, rides in a cart or chariot pulled by two goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr (that he eats and resurrects), and is ascribed three dwellings (Bilskirnir, Þrúðheimr, and Þrúðvangr). Thor wields the mountain-crushing hammer, Mjölnir, wears the belt Megingjörð and the iron gloves Járngreipr, and owns the staff Gríðarvölr.
Thor's exploits, including his relentless slaughter of his foes and fierce battles with the monstrous serpent Jörmungandr—and their foretold mutual deaths during the events of Ragnarök—are recorded throughout sources for Norse mythology. Some questions to ponder if you draw this card:
- Do you have a talent for reading people and possess great social skills?
- Do friends come to you with advice or turn to you when they are in need?
- Do you have excellent problem-solving skills?
- Are you confident and self-assured?
- Are you a person who isn’t afraid to stand up for your morals and beliefs?
- Do you find you have exceptional communication skills and tend to thrive in debates?
- What is your motivation, what drives you?
- Are your goals reasonable? Obtainable?
- What are you trying to control, and why?
- Do you have the skills you need to succeed?
- Can you try a different approach to reaching your goals?
Hard work ahead, success comes with time. Lack of control and direction, aggression. When you have a wreck, you feel broken and shaken to the core. Fear, arrogance, and reckless behavior are common bedfellows. If you get the Chariot reversed you have either skidded to a halt in some manner or you’re about to crash.
This card is giving you explicit instructions to slow down in some area of your life. Get over to the slow lane for a while, take a country lane. If you’ve already crashed, then junk the heap and get new wheels. There’s no u-turn lane here, you need to slow down and take care of some aspect of your life.
8. The Strength Tarot Card
- Courage, patience, control, compassion. Material, mental or physical obstacles you have overcome, or will overcome in the future.
The sign associated with the Strength card is Leo. The card depicts a woman to show that the card does not necessarily represent physical strength. As with all allegories, the story of this Strength card is more than what meets the eye. The lion on the card is symbolic of strength, courage, and our inner passions. The message here is that through endurance and perseverance we can turn our inner desires and dreams into reality.
The deeper meaning deals with having the compassion and understanding to soothe the savage beast within us in more effective ways than brute strength. Simply put, the lion is your inner beast, that part of yourself that "needs to feed." This beast always needs more money, more recognition, more food, alcohol, or drugs to feel at ease. The pure maiden represents that part of yourself that has the ability to nurture, calm, and exhibit self-love. Only she can tame the ravenous "needs of the beast within."
The confidence and faith in your convictions, your drive to succeed, and your fearless determination makes your willpower fierce. Plus your hard work has earned you aid and guidance from higher powers. If you draw this card, you will overcome all obstacles, because you refuse to let anything hinder you from what you want in life. The card represents well-earned accomplishments.
When we pull the Strength card it is certainly a message that strength is required for some challenges ahead in your future. But it’s also a sign that we absolutely have the strength that is required of us, and everything we need to survive is inside. Ask yourself:
- How do you define strength?
- In what way do your physical urges motivate you?
- How can you approach the "need to feed" syndrome?
- What are your internal battles and how can you reach a balance?
- What area in your life requires you to have the most strength and what different kinds of strength can you apply to achieve success?
Defeat, weakness, self-doubt, lack of self-discipline, and self-indulgence. When you get Strength reversed, it can mean you’re experiencing a lack of resolve, or inadequacy might be the feeling here. The problem is that you need to re-access the situation and make a new decision based on your assessment. If you strangle yourself by not allowing wiggle room, and by only seeing things in black and white, good or bad, then you’re missing all the colors of the rainbow.
There are many paths to the same outcome, allow yourself the room to expand your responses. Sometimes we have to be 'cruel to be kind', but other times we really need to give into kindness. Re-access the situation, and don’t blame yourself or others for what has already happened, move on and act with courage.
9. The Hermit Tarot Card
- Prudence and planning. Soul-searching, individuality, introspection, being alone, inner guidance.
The astrological correspondence for this card is Virgo and the number 9 signifies accomplishment, wisdom, the attainment of goals, as well as the search for truth. The Hermit is on top of a mountain because mountains typically symbolize achievement, growth, and accomplishment.
The star in the Hermit’s lantern is a six-pointed star (the Seal of Solomon, a symbol of wisdom). The staff carried by the Hermit is the patriarch’s staff, a symbol of the narrow path of initiation and an emblem of power and authority. It represents the Hermit’s ability to use his isolation and the knowledge he has gained as a tool upon his path to reach even higher levels of awareness. The staff is in the Hermit’s left hand, the hand associated with the subconscious mind. The snow at his feet represents the heights of spiritual attainment. He wears the grey cloak of invisibility.
His secrets are not for everyone, only for those earnestly seeking them and those willing to climb the heights to wisdom. He takes each step with a deliberate, conscious, approach because each step of his journey is a small imprint upon the larger picture of his path. Everything he does, each breath he takes, each word he speaks, every decision he makes, is a deliberate act.
The card of the Hermit wants us to recognize that each of our thoughts and actions is a brick we use to build our lives, that we create our own reality. The Hermit has learned these lessons by distancing himself from the regular, routine world. By removing himself from the "normal" stream of societal thought, the Hermit is able to listen to the inner stirrings of his own intuition and act upon it. In much the same way, by turning off our telephones, switching off our televisions, and removing ourselves from the barrage of external chatter, we are able to finally hear the small voice from within that leads us to higher ground.
Have you been listening to your intuition and following your own path lately? Or have you been conforming to societal norms, losing yourself among the crowd? By purposefully choosing to remove himself from society the Hermit runs the risk of being misunderstood and labeled inappropriate. However, society’s labels mean nothing to the Hermit because his path is one of spiritual knowledge and higher wisdom. Those of importance recognize this and respect him.
The path of the Hermit is certainly not for everyone, but when the Hermit card shows up in a reading, it often signals that you need to contemplate, meditate, observe, and analyze what is going on thoroughly before taking an action. Some questions to ponder if you draw the Hermit card:
- Have you been acting impulsively lately?
- Are you able to concentrate and think things through?
- Are you listening to your intuition and following your own path, or are you conforming to societal norms, losing yourself among the crowd?
- Are you losing your individuality?
- Is the current path you are on still as meaningful as when you first set out?
- When was the last time you stopped to take a break from the chaos in your life?
Suspicion. Conformity. Isolation, loneliness, withdrawal. Feeling disassociated, social anxiety in groups, experiencing depression, or listening too much to your inner critic are at issue when the Hermit appears reversed. The Hermit reversed can also indicate a problem facing up to your own expectations, or problems in communication or commitment to others.
If you get the Hermit reversed, you need to test whether you’re acting hastily and hostile towards others at work or at home. Your expectations aren’t in line with what is going on in life. You need to adjust your point of view. Sometimes this card indicates you’re feeling lonely, and if that’s the case, don’t despair, take someone out for coffee, or go to an upscale shop and talk about your color pallet, go to a lecture at the library. Find a small way to reconnect with people, but do it slowly, and listen to the inner voice that loves and appreciates you, not the inner critic.
10. The Wheel of Fortune Tarot Card
- Changes for the better. Life cycles. Good fortune. Good luck, karma, destiny, a turning point.
The planet of this card is Jupiter, the planet of opportunity, growth, success, and expansion. The number 10 is a higher octave of the number 1, empowering the qualities of the 1. The Wheel of Fortune is highly symbolic. The angel in the top left corner is Aquarius, the eagle is Scorpio, the lion is Leo and the bull is Taurus. These are the four fixed signs of the Zodiac but all have wings signifying stability amidst movement and change.
