Tarot- the Major Arcana
THE MAGICIAN “I WILL” (MASCULINE, ACTIVE) 1
Associations; Consciousness, creation, will-power, action, determination, mastery, trickster, ego, “I,” beginnings, new ideas, potential, optimism.
Advice; You have a dream, a hope, a plan (however small). Take a deep breath. Now make it happen!
Warning; Are you feeling blocked or trapped by circumstances, or yourself?
Question; What is magic?
Symbolism; Here is a card laden with symbols, but most visible are the symbols of the four suits on the table in front of him. These represent; The four suits and their steps in manifesting (inspiration, emotional connection, spoken word & physical action).
In a reading; This is a card of luck & success at the beginning of a venture. It reminds us we have the ability to realize our dreams.
In a blocked position it suggests confusion, lacking the vision and determination needed.
THE HIGH PRIESTESS “I AM” (FEMININE PASSIVE) 2
Associations; Dreams, memories, the unconscious, inner wisdom, intuition, reflection, stillness, potential. Something hides. Possibilities.
Warning; Are you too withdrawn from the “everyday” world, OR are you so busy with the everyday world that you can’t hear your intuition?
Question? Can you perceive the whisper of your soul? The sound of all those who have walked before you? The song of the universe?
Symbolism; Veil - Behind the veil is the sea, which represents our unconscious/collective unconscious and connection to the spirit world. Look at her robes; they almost seem to be water themselves. By meditating with the high priestess we enter a state where we can connect with our own unconscious, and perhaps beyond…
In a reading; The need to retreat, to be still, quiet and contemplate. Find the space to look within yourself. Make your decisions from your own wisdom, do not be defined by others expectations.
In a blocked position; Do not linger too long in the underworld, it is important to enjoy the creative manifestation of the empress too. High priestess in a blocked position is reminding you to get on with life.
THE EMPRESS (LADY) “I CREATE” (FEMININE, ACTIVE) 3
Associations; Mother, abundance, passion, creativity, nurture, nature, compassion, harmony, pregnancy & birth, healing, beauty, spouse & family.
Warning; (such a beautiful card, has a destructive force too) “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned” “smother” love trying to bring her off-spring back into the womb. Cruel, controlling, spiteful “step-mother” archetype, horrified by her child overshadowing her.
Question; Are you creating the life you desire?
Symbolism ; This woman represents the earth and all of her creation. She is the materialism of life, loves, dreams and desires. She lives in the moment, fully present.
In a reading; Often represents a time of creative passion, abundance, being in the flow of your life; when things just seem to go right. A reminder to spend time simply having fun! May represent healing and health (look to diet, herbs and natural holistic health)
When paired With an ace can represent a birth (of an idea or baby!)
When blocked/negative; most often suggests you are using a wound to block nurturing your own needs. Creating a self-fulfilling failure. Warning against cruel & controlling people- yourself or others.
THE EMPEROR (LORD) “I ORGANISE” (MASCULINE, PASSIVE) 4
Associations; “logos” logic, self-discipline, language & communication, laws and structure of society, father, authority, stability, judgement, organization.
Warning; Watch out for issues with authority. You remain responsible, whether you follow the rules or whether you break them. Question; Are you aware of who is control?
Symbolism & meaning; The Emperor represents our logical mind. If the Empress is about rampant creativity (a rambling 1000 line poem) then the emperor is the logical, analytical editor who prunes back the dross leaving the best (a 50 line masterpiece)
The ram’s horns link the emperor with Aries and Mars; sheer force of will. Aries is the first of the zodiac, reminding us of the Emperors pioneer spirit, he will seek to build a system and organize out of chaos.
In a reading; The simplest reading of the emperor is that you need to find all his qualities within you to succeed. Self-discipline, organization, taking responsibility for your life. It could also refer to people/organizations which hold authority over you.
Often it refers to domination; do you allow yourself to be dominated? Or do you dominate others?
THE HIEROPHANT (POPE, HIGH PRIEST) “FACE OF THE DIVINE” 5
Associations; Traditions, structured learning, study, teaching, a mentor. Establishments, organization & leadership. The need to connect to something “bigger” than yourself. Internalized feelings of right and wrong (beware misplaced guilt)
Warning; Beware the hierophant turned inwards, feelings of guilt and naively following those in authority. Question; What is your bridge to the divine?
