suit

Tarot Talk

October, 2018

Three of Wands

(The Three of Wands card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**

We have already talked about the Three of Cups, the Three of Swords and the Three of Pentacles, so this month we will examine the Three of Wands. This 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. 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. We can also find useful information within the image on the card.

The traditional image of the Three of Wands is a figure dressed in a robe of red or red and green, standing on a hill or a cliff, often surrounded by grass and flowers (representing fertile ground) and holding a living wand with leaves or flowers just springing out (symbolizing fertility and early manifestation), with two other Wands, one on each side of him, creating a sort of gateway (representing a transition point). He (or she; some cards show a woman) has his back to the viewer and is looking outward (showing a look into the future, or anticipation). Before him is usually a lake or body of water (thoughts or the subconscious) upon which sails one or several ships (journeys, cargo); sometimes a bird is flying overhead (representing grand ideas). On the far side of the body of water are hills and mountains (challenges and attainments). Everything in the image is bathed in a golden light. There is a sense of quiet anticipation in this image, and an anticipation of good things to come once his ship comes in.

For this discussion we will accept that the suit of Wands corresponds to the element of Fire. This is not always the case, depending on the deck being used; some see Wands as being connected to Air. Besides the element of Fire, the suit of Wands corresponds with the playing card suit of Clubs, and the cardinal direction of South. In its natural state, the element of Fire is hot and dry. It tends to bring spontaneous change or impulsive, energetic effects. Fire is passionate in nature and it transforms everything it touches, everything in our world. Fire can sanitize or cleanse, and it can destroy everything in its path; Fire can warm us and keep us safe, or it can kill us.

All of the cards of the suit of Wands (including the Three of Wands) teach us about Fiery attributes like creativity, ambition, growth, passion and actions, and how their presence or absence can affect our lives. The suit of Wands represents our ability to experience joy and passion (including sexual passion), and the Wands cards can represent our creativity, our ability to be artistic or to be drawn to beautiful things. Fire often represents Spirit or the Divine Will, and Wands cards also can present the possibility of some interaction with Spirit or the Divine, or actions or passions manifesting in line with Divine Will.

The element of Fire can be seen as kinetic, or even electric. It has the power to create greatness (when we are inspired to be better than we think we can be), or destruction (when we believe we are greater than we actually are). Fire fuels innovation, but an imbalance or lack of Fire can bring austerity. Action and energy are enhanced by this element, but so are destruction and oppression.

The number 3 usually represents the creation of something new, or the making real of concepts or understandings presented by the number 2. We can see the manifestation of this throughout our physical world; when a male and a female of any species come together, the result is often the creation of new life. The number 3 can also represent optimism, self-expression and the polishing or honing of skills already in place. On the uncomfortable side of things, the number 3 can represent self-doubt, wastefulness, or vanity.

Within the Tarot, the Threes are seen as either creating something out of the potential of the Ace and the partnership of the Two of their suit, or they are seen as manifesting or making real the potential of the Ace and the concept of the Two. Briefly, we have the potential for experiencing a creative force that could bring enthusiasm and excitement (the Ace of Wands), and the ability to be a pioneer and the courage to choose our own path (the Two of Wands). The Three of Wands presents the first-stage completion of a glimpse of what can be created if we stay the path (with the second stage at the number 7 and the third and final stage at the number 9), begun with the potential of the Ace which manifests in the Two card and then presents a sense of achievement in our Three of Wands. Our card tells us that we have the ability to take the long view and the courage to look for greater possibilities.

The astrological correspondence for the Three of Wands is the Sun in the astrological sin of Aries.

The Sun is the star at the center of our solar system around which the planets revolve; it provides our Earth with the heat and light necessary for life as we know it. The arc that the Sun travels in every year, rising and setting in a slightly different place each day, is a reflection of the Earth’s orbit around the Sun; hence its connection with reflection and fertility. The Sun travels through the twelve signs of the zodiac in one year, spending about a month in each sign. The Sun represents the conscious ego, the self and its expression, personal power, pride and authority, leadership qualities and the principles of creativity, spontaneity, health and vitality, or simply the “life force. In Chinese astrology, the Sun represents Yang, the active, assertive masculine life principle. In Indian astrology, the Sun is called Surya and represents the soul, ego, vitality, kingship, highly placed persons, government, and the archetype of The Father.

The astrological sign of Aries is a cardinal Fire sign that is a catalyst, a person that inspires others by being totally committed to his or her own vision. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, the leader of the pack, first in line to get things going. Those born under this sign prefer to initiate, and they won’t shy away from anything new. Aries people are action oriented, assertive, and competitive. Aries is ruled by Mars, the God of War, bold and aggressive, and able to tap into the focus needed to take on any challenge. The symbol of Aries is the Ram, blunt and to the point, and a sheer force of nature. The great strength of those born under this sign is found in their initiative, courage and determination.

