TAROT THOUGHT: Can Decks Have Significators?

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There’s this practice that’s common among Tarot readers involving the use of what’s called a “Significator card.” The idea is that a person can be consistently represented within a reading or in a meditation by a given card. These Significator cards are often chosen from the subset of the Court Cards, and people will regularly zoom in on a Significator based on the age and gender of the querent (so someone with mature, Yang energy might best be represented by the King of Wands or the King of Swords, since Kings are mature and Yang, and the Suits of Wands and Swords are also considered to be Yang in nature). Other Tarot people don’t feel bound to choose Significators from only the Court Cards – much of this is down to personal preference.

Here’s a question, though: can a deck itself have a Significator card selected from within the ranks of its own 78 component members? Can a single card consistently represent a given deck? And can different decks have different Significators than the cards that serve as Significators for other decks?

That is, it would be one thing to say that, for instance, The High Priestess represents all decks, and any deck’s own High Priestess card could serve as that deck’s Significator. That would be one possibly valid approach here. It would be another thing, though, to hold that for Deck A, the Significator card that would always represent it would be, for example, the Emperor card, while Deck B’s Significator might instead be its own Ace of Wands card. That approach might also work, depending on your own responses to all of this…

But regardless of whether you want to use cards as official “Significators” for decks, it’s tough to argue that we don’t end up forming very strong associations linking a couple of specific cards with the deck from which they’re drawn.  Like, if I had to use a single card to capture the famed Rider-Waite-Smith deck for myself or somebody else, I’d probably settle first on The Magician.  To me, that’s the first card image that leaps to mind when I think of the RWS deck – that card means that deck in my mind, and that deck also means that card.  Other high-ranking possibilities for me would include The High Priestess, The Hermit (being on a Led Zeppelin album cover surely helps…), the Death card, and maybe a couple of the Court Cards and Aces.

Over in Thoth-Land, even before I became a full-time Tarot zealot myself, I understood that some early glimpse of the Adjustment card was very formative for me, and I imprinted on that image hard as a signifier of the Thoth deck.  I don’t even know that I fully grasped what the image was depicting at first, but I knew that it was unique to the Thoth deck, and that seeing the Adjustment card called the Thoth deck to mind for me, and that stumbling across any reference to the Thoth deck would likewise bring a mental picture of the Adjustment card swimming up to plant itself on my mental front-burner.  Runners-up for Thoth Significators for me are the Universe and the Lust cards: these also feel very extremely and uniquely evocative of this deck.

So how about you? Do you feel that individual decks have their own Significator cards that can be produced from within the bodies of themselves…?

Hey: learn Tarot with me! You can browse my now-underway free section on TAROT CARD MEANINGS, you can sign on with me to receive PRIVATE LESSONS in Tarot, or you can purchase the TAROT TOOLKIT ONLINE COURSE that I co-taught earlier this year, which features 10 recorded webinar-style class sessions in MP4 format and a 120-page PDF Workbook, plus a few freebie files that introduce the basics of some related metaphysical disciplines, such as Astrology and Qabalah. Questions? Drop me a line via my CONTACT page!

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Site Upgrade Underway: Tarot Card Meanings Section!

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Site construction underway…

As a sort of public service to site visitors here, I’ve decided to start building in some free resources.  The first order of business under this heading will be to write up and post a list of generally accepted TAROT CARD MEANINGS.

Full disclosure: I was born and raised in the US, and I spend virtually all of my time in the mode of the English-speaker…and this state of affairs definitely informs my Tarot practice.  With that in mind, I’ll be writing up this section based on studies of the three most influential decks in this English-speaking sector of the Tarot world: the Rider-Waite-Smith deck (“RWS”), the Crowley-Harris Thoth deck (“Thoth”), and the Tarot de Marseilles deck (“TdM”).  To be very clear, though, I realize – and hopefully you will, too – that these are not the only decks in the world, and that people who speak languages other than English as their primary tongues may prioritize other decks than these.  No one way of doing things in this regard should ever be seen as “The Right Way.”

My opening entry for this new section just went up today, with more to follow until I’ve covered all 78 cards in a standard Tarot deck.

Once I pass that milestone, I plan to do a similar Resources page that puts forth generally accepted meanings for the Elder Futhark system of Runes, and I’ll put together yet another section to capture some commonly used meanings for the various symbols that comprise modern Astrology (including the Planets, the Signs, and the Houses).

