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Initiate's Journey to Magical Readership

"Our belief in gods and goddesses must serve our need to understand diversity and to promote creative solutions to difficult human problems. For myself, belief in an ancient creative Goddess brings a deep respect for the life-giving power of the female body and promotes a deep spiritual ecology, which we will all need to find a more natural balance in our beautiful earth. However, the ancient mythologies of the Father God are a part of our history and culture, and the influence of these ideas runs deep in our consciousness and cannot be overlooked in the context of the Tarot." Alexandra Genetti

Fool

In the beginning, with raw potential the Tarot student/initiate enters the Tarot world like the Fool; naive about the abyss s/he is about to fall into; positive and open-minded, optimistic, reckless with inspired energy, and fertile with professional readership potential. They anticipate that this journey will be fun! Get a deck and a book, maybe take a course or two, learn the meanings of the cards, and how to place them and we're off to readership. "The Fool's journey takes him to all the realms-for he is never fixed in one place-so you, like the Fool, are free now to explore these places: the land of dreams and imagination and the land of the dark unconscious. Unlike the Fool, however try to hold onto what you find and bring it back with you to enrich your life." (Genetti)
  • I've taught the Tarot predominantly at evening college continuing education, and community centres - most people take the course because they've had a Tarot reading and know they possess psychic ability. They gravitate to the cards because they believe they'll be good at it - what can be complicated about a deck of cards?

  • Associating cards with play interestingly is often the Initiate's first reaction - there is the ancient kinship of games and divination systems - Nigel Pennick's, Games of the Gods: The Origin of Board Games in Magic and Divination - he shows that many games including chess, snakes and ladders, and mah-jongg have their roots in divination techniques

  • In the initiate's mind this association suggests that learning the Tarot will be easy, just learn the rules of the game and onto readership - but as anyone knows who has learned to play games - learning to play the game and mastering the game, is marked by hours and hours of practice!

    Magician

    As the student steps into the role of the Magician, s/he peruses her tools; Tarot deck and texts. The Sword/pen will note her intellectual and insightful understanding of cards' meanings; her emotional commitment and enthusiasm is the water that will carry her intentions along the river of deeper insight and secure her commitment to the Tarot on a deep emotional level; the Wand is the fire that heats up her passion and commitment to practice; and the earth is her disk of grounding in the cards and texts. The cards are the physical, earthy element that will serve as the conduit for her powerful psychic insight.

    Putting all the primary elements together in the Magician, the Fool/Initiate now begins the "play" with this intriguing divination tool. She draws a card to answer a question and receives an astounding and valuable piece of advice and guidance. She has demonstrated to herself that she holds a powerful tool filled with genius and competence. In using this tool she has uncovered a vision of herself as confident, self-reliant, and able to transform her thoughts into reality. With this tool in hand she becomes a visionary story-teller, problem-solver, and truth-sayer. She becomes the Magician!

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    Length of Reading

    • Students begin to perceive how powerful a tool the Tarot is - they do a reading for themselves that is eerily accurate. As they "play" with this new tool they get a sense of its magic and venture to tell others that they have got this new tool and offer to do a reading for them (the Magician stage is marked with increased communication!) - typically when a student their friends and family about their developing magical skill, they are asked use it for them - the student realizes that not only does the tool itself have power but they do too.

    • Suddenly my elderly wimmin students find themselves the centre of a family gatherings - granddaughters are phoning and visiting. Grandma is cool and she reads fortune-telling cards! Grandma is getting more attention, awe, and respect than she's ever had. One of my students slipped into the abyss when she decided this tool could be used to forward her agenda with her grandchildren - I knew trouble was probably ahead when she had 2 Princess of Wands in her deck! I warned her that using the Tarot to forward her own propaganda could result in the loss of her power - if she failed to stop this practice at once she wouldn't be able to advance and benefit from the gifts of the High Priestess!

    High Priestess


    The High PriestessThe student, as the Magician, plays with the cards, and communicates their growing understanding of the Tarot with friends, family, other students and colleagues. In a profound moment the student experiences a dream, a vision, or draws an astonishingly appropriate card and is abruptly plummeted into the mysterious world of the High Priestess. "A-ha!", exclaims the High Priestess. "Aren't you getting all caught up with yourself and your new found earthly power! Don't forget that I'm the Spiritual Mother. You are studying to be a conduit of unseen world to seen world. Your new-found power on the earthly plane is little compared with the power and responsibility I bestow on the worthy. I will assist you in translating the messages, but in acquiring this psychic power you must be wary of the temptations of ego. Remember that I will grant you these gifts as you prove your worth in egoless sacrifice and gratitude. And remember too that in your times of pain, sorrow and regret, I am here to hold and nurture you back to spiritual health."

