Tarot Talk

January 1st, 2009

Death (13)


“Achieving life is not the equivalent of avoiding death.” ~Ayn Rand

Image Description:

The Rider-Waite deck depicts an apocalyptic skeleton wearing armor on horseback and carrying a banner emblazoned with a symbolic flower. Four figures appear before him: a Bishop, child, woman, and a fallen King.  In the distance, the sun can be seen setting between two pillars on a hill. Embedded in the side of the hill is the entrance to a dark and mysterious cave. In the background, a river lazily flows nearby.


Banner Showing a Flower with Five Petals: Life Force

Skeleton Riding A Horse: The Apocalyptic version of Death

Sunset: The end of a day (death)

Four Figures (Fallen King, Child, Woman, Bishop): Temporal, spiritual, male, female, young, old – a representation of people of all ages, gender and vocation.

River: Circulation of the Life Force

Horse: Power

Key Words:

Endings, Transformation, Rebirth, Elimination, Mortality

Fool’s Journey:

While traveling along, the Fool notices signs of movement in the branch of a nearby willow tree, and he stops to investigate. To his amazement he discovers a cocoon. He watches the tiny sack slowly open as its occupant completes its transformation from caterpillar to newly formed butterfly. Witnessing the creature’s rebirth reminds the Fool of his own mortality and all the changes he, too, has experienced while eliminating outgrown aspects of his own life. By watching the caterpillar metamorphous into a butterfly, the Fool develops the understanding that endings can sometimes result in a new, more fulfilling existence. Secure in this new knowledge, The Fool continues upon his journey with a deeper feeling of enlightenment.


To learn how to face endings, experience growth as a result, and understand and accept the multiple levels of death that occur throughout our lives.


To experience renewal one must endure the process of elimination. By stripping life to the bone, and building fresh upon the bare foundations, we can transform ourselves into something entirely new. Death in whatever form it might take, symbolic or real, is simply a rebirth into a new existence.

Contrary to popular assumptions, in readings Death rarely points toward physical death. This view is simply too limiting, for death can occur on many levels during different stages of our lives. Instead card thirteen speaks primarily of endings and changes that ask us to ‘die’ to the old to give birth to the new. Only after the past has been relinquished can the future unfold.

In readings, Death can signify an ending where one door closes so another may open. At such times there may be sadness and reluctance to change, but one may also embrace the comforting knowledge that every ending heralds a new beginning. When these moments occur, sometimes the best approach to the situation is to willingly accept fate’s direction and follow its lead.

The Hanged Man (12)


“The art of letting things happen, action through non-action, letting go of oneself, as taught by Meister Eckhart, became for me the key opening the door to the way.”  ~Carl Gustav Jung

Image Description:
The Rider-Waite deck depicts a man hanging upside down from a tree. His free leg is bent to form a cross and his arms are folded behind him to form a triangle. He is wearing a simple tunic. A bright halo of light radiates around his head, and his expression is calm and serene. The tree, shaped in the form of a ‘T’, is alive with leaves.
Cross and Triangle (formed by the man’s arms and legs): Accomplishment of great work, overcoming the personality
Halo: Enlightenment, spiritual understanding
Calm Expression: Acceptance, understanding the situation
Upside Down: A different perspective or unconventional views
Hanging: Suspension, inaction, standstill
Key Words:
Suspension, Reversal, Releasing, Sacrifice, Surrender
Fool’s Journey:
After many miles of travel, the Fool settles beneath a tree. There he stays for several days and nights, still beneath the sun, the moon, and the stars. On the last day of his retreat, he climbs the tree and dangles upside down in a state of suspension from a high branch. Surrendering himself to gravity, he releases himself from his thoughts, watching the world in reverse. From this simple act, his perspective suddenly changes.  In a moment of clarity he realizes that to gain, one must sacrifice. By giving up control, the Fool discovers the unending support of his Inner Self. With greater understanding, he resumes his journey.
To learn how to eliminate that which we no longer need, and trust the Divine to lead our path in the right direction.
The Hanged Man symbolizes the sacrifice of something in order to acquire something else more important. There are times, for the sake of growth, when life forces us to define what is of significance and what is of less value to us. Sometimes our desires no longer seem as important once we determine our true inner needs.
In readings the Hanged Man can signify the necessity to ‘let go.’ When we release control, oftentimes we discover solutions we would not have been able to acquire through force of will. By surrendering to the wisdom of our Higher Selves, we are able to trust the Source to guide our affairs in the right direction.
The Hanged Man also teaches us that we can move forward more freely by simply standing still. Sometimes when we most want to act, it is better to wait. By suspending our actions we can take the time needed to determine the best course for the future.
This card can also signify a reversal in thinking or a new clarity of insight gained by viewing our lives from an entirely different angle. Achieving illumination requires us to move into the unknown territory of our inner selves and examine our deepest thoughts.


