Domination in Tarot

I realize the title of this blog sounds as though I’ve decided to write about sex rather than tarot. I haven’t (yet). It was the only way I could think to summarize what happens when a particular suit dominates all your tarot readings.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the tarot are the four suits of the minor arcana – Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles – and how they work together to fully represent the wide range of experiences we encounter in our day-to-day lives. Unlike the major arcana, which represent the big, spiritual lessons unfolding around us, the minor arcana speak to the more mundane things contained within the human experience. This includes things like worrying over finances, juggling daily responsibilities, or going out with friends.

As a brief summary, the four suits of the tarot represent the following:

 Swords – Air – Thoughts and Mental Activity

Wands – Fire – Creativity and Career

Cups – Water – Feelings and Emotions

Pentacles – Earth – Money and the Physical World

I have said that there is no greater teacher of tarot than life and time itself, and I stand by that. If you are studying tarot, a year of working with the cards daily and reflecting on how they play out in your life will be the best teacher there is. No book can teach you what life can.

A while ago I wrote about how the suit of Swords was affecting me personally. During this time I was grappling with the mental illness of a loved one. My mind raced constantly with worries about the future and pervasive guilt that I could not lift her out of darkness. As an empath (someone who easily feels the emotions of others), and someone who has grappled with her own depression, I found myself sliding into sadness with her. The swords were showing up consistently in my daily readings, and sleep did not come easily. Luckily, with time and psychiatric care, things begun to shift, and I am happy to report that the intense stress of the past few months has ended.

Interestingly, as the swords retreated back into the pile of cards, the cups emerged and began to take over my daily readings. This past month has been all about emotions and feelings in a way I have not experienced in years. Nearly all of my readings have prominently featured the cups. Experiencing them in this way has led me to my own increased understanding of how these energies play out in our lives.

My experience with the cups has been so intense that I’ve decided to examine each of them, card by card, and share my reflections on what they have meant to me personally. These descriptions below build on what I have learned from studying the tarot, reading for others, and journaling for myself. I will expand this post by delving into the other suits in time, as they unfold in my life. I will cover the court cards separately.

As you review these cards, you may find the symbolism in the Rider Waite is so overt that you can predict what each card is about before you even read the description. This is why I believe the Rider Waite to be the perfect deck for a beginning reader versus a more abstract, artistic tarot deck. If you want to read more about learning to read tarot for yourself, check out this article.

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Ace of Cups: Each ace is a gift from the universe and a positive omen for a new beginning. The Ace of Cups represents a new wave of emotion crashing into your life. A new love may present itself to you. This isn’t necessarily a sexual love – it could be a pleasant exchange with friend. The Ace of Cups can also appear when you have an opportunity to release emotional burdens. This card can also represent an outpouring of creativity powered by feelings of love and deep emotion. It can represent the birth of a child (likely a girl, versus a boy as suggested by the Ace of Wands).

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Two of Cups: The Two of Cups bodes well in relationship readings when someone wants to know if there is potential with a new love interest. This is the card of star-crossed lovers. When this card appears you know you have met someone very significant in your life. As a lover, it could be your soulmate. However, it can also be a very close friend or even a business partner. It can also represent falling in love with a new hobby or personal interest.

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Three of Cups: This card represents good times with friends. This is the card of abundance and celebration. It suggests a time in your life when you will go out, be social, and maybe have a few drinks. Modern interpretation could also see this as Internet dating or even a threesome (gasp!). In love readings it suggests that a person is more focused on having fun and being casual rather than something serious, and it can also be an indicator that someone may need to slow down on the drinking if their social life has been a little too full.

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Four of Cups: The Four of Cups suggests boredom or dissatisfaction within a relationship. Oftentimes there is nothing wrong with the union, but it feels stale. This could also present itself as depression or melancholy. This card encourages you to examine yourself and is a reminder to reflect on all the things that are right and well in a relationship rather than focusing on the negative. The figure in the card is being a bit greedy and ungrateful. (Jerk!)

