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Beyond the Celtic Cross

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Have you ever wondered how you can bring greater depth and clarity to your Tarot readings? Have you struggled to understand just what exactly is going on in your card readings, and how the cards relate to the object of the reading?For the first time, this book shows how the professionals use secret techniques that take Tarot readings to new and exciting levels. It goes beyond the surface levels of the Tarot spread and explores the hidden depths. It explains how to decode those parts of a Tarot spread that seem to make no sense and how to break out of readings that seem to have become "stuck". Using the power of the elemental symbolism of the cards, combined with numerological techniques, this book cracks the "celtic cross" spread wide open to reveal exciting new levels of insight.Paul Hughes-Barlow is a master Tarot reader and occultist. He has previously published The Tarot and the Magus. Catherine Chapman is a Tarot reader, author, student, business woman and mother.

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The Celtic Cross Spread

ePub

THE CELTIC CROSS SPREAD

For the most part, the Celtic Cross Spread will work for your clients, but when the problems and answers are not so clear, or when you want to add value (i.e. increase the price of your reading) then you need to know how to upgrade the reading. Since all Tarot spreads work the same way, by placing the cards in positions, we can use the techniques for reading strings of cards with any spread, particularly if it has between ten and twenty cards.

Often when laying out cards, readers get into a routine of placing them in the usual positions. Instead, simply pick up the first card of the spread, place it on the second card, then put those two onto the third, and so on. When you have collected all the cards in the spread, fan them out onto the table. Fanning the cards out from right to left, or left to right is a matter of personal preference, but it is important to be consistent. If you are using the Rider-Waite deck, you may need more space so that you can see which card is which. In contrast, the cards of the Thoth Tarot deck are uniquely coloured, so a large overlap is possible and they can still be distinguished easily.

 

Learning To Card Count

ePub

LEARNING TO CARD COUNT

Card Counting is simply a system for connecting the cards and building up a story. To do so, we divide the cards into different groups.

The Minor cards from Two to Ten keep their face value. The Kings, Queens and Knights all count four. The Pages count seven. The Aces count five.

The Major Arcana is divided into three groups based mainly on astrology. The twelve Major cards associated with the zodiac signs count twelve, while the seven planetary Major cards count nine. There are three cards left over, and they count three.

The original system of Card Counting comes from the Order of the Golden Dawn, which provided a rationale behind the system. You are probably wondering why the Pages count seven, while the Major planetary cards count nine. Surely the planetary cards should count seven? In the Golden Dawn system, the Pages represent the Seven Heavens, while the planets count nine because they include the lunar nodes. Aces count five because they are the Quintessence or fifth element (‘Akasha’ or ‘Space’) from which the four elements emanate.

 

Understanding The Four Elements

ePub

UNDERSTANDING THE FOUR ELEMENTS

The best way to understand the four elements is through the four suits of the Minor Arcana, in which the entire range of an element is represented.

Since the Aces include all the qualities of their element, we will represent the elements as the Aces.

Fire—Action

The Wands or Fire cards represent actions, deeds and consequences of actions. Fire is hot, aggressive, dynamic and unstable.

Water—Emotions, Desires

The Cups or Water cards represent emotions and feelings. Water is cold and passive.

Air—Thoughts, Problems

The Swords or Air cards represent thoughts and ideas. Air is hot, wet, divisive and unstable.

Earth—Practicality

The Disks or Pentacles or Earth cards represent practicality, business and money. Earth is solid, dry and cold.

There are many more attributions that can be applied, but I want to keep things simple for now. As we progress, we will see that from simple building blocks we can build more complex structures. To understand the development of the elements, we will firstly consider paired cards of the same element and then three cards of the element. After this we will consider pairs and triplets containing more than one element.

 

Changing The Dynamics

ePub

CHANGING THE DYNAMICS

Traditionally, the first thing a tarot reader does at the start of the tarot reading is to pick a Significator, which is removed from the tarot deck and placed on the table. The rest of the cards are then shuffled and dealt. The Significator is usually a Court card that resembles the client.

Catherine didn’t choose a Significator for her reading, but—as it turned out—there were two of them in the spread, the two Knights. Using the methods of Card Counting we have been able to say a lot about these two men, far more than would be possible with the standard Celtic Cross layout.

As we have seen, we never change the sequence of the cards—it remains sacrosanct. But if we had chosen a Significator, where would it have gone in the string? Because it is the first card to be chosen, the obvious place for it would be at the beginning or at the left end of the string. So how does this change the Card Counting?

Remember that although we fan out the cards in a line, they are counted as if they are in a circle. In this case it doesn’t matter if we place the Significator at the beginning or end of the string, it will still be between the same cards. Try it out for yourself. In Catherine’s spread it would be between the Eight of Cups reversed and the Knight of Wands reversed. However, it’s reasonable simply to place the Significator on the left side of the string.

 

The Rules Of Elemental Dignities

ePub

THE RULES OF ELEMENTAL DIGNITIES

Elemental Dignities is a system for uncovering the metaphysical elements (Fire, Air, Water, Earth) in a Tarot spread. It originated within the Golden Dawn magical society, which began in the late Nineteenth Century.

All seventy-eight cards of the Tarot can be associated with one of the four elements. Just as we are attracted or repelled by certain people, so the elements exert a similar effect on each other.

When elements are attracted to each other stronger. When they repel they weaken one another. As we can see, there are twice as many laws of attraction as there are of repulsion. To use the system of Elemental Dignities effectively, we need to know a little more about the elements.

Now we can understand better why Fire and Water don’t work together: Fire is active, whereas Water is passive—they cancel out each other. Similarly, Air and Earth are active and passive respectively, so their energies cancel out each other also. You might wonder, in that case, why Fire and Earth are not repelled by each other, nor Air and Water. The answer is that there is another rule at work, the rule of friendship. This becomes apparent when we consider in more detail the qualities of the elements, which we shall examine after the next section.

 

Pairing The Cards

ePub

PAIRING THE CARDS

Card Pairing can be done outwards from an individual card in the string, or—more commonly—from the outermost cards to the centre. The technique of Card Pairing includes the rules of Elemental Dignities.

Starting from the outside and working our way inwards:

Eight of Cups Reversed and the Knight of Wands

Catherine

Looking at this pair, I feel slightly different about the Knight than in my previous analysis. I find him gentle and not fiery here, not in this scene. Is he perhaps the one to persuade me not to leave when the going gets tough? Or perhaps he is the one to help me finally turn my back on the past and all my issues and repeated mistakes, and head (with him) to a new future?

Paul

By now we know that the Knight is a future relationship, but the Eight of Cups acts like a hangover.

Seven of Cups and the Ace of Cups

Catherine

So, when we have all these Cups to choose from, what could be more ironic than another Cup on offer? I think there is a huge message here. In the past I see that I didn’t choose love. I skirted around the issues, either deliberately or blindly. I either did not choose well or didn’t choose at all, judging from those upset Cups on the image of the Eight. I didn’t boldly go anywhere, refusing to choose sometimes (Four of Cups), and instead staying safely indoors where life couldn’t reach me. I think all these Cups are telling me it’s about time I chose life.

 

Analysing Three-Card Combinations

ePub

ANALYSING THREE-CARD COMBINATIONS

In the previous section we looked how the elements interacted when there were two cards, using Pairing. Now it is time to look at how the elements interact when there are three cards. With this knowledge we can analyse each card relative to its neighbours.

FIRE AND WATER

Fire and Water are enemies, so they fight and weaken each other.

AIR AND EARTH

Air and Earth are mutual enemies, like Fire and Water, but the effect is very different.

In the next two examples Synthesis triumphs as Thesis and Antithesis go to war.

FIRE AND AIR

These two elements are both active and friendly to each other, so the problems arise from the lack of basis (Earth) or feeling (Water), in which case there will be little comfort or security in the experience. While Air will provide intelligence to actions, there will be over-exuberance at the least, and obsessive behaviour at worst. The results will either be burn-out or some kind of confrontation. Since Air is such an antagonistic and divisive element, the differences between Thesis and Antithesis are heightened, even when they are friendly or of the same element. In some of the examples below, we see an unholy alliance developing.

 

Advanced Elemental Analysis And Elemental Bases

ePub

ADVANCED ELEMENTAL ANALYSIS AND ELEMENTAL BASES

So far we have looked at the bigger picture of the string of cards by working through the Card Counting from the Eight of Cups, Knight of Disks and Knight of Wands, and pairing the cards from outside to centre and from other cards. We have also counted and paired after adding the Queen of Pentacles and Temperance in order to increase our understanding of what is happening in Catherine’s life.

All these methods give us an overview. It is now time to go into even greater detail on how individual cards interact with each other. To do this we use the rules of Elemental Dignities to understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of each triplet. The centre card of each triplet is the focus.

It’s so easy to learn the rules of Elemental Dignities you’ll find that as you card count you will automatically factor in the subtleties of the elemental analysis.

All seventy-eight cards can be associated with one of the four elements, therefore it does not matter if the card is Major, Minor, or a Court Card; we can analyse it in relationship to any other cards using the rules of Elemental Dignities:

 

The Transforming Power Of The Aces

ePub

THE TRANSFORMING POWER OF THE ACES

The Aces represent the origins of the four elements. In Eastern philosophy, Akasha or ‘Space’ precedes the creation of the four elements, which gives us five elements in total. This is the reason we count five for the Aces. Each Ace represents the transformation from Space or Akasha into its element. There are times in a reading when things feel ‘stuck’. When this happens, Tarot readers really do have an ace up their sleeve!

From Akasha the four elements emanate, so when we count from an Ace—for instance, the Ace of Cups—we are seeing how its element (Water, in this case) spreads through the cards. We use a combination of Card Counting and Elemental Dignities to explore the results. From the Ace of Cups we would naturally expect the Water element to emerge, but if the spread is stuck we have the possibility of another element appearing. Naturally, the count will have to change to effect this, so instead of five we use eleven, a powerful spiritual number.

 

Uncounted Cards: The Magic Of Tarot

ePub

UNCOUNTED CARDS: THE MAGIC OF TAROT

The spiritual realms by definition are invisible—we often detect their absence in our life by loneliness, sorrow or isolation. The yearning we all experience, even if we cannot articulate it, is within us all, particularly when we are looking for a partner, someone to share our life with. Beyond a soul-mate, the ultimate relationship is with our Spiritual aspects. However, as we have trouble dealing with people who are flesh and blood, how much more difficult will it be for our Spiritual Nature? With Catherine our efforts went into finding new love, but what happened was a growth in spiritual knowledge and insight. Used correctly, the Tarot helps us to connect to our Source. When we discover the uncounted cards in a spread we begin to see a trickle of water bubble up in the dry river bed, and as we track the cards that follow from the uncounted cards, the trickle increases in volume, bringing life, fertility, and growth in the river and onto the banks as the water flows towards the ocean. When we see the flow from source to goal, we have uncovered the hidden story of past, present and future.

 

Who Is The Knight Of Wands?

ePub

WHO IS THE KNIGHT OF WANDS?

So who is the Knight of Wands? I made a prediction to Catherine early on that the Knight of Wands would appear in late March. We are now at the end of May and he has not turned up. What has gone wrong? As Catherine and I became more absorbed in the writing of this book, his importance receded somewhat. Catherine became more philosophical and she had her own busy life to get on with.

Still, predictions are predictions, and we have to address this point. Did all our work on transforming Catherine’s Celtic Cross Spread into a more powerful analytical system lose its focus? Was it all a waste of time? Catherine mentioned in an email who she thought the Knight of Wands might be, but I did not lend the suggestion much credence. However, when I told her the Knight’s identity right at the end of writing this book, she was shocked. This was surprising, given that she had been right about whom he was originally, and I had merely caught up weeks later!

Even at this late stage in the writing of this book, surprises continue. Is there an end to the number of layers in this cosmic onion? Compared to the finality of the Celtic Cross Spread, the techniques of Card Counting and Elemental Dignities stimulate a process of evolution that works at the material, emotional, psychological and spiritual levels. When Catherine contacted me, her confidence was low in her ability to read the Tarot. As we continued to work on the analysis, it was easy to see how much she was changing. She began to devour as much knowledge as possible on the Tarot, scouring the internet, researching in ever greater depth. Her questions became more pointed and sophisticated. She began to push me into doing something I had wanted to do for ages, but until she came along I had not seen how to move forward. Very quickly, Catherine moved into areas of the Tarot that are very abstract and difficult to describe without direct knowledge. Her spiritual perceptions moved to the point that she began to have contact with the Goetia, a group of spirits considered by many (although not by me, naturally), to be very difficult to work with, something to be attempted only by the most advanced magicians. Catherine, of course, does not consider herself a magician, and I would agree with that. It should be remembered, too, that she and I have corresponded solely through emails.

 

Catherine’s Vision

ePub

CATHERINE’S VISION

While we were finalising this book, Catherine’s journey continued. Her visions have been getting stronger and more profound for some time, but even so we had no original intention to include them. However, this vision demonstrates the healing power we can receive from such an experience. The High Priestess has not been part of this Tarot reading, but her appearance represents empowerment: she is an independent, confident woman who intends to go her own way. This is particularly significant in light of Catherine’s original question: ‘Will I meet the man of my dreams?’

I found Pegasus and asked him to take me to the High Priestess. She appeared, dancing, and did some kind of hand-dance with—her left to my right. I’d never seen anything quite like it. Then she did the same thing on my head and around my head and shoulders. We danced together for a while, floating, and then she left, although I didn’t see her go. The strange thing was that the figures from the cards are transparent, like glass or crystal. The idea behind this is that they don’t manifest as belonging to any particular race, making them universal. After I could not see the High Priestess any more I thanked her for her time and left with Pegasus.

 

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