The book they each have in their hands is the Torah, representing wisdom. On the wheel are the Hebrew letters IHVH meaning Yod Heh Vau Heh, (said to be the unpronounceable name of God). Next to IHVH, read counterclockwise, is the word TORA, another name for the Hebrew Torah text. Read clockwise, it becomes the word TARO, which also translates to TAROT. The snake represents life force descending into the material world.
On the right side of the wheel is the Egyptian god Anubis, or Hermes in Greek mythology, a symbol of intelligence ascending over our shadow selves. The Sphinx represents life’s riddles. The middle wheel contains the alchemical symbols for mercury, sulfur, water, and salt; the building blocks of life and the four elements, They also represent the tools for conjuring power. The outer circle represents the material world. The eight spokes in the wheel represent the Universal radiant energy, as well as the eight Sabbats of the year.
The Wheel of Fortune card (right side up) represents luck or events in our lives that come out of nowhere. They come in the form of unexpected surprises, a promotion we weren't even needing/wanting/requesting, an inheritance from a relative you didn't even know you had, or a surprise visit from a friend you haven't thought about in years. The Wheel of Fortune is also about consequence and addresses the cyclical nature of life.
It reminds us of the concept of Karma, which is a philosophy that proposes every action we take affects everything and everyone, and for every action, there is an equal reaction. In other words, this card is a message that says "what goes around comes around,” or “we reap what we sew." When this card appears in a reading, it may mean that we should consider our actions and how they are affecting ourselves and others around us. However, Karma is not necessarily always bad. Have you been being a generous, caring, good Samaritan? Maybe your good nature is about to pay off, hence a reward coming your way that was mentioned earlier, such as a random unexpected promotion, or a winning lottery ticket.
Another element of the Wheel card could be to try holding an optimistic view on a seemingly unpleasant event. Maybe a situation you are currently viewing as an unpleasant experience could hold positive outcomes in the future. There is a saying, “everything happens for a reason.” The Wheel card could be signaling to you that good things will blossom from something appearing bad, and to keep your head up. So the Wheel card is obviously very complex, but you can be almost certain that in some form or fashion, expect the unexpected, prepare for change, and a possible curveball thrown your way. Ask yourself:
- Do you feel lucky?
- Do you plan step by step ahead of time?
- How do you handle change?
- Do you think before you speak or act?
- How do you feel about Karma?
- Do you consider how your actions affect others?
- Do you take the time to consider the consequences of your thoughts and actions?
Life cycles, surprise, change. Bad luck, negative external forces, loss or lack of control, karma, consequences. When you get the Wheel of Fortune upside down, it means there is a counterproductive element or slow down in your life. You may feel a bit stagnated, turned around, or topsy-turvy about an important relationship.
Sometimes we have to take one step back to start moving forward again. If there has been an event where you acted counter to your inner nature, ‘ate your words,' ‘bit your tongue,' you may feel ill-fated but this will pass. To speed up the unfortunate set back you need to counteract the cycle. Reverse engineering is when you take apart the object to discover how it’s put together. You may be able to quickly discover what went off course and get the wheels of fortune back on the right tracks.
11. The Justice Tarot Card
- Legal matters, contracts, settlement. Justice, fairness, truth, cause and effect.
- Justice is ruled by Libra and the card number is 11.
The figure of Justice sits in her chair, cloaked in red and holding a sword in her right hand and scales in her left. The sword in her right hand demonstrates the logical, well-ordered mindset necessary to dispense fair justice. The scales are in her left, intuitive hand, showing that logic must be balanced by the intuition. The grey pillars represent the constraints of the physical world.
The Justice card's prime message is that of accountability. Justice appears to us when we know we should do something and we're not doing it. When we observe this card, we see our lady Justice means business. Her posture and demeanor express she is not one to hear excuses. The card means it’s time to expose the truth and bring to light those issues which require our attention. Justice in a reading is a call to examine what we've done in the past, contemplate future actions, and be sure we take responsibility in present situations.
Keep in mind, the Lady Justice cuts down all illusions and exposes the heart of the matter for what it is. The Justice card can help you take a look at your responsibilities and obligations, and see if you've been falling short of your duties. This card is not judgmental or disapproving, it just exposes facts.
Only we know what is happening in our lives, what actions we should take, any changes we should make. Only we have the power to clear our own conscious and be free of any guilt or hindrances.
On a smaller level, the Justice card can also indicate legal matters. Perhaps there is legal paperwork that needs to be sorted out, a court case in the midst, or a settling of disputes at hand.
In Egyptian Mythology: Ma'at
The Justice card also stands for the Egyptian Goddess Ma'at. Ma'at literally means "truth"—she represented order, justice, and balance in Egypt. The ancient Egyptians believed the universe was a rational place with predictable cycles. Ma'at was responsible for maintaining that harmony and punishing or rectifying any cause of chaos. Ma'at was the personification of the fundamental order of the universe, without which all of creation would perish. The primary duty of the pharaoh was to uphold this order by maintaining the law and administering justice. To reflect this, many pharaohs took the title "Beloved of Ma'at," emphasizing their focus on justice and truth.
At any event in which something would be judged, Ma'at was said to be present, and her name would be invoked so that the judge involved would rule correctly and impartially. In the underworld, the heart of the deceased was weighed by Anubis against Ma'at's feather. If the heart was heavy with wicked deeds, it would outweigh the feather, and the soul would be fed to Ammit. But if the scales were balanced, indicating that the deceased was a just and honorable person in life, he would be welcomed by Osiris into the Blessed Land. Maat's presence in all worlds was universal, and all the gods deferred to her.
Some questions to ponder if you draw this card:
- Is my life out of balance? What can I do to be more balanced?
- Am I being honest with myself?
- Am I taking responsibility for my actions?
- Where do I place blame for my actions and my life's circumstances?
- Have I been neglecting some of my obligations and commitments?
- Can I keep a proper equilibrium? Do I have an even temper & even mind?
- Do I have a clear conscious? Am I feeling guilty about something?
Negative outcome in a legal matter. Unfairness, lack of accountability, dishonesty, guilt. You may feel you’ve been treated unjustly or unfairly, or perhaps you didn’t give someone the benefit of the doubt. Some kind of bias, discrimination, or at its worst, corruption is happening. Justice upside down is a clear indication of the world out of balance.
This can be in mental or emotional attitude, feeling the general unfairness of life, physical health, or financial health, but something is out of whack and needs attention. Whatever it is that needs your attention, take it head-on and act fairly to yourself and others, as you change your attitude to the most impartial stance you can take, the anger and hurt will begin to melt away because you are doing your best.
Stay in control and walk away from situations where you feel put upon. Fight for those who need your help, but always remember that you need to give to yourself too, otherwise you’ll burn out and have nothing left to offer. It is not always kindness that people most desire, but rather to be treated with respect and fairly. Endeavor to do so, and the world will reflect back at you in kind.
12. The Hanged/Hanging Man Tarot Card
- Adaptation to changed circumstances. Moving forward. Peace of mind. Acceptance.
The Hanged Man’s number is 12—a higher octave of the number 3, (1+2=3) representing careful planning and orderly growth leading to spiritual development. 1 (beginning) + 2 (the reasoning force) = 3 (the product of rebirth).The ruling planet of the Hanged Man card is Neptune, the planet of self-sacrifice and idealism.
