21 Ways To Read A Tarot Card -- Step TWENTY

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dadsnook2000's Avatar
dadsnook2000  dadsnook2000 is offline
Join Date: 30 Apr 2003
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Preparation for the Adept series of steps

I thought that I'd initiate a new thread after Step 21 for the purposes of group discussion, likes and not-likes, and all of that stuff. The Adept level has much more work within it and may have to go at a slower pace or have some other format such as partial steps. I think we all have to peek at those steps a bit more closely to see just what is involved. Another day and I'll start step 21 and next weekend we'll get the Adept discussion going if that suits everyone. Dave
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Jewel's Avatar
Jewel  Jewel is offline
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Sounds good to me.
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coyoteblack  coyoteblack is offline
Ball of Doom
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sounds cool!! this should be a great discussion
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rachelcat  rachelcat is offline
XII. The Hanging Cat
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Step 20!

In reviewing my notes for this step, I see that I began my first step in March 11. I know some of us started before that! See how far we've come!

I got a little wordy with this one--I just seem to be in free-writing mode these days, so watch out! (Also some of my books are still packed up, so I could probably done more with some of the decks, but we can only do what we can!)

I am comparing the 4 Wands in 5 decks: Universal Marseille, Egyptian (Brotherhood of Light), RWS, Thoth, and Manga (of course). First descriptions, then impressions:

Universal Marseille IV Staves: From Lee's keyword method--"Concrete manifestation of creative energy." 2 pairs of staves, yellow with blue middles and red knobs on the ends, interlace on a light green background. At the top is an orange tulip with 2 leaves. At the bottom is a yellow daisy with two leaves. Left and right are pairs of leaves. All leaves are blue on one side and red on the other. (They kind of curl over so you can see both sides.)

Brotherhood of Light 4 Wands: (My Zain is packed away, so I'm on my own, here!) 4 ibis-headed wands form a square in the middle. An unknown constellation of 9 5-pointed stars are at the top. There are 2 Leo symbols in the top border and a Sun symbol in the bottom border.

RWS IV Wands: 4 stakes in the ground have a garland of leaves and fruit and ribbons draped from the tops. 2 women hold bouquets aloft. Other people are grouped in the left background. In the center background is a grey castle or town wall with a red turret roof. The sky is very yellow.

Thoth 4 Wands: Completion. 4 red tubes cross in the middle so that the ends fall on a yellow circle behind them. Each tube has a white dove on one end and a white ram's head on the other. Flames lick out from the intersection of the wands. The background is dark green. There is a Venus symbol at the top and an Aries symbol on the bottom.

Alike and Different:

UM, BofL and Thoth have suit symbols only, no people. RWS has several people. Manga has one person plus a few hands.

UM and Thoth have green background.

RWS and Manga have plain poles planted in the ground (wooden and bamboo).
UM and BofL have elaborate, woodworked staves/wands.
Thoth has "abstract" wands. They don't resemble anything natural or man-made (except maybe translucent red plastic tubes . . .)


Universal Marseille emphasizes the nature/growth aspect with its green background and leaves and flowers. Also human creativity with the fancy turned staves. It is extremely visually balanced, which emphasizes the stability aspect (but there are different flowers on the top and bottom). Emotionally, I like the green background, but the rest is a little too staid. It is a bit unsettling that I don't know what the fancy staves are made for--fighting, tent poles, what?

Brotherhood of Light is more esoteric with its "Egyptian magic wands." The square arrangement emphasizes the limitation aspect. Sun and Leo emphasize the energy aspect. The non-balanced arrangement of stars feels VERY mysterious. They say "we can contain our energy and growth through ritual, but we'll never know everything. The stars are always out of reach." It is also hard to reconcile the fiery Sun and Leo with the little sepia square. (A printing limitation . . .)

RWS: Fruits and vegetables give a harvest-home celebration feel, as does the yellow sky. Additional people and city bring out the societal aspects, so it seems more like a holiday than a personal celebration (Thanksgiving rather than a wedding). I see the discipline humans impose on nature help it to produce better, like Miracle-Grow pumpkins and pruned apple trees. This is a cheerful card!

Thoth: Dark green background emphasizes growth and nature. The ends of the wands are laid over a circle, much different than a square or 4 straight up in the air or 4 crossed 2-by-2. It's still a regular figure, but not a limiting figure. As mentioned, it is also more abstract than the others. Yellow circle for energy conducted around? It is divided into 8 like the wheel of the year. Most prominent are the rams heads and doves. I notice that they can't perfectly alternate, but I don't know why (I don't know the math). Astrology books say Venus in Aries means strong creative powers, pushing the limits of artistic form, passionate but unstable affections (like love at first sight), positive and cheerful attitude, and actively creative in artistic pursuits. I think the card is emphasizing active creativity and the harmony of masculine and feminine. The rams and the doves are equal in size and color. There is also the mystery of the alternation.

