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In defence of fortune-telling

Fortune-telling is the practice of predicting the future. The definition of divination is not too far off, describing it as an attempt to gain knowledge of future events through occult means. Whichever term we decide to use, it essentially amounts to the same thing, and the first mental association we are likely to have would probably be that of Tarot, natal charts, crystal gazing or some other similar method. Cards in particular summon up an idea of being able to peer into what lies ahead. It has been so for as long as history records them, both among the common folk and among those of the more learned classes. More recently however, in the last couple of decades, a new trend arose which has done everything in its power to distance itself from the notion of predicting the future.

Anyone even vaguely familiar with Tarot, Lenormand, Runes, crystal gazing or any other such practice is more than certain to have encountered, time and again, in literature both on and offline, how all of these systems are “not used for fortune-telling”, “cannot predict the future” and how they are instead predominantly to be employed as a “trusted advisor” for “gaining spiritual insight” and “self-knowledge”. We are then left to wonder – how many people are initially drawn to cartomancy with the idea of “spiritual insight”?

Many of us have first encountered divination as children or very young adults. If we are to go back in time and relive that moment – what was the core fascination for us at the time? Was it the person’s ability to perform wonderful feats of “self-development” and their perhaps exceptional “self-knowledge”? The psychological nuances of their insight? Their heightened sense of purpose? Or was it something different altogether? Can most of us honestly say that it was not precisely the predictive qualities of the whole affair that got us interested, hooked and even addicted to the adrenaline rush that happens whenever somebody else or we ourselves get it right and perform an accurate reading? Were the generations upon generations (upon generations) of semi-literate village fortune-tellers as well as learned men of the court so far off the mark in focusing on divination? Why is the mere idea of predicting the future so offensive to the modern author’s ears so that they have to repeatedly distance themselves from it and instead opt for vague pop psychology and Oprah’s book club-style fluff?

Unfortunately, the answer seems to be – fear. Fear of failure, fear of inability to actually perform as a reader, fear of losing one’s audience and / or clients if the methods they teach do not serve their purpose, fear of ultimately losing money due to not being good enough in something they profess to be experts in. This in turn has created an entire new movement in Tarot which has stirred away from old school fortune-telling and into something that simply has no connection to its original purpose. Whether this change is good or bad is left to be seen but is not one I am particularly interested in. Instead, I focus on the purely divinatory aspect of the cards and have a feeling that most of my readers are the same.

This is why I will conclude this article with a bit of advice on how to avoid the pitfalls of “self-development” and instead stay on the track of proper fortune-telling so that, eventually, you too will start seeing real, tangible results of your practice.

If you wish to explore Tarot, Lenormand, Kipper, or any other system, you need to be prepared for a certain dose of failure, especially in the beginning. There is no way around it but directly through it. Keep practicing, keep a diary, keep track of your predictions and how accurate they were. Always be aware of the mistakes you have made and seek to correct them but also know when you got it right. Understand how it is that you made an accurate prediction and focus on that intuitive space in your mind. Over time, results will come. Of course, it is unrealistic to expect prophetic visions of the cinematic variety, but a decent enough level of success is attainable. After all, if all predictions were a 100% accurate, we’d all be billionaires by now but, even if they are not, they do still hold an admirable enough percentage of truth to make them worth while. There is no shame in being 70% accurate and it is still better than hiding behind the mask of “self-development” all while hoping that a true gift of seeing into the future will materialize out of nowhere. It is far better to accept the fact that fortune-telling does indeed have its purpose, that we do wish for it, that it is our main goal in fiddling with the cards, and that we can indeed become masters of it.

A sense of justice (Tarot story)

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XI Justice, Nine of Cups, Queen of Wands, Eight of Coins (The Ghost Tarot, Lo Scarabeo)

The sense of justice of an individual and that of a group, regardless of its size, can sometimes be at odds with each other. It is not uncommon for a community to pull in one direction while the heart of a person to be elsewhere altogether, their moral code determined by their innermost beliefs rather than those professed by the society they find themselves in by birth. And even though birth itself can, on occasion, bestow an unsuspecting soul with all the riches and comfort the world has to offer, it can also put the person in a situation in which they have to choose between what is considered noble and what they feel is right in their heart. Such was the case of Lady Meredith.

She was of noble birth, belonging to a family that had held an esteemed position in society for longer than any record was able to show. With such status naturally came considerable wealth which may or may not have been the source of said esteem to begin with. Be as it may, her kin were rich and her future was secure. Even with four sisters and two brothers, Meredith still knew her parents would be able to provide an ample inheritance which would either serve as a dowry or allow her to live a life of comfort even if she was to remain unmarried or end up a widow. She herself had no objection to marrying and all the thoughts and aspirations of her young heart had been directed towards finding a soul as noble as hers to be joined in holy matrimony. Meredith was a modest and sincere young woman, one blessed with every fine trait of character, moderate in her thoughts and feelings, and generous towards all.

