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21 Ways To Read A Tarot Card -- Step TWENTY

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21 steps step 20


I looked at 4 decks:
The Quest, the Old English, the DruidCraft and the Mythic

The Quest: A naked person stands in a very dark cave (I will assume it’s a man), with his back towards us. The lower half of the body is covered by rocks. His right arm is outstretched and a strong glowing bulb shines whitely at his had. Nine sparks fly from the globe. There is an owl in the foreground, a beetle with jin/jang patterns on its back and a spider hanging from the roof. The card is very dark. (It lights up a bit when scanned!).

The Old English: An old man stands in cape/mantel. We see his eyes and head. He has a lantern in right hand outstretched, and in his left a walking stick. The lantern has a white light. The grass he stands on is green. The background is a lightly patterned motif.

The DruidCraft: An old man stands on a path at cliffs edge. In the valley below a river winds its way. His eyes are totally covered by hood of mantel he is wearing. His right hand holds a lantern with yellow light in it. His left hand holds a very long stave. He has a wolf standing besides him on the left side. There is a half morn and sunrise/set.

The Mythic: An old man stands on a dried out plain. Mountains are in the background. The sky is dark with clouds. A sunset is yellow. He holds up a glowing white and yellow lantern. I his left hand he hold a long handled scythe. His eyes are half covered by hood of mantel he is wearing. A crow sits on his left shoulder.

Similarities and differences:
I would just like to point out the most interesting differences.
The Quest Hermits is naked and young, we see his back, he has no stave or lantern.
There are animals in all pictures apart from The Old English.
The Mythic Hermit has a scythe, not a stave
All the backgrounds are different
Only one shows his eyes, Old English
Only one shows the moon, DruidCraft
Only the Mythic does not have number

New meanings:
The patience and exactness of the spider in Quest reminds us that it take time and detailed inner reflection to change ourselves.
The scythe of the Mythic tells us that reflections can wax and wane, ebb and flow, that is not a straight line to inner wisdom
The Old English lets us see that openness and light is also a path towards self reflection.

The three most important words I believe are: Self reflection, inner journey, guidance.

Which card expresses the best advice you would give yourself:
In looking towards the inner journey of self reflection and guidance I believe the DruiCraft gives the better rendition. His light, the path, the edge of cliff, all build up under a journey, though a little risky for those who choose to take this journey. The Wolf, a companion that underscores the role of guidance, as does the lamp.

Design of own card:
I would have a more middle-aged Hermit. The landscape would be varied, to reflect the journey. It would be sunrise and a moon evident in the sky, indicating renewal and change. I would have an owl and dog, to reflect wisdom and guidance. The light would be a candle, that also shows the way, does not blow out despite a breeze showing in the Hermits robes. The Hermit would also have a stave made of spindly wood to reflect a spiral into the unknown. The robes would be of fine woven cloth, reflecting the richness of wisdom. His head would be free and eye clear and piercing.

Verdi
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Interesting Hermits


The Quest Hermit is interesting, his surroundings almost demand that you see him as the searcher, not one who others are coming to for enlightenment. The Mythic Hermit is unsettling in his appearance due to the bird of prey and the scythe he is holding -- almost a "death" card. The folded lower robe is also out of character with his menacing presence. He neither looks like he is seeking or inviting others to seek him out.

On the other hand, the English Hermit is bland, the DC Hermit makes a statement that I've commented on before. In party with the other Hermits, he looks more conventional and comforting despite his Fool-like circumstances and the Wolf.

You're really moving at a rapid pace. The Adept level is more leisurely and we'll have time to look differently and more deeply at our cards then. Hope you join us there. Dave
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I had to get up the pace, i had some free days!
The Hermits are interesting, however of all of them I least liked the Quest Hermit. The card is simply too dark for me. I did'nt see the spider until i read about it and put the card under a lamp. I appreciate the symbology of the card though.
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My chosen card is the Strength card from the Tarot of Prague. I compared it across three other decks: RWS, Golden and Victorian Romantic. Here are my descriptions:

RWS: A woman in a white dress with flowers in her hair and on the skirt of her dress leans to her right over a standing lion. There is an infinity sign over her head. She looks at the lion and has one hand on his upper jaw and one hand on his lower jaw, as if she were trying to close his mouth. His tongue sticks out, as if he is resisting. There is a yellow sky, green ground and a blue mountain in the background.

