Reading With The Gilded Tarot
This weekend, I’m highlighting one of my favorite decks. The Gilded Tarot is a wonderful blend of the Rider-Waite Smith themes with fantasy. Ciro Marchetti is the only current tarot artist I know by name, and there’s a reason for that. His artwork is truly incredible, and it only enhances the deeper levels of a tarot reading. Out of all the decks I own, this is the one where I never want to use it because the cards are just so beautiful. For a tough subject themed reading, this is the deck I’m going to. Hopefully, we’ll get a really powerful reading in response to it. So, without further ado, let’s get started with our weekend tarot deck and a nice hot cup of coffee.
For today’s reading, I’m asking a question many people within the tarot community seem to be asking in one form or another. Recently, I noticed a lot of tension surrounding Christianity and tarot. In many ways, this conversation wouldn’t be complete without injecting a healthy dose of the Occult and Witchcraft. Specifically, I’m using the term Witchcraft here, because of how others seem to apply their stigmas. Please note I don’t always see Witchcraft as the same as Paganism or similar paths. As a Christian tarot reader, I don’t fit into either group extremely well. This is mainly because I label myself an Esoteric Christian or even a Christian Witch, depending on the atmosphere and conversational topic. Anyway, I wanted to dig deeper into the tensions lately. I know, I’m continuing last week’s theme a bit, but I still need to clear the air. For this reading, I’m using the Celtic Cross Spread recommended by The Gilded Tarot.
Question: What is currently creating the tension in my approach to tarot lately?
Card #01 – Significator
For this spread, I drew my significator randomly and got the 10 of Pentacles. This is curious, because I drew this yesterday as a future position. While card seems weird, it alerted me to the significance of it. Personally this card only makes sense when taken into account with the next card, but pushing myself to read deeper, I can see a few themes. There is definitely a theme of completion here. The Gilded Tarot also makes note of a giving aspect to the 10 of Pentacles. Both of these themes also go right along with my previous day’s reading where the 10 of Pentacles came up. Therefore, I’m concluding the significator symbolizes a state of completion and wanting to give back to others. This is an interesting significator given my question.
Card #02 – You
Somehow, The Empress showing up here in this spot isn’t surprising to me. In some ways, I’m humbled by it. The Empress, especially in this deck, symbolizes giving birth to new projects and balancing opposites. To me this speaks volumes about approach tarot as both a Christian reader and an Occultist. A healthy balance requires very fine nurturing. Passion is controlled, in this case, with emotion. Remembering that both approaches have their problems works toward maintaining that delicate balance. Only then, will a new project truly be possible. The Empress also speaks to myself, as a female, and my zodiac sign, Taurus. This card just seems to shout, “This is you!” I’m thankful for that. The card is just beautiful, and I feel like meditating over it with my coffee for a bit.
Card #03 – Crossing
This card is all about what crosses, or challenges us. To me, these cards are often representative of the environment we feel or pick up on. In my case, this is probably a major contributor to the tension felt lately. Drawing the 5 of Swords in this position is immensely eyeopening. The tension could be caused by seeing a battle, where none exists. There are themes here of finishing the battle, according to The Gilded Tarot. I like that analysis. Not every battle we fight, win or lose, was worth it. In my search to define my beliefs and my practice, it may not be currently seen as worthwhile. There was a lot of hurt, let down, and angst to overcome. The root of some tension may actually be emotional, instead of philosophical. I’m interested in how this is enhanced later in the spread, or if it is enhanced at all.
Card #04 – Foundation
Some part of me expected to find Temperance in this spread. I’m just surprised to find the card turn up in the area of foundation. This does make sense though, as Temperance is about merging extremes. In my view, I very much see Witchcraft and Christianity existing on two ends of a spectrum. I’m just choosing to combine and shape them into a beautiful philosophy that works for me personally. What I really like though, is that’s the foundation. There’s more to be done, and Temperance warns against extremes. The theme of balance is once again present. Keep things in balance. Also, in The Gilded Tarot The Empress and Temperance look similar. Temperance almost looks like a daughter, or a free form of The Empress. I love that idea, as it represents passion uncovered by emotion. That’s what a foundation is in my mind, but, well, tempered.
Card #05 – Past
The King of Cups in the past position makes me feel all the emotions wrapped up in the card itself. In the past position specifically, this card symbolizes my Christian faith untouched by the Witchcraft sphere. And, while I don’t talk about it often, I understand the melancholy of the King of Cups. This would be a good summary of feeling advanced in my understanding and involvement in Christianity, but feeling the lack of being complete as a person. Christianity didn’t complete me in that moment, and by itself, it never would. The King of Cups very much represents that to me now. For me, the fact the King of Cups is representative of “The Church” in this case and I struggled with a gender issue, being female, is also added context to this card. A more cohesive card may have been the Queen of Cups, if I were feeling complete in Christianity alone.
