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The Tarot can empower you to create the future you want and transform your life by providing you with insights about yourself and the world around you.

A collection of Pithy Tarot meanings – Strength, Tower, Six and Five of Pentacles, Ace and Five of Swords, Seven of Cups

Here are pithy meanings for several cards derived from one of the best known Buddhist scriptures, the Dhammapada, which is a collection of sayings of the Buddha in verse form.  I have noted which Tarot cards I see in association with each saying.

With gentleness,
Overcome anger.
Strength (gentleness) card and Tower card (anger) — The former indicates the solution, the latter, the problem.
Note that this quote was used as a pithy meaning for for the Strength card a couple of months ago.

With generosity,
Overcome meanness.

Six of Pentacles (generosity) and Five of Pentacles or of Swords (meanness) — The former: the solution, the latter: the problem.
Note that there are various ways to interpret the word “meanness.” We might see it as living in a state of squalor, which the Five of Pentacles obviously illustrates. However, it may also elicit an impression of a withholding of yourself from others. That can suggest an internal state of the Five of Pentacles. Of course, then there’s the interpretation of nastiness to others. Then it suggests a different Five card, the Five of Swords.

With truth,
Overcome delusion.

Ace of Swords (Truth) and Seven of Cups (delusion) — The former: the solution, the latter: the problem.

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Various cards RWS2.0.

Note: Each of these pithy Tarot meanings is just one facet of its card. Find more of them on my Card Meanings page.  Also, get my Pithy Tarot eBook or the FREE app that uses my pithy Tarot meanings … and LIKE my Pithy Tarot Facebook page!

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What does the Strength card mean?

Strength -- Tarot of the MastersHere is a pithy meaning for the the Strength card:
“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” — Mary Anne Radmacher

Note: Each of these pithy Tarot meanings is just one facet of its card. Find more of them on my Card Meanings page.  Also, get my Pithy Tarot eBook or the FREE app that uses my pithy Tarot meanings … and LIKE my Pithy Tarot Facebook page!

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Tarot Deck Creator Forum – An annotated index

Several years ago I did a series of extensive interviews with various Tarot deck (and an oracle deck) creators. Deck reviews are pretty common in the Tarot world, but an interview with the creator him or herself was something I’d never seen before, so I thought it would open up whole new worlds of insights into the relevant decks. I tried to go with decks that I felt were rather distinctive, especially self-published ones that might not be so well known, which would expose my blog audience to decks that are not the same-old thing they usually see. (Note that some of these decks are now out of print. I’ve made a note of it below as best I could.)

I ended up with about a couple dozen interviews, the last of which was done about a couple of years ago. It has been a while since that last one, but I’m not ruling out the possibility that there may be more in the future. So if you want, you can check out the list of blog posts for this category and any new ones will pop up at the top. In any case, I thought you all might appreciate an annotated list of links to my Deck Creator Forum blog posts. Enjoy!

PS: You will find that reading these discussions with many Tarot masters will open up new insights into the Tarot in general as well as into the specific decks.

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Infinite Visions Tarot. The Infinite Visions Tarot deck by Gloria Jean is a lovely, handmade deck with images based on paintings by the old masters (somewhat like my own Tarot of the Masters deck). Note that this one is out of stock, but the creator’s website indicates that it will be back soon.

MAAT Tarot. Julie Cuccia-Watts has created several beautiful Tarot decks — the Ancestral Path, the Blue Moon Tarot (a majors only deck), and the MAAT Tarot, which is the one that we discussed in my interview with her.

Mary-El Tarot. I love how mythic and dreamlike Marie White’s artwork on the Mary-El Tarot deck is.  There is a lot of subtly embedded symbolism in them too. This deck’s power does not rely merely on its lovely art though; it is also unapologetically visceral and grabs you powerfully.

A King’s Journey Tarot. This deck, created by Chanel Bayless and James Battersby (artist), is an interesting blend of traditional Tarot and an innovative take on it that seeks to provide lessons in spiritual and mundane growth. Unfortunately, I believe it is out of print.

ShadowFox Tarot. The cards in the ShadowFox Tarot have a very minimalistic look, while also having an almost Rorschach Inkblot quality to them (they are in black and white), which makes them evocative and helps them stimulate an intuitive response.

Transformational Tarot. The creator of this deck, Arnell Ando, is an Expressive Arts Therapist whose delightfully innovative Tarot deck is composed of collage artwork.  It utilizes an eclectic assortment of images, including shamanistic symbolism, Christian iconography, and Pre-Raphaelite artwork. I find it to be serious with a whimsical heart.

