The Major Arcana Archive

The Major Arcana, or Trumps, of the Tarot is a series of 22 cards that form a story, the journey of the innocent being called The Fool. In this section of The Chariot (which is also one of the Trumps!) I’ll be recording my musings and meditations about these important cards.

The Idea Tarot Spread

The Idea Spread is to be used when you’re trying to think of new ways to handle a situation, and nothing so far seems quite right. The point is not for the Tarot to tell you what to do, but to get your mind thinking in new directions (or perhaps, to point out that some of the ideas you’ve already had are better than you realized.)


3  4       5  6
      1  2

  • 1 and 2 are the idea.
  • 3 and 4 are how the idea could be carried out.
  • 5 and 6 are what could happen if you do carry it out.

I put two cards in each position because I thought it would give more information, without being overwhelming. You can, of course, add more cards if necessary.

You can lay out two or more ideas from the same deck shuffle, or you could return the cards to the deck and reshuffle for each individual idea.

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The Tarot Empress in the Whimsical and Fairytale Decks

In the Whimsical Tarot, the Empress is the Old Women in the Shoe. The card shows her sitting on the steps of her house, a baby in her lap. There are children playing beside her and looking out the windows. Flowers are blooming and everyone looks happy and content.

Af first glance, this seems like a good choice for the Empress, who I see as a warm and loving women in rich and abundant surroundings. However, consider the entire nursery rhyme:

There was on old woman
Who lived in a shoe.
She had so many children,
She didn’t know what to do.

She gave them some broth
Without any bread,
Then whipped them all soundly
And sent them off to bed.

The part of about having a lot of children fits my image of the Empress as fruitful abundance. But the rest? She obviously doesn’t have much food, or she could give them more than broth—that’s not very abundant. And whipping them all (for apparently no reason) certainly isn’t very loving. So she doesn’t make such a good Empress after all.

The Fairytale Tarot uses Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother as the Empress. In the book for this deck, Karen Mahony points out “she is totally unlike the rather capricious and unpredictable fairies of many stories, but instead is a wholly good, kind, maternal and protective spirit who guards over Cinderella.” I never thought of her that way before, but now that I think about it, she does have a lot of Empress qualities.

Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother appears as High Priestess In the Whimsical Tarot. In my post on this card I said that she sounds more like the Magician to me, because she gets things done. Now that I’ve thought about it a bit, she probably isn’t quite right for the Magician because he has an element of the Trickster in him, and Cinderella’s godmother certainly does not. But it’s still a better fit for her than the High Priestess. (She’s also assigned to the High Priestess in the Inner Child deck.)

Now consider this bit about the Empress on Aeclectic Tarot:: “The Empress is a creator, be it creation of life, of romance, of art or business. While the Magician is the primal spark, the idea made real, and the High Priestess is the one who gives the idea a form, the Empress is the womb where it gestates and grows till it is ready to be born.”

This is a slightly new aspect of these three cards for me and I’ll have to let the idea gestate a while in order to integrate it into my previous thoughts. The Magician as spark and the Empress as actual creator makes sense, although up to now I’ve been thinking of the Magician as a creator as well. But I’m not sure about the High Priestess as the one who gives form to the idea—like I said, I’ll l have to think about it for a while.

However, this idea does fit the numbers of the cards: Magician is 1, High Priestess is 2, Empress is 3. In Choice Centered Tarot, Gail Fairfield says that three takes the energy of the one and the direction of the two and puts them together to get results. Which is another way of saying what the Aeclectic Tarot item said.

The Fairytale Tarot: For a Happy Ever After

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The Encourage Discourage Tarot Spread

I came up with this four card Tarot spread a few days ago while riding home from work on the bus. I haven’t used it yet, so if you do and it’s useful, please let me know.


          3      4
             2
             1
  • Card 1 is the present situation as it relates to your question or concern.
  • Card 2 is what could happen in the near future if things continue as they are.
  • Card 3 is what you can do to try to discourage the events in card 2, or what not to do if you want them to happen.
  • Card 4 is what to do to try and encourage the events in card 2, or what not to to if you want to discourage them.
Power Tarot : More Than 100 Spreads That Give Specific Answers to Your Most Important Question Designing Your Own Tarot Spreads (Special Topics in Tarot)
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The Whimsical Tarot High Priestess

In the Whimsical Tarot, the High Priestess is represented by Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother. Now, to me, the High Priestess is connected with our subconsious, our intuition. She’s the other side of the Magician. While he is active, she is passive. While he reaches up to grasp ideas and manifest them into reality, she holds on to what she discovers in the world of the non-physical, and will only reveal what she knows if you approach her in the right way.

Toni Allen has this to say about the Tarot High Priestess: “She is the mystery of life, the great unknown. She symbolises in life all that we are unable to perceive. She sits in front of the veil to the portal to all answers to the universe. She represents the cause behind all actions and all creations. When we fall still during meditation we are able to go beyond the veil and find answers to our questions regarding life and its meaning. Thus we gain insight and understanding.”

Try as I might, I can’t see what Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother has to do with this. She seems more like the Magician to me. Not because she actually does magic, but because she makes things (Cinderella’s dress, her glass slippers) mainfest in the real world. She’s active, not passive. Even the picture on the card shows this: she has the same pose as the magician, one hand reaching up, the other down.