The Hanged Man shows a man suspended, upside-down, from the living World Tree, rooted in the underworld and supporting the heavens. The man is wearing red pants representing human passion and the physical body, a blue coat for knowledge, and yellow shoes representing his high ideals. Around the Hanged Man’s head is a bright yellow halo showing spiritual attainment. This is the card of ultimate surrender and of being suspended in time.
This card tells you to contemplate on breaking old patterns of behavior and bad habits that restrict you, hold you back, or bring you down. Are there any distractions or hindrances that have strayed you from your goals or your path in life? This card could be a sign you need to refocus on what truly matters to you to reach your goals. That you must straighten out your priorities and rid yourself of obstacles.
When we pull the Hanged Man card, it is a strong indication that we may be "hung up" on something. Perhaps there’s an instance you need closure from or an event from which you need to move on. This could involve loss such as the death of a loved one, a dear friend moving away, or heartbreak from a relationship. Maybe there has been an incident where you were hurt by somebody you care about, and you are seeking an apology. Or maybe you are feeling guilty for something you’ve done, somebody dear to you that you’ve hurt, and are seeking forgiveness.
If someone has hurt you this card is a sign that it is healthy for you to move on so you can return your life back to normal the best and healthiest way you can. Whether that means patching up disagreements, leaving people behind that are not good for you and are bringing you down, or letting go of people we care about that are no longer here and learning to adapt without them near.
This card is not a sign you should take retribution or revenge. This can cause consequences that make a bad situation worse and be more harmful and unhealthy for you. So, if you draw this card and you are “hung up” on a situation, decide what is the best action to take to move on from the situation.
Write pros and cons about a rocky friendship/relationship to decide if the best way to move on is to let the person go or patch up the fight. Take into consideration if fights, arguments, and disagreements are often and reoccurring with an individual. This could be a sign to let go instead of trying to patch things up yet again. Some questions to ponder if you draw this card:
- Are you struggling with a situation or problem? Can you let it go?
- Do you need closure from anything in your life?
- Are you suffering from loss, hurt, or heartbreak? How can you healthily move on?
- Can you break away and let go negative habits or influences in your life?
- What beliefs and thoughts do have that hinder your progress from what attaining what you want in life? Can you give them up?
- Are there things/people in your life you are trying to control? Can you let go of that need to control them?
Self-sacrifice, indecision, delay. Distraction from goals, straying from your path. You may be holding on to life too hard, and trying to make things happen when it isn’t yet time, you need to let go of desired outcomes, and allow the flow of psychic energy to catch up with you. Trying to make things happen is fine, but it needs to be in the context of co-creation. When things aren’t working out well, you need to ‘let it go’, or the universe will give you more of the same.
Sometimes we feel like our way is the only way to do something, so we have trouble accepting other approaches. When we get in this state of mind, we are disconnected from the flow and our own innate ability to attract the psychic forces that we need to reach our goal. When you get sacrifice reversed it means that you’re not willing to let go and let it flow.
13. The Death Tarot Card
- Transformation. A new cycle, a blessing in disguise. Endings, beginnings, and transition. A turning point arising, an opportunity for personal growth and change for the better, the learning of life’s lessons.
Death is ruled by Scorpio (the sign of ‘sex, death and ironically, taxes’). The number 13 represents this card, and the number is sacred to the Pagan Moon Goddess as there are thirteen Esbats that correspond to the 13 moons in a year.
Both the Aztec and the Mayan Calendars honored the cycles by the concurrence of a cycle of 1 through 13 (moons) and within is a cycle of 20 days, which were named with totems (example: #5 = Snake). Both Muslim and Jewish calendars still operate on this 13 moon calendar for their religious holidays. In the New Testament, we find that Christ gathered 12 apostles around him. When we include Jesus, this is thirteen people.
The Celtics honored the 13 lunar system by also associating it with their sacredness of trees. It was under penalty of death to disturb/cut down one of the sacred thirteen trees. There were 13 sacred trees shown in their symbolic wheel.
Two Gods associated with the number 13 are Hades, the Greek God of the Underworld, and Pluto, the Roman God of Underworld.
In Egyptian Mythology: Osiris
The Ancient Egyptians believed that there are twelve steps on the ladder to eternal life and knowledge, and to take the thirteenth step meant going through death into everlasting life. Thus 13 was the number they associated with immortality because reaching the thirteenth step was when the soul reaches the source of itself and attains spiritual completion. 13 is also symbolic of the Egyptian God Osiris.
Osiris, (the Egyptian god of life, death, and a powerful solar symbol) was murdered by his brother Set. Isis, Osiris’ wife, collected his body with the intent to restore Osiris back to life. However, Set stole Osiris’ body and cut it into fourteen pieces, then scattered them about the earth. Isis continued her quest to revive her beloved, but could only reclaim thirteen of the fourteen body parts. This tale symbolically implies that the meaning of number thirteen is the precursor to completion.
There are also 13 zodiac signs, including the sign Ophiuchus (the Serpent Bearer) being the one that represents great knowledge.
The Death card is very misunderstood. Remember so many concepts of the Tarot cards are metaphorical. Drawing the Death card does not mean someone is going to die. Death is depicted as the ultimate purifier, it represents endings and new beginnings, and that all things are reborn fresh, new, and pure. All sectors of the human race are represented in the card, men, women, and children. This shows that Death does not discern between age, race, or gender. In the background of the card, there is a rising sun, a sign of immortality. The two pillars are guarding the gateway to the sun, symbolizing the knowledge needed to gain immortality. The boat on the water in the background is the ferry that transports the souls across the River Styx (an ancient Egyptian belief).
The sun is symbolic of death in the fact that it rises and sets every day. The sun “dies” each night and is reborn fresh and new every morning. In its place, every night is the moon, symbolic in the sense that through death, other positive things arise. So the sun represents the cycle of life, death, and rebirth.
It could also represent second chances. That if you have made a mistake, the repercussions of this mistake are about to cease, and you have a fresh start to begin trying to accomplish aspects in your life a new way. The Death card refers to a major conclusion in an area of our lives. Often when this card shows up in a reading, it means that an ending of circumstances is in motion. Possibly something that has been dragging on for far too long and the only way to make a clean break is to have a sharp ending.
The key point to remember here is that where there is an ending, there is also a beginning. Have you been struggling with your job? Maybe your time as an intern is finished, and you’re about to take the next step up in your career. Or maybe this job is miserable, and not meant to be your lifelong career, that you are about to gain a newer amazing opportunity. Have you recently quit, or been fired from a job? This may seem bad, but maybe this door has closed for a better one to open.
Are you struggling with a relationship or friendship? Maybe the struggles are over with, and it will be smooth sailing from now on. Or have you recently “been dumped” or ended a relationship/friendship? Maybe it seems bad and you are hurt, but what if it is for the better, and has happened for a reason? There could be someone better out there for you; the right person for you; your soul mate. That this is part of your destiny, and these people came to you for personal growth; a lesson to be learned in your life. Perhaps you have learned your lessons from these people, and it is time for them to leave your life.
Life is in constant motion and this is the irony of the Death card. Death is never the end, it is simply a motion in a different direction, a new chapter in your life; a new beginning; a turning point.
In many ways, the death card corresponds to the Wheel of Fortune card and the World card. The difference is, it’s clarifying how the change in your life is to take place. There will be no random occurrence of beginning; a fresh start will come through an end of something else. Do not be fearful though. This is how change normally takes place, and change is not always bad. Remember the saying, “when one door closes another opens.” Some questions to ponder if you draw this card:
- What can you do to prepare yourself for change, a turning point in your life?
