Last week, our friends at withhecateandfalkor and dailyspreads posted an excerpt from 365 Tarot Spreads by Sasha Graham designed to communicate with someone from our family tree.   We were intrigued and decided to give it a try: We immediately ran into an issue with the first question. A card for “who am I speaking with?” seemed too obscure and open ended.  We decided to identify an ancestor to speak with and shift the entire spread.   What Talent Thrives in our Family? Overlying Challenge Legacy Your hopes for me How do I make the most with what I’ve inherited What must I do? Specific question for the ancestor After trying this spread three times in a row, there was a little bit of frustration. Questions about familial talents and legacy felt far too broad to be answered in one card.  My family’s talent is the TOWER REVERSED. Is this the is the ability to prevent destruction or just to be a living pressure cooker? We quickly realized that a blood-line talent or legacy can be something that needs to be overcome rather than embraced.   In general, the information that comes across in this spread is a very wide snapshot of the family tree.  If you want to zoom into the specifics you’ll need to keep a notebook handy with any questions that pop up.    Mostly, we wanted the communication with our ancestors be a little more detailed. Here’s my spread:


In accordance with information from our psychic ability spread from the other night,  I gave the new owners of the house next door (a convent at one point) a reading about their endeavor.  Instead of doing a spread with a specific spread, I decided to just read the cards themselves with a more psychic approach.   On a conscious level i knew the seller of the house was a pretty strange and negative person, but I got mostly clear energy from the house itself. Here’s the spread in a poorly lit photo: Going right to left the first card I threw down was the TWO OF CUPS. Complete relief!   This house is the beginning of a wonderful new phase of my friends’ life together.  The next card was THE ACE OF CUPS.  Holy moly!  There’s the house, so many possibilities indicated by the butterfly emerging from the basket.  The house and the lovers coming together.   THE QUEEN OF CUPS REVERSED comes next which feels like a tendency to get lost in days dreams, fantasies, possibilities and choices rather than following a practical path — this is something to keep under control.   A slow and steady course of action comes across in the 3 OF CUPS REVERSED, one that is supported by the 7 OF COINS.   Carefully spent money will grow and thrive like the tree —- the symbols of venus and mars in the branches above show the progression of the lovers over time. THE THREE OF WANDS is a meeting of minds (or meeting of my friends w/ the house), consideration, taming of inspiration into very real ideas. Aside from a penchant for daydreaming, this feels like an excellent move. The house has a voice, too.


We are in the peak of a Cardinal Grand Cross which has raised the hackles of Astrologers around the globe.   From upheaval in the Ukraine, to the sunken ferry in South Korea and the missing jetliner from Malaysia (not to mention several notable earthquakes around the ring of fire) there is a lot going on.  According to Anthony Louis’ helpful blog entry, “Individuals born with their Sun or personal planets and chart points at 13 degrees of a cardinal sign will be most strongly affected.”  The Ukraine falls under this category. A simple 8-card spread to reveal personal impact from the Cardinal Grand Cross: TOP LEFT: effects of URANUS IN ARIES BOTTOM LEFT: effects of JUPITER IN CANCER BOTTOM RIGHT: effects of MARS IN LIBRA TOP RIGHT: effects of PLUTO IN CAPRICORN CENTER: two cards for overall impact RIGHT: two cards for of long term effects The ACE OF WANDS shows the powerful effects of Uranus in Aries. I am Sagittarius with Leo rising, so this was bound to have to most profound effect.  The potential to begin anew is at conflict with the other planets in the square. The 6 OF WANDS shows the effects of Jupiter in Cancer.   This card is literally ruled by Jupiter and so am I.   Cancer is such an emotional sign, it feels like Jupiter is attempting to boil to the water a bit and bring something massive to the surface. The 6 OF CUPS represents a retrograde Mars in Libra. This is the first time this card has ever come up in a reading with this deck!  With 3 cups facing in either direction, Mars feels somewhat neutralized, inward and lost in Libra.  This feels almost like the safe space in the square. The QUEEN OF PENTACLES reversed represents Pluto in Capricorn.  I wonder if someone else’s bad decisions are going to have direct effect on me? The overall impact is the ACE OF PENTACLES reversed.   Ugg.  The nice way to interpret this is feeling vulnerable and helpless in the center of it all.   The worst is that something will come down from that Queen and effect the freelance project I’m working on.   That Queen already fired all of her own employees yesterday and isn’t prone to making considerate decisions this week. Nevertheless, the 10 OF CUPS AND COINS as outgoing impact feel very balanced. Whatever is […]

LAST SUPPER TAROT SPREAD (Ya know, for Holy Thursday!)