Symbolism & meaning; Translation of Hierophant “He who shows the sacred” Translation of Pontiff, Latin “pontifex”, bridge. The Hierophant is a bridge between you and the Divine, it may be a specific person, a wisdom tradition, an informal collection of like-minded people, or a book that speaks to you (e.g. The Prophet by Kahil Gibran).
In a reading; Now is a good time to seek wisdom from a structured study, being part of an organized group, tradition or a teacher.
Watch for dogma overtaking your life, sticking to the orthodox path even when it feels wrong. You are still responsible for your actions, even within a group. Are you called to teach, or lead yourself?
THE LOVERS “I CHOOSE” 6
Associations; Love, relationships, unity, choice, surrender, synthesis. Warning; Beware destructive and controlling relationships, the inability to make a choice, or being so focused on your ego and the need to control that you will not surrender to “love”.
Question; Are you aware that every moment is a choice?
Symbolism & meaning; Consider that all three figures represent you. To make a wise choice you need to consider your feelings (woman), your thoughts (man) and your highest guidance (angel).
When we base our lives on the principle of love (in its widest sense), we are released from ego and life takes on a different quality. Sometimes this card may be asking you to give up control and surrender to love, life, or the flow of synchronicity. “Love requires surrender, and surrender requires choice” (Philip Carr-Gomm)
In a reading; Consider what level of the card is indicated;
• A relationship
• Being fully aware of all the levels of yourself (thoughts, feelings, instincts etc)
• The need to make a choice.
• The need to surrender (release control)
THE CHARIOT “I SUCCEED” 7
Associations; Triumph, success through your efforts, controlled will, and desires. Our outward persona; the social mask for the outside world. Travel & transport.
Warning; Make sure your strong will doesn’t become too dominant 9there is a touch of hubris about the figure) Question; Do you know where you are going?
Symbolism; The chariot combine the first 6 major arcana cards, and it shows you have integrated their energies into your psychology and are on the road to success!
1 (magician) the main figure IS the magician (even if female)
2 (high priestess) duality of the 2 animals
3 (empress) the star headdress or canopy
4 (emperor) the cube nature of the chariot (compare to throne)
5 (hierophant) the triad nature of the figure & the two animals
6 (lovers) the “yoni” & “lingam” joined beneath the wings, yin/yang symbol or similar.
In a reading; Most usually means success, through your own determination, self-discipline and hard work. Watch out for an overdeveloped desire to succeed (win at all costs) if paired with tower, devil, 10 of swords, 5 of swords, knight of wands/swords etc.
Notice that in many cards the chariot does not look mobile, this can suggest becoming set in your ways, and the mask you have crafted to help you succeed is starting to rule you.
Sometimes the chariot can simply mean a journey, or refer to transport (or transport problems…to quote Adam Ant “car, car, car, car, car. Trouble”)
THE HERMIT “INDIVIDUATION” 9
Associations; Withdrawal from daily life, searching for answers, self-reliance, meditation, teachers & teaching, self-examination, patience, self-reflection, being alone.
Advice; Find some quiet time for contemplation.
Warning; Are you feeling isolated?
Question; If no-one is with you, do you know who you are?
Symbolism; As the number 9 the hermit can be seen as the birth of the individual (often something we will experience many times in our life…) He has his staff to support him (his intuition & spirit) and a lantern to shine light on the path, to guide him and others. Note the 6 pointed star. This is the unity of the masculine and feminine (yin & yang) which he has found within himself. He has found his “soul mate” within himself. I often imagine the Hermit has climbed the mountain to be able to look at his life with clarity and perspective, judge how he is doing, and decide where to go next. You can gain this perspective from your own wisdom, from friends & guides, from Tarot, and from taking a break from your daily routine. (especially if paired with 8 of cups)
In a reading; A call for a time of introversion or solitude; even if only for a short time. (unplug your phone, switch off social media, turn off the television & radio…) A guide, someone who will help you along life’s journey; or yourself as a guide for others.