This will all take some time, so please bear with me!  And any suggestions and requests are more than welcome.  Please reach me via my CONTACT page.

TAROT READING: The Week Ahead

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If you’re reading about this reading, then this reading is for you. Here’s what’s on tap for this upcoming new week:

King of Swords * The Hierophant * Knight of Wands

It looks like everyone will be conspiring to have you gazing back into the past this week. You’ll be inclined to fixate on the way things were: what you were once like, how the world used to be, what you did, what you failed to do. Past passions and former ideas making up your worldview will rise to the forefront of your consciousness again and again. And when you’re not dwelling on these things, other people will be there to do it for you.

But you can’t live in the past. You can learn a lot from it, but then you need to apply those lessons in the present, and you also need to leave some bandwidth available to start addressing the future. As we all know, the future will march inexorably toward us, join us in the present for a split-second of intimacy…and then fall behind us as more of that ever-growing past.

So this week, while you and everybody in your vicinity will seem to be extra-focused on yesterday…look for that one person who stands out with their more forward-looking approach. If you can spot the individual who points out your own road into tomorrow, then you just may have found your next important teacher, mentor, or inspiration. Soak up some of their knowledge, and put some of it to use in sowing some seeds for your future.

Learn Tarot with me! Through PRIVATE LESSONS or via the TAROT TOOLKIT ONLINE COURSE, I can teach you Tarot card meanings, deck structure, and how to interpret interactions among the various cards as you read for yourself and others!

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TAROT SPREAD: The Soul-Coffee Spread

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It’s New Spread Saturday again! This is a monthly photo-challenge event on Instagram in which Tabitha Dial and I invite anyone and everyone who’s interested to create and share their own original Tarot spreads. You can track the goings-on over on IG by using the hashtag #newspreadsaturday.

It’s easy to participate, too: just cook up your own original Tarot spread, take a photo of cards laid out in the proper configuration for that spread, and put up a post on IG explaining what each card position in the photo means. You can use that same hashtag to look up past and current entries if you want some guidance and inspiration on how to go about contributing. Here’s my own new spread for this month: the Soul-Coffee Spread…

Coffee is a passion shared by millions of people around the world. If you’re a fan, there’s nothing quite like that much-needed cup of joe lighting up your insides with its life-giving blend of taste, aroma, and sheer pick-me-up.

But what serves the same purpose for your spirit? What gets you all revved up and ready for the world?

What’s your ideal cup of metaphorical soul-coffee like?

1 = INTAKE. Small, medium, or large? Tall, Grande, or Venti? Petite, Moderate, or Frigging Gargantuan? Whatever your spiritual go-juice is, when you ingest it, do you do that in small quantities, or do you need to have barrels of it on hand? Do you sip it delicately, or do you guzzle it down in great gulps? What’s your intake like?

2 = TASTE. Some like their coffee strong and bitter, so that swallowing it is almost like a trial…others want it so sweet that a child could happily drink it. Is your soul-coffee harsh and demanding…light and sugary…or something in between?

3 = INTENSITY. You can find coffee drinkers who favor decaf – they like the taste and the smell and the ritual of the coffee, but they don’t want the caffeine. You can also find some for whom the caffeine is the whole point, and the liquid coffee part is just a delivery system. Is your soul-coffee about the pleasures of taking it in…or is it about the rush that it provides you?

4 = ORIGIN. Do you favor a boost that comes from local, homegrown, familiar sources? Or do you feel most drawn to the exotic fare that hails from far-off lands? Where does your soul-coffee originate?

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Weekend Tarot Reading

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L-R: The Ace of Books * The Lovers * 7 of Swords – from the Epic Tarot published by Lo Scarabeo

If you’re reading about this reading, then this reading is for you. It’s what’s up for the weekend just ahead!

🔮  Ace of Books (= Wands) 🔮  The Lovers 🔮  7 of Swords 🔮

This weekend affords you opportunities for interacting with the people you love the most. This is great news! A theme will evolve throughout the weekend, though, of you being confronted more than once with the need to choose how open versus how closed you should be with those loved ones.

