What can change the nature of a man?

natureofman

I was thinking about what the next question could be, and I wanted to use a character from my favourite videogame, Planescape: Torment. I was looking for a nice spread for the Nameless One, but, well… the game is built around a question that’s perfect for the tarot. Why not asking that?

So, knowing full well that Ravel, the character who asks the question in the game, will never be satisfied with any answer I could give, here it is: What can change the nature of a man?

I decided to use one of my favourite spreads for this question, the one I first learned. It is found in Wirth’s book. I like it because it is very rational. It compares and contrasts the cards in a very logic process that helps through the reading. For a mind like mine, which is not very intuitive, it’s simply great (although as a child I found it terribly difficult). Of course, I used Wirth’s cards as well :).

I won’t explain the details of how the cards are drawn, because I don’t think it actually matters – the important thing is being consistent. I followed Wirth’s method and I drew:

ravel_reading

The positions are as follows:

Card 1 – The Wheel of Fortune – is affirmative, it’s in favour of the question or of the situation.
Card 2 – Strength – is negative, it is against the question or the situation.
Card 3 – The Chariot – is the “Judge“, it weighs the pros and cons and suggests clarifying the decision.
Card 4 – The World – is the sentence, the ultimate word of the spread, so to speak.
Card 5 – Death – is the synthesis, the most important thing.
I suggest this post by Mary K. Greer about the spread.

As Wirth puts it, The Wheel of Fortune puts itself in service of Death while Strength opposes it. But what does it mean here?
Death IS change. It is an inevitable, natural, change, that we can fight but that is in our nature: fighting it, we can only delay the inevitable and suffer greatly. After all, everyone dies. Everyone changes. But if this change is inherent in our nature, doesn’t it mean that… it’s not a change *of* our natures? Our nature requires us to change, and what we are before the change is still the same nature of what we are *after* the change.
Let’s examine the other cards. The Wheel of Fortune is, surprise!, another kind of change! With Death, it’s one of the four cards of Change (the third being The Tower and the fourth Judgement). But what are the differences here? I see the Wheel as external changes, which we have little or no control over. Cyclical changes, too, which re-occur with time. Sometimes we have a good month, sometimes a very bad one. Sometimes we are lucky, sometimes we are so unlucky that we want to die. Death is more of an internal change, that maybe we cannot control, but that is about us in a very intimate way. It is a change of ourselves.

It’s worth to notice the two change cards missing from the spread. One is Judgement, which is the one card that implies an act of will. This is the right moment to stop smoking – if I put myself to it. This is Judgement. This kind of active effort is missing here. So, it seems that we cannot change our nature by will.
I am not surprised that the other one, the Tower, is missing, because I feel it represents the most “external change”. The Tower implies a change in our structures, not in ourselves, and it invites us to see ourselves outsides of the structures which have defined us until now. I would say it is a call to see our true natures, not something that *changes* our true natures.

Anyways. The Wheel of Fortunes agrees with Death. External changes help internal changes, maybe? Or cause them? It seems like that.
Strength, instead, opposes Death. This, I found strange at first, but reflecting on it, I can see why. Strength is what gives us an edge is facing the changes of the Wheel. Knowing our innermost selves, our passions, and being able to channel them at our will is considered one of the greatest challenges of life. So, it seems logical to say that, if we already are strong (in the sense implied by the Strength card) we will not need to change to face and adapt to the Wheel.
But the Chariot puts it all in perspective. I see him as the “minor version” of Strength. He puts out a strong fa├žade, being protected by his armour from the deep recesses of himself. His hold on the dualities in his nature is fragile: it can become too strong, making him too strict and “armoured” against his deeper self; or it can break, letting the dualities run amok and driving the chariot to disaster.
He also reminds me of Oedipus. He was the only one who could answer the riddle of the Sphinx, showing that he knew the Man. But he didn’t actually knew his nature and when faced with the truth he encountered tragedy. But did his natures change, or was simply revealed?

