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.
While most of the people featured in the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot are fully clothed, there are six cards where the people are nude. For me, this is a symbol of revealing a part of yourself that is normally hidden away. When a “naked” card comes up in a reading, it generally speaks to being exposed for all the world to see.
Nudity is about seeing the real you.
THE LOVERS – Your most intimate partner (ideally) knows you inside and out. Relationships also reveal parts of yourself that you were previously unaware of.
THE DEVIL – This card represents the shadow, or the part of yourself that you deny or do not like to see. Before the shadow can be transmuted, you must first look it in the eye.
THE STAR – Being comfortable in your own skin means that you don’t have to hide anything.
THE SUN – Nothing lies concealed under the powerful light of a noon sun. This is about full revelation.
JUDGEMENT – Only after we look at the parts of ourselves that were once buried deep down in the subconscious can we hear our true calling.
THE WORLD – I count this despite scarf wrapped around the World Dancer. Empowerment and success comes from of knowing who you are, inside and out.
Also note that five out of six of the “nude” cards appear on the last line of the Major Arcana, which outlines the final stages towards self-realization or Gnosis (THE WORLD). Before we can achieve the spiritual bliss promised here, we must be open and honest with ourselves. This means wholeheartedly embracing your flaws, trauma, and emotional and psychological baggage.
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.
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.
New Moon in Cancer (Fri); Venus in Taurus trine Pluto in Capricorn, Mars in Cancer square Jupiter in Libra (Sat); Mars in Cancer trine Neptune in Pisces (Sun)
KNIGHT OF SWORDS, QUEEN OF PENTACLES Rx & FIVE OF PENTACLES
We are pouring our energy and emotions into defending the home base. What threats are encroaching onto your safety and security? Resisting these forces will call on you to articulate your standpoint through writing and talking. While it may seem adequate to approach this from a place of logic and common sense, you’ll get more done by appealing to emotions.
Opportunity – KNIGHT OF SWORDS
Be a champion of the principles that you value, as the Knight of Swords represents someone who fights for ideals. What is important to you, and how far are you willing to go to advocate? In the background, powerful winds blow the trees backwards as the Knight of Swords spurs his horse onwards. Sometimes all we need to get going is a little resistance. If motivation is lacking, take a moment to think about the naysayers who oppose you. How satisfying would it be to prove them wrong?
Warning – QUEEN OF PENTACLES Rx
Self-care is important, even when things are moving fast all around you. As someone whose job it is to care for others, the Queen of Pentacles can lose sight of her own needs. You’re running at a speed that is unsustainable over the long term, and pretty soon you’ll be running on empty. How can you nourish yourself, especially your physical body, to make sure that it stays in top fighting condition? You’re a force to be reckoned with, but you have to take care of yourself to stay that way.
Advice – FIVE OF PENTACLES
But how likely are you to do this if you believe that you deserve little? The Five of Pentacles highlights a fundamental problem of self-worth. You might feel that you have little to offer, but when you take an more objective look at yourself (get input from friends & family), what do you see? If you deserve more compensation for the effort you are putting out, then ask for it. People will value you as much as you value yourself.