    The High Priestess brings forth the vision from the unseen world to the seen world for the Magician to manifest in the world. She will reveal emotional concerns, hidden factors, psychic feelings and hunches. The student at this stage is reminded to listen to her inner conscience, knowledge, gut feelings and heart.
    • Students ask questions like, "Why is it that I keep pulling the same cards?"

    • Some students report dreaming about their cards - one student said he has nightmares related to the Tarot - scary predictions.

    • The High Priestess stage represents the time when the initiates unconscious is constellated by the Tarot and responds - The High Priestess stands strong at the gates marking the boundaries of the unconscious and consciousness. The High Priestess stage is marked by an increased interest in the student in psychic ability and its relationship to reading the Tarot, dreams and their relationship to the Tarot. There's a lot more to magical readership than knowing the meanings!

    • One student of the Tarot reports that he’s having trouble learning all the meanings of the cards through his practice because the same cards keep turning up in the readings. Laughing he has an insight that these cards he's drawing he thinks are meant for others, are actually messages, lessons and guidance to him from the High Priestess at this juncture in his development to magical readership.

      Empress

      The EmpressIn expressing our gratitude and selfless commitment to the sacred feminine at the High Priestess stage, the Empress emerges on the journey with material bounty. The Empress signifies mother love and points to growth, fulfillment, joy, satisfaction, productivity and love. She is the experience and expression of love as a healing force. She represents the nurturing support and caring aspects of being a reader. At this stage rewards abound. We exhibit some facility in working with the cards to friends and family who don't know what we are doing right and wrong. People ask us to read for them and present us with earthly gifts as an expression of their appreciation. Some offer money, others dine initiates with delicious meals, or gift them generously with art, jewels, sacred objects, decks, books. They refer their friends and family to the initiate for readings. They bulge with pregnant promise as a successful and desirable reader. The initiate glows in the light of all this expressed appreciation.

      • At this stage students report how moved they are by people sharing their inner-most fears and hopes with them and how wonderful it is to have a tool to help them.

      • The High Priestess and the Empress exemplify and depict an important spiritual growth spurt for wimmin. The High Priestess and Empress represent both aspects of the Great Goddess - spirituality and manifestation.

      • One student brought in her Daughters of the Moon Tarot during an Intermediate class to use in doing her practice readings and the reading was so powerful almost everyone in the class left the class determined to get their own Daughters of the Moon! What was so powerful in the reading was the depiction of womyn doing womyn things - activities and characters the querrant could immediately and profoundly identify with. This represented an example of magical readership - the Daughters of the Moon is multicultural, non-hierarchal, and womyn-centred. I did a reading for a black womyn recently, and when she saw black wimmin in the cards, she immediately resonated with the reading elevating this reading to one that was magical. There's more to it than this - when we use a tool that is inclusive we draw in larger energies - this is the true magic that is only suggested and hinted at in the Magician stage.

      • This stage may also be marked with students claiming "reading" names that reflect their identity transformations. One student announced at the 6th class that her reading name is Madame Solanga, another announces she is Kayka and wants this printed on her certificates. This represents a "manifestation" of their stronger connection to the inner sacred feminine.

        Emperor

        Following on the heels of the successes and bounty the student feasted upon from the Empress, the student's confidence is bolstered. Their ego receives a flush of energy from the unconscious contents that are rushing to consciousness as s/he moved from the High Priestess to the Empress. S/he is taking pride in their newfound channeling power, and is developing some awareness about the sort of responsibility that accompanies this new flush of personal power. At the Emperor stage the student is becoming a leader to be reckoned with and their ideas are providing direction for others. The initiate is boldly moving forward with courage, determination, self-mastery, achievement and ambition.

        Hierophant

        As the student familiarizes themselves with ego power, s/he moves into the house of the Hierophant where they will learn the power of belief. The Hierophant will teach the student about commitment to ongoing study. The Hierophant instructs, "You still have much to learn about being diligent to do your readings with a profound stewardship towards your chosen profession. There will be those who are vulnerable to the words, tone and inflection you use during a reading. Be respectful and be wary of the potential for a puffed up ego that you tasted in the Emperor.