The Tarot’s meanings can be personal and subjective to each of us in accordance with our unique experiences and views of the world. For this reason there are no immutable or absolute definitions that can be applied to the cards. The cards mean what our intuition and experience tell us they mean, and this can differ from person to person. As you study the cards do not be afraid to allow your inner voice to suggest nuances of meaning.

When examining the Tarot, you’ll notice that the titles, illustrations, and symbols of certain cards seem to openly convey their meaning, while the informative clues for other cards may appear more allusive at first glance. When you encounter a card that you may not easily understand, take the extra time needed to recognize its energies.

In subsequent articles we will examine some of the more commonly accepted card meanings in great detail. For now, simply acquaint yourself with the Major Arcana and begin to explore their surface meanings.


(0) The Fool: Entering a new phase, starting an adventure, living in the moment, being new and innocent, taking a risk.

(1) The Magician: Experiencing movement through willpower, understanding your intentions, focusing your energy, having singleness of purpose, utilizing your creative power.

(2) The High Priestess: Being passive, employing your intuition, experiencing spiritual enlightenment, sensing the secret and hidden, having esoteric insight.

(3) The Empress: Showing maternal instinct, enjoying prosperity, experiencing growth and fertility, focusing on the senses, feeling connected to the earth.

(4) The Emperor: Using masculine power, creating order out of chaos, enjoying security, dealing with authority, leading or being led.

(5) The Hierophant: Established codes of behavior or belief, learning or teaching, honoring ritual and ceremony, participating in an organized group, giving or receiving wise counsel.

(6) The Lovers: Participating in a partnership or affiliation, experiencing physical passion and desire, confronting your own beliefs, staying true to yourself, making important moral decisions.

(7) The Chariot: Winning a victory through will, desiring to achieve, experiencing bold confidence, mastering and curbing impulses, having a clear purpose.

(8) Strength: Showing preservation and endurance, exhibiting calm tolerance, feeling sympathy toward others, using gentle force, having mental and moral fortitude.

(9) The Hermit: Following a personal quest, accepting or giving wise advice, spending time alone, engaging in self examination and discovery, withdrawing from the world.

(10) The Wheel of Fortune: Experiencing fate, discovering opportunities through new developments, undergoing rapid change, standing at a crossroad, coming full circle.

(11) Justice: Confronting equitable or impartial treatment, being accountable, choosing rightly, recognizing the results of your actions, restoring balance.

(12) The Hanged Man: Pausing to reflect, experiencing a change of mind or circumstances, letting go, voluntarily losing, giving up control.

(13) Death: Completing a chapter, experiencing crucial and profound change, entering the start of a new cycle, eradicating the unnecessary, enduring an inevitable ending.

(14) Temperance: Avoiding excess, achieving a harmonious balance, blending forces together, finding peace through compromise, experiencing good health.

(15) The Devil: Being lured or enticed, experiencing unhealthy attachments, focusing too much on the physical, being unaware, feeling tied down against your will.

