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Choosing a significator?

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 09 Feb 2002, and now archived in the Forum Library.

Kirali  09 Feb 2002 
Hi all, I'm new here and this question has probably been asked before, but I was interested in how you all choose a significator card?

I usually choose the Princess of Pentacles for myself since I'm a Taurus and I'm young.. but I'm not really sure on that card corresponding to me. I mean I feel it does since it's an earth sign and so forth, but I just want to make sure. hehe

I'm really hazy on my astrology and I cannot remember what cardinal, fixed and muted signs mean. If anyone has the time to explains these, I would greatly appreciate it.

Thanks for taking the time to read. :) 

Kaz  09 Feb 2002 
I sometimes choose a significator, depends on the spread. If I just lay out the cards in a line and I don't assign meanings to positions, I choose a significator card. This can be any card, doesn't really matter, I use it as a starting point to create the story from.
But do what works for you, there are no rules.......


Liliana  09 Feb 2002 
I choose mine based on the cardthat best describes me. Techniquely, at 25 Im still considered young so I coulduse Page/princess, butasa mother of 2 I feel Ive achieved maturity enough to use the Queen. Im a Sagittarius/Capricorn Cusp, so I should use either Wands or Pentacles, but the cards just dont describe me. The suit that describes me is Cups, so Iuse the Queen of Cups as my significator. 

Pollux  09 Feb 2002 
Well, the choice of a significator can depend on the spread you are going to use (some include one, some do not), on your own feelings (you might feel like wanting to use one, or having none), on the deck sometimes (for example, my -BRAND NEW!!! - Aquarian Deck LWB suggests alignments of physical traits with elements, and age with court card - but I don't really like this! Even though it seems to work: here we go with the Page of Wands ;D ). In the end, you might even decide NOT to choose a significator, but let the cards "choose" one - for example, I (like many others with their very own versions ) have the spread of 12 cards for the Year (can't remember the name! >( Maybe Wheel of the Year? ??? ) adding the last card ( XIII - corresponding to death) as a significator to the whole spread.
This is messy, indeed, but hope it helps.
As most would say in these forums, just go with the flow... :-)

As for Fixed, cardinals and else...
Cardinals are the sign opening the season:
Aries - Spring
Cancer - Summer
Libra - Autumn
Capricorn - Winter

Fixed are "those in the middle" ;)
Taurus, Leo, Scoprio, Acquarius.
Muted (so it was "muted"! I kept on saying mutable! :D )
Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius, Pisces.

All the same, I'm not sure you should stick to this, especially with regards to the choice of significators... 

Geenius at Wrok  09 Feb 2002 
Pollux (10 Feb, 2002 03:02):
All the same, I'm not sure you should stick to this, especially with regards to the choice of significators...

Yeah. [censored], but I really think I'm much more of a swords person, so I use the Knight of Swords (when I use one at all).

If you speak Myers-Briggs, you might consider the following correspondences, which I am just making up right now but which seem to fit:

Page – I..P
Knight – E..J
Queen – I..J
King – E..P

Swords – NT
Cups – NF
Staves – ST
Coins – SF 

Original Destiny  09 Feb 2002 
I'm going to go against the trend here, I don't use a significator for myself because I'm already present. I only use one if the person in question is not there. 

MeeWah  09 Feb 2002 
This is a matter of personal preference.
I never use a significator. Prefer not to eliminate a card that may be better used within a throw. 

Kaz  10 Feb 2002 
To clarify what I do, seeing Meewah's comment: I choose a significator from the cards that are on the table. So I lay out the cards and choose one out of the "spread" that's there. But only if no meaning to positions are assigned.


jmd  10 Feb 2002 
I don't use significators, but I thought I'd add a point as Geenius at Wrok mentions Myers-Briggs.

This refers to some work Myers-Briggs did in developing Jung's views on temperaments.

In the inventory (usually referred to as the MBTI), the two decision making (also called J udging) functions are F eeling and T hinking, and the two ways of paying attention to what is in front of one (P erceptive functions) are S ensing and i N tuition (this latter refers to the ability to see the possibilities inherent in what is present, and not what is usually understood in more spiritual terms). In addition, there are two orientations which someone can have: either outward (E xtravert) or inward (I ntrovert).

A number of years ago, I worked intensely on this over a period of months, and came up with the following correspondences which I find quite useful:

Kings and Queens are representations of decision makers, hence J; and Knights and Pages 'get' information, hence P.

Males tend to depict outer orientations, so E, and Females (in this case Pages are considered such) inner orientations, hence I.

With regards to the elements, and hence the suits, Air I linked with NT, Fire with NF, Water with SF, and Earth with ST.

These would therefore result with the following (assuming Air is Swords, Wands Fire, Cups Water, and Coins Earth):

Page of Coins = ISTP
Knight of Coins = ESTP
Queen of Coins = ISTJ
King of Coins = ESTJ

Page of Wands = INFP
Knight of Wands = ENFP
Queen of Wands = INFJ
King of Wands = ENFJ

Page of Cups = ISFP
Knight of Cups = ESFP
Queen of Cups = ISFJ
King of Cups = ESFJ

Page of Swords = INTP
Knight of Swords = ENTP
Queen of Swords = INTJ
King of Swords = ENTJ

This post is quite timely for me, as I will be giving a talk precisely on this next week... 