I thought maybe I had trouble seeing the connection because I’m a beginner and don’t really understand the High Priestess that well, but then I found this comment about the Whimsical High Priestess by Lee A. Bursten: “Maybe it’s just me, but I can’t find any suggestion of the traditional associations of the High Priestess, such as mystery, hidden secrets, the unknowable, intuition, learning, withdrawal or meditation, in this description. In the ‘Advice’ section for the card, Morrison does tell us to ‘Look for information that is hidden from view … listen to your intuition.’ But those things are not (or at least not to me) suggested by either the picture or in Morrison’s ‘Description’ section.”

What fairy-tale character would make a good Tarot High Priestess? I can’t name a spercific tale, but in many stories there is a mysterious Wise Women the Hero must approach for advice. She usually lives in a hard-to-reach, isolated place and the Hero must meet certain qualifications or pass certain tests before she is willing to give him the knowldege he seeks. I think this character would make a good High Prestess, both becuase of her access to secret knowledge and because in order to gain that knowledge you must follow her rules and not the rules of the world.

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Whimsical Tarot Magician: Puss ‘n Boots

On the Whimsical Tarot Magician card Puss ‘n Boots stands proudly, his right hand holding a sword above his head, his left pointing down. This is the usual pose for the Magician; it symbolizes the connection between the spirit and physical worlds and the ability to take ideas from the realm of the spirit and manifest them in the physical.

As is also usual for this card, there is a lemniscate above Puss’s head (The lemniscate is a sideways figure 8. It is a symbol of mathematical infinity which can also stand for the infinity of possibilities.) He is surrounded by symbols of the four suits of the Minor Arcana: wands, swords, cups and pentacles. According to Gail Fairfield in Choice Centered Tarot, this symbolizes the idea that the processes of the Minor Arcana are the tools the magician uses to move between fantasy and reality.

In the story of “Puss ‘n Boots” a miller dies, leaving only his cat to his youngest son. The cat, however, has ideas. Through a variety of tricks and stratagems, Puss brings the young man to the favorable attention of the King and the King’s daughter, and eventually gets him a fine castle and the hand of the Princess in marriage.

I think Puss makes an excellent Magician. For one thing, he gets things done. To me, one of the key aspects of the Magician is his abiilty to make something out of nothing; his ability to take his thoughts, fantasies and dreams and turn them into reality. In order to do this, he must master his surroundings and his own skills and talents. This means that the Magician also implies this mastery and, I think, a knowledge of just what your talents and skills are. If you don’t know what you’re good at, you might waste time trying to use skills you don’t have. (Puss first gains the King’s favor by catching rabbits and other game and giving them to the him. Capturing game is obviously a “catly” skill and one Puss was very good at, so it was wise to use this method.)

Puss also embodies another aspect of the Magician, that of the Trickster. Fairfield, says “The Magician, familiar with tricks of the trade, can discriminate between illusion and truth while the audience may not know the difference.” This is also true of Puss, who is the only one who really knows what’s going on as he manipulates both King and his master to the desired end (which is a positive conclusion for all concerned).

I think it’s important that Puss does not do supernatural magic, but accomplishes his self-appointed task by using his intelligence, cunning and creativity. This reminds us that the Magician’s power comes, not from some special ability only a few of us have, but from the effort of concentrated will and determination.

Choice Centered Relating and the Tarot

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Oz, Tarot and the Scarecrow

The Fool in the Whimsical Tarot is the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. He’s chasing a butterfly and is approaching alarmingly close to a deep pit filled with roaring flames. A little black dog - Toto! - stands on the Yellow Brick Road.

At first I wondered about the flames since they’re not ordinarily found on the Fool card. But then I realized that they’re necessary because a mere fall down into a pit won’t hurt the Scarecrow! However, the flames can burn him up and so represent real danger.

I point out in passing that both the Whimsical and Inner Child cards have the Fool holding or chasing a butterfly instead of the conventional white rose.

The Inner Child deck also has a card featuring the Scarecrow. In this deck he’s the Seeker (Knight) of Swords, and we see him waiting in his corn field before Dorothy comes along. There’s a crow or raven on the fence post, a rooster and hen outside the fence, and sunflowers growing inside, along with the corn. (more…)

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The Fool Card from the Inner Child Tarot Deck

The Fool card from the Inner Child tarot deck is very different from most fools. Instead of the usual variation of a youth on a cliff, it shows Little Red Cap (Little Red Riding Hood), basket in hand and a butterfly perched on her finger, as she starts out on her journey to her grandmother’s house. The Wolf lurks behind a tree, waiting to approach her.

There’s a sense of innocence and wonder here, but with the real presence of evil or danger waiting if you’re not careful. It’s also, like most of the Inner Child cards, very pleasant to look at.

I did read the entry in the book when I got it, so I have a memory that this character stands for innocence. She has no idea of evil or who the wolf is and no thought to be careful. (Well, her mother warned her, but the warning has no real meaning for her yet, as evil is outside her personal experience.)

Two things pop into mind here: (more…)

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