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Stage or Separation cards

In the Rider-Waite tarot deck certain cards appear to be set on a stage.

I am continuously in awe of Pamala Coleman-Smith. I look at these cards for many hours each day as a professional reader, and I am still learning and noticing new details.

One concept I am still exploring is the “stage” or “separation” cards. Those cards that seem to be set on a stage. There are certain core cards where it is very clear with a double line, and others where it appears intended.

Wands; (2), 4, 9, 10

Cups 2, (5), (8), (10), page

Swords 2,(4), 5, 7, (9)

Pentacles 2, 4, 6, 8

Where () indicates it is less clear than the 2 distinct lines.

I don’t have a clear and single answer on this, rather several concepts I am still exploring.

Are these cards “framed” ?

I wonder if these cards are being marked as significant. It may be they are key cards in each suit- cards that we need to pay extra attention to in a reading. The stage is to draw our attention to the card in a spread.

It may be these cards have a particular occult knowledge that I am not aware of, codified information. I am aware there is much information regarding astrology and the kabbalah with in the deck- two areas of study I am less focused on.

The stage cards may be a reference to “key” cards with a meaning that is still hidden to many, or as yet not re-discovered.

The stage may be to change our challenge our perspective on the card.

In these cards the “actor” and the backdrop are separated, and I wonder whether we are being asked to integrate this into our understanding of the card.

· Can these cards have more emphasis on internal processes. These cards let us know more about how a querent is thinking, and also projecting their thought/emotions onto others?

· Does it suggest that these cards are sometimes not what is really going on- the querent is acting out, as readers we need to look again if a reading has several or significant stage cards in a reading.

· Is it linked to manifesting/creating a reality- I often think the 10 of cups is a promise of happiness even if happiness isn’t currently present (with the rainbow as the significant symbol). Is this a common theme with the stage cards?

· Can it be linked to illusions and delusions? Actors playing a role are hoping to trick us into suspending reality and getting caught up in the narrative. Do these cards suggest the querent is caught in a narrative- either theirs or someone else’s?

I do consider the stage cards are creating a separation, that the reader/querent is somehow removed from the action. Quite how this impacts a reading will depend on the number and placement of stage cards, the narrative they create between them.

If I notice stage cards I will wonder;

· Is the querent projecting? Is the narrative I am seeing more focused on what the querent thinks is happening rather than the actual facts?

· Is the internal world of the querent what we are really exploring here, rather than the physical world?

· Are there layers to this- illusions and delusions that make the reading more complicated than it first seems.

In practise.

Honestly I often don’t even notice the stage cards. But sometimes they catch my eye. Sometimes a reading isn’t making sense, it seems to be missing the mark- then the smaller details like the placement of stage-cards can unlock a reading and really illuminate a key detail.

Sometimes noticing the stage cards can provide that missing link that brings the whole reading together.

I have lots of free tarot resources on my website, and I am building more all the time. Take a look- if you love to explore tarot maybe there's something to help your Tarot journey here.


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