Servants of the Light Tarot

The Servants of the Light are or were supposed to be one of the leading schools of the occult and magical science. (Isn’t that an oxymoron? Isn’t magic antithetical to science? Or perhaps it’s science that is antithetical to magic? Or perhaps they are the same in which case, wouldn’t the term be redundant?) Anyway, the Servants created their own tarot deck, which is interesting to me because not only are they teaching occult and magical science, they also seem to be making it up as they go along, creating their own suits and names of the court cards.

For example, my two-card tarot spread for today was comprised of the Maker of Crescents and the User of Crescents, traditionally known as the King of Cups and the Knight of Cups. Why the change in nomenclature? I have no idea. They say it’s to create a mini mythology where the Maker (the former king) makes the symbol or artifact of the suit, in this case a crescent, the Giver (the former queen) takes the artifact and gives it to the User (the former knight), who uses the artifact to protect the Keeper (the former page or princess), who keeps the artifact in trust for the future.

It seems a lot of rigamarole that adds nothing to the mystique of the tarot, though perhaps the problem is with me. After all this time, I still have no real conception of what the tarot is all about, but I do know I won’t be using this deck in the future — it seems to confuse the whole issue since although the pictures on the cards seem to reflect the mini mythology, none of the purported meanings of the court cards seem to have anything to do with that mythology.

For example, the first of today’s cards, the Maker of Crescents, stands for a man who is highly regarded in the business world. He is also an entrepreneur who makes the most of every chance.

The second card, the User of Crescents stands for a person who is ready to make sacrifices for what he believes in. Once committed, he will follow through.

So what do these two cards together mean for me? Perhaps that I am ready to make the most of every chance, and once committed I will follow through. Or something like that.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

The Star and the Queen of Light

A couple of days ago, I mentioned how the two tarot cards I deal myself each day seem to relate more to each other than to me. Todays picks seem a particularly symbiotic pair — The Star and the Queen of Light.

This current deck is the i Tarocchi di Robot, one of the most fascinating of the decks in my collection. There is true irony is trying to delve deeper into the meaning of what it is to be fully human — which is what I understand is the purpose of the tarot — by using images of robots, the opposite of human (if anything can be considered an opposite).

The Star in this deck is about the experience of beauty, joy, fulfillment, finding inner harmony, to be centered and at peace. It’s also about hope, that light inside us that keeps us going even in the darkest times.

The Queen of Light in this deck correlates to the queen of pentacles in most decks. The suit of luci is about the light that creates rather than destroys, about the light that gives life. And that is typical of this queen because she is an earth mother type (since this is a robot deck, perhaps I should say she is a stellar mother type) filled with feminine creative energy, compassion, love, intuitive understanding, calm and balance.

Oddly, I glean the same message from these two cards as I did from the reading a couple of days ago: that my life is going well, and that I should continue to focus on creating a calm and balanced life for myself.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

More Tarot

I am continuing with my tarot studies — to the extent that doing a daily two-card reading can be considered studies — and even after more than a year, I’m not sure what to make of the cards. Although most cards do seem to resemble my life in some way, it’s the same sort of vague way that a newspaper horoscope represents one’s life. I am not learning anything about my life that I didn’t already know, and in fact, it’s my knowledge of my life that brings sense to the cards rather than the cards bringing sense to my life.

Now that I have progressed to a two-card layout (the first year was a daily one-card pick), I am noticing that even though the cards don’t seem to relate all that much to my life, they do seem to relate to each other.

For example, the other day, the cards I dealt out were the Empress and the Queen of Pentacles. As always, the question I ask is “What do I need to know today?” The first card represents my situation, the second the challenge I face.

Some readers interpret the Empress as the female principle the positive female attributes of creativity, love, abundance, intuition, nurturing, finding balance in our lives, connecting to the world through our senses. An earth mother archetype who loves beauty.

And some readers interpret the Queen of Pentacles as nurturing, filled with feminine creative energy, compassionate, hard-working, loving, intuitive. An earth mother archetype who enjoys the comforts and luxuries of life.

Such a correlation between the two cards! And a correlation between the cards and me too, I suppose, though these cards might be said to represent any woman. What I gathered from the cards is that my life is going well, and that I should continue to focus on creating a calm and balanced life for myself.