- Is there something in your life that is due for a change?
- Can you see positive outcomes in the future from the result of a seemingly current bad experience?
- Are you resistant to change? How can you be more adaptive to transformation?
- How do you feel about endings? Do you recognize they are followed by beginnings?
- Are you being honest with yourself in exposing areas of your life that need a transition?
Refusal to accept changes. Resistance, stubbornness, unable to move on. Stuck in the same cycle, whether it be destructive, or simply just a standstill blocking you from continuing on your path. When you get Death reversed it indicates a lack of trust and pitting your will against everyone else’s. The universe is asking that you let go of the pain, the hassle, and the need to control the situation. When you let go, you allow new growth to blossom. When you no longer need to control something, it can transform in miraculous ways that you cannot foresee.
14. The Temperance Tarot Card
- Finding balance, a time of peace, and harmony. Adjustments to change, finding your flow in life, organization, analyzing, and planning for self-healing and tranquility.
The astrological sign is Sagittarius, the teacher of truth, enthusiasm, tolerance, and beauty. On the Temperance card stands a winged angel. The angel is actually Hermaphrodite (the child of Hermes and Aphrodite in Greek Mythology). She represents balance.
The angel has one foot on dry land, representative of the material world, and one foot in the water, representative of the subconscious. In one way she shows a balance between the genders. In this position, she also represents the need to ‘test the waters’ before jumping headfirst into unknown circumstances, not to be impulsive. To think things through before speaking or acting.
We have to ponder thoughtfully and dig deep within to understand all this card represents because its meaning is not as straightforward as others. There is a lot of power in this card, and the "flow" is the source of that power. The Temperance card is a call for us to distinguish the flow in our own lives, which entails observing and then harnessing what brings us energy, tranquility, and a pleasant state of mind.
The keyword 'chemistry' is included here because Temperance deals with mixing the right ingredients in our lives in order to flow easily upon the path of our choosing.
When we pull this card in a reading it is an indication that a healing is in need or is taking place, such as stress relief or mental and emotional peace. Or it could be literal, such as healing from illness or injury.
When we quietly and objectively analyze our life's path, we begin to see patterns. Temperance encourages us to use these patterns to seize our strengths, recognize “our ways” and techniques of accomplishing goals, and bring this together to create peace, organization, and good balance in our lives.
The flowing waters of this card represent finding your flow in life, and imbalance drifting away. When we connect with a natural flow, then healing begins to occur at all levels. It takes a little time to balance the load just right, but once we do, we experience some tremendous breakthroughs in our progress. It feels like a huge weight is lifted off our shoulders.
The Temperance card often indicates a self-healing taking place, internal or external, and a need for emotional stability. Have you recently suffered loss or heartbreak? Have you recently experienced a period of time in your life where you have undergone an overwhelming amount on your plate, or new changes have taken place? Had a new project in work or an addition of clients that has you working overtime and a ridiculous amount of hours? Did a relative move in recently? Has there been a baby or wedding and new addition to the family?
Have you been stripped of or been thrown obstacles in your natural flow and are struggling to find your new groove of things, or are things going to soon return to normal?
This card represents a lot of adjustment, and smoothing out rockiness and eliminating obstacles in your path to return to your natural flow, or creating/modifying a new flow to your path where you find serenity again. Some questions to ponder if you draw this card:
- Do you go with the flow, or are you stubborn in your ways and routines and struggle to adapt to change?
- What can you do to create more peace of mind in your life?
- Do you lack organization, or do you need to change your methods?
- Do you have a hard time adjusting to changes such as loss or new additions in your life?
- Are you on a life path that forks in the road? Are you torn between two paths?
- What thoughts, beliefs or actions can you merge together to create harmony in your life?
- What would it take for you to get just the right mix or find a happy medium in your life?
- Is your normal path rocky and full of obstacles lately, and you need to find a way to eliminate obstacles and smooth things back to normal so that you can continue?
- Has there recently been a period of time that held great stress, and you feel you're carrying a lot of weight or new responsibilities on your shoulders?
- Are you concerned about your health? If so, what steps can you take to strike a healthy balance?
Poor judgment. Too many involvements or activities. Imbalance and lack of organization. Poor adjusting and adapting to new things. Obviously, you are out of balance. Maybe you’ve become too passionate about some aspect of your life and you need to tone it down a bit, or it could be your working too hard in some area of your life. When you get the Balance card reversed it usually is a signal to slow down and relax. You need to recalibrate and listen to your inner self. You could probably use some quiet time alone to recalibrate what you hold dear. Focus on bringing calm back into your life.
15. The Devil Tarot Card
- Freedom of choice, strong sexuality. Breaking free. Power regained.
The card of the Devil portrays a Satyr, a creature that is half man and half goat. The goat symbolizes the scapegoat, the person or thing upon which people project the inferior aspects of themselves in order to feel better about themselves. Thus the Devil is the scapegoat we blame all our troubles in life on. The number 15 in numerology equals 6. This card is ruled by Capricorn, the goat.
In Egyptian Mythology: Apophis
The ancient Egyptians tell of the serpent demon Apophis, Chaos, who would sometimes lay in wait for Ra, the Sun, as he floated in his boat across the sky piloted by Set (before he fell to the dark side) to be born again in the morning.
In Jungian terms, he is The Shadow: all the repressed, unmentioned, or unmentionable desires that lurk beneath.
In Greek Mythology: Pan and Dionysus
The Devil card also represents the Greek gods Pan and Dionysus.
Dionysus is the god of the vine, son of Zeus and Semele. He invented wine and spread the art of tending grapes. He has a dual nature. On the one hand, bringing joy and divine ecstasy. On the other brutal, unthinking, rage. Thus, reflecting both sides of wines nature. If he chooses, Dionysus can drive a man mad. Dionysus became one of the most important gods in everyday life. He became associated with several key concepts.
One was rebirth after death. Here his dismemberment by the Titans and return to life is symbolically echoed in tending vines, where the vines must be pruned back sharply, and then become dormant in winter for them to bear fruit. The other is the idea that under the influence of wine, one could feel possessed by a greater power. Unlike the other gods, Dionysus was not only outside his believers but, also within them. At these times a man might be greater than himself and do works he otherwise could not.
Pan is the son of Hermes and is the god of goatherds and shepherds. He is mostly human in appearance but, with goat horns and goat feet. He is merry and playful frequently seen dancing with woodland nymphs. He is always in pursuit of one of the nymphs but, always rejected because he is ugly. His name is the basis for the word "panic". There are two differing explanations for this. The first is that he was present when Zeus defeated the Titans and claimed that his yelling caused the Titans to flee. The second is that he created the noises in the woods at night that scared travelers.
The 15th Hebrew letter on the card is (Samech). The Samech expresses the same hieroglyphic sign as the Zain (7th arcanum), that is to say, an arrow; a weapon of any kind. In every cosmogony, the Devil represents the mysterious astral force, the origin of which is revealed to us by the hieroglyphic of Samech. This idea of an impassable circle has given birth to that of Destiny, of Fatality, circumscribing, and the limits of the circle in which the human will can act freely.
The Serpent forming a circle of his own body, biting his own tail, has always been the symbol of this Fatality, of this Destiny. It is the image of the year (the ring), and of the fatal and settled revolutions of time. As a letter, the Samech is the link (Zain) reinforced and turned back upon itself. As a simple letter, it also corresponds with the zodiacal sign of Sagittarius.