Tarot of Prague:A beautiful woman with very long red hair leans down slightly and to her left and holds open the mouth of a reclining lion. There are flowers in her hair and on her dress. She looks out at us. Over her head is an infinity sign. On the wall behind her is an image of Hercules holding open the mouth of a lion.

Victorian Romantic: A woman wearing a red dress with a flower on the skirt is in a den of several lions. All the lions are sitting down except for one male lion that has reared up on his back legs. The woman, who is facing to her left, looks like she is trying to embrace him. There is one particularly regal looking lion sitting in the center of the card. A lioness leans over his back.

Golden: This is a sepia-toned card. A woman with long fair hair stands looking at us, facing forward. An infinity sign is over her head. A lion with a shield over its heart stands in front of her with its paws on her forearm. What looks like it may be part of a whip is visible. A knight with a crow on his shoulder rides towards her on a white horse, carrying a banner.

I lined them up as I described them above. The RWS is the simplest in design. It is mostly just the woman and the lion and the colors in the background. In the Tarot of Prague the woman has put her hand into the lion's mouth, and there is the addition of Hercules in the background. The Victorian Romantic adds a lot more lions and shows the woman trying to embrace the standing lion. The Golden adds a shield to the lion and the knight and crow on horseback.

The cards are similar in that all of them include:
- One woman in a position of strength regarding
- At least one male lion
- The label "Strength"

Three out of the four include:
- Lots of red
- An infinity sign over the woman's head

New meanings and perspectives:

RWS: The woman is gently trying to close the lion's mouth, either to quiet him or remove the threat posed by his teeth. His mouth is not completely shut though, and his tongue is out. She hasn't achieved total mastery yet. But she is clearly going to be able to accomplish her goal, despite his resistance. This card seems to be all about that: gently mastering the lion.

Tarot of Prague: It looks like she is trying to make her point with the lion -- she's the boss. I kind of like that she isn't trying to close the lion's mouth, but instead holds it open. Although it's somewhat disturbing that Hercules is doing the same thing, and we know that he actually killed the lion.

Victorian Romantic: Only one of the lions looks like he is posing any kind of threat, and she is using affection to tame him. The woman must be a professional lion tamer. If a lion represents out passions or desires, then this woman has a lot of them to get under control. The fact that they are nearly all behaving shows that she must have taken a lot of time and patience, since she doesn't even have a whip.

Golden: The woman might be holding a whip. In any case, the lion is totally in her service. I can imagine that the knight who is riding toward her will be in for a big surprise when he sees the lion, who is current hidden from his view. The horse looks like he already suspects something is up. I'm not sure I really get this one yet, although it carries the interesting notion that you can get your passions to work for you. They aren't just something to be controlled. They are to be used, if you learn how to use them, and in the case of this card, it looks like they are being used specifically for protection.

Keywords:
Force of Personality
Determination
Gaining an understanding of one's own power
Confidence
Courage
Emotional maturity

I decided that the advice I would most like to give myself is "gaining an understanding of my own power." And I think that is best exemplified by the Tarot of Prague. It suggests that I can control my desires instead of being controlled by them if I can hold onto a sense of myself and use my awareness.

If I were to design my own version of the card, I think I would make it a nighttime scene. I would show a lion with its mouth open in a roar, sitting beside a woman who has her hand on his mane. They are united, but he is still a powerful force.
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21 Ways...Step 20 RWS The Emperor


20 -1

Description:

RWS – The Emperor: An old man with long white hair and beard is sitting on a throne. In his right hand he's holding an Ankh, in his left hand he’s holding a round object. He's wearing a crown that has 3 white and 2 red stones visible with the sign of Aries in the top center. He wears a red cloak, a blue tunic and a bright orange robe over armor. The red cloak has an emblem, maybe a ram's head or parts of a continent inside a circle with a black background.

The World Spirit – The Emperor: He’s standing on a balcony holding a scepter and reaching out over the city with the other hand. The side of the balcony has a crest with a chalice that has a pentacle engraved in to it, a sword pointing in a downward slant and a branch. There is a green mountain range immediate beyond the city followed by a blue, yellow, white mountains and finally a snow-capped peak rising in the far distance. There are two people walking along the road. The emperor is dressed in lavender and purple with a gold medallion around his neck and a purple scarf on his head held by a gold band with a jewel in the center of the band. He has white hair and beard.

