Today it was really difficult to be satisfied with myself as I am. I was feeling adventurous yesterday and dyed my hair for the first time ever! It was supposed to be a dark color with a purple-y shine to it, but it turned out more red than purple. And I have a bumpy red face which seems to be mid-flair-up right now. (Doc thinks it might be rosacea?) Self conscious about my hair, self conscious about my face. I did do some reflecting today on how tough it can be at times to live self-love and self-confidence. Instead of being happy with the three cups in front of me, I keep looking for a fourth cup that will make me happier. It’s an uncomfortable way to be! Not quite a lesson, not something I excelled at, but something that became quite apparent today. So if I can recognize it, I can work to counter the negative self-talk.
Position Two: How can I strive to be my best tomorrow?
Well … be confident! Love myself, be bold. Tomorrow I’ll be attending my first “psychic fair” where I plan to get my first in-person tarot reading. I’m pretty excited! Let go and enjoy the day. Exude goodness, accept goodness.
I was self-confident today. I didn’t doubt myself or think about who I “ought” to be. I was me, and I was comfortable and happy with that!
Position Two: How can I strive to be my best tomorrow?
Queen of Wands
I can be passionate and excited, but careful not to burn others. When I get excited about something, I can get hyper-focused and forget to be gentle. This doesn’t mean I should stifle my passions. It just means that I should not dive so far into them that I lose sight of how to communicate and connect with others.
Now that I’ve explored the Major Arcana, I can jump back into the Alternative Tarot Course! This is a majors only spread, and the question is: How can I become a truly brilliant tarot reader?
Position Five: The Center
This card is looked at first since it is the center of the issue at hand — everything else depends on this. It is not drawn randomly from the deck, but is determined by adding the numbers of the other cards in the spread.
While this card still gives me icky feelings much of the time, I’m going to practice seeing it with a positive angle: my dedication to my beliefs are central. And this does not mean blind, dogmatic beliefs. Because I can be insecure, I do tend to second-guess myself. The Hierophant here might be saying, “Stand strong in your beliefs. That’s not inherently a bad thing.”
Position One: In my favor
A lovely card of love and connection! I have external support, and I also feel a great connection to others and would love to help them through tarot. Even though I am not usually super confident, I am on the same page with myself here. While that’s no deep and stable self-love, it is a step in that direction. So I have great support, I have an intense desire to help and connect with others, and I’m actually on my own team!
Position Two: Against me
The illusion of unworthiness. I often think I don’t deserve success or I just am not good enough to achieve success. This little devil does lurk in the background.
Position Three: The judge
Clarity as judge seems awfully fitting. Keep my vision clear and don’t let myself get tripped up by illusions or self-doubt. Be confident, embody “as within, so without,” and let my own light shine. As long as I keep the point of view of the Sun, she doesn’t see any reason that the Devil should win out. She says, “Love can be so much powerful than doubt.”
Position Four: The decision
Maintain a balance, and keep in mind “as within, so without” and “as above, so below.” With a sense of higher purpose and a creative, action-oriented vision, there is no reason I shouldn’t be able to become a brilliant tarot reader.
Tonight I am struggling with some grief over past events. Just the kind of thing that occasionally bubbles to the surface, and even though it’s in the past and things are far different now, it just makes me really sad and I have to have a good cry over it.
I tend to pick stones out to reflect what I need help with or how I’m feeling. Today I laid out turritella agate (self-confidence, letting go of bitterness), bloodstone (healing), and dalmation jasper (strengthening family ties).
Then I asked, “How can move through this grief?”
Knight of Wands
A reverse meaning of this knight is an inability to move forward. Here this knight may be saying to me, “Go ahead, have your cry. That’s fine. But then we’ve got to get back on the horse. There is so much to do!” I feel like this card indicates that there’s not necessarily shame in stopping to grieve, but that that can’t be the end of my road. Look to the future, scope out exciting things to do. (Like watch X-Files with my sweetheart and eat popcorn … just as soon as I’m done processing with this reading.)
Maintain clarity. It is easy to feel grief at the past actions of others. Don’t lose sight of where I am here and now in relation to these people. Things are better. So even though the past may rear up and open old wounds, don’t shut my eyes to the good that has eventually arisen from all that pain. Be confident in my ability to keep my eyes on the bright horizon as I go through this tough patch. Also, seek out the people and things that renew and support me. As the sun gives life on the planet, I should seek out that which gives me life.
King of Cups
Rachel Pollack in The New Tarot Handbook provides a reversed meaning of this King as: “Anger or tears may reveal long-hidden feelings.” I wouldn’t say these are long-hidden, but apparently they’ve been bubbling enough to spill over. Experience this cathartic release, and then get back to the upright meaning of the King of Cups: creativity through love. Being compassionate and trustworthy, and growing emotionally through this grief.
All of these cards seem to be saying, to some degree: “Feel it, let it out, and then get back to the good life. You don’t have to suppress it, but don’t linger in grief longer than you need to in order to release it.”
Judgement is a card of renewal and rebirth. Duality is a theme that has been explored throughout much of the Major Arcana. Here, we see a child between the man and the woman. This symbolizes the birth of a new self. From duality comes a new whole.