As such, and materially provided for, she was sure to attract many suitors. Meredith’s was only to pick and choose. She herself, much to the delight of her parents, seemed determined to employ both her heart as well as her rational mind in selecting the right husband. After spending the summer season in London, followed by a three weeks in Bath, she came home with a clear idea of who her choice would be. Young Lord Algernon seemed just the catch. Tall, exceptionally good looking, heir to a vast estate and a title to boot – his military career has placed him in the focus of anyone following the situation in Crimea or any other battlefront for that matter. He was a fine soldier, a natural born leader, and was rising through the rigid hierarchy of the army rather quickly, perhaps quicker than anyone at the time. His fame was already great and his already substantial wealth grew with it. In addition to that, he also possessed all the charms and graces expected from a man of his age, and seemed like a well-educated, well-intended, honest young fellow. What time he and Lady Meredith had spent in conversation give her the impression that they were on the same page on many things in life.

Still, as good as he was on paper, as happy as she was over the prospect of having him as a husband, and as likely as her parents were to approve – she somehow immediately felt his presence was too strong for her delicate nature. He was all that he was supposed to be, all that he was expected to be by society at large, by mothers and fathers alike – even your average novelist would pick him as their hero. Yet something wasn’t right. Behind his truly charming and highly attractive exterior laid something that Meredith couldn’t quite put a finger on it but that made her ill at ease. Still, she decided to do the sensible thing and marry for all the negative impressions she may have had seemed purely in her head, a product of her imagination of which she herself often thought had the tendency to run wild. So, they married and, to everyone’s eye, seemed destined for the happily ever after.

***

A couple of years went by and everything seemed to be just as it ought. Lord Algernon spent some of his time in battle, commanding the troops and himself fighting bravely for his country and the queen, earning one medal after another. The newspapers were full of praise for his valour and skill, for his dedication and ability to lead to victory even when all the odds were agains him and his men. Being a good husband as he was, he also made sure he spent enough time at home and took good care that his wife and their children. Yes, children arrived soon enough, each of the four born the summer after the previous one has rocked the cradle. Algernon made sure they had everything they could possibly need. Meredith had practically nothing to complain of and to her, and to those around her, life seemed a never-ending string of blessings. Yet, deep inside, something wasn’t right. Even if her mind couldn’t articulate it at first, she felt a constant sense of fear and apprehension.

Just like any good wife would, Meredith closely followed the news from the front – any front Algernon would find himself on at the time – and took close notice of each and every word that was reported. Most of it was unabashed praise for her husband – almost a national hero at that point – who had secured victory after victory for himself and his troops. She read every word, every single one, over and over, many times and, as much pride and joy she was supposed to feel – she couldn’t. Each report, as laudatory as it was, also came with numbers – numbers of enemies slaughtered, soldiers captured, numbers of towns and villages won over, numbers of miles of land conquered… What was to become of these people, these lands? What was their fate after the dust had settled? Even if the supposedly more noble, more civilized, more advanced side won – would they be shown mercy and compassion? Or would they end up just being numbers in a newspaper article and nothing more?

She couldn’t help but think, over and over again – was this something that was correct and truly morally right? Was Algernon the hero of the nation or something different altogether? Was he there to protect or simply to viciously attack and destroy? Were the wealth and comfort they were enjoying justly earned or simply spoils of war plunged from those that may or may not have deserved such a fate? All these and a thousand other questions swirled around her head and she couldn’t drive them out, no matter how hard she tried. Was the man that was supposed to be her very own a fighter for justice or a cruel war lord? She didn’t know. She had no way of knowing, away from the world, away in the ancient halls of his ancestral home, surrounded by every comfort, by refinement and elegance, but ultimately trapped in a gilded cage of her own making. Still, she continued reading and continued keeping track of the situation.

Over time, her inner strength, inner sense of justice, or at least what she perceived to be justice, only grew stronger. Instead of a loving husband, or at least a good partner in life, she started seeing him as the enemy, the bloodthirsty villain that took pleasure in death and destruction. Good as he was to her, kind and generous – her impression grew stronger with each passing day. Every time he would come home to spend time with her and their children, she would be torn between giving him the respect, love and affection he appeared to deserve, and rejecting him altogether – chasing him out of her parlour, out of her dining room, and out of her bed. Truth be told, he never once exhibited any sort of violent or even mean-spirited behaviour towards her. In every sense of the word, he was the perfect husband. Meredith’s inner voice however couldn’t agree. It kept getting louder and louder, sounding like an alarm, boisterously announcing the most recent death toll from the battlefield.