Osho Zen – The Rebel: He’s seated and holding a torch. He’s draped in bright colored garments, his multicolored hair is blowing away from his body. He has one barefoot extended. Across the bottom of the card, there is a broken chain. His body is facing forward but his head is turned to the left side of the card. Wings grow from his back. An eagle is on his shoulder.

Thoth – The Emperor: He is seated with a ram head scepter in his right hand crossed over his chest and an orb in his left hand. His legs are crossed at right angles. He wears a gold crown with three visible objects imbedded. He’s wearing an elaborately designed tunic. A heavenly light coming from behind and above him illuminates him. The sun is partly visible behind his right shoulder but it is not the source of the illuminaqtion. On either side of his throne is a pentacle. A shield with the images of two birds on it’s face is leaning against the throne. Behind his shoulders, there is a large ram on either side. On the left side at his feet, lies a lamb. It’s head and one leg is bathed in the light while the rest of his body is in the shadows. A small banner is leaning against the lamb. There are two fleurs-de-lis in the foreground.

Similarities and Differences

Thoth, RWS, and world Spirit, each holds a scepter, mountains are prominent. They are traditional rulers and are wearing crowns.

Thoth, RWS: The Emperor is seated and both are holding an orb in their left hand. They display the symbol of Aries and both are alone,

Thoth and World Spirit display pentacles

RWS and World Spirit are old men.

Thoth and Osho Zen figures are young men

Osho Zen is called the Rebel and is not a traditional ruler.

Osho Zen the figure hold a torch, he does not wear a crown

Meanings and Perspectives:

Thoth Emperor: Pentacles implies wealth, the light coming from above indicates Divine guidance, or that his power comes from a Divine source. The arm crossed over his chest is protective while the shield as well as the lamb at his feet symbolizes that he is at peace.

I’m not familiar with Thoth.

World Spirit: Meaning is quite similar to the RWS,

The Rebel: Indicates courage to free your self from your restraints and have the courage to live your life according to your truth then your spirit will soar like an eagle.

Keywords

Caring, protector, strength, provider, wisdom, courageous They are less aggressive then the first ones I chose.

Advice: be strong enough to do what is needed while caring enough to not cause harm.

This suggest that I should be considerate of others’ needs and feelings before taking an action that will affect them. It doesn’t necessarily mean that I should not take the action it means that I will be compassionate, truthful and honest as I take the action.

My design would incorporate my new keywords.
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21 ways - step 20 - crow's magick page of cups


compare other page of cups cards

tarot nova (based on RW)
a smiling man is on his knees on a flower stem. in his left hand he holds a bouquet of three flowers, and with his right he offers a cup with a red heart on it. he is smiling, maybe even blushing. he faces left.

beginner’s tarot (marseille based)
an bearded man is walking facing right. he looks very intently at the cup he is holding out with his right hand. in his left hand, which is hanging loosely to his left, he holds his cap. he is walking on sandy ground, out of which sprout clumps of grasses and flowers. it seems to be daylight.

world spirit (a deck with more women appearing than in most others)
a smiling young woman is sitting on a sandy outcrop by a body of water. she looks middle eastern or southern slavic. her cape billows behind her. her left hand rests on her left thigh and her right hand touches the insides (water?) of a chalice in front of her. she looks at us as if she were posing for a picture. water gushes from a waterfall behind and to the right of her and the drops from it form a s sort of bower that frames her. a palm tree is by the waterfall. a turtle is climbing up out of the water towards the chalice. the card is darkish, mostly blue, black and beige. the moon is shining from the upper right hand corner, sending its rays through the sky.

crow’s magick (“my” card; a deck with mostly animals)
this card centers around a reptile eagerly jumping out of a circle. it's almost like a puppy. its mouth is open, we can see its red tongue. it's camouflage-coloured. apart from the circle, six geometric, sigil-like elements can be seen on the card, all drawn in faint gold. from upper left to lower right they are three dots arranged in a triangle, an almost square rectangle, a zig-zag line, three rectangles connected by lines (a bit like a flowchart) and something that looks the head and shoulders of a one-eyed stick figure. the card's background is black (as all crow's magick cards). in the upper part, we can see flecks of green and red and gold that could be interpreted as cosmic dust. three astronomical symbols can be seen in the lower left corner (pisces, cancer and virgo).

