Tarot Card Combinations (April 2010)

tarot photo
Photo by yugenro

The difference between the accomplished reader and the novice is often nothing more than the ability to synthesize the card meanings into a comprehensive whole. Although spreads form the framework of your readings, to weave the spreads into complete stories you need to be able to read the cards in combination. While the meanings of some card combinations will be obvious to you, others may require some study. The easiest way to learn how to combine card meanings is through practice. In the meantime, here are some simple guidelines for you to consider.

1. After you lay out the cards, examine them and look for the thread of the story.

2. Think about the individual meanings of each card. Consider how they work together in terms of the question.

3. Focus on the first two or three cards in the spread. Let the artwork speak to you. Allow your intuition to come into play. If answers come to mind that don’t seem to fit with the book meanings of the cards, go with your instinct.

4.  If a card doesn’t make sense, either alone or in combination with its neighbors, pull another card for clarification.

5.  Consider the court cards, if any, and try to determine whether they represent people or issues in the life of the person for whom you’re reading. If you are still unclear about a court card draw a second card as a modifier.

6.  Consider the cards of the major arcana in terms of the larger picture. Then look to the minors for hints on how these issues may manifest in daily life.

7. Start from the first card in the spread and begin telling a story in terms of the question and everything you have gleaned from your examination of the layout.

Let’s say that you are reading for a man who wants to know whether or not he is going to win at gambling. If he picks The Wheel of Fortune, nine of cups, and ten of pentacles you can assure him that he will win big time. However, what if he gets the Wheel of Fortune, the nine of cups and the five of pentacles? You might then surmise that although he may win at first, in the end he will probably lose most of it. In this case you might point out that although the cards point to the most likely outcome, nothing is set in stone. Then you might suggest that if he wins a substantial amount he should cash in his chips and go home.

If a woman is asking about her troubled marriage and future relationship with her husband, and she gets The Lovers, The High Priestess and the eight of cups, you may surmise that her marriage has come to a crossroads. The Lovers shows that a choice must be made, or that someone is coming between the couple. The High Priestess can represent a secret or a mysterious woman in the husband’s life. With the eight of cups, he may well leave the questioner for the other woman (or she may decide to leave him). However, if instead of the former combo the woman draws The Lovers, The High Priestess, and the two of cups, the choice is still there, but with this combination the husband may realize that the marriage is based on partnership and true love. Then, instead of leaving, he may agree to let go of the other woman in order to build a more meaningful union with his wife.

Consider the following combination: The Empress and the three of swords. What do you think these cards mean when taken together? Since The Empress may represent pregnancy and the three of swords loss, disappointment, heartbreak, or surgery, this combo often indicates miscarriage or abortion. If The Star was drawn with these cards you would know that the worst was past and healing had begun. However with the addition of the five of cups to the original two cards you might surmise that the woman in question was having great difficulty letting go her sorrow, pain, and disappointment.

During the course of a reading, new definitions for single cards or combinations may come to mind. If this happens, don’t be afraid to use the new definition. At some point you may find that you no longer need to “read” either individual or combined meanings. The answers will jump out at you before you can think about card meanings. When this happens it is as if an inner channel opens up and detailed pictures or words form in your mind. Trust your impulses and the images you receive. At this point the tool becomes incidental to the process and intuition takes over; just follow wherever it leads you.

About Phyllis Vega

Phyllis Vega is a professional tarot reader and astrologer. She has been a New Age counselor and teacher for more than three decades. Phyllis is the author of 10 books, including Romancing the Tarot, Power Tarot (with Trish MacGregor), What Your Birthday Reveals About You, Your Magickal Name (with Debra Vega), and Celtic Astrology. Her new book, Erotic Astrology, will be in the stores on July 17, 2009.

Phyllis also does tarot readings and teaches workshops on a variety of topics including, SpellCraft, Crystal Power, Candle Magic, and Past Life Regressions at Five Sisters on South Dixie Highway in Pinecrest, Florida. Phyllis works out of her office in Miami, Florida where she is currently writing a new tarot book and giving private tarot and astrology readings in person and over the telephone. She can be contacted through her website.

Tarot Exercises & Games (December 2009)

Tarot Meditation

The tarot is an extremely useful and effective aid to meditation photo. You might even say that the tarot and meditation go hand in hand, since tarot imagery is rooted in a symbolic system that automatically resonates with the subconscious mind. If you are just learning the tarot, meditation is an excellent method for discovering the deeper meaning of the cards. However, you don’t need to know the history or conventional meanings of tarot in order to use it effectively in your meditation exercises. All you need to do is look at the images, then make them the focal point of your meditations.

One of the best ways to understand a tarot card is through meditation. In this trance-like state, you can get “inside” any card and explore its true meaning. Meditating on the cards is also a great way to broaden your understanding of the workings of the tarot archetypes and their relevance to your own life. There are many ways to combine the tarot with meditation. You may choose a card randomly, or you can select a specific card on which to meditate. You can also choose cards which represent specific issues that you wish to contemplate. In addition to providing focus, using the cards in your meditations will enable you to learn a great deal more about the cards themselves.

To begin any tarot meditation, find a quiet place, where you will not be disturbed. Examine the card you’ve chosen. Study it carefully, committing the details to memory. Hold the image of the card your mind. When you are able to picture the scene on the card with your eyes closed, sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Tell yourself that you will remember everything you see or hear during the meditation. Concentrate on your breathing, imagine a soft light gently enveloping your body, and let go of all your tensions.

Allow yourself to tune into the energy of your chosen card. When you feel ready, visualize yourself entering into the scene pictured on the card. Impressions will begin to come into your mind. Trust the process and don’t try to force anything. Just allow the images to flow without resistance, and absorb all the details. After awhile you will realize that the time has come for you to leave. When you feel the meditation ending, take a few deep breaths and open your eyes. Remember to record everything you saw and heard while in the meditative state in your tarot journal.

Changing Your Future Reality

What the forecaster comes up with when he studies the patterns of the weather, stocks or fashion are possibilities or probabilities. When a psychic or reader tunes into the tarot cards she also sees the future in terms of probabilities. Because of where you are in your life at the time of the reading some probabilities are stronger than others. However, the one that ultimately manifests in your life depends on you. If you don’t like a reading you can take positive steps to change the outcome. There are a number of ways to do this.

Daily Card: Instead of drawing a card for the day, choose one. Pick the card that comes closest to the energy that you hope to manifest. Put the card where you can see it, on your desk, next to your computer, on the refrigerator. Look at it often and imagine that the positive energy of the card is becoming part of your life.

Changing Any Spread: Suppose you ask a question, and you don’t like the answer. Instead of assuming that you’re somehow stuck with a future that you don’t want, think about the answer that you would have preferred. Then pick and choose the cards that will give you the answer you were seeking. Spread them out and study them. Leave the layout where you can see it. Refer to it often. Tell yourself that this is the future that you are creating.

Changing Limiting Beliefs about Relationships with Tarot

At first glance the following statements may seem like facts. However, if you think about it for a moment you’ll realize that they are actually beliefs:

“I’ll never find the right person for me.”

“The good ones are all taken.”

“Marriage is too difficult.”

“I’m too old for love.”

“All relationships start out great, but end badly.”

“Women are gold-diggers.”

“Men only want one thing.”

“Women are fickle.”

“Men are cheats.”

“Some guys have all the luck.”

Many of the beliefs upon which we build our lives are readily apparent to us. But in certain areas, we may hold deep-seated core beliefs that sabotage our best efforts to improve our circumstances. These core beliefs often exist in areas of relationships, money, work, health, sex, and romance, and tend to show up in repetitive patterns. If your love life keeps turning sour, perhaps you’re projecting energies that attract negative situations. Maybe you’re holding onto a belief that you don’t deserve to be happy in a relationship, or that you aren’t worthy of another person’s love.

In this exercise you will use tarot images to help identify and change your limiting beliefs about relationships.

1) Study the following list of sample negative/positive pairs of belief statements. Choose one set that contains a negative belief currently affecting your life, or make up one of your own:

* Nobody loves me/everybody loves me

* I don’t deserve to be loved/I do deserve to be loved

* I am too old for love/I will never be too old for love

* I am afraid to love and be loved/I am not afraid to love and be loved

* I am at the mercy of circumstances/I am not at the mercy of circumstances

* I’m not attractive to the opposite sex/I am attractive to the opposite sex

* I have no right to happiness/I have every right to happiness

* I am unlucky in love/I am lucky in love

* I never get anything I want/I always get everything I want

2) Pick out a card from your tarot deck as representative of your thoughts, feelings, and opinions with regard to the negative side of your chosen belief statement. Then pick out another card as representative of your thoughts, feelings, and opinions with regard to the positive side of that belief statement. For example, if the negative belief statement is, “I am too old for love,” you might select The Hermit. If the positive belief statement is, “I will never be too old for love,” you might select the page of cups.

3) Study the card you have chosen to represent the negative belief statement. Think about how it makes you feel. Why do you think you chose this card? How do you usually react when you get this card when reading for yourself? If this card came up in a reading for someone else, how would you interpret it? Return this card to the deck.

4) Study the card that you have chosen to represent the positive belief statement. Think about how it makes you feel. How do you usually react when you get this card when reading for yourself? If this card came up in a reading for someone else, how would you interpret it? Place this card in a prominent place, where you can see it often. Each time you look at the card remind yourself of the positive belief statement that it represents.

