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Deck creator forum — Steele Wizard Tarot (Part 2 of 3)

October 20, 2011

This is the second installment of my interview with Pamela Steele about her deck, the Steele Wizard Tarot. It highlights the non-traditional cards in this deck.

James: There are some non-traditional elements of this deck: six additional cards in the Major Arcana and an additional court card (Maiden) in each suit. I would like to discuss what you feel is the importance or significance of these new cards. I’ll start with the Maiden card. The Maiden, which represents young women, creates a gender balance with the Knights (young men), which seems like a good idea if you read the Court Cards literally as people, but I wondered what the Maiden adds if you don’t read that way. (I don’t use the CCs as much of a gender indicator.)

Pamela: In readings, I rarely read the CC as people. I’m looking for the qualities the card represents.
When I read, Pages bring information, they are the messengers. If a Page comes up in a reading, I’ve been known to pull additional cards using the Page as the focus to unlock the messages they bring.
Maidens represent the Potential of the suit. When a Maiden appears, the reading can explore the possibilities for the Seeker. Perhaps the Seeker has untapped potential in the arts, or business, or leadership that haven’t been discovered much less explored. Maidens often reveal the ‘secret desires’ of the Seeker, as in something they’ve always been interested in but never had the discipline, courage, or motivation to act upon.
Enter the Knight…these are the cards that show movement, or lack thereof. The Knights can show you direction and tell you when to move and when to stay put.
The Queens bring the Divine Feminine aspects of the suit to the table. These cards explore inner strengths, reflections, and bring aspects of Goddess energy to the situation.
Kings are the Divine Masculine. Here is physical strength, healthy aggression, and leadership.
To me, not having the Maidens left out the natural sequence that flows in the gradual progression of self-discovery. As with each of the court cards, the Maidens can represent the potential of the Seeker at that time, and in later tarot consultations, or even in the same reading, another Maiden may appear to demonstrate another area of untapped potential.

J: How is this different from the Aces, which I see as being seeds, and thus potential?

P: I see Aces as New Beginnings. Something tangible starting. When an Ace appears in a reading I consider the surrounding cards, then if needed, pull more cards to see the ‘possible progression’ the Ace is showing. So yes, Seeds is another way of viewing Aces which is entirely appropriate.
I felt the need for absolute clarity when it came to defining beginnings and potentials. When I read for myself, and I practiced on myself endlessly for the first 5 years, and I always felt like I was guessing. After 5 years of journals, I still felt like I needed more information to be absolutely sure. By adding the Maidens, when I read for myself, it eliminates the guess-work for me. Now I can read for myself and not wonder if I’m reading it right.
I’ve had people buy the deck and remove the extra cards. It’s a personal choice. I’m happy to honor that choice. For me, I feel like I’m not playing with a full deck without the Maidens and the added Majors. It doesn’t stop me from buying and using traditional 78 card decks, and loving them. But when I need answers, for me, I always use the Steele Wizard. I may augment the reading with other decks, but I always start with this one.
I also use the Aces for timing cards. Ace of Cups=Spring=March/April/May, Ace of Wands=Summer=June/July/August, Ace of Swords=Autumn=September/October/November, Ace of Pentacles=Winter=December, January, February.
There is some wiggle room on that, if your client is Pagan. It will follow the Solstices or the Equinox more closely.
There is no ‘wrong’ way to read the Aces.

J: So do you think maybe this aspect of “potential” aligns the Maiden cards with the Fool card, which (being ZERO) has that connotation?

P: Yes, particularly if the Fool appears next to the Maiden or even in the same reading. It usually indicates the client has recognized their potential and is ready to take steps to pursue their new ideas.

J: Now let’s look at a few of the additional Major Arcana cards. I’d like to get your thoughts on what these cards bring to a reading that the traditional Major Arcana cards can’t. (Note that I’ve based my understanding of these cards on what I’ve read in the book that comes with the deck.)
Steele Wizard Four Trumps
The Weaver represents destiny and the “web” you are spinning in your life. It shows where you are on your path. However, I see the Wheel of Fortune card as destiny and Justice covers the aspects of “cause and effect” which are related to the “web.” So what does The Weaver say that those two cards can’t?