Silver Era Tarot. The Silver Era Tarot uses (mostly) black and white photographs that have been manipulated via photo collage and a bit of hand-tinted coloring for accent.  They have a dreamy, brooding feel to them, reminiscent of the Silent Screen Era, and they also remind me of antique daguerreotypes.

Affirmations for the Everyday Goddess. Pamela Wells created this “Majors Only” deck as a tool to honor the feminine aspects of the Divine in order to awaken you to the wisdom and power of the Goddess. It features the twenty-two Major Arcana cards and includes an affirmation with each of them.

The Sacred Rose Tarot. This is a deck that doesn’t pull any punches on the “negative” cards, whose beauty can be dark and foreboding.  This is not to say it’s a dreary deck, however. There is a good balance between the “positive” cards and the “negative” ones. Note that it was first published in 1982 and is still in print, which says a lot for its enduring strength.

Ghosts & Spirits Tarot.  Lisa Hunt is a truly prolific artist who has created quite a few Tarot decks: the Shapeshifter Tarot, the Celtic Dragon Tarot, the Fantastical Creatures Tarot, the Animals Divine Tarot, and the Fairy Tale Tarot. When I interviewed her in 2010, she had just finished her newest deck, the Ghosts & Spirits Tarot, which explores that which is just beyond immediate recognition—ghosts and spirits.

Gaian Tarot. Joanna Powell Colbert devoted nine years to making the Gaian Tarot using an intricate process that employed colored pencils that rendered card images that are photorealistic. The result, obviously a labor of love, is a powerful deck of rich symbolism, multicultural themes, and evocative beauty.

The Faeries’ Oracle.  This one was a bit different — an interview with one of the creators of an oracle deck called The Faeries’ Oracle.  This deck has sixty-six cards which feature goblins, pixies, and other faery folk. The artist is Brian Froud and the text of the illustrated guidebook is by Jessica Macbeth. This interview was with Jessica.

Tarot of the Crone. Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s Tarot of the Crone is a unique and original deck inspired by her study and exploration of the Crone archetype. In this interview she shares some wonderful stories about the cards in this deck. Sadly, this deck is out of print, but you can find out what else she’s working on here.

The Lover’s Path Tarot. Kris Waldherr is the creator of both The Goddess Tarot and The Lover’s Path Tarot. In this interview, we talked about the later of those two decks.

The Pagan Tarot. This deck was designed by Gina Pace with a theme of the everyday experiences of a modern pagan woman whose “spirituality and daily life flow in harmony.” It replaces traditional esoteric symbolism with Pagan symbolism.

The Fifth Tarot. The most obvious innovation in this deck is its inclusion of a fifth suit, which represents the element “ether.”  You’ll read about that new addition and more in my interview with Teressena Bakens, one of the creators of this deck.

The Enchanted Tarot. In this interview, Amy Zerner discussed the process of creating the seventy-eight tapestries (!) that make up this intricate and creative Tarot deck, The Enchanted Tarot (aka, The Zerner-Farber Tarot).

The Tarot of Ceremonial Magick. This deck is aptly subtitled “Real Magic in a Box!” The cards are richly imbued with occult symbolism and correspondences, all organized meticulously and with systematic precision according to established principles of western magickal traditions. The creator of the deck, Lon DuQuette, is both humorous and profound, as you will see in this interview.

Pearls of Wisdom Tarot. The creation of Roxi Sim’s Pearls of Wisdom Tarot deck was a seven year long healing journey after she had suffered several profound personal losses.

Quantum Tarot. Chris Butler has worked through the medium of digital imagery since 2004, which is the medium he used for the art on the Quantum Tarot. The images on these cards used Hubble Space Telescope images as source material, which gives them a unique space themed fantasy art feel.

Quest Tarot. Joseph Martin is the creator of the lovely and innovative Quest Tarot. This deck won the 2004 COVR award for Best New Age Interactive Product of the Year, and in this interview, Joseph revealed some interesting insights into the creation of this award winning deck.  (Note: Llewellyn recently let this remarkable deck go out of print.)

Steele Wizard Tarot. Pamela Steele’s deck, the Steele Wizard Tarot, is a self-published 88 card Tarot deck. She designed it to reflect her strong belief in self-empowerment and self-mastery. There was so much for her to tell about this deck that this interviewed stretched out to three parts!

Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery. Robert Place is another prolific Tarot deck creator whose creations include the Alchemical Tarot, the Tarot of the Saints, the Angels Tarot, the Vampire Tarot, and the Buddha Tarot. He worked on his Tarot of the Sevenfold Mystery deck for about a decade, and he calls it the culmination and synthesis of all his art and scholarship. (Thus, one might say that I saved the best until last.)

