This Tarot Deck: Royal Thai
General Meaning: What has traditionally been known as the Moon card refers to a deep state of sensitivity and imaginative impressionability, developed within a womb of deep relaxation. Here we dream and go into trance, have visions and receive insights, wash in and out with the psychic tides, and experience deep mystical and/or terrifying realities beyond our ordinary senses. The full moon and/or eclipse cycle charted by the Magi (as in some of the earliest Moon card images) exemplify this as a mechanism that Nature uses to expand consciousness.
The variants of the courtly lovers (representing skillful use of the sex force) or the man sleeping it off under the tree (use of drugs to alter consciousness) are also traditional avenues for tapping this primal force. Human interest in higher states propels us to the frontiers of consciousness, where we cannot always control what happens. The Moon card represents the ultimate test of a soul’s integrity, where the membrane between self and the Unknown is removed, and the drop of individuality reenters the Ocean of Being. What transpires next is between a soul and its Maker.
This Tarot Deck: Gummy Bear Tarot
General Meaning: What has traditionally been known as the Sun card is about the self — who you are and how you cultivate your personality and character. The earth revolves around the sun to make up one year of a person’s life, a fact we celebrate on our birthday.
The Sun card could also be titled “Back to Eden.” The Sun’s radiance is where one’s original nature or unconditioned Being can be encountered in health and safety. The limitations of time and space are stripped away; the soul is refreshed and temporarily protected from the chaos outside the garden walls.
Under the light of the Sun, Life reclaims its primordial goodness, truth and beauty. If one person is shown on this card, it is usually signifying a human incarnation of the Divine. When two humans are shown, the image is portraying a resolution of the tension between opposites at all levels. It’s as if this card is saying “You can do no wrong — it’s all to the good!”
This Tarot Deck: Celestial
General Meaning: What has traditionally been known as the Star card is about reconnecting one’s Soul with the Divine — the transcending of personality, family, community and reputation. It has to do ultimately with the freedom to be one’s Self. The Soul is responding to celestial influences — forces that can provide the personality with a stronger sense of purpose. The Star card helps us to remember our exalted origins and our attraction to a Higher Union.
This card could also be called the “Celestial Mandate” — that which refers us back to our reason for being, our mission in this lifetime. The Star reminds us that, in a sense, we are agents of Divine Will in our day-to-day lives. If we let go of the idea that we are supposed to be in control, we can more easily notice and appreciate the synchronicities that are nudging us along. In this way, we become more conscious of the invisible Helping Hand, and we better understand our place within — and value to — the larger Cosmos.
This Tarot Deck: Folklore
General Meaning: What has traditionally been known as the Devil card expresses the realm of the Taboo, the culturally rejected wildness and undigested shadow side that each of us carries in our subconscious. This shadow is actually at the core of our being, which we cannot get rid of and will never succeed in taming. From its earliest versions, which portrayed a vampire-demon, this card evoked the Church-fueled fear that a person could “lose their soul” to wild and passionate forces.
The image which emerged in the mid-1700’s gives us a more sophisticated rendition — that of the “scapegoated Goddess,” whose esoteric name is Baphomet. Volcanic reserves of passion and primal desire empower her efforts to overcome the pressure of stereotyped roles and experience true freedom of soul. Tavaglione’s highly evolved image (Stella deck) portrays the magical formula for harnessing and transmuting primal and obsessive emotions into transformative energies. As a part of the Gnostic message of Tarot, this fearsome passion and power must be reintegrated into the personality, to fuel the soul’s passage from mortal to immortal.
This Tarot Deck: Golden Tarot
General Meaning: What is traditionally known as the Temperance card is a reference to the Soul. Classically female, she is mixing up a blend of subtle energies for the evolution of the personality. One key to interpreting this card can be found in its title, a play on the process of tempering metals in a forge.
Metals must undergo extremes of temperature, folding and pounding, but the end product is infinitely superior to impure ore mined from the earth. In this image, the soul volunteers the ego for a cleansing and healing experience which may turn the personality inside-out, but which brings out the gold hidden within the heart. (This card is entitled “Art” in the Crowley deck.)
This Tarot Deck: Crow’s Magick
General Meaning: Traditionally, what has been known as the Justice card has to do with moral sensitivity and that which gives rise to empathy, compassion and a sense of fairness. Since the time of Solomon, this image has represented a standard for the humane and fair-minded treatment of other beings.
Often including the image of a fulcrum which helps to balance competing needs against the greater good, and a two-edged sword to symbolize the precision needed to make clear judgments, this card reminds us to be careful to attend to important details. It’s a mistake to overlook or minimize anything where this card is concerned. The law of Karma is represented here — what goes around comes around.
Wheel of Fortune
This Tarot Deck: Connolly
General Meaning: The central theme of what is traditionally called the Wheel of Fortune card is cyclical change. The Wheel keeps on rolling, churning events in a ceaseless progression of ups and downs, either way freeing us from the past. No one can escape its cyclical action, which can feel somewhat terrifying — no matter whether we are rising or falling. When one is balanced on top there is a moment of crystal clarity, but the only part of the Wheel not going up and down is the hub, which is your eternal Self, the Source of Freedom.
Every one of us will occupy all the points on the wheel at some time or another. The cycle of the wheel is its lesson — and we can learn to take comfort in it (as we do when we celebrate our birthday). If you don’t like the look of things right now, just wait — things will change. Of course, if you do like the look of things right now, enjoy it while it lasts, because that will change too!
This Tarot Deck: Angel Tarot
General Meaning: What has traditionally been known as the Strength card represents Nature which, however wild in its primal form, is tamed by our subtler, finer (feminine, interior) self. The will and passion of our instinctive nature does not need to be broken, but refined and brought to consciousness — so that all levels of Creation, inner and outer, may come into harmony.
The feminine soul-force contains a persuasive power that can nurture and induce cooperation from others, stilling disruptive energies by harmonizing differences in the spirit of collective good will.
This Tarot Deck: Art Nouveau
General Meaning: Traditionally, the card usually entitled the Chariot points to a triumphal feeling of freedom, as if the charioteer is being paraded through the streets as a hero (or heroine). The card reflects congratulations for high achievement, and serves as a sign of empowerment.
Huge wheels and frisky steeds speed the rate at which the driver’s willpower can be realized. This kind of charge makes more of the world accessible to anyone ambitious enough to seize the Chariot’s reins. But there is danger in this feeling of freedom, because of the increased rate of change and its power to magnify mistakes in judgment. As a seasoned warrior, the Charioteer is called upon to be extra attentive to the way ahead.
This Tarot Deck: Ukiyoe
General Meaning: Traditionally known as the Hierophant, this card refers to a Master and the learning of practical lessons from the study of Natural Law. This energy of this card points to some agent or resource that can reveal the secrets of life, the cycles of the moon and tides, the links between human beings and the heavens.
Because monasteries were the only places a person could learn to read and write in the middle ages, a Hierophant was one to whom a student would petition for entry. He was the one to set the curriculum for the neophyte’s course of study.
Often pictured with the right hand raised in blessing, the Hierophant is linked with the ancient lineage of Melchezidek, initiator of the Hebrew priestly tradition, the one who passes on the teachings. All shamans of any tradition draw upon this archetype.