        The gift of reading will not come without moral responsibility, and a serious commitment to know your work." This is a time when the student examines what role their faith will play in their profession and whether their teacher of the Tarot (whether this is a live, author or online teacher) is just, honest and caring. They go through an assessment of the depth of faith they have in themselves and whether they are judging themselves based upon a dogma or a true sense of common good. At this stage the student wrestles with dogma, social approval and conformity. Are they ready to rock the boat? Will their concern for appearances, manners and being nice outweigh their adherence to truth and independence?
      • Both the Emperor and the Hierophant also represent a time for students to examine how patriarchy and it's dogma have played a negative role in the formation of "shoulds" in their lives - especially wimmin - they have bumped into people who disapprove of their chosen study - an elderly student is voted to the Church council which presented her with a dilemma! Will she accept the posting and put her Tarot in the closet or will she refuse the offer and continue on her path to magical readership? She chose the former.

      • This is the time when many students get their backs up - elderly students are hungry to learn more about the sacred feminine - the Goddesses and the feminine path to enlightenment - many express how sad they feel about having grown to elder years in such a repressive time for wimmin.

      • For young wimmin growing up in a more enlightened society may have not made the connection from political feminism to their spiritual life until they reach this stage in their Tarot study.

        Feminist Decks

      • This is how feminist decks have opened the Tarot up for wimmin - more and more I'm reading for womyn who are asking career related questions rather than love and romance which is what I was seeing 25 years ago - womyn coming to study the Tarot are often already well familiar with feminist principles and overjoyed beyond belief that there is such a thing as a "feminist" Tarot - times are a changing and as Tarotists we need to keep up - in fact we should be leading! The Hierophant stage for womyn represents a powerful, transformative awareness of how patriarchal paths to enlightenment are repressive to womyn - the Hierophant points fingers at womyn - "You lack the ability to comprehend moral teachings! You are sadly lacking in soul and there’s nothing to be done about it!"

        Lovers

        At the Lovers stage the initiate experiences a consciousness-raising to the presence of "others". The "other" represents the aspects within that are contrary to their conscious personality. One who is the same sex, and the other who is the opposite sex. The other is also evident in the form of client, colleague, partnerships and spirit. At the Lovers stage a new level of complexity is introduced. Now the struggle begins to integrate this awareness of other. Loving and fearing, joy and sadness, intelligence and stupidity all surface to conscious awareness. This is the stage that marks the complication of having to make difficult choices. "Will I read for others, or just myself?" asks the student. "Can I read for myself or will I just say things I want to see in the cards?" They do a few readings for others and realize how different the responses can be to readings. This will engage powerful, previously unconscious aspects. As they struggle to integrate the opposite others in themselves, they are attentive to the energy that flows between opposites; its magnetism and repulsion.

        • Students talk about how their lovers, and partners are reacting to their decision to study the Tarot - students report that the men in their lives are calling it names like, "hocus pocus", "silliness", or for one student her partner called it terrifying and wouldn't even be in the same room with her when she brought out her cards.

        • The challenge these womyn face is whether to persevere with their Tarot studies or go along with their Lover's assessment and drop the whole matter altogether - get with it, get sane, get their feet back on the ground and get on with the necessities of living.

        Chariot

        The student's confidence and ego strength has been energized by the hard work of choice, decision-making and resolve demanded in the Lovers stage. They are motoring to new vistas within, and this is reflected in the changes taking place in their lives. At this stage they are learning to manage urges toward the dark and light within themselves, and the differences of opinion in others. They are finding their own way to become readers through the establishment of solid emotional foundations, using their energy wisely, and finding their spiritual "vehicle" through life. The Chariot represents professional, personal and spiritual attainment through self discipline and personal maturity. Significant others in their life are noticing these changes taking place in the reader, and as they negotiate these challenges successfully their confidence is boosted. Some students notice their lives changing; students move, change careers, transform the pattern of their relationships, and feel their self-confidence increasing. They are going places! They are going to be readers, which will represent the realization of their desires. Alexandra Genetti in the Wheel of Change Tarot points to the importance of relationship at this stage; an innovative and woman-centred adjustment to the traditional Chariot divinatory meaning.