***

She had to do something, anything, to fix the problem, to get out of the situation, release herself from the prison and be able to help others, to stop being an accomplice and instead start fighting, fighting against something that she was trapped in but wanted to be no part of. Her strength grew, her determination too with it. He was home again, after one of his missions in the east. Now was her chance to put him on the spot and demand answers to each and every one of the questions that were swirling around her mind for months, even years. What was he doing? What was the nature of his missions? Were his soldiers as brave and as noble as the public wished to see them? Were they really fighting for a just cause or was something different altogether the ammunition for their deadly weapons? Her mind was overwhelmed by thoughts and ideas she barely dared to touch. Each would but rush through her brain, leaving a toxic trace behind it, only to make way for the next frightening idea. Meredith couldn’t bear it anymore. She had to know.

She sat at the edge of their large canopied bed, in her white, flowing sleeping gown made of most precious silk. Her hands clenched the side of the mattress and her nails dug into the sheets. She was waiting for him to come into the room. Soon enough, he quietly opened the door, believing her to already be in repose. The candles glimmered but faintly and the heavy canopy concealed her from his view. Algernon gently tiptoed over the lush, soft carpet towards the bed. He finally noticed her sitting on the edge of it and decided to approach, intending to surprise her with a kiss. Before he could do so, she took the pistol that, until then, was hidden in the folds of her flowing white nightgown and fired a shot that went straight through his heart.

Dead silence took over the vast country house. None of the servants were close enough to hear the shot. All was still. Algernon laid dead on the lush, soft carpet covering the floor of the room. Meredith was not one bit disturbed by the situation. Instead, she finally felt free. She felt as if she had rid the world of a demonic creature that wasn’t doing anyone any good, that was no hero but a villain, a destructive force seeking to obliterate any trace of all that was pure and humane in this world. “Let the wretched souls of his victims feast on his damned spirit.” she thought to herself. It was a moment she had been waiting for for years, even if unconsciously – a sudden gust of courage and strength that she knew not whether she even possessed. And yet she did. It was there. It had condensed itself into a force that, sooner or later, had to catapult its projectile towards him and obliterate once and for all all his evil doing. The shot was fired. It was all over. Or was it?

Of course not. It was only now that her life was beginning. She was finally free to pursue her dreams of helping others, of becoming a benefactor of many, of sharing the immense wealth she would inherit with those in need, with the poor close by and the victims of Algernon’s bloodthirsty military pursuits far away, as a way of begging forgiveness from those that her now dead husband had hurt. Her dreams were grand – of becoming the new Florence Nightingale she has heard so much about. Still, she was not to be a Florence Nightingale working for and with the army but against it, against all that is violent and cruel, against all that is inhumane, against all the ills of the world! But was she really to expect this to become reality? Would it really be possible for her own, individual sense of justice to overcome that of the multitude, of the community, of society as it was – as it is?

How to read someone’s mind using Kipper cards

The mere idea proposed in the title of this post seems a bit too “out there” to be true but, contrary to its somewhat theatrical premise, is a realistic possibility. Being able to peer into the depths of someone’s thought process – especially of someone you have a romantic interest in, or perhaps a person you are about to do business with – is a wish many of us have had throughout our lives. The truth of the matter is, many divination systems allow us to do just that – not just foretell what is most likely to pass but also gain insight into the ideas and intentions of the persons involved in the matter. Still, Kipper is perhaps the only method that strips it to its bare bones and offers us exactly what we need – to read someone’s mind.

The process is actually quite straightforward and is something that you have perhaps already done without even realizing it. Anyone who has any significant degree of experience with Kipper is very familiar with the card called His thoughts which, at its core, carries the meaning of person’s inner world. What many don’t seem to catch is the fact that this particular card can also be used as a significator, an “anchor” card for a reading regarding someone’s thoughts and emotions.

This can be done either as a part of the Grand tableau reading or as a stand-alone spread of nine cards, much akin to the usual Portrait spread. Either way, His thoughts should be the main focus of the reading and the cards surrounding it on all sides, eight of them in total – three above, one on each side, and another three below – will allow us to weave the story of the person’s inner world, their emotional trials and tribulations, opinions, plans, aspirations and, ultimately, thoughts and ideas. The cards above the significator tend to represent more abstract ideas and those that have not yet been fully formed, while those below are more likely to point towards actual plans, aspirations and future actions the individual is likely to perform. Often, the reading will be at least in part focused on you – on the person’s opinion of as well as their intentions towards you. This will prove very helpful in determining your own course of action.

Even if this particular fortune-telling procedure initially requires a certain dose of suspension of disbelief, it is well worth a try as it might bring about some surprisingly accurate results that will aid you in future decision-making and social maneuvering. And while the moral aspects of such an “intrusion” may raise an eyebrow or two, this is not something that any effective form of fortune-telling concerns itself with. Cards are a perfectly neutral tool and it is up to you in which way you will use them (and how successful you are likely to be in whatever aim you’ve got).

