The transcendent mysteries of love and sexuality, and the nature of attractions and relationships in general, are among the most common topics of discussion that arise when we work with the Tarot, and rare indeed is the reader who has never been asked to explore these subjects with the cards, either for a client or for herself. Up until now, your humble blogger hasn’t delved into this subject in any great detail on this site, most likely because other priorities than romance have assumed a greater urgency in his life in recent years. He’s also of an age where romantic passions are not so easily stirred, and where the lure of the bedchamber is primarily, well, sleeping. Now, however, he finds himself wondering, for a variety of reasons (which he’ll discuss later, in greater detail), if a “grand love” hasn’t been staring him in the face for months or even years on end, and that he has been either too stubborn or short-sighted—or perhaps fearful of commitment—to acknowledge the possibility that perhaps, just perhaps, that “special someone” might be living right under his nose if he would only open his eyes, and his heart: To be willing to love intimately, and to be loved in kind. It’s certainly easy to write about on this blog, but not so easy to put into practice in real life!
This six-card spread can be used to answer questions relating to affairs of the heart, and it uses a Significator (S) for the querent in the center of the spread. The cards are laid out in the following order, which mimics the “lightning bolt” pattern that connects the Sephiroth on the kabbalistic Tree of Life:
The significances of the card, roughly, are as follows:
1. Love foundation: the “root” or “heart” of the matter.
2. The querent’s mental state, and its effect on his love life.
3. The querent’s emotional state, and its effect on his love life.
4. The querent deepest fears and apprehensions about romance.
5. The querent’s fondest hopes and wishes for romance.
6. The suggested outcome.
After a thorough shuffle and a few minutes spent in meditation, I laid out the spread, and these are the cards that decided to make an appearance today:
Well now . . . If the querent was expecting this reading to make matters any clearer, or to provide some specific advice for the here-and-now, he can likely guess again. As we can see, five of the six dealt cards are from the Trumps Major, indicating a preponderance of spiritual archetypal forces currently influencing the querent’s life. In addition, the single dealt card from the Trumps Minor, the Ten of Swords, signifies the definitive end of one stage of consciousness, and the advent of another, which has yet to be made manifest in the life of the querent. In other words, this spread strongly indicates a state of flux and transition at work— an externally driven state of consciousness into which our querent is best advised to enter cautiously in the near term, and more boldly later.
Note also the presence of the Empress and the Emperor—the archetypal anima and animus of the Tarot—positioned directly across from each other, and each identically reversed. Situated above the querent (Significator) in this spread, their appearance suggests a possible “marriage made in heaven” which, for whatever reason, is not yet ready to be consummated; or, equally possible, that the querent must be willing to suspend his beliefs and his perceptions of love—to turn his previously held views of romance and sexuality upside down—before he can apprehend the beautiful relationship that lies before him.
There is also, it would appear, a strong religious impulse underlying the querent’s questions about love and romance, as the suggested outcome—Judgment—indicates a spiritual goal that is quite separate from the physical. Perhaps the querent wishes, as a part of his romance-quest, to be liberated from the the physical act of love as the faithful in Christ are liberated from their lifeless bodies on Resurrection Day. This futile-if-altruistic yearning may be the attitude that the reversed Empress is warning against, and its real-world implications can be seen in the figure of the Ten of Swords* directly beneath The Empress: here, a prostrate figure who prefers to suffer the death of a thousand cuts in a self-fulfilling prophesy of futility than to risk success in love by confronting—and perhaps overcoming—the darkness that threatens to envelop him. There is an implicit warning here against the querent becoming too pessimistic in his outlook, to release whatever sufferings he feels that may have been attendant to his past relationships, and to avoid cultivating an emotional “martyr complex,” which in reality is nothing so ignoble as ego run amok. Fortunately, the presence of The Wheel directly opposite the Ten suggests a path of negative behavior that has run its course, and that the querent has been preparing himself to turn over a “new leaf” just as the wheel itself turns inexorably, at first towards darkness and then towards light.
In any event, the querent’s “central pillar” is strong, with watery Cancer (The Chariot) flowing beneath him and celestial Fire (Judgment) blazing above. As an Air sign, the querent is the kind of emotional “glue” that binds this microcosmos together, neither to be weighed down by the emanations of his unconscious nor letting his hyperactive intellect get carried away with itself. There’s a lot of psychic energy swirling around the querent right now, and it would be easy for him to lose his equilibrium if he becomes too emotionally invested in a particular romantic outcome at present; best, then, for him to proceed slowly in any matters of the heart for now, and wait patiently to see what mysteries unfold before him. If he stops to think things over, he might discover that the “grand love” he’s looking for isn’t found within another person but within an idea, a belief, or some spark of creative energy that’s just waiting for him to be share with the world.
* The Ten of Swords is also the querent’s astrological “birthday card”—the card from the Minor Arcana that corresponds to his “birth week”—so the card’s significance in a reading for him may differ from its appearance in a reading for another. Here, it could signify all of the usual negative connotations of the Ten, or it could simply be emphasizing the importance and immediacy of this particular spread in the life of the querent. —DD