Three Keywords:
Ritual and celebration
Growth through limitation
Seize the day

They are about the same as what I started with, but there is so much more to unpack from them now! And Riccardo's beautiful keyword really resonates with me: "Here now, fully present."

This is the advice I always need: "Be Here Now." Also, "You CAN change with positive self-discipline."

These suggest that I formulate a program of cultivating present awareness, aka a meditation plan.

If I designed my own 4 Wands, it would be an outdoor evening harvest square dance (get it?) lit with 4 torches in the ground, with people of all ages dancing and teaching it to the kids, etc., and the musicians and dance-caller visible. The town with lights in the windows, as well as the harvest fields and orchards, would be in the background.
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squeakmo9  squeakmo9 is offline
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Step 20

* Describe each card.

* Line up the cards so there is some flow or progression of similar design features. How does each card appear in terms of similarity and differences?

* What new meanings can you find in some of these cards? Use stories, dialog, visualization, metaphors, etc. in your explorations.
5 of Swords

In order:
RWS, World Spirit (WS), Tarot of the Old Path (ToP), Quest, Osho Zen

The RWS has three characters in all, the biggest who is in the front, then the middle man, and the smallest man. The biggest appearing to be “winner”, holding 3 of 5 swords, the remainder at his feet. In WS the “loser” is the biggest, being up close and personal while the “winner” is in silhouette-a mere after thought.
The sky in RWS remains questionable, is a storm coming, or did it already pass?
In WS there is no doubt, it’s raining starting from left to right of the card. The swords remain solid in RWS, while in WS they no longer speak since they are all broken.
To me, the broken swords symbolize the breaking of old ways of being/thinking. There is a visible wound to the loser in WS, while in RWS, no blood at all. The water in WS is coming from the heavens while in RWS, the river flows from left to right. The mundane versus the spiritual?
Makes me think of the following phrases:
“what goes up must come down” and “”what goes around, comes around”.
Still both of these cards have a hard surface except there seems to be a glimmer of hope with WS in its patches of green grass. Perhaps indicating that there is still growth and progress to be gained from confrontation/conflict.
Dress is still ornate in both, but much darker in WS than RWS.

Bringing in Tarot of the Old Path (ToP)…just as in WS, ToP continues with 2 figures. One loser, one winner. Among my deck picks, a threesome will never been seen again. Here on the ToP, you clearly see both. Now, not only does the winner have 3 of the 5 swords, but also has a flag and horn. The winner is still behind the loser as in WS, and as in all three (RWS, WS, ToP) the winner appears calm and in control. The loser runs, in ToP, with 2 bloody swords. I sense much effort on his part to defend himself, but something in him says “RETREAT!”

The winner in ToP appears comical with a bull cap (crap?) on, Taurus anyone?
Armor is first and last seen in the Tarot of the Old Path, out of the four decks picked. Seems like the ToP loser has taken his loss a bit too seriously. This is also the first and only card with blood on it, a tragic comedy?
Well, no one dies (tragedy) and no one marries (comedy), like in an opera, lol!

In the Quest tarot the lesson is highlighted regardless of the casualties. Only huge swords appear on a red landscape. The only suggestion of humanity is on the bottom left, as a mummy-like face is highlighted. The colors are very vibrant in this card, makes me think of fire as opposed to air. With the glyph for Venus on the top left and Aquarius, the following phrases come to mind:
“I’m a lover, not a fighter” and “rule maker, rule breaker”
On the display of just swords: “just the facts-yes”

These swords stress (to me) the importance (so huge) of communicating properly, thinking clearly, and the need to outline boundaries. A single star hangs high in the sky with the sun just behind one of the swords. Both luminaries give hope of Guidance, and maintaining an inner independence without becoming alienated or cold.

In Osho Zen the Swords become Clouds, and neither is evident, only two trees growing side by side. One oak, and the other bamboo. Neither tree judges the other or sees itself as better than the other.
A quiet respect exists in their contribution to the Whole.

* List three keywords or phrases that seem common to all/most of the cards from these different decks
-win, lose, draw
-the darkest before the dawn
-let bygones be bygones

* Which card-version expresses best the advice you would give yourself?
The Quest tarot.
It suggests that events (swords) happen for a reason and although they may be unpleasant, the choice remains…to make the best out of things, or not, lol.
The mummified face on the bottom of this card, faintly visible, gives me the idea that nothing will be the same ever again. For better or worse, forever changed. The combination sun and star gives hope among the hot and arid. It seems as if nothing can grow in such an atmosphere, but who knows, all things are possible with God.

