Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Learn Tarot With Me - The Magician


Original Rider Waite -By A E Waite & Pamela Colman-Smith
Published by  U.S. Games Systems, Inc.


These are my own, try to make up one's that you can remember.

Make things happen
Conscious Awareness
Creative Initiative

The Esoteric Title for this card is: The Magus of Power (Book T)

Astrological Attribution:  Mercury - Again you must forgive my lack of astrology, but I do believe that Mercury is the closest planet to the sun and apparently has the fastest orbit of nine know planets.  Therefore Mercury is quick. 

Elementally Attribution: Air  Elemental air is hot and wet and its nature is separation.

Positive Meanings: Action - Power - Creativity - Confidence - Willpower - Potential.

Negative Meanings: Manipulation - Trickery - Lack of Confidence - Misuse of Power.

The Magician indicates for us that we have the willpower and the initiative to succeed. The four elements on his table tell you that you have all you need to create. If he was to speak to you he would say "you have the power to create."

When The Magician turns up in a reading he indicates that this is the time for action and energy. He is a number 1 card and that represents potential and new beginnings. When he appears he urges you to recognise that you have what it takes to make things happen. He points the way for you to transform one situation into another. He stands for being aware of the power in your life. 

The negative aspects of this card indicate that you may well lack will power or the confidence needed to transform a situation. He also stands for trickery, think con-artist. Or he could indicate one that misuses power and manipulates others to his own end. 

Notice the position of the arms, one points to the heavens and one to the earth, 'as above, so below.' This translates to mean that if one allows their higher self to work with their consciousness, then you will have a better understanding of what you possess in order to create the reality you desire.  I think his fundamental element of his message is awareness, intention and willpower in order to see things through.  The Magician indicates that you have to do things for yourself.

Lets look at the symbolism of the card:

1. Lemniscate, the Magician has above his head the sign of the mystical lemniscate which looks like a number 8 on its side.  It is also the mathematical symbol for infinity and therefore connects the Magician to timelessness.

2. Ouroboros, around his waist is a belt which resembles a snake eating its tail. This becomes a circular symbol of time and reinforces the message of the lemniscate.

3. Roses and Lilies, Red roses could symbolise desire and action while the White lilies could stand for truth.

4. Table/Alter, could the table itself stand for the potential in one's life? It is, where the Magician stands his tools.

5. Magical tools, on his table are four magical tools and these have come to represent the 4 elements, Air, (sword) Fire, (wand) Water, (cup) Earth (pentacle.)

6. Position of his hands, the Magician stands holding his own wand pointing to the heavens, while his other hand points to the earth. As stated above this symbolises 'as above, so below,' meaning our spiritual self should be manifested in our reality.

7. Yellow background,  taking what yellow appears to symbolise in tarot, it's an indication of mental activity, solar, energy, willpower and awareness and intention, which is what our Magician is all about.

I think what the Magician says to us is "you have the power to create," and what he does is point the way in which further development can take place. He is able to expand his energies on his vision and ideals to which he is committed.

The Magician indicates our intuitive ability and can highlight for us those experiences we have chosen to manifest as well as indicating those areas that tend to limit us, thus giving us a better understanding of how we should deal with these aspects of life. 

I really think what the Magician is saying in plain words to us is that the power is within one's own hands to not just create one's reality but to understand how we should approach this. 

The Magician tells us that we have to be more aware that we are more than just physical beings and this realisation is what gives us the power to create.

Exercise for this week:

Don't forget to write out a couple of Tarot Wisdom statements for the Magician. I'll give you an example of this.
May you today envisage those new beginnings you desire and display the will power to create them for yourself.

Original Rider Waite -By A E Waite & Pamela Colman-Smith
Published by  U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Now you have two cards under your belt, I would like you to lay these two cards down together. Magician as card no.1 and The Fool as card no.2 Notice how The Fool is walking towards the Magician. What do you think the message of these two cards combined might be?
If you would like to leave your answers in the comments I will come back and look and comment on them. 

See you next week with  The High Priestess.

