Adept Level . . . STEP 16 of 21 Ways To Read A Tarot Card


Step 16 continues Mary Greer's remarkable teaching process of directly involving us in several levels of activity at once. I can remember the comments that arose when we all encountered this step at the Apprentice level . . . "No, we can't draw cards ... we have no artistic ability ... etc." As we saw then, there is no need to fear this step as Mary Greer, herself, has shown by offering her own drawings as stick figures.

There are a few comments that Mary Greer offers which we should take note of. Just doing the drawing brings emphasis to various factors:
** We see that a "flow" of energy often exists in the posturing of people, animals, environment and symbols in the card picture. DO WE NOTE THIS WHEN WE READ WITH THAT CARD?
** The shape of the symbols, not the details that reflect what they actually are, often appears to be something else. A SCRIBBLE CAN CONVEY AN EYE-FULL OF MEANING.
** Outlining the major symbols in a card often hides the details and reveals new shapes that show something entirely different. CAN WE, DO WE, EVER SEE THE OTHER PICTURES IN THE CARDS THAT THE ARTISTS ARE SO ADEPT AT PLACING THERE?

The Adept Level starts with step 16:2 where we are asked to be "minimalists." Take particular note of the sketch on page 178 wherein there are multiple card symbols combined into one image that represents a 3-card reading. This drawing sets us up for 16:3 where we are charged with doing the same basic function and then working with our creation. We might want to ask a question of ourselves and lay out a 3 card spread with which we can work out this challenge. THIS STEP MAY HELP US BETTER SYNTHESIZE THE MEANING OF A MULTI-CARD SPREAD BY CREATING A NEW MENTAL IMAGE OF A "MEGA-CARD."

I believe this step will be so much more enriching for us this time around. Dave


Dave's Step 16:2

Adept Level Step 16:2
Using a heavy black marker pen, I sketched out the Fey HERMIT card. That image is attached. As I now look at it, several characteristics pop out at me.
** The stick figure is slouching tentatively down the stairs. Note the long curve representing the body and right leg which is above the step but is feeling for a firm footing.
** The left leg/foot is firmly grounded on its step.
** One hand holds up a lantern casting rays outward.
** The other arm/hand is tentatively outstretched looking for something solid.
** Stairs go down, stairs go up.
** Round-topped doors are all around.
** MOST STRIKING is the head and tall hat, looking much like an exclamation point. Is this excitement? Tension? Nervousness?

This sketch is what I would see as a minimal representation of this card. When I needed a symbol for the Hermit to use with my wood carvings for a tarot card box, I carved just the hand holding a lantern. For me, that was the most minimal symbol that I could envision for the Hermit.

The second part of this step asks us to envision a minimal symbol for each major arcana card.
** Fool; Staff and carry-bag.
** Magician; hand holding a staff/wand.
** High Priestess; Scroll and two columns.
** Empress; A smiling flower.
** Emperor; Frown pierced by a sword.
** Hierophant; A two-finger blessing.
** Lovers; Two hearts.
** Chariot; Whip.
** Strength; Two hands clasped.
** Hermit; hand holding lantern.
** Wheel; Wheel.
** Justice; Horizontal line.
** Hanged man; Hanging rope loop.
** Death; Grave stone
** Temperance; Glass half full.
** Devil; Torch.
** Tower; Tower
** Star; Star
** Moon; Moon
** Sun; Sunrise
** Judgment; Alarm clock
** World; Uplifted hands.

I'll do the next step in a separate posting. Dave.


in the moment...

(my part I)
Victorian Romantic 4 of Wands

I decided to breakout the crayons ala Mary Greer style and just started going at it, as you can tell, lol!

Different things caught my eye as I began choosing my colors. Things that I had not considered prior to drawing. The figures hands immediately seemed important to me. 3 of of the 5 figures hands and arms caught my eye. It felt as if they were reaching out to their audience, and I really liked that. Also the "wands" themselves as represented within the banner as it holds it up, and part of the wooden stage these figures stand on. For some reason, I never really saw it until now. Initially, I thought the drum would play a central role in my drawing, but it really didn't. Neither did the bird which I did not include at all. Also the crowd just felt vague to me, and I was not preoccupied with the representation of them in my drawing interp. It was the colors that meant the most, and directed me. The process felt free, and only now did I realize how much the reaching out process means to me in this card, although in my drawing it looks like they are shooing flies, lol!


