I find tarot a wonderfully intuitive practice to utilise daily. Its depictions help us to uncover truths about ourselves and our everyday situations. The tarot can be read on a personal level and on a larger, comprehensive level. Generally speaking, the minor arcana deal with our day-to-day questions. These are the aspects of our lives that we affect by our own action, and the things we often have control over. Alternatively, the major arcana deal with universal life questions and may imply that the situation at hand is the result of forces beyond the querent’s control. With this distinction in mind, it becomes easier to divide and understand a reading. This is particularly true if one is working to a rigid spread, such as the obstacle reading mentioned yesterday, a past-present-future spread, or the classic Celtic Cross.
It is this last spread that I want to explore today. Most of the time, I prefer the immediacy of shorter spreads, as I tend to go into a reading with a specific query in mind. The Celtic Cross, however, is a bit like a spiritual body scan. It checks out all of one’s major identifiers and displays them in a preordained hierarchy.
This spread begins by drawing a Significator before the reading proper begins. This card is chosen to represent the querent. It can either be handpicked by the reader or drawn from the deck directly. Today, I chose to ask the deck for my Significator and received The Fool. For anyone embarking on a new journey, as I am here, this is appropriate.
And thus begins the spread. I chose my very first tarot deck, the Ancient Italian Tarot: 78 full colour tarot cardsAncient Italian Tarot. When I first started reading, I wanted to be as close to the origins of tarot as I could get. In the years since I bought it, it has served me well.
The first card is that which covers the querent, representing her primary focus. Here, we have the Ace of Swords, which indicates a spiritual breakthrough or mental growth. It also stands for new beginnings or enterprises. Quite poignant, considering my new change in focus. So far so good.
The second card displays what crosses the querent and any obstacles in her way. The Moon is in this crossed position, representing the inner self, intuition and what comes from within. The negative aspects of this card (deceit, lunacy, lack of clarity) are often the result of not listening to one’s inner self. Therefore, I can infer from this that my obstacle is a habit of shunning my inner voice.
The third card is what lies beneath the querent – her foundation. It can also bring to light hidden aspects of the self. My card for this position is called The Hierophant in most decks; in the Ancient Italian Tarot, it is il Papa: The Pope. As I am a cradle Catholic, I would be surprised to see anything else. This card is steeped in tradition and patriarchy. It can also mean that a spiritual path guides the querent’s life and actions.
The fourth card is what crowns the querent, and may also represent what is known to her. Here, we see the Six of Cups. This card is one of nostalgia and memories, usually positive. In this position, it could be seen as happy memories reminding me that I will be happy in the future also.
The fifth card stands for what has passed, possibly in influences or events. The card in this position is the Four of Cups, which represents withdrawal or ennui. It can represent a time of fallow fields, necessary to grow a rich harvest in the future. It’s pleasing for me to see this card in my ‘past’ location, as it implies that the period of less creativity was necessary for me to move forward in my ventures.
The sixth card depicts what is to come. In this spread, I drew The Lovers. This card represents a union of opposites, whether internal or external. The card also indicates that the union, which must be a choice, is sanctioned by an authority figure. This is therefore seen as a positive card, and so I will look forward to seeing which inner or outer rift will be healed and made whole.
The seventh card shows the querent’s state of mind and self-image. The Six of Wands is positioned here, which indicates victory over self-doubt, as well as success and processing forward in style. Indeed, it has felt like a personal victory just for me to get started writing this blog. Admitting my area of study, to myself and my family, has given me a new focus as well.
The eighth card represents the querent’s house and her relationship to it. The card here is the Ace of Wands, which can also represent the beginning of an enterprise. In this way, it reflects the earlier Ace of Swords, and their energies are synergistic. From this, I can gain further confidence that I have made the correct choice in my endeavours.
The ninth card can either show the querent’s hopes or fears – or what she secretly hopes for but still fears. We humans are complex creatures like that. At any rate, we can see an old acquaintance here: the Five of Coins. Again, this card represents destitution and a sense of lack. I can honestly say that this is one of my greatest fears. However, today I felt a different sense of the card’s meaning. It normally depicts two people in need of clothes and warmth passing a church. Perhaps it also implies the need to ask for assistance. For them, it could be their basic needs. For me, it could be that I need to stop being so proud regarding my study and remember to ask for help when I need it. Asking for and receiving help fulfil the hope and fear category.
The final card is the card of Christmas Future, showing what is to come. Happily, the card is a positive one in this spread. The Six of Swords represents moving away from past troubles and settling after a period of upheaval. Physical travel may be involved, or this could simply be a time of integration and wholeness. Bring it on.