Not knowing our true natures, facing with ignorance our daily luck and striving to become stronger is what make the change, what unifies our inner dualities. We have arrived at the World, when the true nature is revealed. The World and the Fool are the end and the start of the journey, but they are not inherently different. In fact, as soon as we reach the World, we are back to the Fool again. We unveil ourselves and we keep unveiling it (again with the cycles of the Wheel combined with the inevitability and intimacy of the changes of Death). The Fool is our true nature, like the Chariot is our true nature, like the Strength is our true nature, like the World is our true nature.

The change is constant, but there is no actual change, because everything we are and will be was in our nature from the start.

Reading for Lelouch

lelouch

This is the first reading request that I received. It was from a friend: she composed the question and sent it to me. Now, normally, I would reject the question, as it’s a “yes/no” question. But… well, I don’t see why tarot couldn’t answer yes/no questions, and anyway nothing says that I must just answer “yes” or “no”. In fact, I believe that this question hides a lot and deserves to be analysed better. I used the Night Sun Tarot, which is a little different than other decks in the way the cards are organized. Anyway:

Dear Iris,

Now that my sister is being protected by Suzaku, and that I overcame my doubts about the sense of my project, will the geass help me obtain what I want?

Lelouch

Hello, Lelouch, and thank you for requesting a reading from me. Your question seems very simple, but I think it lets on a little more than what you are saying, so I decided to throw a Celtic Cross for you. It is a bit long, but I hope it will help you.

Card 1: What covers you = The Moon Rx.
Card 2: What crosses you = The Star Rx.
Card 3: What’s under you = Knight of Cups Rx.
Card 4: What’s in your past = 9 of Wands Rx.
Card 5: What above you = King of Cups Rx.
Card 6: What’s in your future = 5 of Swords
Card 7: How you see yourself = Knight of Swords
Card 8: How the others see you = 3 of Wands Rx.
Card 9: An advice or a lesson you must learn = The Devil Rx.
Card 10: Outcome = 10 of Wands

lelouch_reading

First, I would like to talk about the general impression that I receive from this spread. I drew for you three Majors, one of which in in position 9 (Lessons to be learned) and the other two are in the first 2 positions, which represent the heart of the matter. I would say that you are in an important period of your life and that you are struggling with life-changing decisions.
There are also a lot of reversed cards, and this makes me think that not all is what it seems in your situation.

Let’s examine the first two cards: The Moon Rx crossed by the Star Rx. They represent, as I said, the heart ofthe matter, the crux of your question. They make me wonder if you know what you want, or at least if you really thought about your goal. The Moon Rx, especially, suggests that you think you overcame your doubts but there will be more uncertainties, more shadows in your life. Things are not what they seem and you still must face part of the problem. You are walking in darkness. The Star Rx crosses you, which could mean that you think your goal unattainable or that you lost all hope and are following a false goal. Both cards seem to point, I think, to the fact that there is more to your situation than meets the eye and that you also need to discover something else about yourself first.

Card number 3 represents what is at the base of your current behaviour or your current goal. Card number 5, what is above you, represents your conscious thoughts, what you *think* about the situation. Both positions are filled by a cup court card: the Knight and the King. They are both Reversed and they both indicate falsehood, deceit and fraud. There is someone, in your life, who is deceiving you or who you think is deceiving you. It is curious that they are both a cup male court card: I feel this means that they represent the same person. So, you know who this “false friend” is. But do not forget the message of the Moon/Star: maybe what you perceive as deception is not actually one, or maybe the person who is your enemy is not the one you are concentrating on. All these reversals could very well indicate setbacks, in this case caused by the misunderstandings suggested by the Moon/Star combination. The 9 of Wands Rx. in the past could also indicate a period of wait and unforeseen obstacles, or a period of isolation from the others. Could this be connected with the falsehood and deceitfulness pointed by the King/Knight of cups? Maybe you are over-cautions with people and in doing so are creating more obstacles for yourself.

