By Angela Kaufman, Moonlight Tarot LLC

The economic turmoil Americans have dealt with since 2008 has had some positive aspects. People are reinventing “career”. People who expected to be taken care of by a regular 9-5 job ‘til retirement do us part are taking inventory of their marketable skills and stepping up the plate in the biz world, taking matters into their own hands. Jared, the Querent for the month of May, is discouraged with his career and thus at an important crossroads. He asks for guidance this month to help reveal what direction he should take next.

Jared is dissatisfied with his current line of work, and wants to start a business as a professional psychic medium. You may wonder why a psychic would consult another psychic and the answer is simple, we all need an objective second opinion. Similarly a hair stylist may let someone else style their hair. Also in psychic reading the perspective of someone removed from the emotions in a current situation can be helpful. Jared is very talented and has always had a good connection to Spirit. He feels compelled to bring his abilities forth after years of experiences.

My initial impression from Jared’s reading is that he is racing. I literally see him in a car zooming down the road frantically, spinning the wheels and cutting corners too closely. I feel the pressure and panic, as if he is rushing a delivery to beat a deadline. Jared is not under a deadline per se but feels mounting pressure at his job, and is feeling burned out and anxious about going to work. Like many Americans, Jared is particularly in tune with the increasing demands the economy has put on those in corporate America. The cards reveal a positive potential flow for Jared if he is able to slow down and proceed with caution.

The first card is the 5 of Coins. This card suggests a recent financial hardship, the result of an interpersonal challenge that left him with less of an income or resources than he is used to. Challenged to make up for lost time it is no wonder he perceives the strain. This calamity is a part of the catalyst for Jared’s current situation. There is some dis-assembling and rebuilding going on his life and the road financially is rocky but navigable. Still this is not terrain you want to race through.

The next card is the 2 of Wands. This is the crucial focal point for Jared at this time. He needs to network more. His talent is a viable foundation but he needs connections from his peers to help pull him out of his shell. In particular he needs to explore ways to get the word out and paperwork, application, and education are all emphasized here. He has the seed of a plan but it is still in the growing phase and the written and planning aspects of his business need not be ignored. He will have a way to go before the final stages because he needs to take the idea he is conceiving and work to give it form. His vision is not yet complete and he will need the help of others to gain confidence and comfort to develop his plan. His reading skills are sharp but his networking, writing and communication skills may need to be further developed to cover the finer points of sole proprietorship. I also feel there is a choice at hand and he is on the fence about this. Knowing what he wants but not yet committed to the action to get it.

The final card is a Major Arcana card, the Empress numbered 3. This card suggests growth, abundance and success. It suggests he will need to expand his scope and reach. I also feel that female energy, perhaps a literal woman in his life, if not the energy of receptivity and nurturing, are at hand. He needs to work with his plan and nurture it, and the development will be slow but fruitful. The presence of an older woman who is a mentor or guide will also be helpful, someone of a practical earthy nature who can help him gain footing as a business person. The number three will also likely be significant, growth within three months or years or a process involving three major transition phases that are required to build to the point of completion.

This reading was conducted using the Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg. This deck is similar in most ways to the Rider Waite- Smith deck featured last month, as the Major Arcana have the same name and numbers. The Minor cards differ, as Pentacles are Coins, and Wands are Clubs. The basic outline follows the traditional Tarot most familiar with the Waite Smith deck will recognize, but if you have never seen this deck before, novice or veteran Tarot reader, you are in for a treat!

Using this deck is like conducting a reading with 78 Faberge eggs. What the images present in delicate detail the quality of card stock makes up for in sturdiness and even in this complex duality these cards carry the polarized energy of the best of Russian culture- tough as nails, but beautifully intricate. This deck is quite luminous and I favor its artistic quality to that of the Waite Smith deck. The background and borders are black and this brings a striking luminescence to the characters and scenes depicted on each of the fully illustrated cards. The artistic style is detailed and seems inspired by folk art in the tradition of beautiful minute details brought out through careful precision of applied dark and light creating a three dimensional quality that is difficult to find in Tarot art.