*If you were to design your own version of this card, how would you do it?
With war ended an emaciated figure appears. He has ratty clothes, long hair, and a beard. Having had little to no food in many years, he comes upon a can of peas. He searches about and finds the body of his dead enemy, a soldier.
He takes the dagger from this dead soldier’s belt and works his way into the can of peas.
The card would simply picture a close up of his worn face, in profile, as he daintily scoops 5 peas up from his dagger into his open mouth.

I’d call it The 5 of Peas ~Nourishment~
Attached Images
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nicki's Avatar
nicki  nicki is offline
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21 ways to read a tarot card - step 20

Step 20.1 Take your chosen card and find its equivalent in several decks.

** The Thoth Tarot
** The Fey Tarot
** The Renaissance Tarot
** Arcus Arcanum Tarot

Describe each card.

The Thoth Lovers ~ This Lovers card is dominated by the large cloaked figure of the Hermit who is conducting the marriage service of the Emperor and Empress. There is a cupid figure above the Hermit, in the two top corners are 2 naked figures, one male and one female. There’s a lion and eagle in the bottom corners, we also have a serpent and two children.

The Fey Lovers ~ Is a striking card, its shows a large male fey made of stone sitting down and floating upside down along side him is a female who is transparent and tiny. They are shown with one hand caressing the others face.

The Renaissance Lovers ~ Gold male figure and a silver female figure. The Male has a sun for a head and wears a silver moon pendant, the female has a moon head and wears a golden sun pendant. They are shown face on and are holding hands. To each side of them is a vine with white and red roses growing on it. At the top of the card is a cherub.

The Arcus Arcanum Lovers ~ A young couple walk hand in hand along a path, as they approach a crossroads two people are coming towards them from different directions, possibly another couple. It seems the four people are to meet at the crossroads. We have white roses in this card along with a tree.

Line them up in a way that tracks how the design changes, how are the cards similar and different.

Ok, lined them up left to right, Fey, Renaissance, Arcus Arcanum & Thoth, because this way the cards tell a story from the first flush of love through to getting married.

Similarities ~ White roses on 3 cards, cupid figure on 2 cards, naked figures on 3 cards, all figures are standing, on 3 cards the figures are holding hands.

Differences ~ Thoth card has animals and children, male fey is seated and female is floating, the colours in the cards are all different.

What new meanings and perspectives can you find in the new cards?

Fey Lovers ~ tenderness, pleasure, serenity, sensitive
Renaissance Lovers ~ seduction, sensuality, sexual
Arcus Arcanum Lovers ~ decision, assessment, possibilities

List at least three keywords or phrases that best express how you now see this card across all decks, are they different to the ones you started with?

Not to far away from my original meanings but I think I have definitely seen more meanings comparing the cards from different decks

Which version best expresses the advice you would most like to give yourself? What does it suggest to you.

Just because it’s such an uncomplicated card I like the Fey Lovers, it speaks volumes about being unprejudiced because of differences and it has such a sweet and tender feeling.

If you were to design your own version of this card, how would you do it?

I think I would make it uncomplicated and show just 2 figures. The meaning of the card often gets lost in translation and I didn’t realise it meant as much about making a choice or decision as is does, so I would take it back to basics abit more and get away the symbolism so its easier for beginners to understand.

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dadsnook2000  dadsnook2000 is offline
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For nicki

I have chosen to work with the Fey deck for the past few years. The Lovers card, as you noted, speaks to tenderness between two very different figures, thus noting acceptance and an ability to really see the other's core personality.

As you also noted, the Lovers card has historically meant "choice" as one of its core meanings. This is well represented by the old decks wherein the man has two females to choose from. That symbolism is very pointed and may come from those deck's then-recent cultural past where marriage was as much about money and stability in society as it was about love. Today's decks, such as the Fey, reflect our recent cultural environment wherein much sensitivity is given to diversity -- we see friendly monsters in children's TV programs, inter-racial marriages, and alien's in our movies.

You are making progress. I expect that we'll see you soon at the Adept level. At some point in the near future we are going to mix in some added exploratory steps inbetween the book's steps as a way of using some of the skills we've gained in a more widespread or panoramic study. See you there. Dave
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Jewel  Jewel is offline
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Nicki, I really enjoyed your exercise! The Fey is also one of my primary reading decks, and I love the Lover's card. As Dave noted includes the way we have embraced Diversity in modern times, and at the same time it implies that we embrace it by choice not by force - I find it implied in the tenderness aspect of the card.

Look forward to working with you in the adept level!!!

Dave I look forward to seeing the intermediate steps you talked about. Sounds very interesting and fun.
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nicki  nicki is offline
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thanks Dave and Jewel for your continued support, I never thought I would reach this point, but have thoroughly enjoyed each step. As for the adept level I will have a look at the threads and the book and see if i'm ready for it.

