August 21, 2018: Bicycling Epiphany #327: I've been reading the tarot cards for quite some time now, and I still struggle with the whole "psychic" thing. The information that I receive comes from...somewhere, and I trust it, but I still can't explain how it works. My scientific, analytical mind wants desperately to how it works and, thus, I'm still a little skeptical of my own gifts! In my astrological chart, I have more Earth signs than anything. That's why I like to wear high heels...to get me out of the ground!!! The Earth signs also ground me in a good way, and they give me my healthy skepticism.
So what's my epiphany? I need to get taller. I need to reach my crown chakra higher to the ether even while I keep my feet grounded in Mother Earth. Stand tall, people, and take up your space.
May 22, 2018: And more still! Some divinatory practices have been so well developed they've become sciences unto themselves. While I'm familiar with those listed here, I'm in no way an expert.
Numerology as a divinatory practice attaches significant meaning to the numbers 1-9 and combinations thereof. Those combinations, whether dates, phone numbers, GPS coordinates, or anything numerical can be used for determining fortunes or in making decisions. I use a simple form of numerology in my Tarot readings. For example, the Aces (1’s) represent beginnings, wholeness, or potential. Twos indicate union, choice or decision, and also conflict. Threes signify creativity, the product of the union of a two, or the middle way out of conflict. Fours bring us structure, stability, and safety. But they also represent limitation, because the four walls of a room can also be the four walls of a prison cell. Energetically, fives signify change and volatility. Sixes return us to integration, balance, and harmony. Sevens represent the magic of nature! There are seven days in the week, seven notes within a musical octave, seven colors in the visible spectrum, we have seven major chakras in our bodies, and each phase of the moon lasts seven days. Metaphysically speaking, sevens also represent study, knowledge, and analysis. Eights bring us abundance and manifestation! Nines are about completion, idealism, and altruism. Finally, tens represent endings...but also beginnings, because when you add the 1 and 0 that make the number 10, you return to 1.
Astrology, as we all know, is divination based upon the patterns, movements, orbits, juxtapositions to each other, and locations of stars and planets. Because the heavenly bodies of our universe are in constant motion, their gravitational pull has an effect upon our humble Earth. And what affects our Mother Earth, affects us, too.
The I Ching (pronounced EE-Ching) is also known as Classic of Changes or Book of Changes, which is an ancient Chinese divination text and the oldest of the Chinese Classics. This book of ancient human history possesses more than two and a half thousand years of commentary and interpretation. The I Ching is an influential text read throughout the world that provides inspiration to religion, psychoanalysis, business, literature, and art. Originally a divination manual in the Western Zhou period (1000–750 BC), over the course of the Warring States period, and early imperial period (500–200 BC), it was transformed into a cosmological text with a series of philosophical commentaries known as the "Ten Wings." After becoming part of the Five Classics in the 2nd century BC, the I Ching was the subject of scholarly commentary and the basis for divination practice for centuries across the Far East, and eventually took on an influential role in Western understanding of Eastern thought.
The I Ching uses a type of divination called cleromancy, which produces apparently random numbers. Six numbers between 6 and 9 are turned into a hexagram, which can then be looked up in the I Ching book, arranged in an order known as the King Wen sequence. The interpretation of the readings found in the I Ching is a matter of centuries of debate, and many commentators have used the book symbolically, often to provide guidance for moral decision making as informed by Taoism and Confucianism. The hexagrams themselves have often acquired cosmological significance and paralleled with many other traditional names for the processes of change such as yin/yang and Wu Xing.
(Kudos go to Wikipedia for that concise and understandable explanation of this ancient and wonderful divinatory method.)
Tasseography or tasseomancy is otherwise known as tea leaf reading. (Another of those well-known tools of divination thanks to stereotyping in movies and books.) To practice tasseomancy, you simply make a cup of loose leaf tea, pour off the water, and then seek inspiring images in the shapes the tea leaves make in the bottom of the cup or on the saucer. This method of fortune-telling became popular in 17th century Europe, which was about the same time as Chinese tea trade expanded to the north and west. Tasseomancy can also be practiced by using coffee grounds. This was/is especially popular in Turkey and Greece where the populations preferred coffee to tea.