On the face of it, this should be a no-brainer, right? Our society teaches us that being open and honest is the virtuous path, while keeping secrets is “bad.” But should we all vomit forth every bit of Truth, no matter how harsh those bits might feel upon receipt by the party on the other end? Questions such as “Does this haircut look good on me?” and “What did you think of my kid now that you finally met?” and “How do you like that song I just wrote?” can put us in a very uncomfortable spot if the true answer would be something along the lines of, “Frankly, he/she/it sucked…”

But then what if we do hold back? What if we tell a “white lie” so as to not hurt someone’s feelings? Does every untruth and every lie by omission constitute another straw on the camel’s back of trust in a given relationship, no matter how well-intentioned those untruths and lies may have been? How open is open enough, and how closed is too closed?

Maybe use the following formula as your guidelines in these dicey situations this weekend (attributed to the Buddha, but refined by the Victorian Era poet, Mary Ann Pietzker):

Is it true?
Is it necessary?
Is it kind?

Happy Friday, everyone!

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Tarot Reading: The Week Ahead

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Death * The Chariot * 4 of Chalices (cards from the Epic Tarot, published by Lo Scarabeo)

If you’re reading about this reading, then this reading is for you! This one looks at the week ahead.

Where I am, Autumn is already in the air. The trees will soon be shrugging off their leaves in a very “Out With The Old!” kind of move. Do you feel a similar impulse? This week, you may experience stronger than usual urges toward scuttling things that suddenly feel like sandbags. Things have a way of accumulating, of accreting, and building up layer upon layer of crusty, cocoon-like sheathing around us. This can make it hard to move, to grow, to see the light and breathe the air.

And you do need to move, that’s no joke. This happens to be a time during which you can make leagues of progress, as it happens. Cut loose all that dead matter around you, and that Chariot is waiting to take you to some fabulous new locales. Exfoliate your life properly now, and you can really make some serious tracks!

A cautionary note, though: don’t cut away too much, too fast, or you’ll risk tearing off some of the healthy tissue along with the dead outer layers. And don’t try to race off too far or too quickly, or you’ll only end up exhausting yourself. How helpful will it be to reach exotic new shores that are filled with promise if you’re too worn out to do anything when you get there? Be smart and be realistic as you streamline your life, and as you roll on toward the Land of “In With The New”…great things await you there, for sure, but it’s on you to arrive in tip-top shape so you can get the most out of them!

Learn Tarot with me!  I offer PRIVATE LESSONS, and you can also purchase the TAROT TOOLKIT ONLINE COURSE, which includes 10 webinar sessions and a 120-page PDF Workbook:

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Where Is Trust In The Tarot…?

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Trust is a vital function in human interactions. We like people more when we know we can trust them, and there are fewer occurrences in the social order that are more relationship-killing than the breaking of trust.

Do you recognize your own default settings when it comes to deciding whether to trust other humans?

Some of us are inclined to trust everyone until a given person burns us, at which point, we move them into a sort of mental “penalty box” reserved for the untrustworthy.

Others are the opposite: they view everyone else in the world with a robust skepticism and a perpetually raised eyebrow until the occasional truly remarkable specimen can manage to amass enough evidence over time as to their inherent trustworthiness.

And then some people have one type of standard for most other humans, but a different standard for certain subcategories of them. For example, a young woman I know admitted to me recently that she’s generally someone who wants to trust others, but whenever she meets males who are older than her by more than a couple of years, her involuntary response is to not trust them. Most of us probably have similar “programming” around issues of trust.

So trust seems to be one of the constant underpinnings that colors our society in often subtle ways, but on a massive scale. Which means it must be represented somewhere in Tarot, right? Tarot is a microcosm for the human experience.

But where does trust actually appear in it? Trust in this context isn’t the same thing as faith. The latter is more about “trust” in some greater Force or in some greater Plan – “Everything will work out.” That kind of trust in the Divine can be seen glowing within the Star card. But which card(s) might flag issues revolving around the trust that humans have (or don’t have) for each other?

Maybe since this is a question about inter-human dynamics, we need to look more at the Minor Arcana than the Major? The 7 of Swords definitely seems to describe situations in which trust is being violated: theft, trickery, deceit. But that’s more like the absence of trust that’s being highlighted. Can you think of a card that emphasizes the presence of trust?

Learn Tarot with me! I offer PRIVATE LESSONS, and you can also grab your copy of the 10-session TAROT TOOLKIT ONLINE COURSE:

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