By Angela Kaufman, Moonlight Tarot LLC
Choice liberating yet can be overwhelming. If you have ever had equal parts craving for Chinese food and Italian, then you know that ambivalence can feel like a pull in two directions that seem equally satisfying, or at least equally carb loaded. This month’s Querent is looking to intuitive guidance to make a decision that looms larger than simply deciding what to have for dinner, but nevertheless has her feeling conflicted. A woman we will call Rhoda asks for guidance in making a time sensitive decision about selecting her future home. She is choosing between a big apartment complex, and a smaller option. Having never met Rhoda personally, I have no insight into her preference for housing styles. For intuition’s sake, this is a good thing, as the reading can then come direct from Spirit and not my meddling mind trying to think about the best match.
The first impression for Rhoda is the location that seems smaller, more family friendly and feels like a suburban or rural setting, yards, near a small body of water. It feels like a more comfortable and rustic atmosphere. The first card to appear is the 10 of Cups and the scene portrayed in this card matches my impression- a country setting, family together in a yard, and a generally friendly intimate atmosphere. Already I feel the smaller option is more like home for Rhoda. I then get the sense she will sign paperwork with a woman soon, she will make a decision about which she is confident. I get the sense that some initial hesitation presents around a lease of a year or being locked in for a year time with money being tight. The indication I get is that this will be a happy, positive experience and that with careful planning she will make the finances work. Other images I see when doing this reading are a wagon wheel and a grey stone wall, so these may be features associated with this home or as symbols the wheel represents change and movement and the stone wall would be security.
This impression is confirmed by the presence of the Sun and Hanged Man cards, both Major Arcana, suggesting valuable developmental lessons are underway in this transition. I feel the Hanged Man presents a prolonged period of about a year in which it feels like finances are a struggle but a valuable lesson is being learned and important experiences surround Rhoda if she can remain open minded to viewing her options from a different angle. This also echoes the sense of fear of being “locked in” to a commitment. While in this transition Rhoda will be fulfilling an obligation and awaiting another transition in about a year.
The Sun card is a very positive indicator. It suggests optimism and an overall sense of joy. I feel like Rhoda will be happiest in the smaller home and will be successful in making the transition work in her benefit with a little perseverance and patience. She will need to “hang in there” when obstacles arise that have her feeling like she is not in total control but the overwhelming feeling is a positive one for this move. It seems like after the lease expires she will once again be making a move and that this stage is an important first step along the way on her journey. I feel like relationships are developed in this phase and peace of mind cultivated.
About This Month’s Deck
Rhoda’s reading was completed using the Rider Waite or Waite-Smith deck. This 78 card 22 Major/56 Minor Arcana deck’s structure and images are universally recognized as quintessential Tarot. The courts consist of Page, Knight, Queen and King for each of four suits, Wands, Swords, Cups, and Pentacles. Traditional elemental associations are Water/Cups, Earth/Pentacles, Wands/Fire, Swords/Air, but esoteric training in areas where Wands are more associated with Air and Swords with Fire can easily adapt these images. Likewise those of pagan faiths may also ascribe a more spiritual connotation to the traditional “earth” association with the pentacles.
The illustrations display allegory in two dimensional settings. All cards are fully illustrated and the pip cards are full scenes as opposed to simply a picture of two swords for the Two of Swords. In addition to this, traditional Tarot numbering, names, outlines, and connection to universal occult systems from astrology to Kabala, numerology, Judeo-Christian and Classical Pagan belief systems make the Rider Waite-Smith deck an excellent tool for developing Tarot enthusiasts and advanced readers alike.
My understanding of the Tarot evolved from Smith’s portrayal of the archetypes but as a reader I needed to adjust my expectations. When I first received these cards I had a difficult time appreciating the messages conveyed through the colors and images as my taste in art at the time favored more complex, layered styles and I initially found Pamela Colman Smith’s art to be flat. The scenic feeling to the cards emerges from Smith’s background in stagecraft as a set designer. In the learning process, one can imagine the characters forming their interactions on a set stage and this image can stimulate intuition and further help the novice interact with the archetypal energies represented in the cards. The symbolism contains enough mundane elements to make easy connections to realistic events and people, so intuitive discernment can easily transport the King to the role of father, boss, CEO etc. Some may take issue with this as the gender roles are defined based on traditional medieval society and other decks have altered this to be more culture/gender sensitive. These limitations can be overcome through accessing intuition to help the reader discern whether the Queen really represents a woman or a man in a more nurturing role etc.