Credit for Cards show:

Original Rider Waite By A.E. Waite & Pamela Colman-Smith
Published by U.S. Games Systems Inc.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Poetry Inspired by Tarot - Dreaming

Wonderland Tarot
Published by U.S.Games Systems Inc.

This poem was inspired by the 4 of Flamingos (Swords) in one of my favourite decks The Wonderland Tarot - now out of print.


It's time to sleep, close my eyes,
and rest my weary head.
To dream of things yet to come,
and things yet to be said.

No thoughts to torment me,
my mind has been set free.
To delve much deeper in the dark,
 while searching for the key.

I'll dream of roses, soft and red,
that lay around my feet.
Of Knights so bold in armour bright.
and sweet, sweet treats to eat.

And while I dream of things untrue,
my mind sends me a clue,
Of what I really need to know,
and what I should next do.

As I slumber through the night,
my visions keep on spinning.
And like the young moon in the sky,
I'll wake, to a new beginning.

© Helen A. Howell 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Learn Tarot with Me - The Fool

This course is aimed at giving you a good basic knowledge of the cards. It is based on what I have learnt over the years of studying and reading tarot.  Tarot Cards have a diverse set of meanings, but the first step is to learn the basic meanings of each card. Once this is done, you will be able to give a reasonably good reading and can go on to learn more and allow your intuition to guide you as well.

Tarot Cards do have a history and do have definite meanings. If what you're looking for is to just look at the cards and say anything that comes into your head, then this is not the course for you.  As far as I am concerned you might as well be reading a cornflake packet. However if you want to learn to read cards properly then first you must learn to walk before you can run.

This course is based on the Rider Waite Tarot (published by U.S. Games Systems Inc.) I aim to give you information about each card, and some little exercises to do to help you retain the information you learn.  I hope you find this course informative, helpful and fun.

Original Rider Waite -By A E Waite & Pamela Colman-Smith
Published by  U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

The Fool

KEYWORDS:  These are phrases that can help you remember quickly what the card is about:  I'll give you some examples - but try to make up your own, that way you'll remember them better.

My Keywords for this card:
*Look beyond the obvious 
*Fresh outlook
* Potential

The Esoteric Title for this card is Spirit of Aether (Book T)

Astrological Attribution - Uranus - I'm not very astrologically minded but from what I can find out about Uranus it is a bit unpredictable - sorta like the Fool.

Elemental Attribution - Air - Air is hot and wet and its nature is separation.

Positive Meanings:  New beginnings - inventiveness, optimism, fearless, visionary.

Negative Meanings: Thoughtlessness- immaturity - impulsiveness, -  lack of responsibility - naivete.

You'll notice the Fool is 0 in the deck and that means he belongs anywhere while he works his way through The Fool's Journey (
See Understanding Tarot)

When The Fool turns up you can expect the unexpected.  He can suggest a new beginning and a time to try out different things.  He suggests that you should not be afraid to take that leap of faith and is always asking you to look beyond the obvious. He stands on the edge of a precipice ready to walk over and yet he doesn't know if he will land safely, but what he does do is trust that he will. He tells you not to fear the unknown and also not to over think things but rather just do them. 

Of course like all cards he has negative aspects too and these would be taking a foolish risk, rushing into things before making sure its ok. It also suggests that you let opportunities pass you by or perhaps that you shy away from adventure.

Lets look at the symbolism in the card.

  1. First the stick and bundle, this bundle could represent his previous knowledge and past experiences.  The symbolism of being carried over his shoulder or behind him represents him not wanting them to influence his future.
  2.  White Rose, maybe a symbol of his innocent approach to life.
  3. The Dog, the dog could be said to represent his instinctual side but also may well symbolise his unconscious.
  4. Hat of interwoven laurel leaves, laurel leaves have been a symbol of success.
  5. Red Feather in Hat, feather could be associated with the element Air and the red symbolising passion and energy, the desire within his thoughts that drive him on.
  6. Mountains Behind Him - mountains could be said to represent the boundaries of his mind, but note these are soft green  topped with white. Green typically symbolises potential, growth and adaptability. If we look at how green is made by mixing blue (associated with the sky and heavens, and  yellow (associated with intellect , positive mental activity)  alludes to acknowledging his higher self, while the white could show an innocent spirit, searching for his own truth.
  7. The Sun above him, could well represent illumination and enlightenment.
  8. Yellow boots - again can be associated with solar energy (enlightenment) and mental activity (physical) perhaps indicates that he is walking with his mind.
  9. Last but not least  the ground and cliff itself, these are an earthy brown connecting him to the practicalities of his physical life.
Looking at these symbols and in particular the dog, it makes me think that if the dog represents his unconscious, is the Fool aware of this? He may be looking upwards and not directly see his dog, but the dog is still in his field of awareness, this then leads me to ask another question are the Fool's actions 'foolish' or is he someone who is 'calculatingly foolish?'

