Tarot Card Meanings: A Note on Strength and Justice

Card VIII and Card XI: Strength? Justice? Adjustment? Lust? Which one goes where??!

And so we reach Card VIII in our travels through the sequence of the Major Arcana in the TAROT CARD MEANINGS section of my website.

But wait…which card exactly is Card VIII?! Some decks offer up their version of the Strength card in this position. Others, though, hold forth their Justice card or its analogue. It can’t be both Strength AND Justice, right? So which one is correct?

Answer: Both. Or neither. There are reasons and historical precedents to support either approach. Much of this will depend on you applying some critical thought as to which one works better for you…

And fortunately, to help you along in this thought process, I just put up a new NOTE ON STRENGTH AND JUSTICE that breaks down the history of this issue for you, and hopefully makes it clear that there is no One Right Way of doing things here.

You can ponder this odd and interesting schism among Tarot practitioners and their viewpoints for a bit, and then we’ll resume our march through the Majors with some thoughts on the Strength card in the next post in the series, to follow soon…

AND NOTE: The TAROT TOOLKIT ONLINE COURSE will be discontinued at the close of this calendar year of 2016! Get your copy of this info-packed and accessible resource before the final bell tolls on its availability: 10 class sessions in MP4 format, a 120-page PDF Workbook, and a few extra freebie files to get you started on mixing some Astrology and Kabbalah principles into your Tarot game, all for the low, low price of only $33 USD!!!


Tarot Card Meanings: The Lovers

The Lovers (“L’Amoureux”) – Card VI

After being introduced to a string of solo players, we arrive at the first of the Major Arcana cards to feature a multi-character drama on its face. Who are these characters? What do they represent, individually and as a collective? How do we factor all of them into a reading when this card appears???

You can get the answers to these and other Lovers-related questions by taking a stroll through today’s addition to this site’s burgeoning TAROT CARD MEANINGS section!

Tarot Card Meanings: The Hierophant

The Hierophant (“Le Pape”) – Card V

The TAROT CARD MEANINGS section continues to bloom and blossom here at Arrow In Flight! Today’s new entry focuses on THE HIEROPHANT, an often misunderstood figure in the Tarot deck. This new piece details just what a “Hierophant” actually is, and what the card can mean when it appears in a reading. Here’s hoping that in writing about The Hierophant, I’ve managed to actually serve for a minute or two as a worthy Hierophant, myself…

Tarot Card Meanings: The Emperor

The Emperor (“L’Empereur”) – Card IV

The latest entry in the TAROT CARD MEANINGS section is now up! Today, we take a look at THE EMPEROR, and the dynamics of Power. I’m not The Emperor, and so I can’t force you to read through this new piece…but please do feel invited to do so if you like! Added incentive: it includes a quote from Jimi Hendrix…

9 of Swords – Cruelty

It’s a Tarot truth: some cards are generally well-liked and viewed as being “good” or “positive” – see here such cards as The Sun and the 9 of Cups – while others tend to generate responses of fear and dread. The Death card, The Devil, and The Tower would fall firmly into this latter camp. So would a generous helping of cards drawn from the Suit of Swords, including our friend shown here, the 9 of Swords.

This card was dubbed “Cruelty” by Aleister Crowley in his madly influential Thoth Tarot, and more modern descendants of the Thoth – such as the Tabula Mundi Tarot, whose rendition of this card is shown here – often maintain that designation.  The English-speaking world’s most popular deck, the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, offers up as its version the striking image of a woman sitting up in bed in the throes of raging worry and sleeplessness while the night drags itself by at an agonizing crawl…

The 9 of Swords, then, is all about such concepts as anxiety, stress, panic, insomnia, and that damaging state of being that I like to call The Mind Eating Itself. It’s about the brain running wild, and hurling itself into grim, worst-case scenarios that much of the time haven’t even happened yet, and may never come to pass at all. And when this card appears in a reading, it’s often inviting querents to recognize these kinds of patterns in themselves, and to do anything they can to break out of this cycle of self-directed mind-cannibalism.