The Devil has the wings of a vampire bat, an animal that sucks the lifeblood out of its prey. This is symbolic of what happens when we give full reign to the realm of our raw desires and lose control of our values. We lose our vitality and life energy. We lose ourselves.
The image of the Baphomet is a shock to many. In a primarily suppressed society, topics relating to the devil are not openly discussed and illicit intense discomfort. However, if we approach this card in an open-minded, mature manner, we can gain a mass of insight.
Let’s consider animals and nature for a moment. Are animals ever acting in a way we’d refer to as deliberately and intentionally malicious? No, they are instinctual creatures. Only humans possess these qualities. So what does a human have that the rest of the natural world doesn't? Only humans possess the mindset to be capable of intent good and bad. And with a human mind comes the human ego.
We are designed for greatness, yet when we stoop to the level of ego-thinking we're blind to our own selfish, vain desires. When we pull the Devil card in a reading, we've got some serious examination to do. We need to consider who or what is in charge of our lives. Are we being driven by materialistic, lustful, or selfish desires?
The Devil is a very loud message stating that we're in danger of losing control to our darkest nature. Or, it's a message that we've already dropped to a level of functioning that is beneath us and we can do better. Are we becoming addicted to something we should have in moderation? Sex, drugs, alcohol, food, money?
This is not to say the ego is all bad. We all need our egos to function. Ego is a problem only when we allow it to run through our thoughts unchecked.
An uncontrolled mind is an ego-driven mind. An ego-driven mind is one that operates under the illusion that love and acceptance must be obtained at all costs. That we don’t have love and acceptance already, or we are looking to gain it through the wrong means. Even involving methods that are intentionally or unintentionally, physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, hurting others or we run the risk spiritually and morally losing our true selves. Some questions to ponder if you draw this card:
- Am I feeding an addiction?
- What do I gain by letting my ego control my life?
- Do I feel I’m better than everyone else and need to humble myself?
- Do I think I'm unworthy of love? Happiness? Peace? Am I trying to obtain them through harmful means that I may not even notice I am doing?
- Do I feel like I never have enough, can never be good enough?
- Do I try to control other people and their lives?
- How can I lift myself out of these lower levels of thoughts and feelings?
Slavery, bondage, addiction. Desire for material things and hoarding chains of oppression. The first step is recognizing our role in our own bondage. To free ourselves from the internal turmoil of circular thinking or obsessive behavior we must first analyze the situation and recognize the triggers that create the response.
When we feeling dull, bored, or trapped in a situation we are not using our higher mental processes. Like Pavlov’s dogs who responded to the ringing of a bell by salivating because they associated the sound with meat, we too have ‘built-in’ responses to situational stimuli. If you find yourself in a situation that you don’t like, figure out how you are attracting the ‘shadow’ self. Try to find a new response, if not in actual deed, then in thought. In other words, say to yourself "next time I’ll do it this way," and complete the action in as much detail as you conceived in your thoughts.
16. The Tower Tarot Card
- Sudden changes, obstacles ahead in life. Revelation, avoidance of disaster.
The Tower itself represents ambitions built on false premises. People are seen to be leaping from the tower in desperation, wanting to flee such destruction and turmoil. The lightning bolt breaks down existing forms in order to make room for new ones. It represents a sudden, momentary glimpse of truth, a flash of inspiration that breaks down structures of ignorance and false reasoning. The Tower can in a way represent “a reality check.”
The flames are actually the Hebrew yods. There are 22 flames, representing the 22 Major Arcana. The gray clouds are the clouds of misfortune that rain on everyone indiscriminately. The ruling planet of this card is Mars.
Changes in life are typically gradual. This allows our minds to accommodate to change, or for us to become accustomed to different shifts in our lives. When a sudden, cataclysmic change occurs, such as what the Tower card suggests, it is an abnormality of sorts, there is no time to adjust. Such a drastic upheaval means the Universe is trying to wake us up from our zombie-like state.
This wake-up call comes in the form of an event that blindsides us and shakes us out of the fog we've been living in. Could you have been in denial about something? When we are so used to our routines and one single way of life, we sometimes need to get a little rattled to get out of our daze. It breaks through resistance, stubbornness, and inflexibility.
This is exactly what the Tower card represents. It's as if we've been in a coma, and the Universe comes along with those electric paddles to jolt our hearts back to life and give us the energy we need.
Notice that there is a lot of uproar in the picture. Clouds are rushing, fire is thrashing, waves are crashing, people are falling, everything is chaotic and in full speed motion except for the tower which remains still. This symbolizes that the signs have been all around us all along. However, we continued to sit still and pay no mind in our “tower or safe haven," or continued to construct our lives based on errant thinking, all the while the storm is brewing, and a fire is blazing right in front of our eyes. So, in actuality, the changes foretold in the Tower card aren't so sudden, we were just too blind to see the signs. We refused to admit and face our problems.
This card does not necessarily mean something drastic is headed your way. If you've already gone through a traumatic shift already, nurture yourself to heal and adjust back to normal as best you can. Remember to learn the lessons that came with the event corresponding with the card, learn from your mistakes, so that it doesn’t happen again.
If this card does represent that an extreme change is coming in your future, heed the warning and examine your life. Are there signs right in front of your face that you need to change something, but you refuse, or you’re in denial? By identifying your illusions and misinterpretations, you may save yourself a lot of grief in the future by making the necessary changes before they are changed in a drastic, stressful, and more damaging way.
On another note, the card is depicting people jumping out of the tower. This could be symbolic that you are running from your problems instead of facing them. By jumping from your safe haven, you are risking jumping right into “stormy weather” and danger. It may seem safer, but it is mentally unhealthy to run from your problems instead of facing them. They will eventually catch up to you.
Jumping from the tower could also represent freedom from a bad situation where you felt trapped as well.
Or, the Tower card could mean that while the whole crowd is brainwashed into jumping to their deaths, this could be a metaphor to follow your own beliefs even if they go against the brainwashed mainstream population. Some questions to ponder if you draw this card:
- What am I denying or being brainwashed about?
- Am I running from my problems when I need to face them?
- Do I feel trapped with no way out?
- Have I built my life on false or unhealthy values?
- Am I lying to myself about something going on under my nose?
- Am I living in an illusion? Living under false pretenses?
- Am I ignoring some tell-tale signs that I'm not being treated with the respect and love I deserve?
- Are many people giving me advice that I am too stubborn to follow?
- Am I following mainstream ideals even though I feel they are harmful and unbeneficial to me, but I want to fit in?
Bad news and calamity. End of a cycle. Fear of change. You may not be ready to accept your power as real, or the change that is happening to you. You may be looking to others to solve problems that are actually intrinsic to your own nature. When you get the tower reversed, you have been building blocks that have prevented you from seeing the situation as it really is.
Building blocks are a great resource for knowledge or self-esteem, but sometimes they get in the way of our seeing our true inner landscape. The tower is about an upheaval of inner understanding. Tear down the blocks of destruction so that you can have a clear view. Then start rebuilding block by block back up the right path.
17. The Star Tarot Card
- Hope, spirituality, renewal, inspiration, serenity. Peace and tranquil mindset.
The woman has one foot on the ground, representing her practical abilities and good common sense, and the other foot in the water, representing her intuition and listening to her inner voice.
Behind her, shines one large star and seven smaller stars, representing your chakras. This card represents a need to open your chakras and cleanse your aura. Notice all the stars have eight points.
The Star is associated with the number 17, which equals 8 (1+7=8). Eight is Strength, the quality needed to accept your faults, and love yourself in spite of them.
