Understanding tarot card pairings and card combinations is a powerful asset while making sense of an array of cards on a table. Any two cards in a pair is a combination, really, but certain pairings do jump out when they occur.
To understand the meanings of the cards is to understand the people who created them. Six hundred years has elapsed since the earliest known tarot decks we have on record, and happily, we have a font of information about the people whose world they occupied, the environment where these folks lived in, and the things they believed and were punished for. Through legal documents and decrees, plus the writings of notable works of literature and art, we are able to capture a glimpse of everyday life in medieval and Renaissance Italy. The Tarot deck is also one of the windows into that long ago world.
For anyone wanting to learn what is referred to as TdM style of cards, (and I use that term to describe both Tarot de Marseille and Milan) you need to understand the iconography that the tarot from these decks reveals. There are numerous books that go into this, and if I might be allowed to self-promote, I've done a YouTube video series on the subject of the numbers the cards as they relate to the Trump cards with the same corresponding number, and that might be very helpful and interesting to you. I go into great depth about the origins of each card I've completed thus far. Here is the link to that playlist. (In case the link is acting stupid, my YouTube ID is Marilyn from Tarot Clarity)
OK, lets get to it with our first pair of cards, Temperance and Fortitude. (Sometimes referred to by modern folks as Strength) Temperance is not so much a struggle as a reminder that something needs to be watered down, or neutralized. Since ancient times wine was made weaker by water, either to dilute it to serve more people, or curtail its effects, or both. Fortitude represents an internal struggle, an issue of self-control that the querent might be struggling with. The combination of these two cards is an urgent call to reach a happy medium. Since both the characters of these particular cards glance in the same direction, it might be helpful to take note of the card that falls to the left of Temperance, to see if it yields any clues in to what the challenges might reference. If we consider the reference that Temperance has to wine, the combination might also indicate a struggle related to alcohol.
Let's take it a step further now, and let's pair the Fortitude card with The Devil.
In combination with the Devil, particularly in the direction that the figure is looking, escalates the message to an admonishment that an addiction to something needs to get under control. The addiction might be one of the flesh, substance abuse, or greed for material wealth, etc. Surrounding cards will further shed light on the topic. The Devil is a kind of kill-joy card. When it pops up, you know there's something that one is indulging in that hinges on risky behavior. When it's combined with Fortitude, it's a strong warning.
Let's move on to a bit more cheery combination. Let's consider The Chariot and Justice appearing together, especially if the charioteer seems to be facing in Lady Justice's direction. In this pairing, we have movement towards truth. Getting very near the truth of a situation, or nearing a fair resolution of an issue, or reaching a reliable conclusion.
Now let's make it super wonderful and add The World card in the direction the charioteer is facing.
With this combination we have advancement towards great success, maybe even fame, but it at least expresses movement in the best possible direction for a favorable conclusion. Now consider replacing The World card with any other card, even a pip card, and you will get an idea of what the charioteer is headed for.
Let's stick with the world card and add The Empress. If we consider that the World represents ultimate manifestation and combine it with the Empress who is a strong protective, motherly, and fertile representation, we have a combination of cards that strongly hints at pregnancy. If we consider the visual clues from the mandala surrounding the center figure, it might further enhance the idea of a birth canal and the process of being born. If The Popess were to appear with The World, the interpretation would be similar, except that it might indicate a secret pregnancy. Any of the four queens might also be interpreted similarly, but the Empress and the Popess really make a strong case for it. It might also make reference to the birth of something of national or international importance, as the cards can have literal as well as metaphorical meaning.
Since this topic seems to be popular with some of my followers, I will continue writing a few more blogs on the topic of card combinations and pairings. It's fun for me too. I will do my best to do a few more this month, so stay tuned. Please follow this blog so you will be alerted whenever I write a new article.
