~ “Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” ~
– Anthony Robbins
One of the best ways to determine what a reading about is to ask questions. Questions not only stimulate the energies that reveal a life pattern, but also enable us to break out of the habit of blindly making assumptions and taking things for granted. Even what we deem as a ‘silly question’, can end up revealing a whole lot about a card. For example, if the 9 of Cups is the card of Happiness, why (in the RWS deck) is the man sitting alone with his arms folded (a body language cue that he wants to be left alone)?
In this Step, we need to go back to the description of our chosen card, and based on it, ask any 3 open-ended questions. The best part about this is that we don’t really need to give a ‘correct’ answer! Yes, we can make up our own answer to our own self-imposed open-ended question. After all, we do contain the answers to the universes greatest mysteries within ourselves (we just need to search deeper than we think), so surely answering such questions should be a snap for us!
However, while we do this, we might just be reminded of a past event within our own lives. This ‘snapshot’ memory image could posses vital clues that would not only help us understand our chosen card, but Tarot as a whole.
So let’s go back to the description of our chosen card…
Two people are standing on a boat/vessel that appears to be made of wood with intricate carvings. The woman stands in front, wearing sapphire color robes. Her arm is bare, but is adorned with bracelets around her forearm and bicep. She wears a golden tiara, and her brown hair, though thick and long, are loosely tied with what appear to be golden beads.
The other figure wears a dark robe with a hood that covers their face, making it all the more difficult to decipher whether it is a man or a woman. Both it’s hands are on the steering rod, from which a chain dangles. Behind this figure is a golden/yellow light orb that though bright, makes it all the more hard to decipher the figure’s gender.
Above them, three swords dangle, suspended with metallic chains. One is right in front of the woman, and one right behind the second figure. The third being the largest of them, dangles in the middle. All three swords have a circular jewel embedded within, which has the purple-ish color of amethyst. Behind the three swords are two chandeliers which hold candles. Behind the middle sword, a bright white light glows.
In the water below, there are three more swords. The one in the middle is closest to the boat, while the other two are spaced further away. The one on the left of the card seems to have a jewel similar to the ones above (we can’t see clearly with the other two swords because that particular area is covered by the water).
The water below is full of ripples, distorting the reflection of the boat, while the walls of the area they are in seem to have carvings of a similar nature on each and everyone of them. Beyond the boat, there seems to be an archway, but due to the darkness we cannot see what’s on the other side clearly.
Going over this description over and over, I can think of more than just 3 open ended questions, but if I begin asking them out loud, this would end up being a massive post, and thus would run the risk of boring you (I refuse to let that happen, I care about you, my readers, with all my heart). So hence, will pick the 3 most ‘interesting’ ones of the lot ;).
“… her brown hair, though thick and long, are loosely tied with what appear to be golden beads.“
Why are her hair loosely tied? And why with golden beads of all things?
Her hair are loosely tied because if they are tied too tight, it might just make it hard for her to think straight. After all, tying hair up too tight would always lead to massive headaches*, and considering where they are, I’m sure the Princess would prefer it if she could think clearly without a headache. However, considering she is a Princess, she would ensure her hair, though loosely tied, would appear neat and well-groomed. The fact that her hair are thick and long, indicates a healthy body, a tension free mind, and a well-developed crown chakra (seriously, it’s true!). This shows she’s balanced on a body-mind- and soul level (and if you remember in Step 5, the number 6 was a number of ‘Balance and Harmony’ among other things).
The golden beads not only signify her royal heritage, but also her intellectual prowess. Alchemist believed Gold represented the perfection of all matter on any level, including that of the mind, spirit, and soul. Gold is also the most malleable and ductile metal, often made into threads or extremely thin sheets (gold leaf), as well as, intricate ornate jewelry and large bulky slabs and bullion. Thereby symbolizing the incredibly depth, purity, and versatility of the Princess’ mind. gold is a good reflector of electromagnetic radiation such as infrared and visible light as well as radio waves, it is used for the protective coatings on many artificial satellites, in infrared protective faceplates in thermal protection suits and astronauts’ helmets and in electronic warfare planes like the EA-6B Prowler. Thereby indicating that her mind is protected from all outside ‘interference’ and ‘pollutants’, allowing her to remain focused with ‘pure’ intentions.
(* The minute I wrote that, I got a ‘Snapshot’ of when I was about 10. I had really long hair back then – long story – and would often try to braid my hair to resemble my sister. I remember I did so too tight, and thus got the worst headache ever! So horrible, that when I was playing on the swings in the park, I got so giddy, that I fell off my swing and hurt myself horribly. Luckily there was soft sand below the swing, so my fall wasn’t as drastic, but the gashes on my arms and legs were horrible.)
“Above them, three swords dangle … In the water below, there are three more swords”
What’s the deal with 3 Swords above and 3 Swords below?
Hmmm… Well, this is a bit of a toughie. However, I’m going to go with a bit of a ‘creative’ take on it.
This reminded me of the old saying, “As above so below”. This phrase is often circulated throughout esoteric texts and has been quoted numerous times. The concept was first laid out in The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, in the words “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above, corresponds to that which is Below, to accomplish the miracles of the One Thing.”
In accordance with the various levels of reality: physical, mental, and spiritual, this relates that what happens on any level happens on every other. So if air represents our ‘thoughts’, while water represents our ‘psyche’; the placement of the swords could perhaps represent the connection between our conscious ‘thinking’ mind and our subconscious mind that’s deep like the ocean.
Now, to get a little more creative – there are 3 swords above and 3 below. Perhaps the 3 of Swords plays an important role. The 3 Swords above could represent the Princess having to deal with numerous issues like heartbreak, betrayal, mourning. And maybe she’s wondering ‘why’ did she have to experience such things. Through her journey, she gets to the psychological root of her issues, and realizes that due to all this conditioning that’s occurred over the years, she’s been inviting all sorts of 3 of Swords like experiences within her life. Thus realizing how the Law of Attraction comes into play*.
(* As I wrote this, I had another ‘Snapshot’ flash before me. Earlier this year, I was totally 3 of Sworded by someone I cared deeply about. So painful the experience was, that I had a major breakdown. It was indeed a dark time within my life. After a few sessions with a spiritual healer and karmic counselor, I not only discovered the psychological and emotional roots of why I invited such an experience within my life, but also discovered the past life connections between us. Doing so gave me a better understanding of the entire situation, and thus helped me move on and heal from the experience.)
“…boat/vessel that appears to be made of wood…”
Why is the boat/vessel made of wood?
Well, the answer for that comes from Feng Shui. The Wood Element is associated with Spring – The season of new beginnings and renewal. Wood periods are a time for healing, for bestowing favors, for helping others, for beginning projects and time for initial growth both personally and professionally; thus representing the Princess floating away from the ‘winter of her life’ and entering a new phase of her life, filled with a renewed sense of hope. It’s interesting to note that Wood is nourished by Water, but destroyed by Metal (Swords are made of metal), so in a way, this is quite a balancing act of a journey for the Princess.
According to ancient Chinese medicine, Wood rules the Liver, and one of the primary functions of the Liver is ‘detoxification’; thus symbolizing a cleansing process of sorts. According to various schools of holistic healing, the Liver is considered the ‘seat of anger’, and the primary emotion of Wood is anger as well.* Thus showing the importance of having a healthy way of expressing anger. If suppressed for too long within, it turns toxic for our souls. If expressed carelessly, it could lead to disastrous consequences. Similarly, the vessel needs to be navigated with care, else it could strike against a sword, causing it to sink like the Titanic.
(* At this point, I had another ‘Snapshot’ flash. This was about 18 months ago, when I was initiated into Reiki. During my Level II initiation, I was taught about psycho-somatic causes of all dis-eases, as well as, the various connection between the mind, body, and soul. My Reiki Teacher actually used those very words, “Liver is the seat of anger”, and she spoke of how people with dull brittle nails, excessive restlenessness, menstrual/gynecological problems, and blurry vision/eye disorders, etc have weak livers, and thus either suppress their anger or have a vicious temper. A week later, I had a blind date with someone I met from the internet. Over our chats online, he seemed really sweet, funny, and incredibly grounded. And when we met, he seemed ever so mellow. However, while he got up to excuse himself to go to the men’s room, I noticed he had really dull nails. Even though he manicured them regularly, there was a certain dullness to them. When he returned, I noticed his cuticles were nitpicked intensely. He kept on shifting in his seat, unable to really sit still for a minute. My ZiZi-senses (my own spin on Spidey-Senses) were tingling, and not in a good way. Throughout the evening, he remained quite mellow, leaving me to believe I was just imagining things. However, when it came time to pay the bill and leave, he got into an arguement with our waiter over the silliest of issues. I’m not able to recall what it was all about, but it was definitely something trivial. However, he went on and on and on… shouting angrily and belittling the waiter for no legitimate reason. And as he drove me back home, he kept going on and on, ranting and raving about the incident (and yell out a few choice phrases to other motorists). Needless to say, a second date was out of the question).
Wow, who knew that just by ‘asking questions’, we could discover so much about a card, and even though it might seem random and out of the blue, the ‘answers’ we receive for our questions might just reveal the answers we’ve been seeking all along!
I hope you all enjoyed this Step. Give it a try sometime. Describe the card as explained in Step 2: Description, and then ask open ended questions. I can guarantee, it will be a fun and revelatory experience!
Love and Blessings
This exercise was taken from Mary K Greer’s fantastic book, 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card. For more information about the exercises and the various ’steps’ click HERE to purchase a copy of this masterpiece that’s a must have for every one ever acquainted with the Tarot.