Lastly, we get to my specialty: Cartomancy. Cartomancy is the practice of using cards to tell fortunes or predict the future. Some cartomancers use ordinary playing cards like you'd use for playing poker or bridge. I use Tarot Cards and still others use Angel Cards or Oracle Cards. I don't feel any one set of cards is superior over the next; it's the talent of the reader to interpret the meanings of what cards are chosen, not the actual cards themselves.
Oracle and Angel cards are more free flowing, and can have anywhere from 12-200 cards in a deck (traditional tarot decks have only 78 cards). Some Oracle card decks offer short phrases or keywords that hint at the meaning of the cards. This makes Oracle cards more objective (what you see is what you get), and some find Oracle cards easier to read for themselves than other types of decks. The first oracle decks appeared in early the 1800’s in France and were popularized by Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand. She was a famed psychic of her time who read fortunes for nobility, such as Queen Josephine (Napoleon's wife), and social and political luminaries of the day. The Lenormand Deck is still in use today and is more specific than other Oracle decks. More than likely Mme. Lenormand developed her Oracle deck based upon her understanding of the Tarot.
As the name implies, Angel cards depict what are believed to be inspirational images, phrases, and words that make up messages from the angels--particularly the archangels such as Gabriel or Michael. These messages aim to inspire, heal, guide, and comfort a person who is going through a difficult time. While Angel cards are a lovely divinatory tool, some people find great pleasure and peace in drawing a card each day from an Angel deck or to use them in conjunction with meditation.
In the latter half of the 20th century, as cartomancy became more popular and accepted, new decks have flooded the market bringing new and varied Oracle, Angel, and Tarot decks. Each deck author and illustrator need only totap into their personal creativity to bring forth a work of art and inspiration.
May 19, 2018: But wait, there's more!
Crystal scrying is another of those divinatory practices that everyone's seen in the movies. The be-scarfed and be-jeweled "gypsy" woman gazes into her crystal ball to tell the Seeker his/her fortune. And that's basically what crystal scrying is. However, you don't need all the scarves and bangle bracelets, nor do you need an actual crystal ball. A crystal of any size or shape can be used to focus inner thoughts and concentrate upon the intuitive images that come to the fortune teller that may tell a story of the future.
A fortune-teller can also detach themselves from the equation and let Universe do all the work.
Automatic writing one can concentrate thoughts and write or sketch things that may otherwise stay hidden in the subconscious. I call those things you may blurt out in the heat of passion or in a moment of clarity "truth bombs." Children are good at drawing "truth bombs" that they don't feel comfortable speaking. To practice automatic writing, a fortune-teller (you can do this yourself) allows messages or pictures to flow through his/her arm as he/she loosely holds a pencil or pen. Just let the pen move...start with a scribble and see where your hand goes from there.
Pendulum divination is a common way of finding an answer to a "yes" or "no" question. Anything slightly heavy can be used--crystals, stones, metal weights--when suspended from a cord. Some people allow the weight to suspend in thin air; I hold the weight over my palm to give it some of my energy. I then ask the pendulum to show me a "yes" movement and then a "no" movement. Once I'm sure what I'm looking at, I ask my question. You can even use your own body as a pendulum by closing your eyes, standing still, and feeling which way your body may sway when you think about your question.
Another way of making Universe do the work for you is by using dowsing rods. Dowsing rods can be a Y shaped stick or two L shaped sticks. Hold the Y rod by the two stems and point the single stem away from the body. With L rods, hold the short side of the L in the hands and the longs sides pointed away from the body. (With L rods, the short sides need to have some sort of sleeve on them to allow freedom of movement.) Ask your questions and then follow the tips of the rods wherever they may lead you. Dowsing rods are particularly useful for finding lost things,water, oil, ore, gemstones, or even grave sites.
May 18, 2018: A few more methods of divination and tools used.... The following divinatory practices involve using "things of the flesh" to see into the future or divine a Seeker's fortune.
