A Shop Review – Beads N Botanicals

March, 2019

Beads N Botanicals is a shop on the corner of N. Broadway Ave and W. Water St. in Urbana, Illinois. The first question most new visitors, to the shop, notice is a wonderful aroma and they ask: “What is that smell?” This question always elicits a big smile from either the owner, Catherine, or her longtime helper, Ethel, and a giggle from me if I am standing in the sales space. And the answer is: “The shop!”

Catherine is a Certified Medicinal herbalist, Hypnotherapist, and Reiki Master. She teaches on a variety of Health, Creative and Spiritual subjects. Catherine has been using her Herbalist knowledge to create some beautiful incense. (I have asthma and so does my husband, but the incense she creates I can burn in my home with no issues.) She is also a wonderful Tarot Reader and has been doing energy healing for 25 plus years. Catherine is also knowledgeable when it comes to all the crystals she carries in the shop.

is a wonderful and knowledgeable woman. She can be a hoot to have
around. Ethel can tell you where to find just about anything in the
store. And she is excellent for advice for what book to read on
subjects of the Craft or Pagan Spirituality.

weekends you may find a wonderful woman named Deb working in the
shop, too. She is a kind and patient soul if you have questions on
just about anything.

shop is full of beautiful hand dipped incense, shop made candles,
soaps and oils (that can be worn on the skin), as well as, straight
essential oils. There are several books shelves full of books, Tarot
and Oracle cards. If you are looking for Gem/Crystals beads, and
jewelry making supplies, they are in the shop, too.

shop hours are Sunday and Monday closed. (this may change in the

by appointment only (with Catherine)

thru Friday 11 AM to 6 PM

11 AM to 5 PM

Catherine has Classes throughout the year on different subjects, all listed on Beads N Botanicals Facebook Page.

There are also Psychic & Health Fairs at different times of the year, again these are listed on the Beads N Botanicals Facebook page or this link:

am there doing readings on most Wednesdays. So if you are in the
Urbana, Illinois area, be sure to go by the shop. You are sure to
find something that spirit leads you to purchase.


the Author:

Dawn Borries loves reading and was thrilled to become a Reviewer for PaganPages.Org. Dawn, also, has been doing Tarot and Numerology readings for the past 25 years. Dawn does readings on her Facebook page.  If you are interested in a reading you can reach her at: Readings by Dawn on Facebook at

Seeing the Signs

November, 2018

Madame Pamita: Her Book, Websites, Music, and Vast Storehouse of Tarot Wisdom

I received a copy of Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot: Using the Cards to Make Your Dreams Come True this past Ostara, and in the past eight months, this wonderful book has become one of my favorite tarot books. Published by Weiser Books, earlier this year, it’s a powerhouse of information and magic. I wanted to write a review of this fabulous book months ago but personal events in my own life got in the way. However, this only gave me more time to become acquainted with Madame Pamita via her website and monthly emails. I was really sad that I wasn’t able to get down to New York City to meet her in person earlier this month – I would have asked her to autograph my copy of her book! – but maybe sometime in the next year, she’ll be somewhere in my vicinity. She seems to travel quite a bit!


As soon as you open the book, there are two pages of recommendations for Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot – and from some of my favorite Tarot scholars, like Rachel Pollack and Mary K. Greer. As far as I’m concerned, that’s like getting the “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval” as they used to say back in the day. Just reading what these eminent Tarot authorities have to say about Madame Pamita and her “complete manual”, as Elhoim Leafar puts it, is an affirmation of the book’s positive value.

In the very first chapter, Madame Pamita talks about the Law of Attraction – how “like attracts like” and that “our thoughts and beliefs will attract the thing we focus on.” (Palmita, 1) She quite logically reasons that when we are focused on loss, afraid of the future, and other depressing outcomes, then that is what we are going to be attracting to our lives. Therefore, we need magic – the “ritual that focuses your attention on the things that you want to influence.” (Pamita, 1). She refers to the Tarot as a “map that shows you what steps to take, what to avoid, and what changes are necessary to manifest all those good things you want.” (Pamita, 1). By laying out the cards, you can see where you need to go – quite literally, or should I say visually – in Madame Pamita’s words, the Tarot shows the questioner:

…where they should be positively focusing their intention, what action they should take to support this aim, and even what ritual

would be most helpful for supporting their objective. Tarot is the key to making your wish come true. (Pamita, 2)

She presents the simplest of all Tarot spreads, the Three-Card Reading. Card One is the Past – Card Two is the Present – Card Three is the Future. Acknowledging that “we can go to amazing depths in a reading” by starting with the questing and then adding “the meaning of each of the cards that we turn up” and then adding “another layer of meaning with the position of the cards in the layout” and the final layer of meaning – “listening to what our own intuition has to say in the matter.” (Palmita, 3). She doesn’t say what to do when the cards don’t seem to make any sense at all but she does admit that learning all this may be “intimidating” but that this is going to be an “exciting adventure” and a “wonderful journey”. (Palmita, 4).

Before she gets into the nuts and bolts of reading the Tarot, card by card, Madame Pamita discusses the history of the Tarot, divination and the occult. It’s a very short chapter – only two pages long. It ends with her recommendation of the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot deck as the best deck for beginners. I have to say that I do agree with her on that assessment. While it may not have been the original Tarot deck ever used, it has become the “basic text” for the Tarot and the one most identifiable. It’s the deck that is used in the illustrations of Madame Pamita’s book.

In the chapter titled, “Your Mystic Training Begins”, Madame Pamita once again refers to learning the Tarot as a “journey” (Pamita, 7). She says that the “key” is spending time with them – as the saying goes, “practice, practice, practice!” She also stresses “the beauty in being that beginner” (Pamita, 7). She writes:

There is joy in the journey toward gaining knowledge. I look at it as an amazing exploration.

I know that going down the road is going to bring me such profound experiences and that

eventually, if I take the time to really learn and absorb and apply myself, I can get to the

place where I become master of that skill. (Pamita, 7)

The next few pages are dedicated to starting a Tarot journal and how you should keep it. She recommends picking a card a day and spending time with it and writing about it – every aspect of it – from the people in the card to the symbols depicted to the colors used. She says to step “into the scene in the card” and imagine what would happen or “put yourself into the role of one of the characters in the card” and then write about your feelings. She also says to pay attention to the “energy” of the card. She says you should pull a card every morning, meditate upon it, write about it, and then review what you wrote in the evening. (Pamita, 8-9) Quite honestly, if you do this, not only will you learn important lessons about the Tarot, but you will also learn important lessons about yourself. Years later, you can open your Tarot journal and read your progress as a Tarot adapt as well as an enlightened human being.

