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The Hanging Man

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Here we see a man being suspended from a tree upside down by his ankle. The other at an angle that upon looking at it again makes the number 4 (an expression of the 4 directions). His expression is not one of angst but of peace, calm and an almost dreamy state with the golden halo around his head. The Raven holds a pentagram indicating the 4 elements: earth, air, water, fire all enclosed by Spirit. Although his hands are behind him he isn’t struggling and it could be that he is just easing his back against the tree. Why is he just hanging there? Perhaps he can free himself from the binds? It appears he is hanging here by choice?

The Hanging Man is a card about awakening and enlightenment. Rachel Pollack describes it as “the reversal of physical posture serves as a very direct symbol of the reversal of attitude and experience that comes through spiritual awakening. Where everyone else is frenzied, you will know peace. Where other people believe themselves to be free, but are actually pushed from one thing to another by forces they do not understand, you will achieve true freedom by understanding and embracing those forces.”

“Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.” ~Lao Tzu

How do we achieve an awakening and enlightenment? Everyone has their own manner, some people will do a food fast or other type of physical deprivation. Others go a gentler route such as meditation, yoga, join a spiritual group or simply get out in Nature and go for a walk among the bees and butterflies. Once we have an awakening or enlightenment it gives us the opportunity to create space for something new by releasing that which no longer serves us. We are able to surrender and release our thoughts about whatever situation was bothering us. We release the stored up emotions that we have attached to the situation. Breathe easy now, look at things in a different perspective.

“Learned we may be with another man’s learning: we can only be wise with wisdom of our own.” ~Michel de Montaigne

In readings The Hanged Man shows that life may be in a period of suspension. This allows us the time to look at the goings on in our life in a different light, a new wisdom and fresh perspective is ours. We may need to regain our independence again as perhaps we have been giving in to others and not being true to ourselves. Being true to our own Soul can be a difficult task at times, people may think you foolish for trying to obtain your dreams and desires. Usually this is because they are not trying hard enough to reach their goals of their own!

This card can also mean self-sacrifice, the need to give something up in the short-term to obtain something far more beneficial in the long term. This is also about delayed gratification which is a form of self-sacrifice or a difficult trial. This isn’t a card to be feared as it is of a voluntary position. So look at things from a difference perspective and turn things on their head. Your new view may just suit you!

“Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.” ~Confucius

Blessings on your Journey! ~Tricia

Justice

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In the Rider-Waite deck we see a person sitting upon a stone bench, is this a man or a woman? It appears rather androgynous doesn’t it? In most of my other decks it is defiantly a woman. And sometimes she is blindfolded. Here in one hand a sword is held and the other a set of scales. One foot peeks out from beneath her robe while the other remains hidden. She sits between 2 stone pillars.

What does the symbolism mean?

The pillars represent duality and choices: light and dark, male and female, yin and yang.

We see the double edged sword raised towards the heavens which represents the air element and that of logic and reason. Every decision we make is double edged. It will not only have an effect on us but others as well. In addition after the decision is made it will come back around to us which we will see in the card of The Judgement later on in this Tarot Background series.

 

The scales held in her hand represent balance, while her fingers pointed down represent grounding; time to make a balanced, logical decision which will bring about a balance of past and future events.

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Free will or destiny? – We are all thinking individuals which means we all have the opportunity of choice, we are free to do whatever we want. However our free will is governed by our past choices. If we do not understand ourselves, how can we expect to make a free choice? Only by seeing and accepting the past can we free ourselves from it.

When we see something in a Tarot reading that we don’t like, we have the opportunity to take action to correct it, to change the path we are on. However, we may have this foresight and be forewarned about an upcoming event, yet we must truly understand why it is coming and work on the causes within ourselves for the things we do and the ways we react.

We have to know how to use our free will or we will be constantly repeating our past behaviors. Our actions we have taken in the past have formed us and we our future selves are formed by the actions we take now in the present.

In a Tarot Reading:

Throughout our life we are presented choices, these create our future. Past decisions we’ve made are coming back to us now.  This card usually deals with reason and fairness, logical and not emotional decisions. The High Priestess is more of an emotional intuitive balance, here we need to buckle down and cast the emotions aside. You may have to make a major decision, one that will have a significant impact on your future so weigh your options and be balanced and fair in your dealings. You have good judgement at this time and you’re not swayed by personal considerations or bias. You should be able to see the truth of the matter, act in honesty and remember that the choices we make now will influence our future.

The Justice card also deals with legal matters or legal documents, so a prenuptial agreement, marriage license or certificate, divorce, parenting strategies, wills, trusts or anything to do with legal documents.

The Justice card usually indicates a legal ruling upon a matter falling in favor of the rightful side and usually has a beneficial outcome!

“Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide.” ~Napoleon Bonaparte

Blessings!