What’s Behind the Door? – Remote Viewing Tarot Game

Any number of people can play this remote viewing tarot game. One person is designated as the “Sender” the rest of the group act as “Viewers”. The usual time for the game to last is one week. On the first day the sender chooses a tarot card and hangs it up behind a door in his or her home. The Sender then writes the name of the chosen card on a piece of paper and places the paper in a sealed envelope. At designated times during the week the Sender concentrates on “sending” the card to the Viewers who have entered a meditative state and are attempting to receive the images that the sender is projecting. At the end of the appointed period each viewer writes down the impressions he or she received on a piece of paper and puts the paper in a sealed envelop. When the group gets together at the end of the period they open all the envelopes and the number of hits and misses is tallied.

Who Am I? Who Are You?

This game combines elements of Charades and Role Playing. It has been designed to help you learn more about the way you view yourself and your partner. It will also help you develop a more intimate relationship with the tarot’s complex archetypal court figures. Begin by removing all the cards from the deck except the court cards.

Who Am I? Pick a court card to represent yourself. Do not reveal the name of the chosen card. Remove it from the pack, and place it face down on the table. Take a moment to imagine yourself as the selected card. Using words, gestures, and props, act out the role as dramatically as you can. The other player tries to guess which card you’ve chosen to represent yourself.

Who Are You? Pick a court card to represent your partner. Do not reveal the name of the chosen card. Remove it from the pack, and place it face down on the table. Take a moment to imagine your partner as the selected card. Using, words, gestures, and props, act out the role as dramatically as you can. The other player tries to guess which card you’ve chosen to represent him or her.

About Phyllis Vega

Phyllis Vega is a professional tarot reader and astrologer. She has been a New Age counselor and teacher for more than three decades. Phyllis is the author of 10 books, including Romancing the Tarot, Power Tarot (with Trish MacGregor), What Your Birthday Reveals About You, Your Magickal Name (with Debra Vega), and Celtic Astrology. Her new book, Erotic Astrology, will be in the stores on July 17, 2009.

Phyllis also does tarot readings and teaches workshops on a variety of topics including, SpellCraft, Crystal Power, Candle Magic, and Past Life Regressions at Five Sisters on South Dixie Highway in Pinecrest, Florida. Phyllis works out of her office in Miami, Florida where she is currently writing a new tarot book and giving private tarot and astrology readings in person and over the telephone. She can be contacted through her website.

Keywords In Tarot (November 2009)

keywords photoKeywords can be a valuable tool when reading the tarot, especially for the beginner. The keywords can be combined with the in-depth meanings in such a way as to create memory pegs that make it easier to interpret the cards when you’re in the midst of a reading. Sometimes just the recollection of one or two keywords is enough to trigger total recall of a card’s meaning. Once the keywords have been mastered, the ability to combine and synthesize the meanings of each of the 78 tarot cards comes with practice.

Part 1 – Tarot Reader’s Keyword Cheat Sheet

The Major Arcana

0. The Fool: innocence, inexperience, new beginnings, fresh start, freedom loving, open minded, a trip or journey, risk, following your dreams, taking a chance.

l. The Magician: manifestation, transformation, metamorphosis, will and determination, magic, psychic awareness, self-confidence, creative intelligence, mental agility, crafty, a trickster.

2. The High Priestess: intuition, inspiration, secrecy, detachment, mystery, psychic ability, passive, receptive, the unconscious, memories, dreams, spiritual development, esoteric knowledge, hidden power, women’s mysteries.

3. The Empress: abundance, fertility, nurturing, motherhood, pregnancy, sensuality, sexuality, practicality, good luck, success, feelings, property, land, synthesis, comfort, luxury.

4. The Emperor: authority, government, logic, reasoning, solid foundations, leadership, organization, order, fatherhood, bosses, courts, society in general, police, war, conquest, victory.

5. The Hierophant: tradition, organized religion, family, conventional mores, conventional belief systems, rituals, marriage, organizations, groups, rigidity, orthodox guidance, the establishment.

6. The Lovers: choice, unions, partnership, a love match, unpredictable changes, travel, new experiences, duality, decisions, new relationships, someone interfering between lovers.

7. The Chariot: ambition, motivation, focus, power, victory, success, self-discipline, travel, determination, youthful energy, bravado, willpower, fruition.

8. Strength: fortitude, inner strength, courage, passion, perseverance, wisdom, knowledge, self-dominion, self-confidence, enthusiasm, endurance, patience, stubbornness.

9. The Hermit: guidance, contemplation, solitude, study, teaching, metaphysics, travel, self-containment, truth seeking, meditation, occult knowledge and secrets, spiritual teaching, higher self.

10. The Wheel of Fortune: good and bad luck, destiny, karma, what goes around comes around, spinning your wheels, cycles, risk taking, changes.

11. Justice: equity, balance, harmony, the law, deliberations, contracts, choice, impartiality, detachment, compromise, lawsuits, legal problems, law enforcement, looking at both sides, getting what you deserve.

12. The Hanged Man: stagnation, suspended action, unconventional behavior, frustration, delays, a new point of view, going your own way, sacrifice, loneliness, victim consciousness.

13. Death: regeneration, transformation, rebirth, permanent change, renewal, revitalization, metamorphosis, the phoenix rising from the ashes, complete turn around.

14. Temperance: moderation, compromise, alchemy, adaptation, tempering, self-control, modification, patience, mix and match, weave together, blend fire and water, harmony, balance, a delay.

15. The Devil: temptation, limits, burdens, restrictions, boundaries, misdirection, self-indulgence, sensuality, lust, bondage to the past, fear of change, obsession, passive choosing, lack of self-confidence.

16. The Tower: sudden and unexpected life changes, trauma, breaking apart of structures, a wake up call, violent upheaval, violent endings, catalyst for change, clearing away of the old to make room for the new.

17. The Star: renewal, hope, healing, inspiration, inner peace, calm, insight, meditation, guidance, purpose, light, reaching for the stars, purity, beauty.

18. The Moon:  illusion, the unconscious, dreams, visions, worry, fear, confusion, madness, paranoia, swamped by emotion, psychic ability, the mysterious, goddess consciousness, women’s mysteries, reflection, dark night of the soul.

19. The Sun: joy, energy, good luck, success, material wealth, things up front, god consciousness, exuberance, enthusiasm, attainment, empowerment, illumination, master of your own destiny, travel.

20. Judgement: enlightenment, a spiritual awakening, second chance, starting over, regeneration, critiquing and judging others, higher consciousness, wisdom, a more meaningful existence.

21. The World: fulfillment, success, growth, change, milestone, coming full circle, travel, having it all, ending one cycle and beginning another, journey’s end.

The Court Cards

King of Wands: entrepreneur, visionary, self-starter, enthusiastic, self-employed, independent, motivated, an inspiration to others, promoter, salesman, agent, manager, impatient, impulsive, con man.

King of Cups: compassionate, loving, kind, romantic, nurturing, family man, metaphysician, preacher, cook, counselor, psychologist, operating a home business, working at what you enjoy, tendency to over indulge in food and drink.

King of Pentacles: stable, astute in business, loyal, secure, dependable, successful, materialistic, family oriented, accomplished, square peg in a square hole, financier, CEO, manager, industrialist, banker, measurable risk.

King of Swords: logical, warrior/scholar/diplomat, professional man, lawyer, judge, doctor, writer, law and order, the justice of the establishment, authority, wise, impartial, detective, undercover agent, spy.

Queen of Wands: exuberant, spirited, creative, businesslike, energetic, enterprising, dramatic, ardent, passionate, honest, open, creative, outgoing, opinionated, fiery.

Queen of Cups: nurturing, loving, romantic, motherhood, psychic, clairvoyant, compassionate, emotional, dramatic, spirituality, sexuality, secretive, tendency towards overweight, loves animals and children.

Queen of Pentacles: practical, nurturing, responsible, secure, down-to-earth, business oriented, go-getter, materialistic, over-protective, efficient, earth mother, writer, actress, inventor, accountant, psychologist.

Queen of Swords: courageous, intelligent, creative, feminine, a woman alone, independent, a widow or divorcee, outspoken, sharp tongued, self-motivated, secretive, demanding, dominating, vindictive, deceitful.

Knight of Wands: informative, travel related to business or spiritual matters, heightened intuition, synchronistic events, a spiritual quest, eager, ardent, energetic, a messenger bringing good news.

Knight of Cups: romantic, travel, flirtations, social activities, new romance, improvements and increase, following a path with heart, flights of fancy, charm, excessive emotion, Don Juan.

Knight of Pentacles: dependable, serious, responsible, hard-working, practical, working behind the scenes, workaholic, smoldering temper, travel related to finances, business, investing, saving.

Knight of Swords: assertive action, aggression, travel, communication, social activities, courage, bravado, overcoming obstacles, headstrong, sharp mind, mental challenge.

Page of Wands: communicative, spreading good news, new projects, new beginnings, adventurous, spiritual, fun-loving, charismatic, easily bored, unfinished projects, messages about work and employment, advertising, promotion.

Page of Cups: expansive, pregnancy, birth, new beginnings, social messages, sensitive, emotional, romantic, psychic, creative, intuitive, immature.

Page of Pentacles: enthusiastic, student, scholarship, apprentice, perpetual beginner, solitary journey, vision quest, work as play, negotiations, financial communications, computer nerd.