The next chapter is another two-page shorty that is nonetheless packed with power. Entitled “Magic Words”, it covers affirmations, “one of the most powerful spiritual disciplines that you can incorporate into your life” (Pamita, 11). As Madame Pamita insists,

Affirmations are positive power words that we can say to ourselves to rewire our brains,

making us magical receptors for good things…Words create magic. Magic is the act

of shifting reality through our will. Therefore, magic spells are words that create our

reality. (Pamita, 11).

Two paragraphs down, she again insists, “Your thoughts create your beliefs and your beliefs are infinitely powerful.” (Pamita, 11).

She includes affirmations with each description of every Tarot card – she calls them “Magic Words”. Like the diary journal, Madame Pamita outlines how to use these “Magic Words” and Tarot affirmations on a daily basis. I like the idea of taking a photo of the card of the day with your phone and making it your phone’s background so you have it with you all day long. I also like the suggestion of recording the day’s affirmation as an alarm on your phone so that you hear it at various times during the day. The thing with affirmations and rewiring the negative thoughts in your brain is that you really do have to repeat the chosen affirmation over and over again or else it doesn’t work. I find Madame Pamita’s instructions to be founded in logic and common sense.

The next chapter – which is the last chapter before she delves into the mystery of the Minor Arcana – is about “Making Magic with the Tarot”. Again, Madame Pamita has one good suggestion after another! I have often used various Tarot cards on my altar or in meditation but I have never put a Tarot card in my shoe! (Pamita, 13). That’s a new one on me! I am not at all sure that would even be comfortable. I think placing the card of the day in the pocket of my coat or in the front pocket of my hoodie might be a better idea.

Before she gets into the Minor Arcana per se, she covers Roman Numerals. She even provides a chart so that the beginner knows how to read the letters as numbers. I guess I’m showing my age – I remember learning Roman Numerals in second or third grade – back in the 1960’s. We even had to do sums using Roman Numerals! However, I do realize that this is something that is no longer taught in school – perhaps hasn’t been taught since my own childhood. I know my own son – who is now twenty-five years old – was never taught Roman Numerals in school – I taught him myself. This chart is a handy guide to those of us who may not have been taught this simple way of reckoning numbers or may have perhaps forgotten it.

For what it’s worth, in some Roman Numeral systems, 4 is written as IIII and not as IV, and 9 is written as VIIII, and not as IX, and 14 as XIIII, and so on. But generally, her chart is correct.

The first suit she covers is the suit of Swords – “The Airy-Fairy Swords”, she calls them. (Pamita, 20). She tells us to “think about the qualities of air” whenever one of these cards show up in a reading. Air is the lightest of all the elements. Winds “whip around quickly” and an opened window “to let in a breeze can freshen up a room.” (Pamita, 20). She also points out that,

Air is breath and the word “inspiration” literally means to breath in. The element of air and the

suit of Swords represent all these qualities. How did Swords end up representing air? Well, you

can imagine the sword waving cleanly and precisely through the air as it’s being wielded by a

skilled fencer. It’s sharp; it’s fast; it’s defined. (Pamita, 20).

Madame Pamita writes that in the world of magic and making your dreams come true, thoughts are the beginning. “Everything that has ever been created was first a thought.” (Pamita, 20). So it makes sense to start the Minor Arcana with the suit of thinking and the intellect. But as she reminds us, the suit of Swords not only represents our thoughts and what happens in our brains but all forms of communication – verbal, written and electronic. The suit of Swords is an important suit when we are doing spell work or considering any kind of magic.

After she covers the Swords, Madame Pamita moves onto the “Fun and Fiery Wands”. She writes, “While the Swords are meant to define and cut with the precision of clear thought and ideas, the Wands are the realm of action, passion and will.” Therefore, the Swords are the first step of manifesting magic and the Wands are the second step. She directs us to think about “the essence of fire: it can be the warmth of a fireside, the light shed by a candle, or the raging destruction of a forest fire.” (Pamita, 50). She says that mastering the control of fire was an “evolutionary shift” for humans and that mastering the suit of Wands will be a similar spiritual shift for the Tarot initiate.

The third step is the Cups – what Madame Pamita terms “The Watery Depths of the Cups” (Pamita, 80). She writes that after the inspiration of the Swords and the passion of the Wands, the Cups is where we put our “heart and soul” into our magic. She writes,

It’s easy to see where Cups correspond to the element of water. Water itself flows to fill in

whatever space surrounds it, so that the Cups is what holds water together. Water represents

those parts of us that seem to some from that inner vessel: spirituality, intuition, and psychic

awareness. The Cup is the center of the heart. (Pamita, 80).

Madame Pamita also points out the differences between the suits of Wands and Cups. They can say the same thing but in different ways – for instance, happiness for a Wands is jumping for joy and shouting aloud while with Cups, it’s a secret smile and a romantic sigh. Wands are sexual passion whereas Cups are romantic love. It’s good to know the difference between the two – in the Tarot and in life.

After the Cups, we come to “The Grounded Earthiness of the Pentacles”, which according to Madame Pamita, represents “the end result” of the cycle of magical manifestation. (Pamita, 109). Although Pentacles are earth, they are also,

…gold discs, reminiscent of gold coins, which can often refer to issues regarding money, financial

stability, jobs, or other means of income. They also have another meaning. That five-pointed star

represents the human body with a head and arms and legs outstretched. So, Pentacles also represent

physical issues of the body and its health. However, that star is also something even more magical.

Beyond being just a physical body, we are made up of stardust. (Pamita, 109).

Another thing she wants us to remember is that Pentacles are “slow-moving and long-lasting”. Unlike the suits of Swords and Wands, which have the quality of quickness about them, Pentacles make a person think of “might and strength” and “roots” and “protectiveness” – all qualities of stability and longevity. (Pamita, 110).

She splits the Court Cards from the rest of the Suits, addressing each of the four members of each Suit as a “family” and giving their characteristics as those belonging to that particular family – for instance, the Swords family “are the intellectuals, thinkers, and communicators” (Pamita, 142) while the Cups family are “the dreamers, the psychics, the creators of the imaginative and introspective art, and the spiritually connected, metaphysical ones” (Pamita, 164) and so on. She suggests taking the court cards out of the deck and “playing” with them to get to know them better. Some of the ideas she has are: choosing a card that you most closely identify with; choosing cards that show the different roles that you play in your life; choosing cards to represent people close to you; choosing a card that “embody the qualities of something going on in your life”, such as your work situation, your love life or your health. (Pamita, 188). It is all too easy to look at a court card and think that it represents an actual person in our life, when it would just as easily represent a situation or an emotion. Working with the cards in the way that Madame Pamita suggests will help break the urge to look at the images on the cards in a literal fashion and be able to truly read them as fully as possible.