        "The Chariot card impels us to discover the power within ourselves, not by steamrolling those around us but by using our vital energy toward solutions that are inclusive, productive, and sustainable. These solutions drive the chariot of time to a more beautiful world where respect, love and the natural rhythms of life help us find equitable resolutions of human problems."

        • Students will buy the decks that depict their true inner selves the most appropriately - coming in to show off their new "vehicles" proudly, excited, and being able to vision themselves reading this deck

        • They make plans - one student designed a feedback questionnaire for her practicum clients to fill out and brought in copies to share with the other initiates,

        • Students bring in articles, or other pieces of information that they've found helpful and considerately bring in for the class,

        • Students make a commitment to readership over other options such as returning to school, taking a full time job, or starting up a different business.

          Strength

          The initiate's urges of attraction, repulsion, consumption and desire rage to consciousness, and the struggle to control these urges is constellated. Our animal self, represented by a wild cat in the Strength card is our instinctual urges; once, previously unconscious instincts flood consciousness and imbue the client with energy. Creative expression erupts, affecting others as we support them to develop to their full potential. As the Fool joyfully embraces the moral force, spiritual power, psychological and emotional fortitude, and determination represented in Strength, a newfound resolve of purpose and perseverance is gained to keep some and pass some on. At this stage the initiate feels integrated, self-actualized and strong – they are confident that their beginning readings portend they will become a reader who is authentic, wise and fair.

          Hermit

          The student has successfully discovered, claimed and demonstrated an inner strength they barely realized they possessed in the Strength card. Their desire to tell everyone how amazing they are disintegrates. They have reached the preparatory stage of detachment from ego. The Hermit teaches the student about how their developing process to reader is fundamentally one of individual work. They relish time alone spent in meditation, discovering innovative methods for consulting the cards to assist in their own decision-making process. At this stage, their magical journey takes a turn towards isolation and peaceful contemplation. The lantern in the Hermit is the insights they gain through their own work with the cards. Initiates learn the true meaning of reading the Tarot by becoming both the reader and client at the same time. They discover and live according to their own inner truths as they practice their Tarot reading to deepen their own process of self-examination, and locating balance and harmony within.

          • Many elderly initiates especially will declare that they have no intention of learning to read the Tarot for others - in the Hermit stages of their lives they find the Tarot to be a helpful tool in reflective solitude - many discover it to be a wise, often humorous, and thought provoking friend.

            Wheel of Fortune

            The Wheel of FortuneAs the student learns and integrates the lessons of the Hermit; meditation, contemplation and independence of belief, an event takes place that is unexpected and fortuitous to their continued inner growth; an event which synchronistically resonates with their inner experience. At the Wheel of Fortune the student experiences the power of synchronicity. Inwardly the student receives a profound gift from the unconscious for the diligence and renouncement of ego they successfully accomplished in the Hermit. Outwardly, the universe matches this inner gift with an outer one, such as an opportunity to take a course, meet someone or attend a conference that will aid them in advancing their knowledge and expertise as a developing reader.

            • Lessons on the power of synchronicity - becoming aware of it and "reading" it - one of my students discovered that a couple of women in her family had bought a deck and studied it for a bit but couldn't really get into it and they gift them with this deck - they felt validated, appreciated, and special.

            • A student worked for grocery chain which decided to host a BBQ for staff and one of her close work mates mentioned to the organizing committee that she was a wonderful Tarot reader, and she was asked to do readings at the BBQ which opened up more opportunities for her.

            • Another woman's daughter was getting married and her best friend was hosting a shower for her and asked this woman if she would read at the shower opening all kinds of opportunities for her.

              Justice

              It is through the lessons of Justice that the student learns the value of truth and fairness. In reading the cards objectively without exhibiting an attachment to a particular outcome or agenda, the reader develops extraordinary skill and mastery in presenting the messages, advice and guidance in a Tarot reading, balancing the dark and light of the message. Their readings take on a quality of purity and rationality, in contrast to their novice readings which may have tended towards the emotional. Justice teaches the value of fairness, balance and level headedness; not to sugar coat or present too severely the wisdom of the Tarot.

              • Not only is the Justice card related to readings but branches into other areas of the initiate's life - students take an interest in righting social injustices - several students over the years have joined non-profit organizations, working hard to balance injustices in our society taking them away from their Tarot study as such but it was their Tarot study that brought them to this place which even today benefits many people in our community - this is the far reaching good of Tarot initiation.