Osteomancy is much like the practice of Scapulomancy I mentioned earlier in that it involves reading bones. However, osteomancy, also known as “throwing the bones”, uses a variety of bones and not just the shoulder bones or scapulae. Many cultures have used this method of fortune telling for thousands of years. The practice involves tossing small animal bones onto a clear spot of dirt. The patterns and juxtaposition of the bones to each other would be interpreted for meaning. Sometimes feathers, shells, and/or pebbles would be added for finer detail. Also, some practitioners would burn the bones and look for images in the flames--much like pyromancy--by using bones as fuel for the fire.
Pyro-osteomancy is a slight variation on “throwing bones.” The fortune-teller would burn the bones used in the reading and then read the cracks on the bones that resulted from the heat of the fire. This is not to be confused with reading the images in the flames. The fire is merely a way to season the bones so that bones are prepared for the reading.
Certainly most of you have heard of Haruspicy. This is a favorite divinatory method of every horror movie ever made that involves "witches." Haruspicy is the art of looking at the entrails of sacrificed animals-- especially the livers of sheep and poultry to determine the future. This method has been practiced as far back as Biblical times and is even mentioned in Ezekiel 21:21.
Chinese face reading has its foundation in ancient Chinese medicine and goes back thousands of years. The fortune-teller or medical practitioner reads a person's character and personality in the facial features of the patient. The lines in the skin caused by the underlying muscle action carry information about a Seeker's past and who they’ve become as a result. (As I've mentioned before, habits and behaviors of the past predict habits and behaviors of the future.) A Seeker's future can be predicted through these patterns if they continue on the current path indicated.
Chiromancy is much like face reading except instead of studying the face, a fortune-teller studies the palms of a Seeker's hands. Character and personal habits are reflected in the lines on the palms just as they are in lines on your face. These palm lines can show serious events in your history and then your future is guessed at based upon what has happened in your past. (Did you know palm lines change [unlike fingerprints] over the course of your life? Who knew!?!)
May 17, 2018: Continuing the topic of definitions of different methods of divination and tools used.... The following three tools of divination are somewhat related, in that esoteric meanings are assigned to several objects. Those objects are either thrown into a circle or pulled from a bag. The order in which those objects are drawn or the pattern said objects make when landing within or outside of the circle create the messages from Universe that are then interpreted by the fortune-teller.
The Celtic Ogham: This tool originated in Ireland around the 400-500's AD. They are comprised of small sticks, staves, or perhaps bones with the twenty original ogham alphabet letters carved onto them. Each of the letters/symbols mean something different and combinations of them determine the Seeker's “fortune.” Ogham is an Early Medieval alphabet used to write the early Irish language (1st through 6th centuries) and later the Old Irish language.
Norse Runes originated in northern Europe and were, in theory, a gift from the Norse god Odin. Unlike the Celtic Oghams, there were only sixteen letter symbols. But like the Celtic Oghams, those letter/symbols were carved into stones, bones, or wood pieces. Each one had a metaphorical and divinatory meaning, and the order in which they were drawn from a pouch or how they landed when tossed determined the fortune. The Rune stones as a divinatory tool originated in the northern countries, but the letter/symbols came from one of the many old Italic alphabets in use among the Mediterranean people of the 1st century. This is a perfect illustration of how our development as people relied on the travels of explorers, warring tribes, and traders.
Lithomancy is the practice of divining the future through the reading of stones and is performed much like the reading of Celtic Oghams or runes. Each stone of a fortune-teller's collection is designated to have a particular metaphorical and/or divinatory meaning, and, again, the order in which they are drawn from a pouch or how they land when tossed determines the Seeker's fortune. Some Lithomancers use specific crystals such as amethyst, clear quartz, agate, rose quartz, etc. rather than random stones to do a reading. All crystals have different esoteric and metaphysical properties, so the combinations and patterns of these crystals can be very useful in a divinatory reading.
May 16, 2018: Today, I'm going to begin offering a few definitions of different methods of divination and the tools used. Yesterday, I mentioned Tarot cards as being my favorite tool, but that the cards are by no means the only or best tools to use. And I must add that some fortune-tellers or psychics use no tools at all. They are able to tap into the knowledge of Universe without needing a particular method or device.