The Pentagram Tarot spread

The Pentagram spread is something that I’ve shamelessly stolen from Philip & Stephanie Carr-Gomm’s book that accompanies the DruidCraft Tarot deck. After pinballing between several decks for a while, none of which really worked for me, it was precisely the DruidCraft with its gorgeous art by Will Worthington and the exceptionally well-written book mentioned above that made things click into place. This was a long time ago but the Pentagram spread is something that has stayed with me all this time as an exceptionally effective method of doing “general” Tarot readings where you simply want to get a good overview of the situation and of what is likely to pass.

The spread consists of five cards, laid out in the shape of a five-pointed star, with each one there to represent a metaphysical element. Starting at the lower right corner and moving counterclockwise, we have: Fire, Water, Spirit, Air, and Earth. Anyone even remotely familiar with the theory of the classical elements will immediately know what each stand for but, for those that don’t, it is worth repeating.

Fire is the element of action, of movement, of expansion and aggression. A purely masculine force, it looks out to command and conquer, but also to destroy. The card that falls in its place is related to work, ambition, pursuit of action – of things that need to be done and done fast – of movement and the power of the will.

Water on the other hand is in the domain of the Divine feminine. Its realm is that of the subconscious and of intuition. It presides over emotions and thus any card that falls into this position will likely refer to love and interpersonal relationships.

Spirit covers our higher calling and true purpose in life. It is the element of destiny, of what cannot be avoided and what you will need to return to over and over again until you absorb the spiritual lesson you need to learn and the seize opportunity for growth you are presented with.

Air is the metaphysical element of intellectual pursuits, education, of our thoughts, ideas and aspirations. Less forceful than Fire, it is still more on the masculine side. The card falling in this position will reveal the ways to sharpen your wits and outsmart your enemies.

Earth will tell you all about your career but, unlike Fire which is there to flame up your ambition and point you towards your life’s calling, the element of the Earth will be far more materialistic and oriented towards economic gain through sheer hard work and tenacity.

Of course, if a card of one particular suit fails into its corresponding element, this will likely amplify its meaning as well as its importance. This is why we ought to know that Wands belong to the element of Fire, Cups to Water, Swords to Air, Coins to Earth and the potent archetypal images of the Major Arcana to the realm of the Spirit.

The Pentagram spread is an excellent “diagnostic” tool, allowing you to observe the energies at work and catch a glimpse of the near future. It can serve as an solid introduction to a more elaborate reading session and perhaps precede a Celtic Cross or a Horoscope spread.

The three-card Tarot spread

The three-card spread is one of the basic tools that every cartomancer worth their salt has in their arsenal. Much like the Portrait spread in Lenormand, it offers a clear overview of the situation, allowing us to peek into the past, the present, as well as the future. As its name suggests, each of the three positions represent one aspect of the situation – the influences that came before, the way things are now, and the most likely outcome to unfold.

Still, not all three-card spreads follow this past-present-future pattern. Quite the contrary. Over the course of the centuries (for the idea is possibly as old as cartomancy itself), the layout has evolved to cover many other prospects that may present themselves before the querrent. Nowadays, a simple layout consisting of three cards can assume many different meanings and give predictions about the near future but also insight into any given situation, advice on how to solve a problem and many more. Here are but a few of the ideas that you might want to take into consideration:

1) Your story, their story, how the situation appears to neutral observers
2) Beginning of the story, its middle, the end
3) Your wish or desire, the main obstacle, the resolution
4) Problem, source of said problem, its solution
5) Change you are planning on, best possible outcome, worst possible outcome
6) Person #1, person #2, the nature of their relationship
7) Strength, weakness, opportunity
8) Hidden desire, its manifestation, and its ultimate consequences

With these ideas in mind, you should be able to give exceptionally insightful readings without having to resort to any of the more elaborate spreads. The options outlined above are excellent for the beginner not quite sure of their skills yet but can also serve the more seasoned cartomancer. As you progress on your journey through Tarot, you should also gain the courage to develop your own spreads or at least adapt the existing ones to suit your needs. That is how all of the concepts outlined in this article came into being anyway. Don’t be afraid to use your imagination.

The Suit of Coins

Coins (sometimes also called Pentacles), preside over the material and the carnal, as it may be expected. They reign over work and enterprise but, unlike the action-filled Wands, they point towards a more conservative approach, tenaciousness and hard work that only presents us with rewards further down the line. Positioned under the domain of the Earth element, they possess a certain dose of heft and immobility, signaling a situation that is hard to change – for better or for worse. Still, the cards of this suit are some of the more auspicious in the deck, especially those carrying higher digits. Speaking of numbers, and as already previously mentioned in the post regarding the suit of Swords – some knowledge of numerology is good to have when dealing with Tarot. It makes it easier to grasp the progress of each element, its development and the realization of its full potential. Coins also can stand for our physical body, health and well-being.

