Category Archives: Major Arcana

The Four Evangelists in the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot


Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

The WHEEL OF FORTUNE & THE WORLD feature four animals that symbolize of the four fixed signs of the zodiac and four Gospels of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John (otherwise known as the “Four Evangelists” or the “Four Cherubim”).

Ezekiel chapter 1 verse 10 provides the following account:

“As for the form of their faces, each had the face of a man; all four had the face of a lion on the right and the face of a bull on the left, and all four had the face of an eagle.”

A man represents MATTHEW, whose gospel outlines Joseph’s ancestral origins from Abraham, underscoring Jesus’ human nature. It is a Christian belief that salvation cannot be achieved without the use of reason, which also explains why the man also represents the zodiacal sign of AQUARIUS (fixed water).

A lion represents MARK, also symbol of Jesus Christ the King. Because it was believed that lions sleep with their eyes open, it is also said to represent Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, as Jesus lay “awake” in the tomb in the days that followed his crucifixion. The lion also represents LEO (fixed fire) and the unwavering courage required on the path towards salvation.

A bull represents LUKE as well as the principle of earthly sacrifice. The Bible offers numerous accounts of bulls or oxen being sacrificed as an offering to God. Bulls also played an instrumental role in the development of agriculture, making them a symbol of service. The bull signifies the sacrifice that Christians should be prepared to make in the name of Jesus. It also represents TAURUS (fixed earth).

An eagle represents JOHN, whose gospel tells of Jesus’ Ascension to Heaven. Eagles also symbolize SCORPIO (fixed water) and the transformation that Jesus made from an earth-bound being to a heavenly being. The gospel of John introduces the concept of “Logos,” which places Jesus within the Holy Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, underscoring his divine nature. Gnosis (union with God) cannot be achieved without the death of the ego, which often takes the form of physical death.

Why do you think Pamela Colman Smith specifically chose the Wheel of Fortune and The World to feature the Four Evangelists? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot


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Five Ways to Integrate the Teachings of The Star


Welcome to the first annual INTERNATIONAL TAROT DAY BLOG HOP! Today we celebrate the global practice of Tarot and the connection that it provides across multiple cultures and geographical locations. Join us as we undertake this journey throughout the 78 cards of the Tarot.




Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot


Even when the sea is stirred up by the winds of self-doubt, we can find our way home. We can discover in the midst of the waves our spacious and wakeful awareness.

Tara Brach, Radical Acceptance


For years whenever I look at The Star, all I saw was a soothing picture of healing. My eyes immediately go to the seven white stars hovering in the sky, a reference to the seven chakras that line the human spinal column. Chakras, the energetic centers of our physical body, help us stay healthy and aligned. When they are blocked, illness befalls us. Energy workers interact directly with the Chakras in their healing practice.


The big yellow star in the center of it all represents the 8th “Spirit Chakra,” which hovers just a little bit above the Crown Chakra. The Spirit Chakra is known to be the gateway between our individual human consciousness and a much grander and universal collective consciousness. Think of it as a warehouse that stores your karmic memories from multiple lifetimes. When the 8th Chakra is opened, we see the subconscious patterns that hold us back from finding the paradise within. When we see that, we can then commence work on releasing them once and for all. Just as the 8th Chakra serves as a spiritual guidepost; The Star is about accessing Divine guidance from within. Once we are enlightened to the err of our ways, we can then begin the work of healing.


Underneath the sky, a woman grasps two clay jugs – one in each hand – as water freely pours out from both. I’ve always regarded her as a Reiki practitioner of sorts, healing the earth and herself with the energy that flows from her hands. The contents of one jug flow into a small body of water, while the contents of the other pours directly onto the ground. To live a full life, we must give equal weight to both the inner and outer. The medicine that The Star offers is emotional balance between the needs of others and those of your own. When this card appears in your reading, think about how much of your individual self are you willing to give up for the sake of belonging to a larger collective?


