Remember that day a lightbulb over your head lit up with that brilliant idea? Full of fiery inspiration to begin your big new venture, you set out on a wildly epic journey through Hell or high water to make it happen! Until… ******Screech*******  Houston, we have a problem. Hell is a wee bit hotter than you thought, and that water??  That ain’t no lake, that’s a damn cesspool.  I started a very intense project and now I’m stuck at The River Poop, so I designed this spread to inspire a magical leap! Tarot magic being what it is, the first thing I saw after laying out the cards is that the obstacles resemble pillars.  Yes, road blocks truly suck but they also inspire us to build long bridges and jump higher.   THE QUERENT:  This is a look at your energy before taking the leap. If you get the The Star or the 10 of Swords, you may need time to recharge (see my Drained Battery Spread.) THE GOAL:  You already know what your goal is, right?  This cards shows the energy of the goal itself.   Most of us have the goal of success.  Our book gets published, our business is thriving, we lose/gain that extra few pounds.   If you get a strange card like The Devil here, perhaps you’re goal isn’t one that deserves the effort in the first place. OBSTACLE #1:  Either identify what your obstacles are or let the Tarot tell you.  This is what’s blocking your path, but also inspiring you to jump higher. OBSTACLE #2:  Do as many obstacle cards as you want.  These can be for specific people or situations you feel are keeping you from reaching your goal. 1ST STEP:  Obstacles make us want to give up.  This card tells you how to get yourself wound up again!  How can you get psyched to take this leap?  What will give you the required energy?  LEAP O FAITH:  And you jump!  This card gives you the faith endure the leap and not fall short.   It is your inspiration.  The Wind Beneath Your Wings!  Fly, flyyyyy, flyyyyyyyy! (Yes, I am that cheesy.) PREPARE FOR LANDING: You’ve jumped sky high to clear the obstacles, landing might be tricky.   You don’t want to overshoot your goal or waste energy.  This card shows you how to prepare for landing with your seats in an upright position.  This card could […]

The Four Threes

One of my favorite cards from El Gran Tarot Esoterico, The 3 of Cups, came up in my personal reading this morning, so I pulled out all the three’s for comparison.    In the Picard system of Minors threes would be the effects of Binah and the Empress in our everyday lives. The 3 of Cups seems like such a positive card for Spring.   With feasting and three open receptive soul-cups, one can easily place the Rider-Waite interpretation here and it would work very well.   A closer examination suggests all of Esoterico’s the threes speak of emergence or suppression.   The Cups show us an egg, with the symbol of the sun which is also the center of the Pythagorean TETRAKTYS – the simplest point and beginning of all things.   The fertilized egg, nurtured in a triangular nest of three cups, will eventually take on a life of its own. The 3 of Scepters harness the power of Mercury flanked by two young shoots of hazel.  According to the website Tree Lore, “Hazel is The Tree of Immortal Wisdom has applications in magic done for manifestation, spirit contact, protection, prosperity, divination-dowsing, dreams, wisdom-knowledge, marriage, fertility, intelligence, inspiration.” Wisdom and fertility certainly relate to Binah and the Empress.    The dog seems to indicate a taming of the fiery impulse, the trained companion that leads us forward. Maritxu Guler inverted Picard’s original design for the 3 of Swords to create a downward facing water triangle skewering a fish.  The swords represent intense emotions that plummet and pin free will to the floor of the subconscious mind.  Of all cards, this is the strongest indicator of being in trapped or imprisoned.  Depending on what other cards appear in a reading, this could be the work of outside forces. If we read the progression of threes as a venture moving from Scepters forward, the Swords indicate those obstacles that make us want to turn belly up.  The beauty of this card is in its reversal, where the fish is finally free swim and explore the waters of the subconscious/psychic mind.   The 4 of Coins gets us back to the theme of emergence.  The two planted coins bare the symbols of Capricorn and Taurus.  The seeds of hard work that began with the scepters and cups have taken root .  The venture indicated by Mercury’s caduceus in the 3 of Scepters has been fully realized in the above-ground coin baring […]


