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Friday, 16 October 2015

Reading using directionality and reversals

Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Tarot  

This is the reading I've been exploring in my journal for the last few days. I'd drawn cards of the number 5 two days in a row (not pictured). Five being associated with finding balance, I asked 'What is attempting to find balance in my life right now? What is out of balance? and What is maintaining equilibrium?' I drew Magician Rx, Strength, Star.

So, a weakened Magician is attempting to find balance right now. Personal power is not being used to bring my needs into reality. I am not identifying my true needs. Strength has come forward as what is out of balance right now -- again a card of personal power and taking the bull by the horns (or lion by the jaw). The Star has maintained equilibrium -- hope has not been lost. I have felt all along that there is plenty of time to address my issues. I just haven't done anything about them. (The reason why is seen in 9 of Pentacles later).

To rectify the reversed Magician, I drew Hermit and placed it above Magician. I can identify my true needs and establish balance in my personal power within myself, or with the help of a mentor, or in a spiritual tradition or practice. wondering what the Hermit's lamp was lighting, I drew another card to see what was in his line of sight. Queen of Cups. Her posture echoes that of the Hermit -- both facing to the left, both intent upon the item they are holding, for the Hermit, the lamp of enlightenment, for the Queen it's the world's craziest cup, shaped like the Ark of the Covenant with the seraphim on either side (if the Ark of the Covenant were made of spare pipe and hood ornaments nicked from the cars of pimps in Starsky and Hutch.)  Queen of Cups is Water of Water -- and so was the daily card that prompted this draw (not in the photo), 5 of Cups, another Water of Water card. This imbalance or disturbance is in the realm of emotions and relationships and personal power.

 Looking at the Queen of Cups and Hermit makes one long to know what is in their line of sight -- so I drew another card to see what they are looking at and got 8 of Cups reversed. Another Water of Water card! 8 of Cups is recognition of time to move on; reversed suggests confusion or delay in making that move.

How can I overcome this confusion, find some clarity? I drew a card to rectify the 8 of Cups reversed and got -- King of Swords reversed! Fire of Air, reversed. I am Aquarius, and King of Swords is the card associated with Aquarius. He's sort of my default setting. But here, to overcome my confusion about what needs looking at and changing, I can't do it through King of Swords, but through King of Swords reversed. Usually, I tend to be rational about things but now that is not what is needed. To clarify this, I remembered a technique of identifying reversed court cards by identifying their elemental opposite. If King of Swords is Fire of Air, his opposite would be Air of Fire --Knight of Wands!

Knight of Wands, that maker of 'down and dirty' plans, that explorer and adventurer, that risk taker! Knight of Wands? How the heck do I access Knight of Wands energy when I don't even feel that I remotely have it right now?

I took the card out of the pack and looked at it for a while. I noticed the pyramids in the background. The Knight of Wands is not drawing energy from his surroundings, which are dry and barren. His passion is inside him. So it must be somewhere inside of me, even when there is nothing in my environment or situation to feed it. What is the Knight of Wands charging toward? What is he charging away from?

I put the card back in the pack and shuffled to find out which cards he would end up between. I found the Knight of Wands and laid him out with the cards on either side of him: Chariot, Knight of Wands, 9 of Pentacles.

The Knight of Wands is moving away from 9 of Pentacles (Air of Earth), whose energy and line of sight are directed away from him (though her body posture is still open to his direction). Her attention is definitely elsewhere, focused on her bird (Air) of prey (Earth). As Air of Earth, she contemplates the material/physical realm. Her satisfaction with her status quo is evident. She is complacent, self-congratulatory, self-satisfied. These are not bad things, but the way she spends her leisure time may no longer be balanced -- too long standing still. Too long watching others move (her bird of prey, which she will presumably set loose to watch fly).

How does the Knight of Wands move me from too much physical luxury? What does he move me toward? The Chariot, a Water card, associated with Cancer and the Moon. Okay, so the Water of Water cards led me to draw a variety of Water cards that have laid me a path to -- a Water major! The emotional plane is dominant in this issue. Not the material plane or the logical plane, but the emotional plane, and how to take action with balanced emotions.

'Cancer is the gateway to incarnation, as Capricorn (its opposite) is the gateway to ascension. Cancer's energy guides us to learn the distinctions of our emotional and logical reasoning so we can recognise how they don't always agree' - agent64.com/cancer-the-chariot

Like a Cancerian crab, the Chariot has a hard shell and a soft centre -- appearing tough on the outside but deep down quite sensitive and vulnerable.

The Chariot card is full of this tension between opposing forces: black and white sphinxes, male and female, facing in opposite directions, meant to be pulling the chariot but not hitched to it and lying down (they seem ambivalent), the lingam and yoni on the shield (which to me looks like a top that spins in place but doesn't actually get anywhere), the chariot is a conveyance but is built like a cube of concrete, no reins and no motion in the charioteer who is encased in the concrete cube (he seems ambivalent), chariots are often associated with the sun ('chariots of fire') but this one is decorated with moons and starry night skies and is associated with the moon.

In other words, the Knight of Wands is me progressing, through my own inner drive,  toward a state of balance created by acknowledging that there is always a state of perpetual tension, and harnessing that tension to drive my life forward. I have been looking for balance rather than acknowledging constant tension. In fact, I have turned from acknowledgement of tension, turned from the areas that need attention (Water and Fire) and settled into some complacent wallowing in the material realm. And there I've wallowed for quite some time.

'To be useful, either to herself or any higher purpose, she had to use her ambivalence as a driving force in her life, a force that would power the Chariot' (Rachel Pollack, The Forest of Souls, 75).

Much to ponder. The Chariot and the Knight of Wands are going on my altar.

Some of these techniques were shared by Caitlin Matthews in a session at the UK Tarot Conference, October 2015. A webinar and DVD of line of sight and rectifying reversals, etc,  may be available at some point. Visit her website at Hallowquest.

Other techniques seen herein have been shared by Alison Cross in TABI conferences, by Benebell Wen in her book Holistic Tarot, and many others.


  1. Wow, bloody brilliant!. Really interesting and enjoyable and I learned tons there. Thank you for sharing this. BB

    1. You're welcome. How about a link when you try some of these techniques out yourself? Or you could always order a reading. :D

    2. I have two proposed books doing the rounds and at least one of them will include teachings on line of sight and rectification.

    3. I have two proposed books doing the rounds and at least one of them will include teachings on line of sight and rectification.

  2. " (if the Ark of the Covenant were made of spare pipe and hood ornaments nicked from the cars of pimps in Starsky and Hutch.)" Oh Carla, you sure crack me up. Love this! Now every time I look at her, I will never keep a straight face.