Since that’s what I am doing anyway, this personal interpretation might have nothing to do with the cards and everything to do with my own inclination. Which leads to another possibility — instead of me reading the cards, perhaps the cards are reading me.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Today’s Tarot

A new month means only one thing to me — a new tarot deck. Otherwise, one month is pretty much the same as another. Well, August is certainly not the same as December, but August is similar to the end of July and the beginning of September, so the months slide right on by without a lot of fanfare. Or at least they did until I started changing tarot cards at the beginning of every month.

This month, the deck I am using is one of the classic decks: the Rider Tarot. Also known as the Rider-Waite Tarot or the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, it is one of the most widely used tarot decks in the world, with over 100 million in print. The deck was created by Arthur Edward Waite, illustrated by Pamela Coleman Smith, and published in 1909 by the Rider Company. In 1971, US Games Systems purchased the publishing rights, and that is the deck that I have. The copyright on the original deck is in the public domain now, so the only rights US Games Systems owns are any changes made after 1971.

One of the decks in my collection is a color-it-yourself deck — the B.O.T.A. deck. I thought coloring the cards would be an interesting way to learn the tarot, and since I didn’t want to ruin what might be a collector’s item, and since the B.O.T.A. deck is still under copyright, I downloaded a black and white copy of the Rider deck to color. Although I printed the cards on cardstock, they are too flimsy to use, and anyway, I only got through the major arcana. Someday, maybe, I’ll finish coloring the cards. But for now, this month, I’m using an official deck.

I’m also continuing my two-card reading, though I changed the layout from “Need to know/need to let go” to “situation/major challenge.” The question I ask, as always, is “What do I need to know today?”

Although many people use the tarot to learn the future, I have a sure-fire method of discovering what the future holds — get up each day and live to the best of my ability. Because, of course, today is yesterday’s future. Learning the future by living the future is a better way of foretelling the future than the tarot, because the tarot is not meant to be a divinatory tool. It’s supposed to be a way to connect one’s inner and outer life, to find guidance and gain insights, and to help with personal growth. I haven’t noticed any difference in me or my life since I’ve been doing a daily reading. Either I already know me or I am too obtuse to see anything I don’t already know. I suppose I could ask the tarot which holds true, but I’m not sure it would help to know either of those things about myself.

In the final analysis, the tarot for me is more about the discipline of it, and the curiosity — seeing what cards show up with what frequency.

In today’s reading, the nine of pentacles tells me about my situation: a time of comfort and luxury, discernment and deep satisfaction. The hierophant tells me my challenge: to learn to embrace the conventional, at least some of the time; that it’s not necessary to always be unconventional.

Does that reading help me at all? Not particularly, though it does seem to have an element of truth. It did, however, give me a blog topic, which is a help. After 679 straight days of blogging (3,155 days total), a blog topic is not always easy to find.

***

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

Tarot Classic

The tarot deck I am using this month is called “Tarot Classic,” and is based on medieval woodcuts. As with most decks, the given meanings of the cards are brief because tarot readers are supposed to assign their own interpretation to the cards based upon their impulses, subconscious, and conscious association of ideas with the symbols. I suppose some people can do that, but I am stuck with traditional interpretations because I look at the cards and feel . . . nothing, really. Luckily, I have a notebook full of various interpretations, so I can get a general idea of what each card is supposed to signify.

Today starts my second year of doing a daily tarot reading. Up until now, I’ve just picked one card per day, but it’s time to expand my studies, so today I picked two cards. Wow! So daring! I’m being silly, but I suppose in a way it is daring. It was hard enough to relate one card to my daily life, I can’t image what I will do with two. Still, it’s a way of using the dozens of tarot decks that were handed down to me from my now deceased brother.

Most layouts seem to be done with five or more cards, but even with two cards, there are myriad ways of reading. For example, the first card can demonstrate a strength, the second a weakness. Or perhaps the first can represent an emotion, the second a thought. Other possible readings:

Valid fear/invalid fear
Fear/reality
Perception/reality
Mistake made/lesson learned
Pros/cons
What empowers/what disempowers
Situation/main challenge
If this, then what
What to act on/what to leave alone.

