Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Tarot Alchemy - Triplicity of Card Meanings

I’ve been thinking lately about the dual (and triple, maybe even quadruple!) nature of some card meanings in readings. I'm not talking about the fact that all cards have multiple facets of meaning (which of course is true). I mean that one card may relate to more than one aspect of a reading. I will now attempt to make sense!

For instance, the other day I did a reading and the Queen of Wands reversed appeared as one of three cards.  The reading was about a familial (non-romantic) relationship between two people, and I felt that the Queen of Wands related to several elements: on one hand I felt it represented the first of the two people as being “unrealized” and even somewhat manipulative (though I felt that part was unintentional).  But on the other hand it struck me as also highlighting the feeling of powerlessness experienced by the second person in the relationship.  That second person also appeared as another card in the reading, so there were a lot of layers going on. So rather than the Queen representing one particular person or situation, it represented several facets of both people involved in the reading.

Deviant Moon Tarot - Queen of Wands
Patrick Valenza/U.S. Games 2008
I feel this can happen in readings where no spread is being used, because without positions, there is more flexibility and alchemy possible with card meanings and relationships between various cards.

This all brings to mind my thoughts on receiving “signs” from the Universe. I do believe that little, meaningful, symbolic things occur in our lives that can serve as catalysts for self-improvement, introspection, and even just the simple feeling that there is something out there that is powerful and beautiful, and mysterious. Sometimes these signs can take the form of synchronistic moments, or meetings, or interactions where we think, “If I’d been here just two seconds before, I never would have seen that!” Those “wow” moments that make you think, that put you in awe of the Universe we’re all a part of.  So a long time ago I remember thinking “Yeah, but if I see something that has meaning for me, there is surely someone else who also saw it, was affected by it, but perhaps in a different way.  So does it become meaningless, then?”  And I determined that in fact it doesn’t become meaningless at all, it simply means that one event can have multiple meanings and different implications, all equally important, for many different witnesses.  I see this as the Universe multitasking.  It's far too busy to provide unique signs and symbols for different people all of the time.  Instead of detracting from the power inherent in "signs," I feel it enhances it.

So I feel it works with cards in a similar way. The Queen of Wands represented different aspects of both people in the aforementioned spread.  In fact there were three cards total in the reading, and all of the cards had some kind of overlapped meaning for both people, respectively. Think of a Venn diagram, which I hope will illustrate my thoughts more clearly than my words probably are:

I sincerely hope that made the right kind of sense!  In the end there is just so much meaning, so many circles integrating, overlapping, weaving in and out, that it becomes almost dizzying.  But then, that’s the beauty of Tarot. ☺


  1. I agree wholeheartedly. If this wasn't so then we could install a tarot program on our PC and type in the question, push "enter" and voila!!!! Every time you see a specific card you'll read it differently; you'll address different layers, and combine layers and notice different aspects and so on. That, why I love tarot and why it can astonish me year after year. Who could imagine this from 78 pictures in a box
    (Ps this card it so creepy (sorry :))

    1. Hahah, Ellen, it's funny, now that I've been using this deck this week I've really been taken in by it, and it's become so much less creepy than it was at first! Yes, the cards each have so many meanings, so many permutations, and with no spreads, even more possibilities for deeper layers of meaning and cross-meaning. *sigh* Such an extraordinary tool :)

  2. Rereading this post much later I realized that I needed to do some editing - I made it sound as though I'd just discovered that each card has more than one meaning! What I wanted to say was that a single card can address multiple people or situations in a single spread...so hopefully I managed to present my thoughts clearly :-)