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Five of Cups: The Five of Cups is about grief and loss. This is known as the card of “crying over spilled milk.” This card presents itself when we long for a past love or have our heart broken. It is a bad omen for an existing relationship as it suggests that the current energies within the relationship may be leading toward trouble or betrayal.

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Six of Cups: The Six of Cups is about nostalgia. With this card, we look back on a time when we were happy and fulfilled. It may be a time when we were younger, as in childhood. It could also be that we are longing for an earlier period in our relationship when there was still romance and intrigue. This card can also tell you that you need to indulge your inner child and have a little fun.

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Seven of Cups: The Seven of Cups appears when our fantasies are running wild. We may have several different paths (or people) to choose from. This card creates a certain degree of paralysis in your life because it is hard to know where to go or what to choose. It can also be that someone has high hopes for a relationship, but they are fooling themselves. I experienced this card at the beginning of 2017 when I wrote about intention deficit disorder.

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Eight of Cups: This card is about hard choices. It’s about examining our current relationship and/or situation and evaluating whether it still meets our needs. Oftentimes this card shows up if someone is contemplating a breakup or divorce, or leaving a job. It is about making difficult decisions and choosing a new, and often more difficult, path in order to seek one’s own truth. This is a difficult card to work through in your life.

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Nine of Cups: The Nine of Cups is one of the best cards you can receive in a reading. This is known as the “wish card” and it represents deep emotional fulfillment. In a relationship reading it means you are very satisfied. It also can suggest that you are in a time of life where you are able to manifest the things you want quite easily.

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Ten of Cups: The Ten of Cups celebrates the time and energy we invest into our relationships and families. This card celebrates the joy of family life. This is the high point of family life, when things are happy and simple.

We must celebrate the emotional depth that the cups add to life, and not just on Valentine’s Day. All the warm feelings, the sweetness of love, the emotional vulnerability, and even the heartbreak… Without love life wouldn’t be quite so sweet.

“To love is nothing. To be loved is something. But to love and be loved, that’s everything.” – T. Tolis

If you are experiencing issues in your relationship, check out my love and relationship analysis reading.

 

Learn to Read Tarot 

5 Quick, Easy Tips for Learning to Read the Tarot

After I read for a client, many of them express to me that they want to learn how to read the tarot cards for themselves. The two most frequent questions I hear are, “How do you learn to read the tarot cards?” and “How long did it take you to learn to read tarot?

I have compiled my top five tips on learning to read the tarot. Other readers may have different opinions, but this is my blog, so I’m offering my opinion. I welcome the feedback of other readers in the comments.

Tip 1 – Purchase the Rider Waite Tarot Deck (this includes the Radiant Rider Waite or Universal Rider Waite). 

I believe that this is the ideal deck for anyone who is learning to read the tarot. My reasons for this are numerous. One, almost every book you read when learning the meanings of the cards will feature images from the Rider Waite. This makes it very simple to transfer the knowledge from the book to the cards you are working with. Two, almost all tarot decks available for sale are based on the imagery found in the Rider Waite. If you can learn to read with this deck, you can learn to read with nearly any deck you want to work with. Sometimes when I read with an art deck (like the Wild Unknown), I close my eyes and see the images from the Rider Waite to help me determine the meaning of a card. I am very glad this was the first deck I learned.

Here is a comparison between the Rider Waite and some other popular decks. Can you guess the meaning of the card? Do you see how the card on the right doesn’t convey quite the same meaning? The meaning is the same, but it is harder to intuitively pick up on it.

Tip 2 – Purchase books on the meaning of the tarot cards and read, read, read. 

There are a growing number of readers who identify as intuitive readers (meaning they use their intuition alone to determine the meaning of the tarot cards), but I think it is critical to learn the traditional meanings. This will enable you to work with more decks if you choose to expand your collection. It is relatively easy to read the Rider Waite intuitively, especially the minors. But when you work with more abstract decks like the Thoth or the Wild Unknown, it is great to have an index of symbols and meanings associated with each card.