The Star also makes me think of Aquarius, the Rebel of the zodiac who pits himself against the collective, just for the sake of being different. To do this, one must have a tremendous amount of self-confidence shored up. If you happen to view the Major Arcana as a set of psycho-spiritual processes that we undergo on the path towards self-realization, then The Star represents what author Tara Brach calls Radical Self-Acceptance.”  Radical Self-Acceptance, Brach writes, is the coming into awareness of what is happening in your mind and body in the present moment without needing to take action on it or pass judgement on its value. When we can do that, the work of releasing outworn patterns that have held us back begins. Healing comes in having faith in yourself.


Photo: Victoria Wilson


Here are 5 ways you can harness your self-confidence by integrating the teachings of The Star into your daily life.


1.) Question Authority

Thinking for yourself sometimes means rejecting the ideas of authority figures and people who are more elevated in stature than you. Maybe you think differently from your teachers, or you have ideas that contradict those of your boss. If that’s the case, then preach it! Too often we fall into the trap of discounting ourselves because someone else doesn’t agree with us. But whose to say that they’re right and you’re wrong? If there’s evidence to back up your claims, your opinions are just as valid as anyone else’s.


2.) Offer unpopular opinions

Sure it feels good to be liked and surround yourself with people who agree with you. And no one wants to be targeted or attacked for what they believe in. But there’s something to be said about owning the freedom to speak your mind. It’s a Universal truth that no matter how hard you try to please everyone, there’s always going to be someone out there who doesn’t like you, often for reasons that have nothing to do with you.


I can’t tell you how many times I have paused before saying something in a crowd of people, or posting something on Facebook, that I know isn’t going to be received well. When I catch myself doing this, I always make a point to say it anyways out of principle. You would be surprised how liberating it can feel when you let go of the need to be liked by others.


3.) Get comfortable in your own skin

Every time I go to the beach or pool it makes me so happy to see people with less than perfect bodies flaunting their stuff in their bathing suits. It makes me think of the nude woman in The Star, totally unaware of how she appears to the outside world while she is lost in her own inner bliss. She shows her naked body to the world without any embarrassment or shame.


What teaching does she offer you? That you are already perfect as we are. Be proud of the way God/dess made you. In The Star’s Aquarian world, everyone belongs.


4.) Let go of anything – values, beliefs, and routines – that do not reflect your authentic self

The Star teaches us how to distinguish between what others want for us, and what we want for ourselves. Over the years we all learn what it means to be a model citizen (such is the lesson of The Hierophant) and how to blend in with the crowd. The choice is ours to accept the status quo, or to go against the grain. The Star would urge you to choose the latter!


If you don’t agree with the direction in which the collective is moving, then don’t follow. Aquarius reminds us that it’s healthy to stick out like a sore thumb, vocalize opposition, and stand up for your beliefs. The Star of Aquarius allows us to be visionaries and see what others cannot. If we know something is true in our hearts, we are obliged to act in accordance.


5.) Forgive and forget

This one goes back to the idea of radical self-acceptance. Sometimes in the process of accepting ourselves fully, we must release any guilt for choices made in the past. This means recognizing that to be human is to be flawed, and that we are all prone to make mistakes. The Star calls on us to own those mistakes, and be open to whatever lessons they had to teach us.


Aquarius beckons us to look at things from a grander cosmic viewpoint. Everything – both good and bad – has its place in the overall scheme of the Universe. The more we can open our hearts to the possibility that the people who hurt us did so to expose a part of ourselves, the more we open ourselves up to the healing energy of The Star.

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot


CLICK HERE to read Stellar Rain Dancer’s thoughts on THE MOON.



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Walls and Travel Bans Represent a Moral Crisis


Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

When I was in high school I went to go see the movie “Schindler’s List” for an extra credit assignment. It was so violent and graphic that I couldn’t finish it. I walked out of the theater about halfway in and refused to go back. This wasn’t wasn’t my first exposure to the history of the Holocaust, but it was the first time I gave any real thought to the nature of humanity.