In Europe, during the time period commonly known as the “Dark Ages”, scientific thinkers of the day (those with the money and facilities) would experiment with burning, mixing, and melting assorted stuff to see what would happen and if they could somehow predict the future through their experiments. (Meanwhile, the ordinary folks were just trying not to die of the plague.) Around the beginning of the Renaissance in the 1400’s, it was decided by the powers in charge (most notably the leaders of the Catholic Church) that a certain seven types of experiments or divination were going to be outlawed. (The suffix "-mancy" is defined as "divination by means of.")
Those outlawed seven were: Necromancy, or black magic; scapulimancy, which is the means of divination by using animal scapulae, or shoulder bones (there are ancient examples of that practice found in Korea dating to about 300 BC), and Chiromancy, commonly known as palmistry or palm reading. The remaining four “forbidden arts” are based upon the four elements of fire, water, earth, and air.
Pyromancy is divination by using fire. Basically, the fortune-teller would look into a fire, whether large or small, and study flame patterns. The images seen in the flames would then tell the “future”. Many ecologists, naturalists, and wildfire investigators still use “pyromancy” to predict the future growth of forests and the possibility of coming fires. They do so by looking at tree rings, plant growth, ashes in the soil, and so forth as evidence of past fires. By studying the past, they try to predict the future. If the future of the forest looks grim, they may till up dead places, cut trees, remove fire fuel, etc. to try to reduce the possibility or severity of a future fire.
Hydromancy is also known as water scrying. When using water as a tool of divination, one determines the future by looking for images in the movements, ripples, color, or other characteristics of the water. The body of water used can be as small as a dish of water or as large as the ocean. Scientists such as oceanographers still use hydromancy to predict the future of earth and its inhabitants by studying tides, water temperatures, currents, and other trends and patterns present in Earth's waters to warn us of storm surges, flood levels, rogue waves, tidal movements, tsunamis, and climate change.
Geomancy is a method of divination by using dirt. A geomancer basically throws handfuls of dirt and/or pebbles and looks for images in the resulting mess. Volcanologists and seismologists still use a form of geomancy to try to predict volcano eruptions and earthquakes, among other things, based upon their readings from all sorts of instruments and gadgets. They also study past geological events to guess at future events. Scientists who studied the pyroclastic flow that buried Pompeii were then prepared to warn the inhabitants of Montserrat of a similar future event. In 1997 the volcano that created the island blew, and pyroclastic flow buried the capital city of Montserrat. However, due to those warnings of the scientists, the city was evacuated in time and few casualties resulted.
Aeromancy is divination of the future by interpreting atmospheric conditions (temperature, cloud patterns, wind, barometric pressure, humidity, etc.) otherwise known as "the weather." Back in ancient times, weather was absolutely a predicter of the future: if the crops failed, everyone was out of luck! To this day, we rely on aeromancy to determine the near future, and how to react to it, every time we listen to the weatherman.
May 15, 2018: "Divination” is defined as the attempt to gain insight into a question or situation by way of an occultic ritual or standardized process. “Fortune-telling”, as I see it, is more of validating what you’re doing “right” and/or pointing out what you’re doing “wrong” and thereby blocking yourself from being your best. Divination and fortune telling can be done by someone for you or you can perform the rituals or standardized processes yourself. The tricky part is being completely objective and accepting any unpleasant truths. Personally, I struggle with that objectivity, so I don't try to interpret my Tarot cards for myself--but that doesn't mean you're wrong to try.
Basically speaking, predicting the future requires looking into the past. We guess our future according to past patterns of what may seem to be random events, behaviors of ourselves or people around us, world economy, weather, developing technology, etc. For example, you may wonder if your lover will lie or cheat in the future. Well, has he/she lied or cheated before? What’s stopping them from lying and cheating again?Or you may wonder if you’ll get a raise at work. Ask yourself how the company has been doing lately. Is it making or losing money? If the company website is crowing about record sales, you might be successful when asking for a raise. However, if batches of layoffs are occurring, you may want to keep your head down while you secretly dust off your resume.