The way the colorful images pop out from their black background makes this a handy deck to use when you are learning or advancing intuitive practice. In particular it is reminiscent of the way clairvoyant images appear in my “mind’s eye”, a dark background on which bright and lively symbols suddenly emerge. Using the Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg is a lot like holding a working meditation in your hands. To further this effect, the central “scene” on each card is portrayed in an oval sphere framed by intricate floral design.

It is said that artist Yuri Shakov actually hand painted the miniature scenes on the cards- or at least the ones he contributed to, as the mystique of this deck is enhanced in some ways by the story that Shakov actually died before the deck was complete and the remaining cards were finished by an unknown artist. I do not know the detailed history of this deck but if this is to be taken at face value, I find absolutely no discrepancy among the quality or beauty of the various cards. There are symbols from Russian folk lore worked into the archetypes presented in this deck as well, and it mirrors Russian culture and history. The Devil’s face will bear a resemblance to a prominent historical figure, but don’t take my word, see for yourself! The accompanying booklet also weaves the connection between the artistic interpretations of the various Tarot cards and Russian folk lore, however I have not had the privilege of this comparison as my copy was acquired used without the companion book. This is no deterrent however and speaks well for the continuity of this deck in the world of Tarot as it is easy to use and adapt to without the instruction guide.

There is a stained glass effect from this artwork and the juxtaposition of light and dark gives physical and spiritual depth. The balance of optimism and strife are found in each card as the backdrop balances the bright palette used. This makes it easier to produce cards like Death, the Tower and the Devil for a live audience because the dark and light feel balanced in even the most challenging cards. They really are just too beautiful to be scary and the seriousness implied in their meaning is also not lost on the balance of dark and light in the Sun or 10 of Cups, as each carries a deep dark mystery along with the cheerful elements. The depiction of royalty among the King, Queens and Empress, Emperor etc. is also quite rich and luxurious. Many of the cards look like you could reach in and touch the fabrics, jewels, water or fire. This deck truly is a sensual treat. It helps the reader focus as well to have a plain black background, so that the images convey depth without overbearing confusion.

I chose this deck because this reading was conducted live and this is my default in person deck. I use this deck for in person readings for several reasons- it is a visual delight and feels like a trip through a museum of archetypes, and for its sturdiness. I mentioned the strength and quality of these cards before and it bears repeating. I acquired this deck used in 2009 and it still shows absolutely no sign of wear, bending, weathering, it literally feels like brand new. When clients are apprehensive about shuffling the deck for fear of ruining the cards this deck proves to them instantly they can do no harm. If I didn’t love this deck so much I would be interested in knowing just what measures it would take to destroy one of the cards, but even the thought of this as an experiment seems a sacrilege. It is also easy for clients to relate to the images in this deck as they are classic in some ways but they convey meaning in a way reminiscent of reading a book of illustrated folk tales. The Pentacles being Coins also helps clients grasp the association with work, career and valuables. The cards can be as deep or superficial as you want to make them. If you know the background of the archetypes or Russian lore there is plenty of room to pull deeper and more complex meanings from each card. If you don’t, it is simple enough to see the Five of Coins showing a disheartened couple looking over the rubble of their treasure and “get” the meaning of financial setback.

If there is one minor setback in using this deck it is the size of the cards and relative size of the artist’s detail. I have found that clients with arthritis or small hands struggle with traditional shuffling methods as the cards are a large size. The images, again reflecting the style of Russian folk art, have small details and people with visual impairments will be able to get the basic impression but may miss the finer details in the images. You can accommodate this by using this deck with a magnifying glass- which I don’t, but I do allow time for clients to lift and examine the cards to their liking- and by allowing freestyle shuffling- which I do and the readings are always just as accurate.

Best of luck to Jared as he finds his way to success and fulfillment!

More about this deck as well as purchasing information can be found here:
http://www.usgamesinc.com/Russian-Tarot/
Copyright 1996 U.S. Games Inc. Instruction Book by Cynthia Giles

Interested in being the Querent in next month’s column? Contact Angela at Trionfi78@gmail.com.

About Angela Kaufman:
Angela Kaufman has been exploring divination through Tarot cards for over a decade. She is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and 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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