(16) The Tower: Experiencing havoc, facing annihilation, enduring painful alteration, undergoing a shocking catastrophe, having an emotional outburst.

(17)The Star: Having faith in the future, finding motivation, experiencing renewal, having a sense of belief, enjoying peace of mind.

(18) The Moon: Feeling apprehension, confronting the unfamiliar, seeing what is not there, having troubled imaginings and thoughts, becoming confused.

(19) The Sun: Attaining a new level of insight, having your day in the sun, becoming radiantly energized, feeling invigorated, experiencing a sense of confidence.

(20) Judgment: Judging or being judged, forgiving yourself or others, reaching a higher level of being, becoming transformed, making a fresh start.

(21) The World: Realizing your goals, coming to a journeys end, experiencing success, feeling satisfied, reaching a conclusion.


Each Major Arcana card seems to follow a particular theme. Simply knowing a card’s basic theme can help you explore the many other avenues of expression that a card can adopt in a reading. Take the time to study the following themes and adapt them to your own understanding of the Tarot.

Fool: Beginnings

Magician: Will

High Priestess: Intuition

Empress: Creation

Emperor: Authority

Hierophant: Spiritual/Academic Teaching/Learning

Lovers: Relationships

Chariot: Control

Strength: Inner Strength

Hermit: Introspection

Wheel of Fortune: Change

Justice: Balance

Hanged Man: Sacrifice

Death: Endings

Temperance: Blending

Devil: Bondage

Tower: Destruction

Star: Guidance

Moon: Illusion

Sun: Realization

Judgment: Rebirth

World: Completion

It was a pleasure to once again share with you the wonders of the Tarot. Next week, we’ll take an upclose and personal look at the ‘Fool’ card. Until then, may the Tarot be with you!

The Magician (1)

“Action is the product of the qualities inherent in Nature.” ~Bhagavad Gita

Image Description:

The Rider-Waite deck portrays a magus dressed in flowing robes. Belted around his waist is a serpent swallowing its own tail; floating above his head is the symbol of infinity. On a table before him lie the tools of his trade — a chalice, pentacle, staff, and sword (the four suits of the Tarot). One arm is lifted to the heavens and the other is lowered, finger pointing toward the earth. In his raised hand he holds a wand.


One Arm Raised & One Arm Lowered : Drawing energy into yourself and turning energy into matter

Chalice: The element of water representing emotions

Sword: The element of air representing intellect and reason

Wand: The element of fire representing inspiration and action

Pentacle: The element of earth representing the body or senses

Lemniscate (infinity symbol): Infinity, endless possibility

Key Words:

Action, Conscious Awareness, Will, Concentration, Forces of Creativity.

The Fool‘s Journey:

In his travels, the Fool first encounters the Magician, a skillful, confident magus capable of employing the power of concentration to turn will into action. Raising his wand to the heavens, the Magician calls upon the forces of creativity to provide the Fool with all the tools he will need for his journey: the cool Sword of intellect and thought, the fiery Staff of inspiration and action, the overflowing Chalice of love and emotions, the solid Pentacle of the earth, body, and senses. Now consciously aware of the resources available to him, the Fool is better equipped to continue his journey.


To learn how to use our will and resources to create results through action.


As card number one, the Magician represents the male powers of creation through willpower and action. He symbolizes the ability to tap universal forces and to use this power for innovative purposes. The four tools of the Magician remind us of the four suits of the Tarot, and represents their raw, undeveloped, undirected energy ready for use.

In readings, the Magician can imply that the primal forces of creativity are available to us. If we simply convert our awareness, concentration, and willpower into action, we can change our world. The Magician sometimes serves as a signal to act, providing we understand exactly what we want and we are committed to acquiring it. By directing our energy on the task / goal at hand, we can use the tools of the Magician to turn our hopes and dreams into solid reality.

