Tarot is a remarkable tool. Out of the many systems of the arcane sciences, tarot is the most versatile. Within its 78-card system is the ability to answer any question, and provide insight into areas of concern in our lives. We can access information on many levels – the teleological, psychological, and mundane. In essence, tarot can reach the deepest corners of our mind to reveal startling information that may be hidden from us, and reveals powerful information that makes our lives well-rounded and meaningful.
During one of our Psychic Friends Live shows my co-host Jacki Smith (we now both host Keep It Magic) revealed a four layered formula to identify what magical candles were best to use for any given issue. The formula requires the Querent to search deep inside their unconscious to discover the root level of the problem. Why? Often what appears to be the issue is really just the symptom of a larger and deeper problem that needs to be resolved before the manifested symptom can be addressed.
Working with clients this can be cumbersome. Many clients are afraid of accessing what is limiting them or do not know how to express their uncertainties and anxieties into words. In addition, we may feel awkward expressing our fears and the root of our problems because we are embarrassed or feel self-conscious of what they may reveal.
I have translated Jacki’s formula into a tarot spread. The spreads purpose is to reveal the deeper layer of our unconscious and provide insight into what can be worked through in order to change our current situation at the root level. Once we resolve the root issue, it becomes easier for the surface problem or symptom to be resolved.
Update: Jacki has included this spread in her bestselling book, “Coventry Magic“
How It Works: (click on graphic to make it bigger and printable)
Card 1: The Significator: Go through the tarot deck to decide which card is most reflective of your current situation. This would be the symptom – the manifestation of a root problem that needs to be resolved.
Cards 2-5: The layered roots: Shuffle your tarot deck asking the question, “why is that?” Once you are ready select your first card. This card will reveal the first layer beneath the manifested problem. Keep reshuffling as you prepare to draw your next card. The answer you receive from your 2nd card, is layered into your 3rd card, and layered again into your 4th and 5th cards by simply asking the question, “Why is that?”
Card 6: The path out: The 6th card is probably the most important. It reveals what you can do to get out of your situation or start to work with the symptom in a manner that begins to a process of action on your part to begin resolving the root problem or core issue.
‘Why is That’ Julie?
A friend of mine contacted me after listening to an episode of Psychic Friends Live where I discussed the ‘why is that?’ method of problem resolution on the air. We will call her Julie.
Julie works in politics and is 45 years old. She has a high powered consultant job that takes up the majority of her time. In fact, her free time is limited and often nonexistent. She contacted me because she wants to explore expanding her social circle outside her professional life. She was having difficulty achieving the social life she desired, and had problem getting to the roots of her issue. After working with her for about an hour with Jacki’s method, I decided to use the tarot cards to help us get to the root of the matter. I used the Mythic Tarot with Julie.
Card 1: The Three of Cups
I chose the Three of Cups as the significator for Julie. She had a desire to be more social, outgoing, and to bring people into her life that were not necessarily connected with her professional life as a political analyst. Since the number three is an initiation number, it seemed rather fitting and reflected her need to explore her social circle which could lead towards more emotional fulfillment in her life that she has yet to attain. Up to this point she has never been married, had a serious long term relationship, or had children.
Card 2: The High Priestess
In the Mythic Tarot, the High Priestess features the Goddess Persephone and her descent into the underworld. I found this card to be rather interesting since the High Priestess in the Tarot is our first encounter with the mysterious world of the unconscious. When I showed the image of the Mythic High Priestess to Julie, she felt that it represented death. She noted Persephone’s death like pallor and the pomegranate she carried.
In symbolism, the pomegranate reflects abundance and fertility so I found her association with the pomegranate and death curiously interesting. Perhaps what is beginning to die within Julie are her attitudes towards the role of women in our culture, and that the pomegranate reflects the birth of something new. I felt that the High Priestess represented a fear of what she could possibly find out about herself if she became more social. Would the image that she has so carefully crafted over the years of a powerful, independent, intelligent woman be confronted by something larger than herself? Julie confirmed my feelings about her and revealed to me that she has always felt uncomfortable around women who simply got married and had children rather than pursuing any form of individual life outside their relationships. She feared that beginning to develop social relationships and to begin dating someone seriously would create a social pressure for her to become someone that she feels that she is not.
Why is that?
The traditional divinatory meaning for the Four of Swords is a period of rest or convalescence before we proceed forward. This is a card of deep reflection, and certain things need to be thought through before forward movement can happen. When I showed the card to Julie, it was interesting to me that she really did not care for it. She felt that the four swords were obstacles or too many complications that prevented her from moving forward. The card definitely made her feel very tense, and rather than her seeing the meditative qualities of the mythic figure of Orestes (while he weighs his choices and options after the murder of his father) she informed me that he felt tense and anxious. As she related this to her own life, she revealed to me that she prefers to live in the world of the known; where everything is reliable and dependable even when life and her professional world are chaotic.