After fully examining the Minor Arcana, Madame Pamita moves onto the Major Arcana – “the big leagues” – she calls them. She says that they are sometimes called “trumps” from when the Tarot was a card game – the original name of the cards were actually “Triumphs”. (Pamita, 189). The images on these cards are “allegorical archetypes meant to teach us how to navigate life in the best way possible.” (Pamita, 189). About the Major Arcana, she writes,

The Major Arcana starts at zero and ends at twenty-one. While the Minor Arcana pips represent

circumstances in our life that are more mundane, and the court cards represent people or personalities,

the twenty-two Majors represent big, powerful, and even more esoteric themes. When they show up

in a reading, you can expect them to have a stronger influence and impact on the situation. They may

be the underlying energy that permeates the cards that surround them or offers an irresistible pull in

a certain direction. (Pamita, 189).

Then she examines each card.

I did not write about her examination of each of the Minor Arcana cards or the Court Cards, because she uses the same format as her exploration of the Major Arcana cards. It seemed superfluous to talk about the specifics of her approach to learning each card, when it was the same for every card. So this is why I waited until this point to discuss how she talks about the cards. I have to say that I love her approach! It’s consistent with her theme of the Tarot being a “journey” and a “roadmap” to “adventure”. Indeed, she titles each card as “Your Adventure with …” whatever card it is. If you’re picking a card to work with on a daily basis, thinking about the card as an “adventure” is a heady way to deal with the concepts embedded within the card! And while some cards might be more adventurous than others, each and every card in each and every Tarot deck is an adventure of its own. All you have to do is pick a card and begin!

She describes each card thoroughly. She writes about each card as if we are sitting in the scene of the card, whether we are in the fertile sundrenched field of the Empress or sitting in the busy workshop of the industrious VII of Pentacles or hanging out with the bored youth under the tree in the IV of Cups. Reading her descriptions of each card puts you firmly in that card. No matter what the card is, she presents it as an adventure and a lesson. Every word is a gem. I can’t stress this enough. I am on my third close reading of this book – as opposed to opening it up for regular use – and the more I study Madame Pamita’s use of language, the more I admire her. It’s not just her depictions of the cards – it’s her lush, poetic voice that I love.

After the description of the card, Madame Pamita includes four short sections which I think are most helpful for the beginner but also for anyone who is interested in the finer points of the Rider-Waite-Smith system of divination. The first section is called “The Keys to the Treasure Chest – Key Symbols”, where she lists every symbol of the card she is describing. The second section is called “The Wizard’s Words of Wisdom”, which is her take on what the card means in a reading. The third one is journal questions, which she calls, “Behind the Mysterious Door”. And the fourth and last one is “Magic Words” – Affirmations for that particular card. I scanned the page for the X of Pentacles to give an example of this. The card shown is out of my own collection.

The last chapter in the book is called “Where Do I Take My Adventure From Here?” Madame Pamita exclaims, “You did it! You have had seventy-eight adventures – one with each other of the tarot cards…Where do you go from here?” (Pamita, 251)

I find it interesting that she does not include any spreads in her book. In fact, she advocates using a One-Card reading when you first start reading for your friends and family and then, when “you’ve mastered one card readings, you can move on to larger, more complex spreads, such as past/present/future three cards readings or even a ten card Celtic Cross reading.” (Pamita, 251). How refreshing! Most tarot books present the Celtic Cross as the default spread – it’s like trying to learn a Chopin Mazurka on the piano without ever learning your scales or proper finger training. She writes that it’s most important just to “enjoy spending time” with the cards. Again, I cannot agree more! If you are not taking the cards out on a daily basis and shuffling them and laying them out, then you are never going to learn their language.

I have to say that I can not recommend Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot: Using the Cards to Make Your Dreams Come True more highly. Whether you are a beginner with Tarot cards or have been studying them for over thirty years like I have, this book is a GEM.

So who is Madame Pamita? This is Madame Pamita! This is a picture from one of her emails.

She is from Los Angeles, and has a spiritualist’s shop there. I went to Google and found her website. Click here to find out more: There’s a lot there, so plan to spend some time! I was pleasantly surprised to find out that she is a musician as well as a spiritualist! If you click on the “Musician” side of the website, it’ll take you to some really cool links – her music, her photos, press releases – she is really doing some very cool work! Listen to “Madame Pamita’s Theme Song” – it sounds like something out another time – like a voice from one hundred years ago. I could barely hear it – I think that’s by design – but still, her voice spoke to me in a most appealing way. I’m telling you all, if she comes anywhere in my vicinity, I am definitely checking out her show – whether it’s spiritual or music – because everything I have read or heard about Madame Pamita is totally and completely intriguing. I mean – I would stay up past my bedtime to see her. For an old woman like me, that’s really saying something!

I also joined her mailing list. She sends out monthly emails with information on where she is appearing that month, information on how you can study with her online, a spell for that month, and where to follow her on social media – yes, she in on Facebook and Instagram and Twitter, if you wish to friend or follow her! Isn’t the modern world fabulous? So many ways to connect!

Anyway – between her book, her presence on social media and the world-wide-web, and her live appearances across the United States, Madame Pamita is moving beyond her LA occult shop – and I for one, am happy about that! I hope someday to meet her in the flesh but until then, I will content myself with her books, her website, her music, and her vast Tarot wisdom. I hope that you do the same!

Until next month, Brightest Blessings!

Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot: Using the Cards to Make Your Dreams Come True


Madame Pamita. Madame Pamita’s Magical Tarot: Using the Cards to Make Your Dreams Come True. Newburyport, MA: Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC, 2018.


About the Author:

Polly MacDavid lives in Buffalo, New York at the moment but that could easily change, since she is a gypsy at heart. Like a gypsy, she is attracted to the divinatory arts, as well as camp fires and dancing barefoot. She has three cats who all help her with her magic.

Her philosophy about religion and magic is that it must be thoroughly based in science and logic. She is Dianic Wiccan and she is solitary.

She blogs at She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

Tink About It

May, 2016


I have always had a love-hate relationship with the tarot. I love the beautiful imagery and symbolism, but it’s hard to be any good in it for a perfectionist like me! It intrigued me at an early age when I noticed tarot cards in a series or movie (I think it was ‘Live and Let Die’, James Bond), although most series, books and movies don’t paint a great picture of tarot… It is mostly portrayed as something strange and/or dangerous, used by dark characters, gypsies and other ‘strange folk’. The cards Death and The Lovers are often depicted and not always in their true meaning. Still, this sparked my imagination. As a teenager I bought a deck (Universal Waite) and a booklet. I read it and did some spreads, but forgot all about it over the years. When I became more active in witchcraft I encountered people that were very skilled in tarot and the interest returned. I still had the Universal Waite, but also looked for other decks. I bought several and tried them all. A Lord of the Rings tarot deck because of my love for everything Tolkien, two cats tarot decks because I love cats, etc.