Two questions swirled in my mind:

(1.) How was it possible for one group of humans to hate another group of humans so much that they are willing to wipe them off the face of the planet?

(2.) How was it possible for an entire nation to collude in the systemic genocide of a race of people?

The first question can only be answered by folks who know more about psychology than I do.

The answer to the second question, however, came to me in a moment of epiphany. I realized that if every single person on Earth could empathize with people who do not look like them, and if the pain of others became their pain as well, then we would stop hurting each other. Because to hurt another person is the same as hurting myself.

The prevailing attitude of building walls and turning one’s back on people in need represents a spiritual and moral crisis that all Lightworkers need to pay attention to. The truth is, we all hail from the same Source. The Tarot itself is based on archetypes – the UNIVERSAL experiences that we all have regardless of race, gender, class, and nationality.

THE WORLD brings it all home. The dual-gender figure in the center of the wreath symbolizes the merging of opposites. What shift in consciousness results from the realization that you and the “Other” are one and the same? What happen when we move beyond “Us vs. Them” paradigms and work together to improve our lives?

The four Evangelists in the corners of this card represent the four fixed signs of the zodiac (Leo, Taurus, Aquarius, and Scorpio) as well as the building blocks of our physical world. One way we can rise up from the limitations of physicality is to recognize ourselves in each other. It’s hard to see our commonalities when we are trapped in meat suits that underscore difference. But separation is an illusion. At the end of the day, when the meat suits wither away, do you really think that the distinctions we make with respect to one another continue to exist?

I think not. We are all One. It’s time to start acting like it.

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot


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Your 2017 Year Tarot Cards


Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

By doing some simple addition, we can calculate which Tarot cards describe the energies of the incoming New Year. Chosen from the Major Arcana, “Year Cards” tell us about the kinds of experiences and life lessons we can expect to encounter during any given year.

To find out the Tarot Card for any given year, simply sum the digits of the current year, and reduce that to any number under 22.


To determine the prevailing energies of 2017, add 2+0+1+7=10.

This means that 2017 is a 10 year, making the WHEEL OF FORTUNE representative of the kinds of experiences we can expect to undergo as a collective.

Where “0” indicates infinite potential for something to take root and grow, and “1” signifies the beginning, individualism, and ego, “10” signifies conclusions and the closing out of a cycle. 2017 will be a year that sees things wrapping up so that a new beginning can be made.

Collectively we are entering into a new phase where the old paradigms are being wiped out. In many ways we are starting with a fresh slate. We stand as a crossroads where there is potential to co-create whatever we want to bring into our collective reality.

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

The WHEEL OF FORTUNE suggests that we are entering a new era marked by change and new ways of doing things. Growth comes through learning how to adjust to the outer circumstances by going within to find your center. If you can imagine the wheel in this card as a spinning object in the sky, then the speed at which things move becomes faster the closer one is to the perimeter. The further one moves towards the center, things slow down.

The WHEEL OF FORTUNE reminds us that life is not so much about what’s going on around us, but how we choose to respond. In Zen Buddhism, it’s taught that anything in the world can be weathered as long as we can detach from our material circumstances and recognize that nothing remains the same. The only constant in life is change, and suffering comes to those who resist the inevitable. To make it through, we learn how to roll with the ups and downs and adapt.

Where the Year Card describes the general themes for everybody in 2017, you can also learn something about will be going on in your personal life by calculating your PERSONAL YEAR CARD. This card reveals some of the lessons and opportunities for growth that 2017 will present to you.

To find your personal year card:

  1. Add the month and day of your birthday to 2017.
  2. Reduce it a number under 22.
  3. The corresponding Major Arcana card tells you something about the personal lessons that will be passed on this year.


I was born on April 9



2017 is a HIEROPHANT year for me.

Once you have reduced the month and day of your birthday with the current year and reduced that to a digit under 22, find the card that corresponds to that number. You can refer to the below chart and the card descriptions below.



THE FOOL (0/22)

The Fool welcomes all experiences with arms open wide. Totally unafraid of what the future brings, he confronts the unpredictability of life head-on. 2017 is a year that will show you the value of your independence. You might decide to go against the grain of the mainstream, learning what it means to be indifferent to what others think of you. This year is about marching to the beat of our own drummer. We all come here to realize the essence of our true selves and live in accordance to that. As a “0” card The Fool marks a year that is full of potential. You are beginning a new life chapter that could take you in any direction. Open yourself up to new adventures and experiences. Take a risk. Whatever happens during a “0” or “1” year could change the course of your life forever.


The Magician is about learning how to wield control over our outside circumstances. Holding his arms in the “As above, so below” position, The Magician reminds us that we are but mere channels of God/dess’ will. This year is about bringing your energy into alignment with the will of God/dess so that you can manifest your inner desires into your material reality. This is also the year of positive thinking, as The Magician teaches us that our thoughts become our reality. Focusing on what you want to bring into your life versus what you do not want in your life is the key to getting what you want. This year will see you step into a new-found sense of power. What are you going to manifest this year?


The High Priestess represents the division of the human psyche into the conscious and subconscious realms. She sits between the two realms, guarding the entrance into the inner world lest we not yet be ready to enter. To pass her test you must apply mental discipline by stilling our minds to be quiet. When we can enjoy the silence, we can then see what is going on deep within the subconscious, the voice of your inner teacher. Your High Priestess year teaches you how to still your mind to connect to your inner knowing. 2017 will be about developing your intuition and learning how to trust it when outside sources are telling you otherwise. This is a good year to explore the origins of certain impulses and behaviors that you do without thinking. As the gateway to the subconscious, The High Priestess blesses us with break throughs in self-understanding. She teaches us to dig deep into our memories, deep into the subconscious.


The Empress’ priorities revolve around the generation of growth and abundance. She is also about motherhood. Perhaps you will become a mother in 2017, or have a profound experience with your own mother. Note that out of all the authority figures in the Tarot who sit on thrones, The Empress is the only one who enjoys the comfort of cushions and pillows. She aims to enjoy the finer things in life. 2017 is about taking life slow and nurturing things over the long term. Take time to smell the roses and appreciate the beauty in your life. If you have been thinking about starting a long-term project, now would be a good time to do it. This year is about cultivating your creative side and manifesting things that are a unique reflection of you.


The patriarch of the Tarot, The Emperor lays down the rules we all agree to live by. An Emperor year is about handling responsibility and taking care of others. A good king is mindful of his people. He does his best to make sure that everyone gets their needs met. He expresses his love through the creation of order and structure. On the darker side, an abuse of power could lead him to become a tyrant. He will forcibly take what isn’t willingly handed over. An Emperor year will push you to be an active agent in shaping your own destiny. It can also be about establishing good boundaries. Who are you going to allow into your life, and how close can they get to you? You wield the power to decide. Lastly, an Emperor year may see you expressing your paternal side by becoming a father or connecting with your own father.


This year may be about the passing down of ancient and orthodox knowledge. Things must be done in a certain way in the same of upholding institutions. Take a look at the acolytes that kneel before the Hierophant, and you might infer that this card is about power hierarchies and learning how to operate in situations in which there is a clear chain of command. Indeed, you might be learning the intricacies of wielding absolute authority, or be placed in a situation where you are unable to question those who out-rank you. Someone might enter your life to offer you spiritual guidance, or you might assume the role of a spiritual teacher. This year might also emphasize the preservation of certain traditions or observation of how things are done. The Hierophant knows there is value in preserving the ways of the past. Through teaching us the laws and ways of those who come before you, he shows you who you are.


Through the eyes of our intimate partners we see our true selves mirrored. While The Lovers ushers in love, romance, passion, and partnership, it is also about becoming a stronger individual. Indeed, it is not until you know who you are will you have the wisdom you need to make wise choices about what you need in a life partner. Our lovers teach us that. 2017 might usher in a new relationship or reinvigorate a current relationship. Prepare to make new discoveries about who you are through your most intimate partnerships. Lovers years denote time spent with significant others.


Filled with a desire to prove oneself, the Charioteer maneuvers his chariot away from the familiarity of the walled city behind him, moving out into the unknown. This upcoming year is about pursuing dreams and goals, and growing from the challenges met along the way. The Charioteer dresses himself in armor from head to toe to project a tough exterior, just as the business man dons a three-piece suit, or the Catholic school girl dons her uniform. Clothes are a form of non-verbal communication expressing how we want to be seen by the outside world. The lessons of this year revolve around how you present yourself to others in order to get what you want. You will learn how to make good impressions by being mindful of how other people perceive you.


Strength concerns with the repression of inner instincts, particularly those that threaten to undermine the norms and customs of your social world. As children we are taught that there are certain ways to “be” in order to fit in with the rest of society. There are certain tendencies within us that go against what it means to be “civilized.” This year is about finding appropriate means to handle those tendencies. You may see you managing animal impulses that rear their head. This year may also teach you about the art of persuasion. You showcase strength when you can convince others to see things your way, rather than coerce them.


You may feel the need to back off from many of your worldly responsibilities in favor of self-isolation and getting to know yourself better. At some point in life, the goals and status symbols of the outer world that we strive for lose their appeal, and we begin to question who we are underneath it all. The Hermit stands alone by himself on a snowy mountaintop, a symbol of the wisdom that he seeks to attain. In his right hand he holds a lantern containing a glowing Merkaba star. He seeks a better understanding of Spirit and the Cosmos. Perhaps 2017 is a year in which you go in search of something that brings meaning to your life. If you are spiritual, 2017 is about developing a personal, one-on-one relationship with God/dess.


If the Wheel of Fortune is your Personal Year Card, then the changes going on throughout the world in general will have a particularly strong influence on your personal life. This is a year that teaches you how little control we human beings wield over the external circumstances of our lives. We do, however, have 100% control over our response. 2017 will teach you how to adapt. It can also be a year in which a major life phase is being closed out. During my most recent Wheel of Fortune year I left an old job and started a new one, graduated from school, and moved into a new house. The entire year saw me transitioning from one thing to the next, teaching me how adapt to my changing circumstances.


For every action, there is a reaction. A Justice year can bring your relationships into sharp focus. You might meet people with whom form a close partnership, forcing you to learn the art of compromise. As the balanced scales suggest, a Justice year will place you in situations that help you cultivate your own sense of balance between opposite forces. Perhaps it about finding a common meeting ground between yourself and a partner. Perhaps its about dropping your personal biases to open yourself to an alternative perspective. At the end of the day, its about reaching an outcome that is fair to everyone involved.


I think of Hanged Man years as “place holder” years in which we are re-hashing old experiences. The people or events that you encounter may resemble people or situations from your past, almost as if the Universe is testing you to see if you learned your lesson the first time around. Be okay with the fact that you are not likely to make tremendous progress towards your goals this year. Hanged Man years teach us that rest is good, and that we don’t always need to be in the process of “doing” something. This year is also about new understandings. Just as the Hanged Man sees the world from his upside-down vantage point, you might spend this year seeing old situations from a reverse perspective. It’s your choice whether to respond in a new way, or cling to old attitudes. Either way, Hanged Man years call on you to give up something precious if you want to release from the stagnation. Its painful to let go, but doing so yields enlightenment.

DEATH (13)

This year is about allowing outworn attitudes, belief systems, and relationships that are no longer serving you to die off. After a period of examination and reflection during the Justice and Hanged Man years, we are now in a position to throw out anything that is standing in the way of your happiness. This is also a year in which you are likely to see a number of major life phases reach their end. By releasing the past we step into the dawn of a new day. Death is a year of transformation, where a new identity replaces an old one.


