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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Tarot Card Meanings: The Magician

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The Magician (“Le Bataleur”) – Card I

We’re starting off Monday with some Magic here, as this morning sees the next in our series of page entries that capture basic Tarot card meanings:meet The Magician!

Please continue to feel invited to send in any comments, suggestions, and requests you may have with respect to this growing library of Tarot Card Meanings pages.  Your input is important, and will always be considered here! You can reach me via the info found in my Contact page…

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: 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 TIP: The Magic Circle

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Try arranging the Major cards from one of your decks like this, in a big circle. Line them up carefully, and you’ll see that you get 11 opposing pairs. Then study them to see what kinds of thematic links you can spot between each of the cards that form a given axis.

For example, The Magician can be about reaching out into the world to work your magic on it…while the card across the Circle, The Hanged Man, can be about skillfully allowing the world to reach in and work its magic on you.

The Hierophant is often about the building up of structures…and the card that sits opposite this one on the Circle is The Tower, which is often about those moments when structures come crumbling down.

The Hermit can speak of the quest to find hidden truths…while on the other side of the Circle, Judgement can indicate that hidden truths are on a quest to find you.

You can find an interesting conceptual relationship for pretty much every one of these pairs, and working your way around the Magic Circle can really help you to feel more connected to the cards overall. Recommended!

Learn to read Tarot with me! I offer both PRIVATE LESSONS and the 10-session TAROT TOOLKIT ONLINE COURSE:

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TAROT TIP: The Aces

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I feel like the Aces in Tarot are special in their own way, somewhat like the Court Cards are, but maybe even more so, because they’re like a sub-subset hiding within the larger subset of “Numbered Cards.” They’re essentially the 1’s of the deck, but they have a special name, and even in the otherwise scenic RWS deck, there are no people running around their little landscapes.

I feel that this is because the Aces are all about potential. They’re like the seeds from which the rest of their Suits will grow. They’re fully-charged batteries, waiting to power the journey through the layer of reality that they each represent. There are often no humanoid types populating the Ace cards because nothing has had the chance to happen in the Aces yet. Each one is like an unmined vein of ore or an untapped reservoir. Everything has been laid out and readied for operation, but it’s up to the querent to now step in and start the voyage.

The Aces signify beginnings, tremendous amounts of raw energy, and again, mad potential. They tell the querent that it’s time to take up the icon of the Suit in question, be it Sword or Cup, Wand or Pentacle/Disk…and work it.

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

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TAROT TIP: Dealing with Court Cards

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Court Cards: infamous among Tarot practitioners for their slippery refusal to be interpreted with ease. Four Court “ranks” across four Suits yields up 16 distinct personalities to understand and keep track of. That’s a pretty large cast of characters, and without handy “cosmic job descriptions” such as “The Empress” or “The Hermit” to help us along, they can start to feel pretty inaccessible.

The new Epic Tarot deck offers one possible approach to getting a better handle on the Court Cards, though. It’s a fantasy-themed deck, and instead of depicting people as the Court Card characters, it employs mythical creatures. In some of the message board conversations that followed its release, multiple users bemoaned the fact that they couldn’t tell one Dragon from another…each Phoenix looked the same…the Unicorns, the Griffins, they were indistinguishable from each other…

A representative of the deck’s publisher responded, saying that this wasn’t surprising…because we aren’t meant to be able to distinguish them. Because they’re not different. The Page/Princess level doesn’t showcase four different Unicorns – rather, it offers the same Unicorn experiencing four different environments. There’s really only one Page/Princess, is the idea…and it’s the context of the Suit that determines how the Page/Princess gets to manifest her energies. The same holds true for the other Court ranks.

Taken on the whole, this approach asks us to think not of 16 different Court Card characters, but of only 4…four Ranks that can each be expressed in four distinct manners. Your Queen, say, is always a Queen, exhibiting Queenly attributes. She can do this, though, in the context of Wands/Fire, or Cups/Water, or Swords/Air, or Pentacles/Disks/Earth. Think about how your best friend is always who she is, but she manifests a bit differently at a weekend party than she does at the office. The constant inherent traits are what make your friend, your friend…while the context she’s in during a given moment determines which parts of her come to the forefront. The Epic Tarot suggests viewing Court Cards in this fashion…

You can learn Tarot!  Contact me to set up PRIVATE LESSONS, or you can work through the TAROT TOOLKIT ONLINE COURSE:

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