Monday Morning Tarot Reading

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If you’re visiting this post, then this Tarot reading is meant for you. It’s all about the new week ahead, and what you can expect from it.

King of Vessels/Heron (= King of Cups) * 3 of Stones/Creativity (=3 of Pentacles/Disks) * The Ancestor (=The Hierophant)

Wow, authority figures abound! Will they stand in your way and gum up the works? Will they lend you their patronage, and earmark resources for your use? Or will they turn out to be like human holograms, looking like leadership, but turning out to have no actual substance at all?

Even if you don’t care much for things like tradition, structure, rules and regulations, established hierarchies and chains of command…it still pays to understand them when they’re in force around you. You can get much better results when breaking rules if you first know what those rules really mean, and how far their reaches might extend.

Or maybe you actually do like having some structure and some guidelines to work within. There’s nothing wrong with that. Some people falter when they have too much freedom, but a narrowing of the focus can really help them to operate effectively. Consider: does haiku feel like a prison to you, or is it more like liberation…? Even if it’s the latter, and you do flourish with a bit of structure, that shouldn’t translate as you swallowing whole just any restrictions that might be placed upon you by “higher ups.” It’s okay to question the bosses and their policies – the legitimate ones can stand up to a bit of scrutiny. It’s really only the unworthy specimens that can’t take the eyeballing and the question marks.

There’s an old Bob Dylan song that says “You’re gonna have to serve somebody.” In this life – and in this upcoming week! – that’s undoubtedly true. But you almost always have some choice in who that somebody might be, and in the nature and the extent of your service. Choose wisely!

You can learn Tarot with me! I offer PRIVATE LESSONS, or for self-paced study, you can score your very own copy of the TAROT TOOLKIT ONLINE COURSE, which features ten MP4 recordings of classroom-style presentations and an accompanying PDF Workbook of 120+ pages:

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Tarot Spread: “How Does Your Garden Grow?”

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Welcome to another installment of New Spread Saturday! On the final Saturday of each month, Tabitha Dial and I host this Tarot-centric photo challenge in which participants are invited to create an all-new Tarot spread and then share it with the world. If you’d like to play, there’s still time! Just take a picture of your spread, and detail the card positions for us. And don’t forget to wallpaper it with that#newspreadsaturday hashtag! For my part, I present my new masterwork for August: the “How Does Your Garden Grow?” Spread:

1 = Gardener. What’s your style as a cultivator? Are you a warrior, and your garden a battleground? Are you a sweet, nurturing type? A mystic? Selfless…or selfish? What kind of a gardener are you?

2 = Garden. What are you growing? Foodstuffs for sustenance? Flowers for beauty? Is it an inanimate collection, like a rock garden, cultivated for meditative purposes? Or do you garden just for the sake of the activity itself?

3 = Green Thumb. What are you naturally great at cultivating?

4 = Black Thumb. What do you tend to fail at when cultivating?

5 = Weeds. What tends to show up unbidden, and to feed on your efforts when you’re trying to cultivate something else?

6 = Pests. Who or what steals away the fruits of your gardening labors when you’re not watchful enough?

Learn Tarot with me! I offer PRIVATE LESSONS, and there’s also the TAROT TOOLKIT ONLINE COURSE:

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Dreams…and Dreams in Tarot

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I’m back in the saddle here after a week away on the opposite coast.  It was a truly great trip, but now that it’s done, I’m returning to our regularly scheduled posting and updating.  A dream I had in the early morning hours today seemed like a great starting point for launching that return…

Dreams…

How do you see them? Are they just bizarre bursts of randomness welling up from out of your subconscious mind while you sleep, no more meaningful than the psychic equivalent of belches? Some people do see them that way.

Me, I take them as messages. Maybe they come from inside our own minds, or maybe they even hail from external sources, but either way, they don’t have their origins in the ego, which makes me see a lot of value in them. In our waking hours, we’re trapped with our egos all the time, and what the ego wants isn’t always lined up well with what we – in a holistic sense – actually need. So, yeah: dreams.

Tarot can speak to our dream-lives. I see The Moon as being the primary indicator of dream-experience, but other cards can point in this direction, too. The High Priestess sits in the gray borderlands between the waking world and the land of dreams, and the watery Suit of Cups holds our dream-stuff, as well (I look especially at the Queen and the Ace here).

Last night, I dreamed that I was walking in some wetlands with someone, and I found an Eagle feather. Only it was big enough that I could have used it to paddle a canoe! Wish I’d seen the Eagle that had dropped it…

Interested in Tarot? You can book a READING with me, or I can teach you how to read for yourself, either through PRIVATE LESSONS or the TAROT TOOLKIT ONLINE COURSE:

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TAROT TIP: Seek Card Concepts in the “Real” World

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If you’re seeking additional ways by which you can firm up your grasp on Tarot card meanings beyond rote memorization, I often preach the value of looking for real world manifestations of card concepts.