Fear of loneliness or a reminder that it is time to seek the company of others. Peter pan complex, time to grow up and face your responsibilities
THE WHEEL OF FORTUNE “CENTRE” 10
Associations; Change, seasons, patterns in life, random events & synchronicity, fate, luck, often a change for the better (look to other cards)
Advice; Find the still centre within you.
Warning; Life is change, adapt and survive!
Question; what is fate?
Symbolism; The Anubis & snake simply represent the opposing positive (yang) & negative (yin) principles that are fundamental to life, and portrayed throughout the Tarot.
In a Reading; “This too will pass”, as surely as day follows night, seasons change. Good times & bad, all things change.
Sometimes things that seem random are part of a larger pattern we simply don’t understand.
At heart the wheel of fortune means change, I presume a change for the better- unless the cards afterwards indicates otherwise.
JUSTICE “KARMA” 11
Associations; Fairness, honesty, doing the “right” thing, understanding the full consequences of your actions, responsibility, compassion, balance, karma, being in the moment, connecting to your past & future. Can refer to legal issues.
Advice; Act with integrity. Warning; Every thought, word & action is returned to you.
Question; Do you believe there are spiritual/psychological rules that offer “justice”?
Symbolism; The scales are an interesting image. Take a moment to consider how scales work. Two opposing bowls are connected and always affect each other. We are in a constant relationship with the universe. Personally, I believe how we act, think & speak will always influence the future we are creating. Life is an ever changing equilibrium as we move through life continually adjusting who we are.
In a reading: Personally when justice crops up it usually refer to karmic issues and is a reminder not to get caught up in ingrained behaviour patterns, but to try to act with absolute authenticity and integrity – even when the situation is difficult, and someone is really “pressing my buttons”.
There is a sense that you will get what you deserve – so consider the consequences of the consequences, and try to act with as much honour as possible (and that does not mean as a door mat).
It can refer to “the law of the land” & legal issues as well, depending on the question and position.
THE HANGED MAN “SURRENDER” 12
Associations; Surrender, looking at things from a different perspective, not rushing, sacrifice. Things not going as fast, or how, you expected- but they work out anyway. Meditation, positive visualization, shamanism and occult practices.
Advice; Look at life with no expectations or preconceived ideas.
Warning; This cannot be rushed.
Question; Do you agree?; “A practical occultist knows that there is no difference between the energy that takes form as thought and that which takes form as a diamond.” (Paul F. Case)
Symbolism; Celtic shamans visualized a pole representing the world tree- which they used as a map to take them to different worlds. Both meditation and shamanism involve stilling the “monkey” mind and taking your consciousness to another realm. The hanged man suggests we suspend everything we thought we knew about the world and look again with no expectations at all.
As a Norse shaman i associate the Hanged mad with Odin, our god of shamanism, who hung himself on the world tree to receive the gift of the runes.
In a reading; You need to decide what level the card is addressing;
Mundane; things will take a little longer.
Practical; You need to try a different approach, fresh ideas.
Spiritual; suspend your mind and explore your unconscious (or beyond) for inspiration.
DEATH “CHANGE” 13
Associations; Change, release, letting go. Breaking old habits and patterns. Transformation. Cutting yourself free from destructive attitudes, situations, and people. Endings with the potential for beginnings.
Advice; Accept change with a trust and hope that lessons will be learnt and better things will come.
Warning; Change is coming, trying to maintain the status quo will only cause pain.
Question; Is your life so perfect that some change would not be welcome?
Symbolism; For me, one of the most striking and interesting symbols in the Rider Waite deck is the white rose. Anyone with interest in British history will associate this with the house of York and the Plantagenet line (the House of Tudor executed most of the male heirs.) Mythology relates that the original rose was white, only being stained red later (by the blood of Venus, Aphrodite or Christ depending on the myth) Thus a white rose is a “bloodless” rose, leading us to the kenning “death makes a man pale” (i.e. dead). Death is riding a horse, reminding us that he cannot be out run.
In a reading; Change- It is important to realize that even a welcome change brings with it fears, sadness and worries. We are creatures of habit who enjoy the illusion of control.
So often the appearance of the death card reflects the transition process, when we are shedding our old and outworn ways – but still unsure of what will replace them.
In a blocked or difficult position the death card would suggest overwhelming fear of change, preserving the status quo; even though it is not serving us.