But in the future you have the 5 of Swords, which is both a good and a bad news. It represents a change of point of view, a new direction, but also a crisis that must be overcome. I think you will see clearly what now is obscured, but I am afraid that the troubles are not over and you cannot yet relax. The goal you want to achieve will probably change, at least partially.

Card number 7 indicates the way you see yourself. The Knight of Swords is like a paladin of justice, who acts very swiftly to put his plans in motion. This card is contrasted by the 3 of Wands Rx, which represents how the others see you. They don’t have much faith in you or in your motives, and see you with suspicion. This echoes the theme of deceitfulness of the previous cards. You think someone is deceiving you, and the people around you think you are deceiving them. This atmosphere of mistrust cannot bring clarity and you are bound to make a lot of false steps. Be wary.

The Devil Rx, card number 9, is an advice, or a lesson to be learned. It warns against arrogance and illusions and suggests that you analyse the reasons behind your actions. It also warns against excesses of every kind. Do not act because you are obsessed by an idea or a person: try to coldly evaluate your motivations and decide upon a course of action.

Finally, the 10 of wands, in this deck, is a very positive card which shows success and external fulfilment. Coupled with the 5 of Swords, the card about your future, they answer your question. Yes, the geass will help you obtain your goal. But by then, you will have changed your mind and you will work to reach another, truer, goal. Both the 5 of Swords and the Moon suggest that it will not be an easy path, and the 10 of Wands, although it’s a positive card, suggests that it will be a heavy burden for you.

I hope that the reading helped you and I wish you good luck.

 

Notes: normally, I would comment how the card reflected the character, but since I know this would spoil the show (Code Geass, by the way) for my friend, I will not do it (by the way: thank you for requesting the reading ^^!). I do think the cards I drew were right on the question, especially the Moon, the Knight of Swords and the 5 of Swords.

I am a little unsatisfied of this reading, mainly because I couldn’t connect perfectly with the deck, so it felt very mechanical. It was the first time I used this deck, but it seemed the right one for the character. Maybe with a little more practice I will read better with it.

I hope you enjoyed it :). If you want to request a reading, just follow the instructions, it’s free!

Reading for Bane

bane

New week, new reading! This time I chose a character from a new book I was reading (Midnight Falcon is the title), and a spread with one peculiarity: the positions of the cards hold two meanings at the same time. I usually hate this kind of things, so let’s see how it goes!

Dear Iris,

I am a bastard son. My father forced himself upon my mother, and from that day she was shunned by all the villagers and died alone. Nonetheless, I tried to catch my father attention, I wanted him to recognize me. But he never did. He only said two words to me in all my life. Now I have abandoned the hope that he will, one day, acknowledge me. But I am still angry at him. What should I do?

Thanks,

Bane

Thank you for allowing me to read for you, Bane. I chose for you the Yin-Yang Spread. It consists of two cards, which will be interpreted in two different ways. They will tell us what you need to release and what you need to hold on to; what you need to consider further about your situation, and what you need to do in order to go on.

I used the Tarot of the Angels cards, which I hope you will like. I drew:

bane_reading

Card 1: 10 of Swords (What you need to release; what you need to consider further)
Card 2: 4 of Swords Rx. (What you need to hold on to; What step you need to take)

The first thing I notice is that they are both swords cards. Swords are the suit of strife, struggle and thought. This seems to indicate that the solution for your problem (and the cause of it) is a mental one, not a practical one. But let’s see the cards more closely.

The 10 of Swords indicates what you should release. I see this as your sense of hopelessness. You not only feel that there is no hope for you to be acknowledged by your father, you also feel that all else is lost. Perhaps you feel more acutely every betrayal (however little) you experienced in your life (see all those swords? They are your hurts) and you do not believe that someone else can show you true love and care. This is not the case. But you will not notice this love until you abandon this sense of deep hopelessness.

The 4 of Swords Rx indicates, instead, what you should hold on to. This card, straight or reversed, indicates a recovery from an illness. Your wounds must heal, and in order to do that you should hold to your sense of peace and acceptance. Surround yourself with people who care about you. Engage activities that makes you feel good and at peace with yourself. Cultivate your inner peace: this is a moment of healing your wounds. You may have noticed that we are also reading the second meaning for this card: “what step you need to take to resolve the situation?”.