The Sun represents the individual, and Aries supports that concept by bringing in fierce independence. These are the energies of a warrior, a trailblazer who can see where to go in order to find his way. This combination gets the job done, often by steamrolling the opposition. In any event the courage and leadership and ability to think out of the box are assets that are very desirable. These energies can be impulsive, though, and they represent moments where it can be difficult to understand why others won’t follow our path.

The Threes have a place on the Tree of Life of the Qabalah; they are found in the sephira of Binah at the top of the Pillar of Form/Restriction. This sephira is seen as form, as force in pattern, and as the Great Mother and the Womb of Life. Binah offers shadow and contrast, which in turn gives us shape and form. Binah restricts in order to provide a springboard, and that restriction can also be its downfall if it becomes greed. Binah represents intuitive understanding, contemplation, and deductive reasoning, and the fertile receptivity of the Sacred Feminine.

The Llewellyn Welsh Tarot Three of Wands shows a figure standing on a hill covered with grasses and flowers, looking out over a bay on which there are three sailing ships. The person’s robe is blowing in the breeze. He holds a wand decorated with young green sprouts and a scarf that he holds in order to keep it from blowing away. On either side of him are two other wands. The keywords for this card are speculation, exploring, broadening horizons, trade and negotiations, distributing resources and gambling on the unknown.

The Three of Wands of the Thoth Tarot is named “Virtue,” and its image of three Wands topped with flowers and surrounded by flames represents the primal solar energy that penetrates the earth in Spring and causes the seeds to germinate. This card not only represents great power, but also the will and the courage to use that power.

The Legacy of the Divine Tarot Three of Wands shows the silhouette of a figure standing on a beach looking across calm waters as the sun sets and tinges everything with gold. Surrounding him are three Wands tipped with glowing crystals. In the sky before him floats a glorious wooden sailing ship held aloft by three brightly colored balloons, surrounded by sea birds. There are clouds in the sky and the figure’s cloak blows in the breeze, but there is not a sense of storms or impending chaos for the ship sails steadily. Is the ship really there? Or is the figure dreaming of possibilities or the future? The card represents the joining of forces, enterprise, trade, and power.

The Three of Wands is a very exciting card, for it tells of approaching good fortune. What we are waiting for is arriving and reinforcements are on the way. Success is within sight, and while there is still work to be done, perhaps frantic last-minute work crammed into a short time period, we are resourceful enough to communicate what we need and to make things happen. Luck is on its way!

** We Feature the art of Ciro Marchetti as part of Tarot Talk. You can view his work and Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/.

***

About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding

Seeing the Signs

July, 2018

The Appearance of the Jack of Clubs

I have been living in this current apartment for over a year now. I am a neat freak – not because I really want to be – but I have three cats and I am allergic to their fur so I am always dusting and sweeping up so that I am not sneezing all the time. And cleaning the house is a way to get up and moving when I am writing – I don’t want to sit all day – so doing a few chores around the house takes care of that. Plus, I just like to have a neat and tidy home.

My son just moved back in with me so I had to move a bunch of things around and of course that meant another bout of cleaning. Not that I mind – a lot of stuff went out to the curb just in time for the “big” garbage pick-up that the City of Buffalo has twice a year. I had to make room for my son’s furniture and housewares that he had collected in the two years that he had lived on his own. So I spent at least two weeks rearranging and cleaning my entire apartment. I even put up new curtains and repotted and hung more plants in the windows.

My point is that given all these facts, I am thoroughly acquainted with every inch of my home.

So I was really surprised to see this sticking out of the molding the other day:

(I added the red arrow so you would see it easily)

I was like – where did that come from? And – how long had it been there? And – what made it move so that it stuck out – just enough – to get my attention? The recent movement of boxes and furniture in and out of the apartment? Or something more esoteric and spiritual? And then I wondered – was it a note? A love letter, perhaps? Or a poem someone stuck into the wall? Or maybe it was something more mundane, like a list of items for the grocery store. I decided to pull it out of the crevice between the moldings and see what it was.

I almost pushed it back into the space between the molding and the door trying to get it out but I did get it. It was a playing card! I set it on my desk and looked at it. It was the Jack of Clubs. A rather ordinary Jack of Clubs. The kind you’d see at any poker table. Its backing said “Stardust”.

I have to say that this has never happened to me before. I have moved as many times as the years of my life and I have found all kinds of things in the places I have lived – strange and mundane both – but never has a playing card appeared from the cracks in the wall. I have to say that I was glad that I was sober when I noticed it!

