21 Ways To Read A Tarot Card -- step FIFTEEN


As we undertake step FIFTEEN in Mary Greer's book, 21 Ways To Read A Tarot Card, we should note that forty one participants have joined up. Many of these have recently joined our study group. As they move through their early steps many of those who are further along have taken the time to review their posts and to encourage them along the path. This is deeply appreciated by myself as well as by those who are playing catch up.

Again, we are proceeding at the rate of one step every eight days or so. I would expect that we might take a brief break during the summer vacation period (northern hemisphere) and then move on to starting all over at the ADEPT level. The ADEPT level requires more work but by that time we should be as prepared and as enthused for that challenge as we can be. Meanwhile, all of those who have recently started will have time to catch up with the main group.


Dialogs. Mary offers an extensive review of how we conduct, as well imagine conducting, conversations with others. Sometimes its a one-way channel, other times we respond to ourselves in the voice and manner of the other person. I see this as "role playing", something we might do before we ask the boss for a raise, before we seek a favor from a friend, even before asking a spouse about something we like and they don't like.

Mary notes that the "personification" of tarot card figures (Major Arcana) can lead to a better understanding of the "whole" situation surrounding the issue of concern. She uses the Hanged Man as an example of how a dialog with a querent might proceed. Our task in this step is to conduct a dialog with our chosen card -- what are the figures doing?, -- what do they want? -- what can they teach you? She goes on to expand the dialog; Ask the objects about how they are used? -- how they can help you? -- what they represent in your life?

Obviously, even at this Apprentice level, we are being prepared to be able to use all the tools required be comfortable with our cards in a reading. I can see that this whole process should leave us in a position where we will not have "readers block" relative to what a card means. Being an "assured" reader will help us, our clients, and the public's view of tarot readers. Have fun. Dave


Step 15

Using RWS 5 of Swords I asked questions to the 3 men and their swords. Also included parts of their responses that caught my eye in a free flowing form. Hope this is ok.

The biggest figure I called Red…

Q: what are you doing Red?
A: I am defending my family’s honor.
Q: and in what manner would you do this?
A: by force, in words, or lack of words.
Q: how does this make you feel?
A: powerful.
Q: did you feel empowered before this conflict?
A: yes, but they (the other two smaller figures) did not believe me, so had to prove worth.
Q: were you effective?
A: at first, I thought so, now, not so sure.
Q: what will you do next?
A: enjoy what little peace I have, for it’s sure to grow.

Real life: I think this is myself as I instigated the conflict. Tried to be direct in expressing myself, but still unsure of how to go about it, so fudged a bit on the follow through. I wanted her to understand my hurt, but refrained from stating what I thought SHE did wrong. In the past I have been quick to tell others what I thought they had done wrong, or failed to do. Now I refuse to state anything of the sort, it seems to cause MORE conflict, resolving nothing. More importantly, I lose my sense of peace.

The actual lines said by Red…
“Just set things straight…trying…strange coincidence…nobody’s gonna stop it…disrespect…there comes a time when enough is enough…I’m gonna blow…I was never heard…never got it…they heard me good-now…you’ve got to make yourself respected-sometime…catch ‘em when they least expect it…wham!…right is right.”

The middle figure I called Yellowman…

Q: what do you see?
A: a vanishing world.
Q: how so?
A: I thought I knew my world, but it was an illusion.
Q: where will you go from here?
A: to the water, to watch the current as it rushes along.
Q: how does that make you feel?
A: it gives me solace to watch it go by.

Real life: Don’t think will ever say just what I think of her, I do not wish to tell people what it is they are failing to do. Been there, done that…I don’t want to be the bad guy anymore. Am more interested in trusting my own intuition in all of this, “testing the waters” out, as it were.

Actual lines said by Yellowman…
“You’re too late…listen, I was just trying to get his attention…never really knew him, after all…by the water…you’ll never know unless you give it a try.”

The smallest figure I called “Murphy”…

Q: are you ok?
A: what do you care, stay away.
Q: won’t you let me help you?
A: I can do it myself.
Q: how is your mouth?
A: hurts, still bleeding.
Q: what happened?
A: he swiped me, never saw it coming, cheap shot.
Q: will you forgive?
A: perhaps, but won’t forget

Real life: Lots of hurt, feel defeated, looking to the intuition/emotions for quenching, respite, direction.

Actual lines said by the smallest figure I called “Murphy”…
“Get away from me!…Keep your distance!…How do you know my name?…lay your armor down…that’s how he won…didn’t believe…he fought them clear away…That’s when I dropped my sword…just shocked…help me get to the water…gathering some water by the river.”

