Tag 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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Tarot Tip: Court Cards Channel the Energies of Major Arcana Cards


Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

Court Cards can be read as people who channel the energies of a corresponding Major Arcana card.

Many Tarot readers agree that the Court Cards are hands-down the most difficult cards to interpret. To better understand the personalities of the Court Cards, try pairing each one with a Major Arcana card. In this schema, the Major Arcana card represents the archetypal energy being expressed by the person represented in the Court Card.

For example, when I see the QUEEN OF CUPS, I think of a personality that is quiet, secretive, self-reflective, and relies heavily on her intuition. The Queen of Cups represents a person who is experiencing the energies and learning the lessons of THE HIGH PRIESTESS.

The QUEEN OF SWORDS represents a person who expresses his or her intellect in a feminine way. This is very similar to the energy of JUSTICE, which is all about creating fairness, objectivity, and partnership. We can think of the Queen of Swords as someone who strives to render an unbiased decision. We can also think of her as someone who uses words to connect with people.

The KING OF WANDS channels the energy of THE EMPEROR. He is a proud leader who likes to take charge and do things his way. He also wants to be where all the action is, although his responsibilities may prevent him from doing that.

I see the PAGE OF WANDS as a person who expresses the archetypal energy of THE FOOL. This person is adventurous, innocent, and wide open to whatever life brings his or her way. Page of Wands type people are also prone to take risks and venture into unfamiliar territory.

Since there are 22 Major Arcana and 16 Court Cards, not every Major is going to be used. Choose the Majors that make the most sense to you. Hopefully this system will help you identify the kind of person being represented by any given Court Card.

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot


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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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