I feel with the way the symbolism is that this Fool is foolishly serious about his play. So the rose may say that he has an innocent approach to life but that doesn't necessarily mean that he is innocent. It may just mean that he is ready for a new and fresh approach and willing to open himself up to all the possibilities in life. The red feather and the red on his garments show us his passionate and energetic approach. The bundle behind him illustrates that he is not prepared to be restricted by past experiences, he is actually that drive that exists within us to break free of restrictions in search for new enlightenment. The mountains show us that he is willing to expand and grow those boundaries in his search for his own truth. Those yellow boots indicate that he is ready to use his mental abilities to take him further. His catch phrase I think would most likely be 'don't over think it, instead experience it.' 

What The Fool carries in his message to us is that in his leap of faith, gaining knowledge or enlightenment doesn't just come from written material but through experiencing life itself.

To help you retain this information I advise you keep a journal on each card, writing down information helps one remember it.  

A little exercise you can do for each card to help you understand its meaning is to write out a couple or so Tarot Wisdom statements. I'll give you an example for the Fool.

Tarot Wisdom: The Fool:

May you never be afraid to grasp those new opportunities that life has to offer.

See you here next week with the Magician

Credit for card shown:

Original Rider Waite -By A E Waite & Pamela Colman-Smith
Published by  U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Ramble through the suit of Swords

The Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot Deck By Virginijus Poshkus 

Published by  U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

When you look at the suit of Swords you do have to wonder if they are a good suit or not.  I mean all those sharp swords to contend with, doesn't always give one a happy feeling. But is this suit really not being understood, especially as it has been known as the "Suit of Sorrow." I want to take a closer look at these cards and see if we can find more joy rather than regret.

Swords is as you probably know is represented by the element Air, this relates to communication, mental activity and logic. Of course who hasn't had negative thoughts. I know I have from time to time, so for example when you look at the
5 of Swords it so easy to see confrontation, arguments. From what I can see though, the image suggests to me that those walking away have taken on more than they can chew. The winner also makes me question whether he has won or not, after all he's left on his own, the others are still together.  

I think the underlying message in this card is one of making one think before they leap into something.  To me it appears to talk of working within one's own limitations. So the 5 does present me with an opportunity to ask myself is the end result worth the effort? Recognise your situation and work within those boundaries to achieve a better result. Good advice from the 5 don't you agree?

As I look at each card in this suit, I see a more positive message that lies underneath the more common one. Each of those messages seems to give me advice on how to overcome the sorrow that the suit portrays. Take a look at the 6 of Swords.  The 6 in general means moving away from what has troubled you, that's positive you say, yes it is. It can speak literally  of moving. But whether it's a change of scene or a change of thought patterns, the positive advice this card appears to give is in the swords that are lodged in the boat. 

The real advice to help you move into more contented times and leave that troubled waters behind is, that you have to consider the negative thought pattern that placed you in that situation.  If you take it with you you'll never be free.  Good positive advice again from the suit of sorrows.

I could ramble on though all the cards, but I guess what I'm saying really is, when Swords appear look beyond the obvious to find that gem of advice that can help remove any mental blocks and bring back clarity. Clarity of thought which in turn can bring enlightenment to a situation from where the a new beginning could present itself.