All swords belonging to Red, Yellowman, Murphy, and the additional swords won by Red in a previous conflict with the Barkley twins…

Q: what is your purpose?
A: to tell the truth
Q: how does this help matters?
A: it’s a good line of defense
Q: is truth appreciated by your owners (masters)?
A: hardly, that’s why we’re here
Q: do you speak often?
A: only when asked.
Q: anything of value that you have learned?
A: you ask too many question, that’s not good.
Q: how so?
A: one needs to have faith first, to win, and questions have doubts, will lose.
Q: who do you think won then?
A: at first, no one, but much later, all.

Real life: A part of me feels as if I have no control over this circumstance and how it unfolded. I know this card is not a major arcana, but that’s how I feel about it. So I continue to place my faith in its unfolding process, as well as my own intuition, wishing only to respond when needed and avoid reacting.

The actual lines from all of the swords…
“ …only speaks truth…we were taken from our masters by force…mocked, humiliated, insulted…skillfully…brought to display…he had lied about the win…relinquished…cowardice…he lashed out, no honor…in surprise attack…especially to one you had called friend…since his childhood…heart reached such heights…exchanged…no faith…taken away instead in careless words…do you doubt me…an anger so deep & still, awoke…no longer a direction to turn away…defend."

I had many pages of dialog, so tried to grab only those things that caught my eye, and thought important.


Dave overhears the Fool talking to a Jack-O-Lantern

The FOOL from the Fey Tarot wears a tunic of green in the front, blue in the back, all covered with rings and keys. Upon his head he has a large but plain crown of gold with a key-hole in the middle. His face is astonished as he picks up and gazes upon, of all things, a glowing Jack-O-Lantern (a pumpkin with a face carved in it, a lighted candle inside). At this precise moment of discovery and picking up this anomaly on his journey, we overhear him.

"What can this wondrous thing be? Did someone leave it hear?" The Jack-O-Lantern was quiet; it just glowed. "How warm you are to touch, how pleasant your light! Do you have a name?" The Jack-O-Lantern was quiet; it just glowed.

The Fool looked at this grand thing in his hands. Did it belong to someone? Was it his for the finding? What would he do with it? It was just so great, but so confusing. He considered leaving it beside the path. He actually put it down and got up to leave, but something held him there. He couldn't walk away. He had walked away from something warm and wonderful before -- was it just yesterday. He couldn't remember, something was very foggy in his head. All he could remember clearly was walking on a path all this long day, the "something else" that he couldn't quite grasp was something he had but had no longer. But, he had this. This, whatever it was.

"What are you." An almost desperate whisper. A whisper echoed back, "I am a uniqueness." "What," the Fool replied. The Jack-O-Lantern was quiet; it just glowed. "What did you just say." Quietness. Had this thing whispered back to him? What was a 'Uniqueness?' The Fool knew that it meant something different. But it wasn't a name. He had found it. Did it mean that there were no more to find? What was this thing?

He stuck a key into an eye and wiggled it. He tried the nose. The Key was too small. He stuck a bigger one in the nose hole. "That's the wrong place" came a whisper -- or was it a thought? Well, which place was the the right place? "I need to know which place is the right place" he yelled at the pumpkin that was more than just a pumpkin. Why was it more than a pumpkin? Where was the Key to go? Was the pumpkin a 'uniqueness' because it was more than a pumpkin?

The Fool never did find where to put the Key that night. But he did find a key and it unlocked an answer. A uniqueness is when something is more than it is. A uniqueness is a surprise to others. It can be a surprise to itself. This is what became clearer to the Fool in the hours that followed his discovery, I'm sure. In this sense, he did find the Key and what it opened. I'm sure that he left his discovery there. After all, it was unique but it was not necessary or even useful. Even a Fool should discover that. But, what would bring him to be a uniqueness? What discovery lay ahead of him. This was the start of his greatest self-gift, curiosity.

This is what I imagine when I contemplate this Fool card. Delight, frustration, questioning, discovery, realization, curiosity. The Fool starts fresh from a sense of nothingness. The only thing that can lead him on, and help become something, anything, is curiosity. This is what I imagine is the essence of the Fool's journey, curious footsteps, one after another, a pause here and there, but always a curious delight with every step.
Dave --edited to add a wood carving photo of the Fey Fool.


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Step 15 - Fantastic Menagerie

CARD: Star Card
DECK: Fantastic Menagerie

This step was quite interesting for me as there were multiple figures in the card. So I dialogued with them all.

J: What are you doing?
DF: I'm just sitting here on the ibis-woman's shoulder resting and watching you.
J: Why are you watching me?
DF: I think you are funny looking, big, and I want to see what you do.
J: Why do you care what I do?
DF: I don't really. I have bigger issues like a short life span and those hungry fish down there.
J: What do you have to teach me?
DF: Sometimes you just need to stay still and observe what is around you. It can save your life.
J: What do you represent in my life?
DF: I represent your awareness ... or lack of it as the case may be.