Even though I am not a gambler, I recognized the Stardust name on the back of the card immediately. The Stardust was a legendary casino in Las Vegas – it opened in 1958 and was renovated in 1964, 1977 and 1991 before being closed in 2006. It was imploded in 2007. But during the 1960’s and 1970’s, it rocked. It was a favorite hangout of the Rat Pack. Siegfried and Roy got their start there. The casino and the events that happened there were the subject of the movie “Casino” starring Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone. Although I never gamble and my shadow never darkens the door of any casino, I am fascinated by the history of this now-defunct party palace.

I have never – and I mean never – wanted to go to Las Vegas but in the past few years I have acquired a few very good friends that now live in the Sin City and I think I am going to have to take a visit to that sparkling town. I am told that there are many things to do and to see that have nothing to do with gambling or seeing shows and I could have the time of my life without ever setting foot in a casino. So maybe this card – with the name of a casino that was blown up eleven years ago – is telling me to take a trip. Maybe not today – but soon.

Now – the Jack of Clubs. I have always like the suit of Clubs. I don’t know why. When I was a little girl, it was my “favorite” suit – in that irrational way that children have of picking favorites. I think I thought a particular Queen of Clubs of a particular deck was especially pretty – or her dress was pleasing in some way – I remember that my grandfather had a deck of cards which depicted the court cards of the Clubs in glowing green costumes – the Spades were dressed in blue and the Hearts were dressed in red – I do not remember the color of the Diamond court card’s costumes. Perhaps orange or maybe white? I really can’t remember.

Even when playing any silly card game as kid – Rummy or Go Fish – I thought of the Court Cards as people and they often had conversations in my hand. The numbered cards had personalities too but not as vivid as the Court Cards with their pictured faces. But still – a 3 of Hearts had a different voice than a 7 of Spades, for instance. I always thought that all cards should have pictures on them. I was really happy when I discovered the Tarot and all the pictured cards.

The Fortune Teller’s Workbook: A Practical Introduction to the World of divination by Sasha Fenton has a wonderful chapter on playing cards. It is my go-to reference – the first place I look – when I am using playing cards, at least. Her definitions of the cards are short and to the point. I almost always find them applicable to my uses. Although she links the suits of the cards to the suits of the Tarot and to their corresponding elements, the definitions of the cards read more like definitions of Lenormand cards. With that in mind, I have started using the various reading techniques that I have been learning in Caitlín Matthew’s The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards – “The Line of Five” spread most often but also “The Ladder Layout”. Learning how to read the Lenormand Oracle has enriched all my divinatory skills.

For the Jack of Clubs, Fenton writes, “Traditionally, a dark-haired young man. A reliable friend who will help the Questioner.” (Fenton, page 182).

This could be my son who just moved in. He is – as the saying goes – tall, dark and handsome. He is also young – only twenty-five – but of course he thinks he’s all grown up. He’s a Jack – not a King.

Clubs correspond to Wands and Jacks are equivalent to Knights. If I found the Knight of Wands floating free in my house, I would immediately think that I was going to move soon – or that someone was going to move in or out of my house. Of course – my son recently moved back into the house – so that covers that. But – this is just temporary. He has a plan. He wants to go to Colorado when he finishes college. There’s more movement here – this is a busy Jack.

The Stardust was out west and that’s where this Jack wants to go. Not to some stupid casino – but to a place where there’s a million stars in a desert sky. Somewhere far away from this rust-belt city.

Meanwhile, we’re staying here for a while. I put the card on my wall by my desk to remind me that things are going to change. That change has already come, honestly. The appearance of the card says that.

Until next month, Brightest Blessings.

References

Fenton, Sasha. The Fortune Teller’s Workbook: A Practical Introduction to the World of divination. Wellingborough: The Aquarian Press, 1988.

Matthews, Caitlín. The Complete Lenormand Oracle Handbook: Reading the Language and Symbols of the Cards. Rochester, VT: Destiny , 2014.

Wikipedia. “Stardust Resort and Casino”. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stardust_Resort_and_Casino.

***

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 silverapplequeen.wordpress.com. She writes about general life, politics and poetry. She is writing a novel about sex, drugs and recovery.

Tarot Talk

July, 2018

Three of Pentacles

(The Three of Pentacles card is from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**

We haven’t looked at a Pentacles card in a while, so this month we will examine the Three of Pentacles. The Three 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. 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 3, and the suit of Pentacles. These two ingredients could actually give us enough information about this one card to offer a useful interpretation!

The suit of Pentacles (or Coins, Stones or Disks) corresponds with the element of Earth, and of the physical body, physical manifestation, and wealth. Many Tarot decks use images of pentagrams or coins or disks on their Minor Arcana Pentacles cards as well as trees, flowers and green, verdant growth, all of which will make it easy to connect with the symbolism of this suit. A nice place to begin is with the element of Earth itself.