(01)Ace of Coins – The very beginning of the suit of Coins offers a new financial opportunity and gives a chance for prosperity. It is up to you whether you will seize it and allow abundance to manifest in your life.

 

(02)Two of Coins – Balance is an extremely important segment on our physical plane, be it in managing our finances or taking care of our bodily health. Know how to prioritize at all times.

 

(03)Three of Coins – The apprenticeship stage teaches us the basics of our craft but also how to work as a part of a team. Pride that comes with our first steps on the road to success is only a consequence of that.

 

(04)Four of Coins – The image of the miser warns us not to hold too tightly to material possessions. Stability is important but not when it affects other areas of our life. Just remember what happened to King Midas.

 

(05)Five of Coins – Poverty on the other hand can be just as bad – if not worse. The insecurity brought about by financial loss can lead to isolation and extreme stress. Be cautious about how you handle your finances and who you trust.

 

(06)Six of Coins – Sometimes, the biggest wealth we can have in this life are friends willing to share their lot in times of need. The spirit of charity is not emphasized nearly as much as it ought to be in most religious teachings.

 

(07)Seven of Coins – The vision you have, coupled with tenacity and perseverance, will eventually bring a return to your investment and a reward for all the effort you have put into it. The fruits of your labour will be plentiful.

 

(08)Eight of Coins – Not too different from the Three of Coins, the Eight brings it up a notch, showing mastery of one’s craft and a focus on quality of the final product or service offered to the world.

 

(09)Nine of Coins – This is a card of enjoying what you have rightfully gained, be it through inheritance, or through hard work. It also reminds you of xcellent health you possess due to making the right choices. Nine in general, no matter the suit, is one of the most auspicious numbers in the Tarot.

 

(10)Ten of Coins – The ultimate manifestation of wealth and success and the ability to retire from the daily toil and enjoy the comfort of old age. Naturally, the emphasis lies more on “comfort” and “enjoyment”, rather than “old age”.

 

(11)Page (or Princess) of Coins – An intern, a young but ambitious entrepreneur, one that sees (and seizes) financial and business opportunities left and right. A new job or source of income.

 

(12)Knight (or Prince) of Coins – A methodical and highly efficient individual, focused on the safety of the existing routine. His approach always leans towards the conservative side and he rarely colors outside of the lines.

 

(13)Queen of Coins – The home is her domain and her practicality coupled with great love for those around her make her an excellent mother figure. Always down-to-earth and ready to help, and make others feel safe and taken care of.

 

(14)King of Coins – He is successful but cautious, always holding a tight grip on the wealth the Universe has bestowed upon him. Can show signs of gluttony but is usually a good man.

 

(The images in this article are taken from The DruidCraft Tarot illustrated by Will Worthington and published by Connections Book Publishing)

The Suit of Swords

The sharp, swift suit of Swords is governed by the element of Air. As such, it largely deals with matters of the intellect and the purely mental level of our consciousness. Swords preside over cold hard logic, sharp wit, high education and lofty intellectual pursuits. They are a symbol of man’s attempt to categorise everything according to the limiting laws of science which does not always give the most satisfactory results and can indeed backfire. Still, the somewhat grim and sinister imagery of the suit, especially in the higher numbers, should not be taken too literally and, while challenging, is not a certain sign of eternal damnation, pain and suffering. Instead, the Swords do present us with a somewhat thorny path, dotted with enemies and danger, but one we can indeed tread with confidence if only we employ our keen observation and strategic thinking.

(01)Ace of Swords – A brilliant new idea, an intellectual breakthrough, a moment of mental clarity that brings with it power and a chance for success.

 

(02)Two of Swords – The very image of indecisiveness, of not being able to choose the right path. Sometimes, selecting the road you wish to take requires more than just a rational approach.

 

(03)Three of Swords – A distinctly painful separation or a heartache brought about by more than one factor – be it rejection, loss, failure or something else altogether.

 

(04)Four of Swords – Some time for contemplation and recuperation is required at this point. Only if you allow yourself to recharge your batteries can you go back to battle and actually have a chance of winning in the end.

 

(05)Five of Swords – Victory is still not in the cards. This is an image of conflict but one that is more intense than that in the Five of Wands. This is a bitter battle – one that you are destined to lose, perhaps due to betrayal.

 

(06)Six of Swords – An ordeal, a travel you’d rather not take, a move into the unknown. Might also stand for a rite of passage but, again, one you are not a 100% sure you wish to undertake.

 

(07)Seven of Swords – The meaning of this card is twofold. Either it stands for commitment to intellectual pursuits or for equally strong dedication to deception and thievery. The context of the reading is likely to point you in the right direction.

 

(08)Eight of Swords – A prison of your making, a self-imposed restriction, a sense of isolation even if you do actually have all the freedom in the world. Perhaps it is only your own mind that is keeping you confined.