Here’s an example… I went to a family member’s wedding yesterday, and the reception was held at this old building with all these cool artifacts from a bygone age…like this antique bank vault shown here. It immediately put me in mind of the 4 of Pentacles – the “miser card” – and the way this particular card speaks to the urges that drive our capitalist system. It’s no coincidence that over in the Thoth deck, Aleister Crowley attaches the word “Power” to his version of the card, because in our society, money is power.

This card asks us to consider our own views on what we think of as wealth, and how much we need to amass before we can feel like we safely have “enough.” CAN we have enough? Can we have too much? What’s in YOUR bank vault…?

I can teach you Tarot if you’re interested in learning. I offer PRIVATE LESSONS, or you can also purchase the 10-session TAROT TOOLKIT ONLINE COURSE:

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TAROT TIP: Consider Kabbalah

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Even though Tarot is a rich, deep system that’s absolutely chock-full of multilayered symbolism, this doesn’t stop Tarot fans from trying to map additional systems onto it in an effort to wring even more meaning from its sublime framework. You can find decks and books in which Tarot people have done their best to weave Astrology into Tarot, or Runes, or the I Ching. Some will even use elements from fields that don’t have any underlying structure as metaphysical systems at all – for instance, some resources will tell you that a certain type of crystal goes with each card, or a specific animal does, or a kind of plant.

And to be honest, as long as you don’t swallow any one person’s associations as “The Gospel,” and you apply some critical analysis of your own as to whether you actually see some real fitness and utility, then working with assignments like these can be extremely helpful in a brain-stretching sort of way.

But the one system that seems to lend itself the most naturally to being spliced into a new fusion with Tarot is the field of Jewish mysticism known as Kabbalah, and in particular, the Kabbalah’s Tree of Life.

Fotothek_df_tg_0006103_Theosophie_^_Alchemie_^_Judentum_^_KabbalaSidenote: as with many words and phrases that have found their ways into the English-speaking world from languages that use completely different alphabets, you’ll find multiple spellings for “Kabbalah.” I use this spelling because it was the first one I learned, but you’ll also see things like Qabalah and Cabala, plus other subtle variants of all of these. No one spelling is “The Right One,” and they’re all more or less the same as each other in terms of their basic meanings, although they do each seem to be picking up their own somewhat varying connotations in modern metaphysics as the years go by. Still, it’s probably best not to get too hung up on this point, and definitely don’t let anyone make you feel dunderheaded because they’ve decided to dump on your chosen spelling!

But anyway, the point is that Kabbalah and Tarot do seem to dovetail pretty readily. Simple numbers play a huge factor in this.

The Tree of Life – Kabbalah’s magic mega-glyph that represents all reality – has 10 spheres (called “Sephiroth,” or if singular, each one is a “Sephira”) and 22 pathways that interconnect these spheres.

And then hey, look: Tarot has 10 numbered cards in each Suit of the Minor Arcana, and 22 Major cards! There’s one type of numbered Tarot card to go with each Tree of Life Sephira, with nothing left over and nothing unused, and the same goes for correspondences among Major Tarot cards and Tree of Life pathways! It’s neat, it’s efficient, and nothing feels forced.

In contrast, accepted mapping of Astrology onto Tarot struggles in that Astrology has an ill-fitting number of primary symbols to work with here: a variable number of Planets (depending on your astrological preferences), 12 Zodiac Signs, 12 Houses, and dozens of possible Planet-in-Sign placements. There’s no neat and obvious method for assigning these to the Tarot cards without getting a bit clunky, and also leaving many astrological symbols on the cutting room floor.

Similarly, the earliest Runic alphabet has 24 symbols. How do you map that onto the 22-card Major Arcana? The 56-card Minor Arcana? The full 78-card deck? No easy answers.

The same holds true for the I-Ching, with its 64 hexagrams. You could shoot for a one-to-one mapping of symbols of the 64 hexagrams onto the 78 cards, but you’d then have 14 cards with no hexagrams assigned to them. Do 14 cards therefore go hexagram-less? Or do you let 14 hexagrams be allocated to two cards each? And in either case, how do you choose which symbols get left out or counted double? The math doesn’t lend itself well to these types of mapping exercises in any of these cases.

But not only does the Tree of Life sidestep these logistical tar-pits, but it also adds an attractive new layer of interpretive possibility, in that each Hebrew letter – of which there are a convenient 22! – carries its own occult meaning. Take a look:

#

Tarot Card

Hebrew Letter

Meaning

Tree of Life Path #

0

The Fool

א Aleph

Ox

11

1

The Magician

בBet

House

12

2

The High Priestess

גGimel

Camel

13

3

The Empress

ד Daled

Door

14

4

The Emperor

ה Heh

Window

15

5

The Hierophant

ו Vau

Nail

16

6

The Lovers

ז Zayin

Sword

17

7

The Chariot

חCheth

Fence

18

8

Strength

טTeth

Serpent

19

9

The Hermit

יYod

Hand

20

10

The Wheel of Fortune

כKaph

Palm

21

11

Justice

לLamed

Ox-goad

22

12

The Hanged Man

מMem

Water

23

13

Death

נ Nun

Fish

24

14

Temperance

סSamekh

Tent-peg, Prop

25

15

The Devil

עAyin

Eye

26

16

The Tower

פPeh

Mouth

27

17

The Star

צTsaddi

Fish-hook

28

18

The Moon

קQoph

Back of head

29

19

The Sun

ר Resh

Head

30

20

Judgement

שShin

Tooth

31

21

The World

תTau

Cross, Mark

32

The Tower_thothIn fact, once you’re aware of these meanings, you can play spot-the-Kabbalah-reference with your decks. Many deck creators take pains to include visual representations of these Hebrew letter meanings in their Tarot cards. For example, in the famous Thoth deck, Aleister Crowley and Lady Frieda Harris clearly knew that the Tower card is associated with the Hebrew letter Peh, and Peh means “mouth.” Take a look at the card image – it will take you little more than a millisecond or two to locate the giant, gaping, flame-spewing mouth in the visuals.

And once you get familiar with these meanings, you can add them to your Tarot card interpretations when you perform readings. Consider how The Hierophant is associated with the concept of a nail. The former is a symbol of structure, and the latter is a device used to build things. But then, a nail left lying around can also be a threat to the integrity of one’s feet, as nails can puncture and penetrate, and if rusty, they can even infect. This little added slice of nail-meaning can then reflect back onto The Hierophant: if the teachings of this card’s central character are used carefully, then much like nails, they can help us to create immense structures that greatly benefit humanity…but if employed recklessly, they can cause grievous injury by stabbing us in our most tender and vulnerable spots…

So if you’re on the prowl for new add-ons that you can incorporate into your Tarot practice, you could do far worse than exploring Kabbalah and the Tree of Life…

Learn Tarot with me! I offer PRIVATE LESSONS, and you can also score your own copy of the TAROT TOOLKIT ONLINE COURSE, a 10-session series of classes with its own 120-page PDF Workbook:

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TAROT TIP: Explore Multiple Decks

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I have a bit of a deck-collecting habit.

I also have this one friend who feels the need to question this habit of mine.

Now, to be clear, my overall deck-buying impulse flares up much less often and much less intensely than it did when I was first bitten by the Tarot bug. To large extent, the itch has been scratched. Then again, if an especially attractive or innovative deck catches my attention, I may feel called to get it. And should my friend hear of this, she will give me a disapproving earful: “Why do you need so many decks? What can one tell you that the others can’t? They’re all basically the same! Children are starving in the world, and you’re spending all this money on decks!”

Not that it’s anyone’s business but mine, but I thought I’d offer up a few compelling reasons why I do like to shuttle around among multiple decks:

1) New deck concepts and new imagery deepen my understandings of the cards immensely. Studying different versions of a given card offers fresh insights, and further solidifies my own grasp on which elements of a card feel essential to me, versus which ones don’t.

2) I read professionally, and different clients have different preferences and comfort levels, so having multiple decks to choose from can bring maximum satisfaction all around.

3) Here’s a big one – each deck has its own unique “voice.” Why do some guitarists have multiple guitars? I mean, the chords for “Purple Haze” are the same no matter which axe you pick up, right…? And the answer is that yes, the chords, the notes, they’re all the same…but each instrument has its own sound, its own feel. An acoustic is not quite the same as an electric. A 6-string is not quite interchangeable with a 12-string.

And so it is with Tarot decks: each one is a distinct instrument, and we can elicit different moods from them. Play to their strengths, and they’ll play to yours.

Learn Tarot with me! I offer PRIVATE LESSONS, or you can study along with the 10-session TAROT TOOLKIT ONLINE COURSE:

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TAROT SPREAD: The Story Of My Life Spread

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On the last Saturday of each month, I co-host a Tarot-based photo challenge over on Instagram with Tabitha Dial (she’s @tabithadial there).  The challenge is called New Spread Saturday (see #newspreadsaturday posts over on IG for entries), and the idea is to cook up an all-new, original Tarot spread and then share it with the masses.  Anyone can join in, and if you’re reading this, please feel invited to do so!  Meanwhile, here’s my own submission for July’s running of the event…

Each of us is the main character in her or his own story. Each of us has a tale to tell. Each of us is a tale to tell. But sometimes we’re too close to the action, and too emotionally involved in it, to see it for what it really is.

Here, then, is a spread aimed at helping you to step back and better understand the book of your life: What’s YOUR story?

1 = FRONT COVER. What do people notice about me first?
2 = SPINE. What gives my life form and structure?
3 = TABLE OF CONTENTS. How can I stay organized?
4 = MAIN STORY. What is my life really all about?
5 = BACK COVER. What protects me from harm?

Give this one a try, and see how your life reads back to you!

And if you’re interested in learning Tarot, I offer PRIVATE LESSONS, and you can also purchase the TAROT TOOLKIT ONLINE COURSE that I co-created:

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