21 Ways To Read A Tarot Card -- step THIRTEEN


We have many new participants in this study group who are moving through the earlier steps with gusto and excitement. But, it is time to move ahead to Step 13.

STEP 13 is focused on SYMBOLS. Mary Greer links symbols to metaphors, noting that the symbol is the smallest unit within a metaphor. A symbol, she notes, is a “single object, image, or word representing the essence of what it stands for.” She also notes that symbols have emotional content and that the power of our emotions enable us to identify and rally around a symbol. So, in this step of our studies we will be exploring that within us which relates to a symbol. There are five sub-steps for us to explore.

1) List the symbols appearing on your chosen card, and provide notes on that symbol; item, color, and – my thoughts – importance and placement, uniqueness in this card versus commonality with other cards in the deck. Also, indicate the meaning, to you, of the symbols.

2) What are the objects used for?

3) “Where have any of these symbols appeared LITERALLY in relation to your issue or just recently?”

4) What are we reminded of by these symbols?

5) Recurring themes? Comment on these.



STEP 13 is focused on SYMBOLS.

1) Symbols within the Fey Tarot FOOL.
** Glowing Jack O-Lantern; A slightly sinister facial expression which is slightly out of context in what one would find on a stroll or walk or hike. I equate this to Mystery, Uniqueness, Sense of Danger, Magic. The orange color is of Autumn’s harvest, the Fall period as we move into shorter days and longer nights. The roundness of its shape suggests completeness of its meaning, or its individuality of meaning.
** The Fool; Hair in disarray, gaunt in appearance, clothed in a tunic with a green front and purple back loosely linked at the side-seams, and numbers of rings attached to the tunic. A crown is upon his head with a keyhole in the front. This is a “complex” symbol which means that I’ll break down each component. The Fool’s meaning suggests that something important and awesome has been found.
**** The gaunt, wide-eyed Fool; one who has been on a journey for some time, reflecting the wear and tear of lean-living while pursuing a goal. Journeys are often full of discovery and prove to bring surprises.
**** The multi-colored tunic; two parts to the journey – what’s in front (to be done, faced) and what’s in back (what has been done, assimilated). Green tells of growth and benefits ahead. Purple tells of royal or grand accomplishment behind. The links at the side says that what has been done will affect what will be experienced – this means that the past guides the future.
**** The numerous rings; a ring suggests completeness and wholeness. All of these rings point to a lot of completions to date. The rings are gold in color. Every journey, and life as a whole, has a lot of small completions which we wear as part of our experience and personality.
**** Rings support numerous Keys; All of the experiences to this point in the journey are keys to unlocking the future. The crown on his head has a key hole. The keys are gold in color. All of our growth and experience has “golden” value for us.
**** Crown with a keyhole; Gold in color, plain in its construction. Associated with the head, this crown represents achievement and recognition that can be unlocked. We need to continuously seek to unlock understanding within ourselves.
** The dark blue background; The glowing Jack-O-lantern represents the life and brightness of the experience relative to the darkness of the journey. We always need to look for the light when traveling within an unknown areas as the light will guide us.
** Gold colors of the many symbols; All of the symbols relate to discovery and unlocking our understanding and seeking.

2) What are the objects used for?
The glowing Jack-O-Lantern reminds us of the thrill of discovery and the need to seek to gain new experiences. They keys remind us that many things, perhaps everything, can unlock our understanding and conscious growth. The clothes remind us that what we have already achieved and what we may achieve are two different things. While the past and future are linked, they are not bound in any rigid way.

3) “Where have any of these symbols appeared LITERALLY in relation to your issue or just recently?”
** The Jack-O-Lantern represents a book that I recently read on a favorite topic of interest for me. While the book was well written and insightful, it struck me that the author and the whole astrological community was stuck in the past relative to this topic. The book was an affront to me. It was all wrong and was actually pitiful in what it repeated – all relative to what I have been doing for several decades now. I just had to share my knowledge with the Astrological community to that they could also move forward in this topical area.
** The keys represent the many methodologies and new uses of basic astrological and astronomical factors that I have constructed to provide a clear and simple path to resolving an old problem – prediction and the definition and timing of those predictions. Astrologers seem to be good at showing afterwards how its done. Few of them are good at doing it ahead of time.