Pollux  10 Feb 2002 
Jmd, that sure is interesting! :o
I wish I could attend your accomplished reading! :(

All the same, I don't even use significators! :D
I was just trying to give valuable response to the question answered! :-)

As Meewah said, I would rather keep a card that could emphasize a particular aspect of the spread. :-)
I think anyone should keep that in mind. 

MeeWah  10 Feb 2002 
JMD: I also wish I could attend your talk!
The Myers-Briggs material was the subject of discussion on the "old" forums.
Thank you for the correlations with the court cards. They are worth printing out for further examination. 

Geenius at Wrok  11 Feb 2002 
OK, you've clearly put more thought into this than I have, but I want to offer a couple of counterarguments:

jmd (10 Feb, 2002 18:12):
Kings and Queens are representations of decision makers, hence J ; and Knights and Pages 'get' information, hence P .

I've seen the Page described as the "student" of each suit and the Knight described as the "champion." So I..P makes sense for the Page, but, extremist that he is, the Knight (a maker of snap decisions) really should be E..J, it seems to me. Whereas the King is the more mature and levelheaded of the two "masculine" court cards and therefore should be E..P. The Queen, meanwhile, takes the learning of the Page and comes into her ability to make firm decisions with it, thus I..J.

With regards to the elements, and hence the suits, Air I linked with NT , Fire with NF , Water with SF , and Earth with ST .

If you've studied Myers-Briggs, you know that the single strongest sex differentiation is on the F/T axis: men and boys are overwhelmingly Thinkers, and women and girls are overwhelmingly Feelers, whereas all the other traits appear with equal frequency between male and female. Why not align the two F combinations with the two "feminine" elements (water and earth) and the two T combinations with the two "masculine" elements (air and fire)? And once you've made that distinction, it seems pretty clear (to me, at least) that air and water are more iNtuitive than fire and earth.

Now, if you were going to quibble with that at all, you might point to fire/staves as the suit of "creativity" and therefore intuitive by definition. But that would leave you with two NT suits and two SF suits. On top of that, everyone I've ever known whom I'd call a "cups person" has been an NF, and the most quintessential "coins person" I've ever known—take the material security issues out of her psyche, and there won't be much left over!—is an SF (ISFJ, to be precise). As for staves, yes, it's the suit of creativity, but it's also the suit of action and accomplishment, which seems plenty ST to me.

Your thoughts? 

truthsayer  11 Feb 2002 
if i'm not mistaken, mary k. greer did a correlation b/t the court cards and the mbti. it used to be posted at her website: tarot-tools and rights of transformation which is no longer available and i can't track if she has a new home page. all i can find is the article she wrote about her book on the women of the golden dawn. i'm pretty sure i made a copy of her choices for the court cards and i have it somewhere. i do remember that she chose the knight of cups for infp. i believe the king of pentacle was estj bit i'm not positive on that one. anyhow i should have time next weekend to look of anyone's interested. what i really want to know is where mary's website disappeared!!!!! 

Liliana  11 Feb 2002 
It is here

but, apparently he lost ALL her info from the old site, theres nothing there, and she recently broke her, um, leg or foot I forget which. Im not sure when the site will have all the old stuff I loved back


DeLani  12 Feb 2002 
Hi all,
I'm going to ring in here, and agree with Mee Wah. I really don't think it's a good idea to pick a significator out for two reasons:
1. It takes a card out of the deck that might need to be there somewhere else in the reading;
2. It squeezes people into tiny little stereotypes that no-one really fits into, as most of the posts here verify. Like, as a college student, I'm the Page of Swords, but as a mother, I'm the Queen of Swords (or Wands? who knows?). To my husband, I might be the Queen of Cups.
So just don't worry about it. Let the Fates (or the universe, or whatever you think of it) decide what the significator should be. They know better than we, anyway.
Blessed Be,

Liliana  13 Feb 2002 
Well I donttruly use a significator unless Im doing a reading for someone online, then I like a little physical representation of their online self. By sayingIuse Queen of Cups, I mean if it appears in a reading for me or for someone I know,itusually is talking about me and I should pay close attention to that part. I have associations in my mind for a lot ofpeople I now, like usually King ofCups for my husband, Princess of Cups for my one daughter, Princess ofWandsfor the other, itsjust who I immediately think of :) 

Kaz  13 Feb 2002 
Why do you have to take a courtcard as significator? I don't always do that, if I use one, usually it's another card. You can use any card that is on the table in the spread really....


Kirali  13 Feb 2002 
Thanks for all the replies! I had just started using a significator because I saw some post on here earlier and I wanted to try it out. I think I will go back to using without a significator when I use the Celtic Cross spread. I don't usually use that spread very often. Every once in a while I will use the CC spread.

Thanks again for explaining the MBTI and the cardinal/fixed/muted signs for me and all the replies! :)

~Kirali Moondust 

The Choosing a significator? thread was originally posted on 09 Feb 2002 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

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