Read an Excerpt
Find Love, Sex, and Romance in the Cards
By KOOCH DANIELS, VICTOR DANIELS
Red Wheel/Weiser, LLCCopyright © 2003 Kooch N. Daniels and Victor Daniels
All rights reserved.
It [the tarot] is a monumental and unique work ... strong and simple like the architecture of the pyramids, consequently long-lasting like them; it is a book which, as it speaks, makes us think; and surely one of the finest things which antiquity has left to us.
—Eliphas Lévy, As Cited By Oswald Wirth in Tarot of the Magicians
Your personal connection with the cards is the key to unveiling their mysteries. The more you study them, the more they tell you and the deeper you are drawn into the depths of your own psyche.
Just studying a book—even this one—won't teach you the magic of the tarot. You have to get to know the cards on a familiar, personal level—treating them like good friends with whom you can converse about matters great and small, and sometimes share your deepest secrets. Some cards help you feel better about yourself and your life, some cause you to question particular attitudes and actions, some help you use your mind more effectively, and some help you open up to your feelings, intuition, and hidden potential. When you share your hopes and fears with the cards, often they answer back, sometimes in surprising ways.
If you don't already have a deck, now's the time to get one. Metaphysical bookstores usually have a variety of demonstration sets that you can look through in your search for a deck that's right for you. Exploring various sets and comparing their colors, styles, and stances will help you find one you especially like. The more you enjoy looking at your deck, the more interested you'll be in studying it, and the more quickly you'll become acquainted with it. In turn, the more time you spend playing with the cards, the faster you'll learn how each card communicates with you about mind, body, heart, and soul.
Students sometimes ask if it's OK to use someone else's deck. This question is best answered by your own intuition. When you look at cards that others have used, ask yourself how they feel. Do you get a good feeling from them, or do they feel strange? If you feel good using them, they'll work for you. If you feel weird about using someone else's cards, they probably won't work in a positive way.
Using Your Cards
Whether you're a psychologist, sorcerer, yogini, or soccer mom, when you first begin to use your cards, you may want to think about your relationship with them and your purpose for using them. Whether you plan to use them for personal inquiry or for doing readings for others, you'll want to create a special bond between you and your cards. Your personal ritual to connect with them can be large or small, uniquely your own, or something borrowed from a spiritual tradition, like doing a Native American chant to communicate with the Great Spirit. You may want to use candles, incense, or aromatherapy to make an offering to the spirit who will be your inner guide as you ponder the cards' messages. Before I begin to use a new deck, I say a prayer and ask the goddess of esoterica and magic to shine her light to help me see the meaning of the cards clearly.
The first question I present to a new deck of cards is: "Will you work for me?" I need to know if the cards and I will be able to communicate. If the first card contains positive images, I assume the answer is yes. In time, it will become obvious whether a deck will work for you, because you'll find yourself either using your cards often or putting them in a drawer behind something you deem more important.
Whatever method you choose for initiating your cards, we recommend tucking them under your pillow for a night to let them rest under your dreaming, subconscious mind. This can enliven your relationship with the cards and improve your chances for a meaningful connection with them.
Putting your deck in a silk cloth or wooden box will protect your cards, and perhaps invite you to play with them. Covering your cards can also protect them from unnecessary worldly energy so they'll work better for you.
The Structure of the Tarot
The tarot is divided into two parts: 22 major arcana cards and 56 minor arcana cards divided into four suits. The major, or greater, arcana is allegorical, illustrated in the language of symbols. It describes various passages a person may take during the earthly journey. Love/hate, pleasure/pain, problems/resolutions, death/rebirth, and other transitions are visually depicted through a symbolic dialogue that can best be understood when you balance your conscious rational understanding with your unconscious intuitive understanding. The more you feel, as well as think, about a card's symbolic content, the more it will tell you.
The minor arcana, or lesser trumps, are represented in four suits: cups, swords, pentacles, and wands. Each suit corresponds to one of the four ancient elements and to an essential dimension of life. Cups are linked to the element of water and with emotional matters. Swords, representing the element of air, are connected with various kinds of mental energy. Wands, linked to the element of fire, are the creative, enterprising passions. Pentacles, or the element of earth, correspond with activity on the material plane, especially career and finances. Each suit consists of cards numbered 1 through 10, and four court cards: a king, a queen, a knight, and a page.
The Major Arcana: Storybook of Life
The major arcana, or major trumps, are a pictorial storybook of human consciousness. They depict the most important symbols in the tarot, illustrating pivotal stages in life's unfolding journey. They are considered so vital that some readers choose to do readings using them alone, without the minor arcana cards. They are numbered from 1, The Magician, to 21, The World. A card numbered zero, The Fool, can be placed at either the beginning or the end of their sequence.