The bird in the tree in the background is the sacred ibis of thought, roosting in the tree of the mind. The astrological sign of the Star is Aquarius.
Since as long as we can remember, we have lifted our spirits up to the stars for assurance and guidance. In their very design, they instill wonder in the deepest parts of our hearts and allow hope to spring forth. The Star Tarot card holds that same hope and promise that we see when we look up at the stars in the night sky.
Everything about the card suggests serenity, assurance, and hope. It is a message for us to not worry so much, to be at peace, and know that all is well.
The waters running from the maiden's pitchers are never-ending which represents an abundant supply of hope. The sky is clear with a hue of blue, which is a symbol of inspiration, creativity, and aspiration.
Our maiden portrays the feeling of blissful peace as she embraces nature. She is nude, which is a symbol of her tranquil mindset. She has nothing to hide nor fear; she is completely natural in her own skin, and at ease in her surroundings. It is as if she is in an oasis of creative inspiration that serves as a place of healing and renewal.
She is cleansing herself by pouring the water from the pitcher. She is letting go of all stress and worry and guilt within. We are surrounded by elements that let us know our needs will be met if we have faith.
This is a very spiritual card, as it rings out messages of renewal, purification, and faith to have the assurance that each of our days holds new hope and promise. When the Star appears in a reading it indicates that one may have been through a rough time and is now entering a time of healing and rejuvenation. This card is a message that it is time to relax. Think "spa for the soul." Think a breath of fresh air.
Also, if one has been worried about a situation, this card indicates that he/she is on the right path and that all things will work out for a happy ending. The Star Tarot card is a reminder to have faith and a reassurance that all will turn out okay, that we need not worry so much. Some questions to ponder if you receive this card:
- Do I allow a higher source to guide me?
- Do I lack faith?
- Do I worry too much?
- Must I be in control of everything at all times or I feel stressed?
- What can I do to allow more tranquility into my day?
- Am I allowing enough peace and relaxation in my life?
- What can I do to be more at ease with myself and my surroundings?
Vigor, stubbornness, difficulty to let go and find peace. Lack of faith, and discouragement. You may be feeling uninspired and too earthbound. To put it bluntly, your inner couch potato is showing. You’re behaving in a discordant manner, so you’ve disconnected from possibility. You aren’t seeing the hope in a situation, or maybe you’ve chosen to ignore the possibilities which are right there in front of you.
Whatever it is that is going on, when you get the star reversed it means a conscious refusal to see the good that is right ahead. Cynicism, pessimism, and depression are taking over the situation making it impossible to feel inspired. Let go of your guilt, anger, shame, and be who you really are, and inspiring being of knowledge and light.
19. The Moon Tarot Card
- Imagination and dreams. The release of fear, unhappiness, confusion. Following the right path. Listening to good advice, collecting positive influences in life.
The astrological sign associated with this card is Pisces—psychic, receptive, and mysterious. The pool at the base of the card represents the subconscious mind and the crayfish that crawls out of the pool symbolizes the early stages of consciousness unfolding. This creature also represents the often disturbing images that appear from our inner depths, just as the dog and wolf at the beginning of the path represent the tamed and the wild aspects of our minds.
The path leads between two towers into the mountains in the distance, showing the way to the unconsciousness. The moon possesses so much power, no one is immune to its influences. She is the mirror, reflecting back the light that shines upon her. She is a timepiece to the ancient movements of our galaxy. She is the music that prompts the ocean to dance. She is the illuminator of our creativity.
Another representation of the crawfish could be us, surfacing from within, on our journey to greatness, answering to our higher purpose/calling. We emerge from a pool of our primordial ignorance, guided by the light of the moon, to gain knowledge and find our righteous path in life. Ignorance not being a derogatory term, but means we are simply unknowing of our full potential, and all we have to learn and gain in life. The symbolic crab also links to the astrological aspects of Cancer with moon as its ruling celestial influence.
The pool could represent a point in life where we felt stuck or had retreated backward unprepared for what we must face, and now we have broken free—are ready to continue on our path—and conquer any obstacles be it anything or anybody standing in our way, trying to stop us or slow us down.
In the picture, there are many symbolic influences waiting on us. The yapping dog is symbolic of us dealing with our hardships and setbacks, our lack of self-confidence, and our excuses for why we can’t do what we must, be who we need to be, and step up and follow through with our plans to reach and accomplish our goals.
The gnarling wolf is symbolic of our anger and frustration, the feelings of people judging us, fighting with us, hindering us from our goals, and trying to bring us down.
The winding paths are symbolic of us feeling tired, sometimes lost and confused at every turn, and dreading the obstacles ahead we must face on our long, time-consuming, journey, in which we must find the strength to push forward, and prepare for curveballs along the way.
We see the Moon as our elusive guide through all the distractions. But is she a help or a hindrance? When she is in her growth we feel ourselves expand in confidence with her. We can glow and radiate with our full potential when she is in her prime fullness. When she is waning, we lose her influence and guidance, we feel ourselves shrink into the abyss of darkness; we grow unsure of our path and purpose.
The key to this card is influence. We must constantly be aware of what is influencing our lives, our decisions, our actions. Are there influences directing your life you are unaware of?
First of all, we must dig deep to unravel the perplexity of our life, and see clear to that which is causing us to move in a certain direction. Is this the direction we want to be heading? If not, what influences are guiding us in the direction we SHOULD be heading? Why aren’t we listening and paying heed to them instead?
Once we figure out what or who is influencing us, and how, we must then decide which are positive, helpful, influences bettering us, and which are negative, misguiding, harmful, influences we need to get rid of. We must find the time and strength to let go of the negative influences, and find more time for the positive influences.
We must also keep in mind that we have the ability to harness the power of the Moon and use it to our advantage. She holds immense power available for us, we just have to reach out and accept it, then focus and direct its energy to help and guide us.
Further, the Moon is a luminary, which reminds us that her reflective light can serve as a source of intuitive clarity. That she can help us search inside ourselves to find what our mind, gut instincts, and heart are trying to tell us. Can we hear what they are trying to tell us? Are they all in agreement? Are we listening to what they have to say?
When we pull this card in a reading it often indicates we're torn between many influences. That we may not even notice all things influencing us, and how they are doing so. Or that we are confused which are positive and negative. Or that we are not prepared to face the obstacles and influences that we must, and do what we must with them, such as get rid of the negatives, or listen to the positives. We are distracted by external and internal influences that have taken us away from our core path, or have forsaken or aren’t listening to the ones we should.
This card is a message that we need to reflect upon our lives, and use our intuitive abilities to determine what best thoughts and actions to take to correct our course back on track. Some questions to ponder if you draw this card:
- What am I allowing to distract, hinder, or bring me down?
- How can I see clear to what is positively and negatively influencing me and how it is doing so?
- What is taking me away from my highest achievements?
- Can I find the courage to get rid of the negative influences in my life?
- What am I allowing to sway my judgment or influence my decisions?
- Have I strayed from my divine path? What do I need to do to get back on track?
- What steps can I take to silence those yapping (nagging) thoughts that distract me from my joy?
Confusion, anxiety, insecurity. Difficulties in distinguishing between what is positive and negative. Disregarding good advice, losing, or ignoring good influences. Refusing to realize bad influences and get rid of them. Denial. Plain and simple, this card is saying you're going through a phase. You may feel under the influence in some way, a little bit loony. The illusion is that the state we’re in is permanent. The moon helps remind us that this state of being is an illusion and what is going on is just a phase, nothing more.