TEMPERANCE (FFERYLLT) “INTEGRATION” 14
Associations; compromise, integrating different parts of your life (especially inner & outer), different parts of your psychology to become whole. Serenity, living in the moment.
Advice; Try to find compromises
Warning; Check for imbalances in your life.
Question; Do you follow Aristotle’s “meden agan”; nothing in excess?
Symbolism; Take a close look at the pouring of the water from the cups. It is an impossible task when working with the laws of gravity (feel free to try.) The two cups illustrate the way to a magical life is always to blend the opposites of your life, finding the right measure is the secret to success. When you find the right combination life seems effortless (right diet, right partner, right job, accepting the wisdom of your dreams, etc.) of course we are ever changing beings and what is “right” now may not always be so.
In a reading; I find this to be a positive card, suggesting that things are coming together nicely. It is time to let go of rigid beliefs and to blend compromises to find a new, harmonious, way forward.
In a blocked/negative reading it suggests excess (and heading to addictions) or a toxic mix in your life.
THE DEVIL 15
Associations; Limitations, addictions, attachment, repression, sexuality, humour, trickster, having a good time, drunkenness. Advice; Look at your life honestly, see through illusions.
Warning; Watch for addictions, giving your power to others.
Question; When you find yourself thinking you “have to” do certain things, question why.
Symbolism; This card closely resembles the pictures in The Hierophant (the face of God) and The Lovers (Choice). And yet the “people” stand with their backs to the devil, seemingly unaware of his brooding presence. The Devil often reflects a time in our life when we feel cut off from our “God” (whether that is our higher guidance or other). We feel unable to make a choice, restricted in our freedoms due to fear, lack of clarity, addictions & attachments. We may feel “possessed” by something out of our control. This may be obviously bad; spending, gambling, alcohol etc. Or be masking as something useful, a smothering mother, dominating wife, controlling husband or political zealot.
In a Reading;
• Are you using something as excuse to “let you off” doing something you would really like to do?
• Are you allowing someone else (or an organization) to “pull your strings”?
• Do you have addiction/attachment issues?
• Do you realize only you are responsible for your life (not your schooling, your parents, the government, etc.). How you respond to problems remains in your control
THE TOWER 16
Associations; Unexpected change, acceleration of events, crisis, breakdown. A new understanding (“illumination”), breaking old patterns. Loss (of job, house, relationship) which will hopefully lead to better things.
Advice; You might as well embrace change; it’s coming
Warning; Don’t try and cling on to a status quo that no longer serves you.
Question; Breakthrough, breakdown or both?
Symbolism; This tower has a crown on top, a “crowning glory” if you like. Time to consider what in your life is so important, so rigidly held that it is now entrapping you. Many people continue with an easy but unsatisfying life for a long time, preferring comfortable to content. The tower changes all that. It suggests a crisis that will force you to re-evaluate what is really important to you.
In a Reading;
• Something is changing, probably fast and unexpected.
• You face a crisis that will force you to look at your life with fresh eyes.
• You realize that something in your life has been trapping you, and feel inspired to make changes.
• Inspiration strikes.
• Rows, arguments, big release of energy and pressure.
THE STAR 17
Associations; Hope, optimism, blessings, wishes, self esteem, calm after the storm, clear inner view, peace, hope, gifts from the spirit.
Advice; Everything is working out just the way it should.
Warning; Take time to reconnect with your inner spirit, then things will flow again.
Question; What is your wish?
Symbolism; The water being poured onto the earth reminds us to take action to create our dreams and wishes. Do one small thing each day to make your dreams come true. The water being poured back into the pool reminds us of the importance of working on our inner path. As she pours the water into the pool it will flow out, subtly changing the movement of the whole pool of water. So too with dream and unconscious work. As we start to work on this subtle level (whether with dream diaries, Tarot, positive thought, shamanism, etc.) It Will have an effect on our lives, and most probably a much wider affect. It is the “ripple effect” hard to see, but very powerful none the less.
In a reading;
• A real message of hope, optimism and things working out very well.
• If you have problems and difficulties in life; focus on what you would like to happen, don’t focus on fears and difficulties.
• Have confidence in yourself.