Page of Swords: cerebral, intellectual, not taking things seriously, intelligent, outspoken communication, assertive, crusader, detached, watcher, ironic observer, active and curious mind.

The Pip Cards

Wands

Ace of Wands: new enterprises, creative beginnings, birth of an idea, new challenges, boundless energy, fiery enthusiasm, optimism, exhilaration, a journey, birth of a child, a sexual escapade, mail or phone messages.

Two of Wands: impending success, moving in the right direction, creative partnerships, collaboration of ideas, successful negotiations, ships just over the horizon, friendship based on common interests.

Three of Wands: imminent success, past efforts starting to pay off, ships coming in, commerce, overseas transactions, imports and exports, alliances with others, pooling talent and ideas.

Four of Wands: foundations, stability, solidly laid plans, architecture, property, building and planning, a new home, a happy family, committed relationships, business partnerships, friendship, births, marriage, engagement, rites of passage.

Five of Wands: competition, rivalry, aggressive action, standing your ground, struggle, beating the bushes for new business, flushing out opportunities, fighting for what you want.

Six of Wands: victory, success, triumph, overcoming obstacles, achievement, winning, honors, realization of goals, vindication for hard work and struggle, attaining a cherished dream.

Seven of Wands: holding your own, success against all opposition, winning out over unfavorable odds, position of advantage, fighting back successfully, taking a stand, self employment, writing.

Eight of Wands: swiftness, energy, messages, good news, moving closer to your goal, plans nearing completion, travel, mail, faxes, email, phone calls, advertising, promotion, new ideas, new projects, taking a risk.

Nine of Wands: final test, one last challenge, a pause in the struggle, wait and see, caution and patience, drawing on reserve strength, poised on the threshold of victory.

Ten of Wands: overburdened, excessive responsibility, carrying a heavy load, biting off more than you can chew, doing everything yourself, stress, pressure, all work and no play.

Cups

Ace of Cups: new relationships, new love, joy, fulfillment, pregnancy, birth, fertility, new opportunities, renewed passion, a new appreciation for life, a happy situation, the Holy Grail.

Two of Cups: partnership, true love, one-on-one relationships, marriage, engagement, emotional compatibility, mutual trust, openness, dating, good feelings, give and take.

Three of Cups: celebrations, rejoicing, reunions, the holidays, births, baptisms, engagements, good fortune, success, happiness, friendships, convivially, happy hours, fun, eating and drinking, overindulgence, oversensitivity.

Four of Cups: apathy, unappealing choices, lack of enthusiasm for the future, opportunities that merit a second look, jaded outlook, boredom, dissatisfaction, a ho-hum attitude.

Five of Cups: regret, disappointment, loss, holding onto past wrongs, sorrow, emotional pain, end of a relationship or job, reversal of fortune, demotion, passed over for promotion, burned out.

Six of Cups: nostalgia, old memories, new opportunities, children, childhood, appearance of an old friend or lover, birth, pregnancy, happy times, a new use for old skills and abilities.

Seven of Cups: indecision, imagination, fantasy, an abundance of options, inability to distinguish between good and bad choices, feeling muddled and confused, vacillating.

Eight of Cups: walking away, moving on, the gradual withdrawal of affection, loss of interest, conscious decision to leave a relationship or job, backing off, pulling back, searching for higher meaning.

Nine of Cups: wish fulfillment, happiness, joy, contentment, abundance, material success, physical well being, fulfillment of a dream, good luck, earthly pleasures.

Ten of Cups: happy family, joy and contentment in personal relationships, lasting success, complete happiness, emotional harmony, prosperity, security, commitment, marriage, children, a house or home.

Pentacles

Ace of Pentacles: financial opportunity, a fresh start, a new job, renewed health, expansion, material gain, a raise or promotion, auspicious time to launch a new business venture.

Two of Pentacles: Your relationships are going through a period of change and adjustment, and you’re mainly concerned with maintaining your equilibrium and striking a workable balance between the various aspects of your life.

Three of Pentacles: master craftsperson, an expert, public recognition, reward for expertise, master builder, payment of royalties or residuals, satisfying work, achievement.

Four of Pentacles: security, a solid financial foundation, stability, financially conservative, protective of possessions, seeking happiness from money, self-sufficient, professional advancement, a miserly disposition.

Five of Pentacles: insecurity, hardships, poverty, unemployment, debts, self-employment that tends to feast or famine, misfortune, out in the cold emotionally, feeling abandoned and ignored.

Six of Pentacles: financial aid, assistance, loan, social security check, welfare, a grant, a scholarship, a gift, an inheritance, bonus, raise, prize, benefactor, patron, what goes around – comes around.

Seven of Pentacles: financial harvest, evaluating accomplishments, weighing options for the future, royalties, a surge in sales, reevaluation of goals, a pause in progress.

Eight of Pentacles: apprentice, education, learning a new trade, polishing skills, attention to detail, fine tuning of ability, taking pride in what you do, a new hobby.

Nine of Pentacles: comfort, independence, financial security, alone but not lonely, contentment, well-being, self-reliance, a beautiful environment, love of animals and nature, a home body, material success.

Ten of Pentacles: wealth, prosperity, riches, purchase of land or stock, business travel, transactions involving millions, a windfall, improved health, happiness and contentment, security.

Swords

Ace of Swords: new ideas, new beliefs, new projects, invention, resolving old problems, solutions to a mystery, cutting through illusions, a sudden romance or sexual encounter.

Two of Swords: stalemate, deadlock, procrastination, a paradoxical situation, a temporary truce or compromise, a fork in the road, a decision yet to be made, the need to decide soon.

Three of Swords: heartbreak, loss, physical and emotional pain, letting go, deep suffering, a broken relationship, divorce, separation, open heart surgery, abortion, miscarriage.

Four of Swords: respite, incarceration, jail term, hospital stay, a period of rest and recuperation, time out for quiet contemplation, a spiritual retreat, inactivity, waiting.

Five of Swords: empty victory, winning through the use of deception and unfair tactics, sabotage, treachery, escape from danger, breaking of bonds, lifting of restrictions, a battle with no clear victor.

Six of Swords: travel, moving away from problems, change of residence, a turning point, improvement in a situation, a trip over water, an overseas visitor, assistance.

Seven of Swords: bold action, an impulsive act, furtiveness, stealth, outsmarting the opposition, playing your cards close to the vest, taking advantage of a person or situation, mistrust, a victory that brings only partial success.

Eight of Swords: restriction, illusion of limitation, a mental prison, mental distress, fear, insecurity, blocked exits, lack of options, feeling boxed in, looking for a way out, a sense of hopelessness.

Nine of Swords: worry, anxiety, sleepless nights, stress induced nightmares, fear, mental anguish, depression, concern for family, concern for the problems of the world, dark night of the soul.

Ten of Swords: betrayal, unhappy endings, treachery, misfortune, being stabbed in the back, loss, final and dramatic resolution of a situation, the end of a thing on which you had been counting.

Part 2 – Keyword Practice Exercise

1) Study the keywords and phrases for each of the majors

2) Examine the following poem.

3) Using different keywords and phrases from the ones in the sample, write your own poem about the twenty-two cards of the Major Arcana.

Innocent Fool says, “I begin”.

Crafty Magician says, “I manifest”.

Secretive High Priestess, says “I intuit”.

Fertile Empress says, “I nurture”.

Authoritative Emperor says, “I govern”.

Traditional Hierophant says, “I believe”.

Harmonious Lovers say, “We choose”.

Ambitious Chariot says, “I succeed”.

Courageous Strength says, “I persevere”.

Contemplative Hermit says, “I guide”.

Cyclical Wheel of Fortune says, “I change”.

Balanced Justice says, “I decide”.

Suspended Hanged Man says, “I don’t conform”.

Transforming Death says, “I am reborn”.

Alchemical Temperance says, “I compromise”.

Limiting Devil says, “I tempt”.

Traumatic Tower says, “I clear away.”

Healing Star says, “I inspire”.

Reflective Moon says, “I create illusion”.

Glorious Sun Says, “I energize”.

Enlightened Judgement says, “I awaken”.

Affirming World says. “I’ve arrived”.

About Phyllis Vega

Phyllis Vega is a professional tarot reader and astrologer. She has been a New Age counselor and teacher for more than three decades. Phyllis is the author of 10 books, including Romancing the Tarot, Power Tarot (with Trish MacGregor), What Your Birthday Reveals About You, Your Magickal Name (with Debra Vega), and Celtic Astrology. Her new book, Erotic Astrology, will be in the stores on July 17, 2009.

Phyllis also does tarot readings and teaches workshops on a variety of topics including, SpellCraft, Crystal Power, Candle Magic, and Past Life Regressions at Five Sisters on South Dixie Highway in Pinecrest, Florida. Phyllis works out of her office in Miami, Florida where she is currently writing a new tarot book and giving private tarot and astrology readings in person and over the telephone. She can be contacted through her website.

Dreams, Past Lives, and Tarot (August 2009)

Part 1 – Dreams and Tarot

dreams photoBoth dreams and tarot help you to tune into your inner-self. They bring you messages that you can use to resolve life’s problems. Since dream images are often obscure and difficult to comprehend, tarot can be used to help you to understand their true significance.