                Hanged One

                As one of the cards marking the mid-point to virtuoso reader, the Hanged Man represents a time in the student's development when a sacrifice must be made. It is a time of letting go of control, and accepting the unpredictability of a reading, and the client's response to it. The student expresses gratitude for all the gifts received from the Tarot and is willing to sacrifice their ego to open their psyches, and channel more effectively messages from the unseen world. By turning themselves on their heads, they acquire a completely different perspective on their Tarot practice. The cards look different, they see more facets of the rich symbolism, and find themselves "card gazing".

                Their ego sacrifice means they no longer see themselves as the only ones to benefit from their work. They will adjust to their role as a seer, an odd ball in the eyes of most. A bringer of light. "Am I willing to sacrifice all that is important to me in my life to pursue this journey to readership?" or "Should I care that I'm not conforming to the status quo in matters related to spirit and worship?", are the types of questions that will provide grist for contemplation as the student hangs in contemplation at the Hanged Man stage.

                • This stage is also marked with questions related to reading reversals - what about reversals students ask?

                • Students also experience a "stalling" in their Tarot movement - students will throw up their hands and say, "I'm never going to learn it all!" and I assure them that indeed this is a lifetime path and no they won't learn it all!

                  Death

                  The student on their heads at the Hanged Man stage is alarmed to find their thoughts turning to their inevitable death. This is triggered by the dissolution of their ego, and all its mundane concerns about what others will think of them, or how special they are becoming. The messages that flooded the consciousness during the process of relinquishing control in the Hanged Man, overwhelm their egos. They witness themselves a miniature in the vastness of the Tarot universe, and all of readership experience, and sacrifice. Their ideas and concepts of themselves profoundly shift. They are no longer believe in they are who they thought they were, and thoughts and fears of death surface. The Death card stage marks the ultimate push towards self-actualization for the developing reader.

                  Questions float to the surface of the student's mind, such as, "Am I fulfilling my life's purpose?" "If I die tomorrow, will I have accomplished anything worthwhile?" "Do I want to continue studying the Tarot or is there something else I need to dedicate my time and energy to?" At this stage the student may find their path leading away from the notion of becoming a professional Tarot reader and switching to a different oracle, or profession altogether.

                  Temperance/Renewal

                  Temperance/Renewal The student arrives at Temperance/Renewal on the heels of facing the death of their dream of reading the Tarot professionally. This represented a death of the old ego-self. Shed like a worn snake skin, the death of ego leads to an acceptance of the opposites within. The Death card has taught the student the power of reading the Tarot for others in experiencing the impact of turning over the Death card for another. The tremendous power of the Tarot is in its extraordinary dance between the dark and light of spiritual awareness. In Temperance the student must now master the combining of these opposites. Reading the Tarot is an artistic endeavour drawing upon the student's magnificent artistic potential; storyteller, weaver, interpreter, and performer.

                  The story of the client as portrayed by the Tarot is ever unfolding, impromptu, and unpredictable. The student must become light on their feet, yet grounded in the real world, flexible and knowledgeable, centred in their own space, and empathetic to others. The awareness of "other" at the Lovers stage is ready for integration. The student reclaims their childlike inner poet, storyteller and artist and rises successfully to the challenge of impromptu presentation.

                  Devil

                  Following Temperance, the Devil represents the first of a set of challenges to determine if in fact the student has absorbed, and is able to practice, the lessons learned in Temperance. The material plane is fraught with temptations to the student of the Tarot. The Devil asks the students questions such as, "How much will you charge for Tarot readings?" "What will you do if you are physically attracted to your clients?" "Can you laugh with the darker side of your own and other’s nature as it is revealed?" The Devil stage engages the student to examine honestly their motivations, desires, and material fantasies that are wrapped around the urge to become a professional reader. In Temperance they removed the barriers to blending the stream of opposites within themselves, and their chosen path. You are only a human reminds the Devil.

                  Listen to the beat of your heart, become aware of your human failings, accept them, and move on. You will feel fear, delight, hatred, love, discouragement and elation; don't allow these swings in your emotions deter you from pursuing your spiritual path. Use the emotional fire generated in your human soul to face the truth in yourself, and make the ethical choice. Don’t sacrifice love at the alter of desire, or honesty at the alter of denial, or you will be forever chained to the demands of your lower nature, warns the Devil.