Another reading request today.  I decided to go with the same style reading as the last request, breaking down the question into its primary elements for a 7-card reading. 1) What is this person tapping into with me?  PAGE OF WANDS REVERSED First of all, it’s really interesting that this card literally shows the page tapping into the ground with his wand.   Reversed, this card seems to be saying that this person looks up to you and is inspired when with you, but is somewhat impatient.  He isn’t doing things in a way you’re totally comfortable with.   Dare I say he isn’t following your rules?  I.e.  he’s pushing your boundaries.  2) What’s being coaxed out of me by him? 10 OF SCEPTERS I see this card as a ring of fire.  What’s being coaxed out of you has two sides.  The torches represent a rhapsody of (artistic) inspiration.  The floodgates are open, but you may not be willing to handle it all at once so your barriers go up. 3) Is it something new I need to explore?6 OF SWORDS The way the two triangles travel together in the sky (conscious mind) and under water (subconscious) suggests that this isn’t new territory for you.  The crab/crayfish represent a psychic/subconscious agitation that needs to surface and be dealt with.   It’s not new but this relationship is bringing up something that’s been invisible to you. 4) Or a pattern? 10 OF SWORDS Of all the cards in this deck, this is the one that REALLY shows an ongoing cycle.  This most certainly is a pattern.  The eclipse would suggest that you’re ability to see this pattern clearly is blocked by strong emotions.   This is where you are in the cycle. 5) I really can’t tell if it’s destructive or inventive? QUEEN OF SWORDS The queen is a fierce warrior.  This all goes to what’s being coaxed out of you — which seems to be power and artistic inspiration.    So, most this relationship is definitely inventive — if you can maintain your power and individuality. 6) Am I being too open or too guarded? 10 OF DISKS This card shows 5 coins exposed and 5 coins buried.  It feels like you’ve struck a pretty good balance between the two.  You need to keep those 5 coins to yourself for now. 7) What am I not able to see in […]


The JUSTICE card in El Gran Tarot Esoterico is yet a another departure from the norm.   Instead of the standard woman clad in red with upright sword and Libra scales, Maritxu Guler has inserted The Judgement of King Solomon.   To settle a dispute between two mothers claiming a baby as their own, King Solomon decides to slice the baby in half.   One of the women encouraged the action while the true mother renounced her claim to save the baby’s life and was awarded the child. This adds a layer of complexity to the Justice card.  King Solomon couldn’t solve the dispute based on testimony, so he found a way for the truth to manifest from the witnesses themselves.   There are 4 characters in this Justice card:  King Solomon, the baby, and the two women who are not depicted.   The querent (or the query) is most likely these two unseen mothers, of two minds on a specific issue.  The astrological sign of Cancer on the upper righthand side shows a kind of emotional codependency of these two minds, seeking the drama more than the answers.   (Of course this could easily stand for two people.) This card could be asking what event will finally inspire the truth to surface?   Is there something/someone we are laying claim to that we need to release?   A reversal of this card could be saying that no truth can surface in a given situation; a statement is false; or that we have no claim on what’s desired. Here’s an excerpt of the Judgement of King Solomon from the bible: 1 Kings 3:16-28 16 Now two prostitutes came to the king and stood before him. 23 The king said, “This one says, ‘My son is alive and your son is dead,’ while that one says, ‘No! Your son is dead and mine is alive.’” 24 Then the king said, “Bring me a sword.” So they brought a sword for the king. 25 He then gave an order: “Cut the living child in two and give half to one and half to the other.” 26 The woman whose son was alive was deeply moved out of love for her son and said to the king, “Please, my lord, give her the living baby! Don’t kill him!” But the other said, “Neither I nor you shall have him. Cut him in two!” 27 Then the king gave his ruling: “Give the living baby to […]


