Mirror of the Soul

Ever since the summer, I’ve been doing a three-card tarot reading for myself, and it began to seem silly. The only thing I really needed to know was what I needed to know that day. The first two cards only served to muddy the reading — in my mind, anyway — so this month I went back to a one-card reading. Even better, I went back to using the Crowley Thoth deck. It’s not one I particularly like, but I do have a great handbook that goes with the deck: Tarot Mirror of the Soul.

As the title suggests, this particular guidebook, more than any other, uses the tarot as a mirror to reflect inner realities without judgment to give us a new perspective. Ideally, anyway. Admittedly, the tarot itself it a tool for self-exploration, though I have not often found it to be so. This book, though, gives me more of what I need to focus on each day’s lesson.

For example, today’s card is the Nine of Swords. It generally means cruelty directed at oneself and points to a tendency to put yourself down. In rare cases, it can mean physical or psychological cruelty by some heartless person, but no one lately is cruel to me. Actually, I’m not cruel to myself, either, though I have recently noticed a tendency to judge myself harshly when (perhaps) I am doing the best I can. Even if I’m not doing the best I can, that judgment call seems to be worse than whatever goals I breeched.

This particular card does seem to suggest that knowing the foible or lack is important — as important as knowing one’s good points, which I tend to ignore. It’s the cruelty of judging oneself that should be done without.

This book doesn’t just describe the symbols on the card and suggest what they mean, but continues with what the card indicates, which, in this case is about the necessity of recognizing the behavior pattern before it can be overcome. Another section is for questions to ask oneself, such as who judged you? And are you now ready to forgive your parents, others and yourself?

The section for the Nine of Swords then ends with an affirmation: I am loved, simply because the I am the way I am. This is something that I really do need to know. Concurrently with my recognition of how often I castigate myself for not being my ideal self, I’ve been wondering why people like me. (I suppose that’s a reasonable question. If I don’t particularly like myself — I don’t dislike myself, either, I just don’t go around patting myself on the back for my good qualities — then it makes sense I wouldn’t understand why they like me.)

People who know the tarot or who are more intuitive in their reading than I am can figure this out all on their own, but I like following along with the Mirror of the Soul. It helps me focus on one thing for the day (or at least for the start of the day because by the time I go about the business of living, I’ve already forgotten what I learned from the tarot that morning).

My plan for learning the tarot had been to pick one card each day for one year, two cards for the next year, three for the third, and so on, but the third year is only about half finished and I abandoned the plan. Eventually, perhaps, I’ll do a real reading with five or more cards once a week or once a month, but for now, this particular practice mirrors what I hope to gain from my daily tarot reading.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.