I think that your hopelessness is making you kind of isolated from the others. This could be good in a sense, but the 4 of Swords reversed indicates that your withdrawal from people must cease. You should go somewhere new, or go back to your old home. In any case, you should stop putting your life on hold and starting making new plans.

Let’s go back to the first card, the 10 of Swords. This also answers the question: “What do you need to consider further about the situation?”. This makes me think about your father and the card seems to suggest that he is tormenting himself as much as you. You never spoke to him, because he avoids you, so you do not know how he feels and why does he avoid you. Is there no one else you can talk to about that? Your mother, perhaps, or a common friend? Whatever struggle was your father facing, this doesn’t excuse him, and you do not need to forgive him, but perhaps knowing his side of the story could bring you closure.

In short, the cards suggest that you find a new sense of love and family somewhere else, but most of all, that you *believe* it to be possible.

Notes:
I know many of you don’t know Gemmell’s books. I will summarize Bane’s story briefly. Bane’s father, Connavar, didn’t force himself upon Bane’s mother (Arian). They were each other’s first love and when they met, they simply didn’t resist. Unfortunately, Connavar forgot a date with his wife, Tae, who was killed. Stricken with guilt, Connavar never saw Arian again, nor did he ever approach Bane. This was, for him, his own punishment. He didn’t consider that this would be terrible for Bane, though, who struggled all his life to gain his father acknowledgement and approval. When Arian died of grief, Bane felt abandoned again and left his village. He was angry and, though unconsciously, just wanted to die.
After some events (read the book!), he met Rage, an old gladiator who became for him a new father figure. But Bane recognized this only when it was almost too late. In the end, although not all was resolved between Bane and Connavar, Bane’s sense of hopelessness and emptiness was filled and he could start a new life.

It’s amazing how the cards were perfect for the situation. First, both are sword cards. Bane’s (and Connavar’s) problem is all mental. If Bane could understand that he does deserve love, and can receive it, he wouldn’t need to be tormented for half the book (and, of course, if Connavar could forgive himself, he and Bane wouldn’t have been so tormented at all).
Second, both cards have something peaceful about them. The 10 of swords is a kind of surrender, and it is indeed often seen as an improvement over the 9 of Swords, with its anguish. In the 10, we surrender to whatever is haunting us, and there is something peaceful in that. It’s not a struggle. The 4 of Swords is often considered the “rest” card, or the “recovery” card. But the two are very different. The peace of the 10 can be harsher, more painful: like Bane, we resign in sadness and we lose all hope. The burden of the 9 still weighs upon our shoulders. We are not, yet, at the new beginning.
The 4 of swords, instead, has a caring aura around it. In this deck, it is depicted as a coffin with an angel on it. It looks very, very relaxing. And it fits Bane’s story so well. He spends a great part of the book recovering from some (physical) wound. And he is, emotionally, entombed. He must, at the same time, retain the peace of this “tomb” and get free from it. He cannot rest forever.

Finally, as always, I take notice of the Shadow Card, which is Justice. Another sword/air card. I will not comment it at length, but both the “justice” aspect of the card and the “balance” aspect fit the story so well!

Reading for Belle

Belle

Our first reading is for Belle, from the Beauty and the Beast, and with a very simple spread. It seems incredible, but I don’t find very comfortable with 3-cards spread – I usually prefer to throw a Celtic Cross. So, we start simple.

Dear Iris,
I live in a small village with my father, an inventor. The people here are nice and the life is not bad, but I yearn for more. I want adventure and love and I cannot believe that this provincial village is all that I will ever have.
Moreover, sometimes I feel lonely: no one understands my desire for adventure, not even Gaston, who says he is in love with me and wants to marry me. Will I ever find a kindred soul?