The cross in the sun on the Efflorescent Tarot (and on the angel’s banner in the RWS version) can represent a cross-roads. Judgement signals a need to leave something old behind in order to take this new path or in order to be resurrected. It can also represent the coming together of world and the universe.
Justice and Judgement seem to have a lot in common, but Rachel Pollack in Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom says that, “With Justice the experience and the response were personal, based on your actions in the past. Here a force greater than yourself is leading and calling you, and the Judgement is not simply on the meaning of your own life but on the true nature of existence, and the way in which you and all beings are a part of it” (135). So while Justice is about inner balance and truth, Judgement seems to be an awakening to the larger recognition that we are a part of the universe or a call to or recognition of change. Pollack tells us that this change can be mundane or divine and that the other cards in a spread can help to illuminate the change we’re called to or the change we need to recognize.
While the Sun is about unity and self-acceptance, Judgement speaks to unity and community. We are all integral parts of the universe. Paul Quinn in Tarot for Life says, “The Trump unites the fluidity of the High Priestess (2) with the ego-unencumbered wholeness of the Fool (0). The combination initiates the process that will lead to the spiritual homecoming symbolized in the World. … Judgment’s angel breaks through the density of mass consciousness with the revelation that we are all one in spirit. … Therefore, the Angel of Judgment does not seek to judge us (as the name of the card might imply) but to lift us out of our judgmental conscioussness” (133, emphasis in original).
A shadow of Judgement could be waiting for someone else to rescue us. An opposite or reverse meaning could be uncertainty about how to implement change or an unwillingness or inability to heed the call.
If I were to assign an element to Judgement, it would be fire and water: fire for the inspiration of the call and water for the spiritual unity we see through Judgement.
I think I’ve been called to take better care of myself for many, many years, but I only just answered that call a couple of years ago. Oh, I wish I’d listened earlier, but absolutely better late than never. I’m still working on heeding the call. I finally stopped letting people stomp all over me, but I’m still working on believing that I’m important and valuable — just as valuable as everyone else (like the Judgement card reminds me).
One of Paul Quinn’s reflection questions for this card is, “What ‘angels’ have awakened you to greater possibilities?” I’ve got to say my sweetie is one. He always believes in me even when I absolutely 100% do not. And like an angel, he hasn’t given up on me even once. He models the possibility of loving myself unconditionally.
This reading seems to call for a particular situation, so I’ll just keep in mind my general life transition right now for this reading.
Position One: What is clear about an issue or a situation?
Ten of Pentacles
I have security, my worldly needs are met. This security is a major reason I am able to make this transition. I’ve been able to stop working (mostly, I still teach online) and can dedicate a lot of time to my mental health, which includes practicing tarot.
This card can also symbolize family. I am feeling much more like a “real” member of my chosen family. A greater sense of solidarity helps to support me.
Position Two: What is clouded over?
Ten of Swords
I acknowledge that my fears of betrayal are exaggerated. However, they do indeed still exist. I haven’t been able to banish them. These fears cloud over my ability to truly relax into the feeling of familial solidarity suggested in the Ten of Pentacles.
Position Three: What helps me see clearly?
Ace of Cups
Consciously fostering a new emotional outlook. Joanna says, “This is the potential of creating something magical.” I sure hope so! The more I can grow this Ace of Cups seed, the smaller I hope my Ten of Swords fears will become.
Position Four: What confuses me?
Ten of Cups
This card symbolizes happiness and love and connection and family. Where the Ten of Pentacles represents perhaps a more structured sense of family, the Ten of Cups is more about joy in only each other’s company. Which is a lovely idea! And one I don’t totally understand. Since I am by far the latest joiner to this chosen family of mine, it seems very Ten of Cups and I don’t know what the rules are. They aren’t clear to me. And I do well with structure and rules. Everyone is accepted for who they are, but I don’t understand how respect is enforced, and respect is a big issue for me. (I’ve been in this family for literally years, but it’s just so different than my understanding of the world it is taking a long time to really settle in.)
Position Five: How can I simplify this issue or situation?
Knight of Wands
Conviction, passion, courage, and focus. Adventure! Perhaps I can simplify this transition by framing it as an adventure. There are unknowns and there may be bumps, but all adventures have each of those. So I should approach this adventure with excitement and deal with the bumps along the way rather than focusing all of my the time on what might go wrong or what I’m not sure of.
The Animal Wisdom Tarot says that this card teaches both pacing and stamina, both of which are good to keep in mind on this adventure.
Holy tens, Batman! Plus the Ace makes for a big message about beginnings and endings. This is indeed a major transition, and I feel like I’m on the cusp. I can look behind me and see someone totally different. I can look ahead and know that big things are coming, even if I’m not sure what they look like. And the Knight says, “You’ve got this! Stay brave and excited!”
The Sun symbolizes clarity, joy, simplicity, knowledge, and openness. When considering the third row of the Major Arcana as a whole, the Sun is significant: from darkness (in the Devil and Tower) to light (from the Star, to the Moon, to the Sun). What was in shadow in the light of the Moon is now clearly seen.