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Victorian Romantic major arcana
(my part II)
The second part of this step asks us to envision a minimal symbol for each major arcana card.
** Fool; the little dog in dress and tittering left leg off a stand.
** Magician; his left hand on a book.
** High Priestess; swirling smoke.
** Empress; embracing cherubs.
** Emperor; reclining position, hands holding nothing.
** Hierophant; hands raised up holding glasses.
** Lovers; (Baccus&Mermaid) a kiss.
** Lovers; (Dante&Beatrice) a rose, the holding of hands.
** Chariot; Batons and the single wheel.
** Strength; lady's open arm embrace.
** Hermit; hourglass.
** Wheel; the crown presented on purple pillow.
** Justice; the sword and scales.
** Hanged man; arch of bridge.
** Death; sickle looking much like a golden surf board.
** Temperance; the steering of rutter.
** Devil; the smile and bat wings.
** Tower; lightening and leaning mast.
** Star; her profile and clasped hands.
** Moon; the moon jewerly and castle in distance.
** Sun; arch made of flowers.
** Judgment; golden rays of illuminations.
** World; basket, pink fabric.

This deck is so rich in color and images, that it was difficult to pick just one symbol, and many times I found the body language of the figures more meaningful.


OK so I know I have not finished posting my reply to step 15, but since this step is quite shorter on paper I thought I would go ahead and post it.

STEP 16: Drawing
DECK: Fantastic Menagerie
CARD: The Moon

ACTIVITY 16:2.1. What is the most minimal geometric shape(s) or single symbol that could umnistakenly identify your chosen card's image and still clearly enable you to clearly distinguish it from any other card? Symbol - full moon, geometric shape circle (white or silver).

ACTIVITY 16:2.2. What shape or symbol would you use for each Major Arcana? (I took this activity very literally so I used only one shape or symbol per Major):
0 The Fool - travel bag
1 Magician - Lamniscate
2 High Priestess - scroll
3 Empress - cornucopia
4 Emperor - throne
5 Hierophant - 2 crossed keys
6 Lovers - heart
7 Chariot - a chariot
8 Justice - scales
9 Hermit - lantern
10 Wheel of Fortune - a roulette
11 Strength - a dumbell or weight
12 The Hanged Man - upside down cross
13 Death - butterfly or skythe
14 Temperance - triangle inside a square
15 Devil - chains
16 Tower - tower
17 Star - 8 pointed star
18 The Moon - full moon
19 Sun - sun
20 Judgement - a phoenix
21 The World - a dancer

THE THREE CARD DRAWING: I need to find a scanner for my drawing ~chuckles~. When I do I will attach the picture if I can figure out how, or send it via e-mail to one of you kind souls to attach for me.

I tried using the Fantastic Menagerie, but I just could simply not do it. Grandville's art is just something I could not break down, and I got REALLY frustrated trying. So I went for a deck with simpler images to do this part of the exercise, The Tarot of The Magical Forest *LOL* (and I had fun). Well it also uses animals so I thought it was a good choice *LOL*.

I went for a past, present, future spread. The cards I drew were:
1. Past - Wheel of Fortune (10)
2. Present - The Sun (19)
3. Future - Knight of Wands


1. Picture Description: (you really need to see this to appreciate it *LOL*) - What is happening in it? The Knight of Wands is riding the Wheel holding on for dear life (he is in the center of the wheel), he has dropped his wand and knows that was not a good thing. The dragon from the wheel is trying really hard to catch the wand before it falls into the ocean in the right bottom corner of the card. The Knight's mount (a very large toad with his tongue sticking out) is trying to catch up with the Knight and convince him to get on him. He playfully licks the Knight's foot which scares teh Knight even more making him think his mount wants to eat him!

The snake (from the Wheel of Fortune card) is no longer helping turn the wheel, he is just catching a free ride on it. It has done its part. The Cat with the sword (also from the WF card) is not happy. The Wheel is going in the wrong direction since the snake bailed out and the dragon (also from the WF card) went off after the wand, and the Knight of Wand's mount jumped on the wheel weighing it down.

The joey (from the Sun card), however, is quite content at the top of the Wheel waving his sunflower banner and enjoying the warmth of the sun.