Credit for Cards Shown
The Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot Deck By Virginijus Poshkus  - Published by  U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Learn Tarot With Me - Understanding Tarot

I thought I would start a new series, whereby once a week I will post a lesson up on how to read tarot. I will be using the Rider-Waite Tarot Deck (published by U.S. Games Systems Inc. as I feel this is the mother to most modern tarot decks. Once you understand how to read this deck, different decks will be easier to read.

However before we start talking about what various cards, numbers etc. mean, a basic understand of what Tarot is should be the first step.

Understanding Tarot

How does tarot work and what influence does it have on your life?

I believe that the Tarot works in a way that connects to our energy and becomes a tool that enables contact with our higher self. We then become enlightened about the choices we have and the possibilities that may be available, but remembers that we also have free will so those possibilities are changeable and depend on the choices we make.

When you have a reading the influence it may have on your life is that it can cause you to look where you have not thought to look before. By exploring beyond normal perception you can gain a more positive outlook, facilitate a greater understanding of yourself and your situation and in turn, empower you to make a better choice for yourself.

The Tarot Cards
A tarot deck consists of 78 cards and is divided into two parts. The first, consisting of 22 cards, is called the Major Arcana. The second, consisting of 56 cards, is called the Minor Arcana (or Pip cards).
The Major Arcana cards are thought to refer to the spiritual / psychological part of life’s journey and relate to the more important of life's issues. This is often called “The Fool’s Journey” as he travels by through the three stages of life from 0-21. Briefly, these stages are represented by:

The Fool (0) - The Chariot (7) is when the Fool starts to develop self awareness and discovers the importance of choice and how it impacts on life - in short, this is the education stage.

Strength (8) - Temperance (14) is the time when the Fool faces the physical / material trials of adulthood - this is the stage where the moral lessons of life are learnt.

Devil (15) - World (21) is the final stage and where the Fool develops an understanding that one must look inwards to work through fundamental thoughts and behaviours in order to rebuild - this is the stage concerning the search for real meaning.

The Minor Arcana (Pips) consists of four suits - Wands, Cups. Swords and Pentacles. Each suit has 14 cards numbered Ace to Ten plus four court cards - Page, Knight, Queen and King.

The four suits relate to the four elements (fire, water, air and earth) and are concerned with the day-to-day issues of life.

Wands energy comes from the Fire element and is expressed through action, creativity and intuition.

Cups energy comes from the Water element and is expressed through emotion, feelings, imagination and inspiration.

Swords energy comes form the Air element and is expressed through clarity of thought, mental activity and logic.
Pentacles energy comes from the Earth element and is expressed through those things which are tangible - money, practical security, material wealth, physical needs.

As an example of how these energies can work together, consider the creative conception of an idea (Wands); the emotions that support it (Cups); the mental activity that forms it (Swords) and the manifestation of it into reality (Earth).

Court cards can be interpreted as facets of your own personality, or as other people in your life, coming into your life or as a situation. Pages are considered to be the messengers of the suits and are immature. Knights deliver the message and are the teenagers. Queens assimilate the message. The King has mastered the message.

This is a basic understanding of how tarot works.  Next week I'll be looking at  the cards themselves.

Credit for cards shown:
Tarot Bella unfinished deck by Helen 

Monday, July 31, 2017

Jodorowsky's Three Card Theosophic Sum Spread

I first came across this spread in 2009 on Mary Greer's blog. You can find her post about it HERE It is an interesting spread using only Majors and for those of you who have never seen it, I thought I would share it here. 

It's called a Three Card Sum because from the first three cards you lay you then expand the reading with another 4 cards. This gives you a total of 7 cards in the spread.  How you extend it is by adding the numbers of the first three cards and reduce any over the number 23 to a single digit.

I've never asked a question using this spread but I have found it to be particularly revealing about something in one's life.  You can if you like ask a question either is suitable.

How do you go about getting four more cards from adding up the previous three? It's easy really, you read the  first  three cards number values straight across. So add up 123 and if over 23 reduce to a single digit. Then place this card under card no. 2  in the first line. - That card is marked as card no. 1 in the spread. If you get a card that is already in the spread then you just read that card in both positions. Next add up the number value of 1 + 3 and place the resulting card no. 2 above 2 in the first line.  Leave a gap for two more cards beneath it. Add up 1 +2 and place this card 3 directly  above1 & 2 in the first line and lastly add up 2+3 and place this card no. 4 above 2 & 3 in the first line.

