INTERPRETING THE CARDS
The Tarot’s meanings can be personal and subjective to each of us in accordance with our unique experiences and views of the world. For this reason there are no immutable or absolute definitions that can be applied to the cards. The cards mean what our intuition and experience tell us they mean, and this can differ from person to person. As you study the cards do not be afraid to allow your inner voice to suggest nuances of meaning.
When examining the Tarot, you’ll notice that the titles, illustrations, and symbols of certain cards seem to openly convey their meaning, while the informative clues for other cards may appear more allusive at first glance. When you encounter a card that you may not easily understand, take the extra time needed to recognize its energies.
In subsequent articles we will examine some of the more commonly accepted card meanings in great detail. For now, simply acquaint yourself with the Major Arcana and begin to explore their surface meanings.
(0) The Fool: Entering a new phase, starting an adventure, living in the moment, being new and innocent, taking a risk.
(1) The Magician: Experiencing movement through willpower, understanding your intentions, focusing your energy, having singleness of purpose, utilizing your creative power.
(2) The High Priestess: Being passive, employing your intuition, experiencing spiritual enlightenment, sensing the secret and hidden, having esoteric insight.
(3) The Empress: Showing maternal instinct, enjoying prosperity, experiencing growth and fertility, focusing on the senses, feeling connected to the earth.
(4) The Emperor: Using masculine power, creating order out of chaos, enjoying security, dealing with authority, leading or being led.
(5) The Hierophant: Established codes of behavior or belief, learning or teaching, honoring ritual and ceremony, participating in an organized group, giving or receiving wise counsel.
(6) The Lovers: Participating in a partnership or affiliation, experiencing physical passion and desire, confronting your own beliefs, staying true to yourself, making important moral decisions.
(7) The Chariot: Winning a victory through will, desiring to achieve, experiencing bold confidence, mastering and curbing impulses, having a clear purpose.
(8) Strength: Showing preservation and endurance, exhibiting calm tolerance, feeling sympathy toward others, using gentle force, having mental and moral fortitude.
(9) The Hermit: Following a personal quest, accepting or giving wise advice, spending time alone, engaging in self examination and discovery, withdrawing from the world.
(10) The Wheel of Fortune: Experiencing fate, discovering opportunities through new developments, undergoing rapid change, standing at a crossroad, coming full circle.
(11) Justice: Confronting equitable or impartial treatment, being accountable, choosing rightly, recognizing the results of your actions, restoring balance.
(12) The Hanged Man: Pausing to reflect, experiencing a change of mind or circumstances, letting go, voluntarily losing, giving up control.
(13) Death: Completing a chapter, experiencing crucial and profound change, entering the start of a new cycle, eradicating the unnecessary, enduring an inevitable ending.
(14) Temperance: Avoiding excess, achieving a harmonious balance, blending forces together, finding peace through compromise, experiencing good health.
(15) The Devil: Being lured or enticed, experiencing unhealthy attachments, focusing too much on the physical, being unaware, feeling tied down against your will.
(16) The Tower: Experiencing havoc, facing annihilation, enduring painful alteration, undergoing a shocking catastrophe, having an emotional outburst.
(17)The Star: Having faith in the future, finding motivation, experiencing renewal, having a sense of belief, enjoying peace of mind.
(18) The Moon: Feeling apprehension, confronting the unfamiliar, seeing what is not there, having troubled imaginings and thoughts, becoming confused.
(19) The Sun: Attaining a new level of insight, having your day in the sun, becoming radiantly energized, feeling invigorated, experiencing a sense of confidence.
(20) Judgment: Judging or being judged, forgiving yourself or others, reaching a higher level of being, becoming transformed, making a fresh start.
(21) The World: Realizing your goals, coming to a journeys end, experiencing success, feeling satisfied, reaching a conclusion.
Each Major Arcana card seems to follow a particular theme. Simply knowing a card’s basic theme can help you explore the many other avenues of expression that a card can adopt in a reading. Take the time to study the following themes and adapt them to your own understanding of the Tarot.
High Priestess: Intuition
Hierophant: Spiritual/Academic Teaching/Learning
Strength: Inner Strength
Wheel of Fortune: Change
Hanged Man: Sacrifice
It was a pleasure to once again share with you the wonders of the Tarot. Next week, we’ll take an upclose and personal look at the ‘Fool’ card. Until then, may the Tarot be with you!