In its natural state, Earth is cool and dry, and it binds or shapes the other elements. Earth is of the physical or physically formed or manifested world, and of nurturing, health, finances and security, and the wisdom associated with living simply and being well-grounded. Earth is the element of form and substance; it is connected to material world security (and even wealth), and to our physical bodies and physical senses, and the pleasures and pains they bring. Earth represents the nurturing and serene side of Nature, and it represents the tangible end result of our labors. Earth is about security and stillness, and knowing what to expect; it is about strength, discipline, and physical manifestation of all kinds, and about enjoying the fruits of our labors. Earthy energies are fertile, practical, and slow to change.

You can see just by examining the paragraph above just how easy it is to connect the element of Earth to our daily lives, our physical bodies, our careers, our families, and the natural world around us. These things are all the main correspondences of the element of Earth, the suit of Pentacles, and of course, our Three of Pentacles.

The traditional image of the Three of Pentacles shows three people, one standing on a bench who appears to be carving something into the wall, one holding what looks like plans or architectural drawings, and one that appears to be a priest or a friar. The worker appears to be describing his work to the architect and the friar, both of whom are listening carefully to the worker. All three are standing beneath a stone arch supported by three pillars, decorated with three pentagrams. Above the arch is a brick wall. In the Tarot, an archway represents a transition to a new stage of development or progress. Arches are difficult to construct, but are worth the effort because they are strong and balanced.

The number 3 usually represents the creation of something new, or the making real of concepts or understandings presented by the number 2. We can see the manifestation of this throughout our physical world; when a male and a female of any species come together, the result is often the creation of new life. The number 3 can also represent optimism, self-expression and the polishing or honing of skills already in place. On the uncomfortable side of things, the number 3 can represent self-doubt, wastefulness, or vanity.

Within the Tarot, the Threes are seen as either creating something out of the potential of the Ace and the partnership of the Two of their suit, or they are seen as manifesting or making real the potential of the Ace and the concept of the Two. Briefly, we have the potential for experiences within the physical world (the Ace of Pentacles), and the ability to deal with changes and developments without losing balance and confidence (the Two of Pentacles). The Three of Pentacles presents the first-stage completion (with the second stage at the number 7 and the third and final stage at the number 9), begun with the potential of the Ace which manifests in the Two card and then presents a sense of achievement in our Three of Pentacles. Our card tells us that we are able to use the skills we’ve developed in order to work with others toward meeting our goals.

The astrological correspondence for the Three of Pentacles is the planet Mars when it is located in the constellation of Capricorn.

Mars is known as the “Red Planet,” and this makes sense because Mars is about energy, passion, drive and determination, all fiery personality traits. Mars is associated with confidence and self-assertion, aggression, sexuality, energy, strength, ambition and impulsiveness. Mars governs sports, competitions and physical activities in general. Mars is commanding, confident, and powerful, asking us to stand up and be noticed without fear. Ambition and competition are also associated with this planet; Mars encourages us to face challenges and to be our best with honor. Mars rules our sexuality and sexual energy, and governs weapons, accidents and surgery. It’s important to note that Mars’s energy can be constructive or destructive. In the end, however, the energy of Mars can be quite useful if used properly.

Capricorn, the tenth sign of the zodiac, is a Cardinal earth sign, ruled by Saturn. Capricorn people are stable, hard-working, practical, methodical, and ambitious, never losing sight of goals regardless of how many obstacles or distractions are in the way. Capricorn people are a bit stoic and rigid, and they will stick to their beliefs despite convincing evidence to the contrary. More than anything else they enjoy power, respect, and authority, and they are willing to toe the line for as long as it takes to achieve those goals. The Capricorn personality is one that is firmly grounded in reality; here is the voice of reason in a chaotic world. A Capricorn person may seem unfriendly, arrogant, or without humor to outsiders, but remember the image of this astrological sign has a fish’s tail. The emotions are there, just hidden within that inhibited exterior. As far as material wealth is concerned, Capricorn approaches finances with prudence, planning, and discipline, and thus, there are not many Capricorns who are lacking in physical-world resources.

Mars in Capricorn is a confident combination, almost intimidating. Mars is driven to succeed, and Capricorn is willing to work hard in order to achieve goals. These two energies together enable us to take on big tasks and see them to the finish. Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, the planet of structure and form, and this means there will be plans rather that dreams. Mars is eager to act, and Capricorn makes certain that actions have a purpose and will be likely to succeed.

The Threes have a place on the Tree of Life of the Qabalah; they are found in the sephira of Binah at the top of the Pillar of Form/Restriction. This sephira is seen as form, as force in pattern, and as the Great Mother and the Womb of Life. Binah offers shadow and contrast, which in turn gives us shape and form. Binah restricts in order to provide a springboard, and that restriction can also be its downfall if it becomes greed. Binah represents intuitive understanding, contemplation, and deductive reasoning, and the fertile receptivity of the Sacred Feminine.