After a while I decided I wanted to learn more about the tarot and how to use it. I couldn’t find a course in my neighbourhood, so I decided to do a correspondence course with the Dutch ‘Buro voor tarot’ which specializes in courses, training and extended studies in tarot. As I wasn’t interested in becoming a professional I chose the basic course that worked with the Rider Waite deck. I learned a lot from it, so I can definitely recommend it. It’s different from self-study from a book and there are professionals who answer your every question. It’s a thorough way to get the basics.

I worked with the Rider Waite for a while. That’s a wrong name imho, it should be called the Waite-Smith deck, because Pamela Colman-Smith was the illustrator and deserves the credit! It is a great deck while exploring and getting to know all about tarot, but somehow it never really felt like the right deck for me. It feels a bit too much Christian-based and that didn’t appeal to me. I hardly ever used the other decks I owned, although I love to look at the beautiful cards. I also own several other oracle card decks. My favourites are the Druid Animal Oracle and the Druid Plant Oracle, made by Philip & Stephanie Carr-Gomm and beautifully illustrated by the very talented Will Worthington. When I heard this trio had also made a tarot deck, I looked into it and ordered it right away. I guess you could say it was love at first sight. ? The wonderful images and the overall druid-witchcraft-pagan feel of the deck spoke to me. I could still use everything I learned from the Rider Waite deck, as the basics aren’t that different. I started working with it and developed a real connection with the deck, which made my readings better I think.





There are several ways in which I use the tarot. To get acquainted with a deck (or re-acquainted when I didn’t use the tarot for a long while) I take a card each day and work with it. What do I see in it? What does it tell me that day? Not from the book but from the heart. Afterwards I look it up in the book to see how that matches; sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn’t! I always listen to my own intuition though. The cards are merely a tool to get things clear for myself.

From time to time I do a reading for myself or (rarely) at request for someone else. The spreads I like most are the Celtic Cross (10 cards) and Past-Present-Future (3 cards). On my birthday I do a 12 card-spread, a card for every month of my new year. I also like to experiment with other spreads I find on the internet or invent myself.

I also like to use tarot cards in a ritual setting or on my altar. For example, I place the High Priestess and High Priest as decoration on my altar or when travelling they can replace the goddess and god statues. In a ritual setting I look for cards that support and strengthen my goal for the ritual. I place them on the altar, often accompanied by runes, stones and other items with the same purpose. Of course a tarot reading can be part of the magical work in a ritual all by itself too.

Tarot can also function as a tool in meditation, to focus your consciousness and I’ve also used it in shadow work. That’s a bit much to explain here, but I can recommend ‘Tarot Shadow Work: Using the Dark Symbols to Heal’ by Christine Jette.

Like all kinds of divination, for me tarot has nothing to do with forecasting the future. It’s a tool to get an insight in a certain matter or situation, in possible consequences and solutions. It helps me to look at problems and other things from different perspectives. I look for guidance and insight, and in that way it has never disappointed me. Of course I didn’t always like a possible outcome, but that was a push in the right direction to act, do something to change it!

When I was thinking about this column and making a start to write it another tarot deck came into my life. I had heard about the Wildwood Tarot, and I knew I would like it! It is a complete reconception and redesign of the popular Greenwood Tarot. This time author Mark Ryan worked with John Matthews, and illustrator Will Worthington, to create this deck based on the seasonal rhythms and festivals of the ancient year. One day I noticed a friend offering it on the pagan marketplace-group I manage on Facebook. Someone had already shown interest, but nevertheless I left a comment that I’d be interested to buy it. After a while I got a message that the first buyer had pulled out, I guess it was meant to be with me! So now I have a whole new deck to explore and get acquainted with and I’m very much looking forward to it!





Do you work with the tarot? Which deck do you prefer?

I’d love to hear from you.


Sources and more to explore:

Seeing the Signs

September, 2015

Using a Pendulum with Tarot Cards or Oracle Cards

When I was researching last month’s column on using a Pendulum, I found a blog called “New Age Blog” written by Travor Mayes. The page I was on was from 2009, but it had an entry about using your Pendulum in conjunction with Tarot Cards. He said to lay out nine cards and then: “Let the pendulum select which cards apply to you with a yes answer, the pendulum will also decide how many cards to turn over.”

This is of course rather confusing but I got out my Rider-Waite deck and after shuffling and cutting them the proper amount of times, I laid out nine cards. I didn’t have a particular question in my mind – I just wanted to see what would happen.

The pendulum barely moved or didn’t move at all as I held it over each card. Then – the fifth card – it started moving – very definitely – in an up and down movement. I turned the card over. It was the Queen of Cups, reversed. The pendulum was still until the last card and then it moved in the same definite way. I turned the card over and found The Magician. Given that I have been in my usual summertime depression, I saw the reversed Queen of Cups as my current weepy self and the Magician as the power within me to change my mood for the better.

So then I reshuffled the cards and laid out another nine cards. Since time, I asked why I was depressed.


As you can see, my cat Radar was helping me!

I tried the method other ways. I used three cards, five cards, seven cards. It works best with nine cards. I’m not sure why that is, except that the fewer cards you have laid out, the fewer cards the pendulum picks. With only three cards laid out, it is possible that the pendulum might not pick any one of the three. Honestly, that gave me pause. Maybe the pendulum knows more than I do and it’s just not a good time for a Tarot reading.

Another thing I tried was laying out the entire deck, all seventy-two cards. I had to lay them out on my living room floor and it took me quite a while to hold the pendulum over each card as I meditated about my question.


But again – it was just amazing how the pendulum started swinging when it wanted a particular card. There was absolutely no mistaking it. Out of seventy-two cards, the pendulum picked fifteen cards. I shuffled these cards and laid ten of them out as a Celtic Cross:


I also did a trumps-only spread using the Lovers Tarot and I had a fun time with the Secret Dakini Oracle, and this method works wonderfully with the Motherpeace Tarot too. In fact, I am going to try and develop more ways of using the pendulum with Tarot Cards, Oracle Cards, even regular playing cards – I think this is a great way of blending divinatory mediums and I haven’t had this much fun with my cards in years!

Works Cited

Tarot Talk

August, 2014

This month, we will talk about the Major Arcana card called The Star. Since we haven’t talked about a Major Arcana card in a while, before we begin breaking down The Star, let’s define and describe some terms. There are 22 Major Arcana cards in a Tarot deck, with numbers from 0 to 21; the Majors usually deal with broader and more far-reaching life experience issues, issues that are archetypes which are easy for us to identify with and connect with at some point in our lives.

An archetype (pronounced “ark eh type”) is a generic, idealized model of a person, a personality, a behavior, an object, or a concept that can be copied, patterned, or imitated, and which can be identified universally without the need for a common language. The term archetype often refers to one of two concepts:

A “stereotype”; in other words, a personality type observed multiple times, especially an oversimplification of a personality type; stereotypes can be positive or negative. For instance, “girls make good cooks” is a stereotype.