• If this card is coming up in a blocked or warning position; it is asking you to focus on which ever of The Star’s gifts you feel are lacking; hope, optimism, tranquillity, self-confidence or inner work.
THE MOON 18
Associations; Reflection, dreams, unconscious. Confusion, delusion & illusion. Desperation, depression, fear & madness. Hormones & cycles. Unsettled.
Advice; Now is a powerful time to work with your unconscious, bringing your dreams into manifestation.
Warning; Things may not be as they seem.
Question; What are you rally scared of?
Symbolism; The moon gives no light of its own, and it reflects the sun’s light. Whenever something is reflected it is distorted, more difficult to understand & reversed. So often the Moon will crop up as a warning. We are not looking at things logically; we do not have a clear view of the problem. We are reacting from fear and confusion. Look to other cards to see if advice is offered. Waite described the crayfish emerging from the water as our deepest, primal fears. Our nightmares starting to grow real from the shadows (or for Dr. who fans the hand under the bed) But the moon does not suggest these fears are real. If the moon shows up other cards are needed to see the issue clearly.
In a reading;
• Pay attention to your dreams, and information coming from your unconscious (or beyond).
• Beware that you may be in a confused state, and not fully aware of the facts. Look to other cards for advice if this resonates with you.
• Hormonal issues, lack of sleep, depression, feeling slightly mad….
• Yes you may be experiencing fears and confusion, but stays focused and keep moving towards your goal. After the night a new day will dawn.
THE SUN 19
Associations; Clarity, joy, happiness, play, optimism, vitality, renewed energy, improved health
Advice; Enjoy the happiness, get outside, play & have fun.
Warning: I don’t see a negative side to this card, you may feel slight depression or lack of clarity, but the sun is ever reliable. The clouds will pass and the blessings of this card will come to you.
Question; What makes you happy? Go do it…
Symbolism; Throughout the ages to have a direct link with the divine energy suggests we are in a state of “Grace”, “blessing” or “Awen”. When life simply flows because we are doing the right things, at the right time, for the right reasons. Often the Sun in a reading suggests happiness, clarity and a feeling of contentment. Throughout the Tarot we see the quest to integrate the different parts of ourselves. Note the suns rays; alternating straight (masculine) and wavy (feminine). The sun is representing the wholeness and contentment we feel when life is balanced and integrated.
In a reading;
• A sense of optimism, success & happiness relating to the question or life in general.
• Clarity, a clear idea of where you would like to go, and how to achieve it.
• Good health, improved energy levels, high vitality.
• Gratitude- count your blessings.
• Go and do something that makes you HAPPY.
• I don’t think the sun can be read as reversed or blocked. I a blocked/warning position it just reminds you to spend time doing something you enjoy. Relax and have hope.
Associations; A new beginning, realization, liberation, awakening & freedom, making a decision, hearing your soul call. Taking responsibility for your life.
Advice; Follow the message of your soul’s song
Warning; Don’t procrastinate on this, or try to think your way out.
Question; What are you waiting for?
Symbolism; For me, the most important symbol in Judgement is the horn. We have seen light used as a symbol so many times (sun, moon, star, shadow) now we have sound. The horn is blown by the angel (which could represent your higher guidance or a divine connection), and the most reliable reading for me of Judgement is “a calling”. You hear with clarity your soul calling to you. There is no mistaking this; you can’t shut your ears like you can your eyes. You will know what it is you are meant to be doing; whether this is a mundane question (which job should I take?) or a big life question.
In a reading;
• There has been a shift, a change within you. Recognise this and make changes in your life to reflect this.
• A calling, you just know something.
• Breaking free of old patterns.
• A new beginning, a clean slate.
• Making a decision.
• If it is in a blocked/warning position; all the potential of the card is there- but you are procrastinating & making excuses.
THE WORLD 21
Associations; Successful completion, protection, natural ending s& new beginnings, power, happiness, bliss, knowledge.
Advice; Step into life with a light heart, this is a genuine blessing
Warning; Success is delayed, but still very possible.
Symbolism; Often The World is illustrated as a hermaphrodite, a classic symbol of integration (of our inner masculine & feminine). “She” is looking neither back nor forward and usually carries two wands. If the magician is “I” then The World is “I connect”.