I also suggest you seek out information from the best and brightest in the field of tarot. My personal favorites include Benebell Wen, Marcus Katz, Rachel Pollack, Mary Greer, Eden Grey, and Joan Bunning. Here are a list of some of my favorite tarot books.

Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen (I just got this, but I know it’s going to be one of my favorites. It’s thicker than the Bible.)

Llewelyn’s Complete Book of Tarot by Anthony Louis

78 Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack

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Tip 3 – Commit to drawing at least one card daily.

Each and every day, draw a card in the morning. Write it down in a journal along with the date. Write down everything you know about the card. As the day progresses, be sure to pay attention to how the energy of that card plays out in your life. At the end of the day, write down any notes from what you observed. Then, look up the meaning in one of your books and jot down any meanings or symbols you may have missed. The best way to truly learn the meaning of a card is to experience it on your own. Journaling is an excellent way to record your personal experiences with each card in the deck.

Tip 4 – Study!

You aren’t going to learn tarot without commitment to studying regularly. When I was learning I didn’t go a day without reading, listening, or talking about the tarot. Podcasts, audiobooks, regular books, blogs… Consume them all.

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BE LIKE THIS GUY
Personally, I would recommend tackling the meaning of the cards in the following order.

The Major Arcana (you must understand the Fool’s Journey)

The Wands

The Cups

The Swords

The Pentacles

The Court Cards

For some reason, court cards were the most challenging for me to master. I suppose that is why I saved them for last. You may wish to tackle them first. The choice is yours.

I also recommend sticking to the upright meaning of each card at first. Reversals can be very confusing for a beginning reader.

Tip 5 – Join the tarot community.

The tarot community is alive and thriving. Where I live, I am lucky to have an entire “fortune-telling family” that supports and encourages each other. If you live in the Tallahassee area, there is a fantastic FREE tarot class held every Sunday by one of Tallahassee’s best and most experienced readers, Leah. Please contact me for details. These are the people you need in your life!

Sadly, this isn’t a possibility for many people throughout the world. Fear not, because as long as you have Facebook, you are among friends. Reach out and join some tarot groups. Here are the Facebook groups I couldn’t live without.

  • Tarot Tarot Tarot (this is definitely aimed at beginners, and provides new tarot readers a place to exchange readings and get feedback in a public forum)
  • Tarot Professionals (over 24,000 members and counting!)
  • Tarot Rebels (just don’t post pictures from Rider Waite here – this is for other decks only)
  • Tarot Nerds

If I follow these tips, how long until I’m proficient with tarot?

I would say that with six months to a year of devoted daily practice and study you can learn to read for yourself, as well as friends and family, rather fluently.

*SOAPBOX ALERT*

Under no circumstances do I feel it is ethical to charge for readings until you have completed at least 50 free readings for your friends, family, and strangers. Once you are comfortable with several spreads and can ascertain the meaning of the cards without using a guidebook, you may be ready to charge for a reading. You may decide never to charge for a reading. Whatever floats your boat!

 Also, I don’t believe there comes a point in the life of any tarot reader when you are finished learning the tarot.

The truth is, professional tarot readers never tire of discussing and learning about the tarot. As a tarot tribe we all learn from each other. The more we work with others who share our passion, the better we get at our craft. The task of learning about tarot is never done.

Have fun on your journey!

XO Bethany

Reading Tarot Reversals 

Tarot Reversals:  Not for the Weary

When learning to read the tarot, one of the biggest questions that will plague a new reader is whether or not to read reversed cards. This decision has big implications. If you decide to trudge forward with learning reversals you have just taken on the responsibility to learn, not 78 card meanings, but 156!

Even the most diligent shuffler may find that the occasional card will present itself reversed. How the reader deals with it varies a great deal from person to person.

Common ways of handling reversed cards:

  1. Many readers decide that reversals are too much work and that the 78 cards within the tarot deck already provide enough information for them to provide in-depth readings to their clients. These readers will often turn upright any cards that may present themselves as reversed, and carry on with their reading like nothing happened. There is NOTHING wrong with this approach, particularly if you are a new reader.
  2. Some readers will take strides to avoid reversals, but if they show up they will pay particular attention to the reversed cards, and the message of that card will be strengthened. I did this for a long time.
  3. Some will strategically reverse only three cards in a deck, and if they turn up in the reading that will mean they are extremely important (Mary K. Greer talks about this in her book The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals).