An “epitome,” which is the embodiment of a particular personality type, especially as the “greatest” or “best” example of the particular personality type; epitomes can also be positive or negative. For example, Venus is said to be the epitome of feminine beauty.

So basically, archetypes represent personality traits that are common enough to be known by us all, through images (rather than words) which contain symbolism that connects with our subconscious in a universal manner. Each of us can understand the symbolism of archetypes and connect with that symbolism because each of us has personally experienced (or will at some point in the future) these archetypes in some form, at some point in our lives.

Besides the symbolism in the image of the card, each Major Arcana card corresponds to a number, an archetype, an element, an astrological sign or planet, a Hebrew letter, and a Path on the Tree of Life joining two Sephiroth. Let’s start breaking this one down; we’ve got a lot of work to do!

The traditional image of The Star shows a woman, either naked or dressed in blue (symbolizing the exalted woman), standing in or near a still body of water (symbolizing the life force and the subconscious); she may be standing with one foot in the water and one foot on land, similar to Temperance. There are two flasks of water on The Star, also similar to Temperance; however, in the image on The Star, those flasks are being emptied, one on the ground (symbolizing purpose) and one back to the water (symbolizing a willing connection to the subconscious), representing the active sharing of the soul on all planes of existence, and the binding of the soul to both spirit and matter. On the Temperance card, one flask is being mixed with the other, more in line with the inner focus of the other meanings of that card, unlike The Star, which connects the inner landscape to the outer world. Usually there are stars in the sky of the image on The Star, telling us that while all appears submerged in darkness, there is subtle yet powerful illumination to be had through humble spiritual aspirations. The Star tells of hope and inspiration found from above (divine) and within (inner consciousness).

Located after the chaos of The Tower, The Star symbolizes the passage between one phase of initiation and another, and that corresponding knowledge that we just may have made it through the darkness to the next dawn and all of its unknown potential. Like the Death card, the potential being offered to us by The Star is unknown, but we move toward that unknown potential willingly, without fear. Because of its connection to the night, and to experiencing being awake and being asleep, The Star is often associated with passing from night to day, and it is connected to dreams, the mysteries of the night, the optimism of the new dawn, and destiny.

The Star is the number 17 of the Major Arcana, and 17 breaks down as 1 + 7 = 8. In the Tarot Minor Arcana, the number 8 represents a conscious and deliberate response to the pause and assessment of the 7 card. That pause represented by the number 7 happens because the growth represented by cards Ace through 6 has begun to slow, and degeneration of force is approaching. The Star represents the completion of the time of learning, being submitted to a moral trial and then given an opportunity to apply what has been learned, similar to The Lovers. However, The Star takes this sort of evolution to the next stage, beyond the understanding of choice that is presented by The Lovers, and brings us the time of experiencing self-sacrifice in order to connect with and understand what is outside of the Self. A receptive nature has been attained by our efforts in the darkness, along with a simplicity of heart and spirit and a renunciation of the ego. The Star tells of an awakening after a pause, so that we may respond deliberately and with knowledge and wisdom to whatever comes next.

Not all archetypes symbolize people; The Star is the archetype of the Spirit or Life Essence, which can be seen as the part of the personality that survives death, or as the spiritual part of the psyche. This is the essence of the Self that remains pure, compassionate, and filled with love without judgment, no matter what experiences present themselves to us during life. This is the essence of the Self that willingly presents itself in order to experience both the good and the bad that life can offer, so as to understand and manifest not only personal dreams, but also dreams of humanity. This manifestation is achieved by submitting ourselves without hesitation to the will of the Divine in order to draw upon the Light that is always with us, and make our way through the darkness and chaos of The Tower.

The Star corresponds with Air, which is hot and wet, tends to expand or separate, and adapts to many situations. The element of Air corresponds with truth, clarity, and our capacity to analyze or apply logic. Thus, Air can indicate our mental state, the beliefs we have, and actions we take in response to effects around us. Air corresponds with the direction of East and rising sun, and thus with new beginnings and fresh ideas, as well as knowledge, intellectual ideas and thoughts.

The Star corresponds with Aquarius (key words: “I know”). Aquarius, the 11th sign of the zodiac, is a Fixed Air sign, ruled by Uranus and Saturn. Those born under the sign of Aquarius are unconventional, idealistic, and eccentric free thinkers different from those born under the other signs of the zodiac. They are progressive individuals who actively seek changes that benefit themselves and humanity as a whole. They care about the environment, politics, and humanitarian endeavors, and they often advocate for those who are less fortunate. They are good at thinking up effective plans, but they are also good at delegating (and empowering) others to manifest those plans into reality. Aquarians can be a bit stubborn (reminder: “Fixed Air sign” here), but the nice thing is that if compelling evidence is presented, an Aquarian will let go of outdated ideas. Aquarians are more in their heads than their hearts, so they may seem purposely isolated, but when they form relationships they are loyal.

In the Hebrew alphabet, each letter is connected in some way to the creative forces in the universe. They express themselves on three levels: one level is archetypical and runs from the first to the ninth letter; the second level is one of manifestation and runs from the tenth to the eighteenth letter, and the third is a cosmic level and runs from the nineteenth to the twenty-second letter.

The Star card corresponds with Tzaddi, the fish hook, the eighteenth letter in the Hebrew alphabet. The name itself is similar to the Hebrew word “tzadik,” which means “righteous person.” The letter Tzaddi represents the hook that captures the “fish” of Qoph, the subconscious mind. In Hebrew symbolism, the fish is a sign of fertility, so the letter Tzaddi represents the capturing or hooking of the fertility of the subconscious mind in order to feed, sustain and nurture the personality and anchor the Self.

On the Tree of Life, The Star represents the 28th Path (one of the Paths that views ways to transition to the Supernal Triangle, crossing the Abyss) between Yesod (the astral plane where we build thoughtforms and illusions, the home of our animating life force) and Netsach (the glimpse of the Machinery of the Universe and the energy we have given to Deity). The 28th Path is the Path of Natural Intelligence, of inspiration and aspiration, of the ability to love humankind rather than just one person, and of feeling energy through the senses.

This Path connects the Pillar of Force and the Pillar of Balance, and it is opposite the 30th Path, corresponding to The Sun of the Major Arcana, and here is a pair that work well together. The Sun and the 30th Path are about enlightenment that comes through scientific study; The Star and the 28th Path are about the dark of night, and the inspiration that comes to us from within. The 28th Path is about dreaming of the future (Netsach), and thus, beginning the initial process of finally manifesting our goals in the physical world. The energies of this Path flow downward into the foundations of our mind (Yesod), and act as catalysts that will eventually have a physical effect, but this Path is not of the physical world.