It may seem odd, that a modern day non-Catholic woman might use as her primary tool, a device based on medieval symbolism and let's face it, Catholic imagery. While it's true that most of the cards of the major arcana transcend time with universal understanding, there is one card that in light of today's prevalent scandals, rubs me the wrong way; and that's the Pope. In recent weeks, I've been gravitating toward my Bescancon Tarot decks which have replaced the Papess and Pope with Juno and Jupiter. This is ironic, because I've come full circle. The very first deck I ever laid eyes on or owned was the 1JJ Swiss Tarot deck, which is in the Besancon tradition.
The Papess never bugged me, mostly because I have always identified her as Mary Magdalene, or maybe even the legend of Pope Joan. Women who may have gotten one over on the established good old boys club that is the Catholic church. Women who's voices were suppressed, and legacies maligned. They were bad-ass women who knew stuff. They had secrets and were smarter than the average bear.
But the Pope, has always rubbed me the wrong way, and no pun was intended there. The Pope is supposed to be the moral compass, the undisputed authority in areas of spirituality and morality, a refuge. Instead of interpreting the Pope in that light, I have begun seeing him as normally defined by his flip-side, the worst that he represents, which is suppression, unyielding close-mindedness, and perhaps even cruelty. He's also been an uncomfortable feature when he's popped up for readings of some of my non-Christian clients. Uncomfortable is OK, but not when it's offensive.
Some modern TdM decks (Tarot de Marseille and Tarot from Milan) have updated the Papess and Pope to be the High Priestess and High Priest, which seems pretty OK with me, after all, many religious paths acknowledge especially spiritual women and men and when I use a deck with a High Priest, I feel no conflict. And that's power of the word, Pope.
There's power in a word, obviously where spells come from, the incantation of words to evoke power and magik.
Enter the Besancon tarot, which seems to have hit the Protestant European scene somewhere around 1800. Besancon was only one of the cities that printed decks that substituted Juno for the Papess and Jupitor for the Pope. It makes sense, why would Protestants want to see and be reminded of the Catholic Church every time they played a game of cards? In much the same way that the name, Tarot of Marseille, stuck to tarot decks made in the fashion of the decks coming out of Marseille, Besancon became the name used to identify the decks which employed Juno and Jupiter.
Now, I have to admit, that in order to write intelligently about Juno, I had to brush up on my Roman Mythology, and to my delight, discovered that tomorrow, March 1, is the Festival Day for honoring Juno. Ahh, I love how the universe works and makes something as banal as a blog entry, relevant. In any event, Juno was the Goddess of love and marriage, and protector of pregnant women, and really, she presided over every aspect of being a woman. Like Mary Magdalene and Pope Joan, think of the secrets she knows, and in a way that even one-ups the Magdalene and Joan, Juno took no prisoners. No one suppressed Juno and got away with it.
Like Juno, Jupiter is also a Roman God. He was the deity of the Roman state religion before Christianity took hold. He was the God of the sky, an aerial omnipresence who primarily concerned himself with justice and at least mortal morality. His symbols being the thunderbolt and eagle, a formidable authority.
Can we transpose the meanings of the Papess and Pope to Juno and Jupiter? Maybe they are not a seamless switch, but they are decent substitutes who ironically, have become relevant once again.
In recent weeks I've been toying with the idea of reading tarot for one or more of the psychic hotlines. Before you get judgy on me, please hear me out.
Despite my affordable rates, I'm just not bringing in a livable wage. I'm too old to hustle as I used to in earlier years, and now, like the old crone hermit that I am, I need clients that will come to me.
The psychic hotlines are making a fortune. And I have to ask myself, why would a person be willing to spend ridiculous rates for the likelihood of encountering phony psychics, when I could provide them with a legitimate, quality reading for a fraction of the cost? I mean seriously, why?
We are a culture that expects it. On these hotlines, someone is always available to offer hope 24/7.
Do the clients really believe they are tapping into genuine psychics on these hotlines? I think they do, based on the reviews they leave. I think some of the psychics might be genuine, turning to the hotlines for the same reasons that I am; a need to make money at our craft, and there's no shortage of money being thrown at the psychic hotlines, so why shouldn't legitimate psychics and tarot readers be able to share a slice of that pie?