                  Example Devil Card's Meaning to a Student

                  "I'm -----, whom you did a reading on not too long ago, and a student in your introductory course at Victoria School. You may remember that the Devil card in my new deck was missing yesterday. It is nowhere to be found and I have already spoken to ----- , who will be ordering the card from the distributor for me. What I really wanted to tell you is that, needless to say, the first thing I did when I got home from our lesson was to look up the meaning of the Devil, and, as you may guess, it nailed it right on at this particular moment of my life and specifically, for concrete reasons, in such a day as yesterday. I told you during my reading that I have been having an addiction for over sixteen years now, so the subject of abuse is painfully present in myriad shades every minute of my life. There are other aspects of the card that speak to me too, like the full acceptance of life and nature as they are and not as our dichotomy good vs. bad would like them to be.

                  Isn't it interesting that I have had to go and look for a card that symbolizes so much of my agony in order to complete my journey (my Tarot deck)? My addiction and other pains related to it (it is everything so intertwined and so complex) are a pivotal part of my life, which has always shamed me, but maybe the day has come to claim them. Moreover, as the positive aspects of the card and the move forward of the Fool's journey indicate, the theory is that I wasn't born with these challenges to get stuck in or get crushed under them, but to overcome them, making myself in the process. The theory. The "wounded healer", as the astrologer told me. Where will I get the Strength to live it in practice? Is this the card I'll be losing next? Or will they send it to me as well from the distributor, by (again) mistake? The TowerThe Devil experience leads the student once again to the precipice glimpsed at the edge of the Fool's path. At the Tower stage the student tumbles over the edge. Everything they expected from themselves comes crashing down and mirroring the synchronicity experienced at the Wheel of Fortune. This inner transformation smacks an outward experience of seemingly unforeseeable life changes. In learning to embrace their frail humanity from the Devil, much of the confidence they had built in the earlier stages falters, and they experience a profound fall from grace. At this stage in their Tarot journey to readership, they must successfully navigate tests of self doubt, criticism, and the newly erected barriers put in front of them from the outer world. The Tower experience will test the student's mettle to continue on the path in face of great opposition both from within, and from the outer world.

                  • Some students report having done a reading for someone they love that felt negative and they’re loved one reacted negatively to it - this represents the fall from grace - some students leave the Tarot for a period of time after such an experience. One woman read for her father-in-law who was recovering form a heart attack and the Death card showed up which saddened her and others in the family. She approached me after a class and said she was definitely feeling like this wasn't the tool for her after all - she had lost confidence in herself and the Tarot. She had constructed a process of reading that was focused on the positive only and was basking in the attention her family was paying to her with her new found skill. Her ego was collapsing under the weight of the surfacing collective unconscious. blems, heal your wounds, and make you a happy and adjusted individual! She constellated the Tower - a test. What will you do when the cards you turn over are not all light, happiness, and resolution?

                  • Students begin to break away from the musts, have tos, rules - including the rules of what hands to use when laying out the cards, cutting the cards - or sticking strictly to only the meanings they are presented with in their texts - they ask questions like, "Is it okay to let others touch your cards?", "How often should I clean my cards?" In answering, "Do what feels right!" they are thrown off the Tower.

                  • This also marks a time when students start telling everyone that they are studying the Tarot and they are going to read the cards for others. Criticism be damned! They care less about what others in their lives think about their chosen path - some face grave criticism, rejection, alienation from their friends and families at this time.

                  • The students awaken to issues represented by the towers our society builds and holds dear - towers that are failing to improve the quality of life for many humans - environmentalism, animal rights, global awareness surface taking the initiate further and further away from the status quo.

                  Star

                  StarFollowing the shock of the Tower, the student of the Tarot is gifted once again with a peace of mind and new hope. The lessons of Temperance are finally fully integrated. The extremes of spirit and material are blended in a state of grace whereby an appreciation for the simple things in Tarot practice is what makes it worth continuing along the path. It is the peace of mind that can be achieved in working daily with the Tarot that is its most precious gift. The simplicity of shuffling the cards, observing its symbols, and responding to its messages signify the authentic abundance of the Tarot’s path to enlightenment. The Tarot brings the student peace of mind as an aid to decision-making, as a consultant that is objective, un-invested, honest and fair. Remember the simple things in life, and in your Tarot practice reminds the Star! Have confidence in yourself and the Tarot.