The Magician card can encourage us to identify our strengths and existing resources. When we are aware of the tools available to us, we can take the necessary actions to use them to their best advantage.

Next issue, we will examine ‘The High Priestess.’ Until then, may the Tarot be with you!

Dear Reader,

Welcome to ‘It’s In the Cards’ for At one time this column appeared in Finer Things Magazine in New Haven, CT, and I am very pleased to be writing my column again; this time for the Pagan Community.

Every month, I will do a tarot reading for one person whose question I choose for this column. Also, by writing me, you will have a chance for a free tarot 10 minute reading on the phone. If you would like to contact me about purchasing a reading, please visit my web site at or write me at [email protected]

Since I first began reading for the public 13 years ago, I found that I fell in love with being able to help people in their personal lives and on their path as a spiritual counselor. The cards, I have found, often tell us what we need to know, and not necessarily what we want to know. They provide a way for me to see deeper into the heart of an issue and often what magickal advice I also need to give to bring about change.

Even if you aren’t familiar with tarot cards as a form of divination, they also work in the same way other forms do, be it the Runes, I-Ching, oracles or Ogam. The symbols of the tarot speak on many levels, and allow a connection to be created with spirit; opening a doorway for the universe to communicate on a personal level. As an artist as well as a priestess, I acknowledge the power of these symbols, but as a psychic, I use them to “see” more clearly.

Mediumship isn’t something I intentionally practice, but sometimes I do receive messages from spirit or departed loved ones, and if I receive messages I will relay these to you as part of the reading.

The following is the question chosen for this month

Dear Alicia,
I have a friend who I know I have shared a past life with, and still feel that we have a psychic connection. I’m open-minded, but not a Witch as she is. My questions is: What is the past life connection that we share, and how were we connected? Who were we to one another? My birthday is 12/20/1967.

Dear Tom,

Your question really intrigued me. No one has asked me this question before, and so it presented a challenge. Because it is you asking, and not the lady in question, I will withhold her birth date. You are both very different people by sun sign, since you are a Sagittarius and she a Cancer, but both your moon signs are in Leo. Who you both really are at the deepest level is what resonates, even though the outer world has shaped both of you very differently, as well as life goals. Author John O’Donohue wrote about soul friends being fashioned of the same clay when their spirit was born; “Friends are not made. Friends are discovered and recognized. In true friendship an ancient circle closes again. Between the two friends this ancient circle awakens.” And though she is not your soul mate, I do feel she is spiritually kin to you. She is, however, very complicated, as is her path this lifetime.

I chose a simple past life card spread using two decks – one for you and one for her. They are two pyramids forming an hourglass meeting in the middle with an extra card as a binding card. How the cards fell surprised me, they are not simply cards in a layout, as the cards began to tell a story of what happened so very long ago. This reading could not do the story justice if I read it card by card, and so I am throwing away the standard textbook reading on this one.

This time period that you both shared feels old and musty to me, like some sort of ancient library covered in the dust of years, or a forgotten tomb buried within the ashes and soil of an abandoned city. So the story begins long, long ago, in a place forgotten to modern memory…

You were very young when you met her, neither emotionally or mentally wise. You were attracted to her strength of will, and her beauty…and her position. She was a lady of status as a spiritual leader, within a family of a different caste. You were promised to one another, but it was not meant to be, and the marriage never happened. Although you were not without, you were not satisfied. You went to war, seeking wealth, and did not return until many years later. You gathered wealth, and earned significant status of your own, but it did not make you happy. Perhaps you felt you needed those things to earn her hand in the beginning, but it led you only to battle.

Although she did wait, and mourned you, she was married to someone else in another land, and had two sons after some sort of disaster, losing her husband in the process. It’s not a happy ending, I’m afraid.