It is my belief that the messages of your dreams are as important, or more important, than any information you glean during your waking hours. Dreams serve as intermediaries that allow you to experience other levels of reality. I created The Dream Interpretation Spread to help you translate the language of the psyche into practical terms that your conscious mind can understand and put to good use.

Before you can interpret a dream you must be able to remember it. Keeping a dream journal serves two purposes. First it provides a permanent account that you can examine, analyze, and review. Writing down dreams also serves as a stimulus to memory. The more time you spend recording and thinking about your dreams, the more dreams you will remember. When you are about to fall asleep tell yourself that you will remember your dreams. When you wake, write down everything that you recollect, even the smallest fragments.

Once you are able to recall your dreams you will want begin decoding their messages. Usually the meanings of a dream’s symbols are obvious, and translating them into everyday terms relatively easy. However, sometimes the significance of dream events is difficult to understand. When this happens tarot can be extremely helpful.

Dreams are a bridge between the material and nonmaterial worlds, blending elements of both. The smaller the gap between waking and dreaming consciousness, the more closely connected you are to your higher self. Nurture your ability to remember and understand your dreams and you will find yourself constantly in contact with your inner voice which is the source of much of your power and creativity.

Dream Interpretation Spread

  1     2     3     4
                      
       5    6    7
              
          8     9

             10

1-4) Factors that describe your dream.
5-7) How these factors influence your waking life.
8-9) What the dream images are trying to tell you.
10) How you can best use this information.

Tarot Dream Game

The original version of the Dream Game was the brainchild of Chicago actor Gary Joy, who created it as a remote viewing exercise. At the time Gary and some of his friends were into testing their psychic abilities. One member of their group would go into another room, concentrate on an object, and the others would try to pick up information about that object.

When Gary first signed on to the Prodigy Internet Service he got to know some people who were posting letters in a dream topic. The members of this group were also interested in the subject of remote viewing. Since they could not get together in person, Gary devised the Dream Game as a way for them to test their remote viewing ability through their dreams, and then share the results via the Internet.

In this version of the game the object sent by the Sender is always a tarot card.

Dream Game Rules

The Dream Game employs a Sender, an Observer, and an unlimited number of Dreamers. The object of the game is for the Dreamers to dream of the Senders’ selected object. The game is played for a specific number of nights decided upon in advance by the players.

The Sender: The Sender is responsible for selecting a card from the tarot deck. Each night before going to sleep, or anytime during the day, the Sender concentrates on that card, “sending out” images of it to the Dreamers. Part of the Sender’s job is to provide the Observer with detailed information regarding the card being sent.

The Dreamers: The Dreamers’ goal is to dream about the Senders’ card. During the duration of the game the Dreamers record all remembered dreams (including dream fragments). At the end of the game, each Dreamer gives a copy of his/her dream record to the Observer.

Observer: The Observer acts as witness. At the beginning of the game the Observer receives detailed information about the card from the Sender. The Observer and Sender are not to tell any of the Dreamers what the card is until the end of the game. At the end of the game the Observer studies the dream records, searching for hits and correlations.

A “hit” is a dream that actually contains the name of the chosen tarot card or images from it. A “correlation” occurs when the Dreamer dreams about something related to the meaning of the card. For example, if the card was the Queen of Wands, any dream about a queen, flowering branch, sunflower, wand, crown, throne, lion, or cat would be considered a hit. Any dream that contains an independent or self-employed woman or one with a fiery wands nature could be considered a correlation. Of course, the aforementioned images and meanings relate to the Rider Pack and may vary according to the deck that the Sender is using.

Part 2 – Past Life Exploration and Tarot

There are many ways to access past life memories. You might get a past life reading from a psychic; undergo hypnotic regression with an experienced past-life therapist; learn self hypnosis; use guided imagery meditation tapes; or study dream analysis. Or, you could simply examine your current life for likes and dislikes that might be holdovers from a previous existence. Known as the Resonance Method this means of analyzing strong tendencies, emotional and physical problems, moods, habits and talents is a simple and safe way of uncovering past life data.

No matter which method you use your answers may prove to be rather, sketchy with few clues to what concerns you most about a particular past life experience. Because the symbolism of tarot transcends time and space, it allows us to tap into the past, present and future in this life. Therefore it seems only natural to take it a step further and use the tarot to amplify and clarify past life data as well.

You may use the following spreads after you have received some past life data through one of the aforementioned methods. Or, you may use this spread as a means of garnering new past life information.

Past Life Spread

          1

2        3       4      

5        6        7

8        9       10
    
      11   12

      13    14

1) Basic soul nature coming into the past life in question
2) Environmental factors
3) Early years
4) Education
5) Occupation
6) Family life
7) Love life
8) Other relationships
9) Social status
10) Accomplishments
11-12) Lessons learned during the past life in question
13-14) Ways in which this past life impacts on your current life

Past Life Spread For Couples

Use the following spread after you or your significant other has received some data regarding a past life in which you were together. It can help you clarify your impressions. You may also use this spread as a gateway to accessing new past life information.

1         2          3

4          5         6

            7

1) Your basic soul nature coming into the past life in question
2) Your significant other’s basic soul nature coming into the past life in question
3) Shared past life environment
4) The nature of your relationship in that past life
5) Lessons you learned during that past life
6) Lessons your significant other learned during that past life
7) How that past life impacts on your current lives

About Phyllis Vega

Phyllis Vega is a professional tarot reader and astrologer. She has been a New Age counselor and teacher for more than three decades. Phyllis is the author of 10 books, including Romancing the Tarot, Power Tarot (with Trish MacGregor), What Your Birthday Reveals About You, Your Magickal Name (with Debra Vega), and Celtic Astrology. Her new book, Erotic Astrology, will be in the stores on July 17, 2009.

Phyllis also does tarot readings and teaches workshops on a variety of topics including, SpellCraft, Crystal Power, Candle Magic, and Past Life Regressions at Five Sisters on South Dixie Highway in Pinecrest, Florida. Phyllis works out of her office in Miami, Florida where she is currently writing a new tarot book and giving private tarot and astrology readings in person and over the telephone. She can be contacted through her website.

Tarot Spells (June 2009)

tarot candle photo
Photo by contemplicity

Call them spells, prayers, affirmations, programs, rituals, visualizations, or meditations. It matters not what name you give to your magical machinations. The real magic comes from your ability to focus your personal power, infuse it with your desire and intent, and then release it out into the universe. When I work spells I like to use the tools I know best: candles, quartz crystals and tarot cards. I use the cards to represent the people and circumstances involved in the situation that I wish to create. I use the candles to help invoke the goddesses, gods, entities, or guides that I will appeal to for help in reaching my goals. I use the quartz crystals to augment my personal power and direct it outwards.

In tarot divination, the beautiful artwork, rich symbolism, and archetypal images portrayed on the cards help the reader bypass the limitations of the individual conscious mind and dip deep into the collective subconscious for impressions about the past, present, and future. A similar principal holds true when the tarot cards are used for spell work. Since the tarot is universal in scope, the complete spectrum of reality is portrayed by the symbols on the cards, with every conceivable scenario of experience represented.

The first step, whether you are personalizing an existing tarot spell or creating one of your own, is deciding exactly what it is that you want to accomplish. Next, assemble the tools you’ll need to complete the spell. Create a proper atmosphere for spellcraft by preparing yourself and your altar or work area as you would for any sacred ritual. Set out the various items for the spell. Center and ground yourself with several deep breaths or a few moments of quiet meditation. If your spell calls for candles and incense, light them and then invoke your deities or guides. Study the cards that represent your desired outcome.

Always speak the words of the spell clearly and with conviction. Focus on the outcome as if it has already been accomplished, and then release it out into the universe. As you snuff out the candles and incense, thank the attending deities for their assistance.

The secret to success in spellcraft lies in your facility for visualizing your goal as clearly as possible and directing your energy toward it with total concentration. After choosing cards that portray what you want to achieve, focus your attention on the tarot’s images.

Make up a story based on the scenes depicted on the cards. Infuse your intent with desire and let it go. Trust that it is working.

If you are using your tarot cards for divination, spellcraft, and personal development exercises, you’ll definitely need to own several different decks. Some spells specify that you should leave the cards out where you can see them, place them in a spell box, or carry them around with you for a period of time. Others may require that you write on them, sew or bind them together, or even burn, tear, or bury them. Moreover, you may not want to perform readings with the same cards you’re using for your spell work. Fortunately, most popular tarot decks are relatively inexpensive. Also, you can usually find used tarot decks for sale on eBay, at garage sales, or in used bookstores. Another idea is to scan or photocopy your deck, and use the printouts or copies instead of the actual cards in your spell work.

The most important thing to remember when performing any spell is that you need to believe in what you are doing for it to work. Although tarot cards and other tools are extremely helpful when performing a spell, the real magick comes less from the spell’s elements than from your own power and belief in a successful outcome. Whenever possible, you should also take action in everyday life to help your spell along.

Lost Pet Spell

Use this spell to help find a lost pet or entice a runaway to return home.

In the following example “A” is the signifactor, a woman whose pet cat has run off. The woman and her cat are represented by the Queen of Wands. The cards used to bring the cat home are: 2) Six of Cups — nostalgia, renewal of old ties; 3) Strength — overcoming obstacles; 4) The Star — hope, healing, progress; 5) Ten of Cups — home, family, happy reunion.