4) What are we reminded of by these symbols?
Youth, the value of learning, excitement of discovery.

5) Recurring themes? Comment on these.
I love every new project or life-journey that I undertake. The wife keeps telling me to act my age. I tell her that I am, this gray hair is just camouflage.



1) List the symbols appearing on your chosen card, and provide notes on that symbol; item, color, and – my thoughts – importance and placement, uniqueness in this card versus commonality with other cards in the deck. Also, indicate the meaning, to you, of the symbols.

This is the Star card of Tarot of Dreams

In the center of the card is a nude woman light blue with long beautiful dark blue hair
She has stars in her hair as a tiara stars floating around her and stars in the background she is also standing on a star (ok we get it ,the Star card)
She has a body of water below her she could just as easily be standing above the earth

In her hands are 2 pictures each containing a flower with a rainbow coming out the vessals.

As far as importance I believe it is the woman her self clothed only in the night and the pictures she is pouring the rainbows out of

2) What are the objects used for?
The pictures are used for pouring in this case a rainbow – I think this is so show how she is giving us the gift of a rainbow long known for it beauty

I see a rainbow I think hope, beauty, and a pot of gold at the end of it!!

Stars are used for light guiding, guidance both in the physical and metaphysical

I think the woman in this case just makes you feel calm and she is so beautiful
Water is the element of emotions and inspiration she is nude only because she is part of the universe one with it she chooses not to separate her self from her environment

3) “Where have any of these symbols appeared LITERALLY in relation to your issue or just recently?”
I am not to sure how to answer this but I will try my best. This card in general is hope but when I go over the images and symbols I think of spiritual assistance of how the spirit is all around me and more important the great spirit is part of me

4) What are we reminded of by these symbols?
I see these images I feel “connected “to this universe and a calmness that comes over me
I see the stars and think how many times in the past stars have guided people and gave them hope and how astrologist have used the stars to explain what is going on in our lives and what can happen in the future

5) Recurring themes? Comment on these.

My life is full of hope I am reminded of something a friend says I will paraphrase
“If you know what your higher power has done for you so far then you have an idea what the higher power can do for you in the future”

I will not mind any helpfull advise on this has I was grasping at straws a few time and was not really sure if I " hit the nail on the head"


dadsnook2000 said:
STEP 13 is focused on SYMBOLS.

1) Symbols within the RWS 5 of Swords...
The swords catch my eye first, then the water in the distance, then the ground which appears as cement. Next the blue sky with clouds, small mountains in the distance , which are mostly blackened. Then lets not forget the wind which gives good movement. Hair color of the biggest guy-red, the middle figure with slight yellow, the last in black. Clothing colors and size of each entity.

2) What are the objects used for?
Swords can be used to defend territory/boundaries or used to destroy, same as with the communication process.
Water is part of the boundaries and can denote emotions. Can have a healing effect as well.
Cement ground offers stability, offers insight in where trouble is rooted, supports our players.
Sky is blue which can help illuminate or highlight the playing field. Grey clouds give a feel for the unknown, actual arguments floating in the air, coming and/or going.
Mountains can give one a sense opportunity, hope, promise perhaps. They are blackened, maybe they are not seen properly or noticed all together.
Wind can denote change like the wheel of fortune, ever turning, never static.
Hair on head, the thought process, perception, red...anger, dynamic, passion. Yellow...intellect, cowardice, clarity. Black...confusion, reality through harshness, depression.
Clothing colors...tan (boots)-stability...white (boots) naive, innocence. Green...harmony, growth, jealousy, envy.
Size of entities giving different perspective, inner feelings of confidence or insecurities.

3) “Where have any of these symbols appeared LITERALLY in relation to your issue or just recently?”
Just recently water has played a big part. I went to the Great Falls here in Paterson which was VERY healing experience for me. Changed my perspective immediately, and I saw my rainbow...wow, that really gave me great hope. The hope wasn't about resolution, it was about an inner feeling of wholeness which gave me a great deal of comfort.
Clouds...up until last week, it has been dismal and cold around here. This did not help my mood which was ever slumping, along with what I felt about given circumstance.
Ground/Cement...I feel myself strengthening, becoming more sure of what my boundaries are. I have been walking A LOT more these days, so much so, that I walk an hour to work and back. Gives me good thinking time.