The Sun is a card of self-confidence. It can represent a harmonious joining of our eternal selves and our mortal selves or the discovery of our own inner Garden of Eden. When we have made the connection between our inner light or eternal self and our mortal self, how could we be anything but confident? To know that such beauty and power lies within us is empowering and joyful indeed! The joy of the Fool has been transformed into a joy bred of self-knowledge and experience.
I love this statement by Paul Quinn in Tarot for Life: “‘Light is above us, and color around us,’ observed Goethe, ‘but if we have not light and color in our eyes, we shall not perceive them outside us.’ The brighter our inner Sun, the more apt we are to see the Sun in the world (as within, so without)” (128). Quinn also relates the card to our inner child and says this is not a refusal to see that which is painful or bad in the world — but rather the knowledge that goodness burns brighter and will outlast these things (129). One of the keywords the Animal Wisdom Tarot assign the Sun is “radiance.”
As card 19, 1 and 9 make us think of the Magician and the Hermit. The Magician reminds us of the “as within, so without” adage, and in the Sun, the Hermit has climbed out of his cave radiant and whole. 1 + 9 = 10 (The Wheel of Fortune), which indicates that even though the Sun might seem like the end of the Fool’s Journey we still have some changes in store.
As the sun in the sky is a source of life, the Sun card might lead us to ask “What is sustaining me and supporting me right now?” And if we are full of Sun energy ourselves, what are we doing to help sustain others?
A shadow of the Sun could be being a little too cocky, perhaps in assuming the world revolves around you. Another shadow could be false cheer, only as an outward performance. An opposite or reverse of the Sun could be refusing to see the light and good of things, keeping your own light from the world, or having low self-esteem.
If I were to assign an element to the Sun, it would be fire, air, and water. Fire for joy, air for knowledge, and water for spiritual harmony.
Honestly, the most Sun-like part of my life is practicing tarot. I’ve tried many things (all kinds of hobbies, not only spiritual practices) and enjoyed them, but nothing has gotten me so fired up and excited and sure that I can be awesome at something as tarot has. I’m loving every second of it. I have the privilege of staying at home right now, and I spend probably four hours a day usually studying tarot. And the time flies! I mean seriously flies. I already have plans in the works to set up an online reading business, but I’m waiting to learn more and save up for starting costs. Even so, I think about it every day. I look into logos and LLCs and how others do email readings and all kinds of things. Tarot makes me confident in a way I don’t think I’ve ever been. I feel empowered and good at something and wildly enthusiastic! Tarot is my Sun-place, and hopefully that will eventually leak out into other parts of my life that could use a little more self-confidence.
This reading is for a conflict situation, so I’ll just keep in mind what upset me last night as I do this reading.
Position One: What is outer justice?
Four of Cups
Huska’s description of this card fits this reading well. A balance in a relationship. This balance is made of respect and fairness and is needed to avoid dissatisfaction or resentment.
Position Two: What is the wisdom of pursuing it?
Clarity. If things are not clear, miscommunication can easily happen, and that can upset the balance.
Position Three: What action is best?
It may seem the opposite of the Sun above, but the Moon speaks to the mysteries of the unconscious. Both our own unconscious and the mind of whoever we are in a relationship with are mysterious places. Sometimes we have to dive in and explore these unknowns before we can reach clarity. The light of the moon may help us to see things we wouldn’t have noticed otherwise.
Position Four: What is inner justice?
The Hanged Man
A new perspective. The same old viewpoint can become torturous. Self-honesty and fairness can come through trying a new viewpoint. The Moon and the Hanged Man together in this reading might speak to the importance of this new perspective.
Position Five: What part do I play?
King of Pentacles
Pentacles represent the physical world, and the King of Pentacles can be read as a provider or a master craftsman. My role could include caring for (providing for) my body so my mind can do its necessary work.
I love Huszka’s depiction of this king. He’s not a rich businessman on a throne with all of his monetary wealth. He walks through the world and seems to have fruit falling from the basket/bag her carries. Fruit for everyone! Sustenance and health for all through this king. To provide this kind of care also takes love and dedication. I should feel those things for myself as I seek inner justice.
Position Six: How will justice come about?
The Chariot is a card that, like Justice, speaks to balance. But the Chariot is a more conscious and controlling balance. A less practiced and less natural sense of balance, but a balance nonetheless. Justice will come through practicing balance willfully. In the Major Arcana, we can’t get to Justice without first visiting the Chariot. Conscious effort and practice.
Position Seven: What is the link between inner and outer justice?
King of Wands
Fire of fire. This king is a creative leader, and while fire can suggest spontaneity, as a king he is responsible for his choices to more people than just himself. Passion and creativity can help to both facilitate communicate without giving up and to see things from a new perspective. And people in a relationship are responsible to each other. I can see creativity and responsibility being a link between inner and outer justice.
Four major cards and two kings! I’m not sure what that may mean, but that piece of the reading certainly stood out to me. With more practice I’ll be better able to think about what things like this may signify or communicate.