The Llewellyn Welsh Tarot Three of Pentacles shows a young woman sitting in a field filled with grasses and flowers, shaded by a tree, with three pentacles beside her (in fact, one foot is holding one of those pentacles in place). The woman has on her lap a colorful cloth decorated with symbols, and she is sewing or embroidering with a calm focus. The meanings of the card are skill, craft, marketable ideas, slow and steady progress, taking pride in humble work, and making use of talents.

The Three of Disks of the Thoth Tarot shows an aerial view of a pyramid resting on sand dunes that appear to have been formed by blasts of energy emitted by the pyramid. The four corners of the structure are resting on large wheels. The title of this card is “Works,” and its meanings are success, material gain, rank, dominion, a gain of money or influence, and a present, however there is the potential for these to be empty gains.

The Legacy of the Divine Tarot Three of Coins shows a grey-haired man diligently and skillfully carving a large disk that is inset with a glowing green gem; surrounding him are his tools and another green gem. Hanging on the wall behind him are two disks covered with carvings, as well as several more tools; on a shelf are several blank disks. This card tells of a labor of love, a task that completely engrosses us and brings rewards on many levels, not just financial.

The Three of Pentacles is an encouraging card. It tells us that if we continue to work with diligence and we don’t allow disillusionment to dampen our enthusiasm, we have the potential to find fulfillment and success and create something to be proud of. We are being told that our dreams can be made real through determination, persistence and effort. Perhaps we will need to draw on the knowledge and advice of others, and it may be beneficial for a partnership or a team to be formed, as long as those persons are of like mind. Feedback from others, at the very least, is important.

The Three of Pentacles reminds us that now is the time to be realistic. We have the ability to see what will work for us, and to tap into our skills and strengths in order to be both efficient and creative. Ideas and inspirations can be manifested into the physical world in a way that creates a secure and stable foundation upon which we can build our future.

The Three of Pentacles is a card of action; if we assemble skilled partners and focus on our goals, there is no limit to what we can accomplish.

** This year we will be featuring the art of Ciro Marchetti as part of Tarot Talk.  You can view his work and Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/ .

**

About the Author:

Raushanna is a lifetime resident of New Jersey. As well as a professional Tarot Reader and Teacher, she is a practicing Wiccan (Third Degree, Sacred Mists Coven), a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a 500-hr RYT Yoga Teacher specializing in chair assisted Yoga for movement disorders, and a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer and teacher.  Raushanna bought her first Tarot deck in 2005, and was instantly captivated by the images on the cards and the vast, deep and textured messages to be gleaned from their symbols. She loves reading about, writing about, and talking about the Tarot, and anything occult, mystical, or spiritual, as well as anything connected to the human subtle body. She has published a book, “The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding,” and is currently working on a book about the Tarot, pathworking and the Tree of Life. Raushanna documents her experiences and her daily card throws in her blog, DancingSparkles.blogspot.com, which has been in existence since 2009. She and her husband, her son and step son, and her numerous friends and large extended family can often be found on the beaches, bike paths and hiking trails of the Cape May, NJ area.

The Emerald Tablet: My 24-Day Journal to Understanding

Tarot Talk

February, 2017

 

page of swords

(Page of Swords Tarot Card from the artist Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/)**

 

Let’s cement what we learned last month when we talked about the King of Swords, by examining another Tarot “royal” of the suit of Swords, the Page of Swords. This will be the first time we talk about the Pages, so first a review of some basic information.

A Tarot deck has 78 cards. There are 22 Major Arcana cards, with numbers from 0 to 21; the Majors usually deal with broader and more far-reaching life experience issues, archetypes that are easy for us to identify with and connect with at some point in our lives. There are 56 Minor Arcana cards that are customarily grouped into four categories or suits that represent the four elements (sometimes called “Pips” or “Pip Cards”), with numbers from Ace to 10; the Minors usually deal with day-to-day issues.

The Court Cards are a part of the Minor Arcana that act as a representation of the family unit. Individually, the members of the Tarot Court represent particular personality traits, traits of people, places and events in our lives. These cards can also tell us about our own personality, and how it is perceived by others. I think of my Tarot cards as people, with each card having an individual personality. This is particularly appropriate for the Court Cards, as they are the most human of all the cards in a Tarot deck. Even the illustrations for the Court Cards usually show humans in the majority of Tarot decks. Generally speaking, there are three different ways that Court Cards can speak to us in a spread: they can indicate personality traits of our Seeker or someone affecting the Seeker; they can refer to actual individuals in the Seeker’s life, including the Seeker; and they can refer to the general aura or atmosphere of a place or situation.