Can you or anyone “see” your future and tell you what’s definitely going to happen? No, because we make so many decisions each day, our futures are constantly changing based upon those minor decisions. It's like driving a car; you make minor adjustments to the steering wheel to keep the car in your own lane as you drive down the road. If you suddenly remember you drank the last of the milk, you'll change course to hit the store before returning home, which makes you later than usual, thereby changing your predicted future of being home by 5:00. Therefore, the conditions of today cannot stay the same for very long, and anything predicted based upon the exact conditions of today is quickly yesterday’s newspaper because you’ve made so many little changes between now and then.
Am I, or other “fortune tellers”, able to take a pretty good guess at your near future? Yes, by using our favorite divination tools, we may see trends in your behavior, moods, and your past good or bad luck. By reading these trends, we can “see” a possible future. Meaning, if you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll probably end up where the fortune-teller says you will. Now, if the future doesn’t sound good to you, then change that predicted future by changing your current attitude, behavior, route to work, method of relaxation, etc. Go back to school, change jobs or careers, or break off a relationship. Nothing is set in stone, and you have pretty good control of your own destiny. (When I say "pretty good control", I mean nothing can predict the whims of Mother Nature or Universe. When things happen to us, we can either work with it and make the best of it...or completely collapse into victimhood. Your choice.)
At this time, I would like to recommend to anyone who’s thinking about having your fortune read to pick your person rather than the tool they use. My tool of choice are the Tarot cards. I don't believe Tarot cards are better or worse than any other tool of divination; it's just my favorite tool, and I use well. Also, it's my belief that a fortune-telling person of integrity will charge a reasonable fee and leave it at that. I don’t agree with the practice of requiring clients to have multiple follow-up readings or to buy “special” crystals, candles, or herbs to increase your chances of good luck. While I might recommend a crystal or herb, based upon my intuitive signals coming from reading the Tarot cards, it’s entirely your choice whether you want to add such an item to your life. I believe that YOU change your luck through your own actions and thoughts, not through any object.
I feel divination or fortune-telling is something you might like to consider just as you consider the advice of your neighbor, best friend, mother-in-law, pastor, or anyone else you might be inclined to ask for opinions. Let me remind you that I, as a fortune-teller, am giving you an opinion based upon my intuitive beliefs and life experiences. Therefore, I will be the first to tell you to follow up with a professional doctor, lawyer, financial analyst, etc. if I have any insight regarding your health, legal issues, finances, or any other topic in which I am not a professional or expert.
May 2, 2018: As a quickie side note, I'd like to clarify a few notions about the pentacle or pentagram. The words pentagram and pentacle are often used interchangeably. That's not strictly accurate, but I'm not going to call the grammar police on anyone if I see the words used "incorrectly." The pentagram is a five-pointed star positioned so that two points are pointing down, like little feet, and one point is up like a head. A pentacle is merely the symbol created when a pentagram is put in the middle of a circle. A great example of a five-pointed "star" in a circle is the vitruvian man by Leonardo DaVinci (ignore the doubled arms and legs and go with the basic image).
The pentacle, as a symbol has been used throughout the world since the beginning of recorded history. The ancient Chinese philosophy, Wu Xing, used the pentacle to represent the five elements (see also phases, agents, movements, processes, and steps/stages) of life. Those five elements are wood, fire, earth, metal, and water. The Japanese godai philosophy is derived from Buddhist beliefs and includes earth, water, fire, wind, and void (or aether) as its five elements. In Christianity, the pentacle was used to symbolize the five holy wounds of Christ he suffered during crucifixion. Mother Nature uses the pentagram in many of her creations of flora and fauna.
During the Golden Dawn period when all things esoteric were being explored by Aleister Crowley, Arthur Edward Waite, and others of their movement, someone decided to invert the pentacle by putting the single point down. Thus depicted, some felt the upside down pentacle looked like a goat's head, which looked too much like the devil. Therefore, it must be evil, and those who wished to practice dark magic appropriated the inverted pentacle as their symbol of darkness.
Unfortunately, whenever people hear the words pentacle or pentagram, they immediately visualize the inverted version and then jump to the "evil" conclusion. This is purely an artificial construct that has ruined the beauty and sacredness of the pentacle symbol. Another well-known symbol of auspiciousness and good luck that has been ruined through artificial social construct is the swastika.
April 29, 2018: Now I want to talk about the suits a little bit....