Belle

Hi, Belle, and thank you for your question. I decided to throw a simple spread for you, a three card spread, which will outline the problem you are facing and will suggest a way to overcome it. I chose to use the beautiful Shadowscape Tarot to honour your desire for magic and adventure: I hope you like it.
These are the cards I drew:

belle_reading

Situation/Problem: Queen of Cups
Advice: Two of cups Rx.
Possible Outcome: Four of Wands

The first thing I notice is that Two of Cups Rx as the advice. Are the cards suggesting that you throw away your desire for an understanding companion? But let’s start from the beginning.
The Queen of Cups in the first card, the one associated to the problem we are facing, is clearly you. This woman is imaginative, artistic, with a deep and rich inner world that she cannot ignore. This is the part of you which is now unsatisfied. Also, this card suggests that you have great sensibility and can see into the human nature more than the average person. This also makes you more sensible to the mockery of others, though, hence your present suffering.
The Two of Cups Rx makes more sense in this light: could you live your life with a man who doesn’t understand you at all? You will know if one is right for you, and you should reject all other propositions. One needs to know you in order to understand you. This card could also suggest that, if the situation requires it, you must leave the ones you love, even if it will be painful to do so.
But the outcome is beautiful: the 4 of Wands. It suggests success in your search for the right companion, a celebration and also a marriage.

So, I would say that, yes, you will find a kindred soul: you must stay strong and wait for someone who will understand your true nature. It will probably be a sensible man – I think so because two of the cards are cups cards and both seems to focus on emotional affinity. I like very much the 4 of Wands, which seems the perfect ending for a fairytale, a great “they lived happily ever after”. I wish you good luck.

Notes:
I didn’t put it in the reading, but, since I already know Belle’s story, I noticed a couple of things. First, that Two of Cups. She not only must reject Gaston (the most obvious interpretation imho) and leave her father (and this is understandable, too). In the movie, she also has to accept to be a prisoner for life, which at first seems like the end of all her dreams, and then she must leave the Beast to go back to her father. She is constantly separated by the ones she loves and it seems that she must renounce her dreams of happiness. But, in the end, she gains a prince, a marriage and a house – all meanings (minus the Prince, maybe XD) conveyed by the four of Wands.

I also like to read the Shadow Card (the card that is at the back of the deck). In this case, it was the Page of Cups. It not only reinforces the message of the Queen of Cups, but also suggests the relationship between Belle and the Beast. The Page of Cups is often represented as a child talking to a fish and I often see it as being open and receptive to people and “strange beings”. He can understand the fish when no one else can, because he is more sensible and understanding. So is Belle toward the Beast and their relationship is monstrous for all the others.

Introduction

Welcome to my blog about tarot.

I’m Iris, I love studying tarot and doing readings with them. I am still learning, and I hope this blog will help me improve while having fun.

I am a big fan of James Ricklef, and the idea for this blog was inspired by one of his books, Tarot Spreads Get the Whole Story (which I highly recommend, of course). In it, Ricklef presents many different spreads, each one with a detailed explanation, some variations and an example reading. For these example readings, he uses fictional and famous characters: he makes up a question for them and he answers it with the reading.

This is what I plan to do with this blog. I will find a fictional character (I do not like to read for famous people, for various reasons, so no real VIPs in my readings!), I will make up a question for them and I will (try to) answer it with a spread of my choosing.

The aim is, firstly, to have fun. Secondly, to become better at tarot. I tend to use small and simple spreads, because the bigger ones scare me a bit (except the Celtic Cross, which I am used to). With this blog, I want to try bigger spreads once in a while.

Feel free to leave comments and suggestions if you want to, or to request a reading for a character or a question for them. As long as they are fictional characters, I will read for them, even if I do not know the story they are from (after all, it shouldn’t matter). Just tell me: the name of the character, the question they would ask me (phrase it as if they had asked it) and the title of the piece of fiction they are from (*after* I do the reading, I will probably be curios to know where the characters are from!). They can be from a book, from a videogame, from an anime, from a TV show… whatever you want.

That is all. Hope you like your stay =).