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Starling  Starling is offline
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9 of Pentacles - RWS

I've pulled 6 cards from other decks. They are:

Sacred Rose - A very odd deck and a very odd card. I used to read with this deck, but can't imagine why. Once again a woman is in her garden. Like all the cards in this deck she has a very odd expression on her face, which is one of the reasons I stopped reading with the deck. Her breasts are so exposed that she seems a symbol of the fertility of her garden. She is not just in the garden, she is imbedded in her garden. I can't tell where her hair ends and the garden begins. Are the vines and the roses there to embellish her hair, or are they part of her hair and growing in it? Is she firmly implanted in the garden by those vines and roses? She holds a jug and is watering her pentacles which are actually growing in the garden. They are the "flowers" on the plants in front of her. She isn't "just" enjoying her garden, she is the garden.

Witches Tarot - Another deck that I used to read from (I know because the cards were out of order and had reversals). This borderless card is a great contrast to the Sacred Rose card. It is painted in a very representational manner. A very pregnant, blond, young woman is alone in the garden. In this case I'm not even sure it is a garden. There are yellow flowers, the pentacles are their centers, in the front of her, a row of tall upright trees (firs I think) in the middle distance behind her and a beautiful blue and almost cloudless sky all around her. She is in profile. She doesn't know we are there. We don't know what she is looking at, but she is intently looking at something in the distance. Once again fertility is strongly implied in this card because she is so pregnant that the birth is imminent.

Unknown deck - I no longer have the box on this one and can't find it on the Internet. Again it is a deck I bought either late in the 80s or in the middle 90s. I never read with this one. It was still in perfect order. It is a very strange deck: collage and needlework on every card. A young woman stands under an embroidered tree. There are 8 stars imbedded in the tree. She looks towards an embroidered butterfly and holds a basket or tray in one hand and arm while gently stroking her face with the other hand. A "handkerchief" forms her background, and behind that is a leaf and flower background that fills the entire card up to its borders. She stands on a hill and applied to that hill are flowers from a piece of lace that have been filled in and colored. The card leaves me totally cold, which is why I never tried to read with this deck. I probably bought it from a description since actually seeing the cards in a deck wasn't possible in the 80s.

Tarocco Soprafino di F. Gumppenberg, Milano 1835- A classic Italian deck. This card has only pips, and no figures as was normal at the time it was designed. The "disks?" are yellow and red. They are yellow medallions with red centers and yellow rims. They are the sort of architectural detail the people of the time would have applied to a building or furniture. There are also two different decorative "crosses" to fill the space. Some of the pip cards in this deck have such things, others don't. This deck was still in order although the Court Cards had been pulled out from the pips. I never read with this deck and do not have a clue as to why it was purchased. Perhaps because it was the only Marseilles-type deck that didn't repulse me. I still find it attractive and pleasant to handle.

Mythic Tarot - Also outside of its box, but this one is still being sold so I could find out what it was called. It was used for readings. This deck changes the gender of a couple of the suits, Pentacles being one of the suits changed. A bearded man stands in front of a field, his hands clasped before him. He is wearing a gold gown and a crown of laurel leaves. The 8 gold pentacles are heaped up in front of him and he stands surrounded by a very formal, ready to harvest, grape arbor. Behind him is the field, hills, a lake and in the distance mountains. You can see just a bit of sky because of the arbor. I'm sure he is a figure in Greek and/or Roman myth, but I didn't go and find out which myth. Like the Lady in the RWS deck he is just standing there posing.

Tarot Art Nouveau - This is the only deck I've bought recently, and like a lot of the ones I've bought over the years, I bought it for its beauty and not because I wanted to use it for readings. She sits in a round shaped bench enclosure. She isn't aware of us at all.She has medium brown hair, and she is wrapped in blue and purple sheets, but isn't actually clothed. All around her, behind her head, and behind her body are Art Nouveau panels filled with flowers in the gold, gold-brown, blue and purple color scheme. The Coins are lined up at the side of the figure in its own panel, and they are true Coins with a head on them. The deck is impossible to read from. I actually pulled the 8 of Pentacles from this deck in error and described it before I found my mistake. Neither card actually fits either meaning, and both fit the meaning of the 9 of Pentacles equally well.

In almost all of the decks a person is alone in the garden. In some of the decks the fertility of the garden, and of the person in the garden, is uppermost. In the RWS, it is the fact that the woman is alone that you notice first. In the Witches Tarot the pregnancy is so close to completion that it is the first thing you see on the card. You have to really look at the rest of the card to see it. On the Sacred Rose, the woman and the garden are one, as they are not in any of the other decks. In the Mythic it is possible that if I knew what the story behind the card was, I might understand it better. The Tarocco Soprafino really requires that you read the pips through numerology. I didn't pull the Thoth Tarot card, but I am aware that the pips in that deck, although non-pictorial, have obvious emotions attached to them. Sometimes they are violent; sometimes they weep.
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