Court cards offer us these descriptions of personality traits and of different ways of being or acting, so we can make use of these styles or avoid them, whichever is appropriate. Of course, the trick is to know which message is being given in a particular spread! One way to become more confident in determining this is to learn about the Court Cards themselves, and how the personality of each Court Card interacts with its particular suit. Many times if you break a particular Court Card down to its rank and correspondences, you will understand its message.

Instead of numbers, Court Cards have rank. The early creators and users of the Tarot lived within a culture that was layered according to rank. It makes sense, then, that the Tarot Court shows a progression from low to high. We don’t live in a feudal culture any more, however our culture has its own set of rules and ranks. The Tarot Court can help us to understand these roles: parent, teacher, manager, laborer, scientist, priest, and many others.

The lowest ranking Court Card is the Page, usually seen as the messenger or intern or apprentice (sometimes male and sometimes female, depending on the deck) who is still learning of life and living, but who is also good at dealing with the unexpected. Being the lowest in rank does not necessarily mean being the least important; something we should remember when thinking about our Page of Swords. Next comes the Knight, the representation of strong, focused and even excessive manifestations of his suit.

Both the Queen and the King represent mature adults. The Queen manifests her suit in a feminine or yin or inner way, and the King manifests his suit in a masculine or yang or outer way. This manifestation does not necessarily correspond to gender; a man can be represented by a Tarot Queen if he has a strong inner focus, and a woman can be represented by a Tarot King if she projects a strong sense of authority.

Since we are talking about the Page of Swords today, we already know that our Page will manifest her suit through an inquiring mind that enjoys challenges, learning, and experiencing new things. Our Page is not afraid of the fact that she is learning how to wield her intellect, and her willingness to learn will make her powerful some day.

The suit of Swords corresponds with the element of Air. The element of Air corresponds with truth, clarity, and our capacity to analyze or apply logic. Air is considered as hot and wet, and it both separates or expands, and adapts to the energies around it. The Swords cards indicate our mental state, the beliefs we have, and actions we take in response to effects around us. A Sword has two edges, a perfect metaphor for this suit, which can represent attacking or defending, logic or aggression.

The element of Air also represents the intelligence that clears away the fog of ignorance and allows us to understand what we are dealing with. Air is the medium of our voices, and it supports communications and sounds of all kinds, not without danger for words and communications are double-edged swords that can heal or hurt. Air allows both expression (out from within us) and hearing (in from outside of us) to happen, and the job of our Page of Swords is to encourage us to learn and to find new ways to manifest our ideas.

Air is not the only element that corresponds to our Page. In the Tarot Court, the suit of the card has an elemental correspondence, and the rank of the card has an elemental correspondence. Pages correspond with Earth, Knights correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck), Queens correspond with Water, and Kings correspond with either Air or Fire (depending on the deck). Since we are talking about a Page today, we are also talking about the element of Earth.

In its natural state, the element of Earth is cool and dry. When amassed Earth has weight; it is able to bind together or shape the other elements. For example, 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.

Earth is about the physical, earthly world, our physical bodies, and everything we need in order to maintain those physical bodies, including health and exercise. The element of Earth represents fertility, prosperity, and the wealth that can bring both physical shelter and mental and emotional pleasure. Tarot cards connected to the element of Earth 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.

All Pages represent the element of Earth, as well as the element corresponding to their suit; this means that our Page of Swords presents an Earthy version of Air. Earth and Air share no traits; Air is active, kinetic and has the power to create and destroy, and Earth is passive, conservative and stable; the two elements can weaken each other (and that can be positive or negative, depending on the situation and the other cards in the spread).

Like the other cards of the Tarot, Court Cards have astrological correspondences. Our Page of Swords corresponds with the season of Winter and the signs of Capricorn, Aquarius and Pisces. Capricorn is stable, hard-working and practical, telling us our Page will diligently strive to attain her goal despite distractions or obstacles. Aquarius is an unconventional, progressive, idealistic and eccentric sign, telling us our Page will be able to look at the big picture despite her inexperience and will strive to attain the highest good for the group. Pisces is a sign of feelings of all kinds, strong intuition and a charming personality, telling us our Page cares about others more than herself (although Pisces deals with duality, too; something to remember).

Because they are Minor Arcana cards, Court Cards also correspond with a sephira on the Tree of Life. The Pages correspond with the sephira of Malkuth, along with the Tens of the Minor Arcana and the element of Earth. Malkuth is the bottom sephira on the Tree, corresponding with our physical world, and opposite of Kether at the top of the Tree, corresponding with the purest form of Deity, mostly unknowable by physical world beings. Malkuth is located at the bottom of the Pillar of Balance and is receptive in nature; it receives emanations from all the other sephiroth on the Tree. This sephira and the Tree itself show us that the physical world is created by traveling downward through the sephiroth of the Tree, and these two sephiroth can be seen as one representation of “as above, so below; as below, so above.”

