Monday, April 27, 2009

Following the High Priestess

If you do enough readings, it follows that after a while, every card should turn up equally. But as I mentioned in the previous blog, Tarot is not about the odds; and if you live in a place like New York, certain energies flow more freely. I don’t actually get the High Priestess in a lot of my readings - which kind of makes sense - she’s opaque feminine energy, the yin to the Magician’s yang. Where he’s all chatter and motion, she’s meditative and mysterious. I see Manhattan as a very Magician kind of place, so I'm not surprised that the High Priestess would appear less often here.

She’s all about things like the Tarot – arcane mysteries, psychic energies, secret knowledge and insights. She knows things about you and your life that are not always clear to you. And when she appears in a reading, some of that knowledge is about to be revealed. Once in a reading a girl got it and I talked about quiet introspection and new knowledge being revealed and she just frowned and said she was all excited about being reunited with her large family at a cousins wedding, and it was going to be all noisy and social. So the reading didn’t go all that well. But later she contacted me (thank you, thank you – I love it when people email me to clarify or tell me how readings are unfolding!) and told me all sorts of family secrets came out during that wedding, so while it wasn’t at all quiet or mysterious, it was certainly all about secrets that she, for one, had never suspected.

In the normal course of events, when I see the High Priestess I tell people to slow down, things are getting too hectic and they need more quiet time. Listen to your intuition, meditate.
But if I get it in a complicated relationship spread, I warn about using secrets for control, about emotional blackmail.

The High Priestess is that unique feminine wisdom, but it’s the wisdom of the moon, cool and detached (unlike the empress, the next card who is all warm and fertile) The inner child cards actually warm her up to make her the Fairy godmother, power but with limitations, knowledge, but not always given to you...

Monday, April 13, 2009

What are the odds?

For those more mathematically inclined than me (99.8% of the population) the fact that I use 2 packs when I give a reading raises the question - what are the odds of getting the same card again?

The first time you have a 1/78 chance of any single card appearing. But if you open a second pack, you have already used your 1/78 chance. To get that card again, it’s 1/78 x 1/78 or a 1 in 6,084 chance. So theoretically, your chances of getting a repeat card are quite low. I said this to a client recently, and then gave the caveat that I would say I would get a repeat card in a reading maybe one in every 10 readings, which is way higher than statistically likely. So we deal her cards, and after her second shuffle, not only one but two cards repeat. I told her that was a one in thirty six thousand chance, but having done it on the calculator twice now, I see it’s a one in 474,552 chance. (I told you I wasn’t mathematically inclined) Weird odds.

I can faithfully promise that I haven’t done 400,000 readings. In fact, I can swear that I haven’t done 200,000. But I have frequently (one in every 20? Now I’ll have to keep count!) had 2 cards repeat. This just goes to show, there’s more than face value math happening here. But I knew that anyway, this just impresses the math skeptics amongst us.

The same client asked if there were tarot books I recommend. I’ve read so many over the years, and the various books gave different support – sometimes you want to know more about one specific card, sometimes about how suites and numbers interact, but an excellent all round beginners (and experienced) practitioners book has to be Rachel Pollack’s Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom: A Book of Tarot which has beautifully detailed explanations for every card.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The Magician

After the Fool (numbered zero) comes the Magician (the card numbered 1, in the Major Arcana.) The Magician is the male power of creation - creation by willpower and knowledge. But is it genuine creation or sleight of hand? Sometimes it’s hard to tell, and sometimes it doesn’t matter…

(I love this clever card set which shows the traditional rider waite images, imagined from behind:- you can see the Magician at work, and the monkey behind the scenes)

If people are asking me about a new business and the magician appears, I advise to approach with caution (but not necessarily run away!) There is ambiguity - is this a genuine business opportunity or a scam? There is magic and there are tricks, and I would use the rest of the reading to try and sort out which this situation is, and why does the querent feel as they do. The Magician is an omen symbolizing the importance of new enterprise and that you, the Querent, have the willpower and initiative to succeed.

If the Magician stands for a person then that person is charismatic, clever, witty, inventive and persuasive. People listen and agree with the Magician. If you are the magician, you can make things happen in your life, and you don't always feel the need to color within the lines...

In the Inner Child pack the ambiguity of the Magician is beautifully summed up as the genie from Aladin, and the moral, be careful what you wish for...