Read an Excerpt
Our spread will be a simple
three-card spread addressing underlying problems (cards 1 and 2), and a
direction or potential for alleviating those problems (card 3), in
response to a client's desire to identify what the crux of the
communication problem is in a familial relationship.
The following cards were drawn:
Card 1: Five of Swords
Card 2: Ten of Wands
Card 3: Page of Cups
Interpret the RW cards according to their positions and synthesize the combination.
What message or insights are you getting from these cards? Now, using
the ST, select the same cards from this deck and lay them alongside
their RW counterparts. What do these cards tell you that you might have
missed in the previous layout? What further amplification are you
getting with these cards? How are you hearing that “second voice” with
this deck? Is the message stronger? Does it change? Are you getting
reinforcement of the initial message, or is this additional information
that needs to be synthesized?
Five of Swords
of Swords in the RW deck shows a man in possession of three swords while
two lay behind him on the ground.He has a smirk on his face and appears
by expression and posture to be gloating as he looks at the people in
the background. In the ST deck's depiction of this card, Rachel Pollack
has painted a dead Shaman, around which circle many-feathered vultures.
As she mentions in her book, one is tempted to turn the card around
seeking the proper orientation, which seems slightly elusive from every
angle. She has made the card deliberately disorienting in an effort to
shake us out of our fixed Western perspective.
While cultural biases
may lead you to concentrate on the dead body or the vultures
themselves, it is important not to miss the nimbus of light surrounding
the head of the Shaman, which signifies his understanding and
self-knowledge. This takes us beyond the usual RW meanings for this card (self-interest of the personality/body, discord, possible
dishonor) to self-empowerment from the proper confrontation of a
situation and the resultant process of healing in order to release that
This family seems to suffer from competitiveness carried to the extreme, a sense of one-upmanship and a tendency to gloat over minor victories.
of these things aggravate communication and make it a real sore point.
This problem will only get bigger if ignored. Things need to be put back
into perspective and healing needs to occur.
Ten of Wands
Ten of Wands in the RW deck shows a man struggling with ten heavy wands
he is carrying awkwardly as he heads in the direction of a house in the
distance. His back is bowed under the weight of the wands. In the ST
depiction of this card (the Ten of Trees), we see a Tree of Life
bursting forth with energy and signifying the pleasures and
satisfactions of daily life. The abundance and variety of our lives is
accentuated rather than the “burdens” of attaining such joys. I find in
this Ten a message we should heed more often, that of thinking less of
our burdens and more of the blessings they truly represent.
through experience, both challenging and rewarding, can you arrive at
consciousness. Perhaps the man in the RW card should glance up and see
just how close the beloved home to which he journeys really is?
or more members of this family feel overburdened. The family has the
health and strength to offer support to the burdened member(s). All
members seem to have suffered from dysfunctional communication for so
long they have missed seeing how close they were in the past and can be
Page of Cups
The RW Page of Cups shows a young
girl holding a cup from which a flying fish protrudes. Common
interpretations of this Page would include: Listen to your emotions and
intuitions; don't miss the opportunity to experience deep feelings and
your inner life; don't be afraid to receive guidance from within. The
comparable ST card (Place of Rivers) is a simple and beautiful
depiction of inner peace. An androgynous figure kneels before a pool of
dark water fed by two lighter-colored streams. Ms. Pollack mentions that
we enter this place “simply by stopping our compulsive outward rush of
attention and turning our awareness inward” (Pollack 2001, 249).
rid of that “neener-neener” approach, that sense of superiority and
preoccupation with who is richer or more successful than whom.
the love that unites you, that bonds you at a root level, but has been
overlooked for so long. And most importantly, remember to love yourself.
Until you have discovered yourself and are truly happy on a soul level
you will not relate well with others, nor will you find peace within.
Look into your cup. It is truly full. See your reflection and then
experience the depths of the liquid within. Therein will you find inner
peace and the love for and communication with others you misplaced along
A second example of this method will be a three-card Past-Present- Future spread using the RW deck and the hauntingly beautiful Legend deck
by Anna-Marie Ferguson. A friend had asked me to read for her when her
sister approached her for advice on her current troubled relationship.
The sister had asked her to give her situation thought, prayer, and even to seek a confidential second opinion if necessary.
my friend approached me to obtain further insights via the Tarot on her
sister's relationship so that she could better give the advice her
The following cards were drawn:
Card 1 (Past): The Tower
Card 2 (Present): Four of Cups
Card 3 (Future): King of Cups
The Tower in the RW deck shows the infamous image of the lightning-struck
tower from which bodies tumble to the earth. In the past position, does
this indicate that the relationship has sustained some sudden dramatic
upheaval or some quick and possibly explosive change? What else can we
learn with the addition of the second deck?
The Legend deck shows us another threatened edifice, but this image shows us there is a specific reason this tower tumbles. Here we see Vortigern's Fortress and the pair of legendary dragons that troubled it.
and time again Vortigern built his fortress, and repeatedly it came
tumbling down. In that legend we learn that Vortigern chose to build
upon a spot underneath which was a subterranean pool of water in which
slept two dragons. Merlin explained that the destruction of the fortress
was due to the nocturnal battles of the awakened dragons.
fortresses (relationships) built on battling dragons can expect constant
strife? Is constant stress and endless strife a good foundation on
which to build your castle?
Foundations have been built on turmoil; relationships need to be built on solid ground.
Four of Cups
Four of Cups is often called the apathy card and is commonly
interpreted as boredom and dissatisfaction of an emotional nature. In
the RW deck a self-absorbed man is seated at the foot of a tree and
gazing listlessly at three cups in front of him while completely missing
the cup in the outstretched hand close by. In Legend we see the disenchanted Knights of the Round Table. They are disgusted, disillusioned,
and uninspired. The tournaments have been fought, the damsels rescued, and
Arthur is away fighting in a distant land. They need something to
motivate them and inspire them anew. In the legend the inspiration they
sought appeared in the appearance of the Grail, symbol of inspiration
and love. Caution is urged here not to let self-imposed apathy allow you
to miss the apparition of your personal Grail. How can you find love if
you see it not?
Hello! This is a
wake-up call. You are bored and you know it. You have emotionally “sold
out.” You have the right to real love. Open your eyes-only then will you
not miss it.
King of Cups Future
The King of Cups (RW)
represents the mastery of all that is embodied by the suit of Cups.As
with all Court cards, the appearance of the King can signify both self
and another in a reading. This King encourages you to acknowledge your
own emotions, feelings, and intuitions. Given the nature of the
question, I feel that the King has definite double meaning here: Only by
knowing your own heart fully and by being ready for an emotion that
empowers as it grows can you share such an emotion with someone else.
This card in the Legend deck is illustrated with the Fisher King,
the name given to the various “kings” entrusted with guardianship of
the Holy Grail. In the legend, only via the Fisher King could one
obtain and unlock the mysteries of the Grail.What better way to meet
your King of Cups than by using that King's energy?
Embrace the healing energy of this King. He lives within you. Know your own heart and you will heal yourself.
you use this method, you will find that certain decks work better
together than others, and you will begin to realize which decks to use
for certain querents or types of questions. The messages are endless and
the many voices of Tarot a siren's song to further study.