                  Moon

                  MoonThe hope, simplicity and letting go with the Star, give rise to the Moon consciousness buried deep in the psyche of the developing Taroist. Visions, dreams, and imaginings surface from the personal and collective unconsciousness, further testing the developing student to hold a strong ego centre as it’s fiercely rocked by the power of the unconscious. "Is this unexplainable message and image for real or is it simply a manifestation of my own imaginings?" asks the student. "Am I picking up a vision that is pertinent to the life of the client or is it simply a nightmare stemming from recent event in my own life?" students ask at the Moon stage. "Are people in my community gossiping about my chosen path?" wonders the developing Taroist. "Am I being shunned by my friends and family because of my involvement with the Tarot cards, or is it because I've changed so much they barely recognize me?" they ask.

                  The Moon stage, like the High Priestess, reminds the student that the gifts of the oracle come from an unseen, unknowable place, and in order to separate their own agenda from the needs and concerns of their clients, they must ultimately know themselves to be able to recognize their boundaries. The boundary between self and client, between consciousness and unconsciousness, and real and imagined, are identified at the Moon stage.

                  • Bares a lot similarity to the High Priestess stage - the dark night of the soul as it is sometimes referred - can the student remain comfortable in the dark? Can they deal with readings that make no sense to themselves or their clients? How will they manage these oblique readings? How will they cope with their client's fears regarding readings? One student is told by her sister that she is lighting candles in church and praying for her soul. She looks at me with resolve, fear and questioning warring in her eyes.

                  • This stage marks an introduction into the great mysteries of the unknown plane of existence - that place where psychic insight, left brain, and imagination rules - can they sustain it? Remain here? Or are they anxious to get into the light of day? Logos? The Sun.

                  Sun

                  The Sun rises in the student's development when they can see clearly the road ahead. They are overjoyed to discover that they have learned a great deal throughout their journey. They love their work, they enjoy the Tarot community they find themselves in, and they love providing such a service to their clients. They become more accepting of themselves and rejoice in the differences between themselves and others rather than seeking to conform or criticizing others for failing to do so.

                  • Marked by increased self and other acceptance - human nature is just what it is, warts and all - this stage is marked with wanting to connect with others of like mind - students ask each other for their phone numbers, email addresses - they might want to get together to practice and study together. One class continued to meet monthly for 2 years following the closure of the class!

                  Judgment

                  This is a time when the student looks back on their journey in learning the Tarot. The mistakes they've made along the way become lessons rather than issues stimulating feelings of guilt, embarrassment and regret. Students acknowledge that the journey to Tarot readership is not without pitfalls, temptations, and mis-readings. They have done readings for others that have not been accurate, or honest and forthright. Along the way they may have inflated their ability to others, sugar-coated readings to please or protect the client, or simply made errors in interpretation. This struggle to self-acceptance, releasing their propensity to self-judge, leads to a re-birth. Some students may leave their Tarot cards alone for a period of time, perhaps even years at this stage. In time, successfully disengaging the power of these regrets will open the student to continuing once again along the path to readership. Judgment is a stage of accounting, balancing, and ultimately acceptance. It is a vital stage to complete before the final achievement of professional readership symbolized by the World card.

                  World

                  The World card The accounting, balancing, and atonement that are encompassed by Judgment, ultimately release the student to the World of magical readership. Initiates accept that they will make errors in judgment and interpretation, that they will face temptations of egotism at every reading, and that they will have regrets over what they might have or could have said to the client during the reading. They enter the World of self-wonder at their unique style of readership, and abounding, insightful understanding of people who come seeking their services. They enjoy moments of complete ego-less-ness bliss and wholeness as they channel the information through this profound medium called "Tarot". There are times when they experience rushes of gratitude for having been privy to all the wisdom and guidance the Tarot has gifted them with in their own development towards wholeness. And they know too that their journey is only beginning. There was no "getting there" after all. They return again to the Stage of the Fool as their Tarot mastership moves them onto the next cycle...

                  At this stage, World Magical Readership, initiates become mentors and teachers to new initiates. They are ready to share their experience with others and find others asking them to do so. At the beginning of their teaching they become again the Fool... It is as a Tarot teacher that they will see the profound power of their inner work manifesting in the lives of others. This is the path of the Shamanka. Shamanic Tarot is the road ahead for the Magical Reader of the Tarot!



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