But something did happen here early in your lives. The four of wands, represents spiritual ties, the high priestess card the lesson, and the magician is the binding card between you both. The reason, I believe why you still have this bond was because there was an act of magick that did ‘take’ into other lives. Magick is afoot in this reading, and I feel she was a Witch then as she is now.

I doubt this was the only lifetime that your paths have crossed, but was the beginning, and a karmic tie.

Perhaps the lesson is to trust in the magick of all things beyond the physical, and that includes love and friendship. The greater lesson would be that the people we love are never really lost to us. The connection we share with others cannot be severed even by the vast seas of time.

Blessed be!
Rev. Alicia Lyon Folberth


If you would like me to do a reading for you in the next issue of Pagan Pages, please send me your:
1. Name you would like me to use in the article (it doesn’t have to be your given name)
2. Full birthdate
3. Your question. Feel free to ask anything!
4. Send it to: [email protected]

The High Priestess (2)

“To know that you know, and to know that you don’t know – that is the real wisdom.” ~Confucius

Image Description:

The Rider-Waite deck portrays a High Priestess seated on a throne between two pillars, which displays the letters ‘B‘ and ‘J‘. The crown of Isis rests upon her head, and the waxing crescent moon lies beneath her feet. The symbol of an equal sided cross is displayed on her robes. In her arms is a scroll containing the word ‘Tora’.


Crown of Isis: Knowledge, understanding

Pillars: Balance

Letters B and J: (Hebrew symbols for the entrance to the temple of Solomon) Holy place

Waxing Crescent Moon: Women’s mysteries, secrecy

Equal Armed Cross: The four elements — water, air, fire, earth

Tora: Hebrew word for ‘teaching’

Key Words:

Non-action, Unconscious Awareness, Wisdom, Mystery, Hidden Knowledge

Fool‘s Journey:

The Fool next encounters a wise and mysterious woman. Majestically seated upon a throne between two pillars, her quintessential presence portrays her sense of hidden knowledge and unconscious awareness. She seems to be the opposite of the Magician, exchanging creative masculine action for feminine non-action and wisdom. She teaches the Fool the meaning of the tools the Magician has given him, and helps him determine how he can best use them. Although the Fool suspects that the High Priestess has more secrets she could reveal, for now he has the knowledge needed to continue his journey.


To learn how to use our intuition, and to find the inner wisdom and hidden knowledge in each of us.


As card number two, the High Priestess represents the feminine powers of the unconscious mind. She symbolizes the female passive principle, and the instinctual knowledge and intuition that each of us possesses. Many Tarot readers see the High Priestess as being the opposite counterpart of the Magician; both active and passive energies are required to achieve balance.

In readings, the High Priestess might ask us to look beneath the surface for hidden knowledge. Sometimes we overlook our innermost feelings and the messages of our internal voice, thereby missing valuable counsel in the process. Reflection, meditation, and communion with our Higher-Selves is necessary to illuminate the answers we seek.

The High Priestess can also represent a time of waiting and allowing. It is not always necessary to act to achieve our goals. Sometimes our purpose can be realized through a stillness which allows our aspirations to bloom within the fullness of time.


author bio:


My path name is Moon Masque. I was born on Friday, August 13 in the year of the snake. True to all of the qualities of my given astrological sign, I’m your stereo-typical Leo with an inborn passion for Divination and Witchcraft. I presently serve as a faculty member for the Institute of Psychic and Paranormal Research, where I teach Tarot courses and perform online psychic readings. In addition to my activities through the IPPR, I am a registered clergy member of the Correllian Tradition, Third Degree student at WitchSchool, and facilitator for the Yahoo Pagan People message board.

If I can be of assistance to you, I can be contacted via the following e-mail address: [email protected]. For a reading or information regarding my Tarot services, please visit the ‘readings’ section of my website:


Reverend Moon Masque

First Degree Priestess (Second Degree pending), Correllian Tradition

Faculty member, Institute for Psychic & Paranormal Research

Facilitator, Pagan People Yahoo Message Board

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply