Why Use a Major Arcana Only Deck?

I’ve been reading Tarot for over 30 years using an assortment of 78 or 79 card Tarot decks. When Gordana Curgus and I created the Tarot of Empowerment Major Arcana deck I assumed I would read with it until we finished the Minor Arcana. However, since using this deck I have found that the readings are more powerful and straight-forward than any other Major/Minor deck I’ve used – and others have reported their readings are also right on every time.

Here’s how to do an empowered reading no matter if you’re an expert or a novice. For most readings, limit the number of cards to about seven.

1. Be clear about the information you want the cards to tell you. A question tells you the framework to which the cards are responding. Form a question that helps you create a plan of action. Knowing what to do is empowering.

2. Assign the purpose to each card in relation to the question. For example, the theme of the reading, the best course of action, the challenge, my true desires, etc.

3. Interpret each card in the context of your question and the purpose you have assigned to the card.

In a Major Arcana reading EVERY card is significant.

February – The Second Month

High Priestess

February is the second month and resonates with the High Priestess. The High Priestess energy provides an opportunity to access your spiritual enlightenment and inner illumination.

The High Priestess has an evolved inner knowing that is associated with feminine powers such as intuition, serenity and psychic awareness. She draws on the secrets and unspoken wisdom in the universe. She understands the mysteries of this world as well as beyond.

The High Priestess represents the highest moral standard, which stands above the manmade law. You connect to the High Priestess through your high self by engaging your intuition, meditation, dreams.

In Tarot of Empowerment the High Priestess is serene as she naturally draws on her intuition to contemplate the True Law of the universe. Her broach alights, mirroring the heart fire that represents genuine wisdom. Her wisdom engages the intellect as well as intuition. The High Priestess reflects the majesty of the ultimate feminine power.

The number 2 represents partnership and balance. People in a 2 Personal Year are open to new relationships and opportunities that embrace harmony, balance, and cooperation. During a 2 year, when a person is out of balance or in a disagreeable relationship, the person may become depressed because they are not able to act with the 2 energy. The 2 year is an excellent year to build on the new beginnings from the 1 year. (Link here to calculate your Personal Year)

What Questions do My Readings Address?

I was recently asked if I use Tarot only to tell the future. Well, no. That would be a fortune teller and I am an Empowerment Coach.

Here’s the difference: a fortune teller would have you believe that the cards can tell the future and you have no control over the outcome. An Empowerment Coach explains what cards mean and then provides you with new perspectives and suggestions for how to address the issues.

These are some of the questions clients have asked me to address in the last week:

How do I move forward to bring success to a major work project?
In a challenging relationship what is important for me NOT to say and what is the best thing for me to say to be heard.
What are the best steps for me to take to get funding for my project?
What is blocking the success of my business and how do I address the block in order to move forward.
What to is the best way for me to optimize my physical, emotional and spiritual self in the next 4 months and how do I do that?
How do I support my daughter at this time?

Always remember, you can make choices to get through any situation. Very often a new perspective will help you see the light at the end of the tunnel. The information may not always be what you want to hear, but you will be empowered to make decisions that give you in control of your life the situation.


How Tarot Works as a Tool of Empowerment

Tarot readers have different styles and objectives. In books and the movies Tarot is often depicted as a fortune telling device that reveals what the future has in store for the person. My problem with that kind of reading is that the person’s fate is out of her hands.  This can lead to resignation rather than action.

An empowered reading begins with formulating the right question.  A fortune telling question might be, “When will I find my soul mate?” What if the cards say in 5 years, or never, or next week?

A more empowering question might be, “What action is in my highest good to attract my soul mate?” This question gives the person alternative choices of actions to take responsibility for her own life.  Cards for this reading might include a theme, the best course of action, the challenge to doing the best course, and how to meet the challenge.

An even better question might be phrased as, “How can I bring contentment or joy into my life?” I person who finds joy in his or her own life will be more likely to attract a mate, or at least lead a more joyful life.

The question, “Should I quit my job?” would better be phrased, “What energy do I call to myself if I stay with my job or leave my job?” The layout for this question indicates what happens if the person stays with the job in comparison to leaving the job.

Pull a significator indicating the general current theme about you and work. Then, pull 3 cards about the energy you draw to yourself if you quit, and 3 cards to stay. This reading is usually pretty revealing. This is one of the few cases when I don’t assign a more detailed meaning for the 3 cards under each option.

Remember, the question is always about you, not what you want other people to do. Rather than, “How can I get my friend to lose weight?”, the question might become, “How do I best support my friend regarding her weight?” In this question there is less judgment.

My goal is that the person coming for a reading can look at options not previously considered, or to get clarity about the choices under consideration. The information offers options that may have been missed, opportunities or challenges that may come up, and areas of strength to call upon. The information received serves to enhance the ability to make decisions, not to diminish free will. The cards indicate how things stand at present and what is likely to influence the situation.

If you send me your question I will help you formulate it in a way that empowers you to take action.

Empowerment Work for 2015

Be empowered in 2015! Use the exercise below to make a commitment to taking control of your life in the New Year. There are several approaches to his exercise: journal about what comes to mind for each question; pull a Tarot card for each question and think about what it means; randomly open an inspirational book to a different page for each question, or pull a rune for each question.

The example below is based on using the Major Arcana cards.

What one card represents one major goal for my life for 2015?
To reach my goal, what do I leave behind?
What energy do I call to myself to help me reach my goal?
What is the key opportunity that will present itself to me this year?
What is the key challenge I’m likely to face in 2015?
In a perfect world, how would I deal with the opportunities and challenges this year?

After you answer and consider each question, put your responses aside in an accessible place. Make a note on your calendar to periodically review what you’ve written. The information gleaned from answering these questions will help to keep you on track to reach your goals in 2015.

New names for Traditional images

You’ll find several cards in the Major Arcana deck of Tarot of Empowerment have new names. A major reason I acquiesced to make a deck was because Gordana’s art so clearly reflected the essence of the cards as I saw them.

After Gordana created each card, I would use it to clarify readings. [Read more…]

The Major Arcana Punch

A traditional tarot deck has 78 cards, so why would a person only use 22 of those 78 cards?

There are two major reasons; 1) it’s a good way to learn the archetypes and the relationship of the numbers, 2) it’s a good way to answer the essence of a spiritual or long term questions.

The Major Arcana cards tell a story that represents the stages along the journey towards self-awareness. The energy of these cards in a reading has a more profound impact than do the minor arcana. The major arcana draw from the collective unconscious represented by the archetype. Using the Major Arcana gives your reading an extra punch.

You can see the significance of using only the major arcana with a simple 3 cards spread. Think of an unresolved significant issue in your life. Pull a card that represents

1.    You and the issue

2.    The obstacle in the way to solving the issue

3.    Your course of action to resolve the issue

When you only use the major each card is significant in a way that provides a depth of meaning beyond using both the major and minor arcana cards. There are some readers who only use the major arcana for every reading and there are several decks of only major arcana.

We are releasing a very limited number of major arcana Tarot of Empowerment decks at the end of 2014 or the beginning of 2015. I am offering workshops on using only the major arcana cards this fall. Please email me for information.

Reading to Find Your Authentic Self

I have a friend/client who is investing her time and energy in building a jewelry business. She is taking webinars and learning how to be efficient with the many options for getting her products to market. In the course of her studies, she realized there are gaps in what she knows about her approach to business and what is her authentic business self. This is the layout I used to explore the idea.

1. What card best represents my authentic self at this time? 8 Fire, lightening rod

You are attracting a lot of energy around you, and your products are a way to connect with you. This is the time for prioritizing where your passions lie and what you want to put out into the world.

2. What energy do I call on to assist me to honor my authentic self? Magician

Once you prioritize everything, what is it you most want to do to make your living? You have the attention of people who like what you have to offer. Most likely, the people who already buy from you recognize that you have other talents and teachings to offer. What do you want to authentically produce? Your jewelry, your teachings or a combination of both?