The Wands represent the element of fire. That can be the "fire in your belly" as you work towards a goal. It's the energy that impels you out of bed in the morning, eager to get your day started and do all the things you want to do. It can also represent germinating ideas or the "bee in your bonnet" as dreams develop into viable plans. When a majority of Wands cards come up in a reading, it may indicate things are in a creative stage. Energy is flowing, and there is great excitement, activity, and movement. However, mere energy will not be enough to manifest dreams onto the physical plane.
The suit of Cups represent emotions, the heart, and feelings. If there's a dominance of Cups in a reading, it means emotions are ruling the situation and decisions are going to be made based upon emotion rather than analysis or practicality. Feelings are what's most important with regard to the reading and the Seeker's circumstances.
Swords are about your thoughts, thinking processes, and understanding of life at the moment. Swords also have to do with all things intellectual, analytical, and inspirational. The dialogue of your conscious mind, or "voices" in your head, are indicated and governed by the suit of Swords. When Swords take over a reading, it shows an over-activity of the mind, which can cause agitation or an acceleration of a process or situation. Swords also represent those awful mind-loops we can get caught in, the "should have, would have, could have" recriminations we torture ourselves with at 2:00am.
The suit of Pentacles represent the physical steps we need to take to bring a dream into the concrete world, onto the physical plane itself, your physical body, tangible things, and the nuts and bolts of daily life such as jobs, errands, chores, houses, cars, etc. If there's a majority of Pentacles in a reading, it means manifestation is imminent--something is about to be "born" and take physical form. This concept can include ideas taking final shape so they caneasily move from your head to your hands.
When playing cards were becoming a "thing", suits were assigned the colors black and read. The black suits include the Wands and Swords. In general, they express activity, energy, will, initiative, and the intuitive side of your consciousness. In other words, what’s your gut telling you? The red suits (Cups and Pentacles) express passivity, inertia, and the unbiased side of consciousness. Or, what’s plainly in front of your face? You can see it as fact, not just feel it in your gut.
April 28, 2018: The final section of cards in a Tarot deck are called the "pip cards" or the numbered cards--the Aces through 10's. These are divided into four suits: Wands (representing fire energy), Cups (representing emotional energy, Swords (representing mental energy, or thinking), and Pentacles (representing material energy and the physical plane). (By the way, the Court Cards are also divided into these same suits, and there is a king, queen, Prince, and Princess in each.)
The pip cards provide insight into the behavior, emotional and/or mental state, and activities of the Seeker. They show the finer details of what psychological forces are driving an event. These cards can help us understand how we deal with different people, challenges, and life experiences. By knowing how one is thinking or feeling about any given circumstance, then problems can be addressed by changing behavior, letting go of emotional garbage, cutting toxic people out of one's life, and so forth. If the pip cards show one is nervous about starting a new endeavor, then those feelings can be channeled into useful activities, which will empower one to step into new roles and leadership.
According to my understanding of numbers and the Tarot, the Aces (1’s) represent beginnings, wholeness, and potential. Twos are representative of union, choice/decision, and also conflict. Threes give us creativity, the product of the union of a two, or the middle way through the conflict. Fours offer structure, stability, safety, but also limitation because the same four walls that make a home also can make a prison. Fives bring change and volatility. Sixes represent integration, balance, and harmony. Sevens give us the magic of nature! There are seven days in a week; each phase of the moon last 7 days; there are seven chakras in our bodies; each musical octave contains seven notes; and there are seven colors in the visible spectrum. Sevens can also represent brainy stuff like study, knowledge, and analysis. Eights bring abundance and manifestation. Nines represent completion of something big in life and also idealism and altruism. Finally, tens are about endings that lead to beginnings. (If you combine the 1 and 0 of the number 10, it returns back to 1 and beginnings, wholeness, and potential.)
April 27, 2018: The next section of a traditional Tarot deck I'd like to discuss is the Minor Arcana (a/k/a the Court Cards). There are sixteen of them (4 each of kings, queens, princes or knights, princesses or pages), and they reflect the sixteen personality types recognized in, and determined by, psychological personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Minnesota Multiphase Personality Inventory, and others. Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, as fathers of modern psychology, were well aware of the different personality types. The Myers-Briggs Test uses Jungian concepts of personality to determine the category into which a subject falls. (An interesting side note: the personality traits recognized in psychology, and as noted by Jung and Freud, were attributed to the Court Cards before Jung and Freud studied personality traits or published any thoughts on the topic.)