Why is that?
Card 4: Judgement
Ironically, the Judgement card in the Mythic Tarot has the exact same background as the High Priestess. The card of Judgement is one of karma. Not in the way that we understand karma, but the underlying pattern in life where one moment leads to another, which then leads to another more like aninterwoven tapestry rather than a repayment for the debts that have been acquired because of wrong deeds. The image on the card of Judgement is Hermes, the messenger God. However, in the Judgement card he is the psychopomp that is one of the few God’s that could move freely between consciousness and unconsciousness. Often when the Judgement card appears it is a process of preparation for the birth of something new, which is beginning to percolate in the depths of our unconscious. After all, it is when we understand the interconnectedness of our actions and their results that we often prepare for the process of a new journey.
I placed both the images of the High Priestess and Judgement in front of Julie. I asked her what the similarities of the cards are, and of course she reiterated the theme of death that she experienced when we worked with the High Priestess card. I then asked her about the differences, and one of the things that she noted was the mummies that were rising out of the sarcophagi. I asked her to expand upon what these mummies represented to her, and she revealed that they were the choices and decisions that she left behind in pursuit of her career. They were buried in the ‘tomb’ of her own unconscious. Next, I asked Julie what the similarities of the cards were and she noted that different color pillars, which she felt represented a need to bring some balance into her life.
Why is that?
Card 5: The Knight of Cups
On a predictive level, I found this card being the last card of the ‘why is that’ spread rather interesting because it could reflect what is coming from her unconscious is the need for relationships (whether love or friendship) in her life. In many ways, I felt that card being in this position reflected hope for her to break out of this self-imposed isolation that she has experienced.
In the Mythic Tarot, the Knight of Cups is represented by the hero Perseus, who was one of the sons of Zeus. Perseus’ story is very interesting because he takes his own trip into the underworld to slay the Gorgon Medusa (our inner monsters) in order to save the princess Andromeda from being eaten by a sea monster. Perseus must use tools in order to slay Medusa because any mortal man that looked directly into her eyes was turned to stone. Of course, since Perseus is the son of Zeus he was provided with the tools to complete his task by the Gods. Perseus used a shield that was given to him by the Goddess Athena to view the Medusa through the shields reflection, which allowed him to slay the Medusa without looking at her directly. In essence, in order to slay the Gorgon he must use the powers of “reflection”. In other words, he must look deep inside himself.
I told the story of Perseus to Julie, and asked her what she felt about that. She broke down into tears and told me that she felt that she was both Andromeda and the Medusa waiting for Perseus to rescue her. As she approached her mid 40’s she felt that she had sacrificed much of her life in order to pursue the career of the independent woman and to attain some notoriety in her profession. As she reflected, she felt that this career had not really given her what she wanted out of life and that part of her felt rather empty inside. At this point she was using her career more as a means of escaping her life rather than wholly living it.
When I told her that I felt hopeful for her since all the Knights in tarot reflect some form of movement, she seemed rather relieved. It appeared to me that she was actually moving beyond the Judgement card through the course of the reading, and entering into the World card and the beginning of a new journey.
Card 6: The Path Out – The Hierophant
The final card that I pulled for Julie was one that would help her on her path. In the Mythic Tarot, the Hierophant is represented by Chiron the wounded healer. In manyways, the image of Chiron, who is part human and part horse, reflects human beings on many levels. In essence, we are part animal and part Gods, and it is the task of being trapped within a human body, and experiencing our human condition that can be deeply wounding to us. The potentials we receive at birth can be quite limited by the process of living ordinary life. In many cases, the expectations of what the vision we expect our lives to become can be rather crippling to us once we reach midlife. We become the wounded healer because we now have a body of experience that life has given us, but the wound of realizing that we can never go back and change the past. We are all bound to the ‘Judgement’ of our past choices. I felt that Julie understanding these choices and their consequences would give her the understanding (The Hierophant) needed in order to begin her new social journey.
At the beginning of the reading, Julie revealed that she was uncomfortable around women that simply got married and had children rather than pursuing any form of individual life outside their family. However, the path of the Hierophant may be for her to embrace the “life” she has long repudiated and attempt to understand that “relationships” and “motherhood” are not less than the life of the “working woman”– it is only different. By embracing the “relationship” needs in her life (possibly in a traditional way) she can begin to make peace with herself and become a more rounded individual.
Storm Cestavani is the co-host of the top rated metaphysical show “Keep It Magic” and the co-creator of the “Tarot Magic” with Coventry Creations. Storm is available for consultations by setting up an appointment to speak with him. Simply click on Book A Reading with Storm at the top of the page.
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