Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Lesson 7 -- Choosing a deck -- Suits/Symbolism -- Orientation of the people on a card -- the Two of Wands

Lesson 7 is interspersed in the breakdown of the Two of Wands. The lesson is about choosing tarot decks, paying attention to how suits are incorporated into a card, and noticing the orientation of the figures on a card.

To the left is the Two of Wands from the
Motherpeace Tarot. I bought this deck because it was ROUND and becuase it was multi-racial. Sadly, I really don't like the deck. The artwork doesn't speak to me at all. I personally don't think the artwork is very good. I am also not fond of the symbolism throughout most of the deck. The card backs are gorgeous, but this wasn't my best purchase.
This deck taught me to look at the quality of the artwork in a deck before I buy it. Before this deck, I really didn't know to do that. I bought a deck because of the title, the colors, and the concept. I simply didn't know a thing about art back then... not that I'm highly educated on art now! But you know what I mean. I so dislike this deck that I hardly ever read with it, despite it being wonderfully round and being quite delightful to hold in my hands. I couldn't read with it at all at first, but the longer I have it the easier it is to read with. I still don't like the artwork though.
Regardless, I chose to use this card as an example for the Two of Wands because it's such a non-traditional take on the card. A woman is imagining (or perhaps remembering) what she could be using her wands for. Wands are often seen as being of the fire element. They are also seen as representing entrepreneurs. Invention (of tools to create fire) isn't so far from entrepreneurial sprit.
So, what elements exist in this card that we can use an apply in a tarot reading? This woman is a problem-solver. She's someone who can use what she has available to improve her situation. She can envision ideas and she can implement them.
What if this card were reversed? Or what if you draw it and its more obvious aspects don't speak to you? What is the other side of this card? When I turn this card upside down I am less aware of the woman who is doing the thinking and more conscious of the woman inside the thought bubble. I'm more aware of her foot on the wand and the movement of her hands. When I turn this card upside down, it becomes a card that is less about ideas and invention and more about implementation of ideas and taking action.
The card to the right is how you usually see the Two of Wands. A man stands atop his castle, he holds a globe of the Earth in one hand. A staff in his other hand represents his power and success, the land around him represents his wealth, yet he wants more. At least that's one way to see it.
Yes, maybe he is holding the globe in his hand and maybe it represents how he feels like he owns the world, maybe he feels he's king of all he surveys. Or, maybe, the man holds the globe as a symbol of what he has not yet accomplished or experienced. Looking at it that way, he's now a man wistfully thinking about land he has yet to conquer.
Funny thing about tarot reading and intuition, you may see this card one way for one person and another way for someone else. It's good to explore every card and understand the multiple meanings one card can have.
Notice also that the wands are sprouting leaves (traditionally wands are alive). Wands are about growth, enthusiasm, and passion. In the Motherpeace deck the woman's wands aren't sprouting anything, but they are certainly being used as tools to create something--fire! And the wands also inspired thought in the woman. When you are reading tarot, remember to pay attention not just to the suit but how a particular suit is being used in the cards.
Let's talk about past and future for a moment. For Westerners, it's common to perceive the future as being to the right and the past being to the left. This shows up in our handwriting and in our body language when we are trying to remember something (our eyes drift to the left). Notice the woman on the Motherpeace card. Yeah, she's looking to her left but from our perspective she's facing the right side of the card--the future. She is thinking about what she is going to do. I see that card as a future oriented card. In the Universal Waite (above) Two of Wands the man looks off to the left side of the card. To me, he is wistful. He is thinking about what should have been or what he wishes for. He has so much, why is he so determined to have more? Something from his past driving him, perhaps? Which way the figures are facing on the cards you draw are something to factor into your readings. More on that later.


Max Coutinho said...


This is very interesting, but I have a question:
I saw a deck of Aleister Crowley's and its two of wands has two wands crossed facing both right and left. How does one read this?

The motherpeace card lacks art finesse, indeed (I would find it difficult to read on it too)!


Tarot Reader said...

Oh dear, hi Max. For some reason I am not getting comments made here. I'm so sorry. I didn't mean to ignore you. I am rather unfamiliar with the Toth tarot and don't know what Crowley's LWB has to say about this card, but to me when you see something crossed it is symbolic of a crossroads, of conflicting emotions, and possibly indecision. So often the Two of Wands shows someone thinking hard, trying to plan their future and figure out what to do next. The Two of Swords, traditionally, shows someone nearly paralyzed by their indecision. Blinded by it, you might say. So, without knowing more about the deck, I would see that card as a crossroads--someone trying to figure out what to do in regard to work or some project. Someong trying to figure out what's next and maybe feeling unsure.

Cheers back to you and sorry for the delay. I don't know what I haven't clicked on this blog, but something isn't right. Guess I should look again. Namaste.