How did you get from the cards to the drawing? Something about the Wheel of Fortune really caught my eye and I knew that was going to be the a predominant image. The the cast of characters started jumping on it and the 4 corners just happened (Upper left - radiant sun; Upper right - blue/pinkish clouds; Bottom right - ocean; Bottom left - sunflowers growing in a green field).

Did anything surprise you? The whole Knight and Mount thing cought me off guard and has me a bit perplexed (and laughing).

2. Note the following and their possible significance:

Dominant Colors:
Purple - dignity, wisdom, mysticism, higher consciousness, power, pride, repentance.
Yellow - intellect, brightness, light, happiness, confidence, fear, cowardice, bitterness, deceipt.
Orange - vital energy, pride, joy, spontineity, active mind.
Green - hope, growth, healing, regeneration, nature, bruised.
Blue - truth, spirituality, clamness, peace, serenity, melancholy.

Energy Flow: circular and grouped - cycle and baggage.

Direction of Movement, Lines of Sight: for the most part the wheel seems to be going counterclockwise. My eye is really drawn to the dragon trying to fetch the wand., Is the past trying to snatch the future?

Distance Amont Objects: quite connected.

Relative Sizes: based on this deck proportionate.

Accidents: none, everything fit.

3. Find the main focus - where eye is most stongly pulled

What does this suggest as the focus of your concern? That I fear the future, feel it is slipping away, but am making an effort to catch it.

What is the actual center? How does it relate to the focus? The scared Knight of Wands that dropped his wand and is afraid his mount wants to eat him. It is the character the focus is about.

What and where are the major energy meeting places? right lower quadrant of the drawing. The mount is trying to get the Knight's attention, the dragon is trying to catch the falling wand, the ocean is churning.

The action seems to be taking place in the foreground on the right bottom part of the card - right=future, bottom=unconscious, foreground=dominant, active, current.

4. Where or what are you in the picture? Speaking from this point of view:
What are you doing? holding on for dear life AND flying fast chasing that wand I dropped.

How do you feel? scared, ashamed, and anxious - on the verge of panic.

What do you want or need? I say I want to be left alone, but I that what I might be needing is some good direction. A good teacher to help me develop my gifts. I want my wand back!

Where do you want to go or what do you want to do next? honestly, I am not sure.

5. What or who are the other figures?
- The joey represents my friends.
- The cat with the sword represents work.
- The frog mount is what will take me to my future. It is a calling I am yet to discern or understand.

What is the interaction between the you in item 4 and these figures? Both the me's identified (dragon and frog knight of wands) are connected with the frog mount. Both of the me's are very separated from the other figures.

How are these other figures (and objects) also you? The falling wand is how I feel. Passionate, energized, but lost. The mount could be my eagerness. The snake the part of me that is tired and willing to with the flow just to keep the peace. The joey, my inner child always bright and optimistic. The cat with the swods, the me that tends to do all of my responsibilities (home, work, etc.)

6) Where are the greatest problems, obstacles, or stuck energy? The all lie within the terrified Knight. He has no confidence, wants to avoid conflict, but at the same time does want to get where he is supposed to go. He just does not know how (hence he mounted the wheel instead of his frog mount).

7) What is missing from the picture? The mother kangaroo from the Sun card.

8) What is the task or opportunity in your picture? To grab that wand and ge on that frog mount and leap off the blessed wheel for once and for all. Embracing the future and leaving the past as experience and lessons learned, not as a focal point to always go back to or to let my life revolve around.

Is there something that needs to be changed for you to feel more empowered? My perspective and point of view. I need to be willing to take more risks, and not fear conflict.


Squeak I love your drawing! neat how the things you don't think about end up being the ones that seem to mean the most when drawing them. Like you, color for me was a big thing.

Dave I did not see an attachment to your post.

I only did the 3 card drawing, were we supposed to draw our card too?


Working with Your Drawing(3 card combo)

Using Victorian Romantic and Ravenswing's Three Card Morning Spread

Ques 1-Where am I? Queen of Swords
Ques 2-Where am I going? 10 of Wands
Ques 3-How will I get there? The High Priestess

Initially looking at the 3 cards side by side, I sense that my energy/endurance level will be tested. Currently rather stable(Queen of Swords), then rather haggard(10 of Wands), transported on a plume of smoke which makes me think that 'getting there' is less important than just believing in moving along...


