The Journey Continues - Part 2 - Last time we looked at the cards 1 through to 7. This article the Journey continues with cards 8 through to 14.
8 - Strength
We see above the head of the woman the symbol for Infinity meaning that she is connected to spirit. She is subduing the lion with her bare hands – she needs no tools or weapons. The card is generally bright and exudes a feeling of fortitude. Flowers adorn the woman and the predominant colour is yellow, which is the colour of thought.
The divinatory meaning is simply Fortitude. Strength of character through hard times. Love and gentleness (the flowers, the female energy) can conquer all. Strength can come in silence and contemplation (the feeling of the card is strong and silent). To know this is to know the higher secrets and be in touch with the divine. Negative aspects of the card can be someone who is a “stick in the mud” and who doesn’t like change. This card can also appear in a spread when someone is needing to exert willpower - if they are studying or dieting for example. Numerically 8 is a very earthy number and with this card I feel it’s about manifesting the divine into the earthly life through the power of will.
9 – The Hermit
The overall feeling of this card is quite calming, with it’s blue and grey tones. The old wise man holds the lantern in front of him, as if it leads the way. Inside the lantern is a bright shining “six rayed” star – the Merkabah, sacred vehicle of the Angels. The name “Hermit” implies being alone – most spiritual leaders have had a period of isolation in their spiritual lives, for example Jesus’ 40 days and nights in the desert, wrestling with the Devil. The lantern leads the way out of the wilderness.
Divinatory meaning – The card therefore represents knowledge in a spread. Waite says the light is saying “where I am, so shall you be” which hints that spiritual knowledge is universal – for everyone, not just the chosen few. This card can sometimes represent study, college or school, or of course spiritual study. It can also mean a period of being on one’s own, which should be taken advantage of, to re-group and re-think. I have also seen this card represent the fact that the sitter’s spirit guide is close by. Number 9 represents attainment, in this sense meaning that you have attained a certain spiritual level.
X – Wheel of Fortune
We see the wheel with the creatures of Ezekiel’s biblical vision surrounding it, and the moving clouds, showing that life is always in flux. The Sphinx at the top of the wheel offers equilibrium - for a short period anyway. The words TARO and the divine letters of gods name are interchanged on the wheel (notice TARO backwards is ROTA and TORA can also be made from these letters) which was intended to show that providence or luck, runs through everything, at God’s will.
Divinatory Meaning – The wheel is always turning. Sometimes we are at the bottom and sometimes the top, but everything is always changing. “This too will pass” is the saying which springs to mind. The wheel reminds us that luck is just that – luck. The ups and downs of life. If you are on the downside of the wheel, take comfort in knowing that this will soon change. 10 represents completion of a cycle, and of course the wheel is a circle – with no end and no beginning. For our purposes, after this number, the numerology of tarot only applies to the minor cards.
XI – Justice
The garment is red, symbolising power. She holds the sword of truth in her right hand the scales of justice in her left. She sits between two pillars, like the High Priestess card, but these pillars are solid, heavy and grey. The pillars of Justice open to one world, those of the High Priestess, to another.
Divinatory Meaning: Quite simply, this card represents Justice in all its forms (including karma). It can also represent balance returning where things may have been chaotic. A good omen if your sitter is in a legal battle (not so good if the card is reversed or negatively aspected).
XII – The Hanged Man
The Hanged Man is one of the cards people are afraid of, but look closely – he is hanging by his feet, not his neck ! He is suspended from the Tau Cross and his leg position forms the Fylfot cross. He has a halo around his head, Waite says, like a Martyr.
The figure as a whole suggests life in suspension – after all he cannot move whilst he is hanging by his feet!
Divinatory Meaning – Life is not moving at the moment – the sitter is being blocked (intentionally or naturally) and cannot move forward or indeed backwards. The fact that the eye is drawn to the head (by the halo) means to me that the sitter should use this time to look at things from a “different angle” – wait, don’t force it, and things will begin to move again when the time is right.
XIII - Death
Another feared card ! In fact, this card has little to do with physical death. The Skeleton rides into town slowly with his banner emblazoned with the Mystic Rose - symbol of life. The sun represents immortality The people around him are all falling to his will – the King’s finery means nothing facing death, the Priest cannot be saved either, despite his “special” position. The Young maiden cannot bear to even look at death - she is too young and full of life – and yet we know that young people die too. The only person who accepts death with open arms is the child. Children have no expectations and worries.
Divinatory Meaning - therefore this card is about our attitude to change – we must try and be like the child and accept change as it comes. Everything has a natural end, and there are times when we must let go and so move forward. If we accept life’s changes as they occur, all will be well. This card usually shows itself when there is a major change in someone’s life (either occurring or about to occur). We must always point out the positive aspects of change and warn against holding on to outworn ideas, relationships and concepts which do no serve us anymore.
XIV - Temperance
The Angel bears the sign of the sun on its head and the sacred shape of the triangle on the chest. It pours water, the essence of life, from chalice to chalice. One foot is on the earth, the other in the water. A direct path upwards sits behind the angel leading to the light.
Divinatory Meaning - Temperance means just that – a harmony between things. Maybe a harmony between spirit and body? The foot in water and on earth would also represent this. Sometimes I feel this card can mean an uneasy balance as the angle of the water flowing between the cups looks forced and unnatural. This card can also mean natural changes in things to bring about balance – like the changing seasons, for example. By keeping balance and excesses under control, we can follow the path to the divine.
Next we look at number 15 – 22 and end the journey of the Major Arcana.
© Sue Treanor2011