Now, full disclosure and truth be told, I worked for a psychic network years ago, in the late 1990s into 2000. I was one of this particular company's first tarot readers. By then, I had already been reading tarot for about 25 years and had a full time job and three little kids under the age of three. I needed a supplemental income for a few hours a week that I didn't have to leave my house for and the hotline offered me that opportunity.
I remembered why I stopped working for the hotline. The income was good, but it was draining, and I felt like it preyed on people's weaknesses. The same people called me everyday about the same problems. People with desperate stories of financial crisis, (still willing to plunk money down every night for a tarot reading on a situation that wouldn't change until they were willing to manage their money better), another, a woman who had a love affair with a movie star only he didn't know about it. My husband said that if it weren't me talking to them at the other end of the phone, who really tried to help them by keeping the calls brief, it might be someone else who really didn't care and would keep the meter running to exploit the situation. In any case, I decided it wasn't going to be me and I quit.
Fast forward nearly twenty years later, and here I am again, giving a go at working on hotlines. Why? Because again I am in a situation where I need supplemental income. I am unable to commit to a regular schedule and finding an outside job willing to hire me for only a few hours a day whenever I can fit it in, isn't a realistic expectation. So once again, I look to a hotline to come to my rescue.
True, I still prefer doing readings through my own private tarot practice because I offer a quality service at an affordably set-price with readings that last as long as it takes. I never look at the clock. But I'm choosy about whom I allow in my home, and I'm too old to hustle like I used to in the old days. I need people to find me and come to me.
I decided on a service which is a phone app, and it offers a few services such as Live Chat, and three minute videos sent within the hour.
I've been doing it a few weeks now, clocking in a few hours every day and snagging a few requests daily. I prefer doing the three minute videos rather than the live chat. My reason for this is that a customer prepays for the three minutes and it will not exceed $15.00. There is no potential for taking advantage of a client by keeping them engaged any longer than that. And even though that's not something that I would do, I like knowing that this three minute platform reduces the chances of charlatans preying on desperate people. Having said that, the live chat option can get pretty pricey, and increases the likelihood of encountering a fraud and being taken advantage of, but the client is still being offered the more affordable option of a three minute video.
By nature, tarot requires digesting the information given with the question and interpreting the cards to answer the question. Before I create the video, I handle and mix the cards, lay the cards and process the information connecting the cards to the querent's question. It takes me a few minutes to fully process what I'm looking at; why should a customer pay for that during a live chat? Once I lay the cards and look them over, I do the video and send it off to the customer within just a few minutes. I'm good at being concise and filling the reading with information. The customer has only spent $15.00, (I only get $6.00) and I have a clear conscience that I've provided a really great service at a really affordable cost. Frankly, the only one who's being exploited here is me, but I'm ok with that if it gets people to try tarot and puts a few bucks a pop in my wallet.
Like all things, buyer beware. I believe psychic hotlines are breeding grounds for charlatans. There, I've said it. And the hotlines bottom line, by virtue of reminding customers that their service clearly states that it's being offered for 'Entertainment Purposes Only' clearly admits that the service is not 100% reliable. But, there are advisers who are authentic in their abilities and come with a strong skill set. I know I'm one of them. I'm genuine and I don't feel comfortable exploiting anyone, and I can guarantee as quality a reading as a three minute platform can offer, and a legitimate reading when you choose me.
It might be like looking for a needle in a haystack to find an authentic psychic or tarot reader, so read profiles carefully and use common sense before choosing.
How does a three minute hotline reading from this hotline app differ from one of my readings that you can order directly through my website? Well, for one, it's only three minutes long so it's usually only based on about three cards. True, I can cram a lot of information in a three minute video, and it's short and sweet, to the point and satisfies a querent's need for almost instant gratification, but it only scratches the surface.
Obviously, readings directly through my own website offer a superior tarot experience.