Wait and see the moon is saying. Reflect on your influence and that of those closest to you in your life. Release the attachment to outcomes whether they’re good or bad it doesn’t matter it is just a phase. Change is good, and we should trust that that everything will change for the better. We need to trust in our decisions which allow us to change as ultimately that is what being alive is all about.
19. The Sun Tarot Card
- Material happiness, good health, and abundance. Fun, warmth, success, positivity, vitality.
The Sun is an image of optimism and fulfillment, the dawn that follows the darkest night. As the source of all life on Earth, the Sun represents the source of life itself. The child playing joyfully in the foreground represents the happiness of our inner spirit when we are in tune with our truest self. There are four sunflowers, representing the four suits of the Minor Arcana, as well as the four elements. The astrological correspondence to this card is the Sun, of course.
The sun is pervasive in its power, blazing with its message of vitality, and its presence in our lives equates to life-giving energy. The Sun is inevitable. We can always count on it to rise each morning. Even if we've had the darkest and despairing night we are able to derive confidence that this too shall pass when we see the sun lifting over the horizon.
Cultures have worshiped the sun over the ages because it gives life. It allows crops to grow, it allows productivity during the day, and it illumines the world so that we may see things clearly without the symbolic darkness overshadowing our judgment.
When we pull the Sun card in a reading it is a very good sign. It means we've "struck gold." We've come to the other side of a long period of grief, mourning, or confusion. We've come to a point of clarity and understanding. We're seeing that promotion in our jobs. We're relocating to the house and neighborhood in which we've always wanted to live. We're receiving that opportunity that we've been dreaming about for such a long time.
Other deck renditions depict a nude child riding a white horse on the Sun card. This is a symbol of freedom from doubt and fear. The horse represents mobility in a good new direction, which we are heading due to the clarity and brilliance of the sun (new understanding) shines upon our lives. The child is also a symbol of new beginnings and total trust things will be okay, and optimism that our way is always illuminated by the sun energy, and we have no need to fear the darkness.
This is a breakthrough card. So often we go through the motions of our lives, wondering if we'll ever come out of the dark, curious if all our hard work is ever going to pay off. The Sun card is a clear message, that yes, indeed the proverbial flowers in the garden of life that we've painstakingly cared for are about to come in full bloom. When the vibrancy of the Sun card shines in a reading, good things are headed your way. Some questions to ponder if you draw this card:
- Have I built some walls around my heart or against others?
- Have I been really worried or stressed lately? Are positive outcomes going to come from this stress?
- Am I allowing the highest and best energy to flow through to me?
- What would it take for me to expose my true self and the beauty I represent?
- Do I tend to be pessimistic?
- Do I turn to things of truth, beauty, and vitality, or do I mire in the mud?
Temporary depression, lack of success. Possible difficulties in relation to childbirth. If the Sun is reversed, you may be experiencing a cloudy feeling. Feeling dull, dark, baked, overdone, the point is you may be trying too hard to get things going that you really don’t care about. Your sacral center may be out of alignment. It could be over or under-stimulated, but usually, when we get a reversed card, it is an indicator of blocked energy. Assuming that is the case when you get this card, it's an indication there is some blockage of self-esteem, sexual energy or creativity that is going on, you may need to do some clearing in this area.
Drinking vitamin D or fortified milk may help, not only for the symbolic links to mother and growth but for the literal health connection as well. Feel the warmth of the sun, it's a reminder that we are beautiful, radiant, and should glow with pride, not to be held back by self-doubt and gloom. If you feel stuck in the mud, don't despair, have the courage to push through, things will get better. You may be stuck in a phase like mentioned in the Moon card, but remember, the sun will rise soon, and the phase will end.
20. The Judgment Tarot Card
- Awakening. Changes to the better, beginning of a cycle. Judgment, rebirth, inner calling, absolution.
With Fire as its ruling element, Judgment is about rebirth and resurrection. The idea of Judgment Day is that the dead rise, their sins are forgiven, and they move onto heaven. The Judgment card is similar in that it asks us to resurrect the past, forgive it, and let it go. There are wounds from the past that we never let heal, sins we've committed that we refuse to forgive, bad habits we haven't the courage to lose. The Judgment card is advising us to finally face these, recognize that the past is past, and put them to rest, absolutely and irrevocably.
The Judgment card shows a number of naked men, women, and children rising up from their graves, arms outspread, and responding to the trumpet call of the archangel, Gabriel, who hovers high above them. The people are appealing to the angel, ready to be judged by the power of the Universe. As with everything in life, the beginning is woven irrevocably into the end, and the end eventually leads to a new beginning.
The Judgment card could be signaling to us that we need a wake-up call. That we haven’t been using our best judgment and making poor decisions. Or that we are too judgmental of others and we need to stop.
The planetary ruler of this card is Pluto, the ruler of the underworld. For many, the word "judgment" evokes some very unsavory thoughts and images. It's no wonder the term makes some people cringe. For eons, this term has been associated with religious misunderstanding and intolerance. Wars are waged in the name of religion, and Judgment is the battlefield.
Ironically, the reason for a religious war can be skinned down to one man's judgment against another man's religion. Further pared, it could be said that one man has judged that the other man shouldn’t have his religion, but be forced to convert.
In the Christian faith, Judgment is associated with the "Judgment day." That day, according to Biblical texts, in which all souls will be called and each soul is measured and marked according to virtue and obedience to God.
Religion aside, Judgment plays a part in everyday life. We make judgment calls about how to raise our children. We use good judgment about how we manage our finances. We need judgment to determine what career we want to have based on our talents, inspirations, and obligations.
It is important to note that there is no evidence of fear in the card and no conveyance of scolding or negativity. This is because the Judgment Tarot card is NOT about judging others. It has nothing to do with negative judgments made against our own actions either.
This card deals with honesty. Nancy Lopez, one of the most accomplished women of the professional golf scene, made a fine point when she said: "Doubt yourself and you doubt everything you see. Judge yourself and you see judges everywhere. But if you listen to the sound of your own voice, you can rise above doubt and judgment. And you can see forever." This is the prime message of the Judgment card.
When we portray the card negatively, it becomes confusing, and we will ignore or deny its influence. However, when we understand that judgment is a natural, God-given gift that we can use in order to answer our highest calling—it takes on an entirely new meaning.
The Judgment card comes up in a reading when it is time to heed our highest calling. When we are at a crossroads, and it is time to lift ourselves up and transform our lives. It comes at a pivotal time when we must be honest with ourselves, judge what best action should be taken to rise up to the challenges to form the best life for ourselves.
This is an inspiring card. It indicates that higher energies are in motion to assist us in living a new, fresh, wonderful life. Just as the Christ was resurrected to a new phase of life, so too can we transform ourselves and move into a new way of living.
Other deck renditions show the angel Gabriel blowing his horn to call up the souls to their higher understanding. This is precisely the message this card bears. It is time to heed the call of resurrection. Now is the time to make a positive difference in our lives and in the lives of others.
- Am I making smart decisions using my best judgment?
- Is it time for a transformation in my life?
- Am I judging others or myself too harshly?
- Am I being honest about the way I'm living my life?
- Am I listening to my higher power? Am I following the guidance given?
- Am I making sound judgment in a situation that's been on my mind lately?
- Am I worried and anxious about making a decision, confused about what I should do?
- Have I not been using my better judgment and need a wake-up call?