Your spread then should look something like this:

Apparently in the information that Mary gives in her original post, she informs us that from the two examples in Jodorowsky's book he doesn't read the first three cards but just the four that result from the sum of the first three.

When I have done this spread I do read the first three as they shed light either on the situation or a bit like the Celtic Cross's first card, they can show what is important to the seeker at that moment.

All the other four cards do have positional definitions and they are:

The sum of 123 shown as the lower positioned Card 1  - Underlying aspects, - what may contribute to the situation.

1+3 - Card 2  Exterior aspects - meaning outside influences.

1+2 -  Card 3 Receptive or maternal influences - Feminine, inner feelings maybe, or what you are open to with regards to the situation.

2+3 - Card 4 Active - paternal influence - I read this to mean masculine, action 

I tend to see 3 and 4 as the inner thoughts and the outer action.

Now to do a demo reading for you using Tarot Lo Scarabeo (by Mark McElroy - Artwork by Anna Lazzarini - Published by Lo Scarabeo)

First three cards: Justice - Hierophant - Hanged Man

As I look at these three cards I'm drawn to the Hierophant first. Ruling out any religious meanings, seems to me to be representing learning, gaining a knowledge. He seems to be suggesting that I am focused on solving a problem. Justice by his side indicates that I need to approach this problem in a rational way if I am to find a solution. The Hanged Man says take a step back from it and try seeing it from a different perspective. In order to solve my problem I need to be willing to adapt to something new.

Putting these together what they tell me is that in order to solve my current problem I need to approach it in a rational and balanced way. Perhaps looking at it from a different perspective will help me solve it.

I know what this reading is all about, it's about me trying to get to grips with GIMP graphics programme, and having never used one before I find it all overwhelming.  Lets see what the other cards have to say.

Now we add up each of these cards we have 11 + 5 + 12 = 28 - 2+8 = 10

My next card is the Wheel of Fortune  and that has the PD of Underlying aspects, - what may contribute to the situation.  Card 1

Well, we all know the wheel goes up and then down, but this has nothing to do with fortune in this particular position. However, it does refer to the ebb and flow of my emotions, from wanting to learn to saying ah forget it. While I continue to have these back and forth, or up and down feelings, they then contribute towards me getting no where. The best way for me to turn this around so that it can contribute to me finding a solution to my learning problem, is to try and stay balanced in the middle of the wheel rather that ride the outer edge.

Now for the next sum and card. 1 + 3  in first line  -  11 +12 = 23 - 2+3 + 5 Hierophant  Card 2 - This card is already in the first three so we now read it also in the new position. Just so you can see how the cards fit together I'm using the Hierophant from the Rider Waite Deck ( published by U.S.Games Systems Inc.) in this new position of Exterior aspects of the question.

Here we are again with the question of knowledge or lack of it. What this card suggests is that I need someone or something to help show me the way. What this  seems to be saying is that there are resources that I can tap into. The word Hierophant means "interpreter of sacred mysteries." ( Well, GIMP is certainly a mystery to me! The Hierophant tells me that there are ways to educate myself and to search for those resources that can help me.

Next Sum and Card. 1+2 in first line  gives you card 3  -11+5 = 16 The Tower Receptive or maternal influences. I like to think of this as meaning inner feelings.

I can understand what the Tower is doing here in my inner feelings position. why do I want to learn GIMP?  So that I can move forward with my card designing and maybe sell on line.  But the Tower shows that my inner feelings are, and it's true, that I don't like sudden changes or even creating a disruption to my normal routine.  But it also reminds me that  I need to examine this feeling to recognise that it is outdated, toss it out and rebuild my thoughts in a more positive way. 

Last sum and card: 2 +3 in first line results in Card No. 4  - 5 + 12 = 17 The Star - Active or paternal influences.  - here is my action card. 