 

(09)Nine of Swords – Nightmares haunt you at night while daytime seems just as frightening. This is the card of anguish, anxiety, despair, and mental illness.

 

(10)Ten of Swords – Unfortunately, the suit of Swords ends on a bad note, with the last card showing an image of defeat, betrayal and ultimate loss.

 

(11)Page (or Princess) of Swords – A reserved yet inquisitive and observant nature, with a strong dose of emotional detachment which allows them to understand a situation but not always be able to empathise nor help.

 

(12)Knight (or Prince) of Swords – A hasty and action-oriented individual, he is a whirlwind in the truest sense of the word, extremely communicative but also occassionally too opinionated and superficial for his own good.

 

(13)Queen of Swords – A witty, exceptionally perceptive woman, she may come off as aloof but provides keener insight and better advice than anyone out there.

 

(14)King of Swords – An intellectual of formidable authority, his sharp mind is only rivaled by his equally sharp tongue. Well able to see through even the most elaborate deception.

 

(The images in this article are taken from The DruidCraft Tarot illustrated by Will Worthington and published by Connections Book Publishing)

The Suit of Cups

Cups belong to the element of Water and consequently focus on the emotional side of our life’s story. They tell a tale of love and romance, of friendship and family bliss but occasionally also of excessive sensitivity, sadness and depression. Since emotions belong to the more “irrational” side of our being, the Cups in Tarot can also point towards more intuitive and even psychic gifts, towards our subconscious and its direct connection to higher planes (with particular emphasis on the Divine feminine). Water is a predominantly feminine element and the Cups, filled to the brim by it, mirror its receptive and nurturing nature. In a more negative context, a predominance of the element can lead to illusions and delusions, both in the emotional as well as intuitive department but, in the end, the Cups remain a harmonious and positive influence.

361Ace of Cups – A birth of a new emotion, a beginning of a wonderful friendship, an infatuation that is about to bloom – this card is sure to make your heart beat a little differently. It also stands for a creative boost.

 

371Two of Cups – This is the very image of romance – puppy love, a fling, an affair – one based on attraction rather than understanding. Nothing karmic to see here.

 

381Three of Cups – It’s party time! This is your community, your tribe, your best friends – and all the fun things you do together. Could also be a menage-a-trois.

 

391Four of Cups – Here, the emotional river slows down, not necessarily turning into a bog, but definitely bringing about slight apathy and an opportunity for re-evaluation.

 

401Five of Cups – This is the card of loss and regret, of being thoroughly disappointed in your loved ones, or sometimes even losing them altogether – be it to breakup, or a move across the country. Sadness can be overwhelming.

 

411Six of Cups – Your childhood memories often bring about a sense of nostalgia and a longing for a reunion with those that remind of you a more innocent time.

 

421Seven of Cups – Too little reliance on the rational mind and too much of looking at things through a purely emotional lense can lead to excessive activity of the imagination – to illusions and wishful thinking that have no basis in reality. Making the right choice thus becomes difficult.

 

431Eight of Cups – Sometimes, the only way to deal with a complicated situation is to leave. You need to know when investing into a barren emotional prospect no longer benefits anyone.

 

441Nine of Cups – This is the card of comfort and satisfaction, a sure signal that your wish is about to be granted. You have all the reasons to rejoice.

 

 

451Ten of Cups – The image of harmony personified, whatever that may mean for you – be it a blissful family life or a union with your karmic soul mate. Happiness abounds.

 

461Page (or Princess) of Cups – A messenger bringing about good news or a small sign of synchronicity. A beginning of a very productive and creative period.

 

471Knight (or Prince) of Cups – The proverbial knight in shining armour, full of charm and imagination, possibly the most romantic person you have met in a while.

 

481Queen of Cups – A true mother figure, somewhat similar to the Empress, she is the epitome of emotional security, a calm and compassionate individual that is also exceptionally intuitive.

 

491King of Cups – A generous man fully in touch with his feelings (a rare breed indeed, some would sarcastically quip). A model of emotional balance and control.

 

(The images in this article are taken from The DruidCraft Tarot illustrated by Will Worthington and published by Connections Book Publishing)

The Suit of Wands

First of the suits belonging to the Minor Arcana is that of Wands. It is governed by the metaphysical element of Fire and its main focus is on action, movement and change. The Wands preside over willpower and determination, prompting us to always do our very best, to be in it to win it, to compete, command and conquer. Their energy is assertive and masculine and their more than obviously phallic shape points towards their true nature. Wands are the Tarot emblem of strength and virility, determination and ego, of raw power and expansion. They represent the active side of magic. In a more negative context, they can point towards aggression but, if kept under control of the will they also govern, can be employed in our service so we can achieve our very best.