That’s obviously more easily said than done: do you know how many modern-day humans suffer from serious anxiety of some kind and/or sleep disorders? If this includes you, then you’re very far from alone. That may be of little comfort at 3AM when the thought-ghouls come calling, but it’s deeply true.

So what’s to be done in these times? Some people have had success with one or more of the following: exercise, stretching, yoga, meditation, mantras, acupuncture/acupressure, Emotional Freedom Technique (“EFT”), Reiki or other energy-healing, herbs, aroma therapy, a change in bedroom lighting, moving to a new environment for sleeping, changing the current sleeping environs in some significant way, white noise of some kind, keeping crystals that promote sleep in the vicinity, or listening to audio recordings that are specifically aimed at encouraging the listener’s ability to achieve healthy and restful slumber.

You might also try sitting with a 9 of Swords card that especially speaks to you, and try engaging with it. Address it directly in your mind, and try asking it why you’re so beset by your anxieties or insomnia…or if you’re confident in your ability to be authoritative, tell it in no uncertain terms to knock it off already, and to take a break from harassing you. We’re all different, so you may be looking at a bit of trial and error with this method, but I’ve personally had great and consistent success with using cards in this interactive sort of way, so you might consider trying it.

And remember that the card isn’t called “Cruelty” by so many Tarot people for nothing: it’s about the cruelty that our minds visit upon themselves. If that describes your own situation, then maybe a Tarot-style intervention is in order!

Deck Collection Expansion!

The Aeon: The new Tabula Mundi Colores Arcus deck is so lovingly conceived of and rendered that it feels a bit like the launch of a whole new era in Tarot!

Ever since I first discovered the joys of Tarot, I’ve experienced phases during which the urge to buy new decks has spiked through the roof for me. On the one hand, I do read and teach professionally at this point, so decks are legitimate tools of the trade…but on the other hand, I do need to be on guard against the impulse to buy and collect and amass just for the sake of the momentary gratification of obtaining something new.

Over the last year or two, I’ve really been good about largely squelching that mad, rampant urge to buy new decks. My basic needs and even most of my basic wants are covered. For the most part, buying decks now feels mostly like I’m just scratching that fleeting itch of “Buy New Stuff!” – it doesn’t feel so much like I’m acquiring necessary implements for my actual work.

But then in the last two months or so, I’ve suddenly still managed to plunk down cash for no less than three new decks.

The first of these was the Epic Tarot. It’s a very recent release, and the detailed and surreal fantasy artwork knocked me out. I was also very impressed with a couple of the innovations specific to this deck: two of the Suits have been renamed in ways that feel smart and interesting for once, and the Court Cards have been reworked in very thought-provoking fashion.

On the heels of that purchase, I relocated to Providence, Rhode Island, former home of H. P. Lovecraft, the celebrated writer of horror-fiction. I wanted to get one of the decks out there that was based on Lovecraft’s work, and I settled on the Dark Grimoire Tarot, which is another rather deep and stimulating deck.

And finally, there’s the deck that arrived here yesterday: the Tabula Mundi Colores Arcus. For a couple of years now, I’ve been pulling a card every morning from a phone app I have that features the Rosetta Tarot, by artist and creator M. M. Meleen. The Tabula Mundi is her second deck. I’ve been drooling over this one for many months now, ever since MMM first posted pictures of some of the Major Arcana cards she’d started developing. The artwork in the deck is phenomenal: it’s detailed, vividly colored, very otherworldly, intensely innovative, bursting with imagination and energy, and highly evocative of the Thoth deck on which it’s based, without ever feeling derivative or overly reliant on it. Ms. Meleen is a passionate student of the occult, and this shows through in each and every card.

I’ll be working heavily with all three of the aforementioned decks as I move forward from here, but I feel like the Tabula Mundi will hold a very special place in my world. I’ve had it for less than 24 hours, but I already can’t recommend it enough!

If you’d like to learn more about this astonishing new deck, CLICK HERE.
If you want to go straight to placing your order for your copy now, CLICK HERE.

TAROT THOUGHT: Can Decks Have Significators?

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!