The symbols in the major cards illustrate the gamut of life's experiences. Birth and death, pleasure and pain, heroes and villains, lovers and hermits, success and challenge, and evolution and transformation are represented in powerful images that reflect polarities that we all face as we swim through the myriad currents in the river of life. Spiritually, their substance has been correlated with unlocking the mysteries of the wisdom of the soul, but it is worldly concerns, relationships, and loves that lead most people to consult the cards. Fortunately, the symbols speak to both heart and soul. Just as tantric yogis embrace their passion as they walk their spiritual path, the cards can focus equally on enlightenment or lust, and cast light on whatever concern a person is questioning. The major arcana interpretations given here focus specifically on examining the cards for answers to queries about love, partnerships, emotions, and sexual dilemmas and opportunities.
0 The Fool: Fun-loving, funny, carefree, high-spirited, adventurous, willing to play in the moment, vulnerable, and truth seeking
Reversed card: Mentally aloof, gullible, noncommittal
1 The Magician: Has sex appeal, intelligence, creativity, and charm; may analyze emotions and be critical of feelings, but desires love
Reversed card: Overly analytical, nervous, impatient, sometimes lost in mental vortexes
II The High Priestess: Not aware of her attractiveness, dutiful, truthful, idealistic about romance, sensitive to emotional stimuli
Reversed card: Easily infatuated, emotionally distant, insecure, dogmatic
III The Empress: Loves affection; enjoys romance, wine, music, and fun; passionate, loving, nurturing; understanding of partner's needs
Reversed card: Schemer; obsession with emotions; demanding, egocentric
IV The Emperor: Responsible for his commitments, supportive; enjoys physical passion and debate; observant, powerful, respected, armored
Reversed Card: Domineering, obsessed with sex, insensitive, egocentric
V The Hierophant: Philosophical about love; intolerant of indiscretions; tries to control passion, may be emotionally reserved; often a healer
Reversed card: Possessive, blindly dogmatic, argumentative, unbending
VI The Lovers: Questioning; loves romance, enjoys flattery and flirting, but devoted when in love; moves quickly toward consummating passion
Reversed card: Indecisive, arrogant, ambivalent
VII The Chariot: Fast-moving, ambivalent about commitments, sees the value of staying single, but wants to enjoy the fruits of passion, playful when in love
Reversed card: Unforgiving, melancholic, holds on to the past
VIII Strength: Catlike; sees through you; persevering, usually gets his/her way; likes to get lots of attention; may be passionate and fiery or quiet and inward
Reversed card: Dominating, needy, afraid to show vulnerability
IX The Hermit: Independent; attracted to love, but shy of going after it; has fear of intimacy, but strong need for acceptance and love
Reversed card: Controlling, critical, emotionally introverted
X Wheel of Fortune: Flexible toward change; the wheel of romance turns toward the new, bringing improvement and greater enjoyment in love
Reversed card: Doubting, status-seeking, undependable
XI Justice: Looks at consequences of actions; can get caught up in guilt; mediator, peacemaker; may spoil partner with strong sentiments and caretaking
Reversed card: Judgmental, lacks trust, indecisive, easily hurt
XII Hanged Man: Sees things from unusual perspectives, needs emotional space, doesn't make promises unless they can be kept, doesn't open the heart easily
Reversed card: Hungup on emotions, unrealistically idealistic, inflexible
XIII Death: Loves teasing, sex, and physical pleasures; intensely emotional; can be secretive about feelings; able to detach and start anew, transformative
Reversed card: Overly sensitive; cynical, vengeful; moody if things don't go right
XIV Temperance: Inwardly strong, emotionally centered; reconciles opposites; generous, optimistic; works toward self-improvement, enjoys freedom
Reversed card: Undemonstrative, insensitive to feelings, impulsive
XV The Devil: Energetic, passionate, lustful, strongly sexual; struggles with temptations; plays devil's advocate; dutiful, serious, intolerant
Reversed card: Pessimistic; low self-esteem; sometimes dishonest, or too clever for his or her own good
XVI The Tower: Intense forces of nature; turbulent emotional currents; resistance to change; confronting challenge, facing the inevitable
Reversed card: Lack of compassion; confrontational; sabotages love
XVII The Star: Cheerfulness, hope, inward peace; optimistic about love and willing to go the extra mile to make it happen; a sense of perspective
Reversed card: Unforgiving, head in the clouds, insisting that things be other than they are
XVIII The Moon: Romantic, sensitive to natural and personal rhythms; passive, reflective, dreamy; willing to pursue love no matter what the challenges
Reversed card: Moody, holds on to the past, overbearing
XIX The Sun: Openhearted, happy, extraverted, energetic, independent; doesn't waste time when opportunities for love arise; creative in the bedroom
Reversed card: Fiery; runs from conflicts; gloomy
XX Judgement: Keeps promises, bonds deeply; subtly demanding or insatiable when it comes to romance; searches for emotional depths, spiritual
Reversed card: Unpredictable; loses sense of self in others; easily infatuated
XXI The World: Focused intentions, altered awareness, expansiveness; opening the heart; intimacy; going beyond limitations, responsibility for commitments
Reversed card: Deflated sense of self; lacking perspective; stagnant emotions
The Minor Arcana: Windows on a Wider World
Images in the minor arcana reflect currents and eddies in the river of life. Each suit represents a different dimension of existence and examines events through a distinct lens. When a lesser trump (minor arcana) card appears in your spread, it points to the earthly play of natural forces in spiritual, psychological, emotional, and physical realms. By contemplating the universal qualities found in these cards, we can see new dimensions of reality come alive—qualities that speak to us all, regardless of our religion or culture. The minor arcana expand the compass of the tarot beyond the dimensions represented in the major arcana. The central theme of each suit works with the symbols found on the individual minor arcana cards to deepen your understanding. Table 1 (see page 13) gives a summary of correspondences and themes of the four suits of the minor arcana.