3. What is in my best interest to remove from my energy? 10 Wind

You are at a crossroads in how you think about yourself in the world. In this position in the reading, the cards suggest you give up old ways of thinking. You are ready to move beyond your old patterns and ways of thinking.

4. What is my best course of action at this time? Wheel of Fortune

Understand that this is a time of change. Your course of action is to stay balanced in this time of change. Allow the wheel to turn. Some things will fall away, and that is okay.

Let’s look at how the cards relate to each other. We see that her clients are initiallly  attacted to her jewelry (fire). As they get to know her they become attracted to her ideas. Her jewelry is her tool to introduce the ideas.  She’s been hesitant to move forward in her teaching (10 Wind). If she authentically wants to become a teacher she has the Magician energy too manfest those desires. The Magician uses the elements to connect to her authentic self: fire, her true passion (teaching); earth, her security (make it pay); wind, her communication (ideas to teach); and water, the emotional ties she has with her clients (integrating the love her clients have for her jewelry to discovering what she has to teach them about life). Her best course of action is to move forward to the next step in her authentic life (Wheel of Fortune).

The Suit of Earth

The Earth suit represents the physical world. In a traditional deck this suit was most often called Pentacles, Coins or Discs.

Earth is about money, work and health. It relates to how we are and what we do in the world. Earth is about manifesting, caring for, or acquiring a physical thing or a physical state. Each Earth card in the suit relates, in some way, to our association with money, objects or health.

Remember to associate the placement of the card, and how the placement relates to the question, before you make an interpretation of the cards in a reading. For example, the 2 of Earth will have a different meaning in the place of best course of action, than in the place of outcome. As a best course of action card, the 2 of Earth suggests that the best thing for you to do (regarding your question) is to be balanced around your spending (or health) habits.

As an outcome card, the 2 of Earth indicates that you will achieve balance if you follow through by doing whatever the card in the place of best course of action suggests that you do. Interpreting the cards is telling the whole story around your question.

Tarot and Empowerment

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the earliest use of the term empowerment was used in 1648 as a legal term to bestow power and authority to a person, government or institution. In other words, the power was given to another.

An issue that sometimes arises with the word “empowerment” is that it contains the word “power”. Power often implies domination and control in a relationship of any kind, or in the social or political arena. In such relationships it’s difficult to take control and create change. When one is empowered, she holds the ability to take control over her own life and make decisions that can change her life.

In recent times the term empowerment has been so overused that it’s become almost a cliché and has lost meaning for a lot of people. Businesses, political and social organizations often make false promises about how employees or community members can become empowered to make their own decisions, only to snatch the power away with rules and hierarchical decision-making.

The Journal of Extension from Connecticut University People Empowering People defines empowerment as a multi-dimensional social process that helps people gain control over their own lives. It is a process that fosters power in people for use in their own lives, their communities and in their society, by acting on issues they define as important.

An article about empowerment by Judi Chamberlin of the National Empowerment Center identified the key elements of empowerment including access to information, ability to make choices, the ability to assert changes and the self-esteem, or self-worth to make it all happen.

How does Tarot relate to empowerment? The cards are a tool to help access information and new perspectives. Information from the cards reveal choices that are open to you and can identify the consequences of making those choices. A reading can reveal the energy you call to yourself according to the choices you make. The information and lessons from the cards can also help the querent work towards self-worth as she becomes accustomed to embracing her own power.

The cards themselves do not empower an individual, rather, it’s the willingness to explore the options, assess the information and take action.

Make sure that when you ask a question for the cards that you frame the question in a way that leads to empowerment. I like to ask questions that include a card for a best course of action, how to do the best course of action and what is most likely to get in the way of completing the best course of action.

If you asked a question and the Justice card came up in the spread in the place of the best course of action, it would indicate that you would be best served by looking at all aspects of the question and consider the consequences. Justice suggests using both your rational and intuitive abilities when considering the action.

If the Hanged One came up in the reading as the best course of action you would do well to get a different perspective about the issue.