If you are looking for imagery with complex depth or a variety of colors, you may be in for a shock as Smith’s color scheme is basic, with emphasis on primary colors, bold but with a limited spectrum. One way to work with this color scheme is to develop a connection to the colors and the depth of interpretation offered from their meanings. The color scheme makes it easier to focus on specific energies and becomes familiar the way a common brand logo is instantly recognizable. McDonalds, for instance, doesn’t use a full artistic palette, red and yellow work just fine. This deck is also useful for psychic development and study of the occult. I have come to appreciate the fact that the art work is not so elaborate as to be distracting. As for quality, I have had this specific deck 17 years at least and can still shuffle them without fear of damage. The corners show the tiniest bit of wear, however this may be attributed to my choice to store them in a felt bag rather than in a box.
Another step to becoming comfortable with this deck is finding ways to intuitively connect with images that did not emerge from one’s specific religious system. The symbolism in this deck is rich but like good esoteric tools the power is hiding in plain sight. It can be said that this is exactly what magick is, yet when I first saw the cards I was shocked by the “regularity” of the images. So, if you are looking for a deck that screams fantasy/sci fi, this one may fall short of your expectations, or as the Hanged Man suggests, you may need to alter your view and open your mind. The Waite- Smith deck is a timeless classic with much value to a budding or accomplished Tarot reader. Once you are able to see the spiritual influence in an image of a man suspended from a tree by his ankle, finding the magick and mystery in other mundane settings becomes second nature. Luckily I got past my first impression and came to recognize their mystical nature. The symbolism is easy to learn and this is a deck I would recommend for beginning Tarot students as it is referenced in most Tarot books.
This is also a great deck to use when conducting face to face readings as the images are illustrative without being grotesque. It is also helpful that the settings are medieval so as to provide a basis for explaining the symbolic quality of cards. Just as an audience watching a play, even the difficult scenes are close enough to home to evoke emotional response, but distant enough to be seen as part of a greater story line. This can be very important when a client is nervous about getting a “bad” reading.
I chose this deck because Rhoda’s question was straight to the point and this deck is the common currency of Tarot, and the deck I learned on 17 years ago. For me this deck represents “straight talk” from Spirit and in spite of my initial response to the cards as looking “too mundane” I now find it very helpful to use this deck for exactly the purpose of getting the clear picture of daily life issues. To contrast, I have other decks whose imagery I favor much more artistically but that I don’t view as being as reliable a tool for concrete guidance because they speak to me on a level of higher vibration and in a lens that promotes more spiritual concepts with less anchoring in worldly affairs. It can be said that both aspects carry a connected virtue- that what is spiritual is mundane and vice versa, and I would agree with this, yet in receiving the messages from Spirit and conveying them to a client with greatest ease when practical matters are involved this deck is my universal “taking care of business” deck.
Best of luck to Rhoda as her new life takes shape in this idyllic setting. Remember no matter where you choose to settle down in accordance with NYS law all readings are intended for entertainment purposes only and not substitution for financial, legal, or medical advice.
Interested in being the Querent in next month’s column? Contact Angela at Trionfi78@gmail.com.
This month’s Tarot reading was conducted using the traditional Rider Waite deck. For more information on this deck, please visit http://www.usgamesinc.com/Rider-Waite-Tarot-Card-Deck/. This deck was created by A.E Waite and Pamela Colman Smith and is currently under copyright by US Games Inc, 2012-14.
About Angela Kaufman:
Angela Kaufman has been exploring divination through Tarot cards for over a decade. She is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and formed Moonlight Tarot in 2009 which would become Moonlight Tarot LLC in 2010. Angela uses the Tarot and intuition to assist clients in exploring personal growth and development, and in accordance with New York State Law offers readings for entertainment purposes. Angela began providing readings on a professional, “Moonlighting” basis in order to provide affordable readings to those seeking guidance, inspiration and fun. Angela is also co-author of the new book “Wicca, What’s the Real Deal? Breaking Through the Misconceptions.” (Schiffer Publishing, 2011) and Sacred Objects, Sacred Space; Everyday Tools for the Modern Day Witch (Schiffer Publishing 2013). For more information on services offered by Moonlight Tarot LLC, visit http://www.moonlighttarotllc.com
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