Temperance years impart lessons that teach us how to integrate different parts of ourselves in the process of becoming stronger. Synergy – the combination of two opposite forces to yield a third force that is stronger and more robust than the original – is the central theme of this year. Temperance calls on you to reconcile areas of your life that are at odds with one another. Maybe your day job takes you away from what you really want to do, or maybe you don’t express your true feelings to people out of guilt, low self-esteem, or fear of reprisal. Temperance years usher in transformation, helping you grow stronger by overcoming the challenges of being in alien and unfamiliar situations.


We confront our inner demons during Devil years. Most people take one glance at this card and see power, manipulation,and control. While it appears that the nude man and woman are being held against their will, a close inspection of the chains reveals that they are actually quite loose, and could easily be lifted up and off their heads. This year may force you to reckon with a situation that has grown rather comfortable, but is no longer serving your highest interest. Maybe its time to leave a dead marriage, or clean up a long held addiction. You will be called on to find your way out of a situation that leaves you feeling trapped and powerless. It may also be a year in which you look your deepest fears in the eye to conquer them once and for all.


What we fail to shake off in The Devil will be taken away from us whether we like it or not. Tower years are ones in which we are suddenly forced to consider the foundations on which we have built our lives. If those foundations are true to who you are, they will remain intact. But if they are not, they will collapse underneath your feet, despite your best attempts to hold them together. Burns away what is false so that you can rebuild something to endure over the long haul. You might choose to do away with something that is no longer of any use. You may also find yourself embroiled in intense confrontations, or feel compelled to heal and restore yourself through diet and exercise. Tower years represent breakthrough years that fundamentally change the way you play the game.


After the crisis moment of The Tower, it’s time to rebuild and heal. As the nude woman in the foreground of this suggests, The Star is about learning how to be comfortable in your own skin. This may be a year in which you are confronting issues of low self-esteem and poor self-confidence. The Star teaches you the value of authenticity, and expressing an outer image that is consistent with your inner feelings. This year may put you in situations in which you are forced to stand up for yourself, teaching you to feel strong in who you are.


The Moon invites us to explore our hidden depths. This card ushers us into another night time scene. Plunged into the darkness, to move forward we must make our way through the unknown. The Moon represents the subconscious mind – that part of ourselves that is responsible for controlling our outward actions and thoughts. This is a year centered on moving past your fears and confronting deep truths that have long been ignored. Painful emotions may bubble to the surface, accompanied by startling realizations regarding our personality traits. Fears that you did not know you had may suddenly make themselves known. The Moon speaks to pure imagination. Your dreams may appear more vivid than unusual, and creativity may flow at an all-time high.

THE SUN (19)

Is there anyone who can look at The Sun and not feel an immediate boost of good cheer? The Sun is about the truth revealed. After you have confronted the hidden parts of you in The Moon, you are now in a position to see the truth of who you are. If you want a hint, try revisiting your childhood dreams. Nothing remains hidden under the sun. When we understand ourselves, both the light and the dark, we are in a position to really pursue happiness. As a symbol of the individual ego, The Sun teaches us that we are all unique and different. This year you are encouraged to determine what that looks like for you.


This year you are waking up after a dormant period. Hearing the blare of Angel Gabriel’s trumpet, the people in this card come to realize who they truly are. In Christian theosophy, Judgment Day represents an opportunity to atone for past mistakes. We are given the chance to look back on the experiences that have brought us to the current moment, and understand the higher-order reasons for why they are happening. As we mature, we learn how to treat such moments not as an indictment of character, but as an opportunity for change. The choice is ours regarding whether we are going to take that opportunity.


Marking the completion of a cycle, The World signals a year of endings and lessons learned. Just as the dancer in the middle of the sky rises up from her material circumstances, The World represents the successful overcoming of challenges that have been met in order to reach the end of the journey. In the process, we understand that we are but a small part of a larger whole. The World can indicate a year in which you take a look at the big picture. This is a year in which you achieve a holistic understanding of who you are, reaching a full understanding of both your strengths and weaknesses.

You’re welcome to share your Personal Year Card and your thoughts on it in the comments below. Happy New Year!


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