Candle #1 symbolizes attraction and is pink
Candle #2 symbolizes healing and is white
“B” is an herb — in this case catnip
The crystal is rose quartz for love

(candle #1)(candle #2)
A
2
3
4
5
B
(crystal)
Place the cards, candles, catnip, and crystal on your altar or other safe, private spot. Light the candles. Focus on your lost pet. Imagine him or her returning home. Say:

Oh, Artemis, Lady of the Beasts,
And Protector of all animals
Shield (pet’s name) from hurt or harm
Keep him/her safe and warm
Watch over him/her from day to day
And guide him/her home, at last to stay
(Pet’s name) called and (pet’s name) won
By my will — It is done!

Focus on the end result as if it has already happened. Hold the image for as long as you can, then let it go and release it out into the universe. As you snuff out the candles, thank Artemis for her help. Place the cards, crystal, and herb in a spell box, envelope, or drawer and keep safe until the desired outcome has been achieved.

Prosperity Spell

Choose a significator to stand in for you. Pick the cards, candles, and essential oil that best convey the outcome you desire.

In the following example “A” is the signifactor, a man seeking a more prosperous life, and is represented by the King of Pentacles. The cards used to attract wealth are: 1) Wheel of Fortune — representing the positive changes he seeks; 2) Ace of Pentacles – a new source of income; 3) Nine of Pentacles — self-reliance and freedom from monetary concerns; 4) Ten of Pentacles — financial security

Candle #1 is green and symbolizes abundance
Candle #2 is gold and symbolizes wealth
“B” is the incense (choose from bergamot, basil, cinnamon, or honeysuckle)
For the crystal choose green tourmaline, malachite, opal, or tiger’s eye

(candle #1) (crystal) (candle #2)
A 1 2 3 4
B
Place the cards, candles, and crystals on your altar or other safe, private spot. Light the candles and the incense. Focus on the cards. Imagine the results you wish to achieve. Open your hands and say:

As I open my hands
Fortune’s Wheel turns in my favor
My financial worries recede
And Prosperity comes to me
As I will it, so may it be!

Make up a little story based on the cards you’ve chosen. Focus on the end result as if it has already happened. Hold the image for as long as you can, then let it go and release it out into the universe. After you snuff out the candles and incense, place the cards and crystal in a spell box, envelope, or drawer and keep safe until your desired outcome has been achieved.

Crone’s Protection Amulet

An amulet is a power object that has been magically prepared to protect its owner. Because the following ritual for consecrating the crone’s protection amulet calls on the goddess Hecate for protection, it works best when performed on the night of a new Moon, when the heavens are dark, since the dark of the Moon is Hecate’s special time. You will need:

Tarot cards: The High Priestess and The Moon
Candles: black and silver
Crystal or gemstone: clear quartz or moonstone
Essential oil: protection blend, cypress, or dragon’s blood
Small pouch or drawstring bag

Place the tarot cards, candles, and quartz crystal or moonstone on your altar or other safe, private spot. Light the candles. Focus on the tarot cards and imagine the results you wish to achieve. Hold the crystal or gemstone over the black candle. Pass it through the candle smoke. Hold it over the silver candle. Pass it through the candle smoke. Now say:

Oh wise and ancient goddess Hecate
Guardian of the Dark Night
Grant me your protection
And illuminate my way
When the Moon hides her silvery light

Anoint the crystal or gemstone with a few drops of essential oil and say:

Protection called, protection won
By the crone’s will, it is done

Leave your crone’s amulet on the window sill overnight so that it can soak up the energy of the dark Moon. In the morning put it in the pouch or bag. Carry it with you wherever you go.

House Blessing

Use this house blessing to cleanse your home or office of negative vibrations. The best time to perform this clearing ritual is on the night of a new Moon.

Tools you will need:

Sage or cedar smudge stick bundle
Small bowl or ashtray
The Emperor card (protection)
The Star card (hope and healing)
The Moon card (overcoming fear and insecurity)
The Sun card (joy and contentment)

Light the smudge sticks. Hold the lighted bundle of smudge sticks over the bowl or ashtray. When the sticks begin to smoke, walk toward the northern most point of your home or office. Fan or blow the smoke ahead of you as you walk. Place the Emperor card on a windowsill or small table in the north corner of the house and say:

Earthly Father, please guard and protect this house

Walk toward the southern most point of your home or office. Fan or blow the smoke ahead of you as you walk. Place the Star card on a windowsill or small table in the south corner, and say:

Wise Star, please bring the light of hope and healing to this house

Walk toward the eastern most point of your home or office. Fan or blow the smoke ahead of you as you walk Place the Moon card on a windowsill or small table in the east corner, and say:

Lady Luna, please drive fear and insecurity from this house

Walk toward the western most point of your home or office. Fan or blow the smoke ahead of you as you walk Place the Sun card on a windowsill or small table in the west corner, and say:

Lord Sol, please bring the warmth of joy and contentment to this house

Leave the cards in place until the next full Moon. As you collect the cards, you may offer a brief thank you to each for assisting in this ritual.

Love Charm

The purpose of this charm is to draw new love into your life. It will attract new friends and acquaintances. Among those who become your friends, there may be one who will become your special someone. The charm itself won’t cause another person to fall in love with you. You will have to accomplish that on your own.

The only materials you need to construct the charm are a couple of cards from an old tarot deck, and some pink or red thread or cord. Choose a card to represent yourself, and another one to represent your ideal love.

Study the card you’ve selected as your representative. Imagine that you’re transferring your inner essence into the card. When you look at the card, imagine your own face looking back at you.

Study the card that you’ve selected as representative of your soul mate. This card should not refer to a specific person, but rather to someone you hope to meet. Now, you are going to infuse the card with a composite of the traits you are looking for in a lover. Imagine that you are transferring all those qualities into the card.

Take your pink or red cord or thread, and tie the two cards loosely together. Place them somewhere where they won’t be disturbed. You should meet someone within a few weeks.

If after you meet that person, the relationship does not work out, be sure to unbind the cards. If no lover appears within two months, dismantle the charm by untying the cards and returning them to the deck. Wait about a month and then try constructing the charm again.

About Phyllis Vega

Phyllis Vega is a professional tarot reader and astrologer. She has been a New Age counselor and teacher for more than three decades. Phyllis is the author of 10 books, including Romancing the Tarot, Power Tarot (with Trish MacGregor), What Your Birthday Reveals About You, Your Magickal Name (with Debra Vega), and Celtic Astrology. Her new book, Erotic Astrology, will be in the stores on July 17, 2009.

Phyllis also does tarot readings and teaches workshops on a variety of topics including, SpellCraft, Crystal Power, Candle Magic, and Past Life Regressions at Five Sisters on South Dixie Highway in Pinecrest, Florida. Phyllis works out of her office in Miami, Florida where she is currently writing a new tarot book and giving private tarot and astrology readings in person and over the telephone. She can be contacted through her website.

Tarot Spreads (May 2009)

tarot photo
Photo by aquarian_insight

Actually you don’t need to use any spreads at all in order to read the tarot cards successfully. Instead you may draw a card, talk about what you see, then draw another, and another. Many accomplished readers work in this manner, and continually produce amazingly accurate results. Besides, you may find that you’re not all that inclined to start learning a number of spreads while also trying to remember the meanings of the seventy-eight cards.

So, why should you even bother to learn how to use and create tarot spreads? The best answer is that spreads provide a framework though which you can gain more specific answers to your questions. In addition, they give structure to a reading, and pinpoint recurring patterns in our lives that we might not otherwise notice. Moreover, a spread can be constructed for a specific time frame, so that you will not only discover what is likely to happen, but also when it may happen.

Beginning students should probably start with very simple layouts. However, once you feel comfortable reading the tarot you might want to add a number of more sophisticated spreads to your repertory. A variety of spreads pertaining to different areas of daily life will make it easier for you to obtain accurate answers to all your questions.

Whether the people you read for pay you for your services, or not, they all want virtually the same thing: answers. The more accurate your answers, the happier your friends or clients will be, and the better you’ll feel about yourself as a tarot reader. Most people are concerned about love and sex, family, career, finances, and health. Therefore, specific spreads that target these life areas are especially useful.

At one time I rarely used the classic Celtic Cross Spread. I felt that it was vastly overrated and too complicated for most questions. I couldn’t understand why it was so popular.
However, when reading on a 900 Line to gain experience while writing Power Tarot, I found that many people who called wanted instant answers to their questions. When you’re not getting any feedback from a client, and don’t know whether or not you’re on the right track, this classic spread seems to pull information out of the void. Now, when all else fails I automatically resort to the familiar patterns of the Celtic Cross Spread.

Celtic Cross Spread

                        5            10
                              
                  4    1     6       9
                         2 
                                        8
                         3             7

1) Cover. Surrounding influences, general atmosphere
2) Crossing: (Placed sideways across card #1). Opposing forces, negative or positive
3) Foundation: Past basis of the matter
4) Behind you: Influences that are passing away
5) Crowning: Possible future event, forces taking shape
6) Before you: Forces already in motion that may manifest in the future
7) Feelings: Fear, apprehensions
8) Opinions: What others think about the matter
9) Hopes: Aspirations, goals, dreams, desires, fears
10) Outcome: The resolution or final outcome

Six Card Ladle Spread

The Ladle Spread was created by Trish MacGregor for our book Power Tarot. It is far and away my favorite tarot layout, and I use it more often than any other spread.