I was asked to do a reading for someone today.  I decided to make the question itself into the following 4-card spread (ala Rachel Pollack.) (1) I am wondering about (2) staying calm and also (3) where to place or preserve energy or (4) persevere, (5) not feeling futility.  (1) 2 OF SCEPTERS is the querent, wondering, at the crossroads of two scepters.   The fire at the bottom transforms the wheat and wine (aka the body and blood of Christ.)  This is a great transformational moment, full of pain and possibilities.   2’s are all about wisdom and mystery on the Tree of Life.  In the realm of fire, they are inspiration. (2) STRENGTH is how to stay calm.   This is one of Maritxu’s best cards, showing the feminine force of Venus taming Hercules from within.   Sometimes, Mom knows best, and this card could be saying to access her advice for peace — or to even channel her energy from within. (3) 3 OF SWORDS REVERSED is where to place energy.  A fish is normally free to explore the waters, but negative emotions in the form of 3 swords have killed it.   The reversal actually brings this fish back to life. Where to place your energy is in restoring that freedom which has been killed off by conflict.  The water is the subconscious mind, and the fish wishes to navigate that freely. If fact, this is the form that energy from the 2 OF WANDS must take. (4) 4 OF DISKS shows how to persevere.  Good alignment of numbers.   Here we see four coins rooting together in earth.   We’ve had 2,3 and now 4 as we make our way down the tree of life, honing down energy.   This card suggests that you’ve acquired quite a solid foundation of resources to move forward. You can persevere easily with what you already have (plus that restored fish!) The Rider-Waite deck would suggest a level of frugality, too.  Never hurts. (5) PAGE OF WANDS REVERSED not feeling futility.  The young page is at the beginning of his journey, kneeling to others, and attempting to plant his scepter into the ground.  The reversal suggests you are no longer a page, and fear going back to that place.  So, don’t back track.  Cover new ground, and don’t cow tow to anyone.  Move forward with your experience and take up from there. BONUS […]


This morning I decided to find out about this being that was detected in my  reading on Monday night, so I put to use my being spread: Shuffle the deck concentrating on your being. Set aside the top and bottoms cards. Locate The Devil or the Empress, whichever comes first.   The two cards around the Empress are the seeds of the being; the two cards around the Devil are what the seeds have grown into.   Find the other card and take note of the distance between to indicate how much history you have with this being.  If the Devil is located first, the growth and entanglement with the being is stronger.   The Empress coming first indicates a readiness to see this being in simplest form.    Go back the the top and bottom cards you first pulled. The top card is advice how to engage w/ being.  The bottom card is how to disengage. So I found AKER (aka The Devil) first, which means I’m a bit more entangled with this being than I thought. The seeds of this being have grown into precisely nothing as shown in the 2 OF COINS.   The moon, ever changing emotional state and psychic power, plays a big part here.   THE CONSULTANT (magician) reversed shows  the universe imprinted on the chakras of the archetypal man: Adam Kadmon. The moon is the root chakra or Yesod on the tree of life.  I went to a psychic fair a few years ago where this woman in black pointed to my groin and said I have darkness lingering in that area.  I, of course, was offended — but now it’s beginning to make sense.  This being is preventing growth and opening of this channel.  There are 11 cards between Aker and The Empress, indicating a short history with this being. The two cards around the Empress show the seeds of this being beginning with the seductive ACE OF COINS, with voluptuous roots.   Coins represent groundedness, so perhaps this being began with the promise of feeling grounded and safe.  Death inspires change, but also fear of change.  This being began with a choice between radical change or playing it safe.     Now back to those first two cards, how to engage and disengage. The 7 CUPS (air) are in a state of emptying, they are not receptive or vulnerable to outside […]