4) What are we reminded of by these symbols?
That what is most important is the journey, not the destination. The passage of time has helped tremendous. Things have a way of working themselves out.

5) Recurring themes? Comment on these.
Not sure if this is correct, but in a strange way I can see (through this conflict) how I am now in an opposite role. There was a time many years ago when someone left me without a word. Since then this person does gravitate more or less, in my world(has become an acquaintance). At the time I did not know why they left. Now, in current circumstance, I understand better the other's point of view because I'm living the role now. I feel like I'm getting a fuller picture to something that happened many years ago and independent of current circumstance. This is all I can think of.



I really admire how you describe these things very technical then you add something emotional to it.

I also enjoy your take on Recurring themes I can almsost fel what you are saying.

Now I feel the need to edit my stuff I think I need to borrow your organizeing skills for a bit



Knight of Pentacles - Tarot of Prague

List the symbols appearing on the chosen card and what they are used for:
• Mosaic blue Horse – steed for the knight
• Gray Dog – companion for the knight
• Golden coin – object for knight to hold
• Knight – the person in the image
• Mosaic blue Armor – dress, clothing
• Cathedral - setting
• Saddle – seat for the knight
• Reins – way to control the horse, connection between knight and horse
• Sun – image on the golden coin
• Cross – top of cathedral element
• Arches – entry to cathedral
• Windows – way to look out from cathedral
• Courtyard - setting
• Clouds / overcast sky - atmosphere
• Golden Disk (below cross) – decorative element, repeat of theme

Where have these symbols appeared recently in my own life? Windows have been used as the weather recently has warmed and I’ve opened windows for warm spring air. A cathedral was mentioned in what I’m currently reading (Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, primarily book 1). The overcast sky has been a common climatic feature recently. The sun has been bright and warm on a number of recent days. Surprisingly, the horse and dog, two major features, have not appeared at all that I can recall.

These symbols remind me of these other things:
• Horse (transportation)
• Dog (pet)
• Golden coin (money, wealth)
• Knight (fighter, past times, medieval romantic fiction)
• Armor – protection
• Cathedral – religion, especially organized western religion
• Sun – growth, new life
• Cross – Christianity, runes, symbolism)
• Arches – entryways
• Windows – eyes
• Clouds – rain

Recurring themes in this image: the first thing that struck me was the appearance of animal life in such a non-natural (urban) setting; in my case it may indicate that animals (cats, for me) may be significant in my quest for increased patience. The concept of a golden disk appears no less than three times (the coin the knight holds, on the cathedral’s top, on the face of the sun); disks are wholeness, circularity, repetition, indicating that I may need to frequently repeat activities and exercises to achieve greater patience. There is also a repeated suggestion of struggle (the knight, the horse is obviously a warhorse, a hunting dog), which indicates that it may not be easy to achieve what I want. Finally, the multiple arches, windows, balconies that are entryways to someplace else could say I need to pass through a “portal” and take myself someplace else to be successful – this could be indicative of meditation and the meditative state (which currently I’m not very familiar with, just as the knight is probably not familiar with the interior of the cathedral).


Interesting. I did the step first, then read the other contributions, and the first thing that struck me is that everyone else was very descriptive, while I tried to focus on individual, "keyword" parallels, and deliberately kept my items non-descriptive and list-oriented. This was actually a bit of a challenge, as I tend to be verbose and descriptive in both writing and speaking. Perhaps that, in itself, is part of my growth and development, that I can try new ways, different approaches, to achieve my goal (heh, see all the adjectives I use in normal writing).

I'm not at all suggesting that either approach is right or wrong, or even closer to Mary's intent, just that my normal tendency would be to approach this step from a descriptive perspective and it may be relevant (at least to me) that I actually used a different approach. I did the activity in my Word document from the book, so didn't even have the appearance of the other responses to serve as a guide.

Actually, Dave, coyoteblack, and squeakmo, your contributions all seem much closer than mine to a reading, or at least to elements of a reading. Again, I'm making no judgments. Perhaps it's that you have more experience with full readings than I have and are closer to them than I. Anyway, I thought the difference was worth mentioning.


For whipsilk

I've pulled this card from my deck and looked at it. I'm struck by the Knight being alone in the square or plazza. There are lighted arcways and windows in the background church, but absolutely no foot traffic or carriages to be seen. Words like "solitary, personal focus, arriving after a mission, leaving for a mission" come to mind. The repetition of the held Pentacle in the church spires is an obvious link for us -- the Knight's faith is part of what he does.