                              4        5
 
                         3                   6 
           1            
                
                  2

1) Root of question, the concern, the issue
2) What’s hidden
3) What’s emerging
4) What’s visible
5) What you scoop out
6) Resolution: how the outcome affects you

Three Card Quickie Spread

       1            2            3

1) The issue, the root of the question
2) Present circumstances
3) Future

Four Card Desire Spread

                  1 
                          
                  2 
                             
                  3 
                             
                  4

1) What you have
2) What you desire
3) What you need
4) What you get

Five Card Direction Spread

         1            2            3 
 
 
               4             5

1) Your current life direction
2) The lesson you’re learning
3) What you’re moving toward
4) Your long term objective
5) What will help you attain your objective

Six Card Past, Present, Future Spread

1   2     3   4    5  6

1&2) The Past
3&4) The Present
5&6) The Future

Six Card Rainbow Spread

                        3       4 
 
                 2                    5 
          
            1                              6

1) Rain: what is holding you back from attaining your heart’s desire
2) Drizzle: first steps you can take toward achieving what you want
3) Clearing: who or what helps
4) Sunshine: the best you can hope for
5) Rainbow: short term advice
6) Pot of gold: long-term outcome

Six Card Short Celtic Cross

                       5 
                              
                  4    1     6 
                         2 
                   
                       3

1) Past experience
2) Where you are now
3) Near future
4) Your future environment
5) The best you can hope for
6) Outcome

6-Card L-Shaped Love Spread

             1
             2
             3
             4  5  6

1) Your past experience in love
2) Your current experience in love
3) What you want from a love relationship
4) What you need from a love relationship
5) What you have to give to your lover
6) Possible future experience in love

Creating Your Own Spreads

The best spreads are the ones that evolve from your own questions and those of the people you read for. Don’t be afraid to design your own spreads. Often the simplest spreads are the most revealing, so you really don’t need to attempt anything too fancy. If a spread is so complex that you keep forgetting the card positions, it won’t be of much use. Brainstorm what it is that you or the questioner wants to know. Begin with just a few cards. Assign explicit meanings to their positions. Play around with their placement until you find a design that you like for the particular spread that you have in mind. Sometimes the pattern will be obvious, at other times you may need to keep moving the cards around until everything feels just right. Then, try your spread to make sure that it works the way you hoped it would.

Consider the following: Your question, the number of cards you will need, the time frame you want to cover, and the pattern or design of your spread. It always helps to study other people’s spreads before you start designing your own.

The simplest spread pattern is linear, all the cards in one line that moves horizontally, vertically or on the diagonal. A bit more complex is the multi-linear spread with several lines of cards. You can also use a circle, a square, a star, triangle, pentagram, hexagram or any other shape that appeals to you. Ty using the shape of a letter that relates to the question, such as an L for a love spread, an H for a health spread or a P for a prosperity spread. Another way to create a spread is to do a variation on an existing spread, modifying it to suit your purpose.

The most important thing when designing a spread is to test it to see if it works the way you expected. Some spreads look great on the drawing board, but simply refuse to work in practice. It’s a good idea to keep a record of all your efforts, even those that didn’t quite jell. Sometimes you can come up with ways to improve a faulty spread at a later date. Practice using your spread as often as possible until you have all the kinks worked out.

Whether you are using layouts of your own design, or tried and true traditional ones you will quickly discover which spreads feel right to you. And, as always in reading the tarot, remember to use your intuition. Open yourself up to the universe, and allow the cards to speak to you.

About Phyllis Vega

Phyllis Vega is a professional tarot reader and astrologer. She has been a New Age counselor and teacher for more than three decades. Phyllis is the author of 10 books, including Romancing the Tarot, Power Tarot (with Trish MacGregor), What Your Birthday Reveals About You, Your Magickal Name (with Debra Vega), and Celtic Astrology. Her new book, Erotic Astrology, will be in the stores on July 17, 2009.

Phyllis also does tarot readings and teaches workshops on a variety of topics including, SpellCraft, Crystal Power, Candle Magic, and Past Life Regressions at Five Sisters on South Dixie Highway in Pinecrest, Florida. Phyllis works out of her office in Miami, Florida where she is currently writing a new tarot book and giving private tarot and astrology readings in person and over the telephone. She can be contacted through her website.

The Fool’s Journey (March 2009)

tarot fool photo
Photo by numerologysign

In the language of the tarot, The Fool’s Journey refers to the metaphorical trip that The Fool takes through all the cards of the major arcana on his way to enlightenment. By addressing each card in sequence, the innocent Fool learns the lessons implicit in that card. By the time he reaches the last card, The Fool is no longer a fool.

The Fool in the tarot deck stands for each of us at the beginning of any new venture; his journey represents the challenges and opportunities we encounter and the qualities we acquire on the road to knowledge and understanding. The World card represents the fulfillment of The Fool’s quest, the cosmic consciousness to which all the other cards have led.

We begin each new life phase as The Fool, nothing, the un-manifest entity. We move through the lessons and trials of the initiate or seeker, until tempered by the trials of experience we emerge whole and complete as The World. Each of the trumps of the major arcana cards stands for specific qualities or situations that we meet along the way. The cards mirror our different stages of development, and offer insight into our patterns of growth. Together the cards of the major arcana form a cycle that represents birth, life, death, and rebirth.

It is useful to study the major arcana in order to determine how far along the path you have come. By using the cards for meditation, and in readings, you can learn a lot about yourself and your personal direction. Are you, like The Fool, just starting out on a new path? Have you reached the halfway point of some facet in your life? Are you just completing one phase and getting ready to begin another? In understanding the journey of The Fool through the major arcana, you begin to understand more about yourself and your reason for being. As you become a more complete person you are better able to discern your life purpose and fulfill your individual potential.

The descriptions that follow show how each of the majors is connected to The Fool’s Journey and to the cards that come before and after it in the sequence. The meanings of each card and its relationship to The Fool’s Journey are based on the keywords most often used to describe the trump cards.

The Fool (Key 0):

The Fool is a card of beginnings, and stands for each one of us at the beginning of life’s journey. Actually The Fool is no fool, but rather an inexperienced innocent. At the start of his trip, The Fool is fresh, open, spontaneous, and ready to embrace whatever comes his way. Seemingly oblivious to the cliff edge he stands upon, The Fool is unaware of the possible hardships and pitfalls that lay ahead as he ventures out to learn the lessons of the world.

The Magician (Key 1):

Analogous to the legendary sorcerer Merlin, The Magician is both teacher and wise man. As communicator and keeper of the ancient mysteries, The Magician is The Fool’s guide. He represents the force of the creative impulse. He is also the conscious awareness of the ego or outer self. The power of The Magician is his ability to employ a dynamic combination of concentration and creativity to manifest wishes and dreams. The Magician’s message to The Fool is that all the tools of life are at our fingertips, and we can manipulate them at will to create the desired outcome.

The High Priestess (Key 2):

As chief feminine elder, The High Priestess corresponds to all the virgin goddesses of the ancient world. Her primary association is with The Moon and the concept of reflected or borrowed light. Through her connection to occult, secret, and esoteric matters she symbolizes potential, untapped talent, and latent ability. She represents the nurturing and birth of spiritual, creative, and artistic ideas that cross the threshold from the unconscious to the conscious mind. The High Priestess is The Fool’s unrealized potential waiting passively for an active principle to bring it to expression.

The Empress (Key 3):

The Empress is the Great Mother Goddess, the biological and earthly mother of all living things. In her guise as Ceres/Demeter who created the seasons, The Empress is mother-nature herself. As the representative of fertility, art, and beauty she is nurturing and seductive; like nature she symbolizes the earth from which all life comes. For The Fool, The Empress represents the loving mother who nourishes and cares for him, but also Mother Earth, who nurtures and cares for us all.

The Emperor (Key 4):

Next, The Fool encounters the father in the figure of The Emperor. He is the representative of structure and authority. As he moves out from the safety of The Empress’ arms, The Fool begins to see that there are patterns to his world. Objects respond in predictable ways that can be explored and understood. He also learns that there are rules to follow, and that his will is not always paramount. These restrictions can be frustrating, but through the patient direction of his father The Emperor, The Fool begins to understand their purpose.

The Hierophant (Key 5):

As keeper of the sacred keys and the religious authority in society, The Hierophant is the other face of the paternal principle represented by The Emperor. Together they share responsibility for The Fool’s material and spiritual needs. When The Fool ventures out into the wider world, he is exposed to the beliefs and traditions of his culture. Since The Hierophant is the representative of society’s organized belief systems, he is the one who interprets arcane knowledge and sacred mysteries for The Fool.

The Lovers (Key 6):

The Lovers represent the duality in life, particularly that brought about by another person entering the individual’s personal sphere and awakening love and desire. Eventually, The Fool faces the challenge of his urge for union with another person. Up to this point, he was mainly self-centered. Now the balancing tendency pictured in The Lovers impels him to reach out and become half of a loving partnership. The Lovers duality can also indicate a time of choice between two lovers, or the need to decide whether or not to continue a relationship.

The Chariot (Key 7):

The Charioteer stands for ambition, action, change, and new experience. Like the great classical heroes of mythology, this trump represents victory, willpower, and the courage and heart of a warrior. The modern meaning of this card has less to do with war, battles, and victories, and more to do with work, aspiration, self-control, and success in the world. The encounter with The Chariot puts The Fool on notice that he is now an adult and ready to take charge of his own life.