The Star, what a hopeful card to have got. It shows that even though I have doubts, I also have faith in my ability. It suggests that I will overcome my doubts and fears about this new project of mine and attack it with a positive point of view. It's a card that represents renewal, and brings with it insight into the future from a positive point of view. It tells me that my actions will be one of believing in myself - go to it girl!

Well, I never expected this reading to pick up on my GIMP problem, although it has been on my mind lately. Part of me does what to develop my designing skills while the other half says why rock the boat?

In Summary this reading tells me that I have had this problem on my mind, and perhaps I should look at it with a new perspective. It reminds me that there are lots of resources out in the world that can help me gain the knowledge I seek.
It notes that I don't like change, especially when it comes quickly but it also says that I will have a renewed faith in my abilities to see this through. 

So now I fully understand what this reading is about, I think I will add up all the cards to find one last card with a bit of advice. 

11+5+12+5+10+16+17 = 76 - 7+6 =13 -  Death

Well, there's a great message of basically out with the old and in with the new. It tells me to recognise that in order to transform something you have to let the older version go. 

OK I've got the message loud and clear.

I hope you've enjoyed this demo of Jodorowsky's Three Card Theosophic Sum Spread.  If you have time, do read Mary's post, she gives some interesting background on the man himself.  If you do try the spread please come back and let me know how it went and what you thought of it.

Happy Tarot Reading! 

Credits For Cards:

Tarot Lo Scarabeo by Mark McElroy - Artwork by Anna Lazzarini - Published by Lo Scarabeo

Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot
Published by U.S. Games Systems Inc.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

A Short Ramble with Helen Through The Tower

The Tower is one of those cards that tends to make one go "Oh No!"  Why wouldn't it, it's very image is of lightning and people falling, would make you dread it turning up. But are we actually giving this card a bad rap?

There is no denying that the Tower represents in a reading a dramatic change, but I note that that bolt of lightning not only strikes the Tower but also illuminates it. Perhaps that is something we should consider.

Illumination throws light on a situation, something that could not be seen before is now visible. This bears asking the question is that which is changing good or bad?  Either way, the Tower now brings it to the fore.

When I look at the Tower Card I am reminded of a quote by Confucius:
"Our greatest glory is not in never falling
but in rising every time we fall."

What the Tower suggests to us in its message, from what I can see is, that existing forms need to be broken down. Of course this can take on many different situations, from losing a job, to a breakdown in a relationship, to something as simple as changing the way we think about something. When that bolt of lightening strikes, it can and very often is upsetting.

Lets take a scenario:  You lose a job you never expected to. It may be hard to see at that moment the illumination the lightning bolt provides. But in losing that job you have been liberated and now you find yourself in a position to venture in a different direction. That could never have happened if the Tower had stayed upright and the lightening never strikes.  Once one has recovered from the abrupt change in circumstance, you then realise you are better off out of that previous position whether it be a job or a relationship. The Tower has brought you a form of freedom.

The Tower then is not necessarily a bad card but a card that can be seen as liberating. It brings in its destruction transformation and allows you to build up from the bottom a better and more healthy future.

The Tower is a number 16 card which breaks down to 1+6=7. What 7's often represent in tarot, I have found, is wisdom, insight and personal growth. It's a number that urges us to look inwards and learn to accept our own limitations, and explore what we are capable of achieving. 7 also relates to the Major Arcana Card The Chariot, which symbolises for us gaining control, a show of will power and maintaining balance and direction. 

The Tower then could even be considered a cathartic experience. How? It appears to offer one the guidance to examine those existing beliefs, clear out what is not appropriate anymore and re-build making the foundation more secure, once you recognise that those constricting and rigid forms no longer need to hold you.  Think of the lightning as that "ah ha" moment when we realise we should change our belief and take our life in another direction.

There is no denying that the Tower may well shatter your ideas or a situation but at the same time it offers you the opportunity for change. So, as I ramble through the meanings of this card, I cannot help but come to the conclusion that it's not so bad after all.


The Tower card: 
Hanson-Roberts Tarot Deck
By Mary Hanson-Roberts

Published by  U.S. Games Systems, Inc.