A secondary issue which I noticed is the dark color of the spires at the top of the church, in contrast to the faintly sun-lit walls of the building. The dog has similar coloring. What can we make of this? Are the reasons for his mission obscured in some way, much like the overcast sky? Is he "hunting or searching" for reasons or results -- I picked up on the hunting dog's color --that are now unknown or need to be found?

This is my view of the card and the way I would describe it. I tend to bring things together so as to simplify the task of identifying an impression. You had mentioned others describing cards as if doing a reading. I think you are quite observant about this. When doing a reading we have to, at some point, be able to gather all of the cards within our mind so as to appreciate the whole story, the areas of conflict or where things have "wrinkles." These symbols that don't quite fit often point, I have found, to highly individualistic issues that are important to bring up with a querent. In fact, any card may have two or more symbol groups -- one of which fits with the other cards and one which does not seem to fit.

You have used a "list" of symbols. This isn't right or wrong, its just where you are in working with this card. I would expect that you will gravitate to some form of intuitive blending. I say "intuitive" because we often pick one or two things out many things without having an easily explained reason. Sometimes we see a detail, sometimes we don't. It's part of the tarot process, I believe.

In any case, I have found your posting most interesting. Thanks for being here with us. Dave


coyoteblack said:

I really admire how you describe these things very technical then you add something emotional to it.

I also enjoy your take on Recurring themes I can almsost fel what you are saying.

Now I feel the need to edit my stuff I think I need to borrow your organizeing skills for a bit

You know I never cared for RWS 5 of Swords, but when my other two choices were Page of Wands and Ace of Cups(there's nothing going on)...it seemed like a no brainer, lol!
Then when I found myself in conflict with someone I NEVER thought I would "fight", well the whole card took on a life of its own. So many things have spoken to me, CoyoteBlack, about this card, I'm glad you found something useful, I certainly have, already:)


Step 13 - Fantastic Menagerie

CARD: The Star
DECK: Fantastic Menagerie
The card can be seen at http://www.fantasticmenagerie.com/Majors2.htm

1) Symbols on my chosen card:

STARS: light in darkness; wishes
IBIS: symbol of God Thoth inventor of all arts; sacrifice
FEMALE BODY: motherhood; fertility; feminine aspects of water
NUDITY: nothing to hide
WATER: emotions; subconscious; sustainer of life
VEGETATION: earth element; growth; life
FLOWERS: health; potential
REEDS: symbols of Christ's Passion; the just who dwell on the banks of grace
VINES: eternal life, sensuality, emotions, youth
FISH: uncoscious; wishes
DRAGONFLY: conscious; news from far away; adaptivity; a symbol of the sense of self that comes with maturity
FOOT IN WATER: stepping into the subconscious or unconscious
GREEN: healing, growth, regeneration
RED: life force; courage; passion
WHITE: purity, innocence
BLUE: spirituality, truth, calmness, peace, serinity

2) What are the objects used for? this card is all natural. There are no objects.

3) Where have any of these symbols appeared literally, either in relation to your issue or just recently?
Just this past weekend my husband and I bought and planted all kinds of FLOWERS (potential, health), and following the planting we hit the hot tub (WATER = emotions) NAKED (nothing to hide), and the night sky was full of STARS (light in darkness, wishes).

Synthesizing those symbols within the context of my issue this could mean that healthy emotions with lots of potential, and nothing to hide, bring light into darkness and fulfill my wish for a happy environment. Ohhhhhh now that would be nice answer to my issue!

4) Do any of them rimend you of anything else?
The vines decorating the Ibis-woman's body remind me of snakes. Snakes are symbols of healing, fertility, immortality, worshiped as gods, and of course of evil, trechery and death as well ...

5) Recurring themes: subconscious, unconscious, potetial, growth, hope, life, wishes, emotions.

In summary, the symbols of this card are very uplifting, positive and inspirational. If I had to summarize this card in one word I would say it means hope.

Well I am now finally cought up with the group! YAY! I feel like a star *LOL*, although I think I was in and 8 of wands with a strong Chariot influence mode during the last 2 weeks to get here.