Tricia of FreeBirdJourneys.com

The Wheel of Fortune

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Here we see a wheel, set against the backdrop of the sky. There is no human element available to take control of the wheel and influence its movement. The movement of the wheel is random, so perhaps fate or luck are at work? What is controlling this wheel?

As the wheel turns, does it dip into our conscious when on the downward dip and the subconscious on the upward swing? Or, does this represent the ups and downs that we experience on our life journey? The downs give us our strength while the ups allow us to rejoice that we made it through the troublesome times and it is all a part of God’s divine plan? This divine plan is held at bay because of our lack of perception that everything is intertwined, we are all connected. Truly everything connects because we are all part of the Universe that was designed by God.

“Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.” – Dali Lama

Now at the halfway point though our journey through the Major Arcana Tarot cards we see a vision of the inner meaning of life. We’re all connected, and as the wheel turns change occurs within us and we too along with it. Whereas the Hermit turned away from the outer world to concentrate his attention within, now with the Wheel of Fortune we start again on our journey.

“Learned we may be with another man’s learning: we can only be wise with wisdom of our own.” -Michael de Montaigne

Hopefully we’ve gotten a sense of where we have been, but now where and what do we want to head towards? Are we at a milestone of some kind? Finishing High School, graduating from College, getting married? Or are we going through a divorce and having to start all over again? Completed caring for an aging parent that took much of our time and now that the loved one has passed, what to do with the free time? Perhaps retirement is on the horizon and all the free time is staring us in the face while we’re wondering if this is the road we want to travel, the change difficult but exciting as it is unknown?

In divinatory meanings:

The Wheel of Fortune is known as a ‘destiny card’ and typically brings a positive change of fortune. Some change of fortune should be coming about in your life, typically for the better. However, even though it may be for the better, we may not understand just why this has come about. Fate? Or as some say, Karma? Things change, life changes and as such the Wheel turns.

Another thing to remember with the Wheel of Fortune is to remain grounded and center yourself so while the wheel turns you have the opportunity to control your reaction to the changes it brings. Do you act out, or do you accept and adapt? What will your reaction be? How will you respond? This IS up to you!

Lastly, it indicates a new cycle of change where much progress can be made. Be sure to make the most of this fortunate time as change is constant. What will come next?!

“Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.” –Dalai Lama

 

Blessings on your journey!

Tricia of FreeBirdJourneys.com

The Hermit

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When we think of a Hermit we may think of two paths, one inner and one outer. There is the inner withdrawal – to go within and reconnect with Spirit or the outer withdrawal from the world. Meditation is a useful process here. The prospect of finding or connecting to God/Spirit through a personal experience. Hermits were also thought of as living Saints.

We may also see the Hermit as a teacher, the special guide that will help us find our way. This could be a tarot card reader, a therapist, a mentor, a spirit guide or even our dreams. The star in the lantern that the Hermit holds gives us what we need to find him, the guiding light. He will help us find our way if we use our Strength from the previous card to follow him.

In a reading the Hermit symbolizes a withdrawal from outer concerns. This can be emotional withdrawal and at times from other people and activities that we thought were important. If you’ve been overworking yourself you may need to take a rest and relax, get in touch with yourself. Your maturity that you gained in the Chariot will serve you well as you now have a knowledge of what really matters in your life. You have all the answers within you but you may need a bit of time to access them.

When we see the Hermit as a guide this allows you to make your own self-discoveries. It is smart to follow your own path and principles even when you may feel lost. Perhaps you may need to reestablish your balance and allow time and space for all factors to emerge. If you have a major decision to make, now is not the time to do it even if you’re feeling pressured into it. Wait, go within and stand by your principles.

When you are in the healing traditions or that of a parent, you may indeed be the Hermit displaying your role as a guide and teacher to others. When others are in disagreement and both sides blame you, step back. If there is no audience, the quarreling will usually die down.

Keywords for The Hermit: careful thought & contemplation, guide, teacher, wisdom, peace, solitude, knowledge, searching, meditation, research & study, seeker, reflection, intuition.

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is the easiest; and third, by experience which is the bitterest.” ~Confucius

“In order to change the world, you have to get your head together first.” ~Jimi Hendrix

Blessings on your Journey,

Tricia

Strength

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The card of Strength shows a sensual and serene woman taming a lion as she gently closes his mouth. As we have moved through the Major Arcana we have gone from a young babe to a mature adult seeking victory. Now we introduce the inner Strength that we all have available inside us to confront ourselves calmly and without fear. The woman represents our higher self while the lion represents our shadow self.

As we travel along on our life journey we have our ups and downs, our victories and our defeats. Strength allows us to face our challenges which can me mental, emotional or physical. We now have the ability to control and direct the self and where we want to go. We have our victory from The Chariot, now Strength gives us the ability to take that victory even further by releasing all the energy we have in our feelings. Our feelings are strong, powerful and a great compass to directing our own life path.