Strength (Key 8):

Originally numbered 11, A. E. Waite shifted the Strength card to number 8. As a result, the card that relates to the energy and resilience of the unconscious succeeds the representative of the outer power of the ego’s will. While The Chariot refers to the male archetype of action in the world; Strength relates to the female archetype of internal power. From them The Fool learns that harmony is attained through the integration of inner and outer consciousness. Instead of fighting the beast within, you tame it and it becomes your source of strength.

The Hermit (Key 9):

The Hermit represents The Fool’s inner teacher, higher self, or spirit guide, that part of him that is continually searching for the meaning of life. Connected astrologically to the planet Saturn, The Hermit serves as the representative of Father Time. He teaches The Fool about the passage of time and the inevitability of change. As a result of this encounter, The Fool begins to look inward, trying to understand his feelings and motivations. He is now ready to seek out a teacher or guide who can provide advice and direction.

The Wheel of Fortune (Key 10):

In many early decks, the image of this card was that of a blindfolded woman representing the Goddess Fortuna in her guise as fate or destiny. She’s shown turning the wheel of life. When the wheel turns, everything changes. Periods of happiness and good fortune follow seasons and intervals of bad luck. From this trump, The Fool learns about life’s ups and downs. However, in today’s world many accept the idea that the fall of the wheel is not so much determined by destiny, as it is the result of individual thoughts, ideas, beliefs, feelings, and choices.

Justice (Key 11):

The astrological counterpart of Justice is Libra, the scales. The double-edged sword depicted in most versions of this card represents choice, and indicates that Justice is a two way street. Its influence is impartial, objective, detached, and nonjudgmental. The justice represented by this card is legal or karmic justice, not social justice, which is in the realm of The Emperor. The scales of justice refer to balance and harmony. From his encounter with this key, The Fool learns to weigh all factors in order to make informed choices and equitable decisions.

The Hanged Man (Key 12):

This card symbolizes the sacrifice of the god Odin, who hung upside down from a tree. He suspended himself between the forces of heaven and earth in order to learn the wisdom of the runes. The Hanged Man denotes the transformation from ordinary consciousness to spiritual consciousness. He introduces The Fool to the need for letting go control of the ego, in order to surrender to the intuitive knowledge of the inner self. This key corresponds to a time when, with his life in suspension, The Fool sees things from a new vantage point.

Death (Key 13):

Originally associated with the Grim Reaper, Cronos, and Kali, the initial meaning of this card was physical death. However, the modern meaning equates the Death card with Pluto, the astrological planet of death, rebirth, and renewal. As such, it does not signify physical death; but refers instead to metaphorical death; something that transforms and changes you at the deepest level of your being. At this point in the journey, The Fool experiences many endings as he eliminates old habits and tired approaches, putting the outgrown aspects of his life behind him.

Temperance (Key 14):

The Temperance card connotes balance through moderation, patience, and composure. Its task is to remind The Fool to always keep one foot firmly planted on the ground. The word temperance derives from the Latin temperare and means “to mix” or “to combine.” Symbolically this key represents the creativity and empowerment of Alchemy, and refers to the combination of opposites– male and female, light and dark, spirit and matter. By recombining and blending the many elements of life in new and different ways, The Fool learns how to create something unique.

The Devil (Key 15):

This card personifies temptation, restriction, and misdirection. It reflects belief in the surface rather than in the inner truth of a situation. The Devil represents the individual’s own fears. When you believe you can’t do anything, you’re powerless to exert control over your life. The Devil’s purpose is to teach The Fool to recognize and accept all sides of human nature. Because he corresponds to our shadow part, The Devil knows all our shameful secrets, forbidden desires, and taboo fantasies. Once The Fool stops repressing his true feelings, he can start dealing with them effectively.

The Tower (Key 16):

Because it denotes the breaking apart of old routines and patterns that restrict growth and development, this key puts The Fool on notice that changes are required. Although the sudden catastrophes associated with The Tower generally appear as external events that seem to come out of nowhere, they’re actually a wake up call that tells us everything is not as it should be. Resist necessary change and events slam into your life, forcing change upon you. However, with the smoke cleared and the rubble removed you find that you’re free to rebuild your life along more personally satisfying lines.

The Star (Key 17):

Beyond the violence of The Tower’s blinding flash of lightning, The Fool encounters the peace and calm of The Star. Having passed through the dark trials of The Tower, he now moves toward The Star’s gentle light. Bathed in its soft radiance, he is renewed and restored to harmony and balance. Symbolic of faith, hope, and inspiration, this trump reminds The Fool to trust to intuition and his own inner voice. It prompts him to draw on all levels of mind in an attempt to fulfill his highest potential. At last The Fool is ready to follow his star, wherever it leads.

The Moon (Key 18):

Beneath The Moon’s shimmering glow the familiar realities of daytime and the conscious mind give way to the netherworld of sleep, dreams, and the unconscious. Under The Moon’s spell, The Fool enters a labyrinth of illusion and mystery. The Moon’s task is to teach The Fool about the mysteries of the female spirit, and the nurturing qualities of emotion and intuition. The Moon stimulates the creative imagination, but she also introduces The Fool to the seduction and paranoia implicit in the unknown. The weird thoughts that bubble up from The Fool’s unconscious may provoke a sense of loss and bewilderment.

The Sun (Key 19):

With the coming of dawn The Sun is reborn, and the reawakened ego consciousness emerges from the dark of night into the light of day. This key’s mythological correspondence is to ancient Sun gods, like the Greek Apollo, who was born of Leto goddess of the night. The Sun equates to wisdom and enlightenment, because in its travels across the planet it sees everything. The Sun’s purpose is to teach The Fool to blend unconscious and conscious material. Empowered by his passage through the trials of the night, The Fool now feels strong, confident, and ready to confront any challenge.

Judgement (Key 20):

The Fool is nearing the end of his journey. By the time he reaches this point, he has learned how to integrate his everyday awareness with higher consciousness. Moreover, he has changed completely. The Fool now possesses all the qualities that he has been seeking on his pilgrimage: enlightenment, truth, hidden knowledge, and a sense of harmony and contentment. He feels cleansed and refreshed, ready to start anew. He may regret past mistakes, but he knows they were due to his ignorance of his true nature.

The World (Key 21):

At last The Fool has come to the final card in the journey. The World card signals the end of his tour of the major arcana. Having attained the goal, he arrives at his destination totally transformed. He is now ready to reenter the world, but this time with a more complete understanding. His former naiveté has combined with the wisdom he acquired along the way. He has mastered the three planes of mind, body, and emotion, and all elements of his existence blend together to form a synthesized whole.

About Phyllis Vega

Phyllis Vega is a professional tarot reader and astrologer. She has been a New Age counselor and teacher for more than three decades. Phyllis is the author of 10 books, including Romancing the Tarot, Power Tarot (with Trish MacGregor), What Your Birthday Reveals About You, Your Magickal Name (with Debra Vega), and Celtic Astrology. Her new book, Erotic Astrology, will be in the stores on July 17, 2009.

Phyllis also does tarot readings and teaches workshops on a variety of topics including, SpellCraft, Crystal Power, Candle Magic, and Past Life Regressions at Five Sisters on South Dixie Highway in Pinecrest, Florida. Phyllis works out of her office in Miami, Florida where she is currently writing a new tarot book and giving private tarot and astrology readings in person and over the telephone. She can be contacted through her website.

The Court Cards (February 2009)

tarot photo
Photo by thegreathorsecigar

In the tarot deck, the court cards act as a bridge between the spiritual and psychological symbolism of the majors, and the mundane events characterized by the numbered cards of the minor arcana. They correspond to the face cards in an ordinary deck of playing cards. Although the court cards usually represent people, they can also stand for aspects of character and personality, and actual events and activities.

There are sixteen court cards in a typical tarot deck, four per suit. Most often they are King, Queen, Knight, and Page. However in some nontraditional decks they go by different names: Man, Woman Child, Daughter, Son, Princess, Prince, Priestess, Shaman, Sage, Speaker. However, the main problem with the court cards isn’t what they are called; it’s what they mean. Some experts claim they represent people in our lives, others insist that they symbolize qualities, events, or even thoughts that we hold, while some others think that they relate to all of the above.

I confess that I am a member of the “all of the above” school of court card meanings, and I believe you can’t have too much help when working with these enigmatic cards. In fact, it’s a good idea to routinely draw another card to compliment each court card that falls in a layout. The additional card provides subtext that can help you zero in on the court card’s meaning in the spread.

The best way to understand the tarot is through trial and error. This is particularly important when dealing with the court cards. Regardless of how many classes you take, or books you study, the teachers’ and authors’ interpretations are the meanings that work for them. Repeatedly reading for yourself and others is the only way to discover whether or not what you’ve learned actually works for you. Although there are some basics that can serve as a guide to understanding the meanings of the court cards, they should not be taken as absolutes. If you are just learning tarot you’ll probably want to use these definitions as a jumping off point. However, when you’re doing a reading allow the symbols on the cards to trigger insights and associations. Permit your mind to suggest fresh interpretations drawn from your personal life experiences.