The Suit of Wands
Esoteric maxim: To achieve
Realm: Inner spirit
Wands are linked with the element fire, which appears in forms that range from the warmth of affection to the heat of passion. It can point to the intensity of desire, the ardor of love, or even a fanatical obsession of someone blinded by love, lust, or longing. This suit parallels the feelings deep inside you when you recognize your life mate, or when you have a heated debate that kindles friction in your mind. The challenge is to turn that friction into useful lessons rather than lingering and poisonous resentments. Connect with its power, and your creative spirit can swing into action. The forceful energy associated with wands can appear in such diverse forms as emotional quests, financial ambition, spiritual pursuits, and passionate concerns about life's directions, challenges, and rewards. When no wand cards appear in a spread, it can indicate a need for greater focus or for defining goals.
The three astrological sun signs linked with this suit are Aries the ram, the first sign of the zodiac, which is ruled by Mars; Leo the lion, the royalty of the stars, which is ruled by the Sun; and Sagittarius the archer, ruled by Jupiter. They share the fiery qualities of enthusiasm for living, vitality of mind and body, a potent, willful nature, and thirst for wisdom.
Positive Attributes: Willpower; stimulating, exhilarating, creative, exciting; expansive radiance, warmth, passion, high energy, power, ingenuity; productive, affectionate.
Negative Attributes: Hotheadedness, insensitivity; control or power trips, manipulation, provocativeness, egocentricity, restlessness, overzealousness.
The Suit of Cups
Esoteric maxim: To know
The dominion of this suit is the emotions and the world of romance. Linked with the element water, it suggests the ability to go with the flow, to feel tides of emotions on deep levels, to dive into the heart of concerns, to be sensitive, reflective, and empathic, and to intuit unspoken and subconscious realities. Drink from the cup of love and your heart is never empty! Hold the chalice of the divine and your mind is never without hope. Deeply understanding the realm symbolized by cups involves moving from love as infatuation and personal gratification to love as mutual giving and appreciation of the gift of infinite joy that a heart connection can bring. Sexual realities are significant when discussing cups, for the physical joys of the body are most often tasted when someone drinks from the juicy cup of love.
The lack of cups in a spread can indicate disconnectedness from feelings or lack of emotional concern. On the wheel of the zodiac, the Sun signs that correspond to cups are Pisces the fish, ruled by Jupiter and Neptune; Cancer the crab, ruled by the Moon; and Scorpio the scorpion, ruled by Mars and Pluto. These watery personalities are often described as intensely emotional, sensitive, caring, psychic, and good in bed.
Positive Attributes: Emotional; depth of feeling, penetrating insight; empathy, sensitivity, sensuality, intuition; dreams, memories, the subconscious, sexually passionate.
Negative Attributes: Jealousy, possessiveness, insecurity, loneliness, complicated emotions; fools around flirtatiously; self-indulging, too fluctuating, moody, or changeable.
The Suit of Swords
Esoteric maxim: To dare
Swords represent the element air, the intellect, the construction of ideas, fanciful flights of insight, foresight, logical perceptions, critical thinking, and conscious wisdom. When discussing this suit, ideas, like seeds blowing in the wind, are the key to interpreting its meaning. Whether they're rational or intuitive, serious or somber, spiritual or romantic, thoughts play a central role when an abundance of swords appears in your spread. Decision-making about romance and lovemaking, choosing between or among alternatives, and determining love's direction fall under the symbolic canopy of swords. When you take a sword in hand, you wield power, and this suit is a metaphor for the strength of thoughts, words, and visions. The cutting edge of the blade symbolizes the power of ideas. When swords dominate a spread, the mind rules—except in those cases where they point to a lack of thoughtfulness and a need to think more carefully about a matter.
Excerpted from TAROT D'AMOUR by KOOCH DANIELS, VICTOR DANIELS. Copyright © 2003 Kooch N. Daniels and Victor Daniels. Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
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