The symbolism of this Path has the potential to release quite a bit of creative power into our lives. This amazing power is often first felt through the physical body in some ways, almost feeling like sexual arousal but felt through the whole body rather than just the sex organs. This energy ultimately is a catalyst for the manifestation of our hopes and dreams, and once it is activated, it stimulates the inspiration that comes in those incredible Aha! Moments.

The Llewellyn Welsh Star tells of hope, inspiration, freedom after trials, salvation, destiny, and of drawing strength from nature; reversed it tells of resignation or depression, and of allowing others to determine our lives. The Legacy of the Divine Star card shows the wreckage of The Tower, however there is moss growing on the broken pillars, indicating that the destruction is over. It tells of idealism, self-discovery, liberation, and a sense of purpose; reversed it tells of arrogance, pessimism, dreaminess, and physical or mental illness. The Thoth Tarot Star represents reincarnation and the renewal of life, baptism and purification, and the beneficent nature of the universe. Reversed, it indicates skepticism and an unwillingness to examine our own self and our own behavior (usually because we are afraid of what we will find), or deception or gullibility.

The Star offers us hope, inspiration, and the strength to follow through no matter how tough the challenges may be. Denying the energies of this Major Arcana card will bring pettiness, self-doubt, and a fear of following our dreams. In the end, the new dawn will appear, and The Star tells us to look for the light that will illuminate the way.

Tarot Talk

November, 2013

Time to touch on the suit of Pentacles, and where better to start than the Six of Pentacles, the card of resources?  In the Tarot Minor Arcana, the Six cards are kind of unique, in part because of the properties of the number 6, and in part because of the properties of the Sephira corresponding to the Tarot Sixes on the Tree of Life.  Before we talk about the Six of Pentacles in particular, let’s talk a bit about these two properties in general.


The number Six offers the concept of forward momentum achieved through victory over the obstacles presented by Four (security that tends to become stagnation) and Five (uncomfortable movement that ends stagnation).  These victories are met with the healing achieved through negotiation (and thus, the Sixes of the Tarot Minors often present such concepts as equilibrium, peace, comfort, and ease, as well as stubbornness, excessive worry, and harmful gossip).  Of course, this means that acceptance is a part of these Six cards, self-acceptance and the acceptance acquired through effective interactions with both friends and enemies.  This could be seen as the source of the focus on giving and receiving resources that is a part of the Six of Pentacles; but more on that later.  In sacred math, the number 6 is considered to be a powerful and pure number because the first three numbers, 1, 2 and 3, add up to 6, and because in the Christian creation myth it took Yahweh six days to create the world.  This number offers the concept of both vertical and horizontal balance, and the Six cards often present the corresponding element and suit at its practical best.  In most cases even a reversed Six card has many benefits to offer a Seeker, and the meanings of the reversed Sixes are similar to the upright interpretations.


Tiphareth or Beauty is the sixth Sephira on the Tree of Life, the second on the Pillar of Balance (which is the “trunk” of the Tree), and it represents harmony, equilibrium, and the epitome of balance.  Tiphareth is the first Sephira beneath the Supernal Triangle, the three Sephiroth representing God/Goddess/Source, and the void known as Da’at or the Abyss; Tiphareth can be considered a reflection or a Child of the Supernals.  We talked previously about the Divine Child last month when we explored The Fool of the Major Arcana; if you haven’t read that entry yet, please do so now.  In Qabalah tradition, Tiphareth was seen as corresponding to our Sun before the Sun was known to be the center of our solar system.


In order to understand Tiphareth, we need to also understand Da’at or the Abyss.  The top three Sephiroth of the Tree, the Supernals, are shaped like an upward-pointing triangle, and together they represent God/Source/the Higher Self.  Below this triangle are two more triangles, point facing down (the first representing inner emotions in their purest form, and the second representing emotions that become traits or behaviors), and then finally the bottom of the “trunk” of the Tree, which leads to the physical world.  The space or void between the top triangle and all that falls below is called Da’at or the Abyss; the Abyss separates (and also bridges) Deity/the Higher Self and the rest of our life experiences.  Traveling upward through the Abyss is usually an uncomfortable but in the end beneficial process, for it involves coming to know our Shadow Self.


The knowledge and awareness associated with the Abyss are not about the outside world, for the Abyss is connected to the one who is doing the knowing.  Knowledge of “I” or the “self” is terrifying and empowering at the same time, for this knowledge is the source of our personal ethical code and our ability to tell right from wrong.  Da’at is also associated with the cerebellum and the powers of memory and concentration, which allow us to recognize and sense the meaningfulness of live events in a personal, experiential way.  The beauty and equilibrium achieved through Tiphareth manifest through an awareness of what circles around us from outside our Self.  The Abyss reflects our inner dimension, our inner Self, and helps us to understand our own unique perception and personalization of our Self.


That is a lot to think about!  We will make use of thist information over the next few essays as we explore the Minor Arcana Sixes, so if you need to, go back and read it again before going on.  Not everything about the number 6 will apply directly to our Six of Pentacles, but we’ve got three other Six cards to explore as well.


Let’s begin the process of breaking our Six of Pentacles card down even further.  The Six of Pentacles is a Minor Arcana card, so we know right away that the message offered by this card will most likely be more immediate in nature, or will most likely be connected to more day-to-day issues.  Remember, while on the surface a Minor Arcana card can appear insignificant or mundane, it can also possibly be a symptom of a deeper or wider issue.  Nothing in the Minor Arcana is in any way minor in nature.


We already know that the easiest way to get a decent understanding of a Minor Arcana card is to examine its number, or in the case of Court Cards, its rank, and to examine its suit.  In this case, we are dealing with the number 6, and the suit of Pentacles.  These two ingredients could actually give you enough information about this one card to offer a useful interpretation, especially with all the cool information out there regarding the number 6.


The suit of Pentacles (also called Disks or Coins) corresponds with the playing card suit of Diamonds, the cardinal direction of north, and the element of Earth.  In its natural state, the element of Earth is cool and dry.  Like Water, when amassed it has weight; it is able to bind together or shape the other elements.  Water and Earth bind together to make mud, and a lake is shaped by the Earth that supports it.  Earth energies are tangible, stable, and practical, and they are slow to change.


This suit is about the physical, earthly world, our physical bodies, and everything we need in order to maintain those physical bodies, including health and exercise.  Pentacles cards talk about fertility, prosperity, and the wealth that can bring both physical shelter and mental and emotional pleasure.  Pentacles cards can show a possible outcome or end result of our efforts, the product of our labors; they can give information about material manifestations of all kinds.  These cards can represent discipline and diligence, and an interest in quality rather than quantity, but they can also indicate the influence of greed and avarice, and the lack of an ability to access or be aware of resources.