When going through the problems and crises we face it is our inner Strength that allows us to see things through. We have passion but are in control of it and do not succumb to it. We have an inner Strength that we truly are not aware of, by going within and tapping into this energy we can harness this power.

In addition this card shows patience and diplomacy. The woman is being gentle with the lion, her face is calm, serene. She doesn’t use brute force or show an appearance of angst, terror, pressure or anger.

Keywords for Strength: Patience, diplomacy, courage, inner strength, quiet determination, feminine charms, calm, personal control, confidence, using physical power only when necessary.

“Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any other.” ~Abraham Lincoln

Blessings on your Journey,

Tricia

 

The Chariot

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Here we see our hero, the man in the Chariot out to conquer. Words that come to mind are victory, success, speed and will.

How did the Charioteer harness all this energy? When looking at the previous cards on our Tarot Journey we can see growth and maturity. No longer the adolescent, we now see a mature adult. When we think of a mature adult we usually envision someone who is successful in their life, admired by others, a person of confidence with control over themselves, their mind, their feelings. Maturity is here and instills a strong will and you’re ready to succeed.

With maturity also comes a maturity of Spirit. Spiritual victory comes when we can connect to nature, to that which is larger than us and through our conscious will establish a connection. Through our Spirit we are able to focus and release our force. We also learn as we get older to control our ego, this gives us the ability to resolve our conflicts in life.

Looking at the card we see the Charioteer holds no reigns, he is guiding the sphinx by the sheer force of his will. This implies his strong character. His emotions are strong, mature, and stable. The town in the background is small indicating his strength in himself and not that of society holding the reigns.

In a reading The Chariot is a card of triumph through personal effort. Self-discipline is required so your victory may be achieved. You should be succeed over any obstacles that lie ahead. Just as the charioteer is the driving force you must use your will, intention and focus to persevere.

You may also have an inner conflict (rather than external) in order to succeed you need to control this so you may achieve your success. Obstacles and blocks will be removed but you must focus upon your path, if you get distracted you may veer off course.

Keywords for The Chariot: Victory, change, travel, big change, new adventures, personal vision, strength of will, moving house, making a major or minor life change in career or lifestyle, a vacation, self-confidence, motivation, determination, personal power.

“Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goals.” ~ Henry Ford

Blessings to you on your journey,

Tricia

 

The Lovers

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In the Rider Waite depiction (middle card above) we see a mature man and a single woman presided over by an angel. In earlier versions of card #6 the title was ‘The Choice’ with the divination meaning of an important choice between two desires. We still see this card referring to choices in life which can be major or minor.

Our life is once ongoing choice. These options appear at a young age. In adolescence we first begin challenging the authority of our parents and their expectations of us.

Reviewing the previous cards of the Major Arcana, The Empress #3, The Emperor #4 and The Hierophant #5 we see the individual shaped by nature, society and our parents. Now we can see how the Lovers expresses our sexuality (and awakening hormones) that emerge with adolescence giving way to moral independence. As we mature it is time to make our own decisions, take hold of responsibilities and realize our desires moving forward on our life path.

Our adolescent years are the beginning of our forming relationships with others, which opens the way to what has been called ‘puppy love’. In addition we begin to establish relationships with our friends, mentors, and teachers. As we get older and more socially experienced we learn the give and take of relationships, the choices we face where we are given the glimpse of a new unity with others as well as a new relationship with our self. When becoming open to someone else we are given the option, the choice of surrendering our ego and seeing something greater than ourselves, thus represented by the Angel in the Rider Waite depiction.

Divinatory Meanings:  The Lovers card indicates love and relationships which are so very important to us in all stages of our life. We have our parental relationship, family, friends, teachers, spirit, and as we get older our coworkers, bosses, mentors, love interests, spouse, children and so on.

A particular relationship has or will become very important, you may even obtain a new life lesson via this relationship. This can also indicate help from your lover or emotional support in or from a relationship.

In the past it can represent nostalgia for an old lover, the present: your current love interest & the present choices you face in the relationship; the future: a new love on the horizon or making a commitment in a present relationship such as marriage, engagement or other relationship tie such as career or business. All of these instances involve choice. So follow your heart and keep in mind the higher good. Perhaps the Angel is a matchmaker bringing two lovers, or two people together and the Angel watching over the couple.

Some Keywords of this card:  Love, desire, destiny, romance, attraction, romantic bliss, emotions, harmony, the perfect union expressed through love, growth, duality, opposites, partners. Challenges overcome so that two lovers can be together. Choices in our relationships past, present and future.

“Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart.” ~ Confucius

“To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.” ~Oscar Wilde

 

Blessings on your journey!

Tricia