The Page of Swords is a messenger and a student; she is alert and clever, daring and audacious. She likes mental challenges, puzzles, conspiracy theories, gossip and secrets, and she loves to be challenged. She can use her sharp wit as a weapon, and can be a bit too secretive at times. She can be an adrenaline addict, but she is very proficient when working with information, data, or communication.

Pages are often associated with the Ace of their suit; the Ace of Swords tells of the possibility to experience intellectual potential, the birth of ideas and concepts, and that feeling that occurs when lightning strikes and a new idea is formed. There is no guarantee the ideas will manifest in a good way, or manifest at all, but with a bit of luck, good things could happen. The same thing can be said of our Page of Swords; she strives to create these situations, or to bring you the message that these situations are important.

The Thoth Page of Swords is known as the Princess of Swords. She is seen as firm and aggressive, with practical wisdom and dexterity when handling complicated affairs. The Princess of Swords wears a medusa-headed helmet, and she indeed has the power to turn things to stone by calming the volatile or manifesting ideas.

The Page of Swords of the Shadowscapes Tarot embodies logic, honesty and truthfulness. Her mind is agile and analytical, and she readily assesses each situation and stretches her sense of Self in order to make room for new ideas.

The Llewellyn Welsh Page of Swords tells of secrets, hidden matters, plots and conspiracies, and the need for caution. Is there a reason to suspect foul play? Is a spy accessing private information? This Page can warn us of such things, or be the culprit who creates them.

The Legacy of the Divine Page of Swords is dressed in light blue and wears a hat adorned with white feathers and the alchemic symbol for the element of Air. This Page offers a pair of daggers, one silver and one gold, tools of honesty and logic, precision and discernment. Marchetti’s Gateway to the Divine Tarot companion book offers an interesting comparison between the Page of Swords and the Two of Swords. Both cards offer crossed Swords, and both cards can indicate balance and compromise, or duplicity and indecision.

Yes, these card descriptions are varied, but they all show that the Page of Swords is adaptable and light on her feet. She would make a great lawyer, an effective diplomat, and a formidable spy or secret agent. Her enjoyment of learning and stretching the limits means she would excel in risk-taking opportunities, such as sports and law enforcement as well as business and finance. The Page of Swords encourages us to connect with our own Inner Child, and to remember that while that relationship may be difficult or troubled at times, looking within without pre-judgment and with an enthusiastic acceptance of what we find, could be just the ticket!

**This year we will be featuring the art of Ciro Marchetti http://www.ciromarchetti.com/ as part of Tarot Talk.  You can view his work and Decks at http://www.ciromarchetti.com/.

 

Tarot Talk

November, 2014

This month, we are going back to the Minor Arcana suit of Swords, and we will explore the Two of Swords, one of those cards whose message can be either a help or a hindrance to a Seeker.

The Two of Swords is a Minor Arcana card so it is most likely referring to a day-to-day issue, rather than a long-term or widely-sweeping one, but this does not take away from its potential to assist us, or to cause discomfort. The keywords for this card stretch all the way from avoidance and being stuck, to peace and serenity. How do you effectively respond to such a card? By understanding it. The best way to understand something, even something we don’t understand, is to break it down to its most basic ingredients. So, let’s get started!

The suit of Swords, which corresponds with the element of Air, the Spades of playing cards, the direction of East and the color of yellow, seems to use “no pain, no gain” as its motto. Maybe the tendency for discomfort has to do with the fact that Swords usually tell of some focused intent to bring forth a manifestation of some kind, or they tell of a struggle and then an outcome. Swords cards are about purposeful actions and the thoughts, intentions or beliefs behind them; these actions are different from the Fiery Wands cards because they are deliberate, rather than as a response to random effects presented to us by the elements around us. These actions are different from Watery Cups cards because they are sourced from analysis and the workings of the intellect, rather than emotions and feelings. They are different from Earthy Pentacles cards because they represent the mind and the thinking processes, rather than the physical world and the workings and needs of the physical body. Simply put, the effects of the Swords cards are sourced from within us; we are the main catalyst that creates the manifestation of a Swords card. In many ways the Swords cards represent our attempt to manifest our chosen reality, and they tell us that we might be causing the very challenges we are trying to prevent.

The element of Air corresponds with truth, clarity, and our capacity to analyze or apply logic. Thus, the Swords cards indicate our mental state, the beliefs we have, and actions we take (or don’t take) in response to effects around us. A Sword has two edges, a perfect metaphor for this suit, which can represent attacking or defending, logic or aggression. We are talking analysis and intellect and logic here, without mercy or compassion.