J: What are you doing?
IW: I'm admiring nature and ejoying my surroundings.
J: Why do you wear those vines around your neck and body?
IW: For one, I like the way they look. For another, to remind me that I usually get myslef into my own binds ... if you know what I mean ...
J: How do you get in binds?
IW: I just like to stroll, and feel, and contemplate, so sometimes I'm just not watching what I am doing, or where I am going to closely, or what others are saying, and well .... I sometimes end up in situations that I am not quite sure how I got into in the first place. These vines I wear help me stay focused and more aware.
J: What do you want?
IW: I want peace, internal as well as peace for the world. I want people to realize thier potential and in turn help others do so. I want honesty. I also want to be left to my own devices. Some of these expectations are quite contradictory, I know, but its what I want.
J: What do you mean by honesty?
IW: By honesty I mean no self-delusions, no white lies to the self, and open communication. I cannot expect honesty from others if I cannot be honest with myself.
J: Even if that honesty is painful?
IW: That is where empathy and delivery of the message come in. Even or perhaps specially when communicating with the self.
J: Do you think I am honest?
IW: Your starting to be now that your hanging around me.
J: What do you have to teach me?
IW: That self-worth and self-respect are the key. If you cannot feel these for yourself you cannot honestly feel them for another. With self-worth and self-respect you will always know who YOU are and you can achieve and change anything you want to, because you trully have your whole self.
J: What do you represent in my life?
IW: I represent your spirit, desires, and intentions.

J: What are you all doing?
F: Making way for the ibis-woman and trying to catch that dragonfly.
J: Why are you all 1/2 way out of the water?
F: So we can see better and so we can reach better for the dragonfly and eat him.
J: Why do you want to eat the dragonfly?
F: Because it is the way of nature, he is food to us.
J: Are you serenading the ibis-woman?
F: No, we are trying to eat the dragonfly. We already told you that.
J: What do you have to teach me?
F: If you stay out of the water too long you will die.
J: What kind of lesson is that?!?!?!
F: A basic one.
J: Can you elaborate on that?!?!?!?
F: Human's just don't get it. Everyone has a natural environment. You can stay in it or take risks following your instincts and push the boundaries. If you don't take risks nothing changes, if all you do is push bondaries you will end up in a different environment of which you know nothing. If you push some, then stop, incorporate the new environment with your own environment, then you will be ready to push again and make your environment bigger.
J: What do you represent in my life:
F: We represent your subconcious mind.

OK ....... so the dragonfly is an observer, the ibis-woman partially a dreamer but wants to wake up, and the fish are my higher self?????? And I really found the fish to be incredibly obnoxious. Too bad that tone of voice cannot be conveyed when typing *LOL*. So I get the message, and it is not what I want to hear, and what is worse is that the message has been reconfirmed using two different oracle decks (and one was a reading someone did for me with zero awareness of any of this).

Sooooooo ..... seems like I live in my own world, without really realizing that I have isolated myself, so I have been pushing people away yet finding them anyoning and intrusive. I say I want one thing, but hide in my perfect little world but honestly I am ready to come out. Now that I know I am hiding, I am not wanting to come up but will even if I don't like the idea (fish 1/2 out of the water) And I finally learn that the whole thing has to do with a fear of loosing "my" identity by really incorporating someone elses needs into my life. There is much work for me to do here, but awareness has hit me in the face, and the issue is now officially and clearly identified. I have only child syndrome and don't want to be cured *LOL*. Just kidding I really am working on this ... now ... but what a shocker! Did not think it was me that had the problem - but it is ... I so miss denial, it was such a better place :D


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Just a reminder . . .

This post is just a reminder that Step 15 is awaiting all who have progressed this far. This step was falling rather far down the list so I wanted to bring it to the top. I see that many of us are encouraging those who have just recently started -- and that's good. We'll proceed at a pace that seems to fit with current moods. I won't start Step 16 for awhile yet. Dave


whew I just recently have my computer working at home again and finally set some time aside to do my " home work"


Step 15

There is only one person in my Star card I did not name her.

The Star from Tarot of Dreams

Q: what are you doing here in space?
A: shedding light on the world
Q: what are the 2 vassals with a rainbow in them?
A: This is light; White light contains all the colors of the rainbow
Q: nice tiara is you a queen? Princess?
A: I am a co creator of the universe
Q: how come you are naked?
A: cloths are a man invention not mines I do not need nor require them; I am clothed in the night sky
Q: Anything else I should know
A: we could write volumes on that
Q: (laugh) anything specific for today
A: Trust in your intuition, no matter how dark it seems it will always get better latter

Real life: way back when I was still drinking and when I first got sober I was dealing with a lot of depression and some day’s life was no fun to live in.