Card #06 – Present
Ah, the infamous Death card, in the present position, wonderful. As much as I hate to admit it, the situations I’ve been going through lately, do seem to indicate Death. I’ve cut some negative influences from my spiritual journey, I’ve been challenged in my approach to tarot, and I’ve also seen a new road ahead. These are all Death in the present moment. What lies ahead of me is a realization that I must seek Truth and not Goodness, an uncommon idea nowadays. This isn’t the biblical idea of absolute truth, but rather, a personal outlook. Truth vs. Goodness has been an ongoing theme for a few years, and I suppose it is finally catching up to me. Death stares us all in the face, and, according to one of my favorite movies, all we can do is smile back. Right now, I’m starting to smile. The cycle is almost complete, and Death is the new beginning.
Card #07 – Future
The 7 of Cups in the future position, the seventh spot in the spread, is intriguing to me. This card is linked to my personality number, and thus, is an opportunity card. For me, the 7 of Cups is a warning not to daydream too much. These passions or wants will not make me happy ultimately. They can present opportunities, but are only illusions. In a future position, I think this indicates a time of inspiration. When beginning again, or something new, it is typical to daydream. For me this is very close to brainstorming. Combined with The Chariot’s directed willpower, the fantasizes raised by the 7 of Cups can be brought into the realm of actual success. I’d like to think that’s possible, but it’ll be a few years out to accomplish that. A warning is also found here, one to avoid momentary pleasure, and instead, to choose long term happiness.
Card #08 – Yourself
As an interesting compliment to The Empress drawn earlier, is The Moon card now. This is the card of exposing our deepest fears or our deepest dreams. I really like the symbolism of our deepest dreams scaring us when brought into the light. Combined with The Empress, I see nurturing those more untouched dreams or aspects of self. Right now, I’m nurturing the part of me that believes my Christian beliefs and Occult philosophy can be merged. It intuitively feels right for my journey, but I can’t prove it. There’s nothing that makes tangible sense, and yet, I feel it deep within my core. For me, this is The Moon and The Empress in the best and most balanced way. It’s interesting too that I drew The Moon and not the High Priestess. To me this highlights I’m meant to understand this through the lens of The Empress, and not the High Priestess.
Card #09 – Environment
This card can compliment the 5 of Swords in my views of the spread. However, this could be more complicated than it is worth. As an environment card, I can see these two cards merging fairly well though. The 5 of Swords creates the post-battle atmosphere. For me, the Ace of Wands is the followup, the gift of a hard fought battle. The Ace of Wands is the start of all things. It is a deep and humbling gift, and I am shocked it turned up here. The Gilded Tarot says this card is the most sympathetic to the human condition. Perhaps this is a spark of the Divine, and as such, will lead to renewed sense of spirit in order to continue learning. The environment seems to be one of inspiration, and understanding. It may even represent a piece of the Divine I seek to understand so much better.
Card #10 – Hopes & Fears
Again, this is one of those cards that I’m not surprised to see in this spread. In fact, it may even pair with Temperance. The Gilded Tarot summarizes this card’s meaning so well. I’m amazed with the allusions of the card to ease of balance, something that didn’t occur to me. For me, it is easy to balance Christianity and Witchcraft. Other however, struggle to do this even when they want to. There’s an interesting hope to continue enhancing this balancing act. However, there’s also the fear of falling into pitfalls of the perception of others. The balancing may fall too much into the need for recognition, or validation from others instead of self. In this case, the fear is in actually failing to achieve a personal sense of success. Likewise, there is also a fear of relying too much on what others think instead of what I intuitively feel, just to be accepted.
Card #11 – Outcome
Alright, being honest, drawing the 5 of Pentacles here isn’t ideal. The card shows a need for the generosity of others, and I dislike feeling needy. In many ways, I want to change the outcome already by aligning my actions differently. But if I dig deeper, there’s an important lesson here. I learned earlier this week that Charity is a word we get from a Greek word, Agape, or love for others regardless of who they are. While this card reflects the opposite of charity, and thus need, you cannot have one without the other. Perhaps I have to trust that this card does represent Charity to me in this instance. That would make sense, given the initial significator card. If it does represent a hardship, that could also be positive, though in the providence of help being possible. I’m curious, but I’m leaning more towards Charity on this one.
Tying It All Together
So, what did I learn? A large part of the tension I feel towards tarot lately actually stems from growth, not necessarily religious difficulties in the community. The growth I’m experiencing is challenging the balance between emotions and passions. This makes sense, and I’m grateful for the advice. If I slow down, I will recognize The Moon guiding my forward progress. Another important takeaway is the fact I’m meant to view things through the lens of The Empress. Nurturing is natural to me, and it’s upsetting when I encounter a destructive nature to things. However, I have to rely on myself, and when necessary the support of others. In order to give, I must first have, and that is invaluable as a lesson. Going forward, I’m going to focus more on myself and less on the community groups I’m currently seeking approval from. Just being honest. Happy Weekend!