Astrologically speaking, the Six of Pentacles represents the Moon when it is in the sign of Taurus.


The Moon is large enough for its gravity to affect our Earth; the Moon actually stabilizes the Earth’s orbit, and it produces the regular ebb and flow of the tides. The lunar day syncs up with its orbit around Earth so that the same side of the Moon always faces the Earth.  Astrologically the Moon is associated with a person’s emotional make-up, unconscious habits, rhythms, memories, moods, and a person’s ability to react and adapt to his or her environment. It is also associated with Yin energy, the receptive feminine life principal, the mother, maternal instincts or the urge to nurture, the home, the need for security and the past, especially early experiences and childhood. In medicine, the Moon is associated with the digestive system, stomach, breasts, the pancreas, and the ovaries and menstruation (which occurs on a monthly cycle).


Taurus, the second sign of the zodiac, is all about reward.  Physical pleasures, material goods, and soothing surroundings are all important to a Taurus.  The good life in all its guises is heaven on Earth to those born under this sign.  Taurus is a fixed sign, and it represents steady persistence sometimes seen as stubbornness.  Taurus is symbolized by the Bull, and Bulls are among the most practical and reliable members of the zodiac, happy to plod along slowly but surely toward a goal.  Taurus is ruled by Venus, the Goddess of Love, Beauty and Pleasure, which is why harmony and beauty are a huge part of this sign’s personality.  Taurus is a true-blue, loyal sign as well, and slow to anger; like the element of Earth, Taurus is about strength of body as well as strength of heart.


Let’s recap! The number 6 tells of the vertical and horizontal balance that is achieved through negotiation and acceptance; even the reversed number is still beneficial.  The Sixes of the Tarot correspond with balance and beauty, a child’s ability to find innocent joy in simple things, and the ability to remember and understand events of the past, whether pleasant or uncomfortable or challenging, in order to be a better person.  The suit of Pentacles is about physical world effects and manifestations, including home, health and career.  The energies of this suit are cold and dry, slow to change, and focused on quality rather than quantity.  The Moon is about stabilizing and about cycles, and about predictability (facing the same way); it is also about feelings, memories, comfort, and fertility.  Taurus is about beauty, soothing surroundings, strength of body and heart, loyalty, and cool “stuff.”


This means that the Six of Pentacles represents physical world resources of all kinds, the stuff we have (or that we believe we have) and the stuff we don’t have (or that we believe we don’t have), and it is about balancing that stuff out, by either giving it to others or receiving it from others.  When the Six of Pentacles shows up in a spread, we need to think about the management of our resources, for that management is important to the question at hand.  We also need to think about giving things to others if we are in a good situation, sharing the wealth and taking care of others less fortunate than we are.  If we are not in a good situation, we need to actively seek assistance, access resources available to us, and acquire what we need by such means as learning new skills or receiving advice from professionals.  This card is telling us that both sides are important, giving and receiving, dominating and submitting, and we need to find a balance between both extremes in order to succeed.


If that Six of Pentacles is reversed, perhaps clarification can be found through nearby cards in the spread. Philanthropy can be a wonderful thing, but there is always a danger of ending up with a false sense of entitlement (which could encourage cheating, arrogance, or the fostering of dependency). Or maybe, just maybe, that reversed Six of Pentacles is hinting that something about our resources or the management of resources is being missed because we keep facing the same way, like the Moon in the sky, and thus we miss everything behind us.


Next time, we will talk about another Six, the Six of Cups.

Seeing the Signs

July, 2013


Framing Your Question


Sometimes you come to a reading with a generalized sense of anxiety.  There’s no particular question, you just want an answer.  An answer to what?   You don’t really know.  All you know is that you need to know what you don’t know.


I feel like this quite often.  I don’t know what I’m doing or where I’m going.  I have had an argument with a friend and I feel frustrated.  I have writer’s block and cannot break through.  I have errands to run, but I am agoraphobic; I need to know if it is okay for me to leave the house.  I shuffle my tarot cards or I start making tea for a reading.  I still don’t know what I want to know but I know I have to find out.


The first thing I need to do is prepare myself for a reading.  I like to cast a simple circle by lighting incense and setting it in the east, lighting a candle & setting it in the south, placing a cup of salt water in the west, and lastly, a crystal in the north.  I sit in the middle and meditate until I feel settled and hopefully serene.  Serenity doesn’t always happen.  Sometimes I play music but I prefer the sound of the chirping birds.


When I feel ready, I lay out my cards or I sip my tea and swirl the tea leaves or toss the coins … whatever I am doing.  Even without a set question, answers come.  Sometimes, it is an “Aha!” moment.  It’s “Oh so that’s what I was missing!” or even “DUH!”  But sometimes I stare at the cards or the tea leaves and I am even more confused than before.  Even though I am tempted to just pick the cards up and start over or pour another cup of tea or re-toss the coins, it is important to write down whatever it is I have in front of me right now.  Even though it seems like I don’t have a clear answer, it may be I am not able to see it right now.  I have gone back to readings weeks, months, even years later, and the meaning of the reading has jumped out at me.  So be sure to always write your readings down, date them, and revisit them.


After a reading, thank the spirits who helped you interpret the reading, even if you don’t feel you gained very much.  You always have gained something, even if you are mired in confusion.  The reading stays with you and as you sleep, the images will play out in your dreams.  As the answers come to you, so will the question.  And as you learn to frame your question, you will get a better reading, and a better answer.

Many blessings!

The Tarot

August, 2011

So this month I wanted to share with you some important tips when reading card for a client.  Well, at least these are things that I do when I am reading for a person.  So I’m just going to go right into it.

When I am reading for a person for the first time I remind myself that they might be just a tad anxious and frankly scared about the reading.  Some people show up thinking that you’re going to tell them the exact date and time of death or that you’re going to give them horrible news.  Now although it’s important not to sugar coat your reading and hide facts that appear in the reading it is important to put your client at ease this should be your first priority. One of the first things I do is that I explain to the client exactly what to expect from me and from the reading.  I allow them a few moments to ask any questions and to tell me of any concern.  I typically open the dialog with “have you ever had a reading?” and then you take it from there. ‘

Once your client is at ease and ready I find that I get a better reading if I ask the client not to cross their arms or legs while the reading is taking place especially while shuffling.  I believe that crossing arms and legs block energies that I need to receive in order to give an effective reading. Now let me stress that it is important that you clear the cards between reading, either by using sage or simply by shuffling them with your own energy.  The last thing you want is to have someone else energy mixed in with your client this will mess up your reading and it won’t be accurate.