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1)Describe your picture.
-What's Happening in it?
A golden pot of red liquid is smoldering in the distance as a woman walks along a rocky path carrying a basket of kindling wood. The mountains stretch out behind her.

-How did you get from the cards to the drawing?
Immediately the mountains in the QoS caught my eye and kept that horizon line going into the 10 of Swords, so it was a pretty smooth transition.

-Did anything surprise you?
How bringing in the mountain as another character could unify all three cards in one.

2)Note the following and their possible significance.

-Dominant colors
Purple(higher consciousness) and green(hope/growth), some blue(truth) both taken from background.

-Energy flows
The woman's steps blending into the smoke.

-Direction of movement, lines of sight
The woman figure is center, and it looks as if she is walking to the left of the card(past?).

-Distance among objects
The woman seems closest while the mountains and smoking golden pot(pot smoke???no-no-no-NO)is 'far out'.

-Relative size
I tried to make the woman central, I saw her as moving the story along, as it were.

Yeah---when I looked at the scanned version, this woman looks like she is walking away from a very large dog wagging its tail as it kneels and eats its poop!? That brown bit is suppose to be the stump of a tree taken from the 10 of Wands. I thought it rather odd, and then I wondered what was I REALLY thinking?!

3)Find the main focus-where your eye is most strongly pulled.

-What does this suggest as the focus of your concern?
That there is some real work to be done.

-What's at the actual center? How does it relate to focus?
The woman is at the center(yin energy?), perhaps activity is not the only way to be 'productive'. That there is something to be said for receptive energy.

-What and where are other major energy meeting places?
The smoke leading into the trees is rather tranquil, and the woman’s shadow beneath her feet denoting movement, heaviness.

Consider the following:
-left of card(past); The stump of tree that looks like poop…cleaning up the mess made, lol!
-center of card(present); Keeping busy, urge to clean up.
-right of card(future); a warm meal is waiting, sustenance in several forms.
-Above as spiritual; the mountains, stillness.
-Below as unconscious; rocky grey path, the difficulty in growing things.
-Foreground as dominant, active…work, the mundane
-Background as distant, less effectual…mountains and sky, beyond my grasp of comprehension.

4)Where or what are you in the picture?
I’m the woman.
-What are you doing?
Picking up a basket of wood
-How do you feel?
Tired, but I know it must be done.
-What do you want or need?
To get things in order.
-Where do you want to go or what do you want to do next?
To settle this bundle down, and then get something to eat/rest.

5)What or who are the other figures?
The mountains and the pot of red liquid and smoke.
-What is the interaction between “you” in item 4 and these figures?
The mountains offer protection and the pot with red liquid is my sustenance.
-How are these objects also you?
The mountains are a steadiness within me, and the pot of red, hot liquid is my wanting to know more.

6)Where are the greatest problems, obstacles, stuck energy?
I think they are represented by the tree stump to the left of the card(past). That I am tackling them, turning them into kindling wood now. Sort of like making lemonade out of lemons.

7)What is missing from the picture?
I think I included everything and a little more(without knowing it) into this drawing, lol.

8) What is the task or opportunity in your picture?
I think it just affirms where I actually am right now…keeping busy in more ways than one, and feeling rather motivated, interested in growing, doing, seeking out. It does feel somewhat solitary but I am enjoying myself in a quiet way. All the studying, and doing of things in new ways sort of makes the drudgery (chopping wood, and carrying water) worth it (the HP’s golden pot of red liquid and smoke).
I do think there is plenty to learn. The type of plenty that will be utilize at a later date.
You know I really enjoyed this step, and yes, it did take some work, but I am truly pleased with the results.
This exercise has given me much needed energy and focus to just keep going:)


Houston, we have a problem

To quote a famous phrase from a Moon-bound space ship several decades ago, I have a problem ---- I can't attach an image. I think I let my membership elapse. Oh well, I'll have to check my account. I've got no star by my name now, so I guess I'm in limbo-land for a bit. Dave


Jewel said:
Squeak I love your drawing! neat how the things you don't think about end up being the ones that seem to mean the most when drawing them. Like you, color for me was a big thing.
Thanks Jewel! Yes, exactly, and that's what makes it all so rewarding:)