221Ace of Wands – At the very beginning of the suit is the Ace of Wands, a spark that sets the fire ablaze, a call to action that points in the right direction and gets us going. The potential is endless

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231Two of Wands – We are allowed greater control and are finally acquiring mastery of skills needed for survival in this world. It is time to plan ahead for the future.

 

241Three of Wands – Our effort is showing first signs of fruition and, even though it doesn’t come anywhere near the plenty depicted on the Seven of Coins, the expansion of our enterprise is near.

 

251Four of Wands – A sense stability allows us to rejoice. Whether we are gathered around the hearth of a new home or celebrating a marriage, this card denotes a type of contentment that is likely to last.

 

261Five of Wands – This is an image open conflict but there is no need to panic. The jab is not a serious one and the challenge you are likely to face is more akin a friendly athletic competition rather than a head-on collision with your worst enemy.

 

271Six of Wands – Seems like you’ve won the pretend-battle in the previous card. Public recognition is yours and your self-confidence has received a boost.

 

281Seven of Wands – Wands wouldn’t be wands without some form of aggression and we are again facing conflict. Even if it is more intense than the one represented by Five of Wands, the positioning of the main figure tells us that we very much have the upper hand.

 

291Eight of Wands – It is time for swift change. Things are starting to gain momentum and are speeding up to the point at which we have very little control over them. Luckily enough, they do seem to be going in the right direction.

 

301Nine of Wands – Even if your courage and persistence are admirable, you still ought to check whether you’ve been fighting the same battle for far too long so that defence mode has become default mode. Perhaps it is time to rest.

 

311Ten of Wands – This is the image of biting off more than you can chew and allowing your ambition to push you into taking on a burden far bigger than you can realistically manage. Perhaps it is time to reassess the situation and see what is of use, and what needs to go.

 

321Page (or Princess) of Wands – The free spirit and enthusiasm of the youngest member of the Wands family always has them on the path of exploration and discovery.

 

331Knight (or Prince) of Wands – This is our loverboy, our rebel with(out) a cause, full of passion and lust, sometimes a tad too impulsive, but full of energy which, when directed well, can take him very far indeed.

 

341Queen of Wands – The determined Amazon queen always has her eyes on the prize and will not be outperformed by anyone. Her warmth and passion are only matched by her stubbornness.

 

351King of Wands – An excellent leader, fire of fire (for Kings are governed by the element, as is the suit of Wands), he is a fearless fighter and a true role-model for his army – in courage and honour.

 

(The images in this article are taken from The DruidCraft Tarot illustrated by Will Worthington and published by Connections Book Publishing)

The Major Arcana

The Major Arcana is a set of 22 cards belonging to the Tarot. It is one of the systems’ most prominent and unique features. It differs from the four suits of the Minor Arcana as its cards are not specifically tied to individual metaphysical elements – neither Fire, Water, Air nor Earth – but their energies are instead an amalgamation of the four forces, thus belonging to a different realm altogether – that of Spirit. While the images of the Minor Arcana and their meanings largely focus on our everyday reality, those of the Major Arcana are archetypal symbols tied to the higher planes, our subconscious, and the world beyond what contemporary science is able to explain. These powerful images carry with them a plethora of meanings and, when they appear in a reading, signal that strong forces are at play. The 22 cards, 21 numbers and the Fool remaining outside of the sequence, are believed to depict said Fool’s journey to self-realization and attainment of the ultimate spiritual truth through trials and tribulations, with challenges to overcome and lessons to learn.

0010 The Fool – The Fool begins his journey around the Major Arcana with starry-eyed innocence. Full of potential and in possession of all the basic resources, he flings himself into adventure without much notion of what awaits. Is this but sweet abandon or simply careless risk-taking? Only time will tell.

011I The Magician – The Magician on the other hand is taking full control of his destiny. He works hard to attain the skills needed for his spiritual journey and to become the master of all four elements. He is the symbol of power, concentration and deliberate action.

021II The High Priestess – Mysterious and half-hidden behind the veil of darkness, she is the symbol of feminine intuition, of the dark side of the Moon, of all that is concealed from plain sight and needs a key (whether real or metaphysical one) to be accessed. Only through embracing the subconscious can her mysteries be revealed.

031III The Empress – The archetypal Mother Earth figure – pregnant with children but also pregnant with meaning, ideas, love and affection – she stands for abundance and fertility. Nurturing and gently guiding everyone she considers her offspring, the Empress presides over nature and life itself. Closely related to the High Priestess, she represents the more earthy aspect of the Divine feminine.

041IV The Emperor – The master of the Divine masculine, he is the Horned God, the insatiable satyr but also a stable father figure, one of moral authority and great wisdom. He provides the Major Arcana with a sense of structure and stability and can stand for any sort of higher power in our lives.