Then you have those like me, who will shuffle like a madwoman and will let the cards turn anyway they please!

Determining how one will interpret reversed cards is tricky. There are so many ways you can interpret them and none are wrong. I believe the way that is most resonating with me is found in Joan Bunning’s book Learning Tarot Reversals.

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Joan’s approach is to avoid traditional ways of thinking of reversals (opposite meaning, blocks in energy, delays) and to think of these cards as phases of energy.

You can think of energy phases almost like the cycles of the moon as it moves from the New Moon (absent), waxing (growing larger), full (fully present), to waning (growing smaller). Energy can be felt in a myriad of different ways – it can be absent, just coming into our lives, strong and fully realized, and finally waning.

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In Joan’s method, we can think of an upright card as embodying the fully recognized energy of that card (like the full moon). In other words, an upright card represents the traditional meaning very strongly, and it encapsulates that energy perfectly in its purest form.

When a card is reversed it means that the energy of that card is absent, entering our life, or waning and fading out. It is up to us to determine what phase the energy is in. We do that by considering the other cards in the spread and the situation as a whole.

Last week, the Tower made an unfortunate appearance in my life, and it left me bruised and battered. As I laid down my Celtic Cross today, wouldn’t you know, the Tower appeared reversed in the near future position? This is because the energy of the Tower will be waning from my life very soon. I am very much looking forward to this.

Experiment with this method and see if you don’t find reversals a little less threatening. If you are intrigued, I encourage you to pick up Joan’s book from Amazon. Published in 2003, it is still relevant and very well-written.

I have greatly enjoyed incorporating Joan Bunning’s perspective in my readings as I struggle with those reversed cards. As much as a pain as they can be (no one likes uncovering a spread that is filled with reversals!), I adore the extra information they bring to the table.

Let the cards fall as they will!

 

 

Are you psychic?

Do you have to be psychic to read tarot cards? Are you psychic?

Everyone is a little bit psychic – even you!

 

There are several ways in which one can be psychic. Some people are clairvoyant and ‘see’ things, like visions in their mind. Some are clairaudient and ‘hear’ things, and some get information that just pops into their head out of nowhere. These gifts are what comes to mind when we think of psychic ability in popular culture. Famous psychics like Sylvia Browne, John Edwards, or the “Long Island Medium” on television have these psychic gifts. They claim to have a direct line to spirits of people who have passed and other spirit guides, and they often provide quite a bit of evidence that seems to support their assertions.

However, there are many other kinds of psychic gifts than these.  Some are thought of as more ‘intuitive’ – like hunches and gut feelings.  But it’s all information from spirit, coming to you in some form.  And that’s what we mean when we talk about being psychic.

I am clairsentient, which means I get lots of hunches and gut feelings that are usually right. I’m also an empath, which means I can place myself into the experience of another person and feel their emotions and desires. As my particular talents are intuitive in nature, I identify as an intuitive reader instead of a psychic reader. I am a highly ethical individual and would never represent myself as anything I am not. I also will not read on pregnancy or other medical-related issues. Unfortunately in this line of work there are those who are out to make a quick buck, and they will misrepresent their innate psychic abilities to appeal to more clients. Not all tarot readers are genuine and sadly, some of them are scam artists who want to rip you off. If you end up going to them for a reading, you might experience that the reading just did not work.

You do not need to identify as a psychic of any kind to learn to read the tarot cards. I have spent much of my life studying the tarot because it is interesting and I am passionate about it. Above all else, I am a caring wife, mother, friend, and teacher. I have spent my life in public service committed to serving the greater good. I am dedicated to the craft of serving as a tarot card reader as a means of helping myself and others on this great adventure we call life. Plus, it forces me to remember to continually connect to the divine and express my gratitude.