In readings this suggests a successful outcome, a new start, the ending of a difficult time. Life coming together exactly as it needs to...
In a reading;
• Everything works out for the best.
• Sustainable success.
• Realizing your power.
• If it shows in the past position it often indicates an ending that was beneficial (even if it was painful at the time) e.g. divorce, redundancy, moving house etc. There is a suggestion that it led to better things.
Testimonials for my Shaman Healing
I was lucky enough to work with Siobhan Curham (published author) first using tarot & then for a shaman healing session. You may recognise me in her recent book "Something more- A spiritual Misfit's search for meaning"
"The shaman in the caravan was a no-nonsense woman with short, dark blonde hair and glasses....The shaman began drumming..and drumming. I'm not sure how long it went on for, I drifted into a deep state of relaxation, then finally she told me to come and join her sitting at the table.
I'm now going to tell you want I saw on my journey she said..."
I am very grateful to Siobhan to have chosen to share her experiences- they always belong to the client, and are never mine to share. She explains the process of a soul retrieval from the view of a client- and how it helped her move on in her personal journey.
"I returned home feeling light and happy.
A couple of hours later-while I was cleaning the dishes, bizarrely- a picture of the wild carefree person I could have been popped into my head and I burst into tears. Unlike the tears I shed the night before my parents split up, these tears felt cleansing. They were the kind of tears you shed when greeting a long-lost, much loved friend. "
Thank you Maddy, after over a year of trying to get to the bottom of my throat issues (including numerous modern medicines and alternative therapies), you managed to get to the root cause and clear it in one session!
I love how your healing is direct yet gentle but most importantly it's effective! You have a wonderful gift and I'm so glad you're sharing it with the world.
Working with Maddy has been and continues to be a very special and sacred experience for me. Maddy's intuitive wisdom speaks from an ancient knowing source and her many years of practice and dedication to her own self work provide the safe and professional container. I feel held, heard and supported when we journey into the deep recesses of my shadow and beyond into the other parts of my psyche and indeed into other unworldly realms. I am profoundly changed through this work, more alive and more awake and more compassionate towards myself and others. It is an integral part of my inner work and I highly recommend Maddy as a grounded, empathic and secure guide.
"Maddy Maddy Maddy were do I start to thank you, I can move ! I sleep soundly at night no pain when I turn. I was sore at working at the pub, but not doubled over in pain and not being able to move or walk as before. My aggression while driving has gone. I feel completely at peace with myself and my light is shining again (well the day to day life is still there lol But that's life) thank you so much again words cannot express what I feel, it is absolutely phenomenal, thank you, may I book in again once my next hospital appointments have finished when you are feel, lots of love light and blessings Julia xxxx"
Thank you so much for my session yesterday. I spoke my mind twice yesterday without even thinking about it, or offending anyone! And this morning I walked straight down the stairs without a thought of painful knees.
I feel refreshed and positive thanks to your healing hands.
I will be touch with regard to a soul retrieval session and would definitely like to try and attend your Wednesday evening sessions.
Thank you again Heidi x
My Shamanic Healing adventure
"I have to admit that I was not at all sure what to expect from a Shamanic Healing, and as I had no preconceived ideas I was open to whatever was to happen.
Maddy made me very welcome and asked what I felt I needed help with. I hadn’t really thought that through, but I did have a dodgy knee, which I didn’t mention, and I do need to loose some weight, which is pretty obvious, so told Maddy that looking at any issues to do with weight loss blocks would be a good idea.
First she scanned my body for any blocks/physic hooks, and found blocks around my knees, which she then removed. I immediately noticed a change in the pain level in my knees joints, brilliant. A great start. While Maddy drummed and guided me on a meditation, I had a really odd tight , but not unpleasant or painful, feeling in my stomach. As the session continued it faded away.
At the end of the session I felt uplifted and energised. I had a fresh insight as to ways forward with my healthy eating. Most importantly I felt confident something had shifted and changed. In the couple of weeks after the session I have found it easier to make better choices about amounts of foods to eat and have really benefitted from the new insights I gained in the session. I would thoroughly recommend Maddy’s Healing sessions to anyone looking to understand themselves better."