051V The Hierophant – Also referred to as the Pope, he is the face of organized religion, conformity and, in a more negative context, pack mentality. Still, he is the upkeeper of tradition and long-held beliefs, and offers us a path well-trod – if we chose to walk it. The benefits can be substantial.

061VI The Lovers – The card presents a relationship, a coupling of the masculine and the feminine but also any other kind of union, of any gender, and any type of energy that feels compatible. In the older Marseille decks, Lovers are sometimes presented as a menage-a-trois – a (perhaps difficult) choice between two equally good (or equally bad) prospects.

071VII The Chariot – Following the ambivalence of Lovers, this is the image of finally gaining control and managing to tightly hold the reins of irrational forces raging both within our own very being but also outside of our soul. Only through sheer determination and strong power of will can we expect to assume such a position and take charge of our destiny, ultimately stirring it in the right direction.

081VIII Strength – Another symbol of power and control, it is perhaps a bit less forceful than the one before it. Here, our Fool is winning, not through brute force but through courage, patience and, most important of all, compassion. Only a gentle touch can tame the beast.

091IX The Hermit – No proverbial Hero’s journey is complete without withdrawal from the real world, casting aside all of its glories and riches, and finally looking within, deep into one’s soul, and determining what is it that we truly stand for and are willing to walk that extra mile for. Only through introspection and soul-searching can we receive the (inner) guidance we seek.

101X Wheel of Fortune – Suddenly, the roads get rocky, things are out of control and our entire world is upside down. This sort of upheaval is an integral part of our life’s path. Still, this is by no means an inauspicious sign. Quite the contrary – it brings good karma, a stroke of luck, and a new life cycle filled with opportunities. Our journey will eventually come full circle.

111XI Justice – Here to strike some balance into the whole situation, Justice is the card of legal proceedings, fairness, honesty and, ultimately, truth in its most balanced form. We shall reap just as we sow, no better nor worse. The law of cause and effect is in full swing.

121XII The Hanged Man – Sometimes, sacrifice is needed in order to progress. Giving up control of the situation may sound frightening but may also prove to be the only choice you have. Confront your fears, don’t be intimidated by feeling restricted for a while, and eventually a new day will dawn, freeing you from the prison of your own making.

131XIII Death – Much like the Coffin in Lenormand and Fatality in Kipper, Death is the most frightening card in the deck and a feature of many a dramatic scene in movies. Still, it only stands for endings and catharsis, transformation and transition and, further down the line, final rebirth. In this, it is akin to the Judgement which will happen sooner or later, depending on the speed of your progress through the Major Arcana.

141XIV Temperance – Another card that looks to strike a balance in the world but, unlike Justice that focuses on the physical, Temperance is a symbol of harmony in the higher planes of existence. It brings inspiration, patience, a sense of purpose, and an idea that only through moderation can you expect to reach your ultimate spiritual destination.

151XV The Devil – Frightening as he may appear, the Devil holds us in his power only by our own choice. Much like the Prison card in Kipper, he stands for a gilded cage we have gotten ourselves into, for addictions and materialism, for excessive focus on the carnal and paying very little attention to anything else. A very consumerist figure, one must admit, and one that we can defeat, if only we’d try.

161XVI The Tower – Perhaps the most dramatic image in the whole deck, it brings about equally shocking change – a disaster, upheaval, tearing apart of everything that comes in its way – blowing up the old and the established order of things to make way for something different altogether. What? We still don’t know.

171XVII The Star – Following the dramatic events from the previous card – this is a moment of divine inspiration, a guiding light in a dark night, a glimmer of hope. The Star is a symbol of serenity and peace but also of intense mental activity focused on achieving our spiritual aims. Pictorially connected to Temperance, it strikes balance into the situation so thoroughly disturbed by the Tower.

181XVIII The Moon – The Moon shares some of its symbolism with the High Priestess, standing for intuition and the unconscious side of our psyche. Its light and dark side are the very image of our anima and animus, our yin and yang, of our dreams and our nightmares. Fear and anxiety are at the very core of its meaning.

191XIX The Sun – Not too different from the Sun in Lenormand, this is the card of joy and happiness, success in every aspect of our lives, of having fun and truly being and peace with the world. A symbol of positivity and vitality, it is one of the most auspicious signs in all of Tarot.

201XX Judgement – An idea taken directly from Christian teachings, the final Judgement uncovers the naked truth and brings about either ultimate absolution or eternal damnation. Weeding out the bad and the impure, it only leaves room for the truly good, for what is beneficial to one and all.

211XXI The World – This is the completion of the Fool’s journey and the most intensely positive card in the deck. It stands for achievement, unity and integration – all symbolised by the dancing androgyne surrounded by the creatures of the four elements. The World is all about being where you ought to be.

(The images in this article are taken from The DruidCraft Tarot illustrated by Will Worthington and published by Connections Book Publishing)