Many people assign the male gender to Kings and Princes/Knights and the female gender to Queens and Princesses/Pages. I don't care to since women can have "kingly" personality traits just as easily as men can have "princessy" personality traits at any given time. Also, the personality traits of the Court Cards can be traits a Seeker (person who's having their cards read) is displaying in a give situation or during a period in their lives. It doesn't mean the Seeker is always like that. Also, when a Court Card appears in a spread (the way cards are arranged on the table prior to a reading), those indicated personality traits may belong to someone the Seeker is dealing with rather than to the Seeker him/herself. I've often noted to a client they seem to be dealing with a harsh man in their life, and they reply it sounds a lot like their mother-in-law or their female boss. Therefore, I've stopped using gender and have switched to yin or yang energy when talking about a Court Card.
With that said... Kings are representative of mature yang energy (action, doing); authority, wisdom; and areas in our lives over which we have little or no control such as taxes, earthquakes, or other people. (Remember, you can't control other people, you can only control how you react.) Kings also indicate one has possibly reached the limit in a situation, and it's time to make some changes and shake things up a bit to keep it fresh.
Queens have mature yin energy (thinking and considering rather than doing); behind-the-scenes influences, manipulation; and are excellent advisors in all things.
Princes/Knights give us youthful yang energy; are daring, action, and goal oriented. (Think every teenager you've ever met!)
Princesses/Pages represent youthful yin energy; inexperienced, but with the willingness to learn; observant, give us fresh perspective, and have the enthusiasm to start new things. Princesses also indicate starting new projects, professions, or new interests. Their energy is what one wants to tap into when one has hit one's "king."
April 26, 2018: Recently, I delivered a presentation about divination in general and Tarot cards in particular. Someone wrote to me lamenting that she couldn't attend my lecture, but was very interested in the subject matter. Therefore, I shall post my presentation in bits and pieces so all of my site visitors may read about what I have learned in my studies so far. Some of you may be more well-read than I, so please contact me with corrections if you see glaring misinformation in my posts. I don't hold myself to be an expert by any means!
The twenty-two Major Arcana cards contained in a Tarot deck represent the universal human concepts, or archetypes, recognized by all cultures and across time. These concepts of love, death, mother, father, etc. are understood in the same way today in the United States as they were understood by populations of ancient Syria, isolated tribes in the middle of the Amazon jungles, or high society in Victorian England. One travels the path of the tarot through The Fool.
There are three phases of this path; in Phase 1, we develop awareness of self and how we fit into society. Phase 1 is about building character, competence, and maturity. The cards included in Phase 1 are The Fool through The Chariot and are described as follows:
0 The Fool: represents "everyman", any new situation, a beginning (I interpret this card to be the quintessential "beginning" card of the entire deck.)
1 The Magician: your own knowledge and resources within you and at your fingertips
2 High Priestess: your inner wisdom, which you don't quite realize your have yet
3 The Empress: Mother
4 The Emperor: Father
5 The Hierophant: the concept of religion and worshipping a higher power
6 The Lovers: union with another whether through love, friendship, spiritually, or in business
7 The Chariot: self-mastery and self-control
In Phase 2 of the path, we start to develop the subconscious and all that goes on "in our heads." This Phase begins with Strength and ends with Temperance.
8 Strength: represents your personal courage, strength, and compassion for others
9 The Hermit: indicates a time of introspection that reveals the inner wisdom held by The High Priestess
10 The Wheel: Karma, fate, destiny, and also changing times and cycles
11 Justice: represents responsibility for, and the consequences of our actions
12 The Hanged Man: letting go of the concept that “I” am the center of the universe
13 Death: certainly doesn't mean someone is about to die! This card represents an ending that makes a new beginning possible.