Holy Thursday is believed to be the day the last supper took place back in April 0033 as part of Passover.  When I was kid, Holy Thursday we would have to visit three churches and pray in front of the empty tabernacle in the altar. I may not be religious, but I still have this fabulous last supper wood art hanging in my kitchen, so I wanted to do a  five-card spread to coincide.   The Last Supper specifically portrays the reaction given by each apostle when Jesus said one of them would betray him.  Who am I at this table (left to right)? What is truly worshipped/revered at this supper? What is to be feasted upon? What is behind the betrayal? What should I enjoy like it’s the last time? The apostles from left to right are:  Bartholomew, James son of Alphaues, Andrew, Judas, Peter, John, Jesus, Tomas, James the Greater, Philip, Matthew, Jude Thaddeus, and Simon the Zealot. Who am I at this table? The 7th person from the left…. Jesus!   Ok, I’m not really looking forward to tomorrow!  The 7 OF CUPS gives a glimpse inside.  The flowers have grown and bloomed amongst the very open and receptive cups.  Integration of body and spirit. What is truly worshipped at this table is the 10 OF SCEPTERS, which is interesting since two of these apostles turn out to be shady ass queens, and of course their chosen one is about to be sacrificed.  What is truly worshipped here is the ability for the 10 remaining apostles to come together and create a powerful ring of fire.  What is sacrificed will inspire. What is to be feasted upon?  THE HEIROPHANT, not food, but that fleeting direct connection with “god.”   It’s suddenly getting real biblical up in here.   The beautiful 9 OF CUPS is behind the betrayal.  A butterfly that has completed its metamorphosis flutters smack dab in the center of the pentacle cup formation (the pentacle being a symbol for the body.)   What’s behind the betrayal necessitates transformation. The PAGE OF SWORDS reversed is what’s to enjoy like it’s the last time.   This dude just waits and waits on his game board.   He’s always practicing, and calculating, and his reversal brings this waiting to an end.  Enjoy the safety before going to battle.


So I just got the Egyptian themed “Papus Tarot” which is based on designs by Gerard Encausse (Papus) from around 1889.  Papus seems to have adopted the writings of Eliphas Levi into an actual deck.   The minors feature the seals of the 72 angels (or intelligences) of the Shemhamphorasch.  Try saying that drunk.  The top half of the minor arcana are co-opted from Le Grand Etteilla. The US GAMES version (cue horror timpani) I bought was re-created and over-simplified in 1981.  I love the groovy colors but sadly this version shed almost all of the original’s esoteric indicators.  The seals are just wrong and match nothing.  The Little White Book is useless. Why bother to resurrect a historically important deck if you’re not  going to clue the buying public in on the language of its symbols?   Disappointment aside, I decided to interview this deck about what it has to offer. To guide me through the intensity of translating the angelic seals, I went to this article on the 72-Fold Name of God by Uri Raz on 1) WHAT ARE THIS DECK’S STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSES? Strength: The Knight of Coins seems somewhat straight forward — but I am curious about the pentacle he holds and what it says. So perhaps the strength is just that — it inspires a Knight-like aggressive tendency to dig deeper, uncover answers, and become more grounded. Weakness: The Three of Cups feels utterly blank to me, other than this strangely botched seal of the Angel Reahel who reminds us that god sees everything and also, “governs health and longevity; influences paternal and filial affection.”  I’d say the weakness in this deck is in gaining access to angels/intelligences indicated on these cards.  Also, it seems to have less power if the question isn’t completely grounded. 2) WHAT WILL THIS DECK REVEAL & HIDE FROM ME? Reveal:  The 10 of Coins bares the name of God on the top.  The bottom reminds me of the wheel of fortune with its collection of the four elements, except I don’t know why there’s an E there instead of an R (ATOR, TARO, ROTA.)  This card aligns with its strength.  It seems to be saying the true power is in the hebrew alephbet and planetary symbols more than the cards themselves.  Maybe I could use this deck as fancy flashcards? Hide: The Queen of Wands. If the deck’s weakness is in accessing or […]

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 […]


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 […]