---

i lined up the cards in several ways – this here is the one that i think has progressively more movement. the world spirit one, with the woman sitting by the water, feels the most static. the tarot nova card has a bit more movement; perhaps it is the woman that he offers the heart-cup to. then we have the beginner’s tarot “valet de coupe” walking through the sandy terrain, and finally the reptile “puppy” jumping out of the circle.

how are they similar?
- each one shows a cup
- none of the personages seem to be past their 30s
- there is no sign of aggression in any of the cards
- each one has a personage, and there is only one
- nobody seems sad
- everyone is engaged in some sort of activity
- none of the personages seem of elevated stature
- the cup itself seems significant in each card
- the environment seems to be out in the open for all four
- cooler colours dominate in all four, but there is a warmish feeling (not cold, not hot, a pleasant lukewarm feeling)
- each card has a “relational” feeling – there is an object or a person they are relating to
- there’s something a bit needy about each card

differences:
- the inscription on the crow’s magick card reads “unearthly, mystical” – that couldn’t be farther from the feeling that the tarot nova evokes. it would also be pretty far-fetched for the beginner’s tarot card. interestingly, both of the latter are the more traditional cards
- there are two males, one female, and one male-feeling animal
- two face left, two face right
- water can be seen only in one card (world spirit)
- two of the cards have a “night” feeling (world spirit and crow’s magick, although for crow’s magick that’s normal)
- world spirit looks flirtatious, tarot nova smitten, beginner’s intensely intent, crow’s magick boisterous
- the world spirit one, with the woman sitting by the water, feels the most static. the tarot nova card has a bit more movement; perhaps it is the woman that he offers the heart-cup to. then we have the beginner’s tarot “valet de coupe” walking through the sandy terrain, and finally the reptile “puppy” jumping out of the circle
- if i had to put words in their mouths, it would be “come hither” for world spirit; “please love me” for tarot nova; “i can’t spill this” for beginner’s and “yay!” for crow’s magick
- the world spirit and tarot nova allude to romance but the other two don’t
- emotions evoked: i feel a bit reluctant looking at the world spirit card; it feels like she wants something from me. for the tarot nova i want to say, oh, how cute – and hopefully i’m not the object of his adoration because i don’t think i want someone to go down on his knees in front of me. too needy. the valet de coupe in the beginner’s deck has me slightly irritated – come on, lighten up already! the crow’s magick – depends on my mood and energy level. of they’re high – yes, i want to play with him but if not – hey! not so loud!

keywords: youngish, unaggressive, agreeable environment, relational, not mature yet

when i look back on the previous exercises, the keywords that came up more than once where “unrestrained, eager, enthusiastic, childlike”. i still see those for “my” page of cups but only some of that in the tarot nova, not really in the others. i wouldn’t say that “youngish” or “not mature yet” and “childlike” are the same. “childlike” carries a certain playfulness and that is not present in all of the other three cards.

one of the keywords that came up earlier was “beginning” and i can see that in these cards, although it’s stretching it a bit for the beginner’s tarot. others that i can see are “experimental” and “fascination”. however, i don’t feel moved to add these three to the list above.

which one embodies the advice i would most like to give myself? i’m not particularly enamoured with the other three cards; there’s something a bit wimpy about them. i did pull from two more decks. one of them sort of speaks to me. it’s from the afro-brazilian deck. a strong, slender man is seen from the back as he swiftly approaches a cup standing at the edge of a precipe. down below is a raging a river and across a waterfall. a rainbow issues from the white cup. the man holds his right hand, holding a short, crooked wand as if to strike something – maybe the cup? even though that action does not seem overly wise (i guess pages are not known for their wisdom there is a strength to this card that draws me in. “a force to be reckoned with” was one of the ideas i was milling about in regard the to the crow’s magick page of cups, and i see that in this card, too. actually, a bit in the world spirit one, too – it’s a flirtatious force but a force all the same. interestingly, all three of these cards also allude to the mystical, mysterious, which draws me in. do i want to be a mystical force to be reckoned with?

if i were to design my own card, what would it look like?
i hauled out my 20 decks and looked at all the page of cups. the crow’s magick one is still one of my favourites. i also liked the shakespeare oracle, african brazilian, shadowscapes, runic tarot and most of all daughters of the moon, which is called maiden of cups. i think i like maiden or daughter better than page – easier to relate to.