So there you have it. I hope you enjoy reading these fascinating conversations with the creators of all these interesting Tarot decks.

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What does the Tower card mean?

Tower card -- Tarot of the MastersHere is a pithy meaning for the the Tower card:
“Break out before you break down.” — James Wanless

Note that this meaning came up in a workshop at the 2015 BATS

Note: Each of these pithy Tarot meanings is just one facet of its card. Find more of them on my Card Meanings page.  Also, get my Pithy Tarot eBook or the FREE app that uses my pithy Tarot meanings … and LIKE my Pithy Tarot Facebook page!

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What does the Devil card mean?

RWS2.0 Devil Here is a pithy meaning for the Devil card:
“The Union of opposites appears to the Christian mentality as evil.” — Carl Jung (courtesy of Mary Greer in her workshop at the 2015 Bay Area Tarot Symposium)

In support of this association, I would like to point out that the male and female figures on most versions of the Devil card can be seen as representations of opposites.

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Note: Each of these pithy Tarot meanings is just one facet of its card. Find more of them on my Card Meanings page.  Also, get my Pithy Tarot eBook or the FREE app that uses my pithy Tarot meanings … and LIKE my Pithy Tarot Facebook page!

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What does the Ten of Pentacles mean?

Ten of Coins / Pentacles -- Tarot of the MastersHere is a pithy meaning for the Ten of Pentacles:
Are you legitimately stocking up, or are you actually hoarding?

(Note that this meaning came up in a workshop at the 2015 BATS)

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Note: Each of these pithy Tarot meanings is just one facet of its card. Find more of them on my Card Meanings page.  Also, get my Pithy Tarot eBook or the FREE app that uses my pithy Tarot meanings … and LIKE my Pithy Tarot Facebook page!

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SF BATS 2015 Convention report

SF BATS 2015I have just posted a new article (see Article tab and its drop-down menu at the top of the page): a report on the recent SF BATS (San Francisco Bay Area Tarot Symposium).
You can read it here.

What does the Three of Swords mean?

Alchemical Tarot -- Three SwordsHere is a pithy meaning for the Three of Swords:
Your psychological and physical health affect each other in creative interplay.

This pithy meaning comes from several sources:

Numerological: Three can mean creativity.
Elemental: Swords are about what’s going on in your mind.
Visual: The best known card image for the Three of Swords is of Three Swords stabbing a heart, which implies your mind causing pain. (Many decks use this imagery, going all the way back to the ancient Sola Busca deck.)

Finally, I am currently reading a book called The Divided Mind: The Epidemic of Mindbody Disorders by John Sarno.  Here is a blurb about it:

In Dr. Sarno’s view, the crucial interaction between the generally reasonable, rational, ethical, and moral conscious mind and the repressed feelings of emotional pain, hurt, sadness, and anger characteristic of the unconscious mind appears to be the basis for mindbody disorders.

It’s important to note about all this that the popular notion of psychosomatic is pretty far off base. Many people think that psychosomatic means “It’s all in your head. It isn’t real. Just get over it.” Well, that’s not right.  It means that real physical problems can arise from real psychic wounds.  But it also means that you can overcome those physical problems by treating the psychic problems. And that can bring us to some great advice when this card comes up in a reading.

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Note: Each of these pithy Tarot meanings is just one facet of its card. Find more of them on my Card Meanings page.  Also, get my Pithy Tarot eBook or the FREE app that uses my pithy Tarot meanings … and LIKE my Pithy Tarot Facebook page!

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What does the Ace of Wands mean?

RWS2.0 Wands AceHere is a pithy meaning for the Ace of Wands:
Mono-culture is bad ecology.

OK, what does that mean? In short, it says that life thrives on diversity. For example, the streets of North American cities were once lined with elm trees, but that mono-culture proved disastrous when Dutch elm disease struck and devastated entire populations of those shade trees. The spread of that disease was facilitated by the fact that the elm trees were strung side by side along streets with no intervening trees to break the path of the disease. Also, with their deaths, every shade tree along the affected streets died.  (A similar devastation occurred here in Southern California a couple of decades ago when one very common species of Eucalyptus was suddenly attacked by an infestation of lerp psyllid.)

However, this statement is not just relevant to the diversity of species in our physical environment.  It is, for example, also relevant with regards to a diversity of industry or commerce to a local economy.

So another way to put this concept is the following:

A table cannot stand for long on just one leg.

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Note: Each of these pithy Tarot meanings is just one facet of its card. Find more of them on my Card Meanings page.  Also, get my Pithy Tarot eBook or the FREE app that uses my pithy Tarot meanings … and LIKE my Pithy Tarot Facebook page!

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