The following definitions of the members of the court and the suits in tarot refer to the standard Waite/Smith decks. If you use other decks, the names of the court cards and even the suits may be different, but most of the meanings will still apply. The fiery tarot Kings are the motivating force behind a plan or idea. The watery Queens can be likened to rain bringing the idea down to earth, and making it grow. The airy Knights spread the seeds of the idea throughout the kingdom. And the earthy Pages are the fertile soil in which all of this may grow and flourish.

Kings: Represent mature men who generally know who they are, and what they can accomplish. They symbolize strength of will. Kings are active and outgoing. They strive to impact the world through the force of their personalities. The Kings are Fire, which is their element, and passion is the driving force behind everything they do. Filled with energy, these movers and shakers are related to the Emperor, and like him they are leaders, planners, commanders, and creators. Thus, a King in a spread can indicate motivation, a new beginning, or the start of something important.

Queens: Represent mature woman, mothers, wives, lovers, sisters, bosses, co-workers, and friends. They symbolize female energy, the yin and the receptive qualities of the inner self. Queens do not wield their personalities as a force directed outward. Queens express themselves from the inside, setting the tone for their suits without imposing it. The element of the Queens is Water and, not surprisingly, Queens are a reflection of the Empress. Queens signify the creative force. When Queens appear in a layout, they signal a time of growth and development.

Knights: Represent young men or woman. They symbolize energy and drive. Their appearance generally indicates that a long standing life situation is about to change. Knights are extremists; they express their suit qualities to the maximum. Their excessive feelings and behavior can be either positive or negative depending on circumstances. Knights are the spirit of youth, and thus are all about change. Knights are never still; their presence suggests movement, travel. Elementally, they are Air, moving and flowing like that element. Their beliefs are purer than of a mature adult, and they are unquestioning loyal to a kingdom or cause.

Pages: Represent young children or adolescents. Pages can be either male or female. They symbolize youthful innocence and exuberance, messages, communications, new beginnings. The element of the Pages is Earth, indicating something young, growing, a seed planted. Pages most often stand for children, though they can also be said to be the Fool’s alter ego. Therefore, an adult who is child-like enough might also be a page.

Wands: Relate to the Fire signs in astrology: Aires, Leo, Sagittarius; also occupations concerned with ideas, creativity, expansion, growth, enterprise, initiative, self-employment.

Cups: Relate to the Water signs in astrology: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces; also occupations concerned with the arts, psychic ability, food, emotions, romance, relationships.

Swords: Relate to the Air signs in astrology: Gemini, Libra, Aquarius; also occupations concerned with the media, information, communication, writing, the military, the professions, science.

Pentacles: Relate to the Earth Signs in astrology: Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn; also occupations concerned with worldly achievement, material success, business, finance, building, healing, nurturing, ecology, gardening.

Court Cards as Significators

The significator is a card chosen to represent the questioner; the choice can be based on gender, age, occupation, or astrological sign. Although any card in the deck may be used as a significator, court cards are the ones most often chosen.

Kings are usually chosen to represent mature men
Queens are usually chosen to represent mature women
Knights generally represent young adults of either sex.
Pages generally represent adolescents and children of either sex.

About Phyllis Vega

Phyllis Vega is a professional tarot reader and astrologer. She has been a New Age counselor and teacher for more than three decades. Phyllis is the author of 10 books, including Romancing the Tarot, Power Tarot (with Trish MacGregor), What Your Birthday Reveals About You, Your Magickal Name (with Debra Vega), and Celtic Astrology. Her new book, Erotic Astrology, will be in the stores on July 17, 2009.

Phyllis also does tarot readings and teaches workshops on a variety of topics including, SpellCraft, Crystal Power, Candle Magic, and Past Life Regressions at Five Sisters on South Dixie Highway in Pinecrest, Florida. Phyllis works out of her office in Miami, Florida where she is currently writing a new tarot book and giving private tarot and astrology readings in person and over the telephone. She can be contacted through her website.

Tarot Basics (January 2009)

tarot photo
Photo by raebrune

The standard tarot deck consists of seventy-eight cards. The cards are divided into two groups called the major arcana (greater mysteries) and the minor arcana (lesser mysteries). The twenty-two trump cards constitute the major arcana. The remaining fifty-six cards belong to the minor arcana, which are divided into four suits: wands, cups, pentacles, and swords. Each suit contains four picture or court cards, and ten pip or numbered cards.

The artwork on the seventy-eight cards of the tarot deck is rich with archetypal symbols. These symbols are universal in scope and help to activate the inner senses, allowing the reader to tap into a nonintellectual form of knowledge. You read the cards by relating a scenario based on the information that you receive from both your conscious and unconscious minds. Sometimes you’ll examine the cards in a spread, and all at once you’ll know their meanings in relation to the question. At other times you will analyze the layout, and then relate what you’ve learned about the cards to events and conflicts in the life of the questioner.

The Major Arcana: Greater Mysteries

The twenty-two trump cards of the major arcana correlate to principal events in life, and to the social and cultural forces that mold character and destiny. They depict the same archetypal images that exist everywhere in mythology, folklore, legends, and dreams. Taken together, as a group, they form a story of human growth and evolution. In her book, Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, Tarot Grand Master Rachel Pollack refers to the majors as, “A psychological process, one that shows us passing through different stages of existence to reach a state of full development.”

On a practical level the archetypes of the major arcana correspond to the attributes of universal personality types, and represent aspects of ourselves. Each card relates to emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual qualities. Everyone is a composite of the primal energies, personalities, and subtypes symbolized by these cards.

The Minor Arcana: Other Mysteries

The fifty-six cards that comprise the minor arcana in the tarot are known as the lesser mysteries, but that’s misleading. It would be better to think of them as “other mysteries,” because they are the building blocks of the tarot, its DNA. We need the minors to direct us toward the path that is best for us, to tell us about the people we might meet along the way, and to illuminate the situations we may experience.

Whereas the trumps of the major arcana reflect larger matters and important turning points, the court and pip cards of the minor arcana generally refer to the different aspects and events of everyday life.

The Four Suits: Basic Elements of Life

The four suits of the standard tarot deck are: wands, cups, pentacles, and swords. They correspond to the four basic elements: fire, water, earth, and air, and to the four seasons of the year: spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

Wands: creativity, ideas, conception, beginnings.
Cups: feelings, love, romance, desire, inner experience.
Pentacles: physicality, manifestation, practicality, finance.
Swords: action, the intellect, communication, struggle.

The Court Cards: People in Your Life

There are sixteen court cards in a typical tarot deck–four of each suit. Most often they are called kings, queens, knights, and pages. In some nontraditional decks they go by different names–daughter, son, priestess, shaman, child, man, woman, sage, speaker. No matter what they are called, the court cards usually represent people. However, they may also symbolize qualities that we possess, or actual events and activities that take place in our lives.

Kings: mature men, fatherhood, the yang, the ego, closure, completion.
Queens: women, motherhood, the yin, the receptive qualities of the inner self.
Knights: young men or women, energy, drive, change.
Pages: adolescents or children, youthful innocence, messages, communications, new beginnings.

The Pip Cards: Day to Day Images

Because they relate to the major issues in our lives, the trump cards are generally thought of as the most powerful in the deck. However, that does not mean that they are more important than the other cards. On a daily basis the court and pip cards are at least as important, precisely because they pertain to the people and events of everyday life.

With the exception of the court cards, every card in tarot is linked to a number. The pip cards are numbered ace through ten.

Ace: beginnings, new ideas, potential, promise.
Two: partnership, relationship, polarities, balancing.
Three: synthesis, growth, creativity, unity.
Four: foundations, discipline, work, stability.
Five: change, shifts, adjustments, challenge.
Six: balance, health, harmony, equilibrium.
Seven: spirituality, wisdom, insight, complex choices.
Eight: reevaluation, regeneration, setting priorities.
Nine: integration, fulfillment, attainment, conclusion.
Ten: wholeness, completion, transition to a new cycle.

There is no right or wrong way to read tarot; no teacher, book, or specific system has a lock on the perfect method for interpreting the cards. The most any book or teacher can do is pass along some tips. Ultimately the only way to learn the tarot is through trial and error, and the best procedure for reading the cards is the one that works best for you.

About the Author

Phyllis Vega is a professional astrologer and tarot reader. She is the author of two popular tarot books, Romancing the Tarot and Power Tarot (with Trish MacGregor), with a third book, TarotCraft: How to Use the Cards for Divination, Creative Visualization, and Meditation currently in the works. Contact Phyllis via email at pvega@bellsouth.net or through her website at http://www.geocities.com/phyllisvega. Tarot Tarot columns and other works by Phyllis are archived at http://tarottalk.ecauldron.net/.

Copyright © 2009 by Phyllis Vega. All rights reserved.

About Phyllis Vega

Phyllis Vega is a professional tarot reader and astrologer. She has been a New Age counselor and teacher for more than three decades. Phyllis is the author of 10 books, including Romancing the Tarot, Power Tarot (with Trish MacGregor), What Your Birthday Reveals About You, Your Magickal Name (with Debra Vega), and Celtic Astrology. Her new book, Erotic Astrology, will be in the stores on July 17, 2009.

Phyllis also does tarot readings and teaches workshops on a variety of topics including, SpellCraft, Crystal Power, Candle Magic, and Past Life Regressions at Five Sisters on South Dixie Highway in Pinecrest, Florida. Phyllis works out of her office in Miami, Florida where she is currently writing a new tarot book and giving private tarot and astrology readings in person and over the telephone. She can be contacted through her website.