The suit of Swords is not all bad; after all the element of Air also represents the intelligence that clears away the fog of ignorance and allows us to understand what we are dealing with. Air is the medium of our voices, and it supports communications and sounds of all kinds; Air allows both expression (out from within us) and hearing (in from outside of us) to happen. Of course, words and communications are double-edges swords, too, and they can heal or hurt. The Swords cards also represent an opportunity to feel more empowered. That’s what happens when we successfully deal with a challenge!

The number 2 usually represents balance, polarity, and the energy of “distance between.” The Ace of the Tarot Minors represents the Point and the concept of Position; the 2 represents the Line (the “distance between” two points) and it brings us the concept of comparison. The number 2 offers creative partnerships, duality, tension, cooperation, diplomacy, and decisions; it offers both direction and connection, and can be considered a gateway. In the Tarot, this number represents the first time the element appears as itself, manifested. Within the suit of Swords, we have the potential to be effective while using logic and analytical thinking (the Ace of Swords), and we have the building of the protective barriers that bring us quiet and solitude and non-action or non-manifestation (the Two of Swords), so we can focus on the message of the intellect.

The astrological correspondence for the Two of Swords is the Moon in the constellation Libra, and this offers us a bit more depth of understanding of our card. The Moon is the brightest object besides the sun in our sky, and besides feelings and emotions and illusion and imagination, it is also associated with a need for security, mainly because of the unease brought by the darkness. It is feminine and passive in nature, even melancholy at times, and it represents our emotional life. Things look different when lit by the light of the Moon; colors change and shadows distort. Often the Moon helps us to see a different side of our nature. Libra offers the concept of “we are,” and it is diplomatic, objective, cooperative, and calm, and is about partnerships and balance; Libra can also be vague, distant, indecisive, dependent on others, and can lack confidence. When the Moon is in Libra, it offers adaptability, balance, harmony, and tranquility. It also tells us that conflicts are uncomfortable, and we may do a lot to avoid them because we need stability and predictability, which may be difficult to maintain because standing up for ourselves brings that conflict we are trying to avoid. The interesting thing here is that it is in the astrological correspondence for our Two of Swords that we find the feelings and emotions that are generally not found within the suit itself; here is our balance, duality, and polarity!

The traditional image of the Two of Swords is of a woman holding two Swords by their hilts before her, with her wrists or the Swords themselves crossed in front of her, as if the two Swords were blocking out the world and preventing the world from affecting her. Often, she is blindfolded, and there may be a representation of the element of Water or the Moon (both connected to each other, and to emotions, feelings and imagination) in the background, as if the woman is not even acknowledging their presence. The woman may be seated or standing, but she is stationary, well grounded, and well balanced. The image on the Thoth Two of Swords, which uses “Peace” as a keyword, shows the two Swords piercing a lotus flower, representing the intellect being restrained in a balanced manner by love. Perhaps that is how Peace is achieved, according to the Thoth Tarot.

On the Tree of Life, the Tarot Twos correspond with the sephira of Chokmah, the first actual manifestation after the pureness of Kether (Kether represents the cause of manifestation). Chokmah is found at the top of the Pillar of Force/Expansion. It is seen as dynamic thrust, and as the Ultimate Positive, the Great Stimulator and the Great Fertilizer (one of the symbols of Chokmah is the penis), and thus this sephira is connected to the Wheel of the Year. It represents dynamic male energy and is the origin of vital force and polarity. In Chokmah, pure being becomes pure force (and thus, pure formlessness), and independence is possible. Thus, the Twos of the Minor Arcana show the full power of their element and correspondence, in the purest expression. For the Two of Swords, this purest expression is manifested as inner peace, without influence from the outside world.

The Two of Swords can be seen to represent the barriers we build in order to achieve a pure focus inward. There is always danger to be found in this kind of deliberate walling off of the world. Refusing to make a decision, avoiding the truth, or denying our own feelings and beliefs can certainly be harmful to us, and they can separate us from reality. Even simply giving in to lethargy and deliberately clinging to stagnation as the world passes us by can cause us to ignore the symptoms of decay and corrosion, and allow them to grow and have more influence. Choice, after all, is a power that no one can take from us unless we allow them to take it, and refusing to chose is in the end a choice.

However, there are times when blocking out an instinctive response to the world around us is a good thing as long as it is just for today, and maintaining our cool while dealing with a difficult situation brings clarity. A temporary disconnect from the world can help us to recharge our battery, and allow us to do a bit of system maintenance by cleaning out our “temporary files” and de-fragging our “hard drive.” The Two of Swords can also represent the keeping of a secret of some kind; that, too, can be helpful or destructive.

While it is beneficial to sometimes close out the world, we should always remember that closing our heart will not bring a happy ending. We can and sometimes should create the peace that happens when we shut out the world for a little while, but we need to stay connected to our own self and to our own heart; sometimes it is during that peace and quiet that we can see our heart center with the most clarity.

“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” – Unknown. Yes, the Two of Swords offers that kind of peace.