P: The Wheel is what you are handed. It shows you what tools are available in your personal tool box, the ones you were born with, how the cycles of life ebb and flow. The Wheel is not something we control, we ride it.
Justice is balance. Where all things find their place. The law of cause and effect, or Karma. The ‘rightness’ in all that occurs. Justice is impersonal.
When the Weaver appears, here’s where the reading can take a turn and move beyond duality. The Weaver represents the Great Web that both connects all creation and is the container that holds it together. Legend speaks of Grand Mother Spider who saw the need and created the Great Web with a thought. This is where we learn to authentically accept our place and move beyond the duality of cause and effect into the realm of pure being. It’s where we begin to know on a core level the ‘meaning’ of our lives. It’s where we begin to learn to accept our place with grace and understanding to implement the changes we choose to experience within the definition of Here & Now, and in the Here & Now it’s personal….

J: Evolution is about experiencing creation. How is this card’s meaning of creation different from the Empress, which I see as (metaphorically) pregnant, i.e., creative.

P: The Empress, to me, represents Goddess Energy manifest. Here we know we are wanted children of an abundant Universe and it is our ‘right’ to exist and live in abundance.
When we define ourselves, most people will start by saying their names, and what they do. Teacher, reader, artist, brick-layer, banker…the titles are endless. Evolution acknowledges all aspects of Being and allows us to speak with one Voice. To become what we choose to experience by answering the question ‘Who are you?’ with ‘A Divine Being having a Human Experience.’ Here is where we recognize our place and with focus and intent, collectively create a Grander Version of Humanity.

J: Soul Twins speaks of self-knowing and acknowledging the Self. I take it this card is about the journey toward (divine) Self realization? How is that different from the World card, which depicts a divine soul within the four elements of the manifest world?

P: The World is fulfillment, attainment, and freedom. But we’re still working in duality…always trying to maintain that precarious balance.
Well, think of Soul Twins as a blending of the 4 elements into the 5th…Spirit. Soul Twins is where we learn to Dance with the Shadows and know the deeper the shadow, the more brilliant the Light. Now we become the Light, and see the shadow is of our doing. It is impossible to be motivated by fear if the shadows are embraced.

J: I AM is another card about realizing your true potential as a Divine Being having a Human Experience. How is this different from the Fool (the soul’s manifestation in the physical world) and (again) the World card (realizing that we are Spirit within the physical world)?

P: The Fool is beginning the Journey.
The Law is for all. No one is above the Law. We attract what we are. We have acknowledged our place in the Great Web, learned to stand in our personal Truth, which is always evolving, and from that place of Truth learned to dance with the Shadows.
When we encounter what we ‘judge’ to be negativity, we honor the teacher and go within to seek a part of ourselves that’s identifying with that, and owning it. Or we acknowledge a judgment of that and take steps to evolve beyond the judgment. Either way, we are given an opportunity to bring Divinity into our selves.
We stand between the extremes, as in the Universe, and with grace and dexterity blend the energies into a single force of Spirit. Just by Being, we change our lives and the lives of those we encounter.
I AM is when self-realization is achieved and implemented. It’s a complete integration of Spirit into flesh. From I Am, the Fool returns and the Journey takes on an entirely different meaning.

J: Do you have any stories you can tell us about readings with this deck where the messages of any of these new cards brought insights that the old cards could not?

P: I can count the readings on one hand where none of the rediscovered cards have appeared. After the images were completed, I created a proto-type deck using photo paper and a glue stick. That was in 2000. Needless to say I carried a glue stick until July 2007 to keep the cards from falling apart. And yes, I still have that deck.
From day one, I began to uncover hidden potentials I had suspected but never acknowledged in myself. The Maidens appeared regularly pointing me in directions I’d never before considered. The same began to happen for the people who came to me for readings. One of the Maidens would appear, and something would be mentioned about unrealized or neglected potential in that area, and every single client has smiled and told a story about their fondest wish being represented in that potential. It’s become part of almost every reading to have one of these, or the added Majors show up.
The Universe card is the one that most often appears in readings for clients. As well as the Weaver. The others appear regularly too. As well as the Empress, the Chariot, and Strength.
Most people I read for are serious Seekers on a path of enlightenment and are looking for direction on their spiritual paths. I rarely get questions regarding Soul Mates, jobs or other daily life inquiries. If they are changing jobs, or partners, or considering a new business proposal, it’s because they feel Spirit directing them and have questions about the messages they’re getting and want clarity.
The additional cards, used in conjunction with the traditional Majors and Minors, bring a clarity that I never found before. I’ve seen scores of talented readers use traditional tarot in various combinations of decks and oracles and obtain amazing results.
No matter how carefully I worded the question, the final answer always seemed to leave me with another question, but since using the Steele Wizard I’ve found a clarity that before was more a guessing game.

Next up: The use of symbolism in the SW deck and some concluding questions

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