Once I’ve laid out the cards I begin the reading now this is where it gets dicey some clients won’t utter a word during the reading and often won’t even make eye contact. Then you have the other side of the coin when the clients spills their guts before you’ve even gotten through the first card.  Now as a reader you in essence become a guide to help your client travel and navigate important areas of their life.  When the client is non responsive I ask questions mainly “does this make sense” just to make sure they are on the same page and understanding typically if something doesn’t make sense they will tell you and then you can try to work it out in a discussion.  When the client rambles on you have to wrangle them in and re-direct the conversation being patient listening and trying to clarify any issues that arise.  The truth is the readings are almost like a therapy session they are going to open up issues and thoughts that clients might not have notice it really makes their lives and open book.  This being said as a reader your job is to help out the client.

My last tip for this month is to remember that sometimes we as readers have off days and you find yourself sitting with someone and the reading is just not making sense. At times this might be a result of your own energies being off, maybe you’re not feeling well, or if it’s a late appointment your tired, hungry, etc or the client is closed off to the readings, scared, blocking their energy either way your reading isn’t going to be accurate and this can leave the client feeling frustrated and upset it can also cause them to leave without wanting to return.  The way I handle this is to first and foremost not schedule or re-schedule appointments if I am not well, upset, tired, etc.  And if I’m at peak and the reading is still not working out I am honest with the client I ask them if they really want the reading, I try to figure out with the client why they might be closed off to the reading and if we can’t come to a conclusion I reschedule the reading for another day.

The most important thing to remember is give your client an experience that will not only be helpful to them but will also leave you feeling as if you where able to help this way everyone leaves feeing a sense of peace and satisfaction.

Until Next Time.

Tarot Talk

May, 2010


The Hierophant (5)

“To be successful, we absolutely, positively have to find people who have already paid the price to learn the things that we need to learn to achieve our goals.”  ~Brian Tracy

Image Description:

The Rider-Waite deck portrays a spiritual leader, seated on a throne residing between two stone pillars, imparting his blessing upon two acolytes. At his feet are two crossed keys. A three-layered gold crown rests upon his head, and the decorative trim of his robes bears the markings of three vertical crosses. In one hand he holds a scepter crowned with a triple cross.


Keys: Knowledge, wisdom, spiritual realm, inner sanctum of the world’s mysteries

Catholic Associations: Tradition

Pillars: Balance

Index & Middle Fingers Extended (ecclesiastical sign): Secret knowledge

Acolytes: Attendant, follower

Triple Cross: Intellectual and physical worlds, divine, generative power

Key Words:

Conformity, Erudition, Belief Systems, Group Identification, Spiritual Authority

Fool’s Journey:

Having created a solid foundation on which to build his future, the Fool next visits the Hierophant, a wise teacher and spiritual authority who offers the Fool a wealth of pragmatic advise. Through the Hierophant’s  teachings, the Fool learns how belief systems are formed and the importance of gaining spiritual and worldly knowledge through erudition. He also discovers the concept of conformity and the knowledge that group identification can bring a sense of belonging and well-being. Having now been enlightened, the Fool leaves the Hierophant’s sanctuary to face the world’s challenges once again.

The Lesson:

To learn how to see everything and everyone around us as a teacher or student with spiritual and academic wisdom to share.


The Hierophant (also known as the Pope or High Priest) is the ruling power of external religion and higher learning. On a positive front, he can be depicted as the wise mentor who is concerned with spirituality, organized belief systems, education, and group identification. He can remind us what it means to be a good and beloved teacher or spiritual authority.

In readings, the Hierophant can represent learning or teaching in official groups, such as churches, schools, clubs, teams, companies, and societies with structured laws and assigned roles. Emphasis on beliefs, procedures, and rituals in groups can create a sense of cohesive group identity. This type of environment requires conformity to rules or fixed situations, which can provide a sense of security or oppression, depending upon the circumstances.

This card can also stand for opportunities to obtain valuable knowledge through experts or informed teachers — those who offer good, practical advise or information of useful importance. He can also represent a spiritual guide or religious teacher bringing divine answers to Earth.

On the negative side, the Hierophant can symbolize society  / government / religious oppression.  He can point toward a struggle with forces that are not innovative, free-spirited, or individual. Sometimes following a program or embracing a tradition can enrich our lives; other times we need to follow the beat of our own drummer.

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

New to the Craft

November, 2009

A Tarot Primer

One of the most popular methods of divination today is the use of tarot cards.  Commonly linked with witches and gypsies in the popular imagination, tarot has a fascinating history that some groups say can be traced back as far as ancient Egypt.  Though their exact origin is debated most tarot decks can be shown to incorporate a wealth of symbolism in their artwork that gives depth and variety to their possible interpretations in a reading.  The standard Rider/Waite deck was developed by members of the Golden Dawn in the early 20th century, and it intentionally makes heavy use of Qabalistic and astrological themes.  Other newer decks range in subject from pagan deities to angels to basic archetypes.

While modern tarot decks vary greatly in artwork and content, most tend to keep the same basic structure of 22 trump cards, called the Major Arcana, and 56 suited cards, called the Minor Arcana.  The Major Arcana are a pictorial representation of the deck’s theme, usually a variation on the soul’s journey to enlightenment.  Below are a couple of examples of the most common first trump, referred to as The Fool:




In the Rider/Waite and other decks derived from the Golden Dawn symbol system each trump card is associated with a particular path on the Qabalistic Tree of Life and an astrological sign, planet, or element that gives it an added layer of meaning.  The Minor Arcana cards also relate to the elements via the four suits of wands (fire), cups (water), swords (air), and pentacles (earth).  These cards number from 1 to 10 with the addition of the king, queen, knight, and page cards.  Some versions amend the knight to a prince or the page to a princess.  Each of the minor cards then has their own significance as related to the Tree of Life!  Knowing the added symbolism of each card isn’t necessary to enjoying and using the tarot, but it can be a great aid to the reader in attempting to interpret spreads that might otherwise seem confusing.

To conduct a reading with the tarot the reader shuffles the deck and lays out the cards in what is termed a “spread”.  The most commonly known is referred to as the Celtic Cross, which has the reader turn over a total of 10 cards in a specific order and relation to the others.  Each card is meant to reveal a particular aspect of the question at hand.  For instance the first card, the significator, reveals the general influences surrounding the matter, while the tenth card reveals the predicted outcome.  As each card is turned the reader interprets its meaning within the reading, tapping the subconscious but also using knowledge of what each cards symbolizes to understand the picture being presented.  Tarot readings, as with other forms of divination, offer a glimpse into the current state of influences affecting the matter concerned.  A reading doesn’t need to be taken as a future set in stone, but rather more information to be considered before proceeding on a particular path.  Each card can act as a mirror, reflecting back and revealing meanings specific to the person concerned.  In this way tarot helps us to explore both our future paths and our subconscious for greater understanding of our lives.

Until next month, blessed be! )O(

Next »