14 Temperance: is about balancing oneself with the Universe
In Phase 3, one begins to find illumination and wholeness of self. It begins with The Devil and ends with The Universe
15 The Devil: represents the parts of ourself we don’t like and that we try to deny exist in an effort to appear more righteous, worthy, or not "bad"
16 The Tower: this card allows a complete change of view as more ego destruction occurs
17 The Star: offers hope and self-trust
18 The Moon: forces us to face our fears
19 The Sun: asks us to find and consciously choose joy!
20 Judgment: represents recognizing and accepting our weaknesses as well as our strengths as assets
21 The Universe: is about completion and realizing the journey was the true learning experience rather than any goal we were hoping to attain.
Traveling the “Tarot Path” can happen in any situation (relationships, career, times of schooling, etc.) and will occur many times throughout life and at the same time in different areas. For example, you can be in Phase 1 at work, but halfway through Phase 3 in your relationship. Via this path, we experience birth and fundamental experiences, conflicts and passions of a growing entity, tests and challenges, crisis and loss, helplessness and despair, and finally soul searching to discover we actually are the architects of our own fates. At this point, hope is found and reconciliation within ourselves occurs with regard to this particular Tarot Path. But once we have reached the end of one path, a new path begins, because after every death, there is a birth.
July 1, 2017: I read something super interesting about the divining abilities of Tarot cards. It really resonated with me as to what kind of tool a Tarot reading can be, and what it's useful for. Oracular devices, or the tools people use to create "readings", are varied, and I don't believe any one device is "better" or more "powerful" than the next. On several occasions I've been asked to teach someone how to read Tarot cards because they can "only" read Oracle or Angel cards. When I ask why, the potential student usually says something along the lines of the Tarot cards are "real" divinatory tools and Oracle or Angle cards are just for play. Nonsense! If a tool works easily for you, then use it happily and well.
Modern life has become more and more busy and noisy to the point that many are just stumbling along from one "obligation" to the next. Work gives no pleasure but is simply a means to a paycheck. That paycheck enables one to buy stuff they really don't need. The stuff just creates clutter and doesn't fulfill one they way one had hoped. Social obligations are suffered rather than enjoyed. Through all that noise, the small whisper of one's intuition is lost. And if one's not listening to Self, then one certainly will be deaf and blind to Universe.
That's where divinatory tools come into play: to help one make sense of world events and new trends, how those things affect the individual, and to tap into spiritual reservoirs for guidance during times of crisis or choice. Such tools don't give the answers about what to do next, but they can help to explain why one views something as a problem v. a challenge. The Tarot cards (or other tools) can ask one to look more closely at one's reactions to, or attitudes, about life situations or unfortunate events. Do you collapse in a heap and blame your misfortune on others? Are you convinced you're born unlucky? Do you hope to be "saved" from any unhappiness?
A divinatory reading full of rainbows, glitter, and unicorns and predictions of true love coming in just three short months is, in my humble opinion, pretty useless at best, and downright false at worst. No one can predict another's future because we make thousands of small adjustments every day that move us away from that precise moment of the reading. It's impossible to freeze oneself in place and not make any changes, at all, so that the same conditions present at the time of the reading will remain until three months hence when Mr. Tall Dark McHandsome shows up. Therefore, the readings that challenge one to look deeper into the True Self to determine what it is one truly NEEDS, and not just wants, will be the readings most useful to a seeker. It's the old receiving a fish v. being taught to fish adage. If one can understand how to create one's own world, then it's up to the individual to create the best world in which that person wants to live.
The next time you think you're ready to have a reading, first choose the reader with whom you resonate. No oracular tool is better than another, but some readers will be a fit for you and others won't. It's just like finding friends, people to date, a pastor for a church, or a therapist. Then consider the information you wish to have and to ask about. However, don't be surprised if other information steps forward; you may think your job is the most important thing right now, but Universe may decide you need to be paying attention to your relationship. If you have no burning questions in your mind, it's perfectly okay, and useful, to have a "check-in" reading just to touch base with your higher self and Universe to see if you're missing anything important.
Now, find the next psychic fair or expo near you and have an eye-opening experience! You can also do a little on-line research to find a reader who appeals to you. There are many readers who can do very effective readings over the phone or via email (for example, me!).