A two-card layout can be about almost anything. So can a one-card, really, but I stuck with “What do I need to know today?” I decided to stick with the same question as well as adding an addendum for the second card, “What do I need to let go today?”

The first card was the Empress, the second the four of swords. (I got a kick out of the four ones for the Roman numeral four rather than the usual IV.)

The Empress is about beauty, creativity, entering a period of growth, feeling rather than thinking, being grateful for the bounty that surrounds you. The four of swords is about rest, replenishment, letting go of anxiety, taking time out to restore your energy.

I suppose those two cards fit — if what I need to know today is that I’m going to be entering a time of growth, then for sure I need to let go of any anxieties that might be keeping me back.

Even if that’s not what the cards mean, apparently the tarot means whatever anyone wants it to mean, so that’s what those cards mean to me today.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Two-Card Tarot Spread

I’ve been doing a daily one-card tarot reading for the past ten-and-a-half months. I plan to finish out my “tarot” year with the one-card reading, then graduate to a daily two-card reading. To that end, I’ve been researching how to do a two-card reading, but even something as simple as that is as confusing as the rest of the tarot information.

For example, there is no such thing as simply choosing the two cards and laying them out since there are several ways of doing it. A reader can shuffle the cards, deal two cards off the top and lay them side by side. Or a reader can shuffle the deck, cut it, lay the two piles side by side, then turn over the two top cards. Or a reader can shuffle the cards, fan them out, and pick two cards and lay them side by side. The side-by-side layout supposedly gives the two cards more or less an equal strength.

Another possibility is to do one of the above ways of laying out the cards, but instead of side by side, one is dealt beneath the other, which gives the lower card a supporting role.

A third possibility is to shuffle the cards, deal one card upright, then deal a second card sideways over that card to cross it. Or deal one card sideways and deal the crossing card upright. Whichever way, it’s still basically the same thing — the bottom card is your situation or question, and the crossing card shows what is crossing you or challenging you.

As if that weren’t enough, there are all sorts of possibilities for the reading of the cards.

For example, in the side-by-side layout, the cards can show two different possibilities, such as yes and no; if this then that; a valid fear and an invalid fear; perception vs. reality; what you need vs. what you want; what you need to act on and what to leave alone; what you know vs what you need to know; what to banish and what to attract; your strength and your weakness; a mistake you made and what you can learn from it; what you are feeling and what you are thinking.

The top card in an up and down layout can show things like what your situation is or what you need to know and the bottom card can give any extra information that might further explain the top card. (Though it seems as if these would work just as well in a side-by-side layout.)

The crossing cards can show things like what your goal is and what is blocking you; what is blocking you and what the solution is; what your ideal is and what you are settling for; what your situation is and what your obstacle, challenge, or adversary might be; a possible opportunity and what might prevent you from following up on the opportunity; what is happening today and what you need to resolve; your state of mind and what problem you face because of it; how you perceive a situation and what the situation really is.

My first quandary, of course, would be how to lay out the cards. Up until now, I have been shuffling the cards, fanning them and then picking one rather than dealing the card from the top of the deck. I could continue to do that, but since I think I’d like to do a reading choosing one major arcana card with a supplementary minor card, I could also shuffle each stack, lay them side by side, then turn up the top card.

Generally, when a person does a reading, they need to ask the cards a question. Since I have no real desire to know anything in the future (since obviously, I will find out what the future is going to be once I get there), and since I think I’m fairly self-aware (the cards have not told me anything about myself that I didn’t already know), mostly I ask “What do I need to know today?”

So my second quandary is: if I continue asking that same question, how would I know what the second card means? Is it an explanation? Is it a challenge of some sort? Is it showing my fears or something else that could be stopping me from knowing what I need to know? Do I have to figure out ahead of time what the second card could represent, or would I try to figure it out from the card itself?

My third quandary would be how long to do a two-card spread before I continue to a three-card layout. Do I do it for a year as with the one-card or just wait to see how I feel?

I don’t suppose any of this really matters. All I know for sure is that it’s a good thing I have several weeks before I have to make any sort of decision.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.