End of a cycle. Problems with legal work. Self-doubt, refusal of self-examination. You need a wake-up call, you’re not using your best judgment. The signs are there showing you the right path, but you are too afraid to follow it due to fear of being judged by others. When you get this card, you’re in a zombie state unable to awaken to what you can do to make a difference in your life and the lives of others. This world is only a portion of what makes up reality; don’t get too caught up in materialism or fitting in and pleasing others.
When you get this card there is something that you’re denying in yourself and that is ceasing the energy flow. It could also signify that you need to try to relate more and show compassion and understanding of others rather than judge them and condemn their ways because they are different. Compassion comes from a deep knowing that we are all the same, that we are all connected, that we are all one. It should be a feeling of peace and satisfaction.
Remember, there is no reason to try to change anyone because they are perfect the way they are. Don’t shun someone because they are different, there is something we are to learn from others and our differences for personal growth.
21. The World Tarot Card
- Successful completion, an end to a personal cycle. Travel or relocation to another country. Integration, accomplishment.
The planetary ruler of The World (or Universe) card is Saturn, the symbol of time. The Norse Viking Pagan rune for this card is Lagu/Laguz. The card pictures a dancer in a Yoni (sometimes made of laurel leaves).
The Yoni symbolizes the great Mother, the cervix through which everything is born, and also the doorway to the next life after death. She is surrounded by a thick, green wreath, symbolic of success, victory, achievement, and accomplishment, and tied with the red ribbons of eternity.
The red ribbons form the infinity symbol, representing the infinite rewards of positive effort in improving both ourselves and those around us. It is indicative of a complete circle. Within the laurel wreath are stars of light indicating attainment of enlightenment or cosmic consciousness.
The four figures (a lion, bull, cherub, and eagle) represent the four fixed signs of the zodiac—Leo, Taurus, Aquarius, and Scorpio. These are symbolic of the four elements, four suits of the Tarot, four compass points, four seasons, and the four corners of the universe. And all are within the dancer’s sight and power. This is a sign all the stars are coming into alignment on our behalf, and all things coinciding for our ultimate reward.
Saturn is the "scholar" card and indicates that the student is now an expert in their subject. From student to teacher, from apprentice to master. Thus, this is not, like Death, the end of something, but rather a change in frequency. A positive addition or transition such as a promotion, starting a family, the starting of a business, or a career after college.
The World is the last card in the Major Arcana. As such, it embodies the completion of a long, sometimes difficult journey. The World represents all elements coming together in order for us to receive the satisfaction and success for which we've been striving to achieve.
It goes beyond getting the car we want or getting that promotion at work. The World is an indication of such heady success that we could win the lottery and give it away because we've achieved a level of joy much higher and greater than the lottery. We've achieved enrichment and soul-fulfillment, items beyond material gain, a feeling of absolute contentment.
When we look closely at this rendition of the card, we can see the symbol of the yin-yang (note the formation of the purple ribbon around the female figure). This is an ancient symbol of balance and unity. It indicates that we can work our opposites and differences to their advantage and all things can come to work together as one.
Further observation of the card shows us a lemniscate, or an infinity symbol (the red ribbon at the crown of the female figure). This assures us that we are infinitely rewarded for the positive efforts we take to improve ourselves and those around us. The two batons in the female's hand are another symbol of balance. They've also been noted as sacred scrolls of knowledge. Within the laurel wreath are stars of light indicating attainment of enlightenment or cosmic consciousness.
In a reading, this card is highly auspicious. It means that the project you've been working on will receive the highest acclaim. The counseling you've been undergoing with your lover will lead to a happy conclusion. The rehabilitation you've been going through will have a profound and healthy outcome. The World is a promise of success and a reminder that the highest value in life is the condition of your own soul. Some questions to ponder if you draw this card:
- What is my ultimate desire?
- Do I believe that now is my time for glory?
- Am I ready to accept my highest achievement?
- How will I receive the accolades for my hard work?
- Can I envision the upcoming reward for my toiling?
- Do I have faith that all things are coming together for my highest and best good?
Difficulty with or lack of completion, lack of closure. You’re not connecting to your potential the way you’d like, perhaps. The problem isn’t your lack of skill, talent, intelligence, or likability; it is your lack of trust and faith in yourself, others, and the universal law of attraction that is holding you back. You can achieve your dreams with the proper enthusiasm supported by fortitude and fairness.
If the world has got you down, then maybe it is time to put the breaks on what you’re doing and try another approach. Everything will come clear in its time and when you get back in synch with the world, you’ll remember just how much you have going for you.
In the meantime, slow down, back off and wait. Clear away the clutter and start to form the big picture of what you really want to manifest in your life. Let the universe do what it does by answering the call, but you have to do the work necessary to stay clear and focused on your dreams. Don’t let others dissuade you from being your authentic self. When you are authentic, you shine, and the universe is on your side.
The Significance of Tarot Card Reading
How can randomly drawn cards have any relevance to someone's life and what's happening in it? Carl Jung believed that in addition to the repeatable cause-and-effect relationships on which the scientific world is so strongly based, there is also another connecting principle. He called this principle synchronicity. According to Jung, synchronicity explains the guiding forces in the universe. Things we might see as coincidence are actually signs that can help us make decisions and guide our lives if we recognize them.
Tarot cards might play a role in showing us paths and patterns and helping us understand the meaning in those guiding energies. Many people say that Tarot cards can guide a person through their life by helping to bring up past events, present situations, and future possibilities, for reflection and analyzation. The cards don't specifically reveal to you what you should do or set in stone what is going to happen in your future, but rather possible outcomes regarding the path you take and the choices you make.
- Obringer, Lee A. "How Tarot Cards Work." How Stuff Works. HowStuffWorks, Inc, 1998–2014. Web. 25 Jan. 2014.
- Peden, John C. "Major Arcana Tarot Card Meanings." Biddy Tarot. N.p., 2014. Web. 25 Jan. 2014.
- "Tarot Card Meanings of the Major Arcana." Tarot Teachings.com, A Fresh Look At Tarot Wisdom. Avia Venefica, 2007–2011. Web. 9 Feb. 2014.
- Willson, Jessica F. "Tarot Meanings White Light Tarot, The High Arcana." Unite Light Tarot, The Light From Within. Jessica Fisher Willson - WHITE LIGHT TAROT TM, 2005–2012. Web. 9 Feb. 2014.
I Want to Hear From My Readers!
I hope you have enjoyed my article on Tarot cards. I also hope my readers now understand that Tarot cards are not just a Wiccan tool of divination, and have learned an abundance of information regarding other religious influences. I hope I have disproved stereotypes that Tarot cards are evil or a tool of Satan. That they even include Christian concepts.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2014 Amber
hipretty on June 01, 2020:
Hi Amber! Appreciate all you put into this article! Thank you!
Thank for your thorough article and I don't think it was too long. It something to read at our leisure, one card at a time, so as to absorb the complexity of the tarot. I often come back to it. Also s on May 16, 2020:
Thank for your thorough article and I don't think it was too long. It something to read at our leisure, one card at a time, so as to absorb the complexity of the tarot. I often come back to it. Also some of the example cards are amazing and I think you should have put the name of the decks you have used. That would be my only criticism.
innnzzz6 on February 03, 2019:
I used to think it was evil and wrong, but now I don't think Tarot cards are bad.
Marthrach on December 31, 2015:
Woooww, this article is never ending. I must admit there is so much info I have not know and you did a great job. I must admitt is very long, I would have made a series of hubs rather then this long article. Simple reason. Your article is very educative but people get bored of such long article.
It was long but I enjoyed reading it.