the card is imbued with a lovely turquoise colour, both in the frame and depicting the ocean, where a mermaid sits on a rock, surrounded by a fish, a seagull, a big shell and other sea critters. the fish is jumping out of the water and the mermaid’s hair is billowing behind her, indicating movement. all of the cards i like have some movement; most of the others are a bit static. i suspect that has something to do with the traditional playing cards from which tarot is ultimately derived – there, the court cards are very static, basically just traditional portraits. i think generally i’m drawn to more free-flowing styles; i don’t think i’ll ever become a marseille type deck zealot

actually, the one from daughters of the moon could have even more movement. the mermaid is holding up a mirror, into which she looks, indicating to me some sort of self involvement, which of course is typical for a younger person. i don’t know if i need that, though. i’m imagining some reaching movement – perhaps she could be reaching for the cup. there is no cup visible in this card. i find it disorienting when the symbol of the respective suit is not prominently displayed, and prefer it when the symbol is worked into the image, so i’d change that.
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Step TWENTY


Describe each card.

The Fairy Lights (FL): The Empress is sitting on a high throne. She is dressed in yellow and she has wings on her back so one can see she is a supernatural being and not an ordinary human. She looks happy and benevolent and she looks at the people walking down below with loving eyes. Interestingly, the people are going through a kind of a metamorphosis and gradually turning into wolflike creatures who walk up towards the full moon (this can be seen in the other part of the full painting, which is the 5/Wands)

The Vampyres Tarot (VT): A lovely sad young woman is standing beneath an apple tree branch which has green apples hanging from it. She holds a red rose in her hand and she is dressed in a medieval dress. Her hair hangs loose. She is wearing a lot of jewelry. There is blood on her green velvet dress. She is looking straight at us and she seems to want to tell us something.

The Ludy Lescott (LL): The Empress looks like a human Queen and she is sitting on her old stone throne with a scepter in her hand. She is listening to something on her right while a white dove flies in through the window from the left. She looks human and vulnerable but benevolent.

The Vision Quest (VQ): This Empress is called Grand Mother. She has white hair but her skin looks smooth and young. (Our culture seems so obsessed with youth. sigh..) Grandmother is serene and content. She wears a turquoise necklace and she is holding her grandchild in a loving embrace. There is a basket full of corn in front of them and a big turtle behind them so the Earth element is very much present in this card.



Line up the cards so there is some flow or progression of similar design features. How does each card appear in terms of similarity and differences?
I would order the cards from the Fairy Lights Empress to the Vampyres Empress (my chosen card), then I´d have the Ludy Lescott Empress third and finally the Vision Quest Empress (”Grand Mother”). The ones on the left are closer to the archetypal Goddess and powerful rulers of human destiny. They are Queens but also Goddesses. The first two are looking straight at us and almost seem to want to challenge us or tell us something. The Fairy Lights Empress is sitting on a very high throne far above the humans.
On the right we have two more human Empresses. The Ludy Lescott one is listening intently and looks almost a bit scared or startled and the Vision Quest Empress is a very down-to-earth and human looking Grandmother. These two Empresses look like they are minding their own businesses and do not seem to notice us or care about us very much.

How the cards are similar:
*there are amazingly little similarities apart from the central figure being female!
*there are animals in all cards (-if we include the card pair 5/wands of the FL deck, too)

How the cards differ:
* one Empress is standing (VT), three are sitting, two have thrones (LL, FL)
*colors: every card is different in color and each Empress has a different colored dress. ( LL blue, VT green, FL golden, VQ red & purple)
*Two Empresses wear crown (LL, FL) and two do not (VQ,V)
*two Empresses have scepters (LL, FL) and two do not (VQ, V)
*Three are outdoors and one (LL) is indoors
*Three are serene and peaceful, one (LL) is not


List three keywords or phrases that seem common to all/most of the cards from these different decks
Benevolent, wise, visionary and seer.

Which card-version expresses best the advice you would give yourself?
I think they all seem to have messages that I find important. The Goddess side of the Empress is as important as the down-to earth Grandmother side of her. I think I can learn from them all.

If you were to design your own version of this card, how would you do it.
I think what I´d change in my chosen card, the Vampyres Empress, is that I would make her look both older and happier. She is very young and sad. But I like it that she looks straight at us with those soulful eyes and she clearly wants to get a message across. I like the expression in the face of the Vision Quest Grandmother and the golden and radiant Goddess of the Fairy Lights Tarot is perhaps the nicest of these Empresses.
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