Most decks from the Spanish school of the Tarot utilize the same systems as El Gran Tarot Esoterico; Eudes Picard’s system for the minors and Oswald Wirth’s for the majors.   Here’s what Picard wrote in 1909 about the minors in his Manuel Synthétique & Pratique du Tarot: The study of the minor cards has never been very developed. We don’t find the same kind of harmony and follow-through which holds the Major Arcana series together. It is not easy to gain a foothold in the plan of attack for the minors. Commentators on the minor arcana do not link their ideas together. To tell the truth, we do not know the key. It would be easy to adopt the meanings attributed to these cards without trying to find a reason for them; but the serious student demands more. As for us, we have sought to explain the problem, and without claiming to have solved it, we believe at least to have presented it in a guise which may open new horizons to knowledgeable researchers. We have resorted to astrology using the following principle: since the 22 major arcana represent causes, the minor cards should represent effects. With all the male adepts claiming to have unfolded the mysteries of the tarot around this very time, it’s pretty refreshing how Picard simply wanted to offer a point of reflection.  In fact, Arthur Waite dismissed Picard’s system as completely irrelevant probably because he integrated astrology and the qaballah in a completely different way.  100 years later with thousands of decks in print, the tarot is completely open source just as Picard hinted. Manuel Synthétique & Pratique du Tarot was printed with plates for each key and Picard also sold hand-painted decks.   Martixu, you know I love El Gran Tarot Esoterico, but I’m just foaming at the mouth over Picard’s raw, unrefined style of line drawing.   With Arthur Waite, Manly P. Hall, Crowley and even Maritxu all teaming up with artists to execute their decks, I gotta give Picard props for rolling up his sleeves and drawing the keys himself. He’s kind of the patron saint for self-published tarot artists. If any version of Picard’s original hand-painted deck has survived, there’s absolutely no indication of it on the internet.  Translation: I’d be willing to shell out some serious bank for a set.   I have an appointment at Morgan Library and Museum this week to […]

THE EMPRESS AS DEVIL (and vice versa)

In 1978, tarot was a cultural obsession with several hundred variations in print, but when Maritxu Guller was asked to design El Gran Tarot Esoterico at 70 years of age, she wasn’t interested in reinvention so much as aligning it with a lifetime of experience in the field.  Maritxu is relatively unknown in these parts, but a quick Google search with translation assistance revealed her celebrity in Spain where she was master and mentor of all sorts of occult practices until her death in 1993.   Martixu seems to have based her designs for the major arcana on Oswald Wirth’s system with one major departure rippling throughout — the supreme presence of the all powerful goddess.  The most tantalizing change in El Gran Tarot Esoterico is the treatment of the Empress and the Devil.   In Oswald Wirth’s designs both have wings, but that’s where any similarity ends. Maritxu’s Empress and “Devil” are both seated feminine figures with wings swapped. The Devil has been changed to Aker, Egyptian god of the horizon and the revolving door to the underworld.  The two lions at the Empress’s feet are the symbol for Aker.   All this shared and swapped imagery suggests the Empress and Aker are actually the same person seen in the light of the natural world and the underworld — just as the pyramid is depicted on the Empress’s shield.  As above, so below. In the scheme of the Major Arcana, we first encounter the Empress, associated with Mars rather than the usual Venus.  She is nurturer, teacher, installer of rules and administrator of punishment while the Emperor/father is off working or gaining some sort of spiritual guidance at church.  Maritxu’s Empress is the archetype for the mother who transforms from angel to devil the instant she begins to enforce her rules.  The card’s reversal could indicate a severe abuse of this power. Twelve cards (3×4) come between the Empress and Aker indicating a very long journey before we can start to reconcile the seeds of frustration and resentment that began in childhood.   Aker is divided from the church but bares the hand gestures normally given to the male Heirophant/Pope.   To this day women are still actively banned from these roles in the Roman Catholic church probably because they represent true power. After all, the female body is the source of all human creation – even Jesus needed a female to be born into human form.  And […]