Now that I look back at it life was not so bad and after my worse times came some of my best times.

I think this card say ' there is light at the end of the tunnel"


Hi, group! I really enjoyed your creative (and, of course, revealing!) dialogs! I like the way some of those characters (the fish and coyote's Star, especially) get a little cheeky, or at least imperious!

My characters lean more toward diadactic, instead. But it's a lesson I need to learn, of course!

So here we go!

Step 15, Dialog with Manga 4 Wands

I dialoged with the main character (the Girl), members of the crowd (you can only see their hands on the card), and the bamboo poles (the wands).

Rachelcat: What are you doing?
Girl: Dancing!
R: Why are you dancing between poles?
G: It keeps me from encroaching on others' space and them from encroaching on mine.
R: Are you afraid your fans will crush you?
G: No. They stand back a bit so they can see the whole dance. They care more about the dance than about me, the dancer, personally.
R: Do you like getting little hearts all over you?
G: Yes! They match my dress!
R: What do you want?
G: I want to be admired for doing a good job as well as for being attractive.
R: What do you do when you're not dancing?
G: I'm a college student. Education major.
R: Are you going to teach dancing?
G: No. Something more academic. Dancing is just a part-time thing for me. But I always make time for it.
R: What do you have to teach me?
G: Do NOT limit yourself! If there's something you want to do, find a way to do it! What's stopping you? Age? Money? don't blame those things! You may think I'm lucky--I have my whole life ahead of me. Well, you've got the rest of your whole life ahead of you, too!
R: What is your advice on my current and perennial issue, my relationship with my husband?
G: Don't be so reserved. Yes, you've been hurt, but you don't always have to be on the defensive. What's the worst thing that could happen?
R: I guess I've already been through the worst (that I would allow to happen).
G: Exactly! Don't be afraid to express yourself. And it doesn't hurt to allow yourself to act/be attractive to him (or anyone else).
R: I know, but if my feelings for him aren't there, isn't that just leading him on?
G: Open up. The feelings are there. In the same place as your feelings of attractiveness. Let them both out. Enjoy your life so you can enjoy your life with him!
R: I don't think I'm ready to do all this yet, but I'll think about it.

R: What are you doing and what do you want?
People in crowd: We love the beauty and we want to enjoy it and add to it with our hearts!
R: Have any of you danced here before?
Woman: I did, but not as beautifully as she is! She definitely has the right attitude for this!
R: What additude is that?
Woman: She's not afraid to inject a little sex-appeal!
R: Men, do you think she's putting in too much sex appeal, or not enough?
Young Man: Everything is tinted with sex. That's part of the beauty! But it's certainly not salacious!
R: Do you think she's deceiving you or leading you on?
YM: It's all part of the dance! It's not personal, it's just her cool attitude.

R: Bamboo poles, what's your role in all this?
Back right pole: We're here to set her off, make her look good. Set her off as special.
R: How can you help me? Do I need to be set off as special in some way?
Front left pole: maybe we should draw in closer to you, so you're not quite so set apart and protected. Mix it up with the crowd a bit more! They're right on the other side of us poles. There are no cross pieces to fence you in. You can go in and out of our enclosure whenever you want!
R: But can't others come in, too?
Back left pole: Only if you tell us it's ok!
R: Once again, I don't think I'm ready, but thanks. I will remember that you are just enough protection, but not too much.

Well, this is very good advice from my dear card. While the girl and the crowd were a bit in my face, the poles made me feel like I could actually do this! But I know they're all right about this. This same advice to open up also came to me in a weekly astrology email I got today!

Rob Brezsny's Free Will Astrology Newsletter, May 23, 2007, for Cancer: "I feel a poignancy about the way you have kept yourself from revealing your full beauty. Please come in from out of the dark and shine the full blast of your iridescent light."

The universe is really hammering it home. I guess I'm a little late in getting it and so need to catch up! (But, as you can see, I'm even non-committal to my own card!)

I've got some work to do, huh?


I liked how you brang the young woman down to a " normall" girl with dancing because she likes to be admired. it so fits with the mior arcana.

This was a fun exersise in general i hope to take heed of the advise you have been giving or ateleast some of it there seem to be a treasure trove of gold nuggets in there of wisdom.


For Rachelcat

~hugs~ that was terrific! I really enjoyed your dialog, and talking to the poles that was great! They gave you the same message but also gave you a sense of security in taking action on their advice.

Seems like you and I both are being taken on quite a journey and one we aren't necessarily ready to embark on though we both know we need to, and that will only because we know we have to.

And trust me you DO NOT WANT to talk to those darn fish .... they are just rude *LOL*.