Lesson 14 – The Hierophant

Hello.  Thanks for being here today.  I like to imagine you in your place, cards by your side, beverage of choice steaming gently, stealing ten minutes from the bustle of the daily.  Well met, wherever you are.


It’s the end of a working day and suddenly I realise I have spent most of it embodying this card.  In my day job I’m a tutor.  I realise that this is the “issue” I have with this card.  For me it is about school and work and being “serious”.  Rather like my reaction to The Emperor, I used to turn this card and hear a bell ring in my imagination, signalling the end of play time.  Line up now, no pushing, back into class, heads down, there’s work to do.

Gradually, though, I am beginning to see it in another light. In the Gaian Tarot and also the Steampunk tarot (see below – with apologies for picture quality, I had a cat “helping”)  teachers share wisdom in an open posture.  This gentle sharing of the soul self, of life’s experiences, resonates. The teacher as guide, pathfinder and holder of the light, as we find the road for ourselves.  A mentor who helps us uncover truth for ourselves, rather than one who presents us with a block of received “knowledge”.

The key thought for me from this card: tradition, passing on culture, wisdom, knowledge, learning, seeking a teacher, being a student, exploring what I have to teach, exploring what I have to learn and what might teach me e.g. what can I learn from my environment, unlocking understanding, initiation, accepting the baton as it’s passed to me.

Steam punk hierophant

[Image: The Steam Punk Tarot]

Exercise 14

After you’ve sat with your Hierophant a while ask him/ her what s/he has to teach you, and ask yourself what you are ready to learn?  You might like to see if you can unlock this through automatic writing or speak it to yourself in the mirror.  Note down anything which strikes you as particularly unexpected or exciting.  If you would like to, come and share a little of what you uncover in the group.

gaian tarot the teacher

[Image: The Gaian Tarot]

Lesson 13- The Emperor

A few notices if you’re jumping in here.  Feel free to scroll back to lesson one (Welcome) and work through these lessons at your own pace.  If you have any thoughts, questions or pics to share you’re welcome to come and join the Facebook group.  I’m producing this in early 2019 so if you’re joining then (now) there’s a good chance I’m still working on posts.  I’m aiming to post most days but, you know, life, so we’ll see.  If there are to be any major disruptions to service I’ll post in the group.  Also if you like what’s happening then please do share 🙂

Ok, tarot time, pass the Bourbon Creams and let’s get down to it.


I’m feeling a little subdued in this lesson (like I’m waiting for a lesson observation)…this card does that to me.  The RWS version of this card is stern, an elderly king on a throne of stone, there is a sense of discipline and order. Play time is over, he seems to say, time to get on with it, you know what I’m talking about… Let’s not even go there with patriarchy (rolls eyes, grits teeth) but there’s that too. And then the fact that I always want to say the card name in a Yoda voice…anyway, I digress.

RWS Emperor

[Image: The Radiant Rider-Waite Smith]

After the beautiful and flowing energy of the High Priestess and The Empress we come to a strong masculine energy in this card.  Remembering that masculine in this context does not equal male or human male or any cis-normed definitions about gender.  Language can be tricky so I’ll explain how I see it.

I find it helpful to think, in this context, of feminine energy as the flow of water, creative, life giving, bounteous (also powerful, strong, forceful, destructive – imagine the stormy sea) while masculine energy is the container which holds the water, the river bank, the cup…we need both because without a container water will just spread out and evaporate, we need the container to give shape and, for me, this is what this card is about, the edges which help give our creative force shape and direction and the edges we put on life to get our stuff done and out there.

Hobbit The Emperor

[Image: The Hobbit Tarot]

Exercise 13

Working with this card today take some time to look at the image and if you can, compare a few different cards (I’ll post a few below too).

  • What strikes you – focus, power, strength?
  • What “props” can you see – a crown?
  • Are there any tools (for instance I can see a bow, a sceptre, a hammer?
  • How is the card named?
  • How does this card make you feel?  Is he angry, stern, happy, determined?
  • If you pulled this as your daily card what would it be “telling” you?

After you’ve written down your impressions and key words and made any creative response it may be helpful to think about your “containers”:

  • What gives shape and direction to your creative flow?
  • Do you have a job which provides boundaries in terms of time and structure?
  • Do you use planners, or take part in mentoring which helps you to find direction?
  • Where in life could you use boundaries to give you greater focus?

Horned God GWT

[Image: The Horned God]


Lesson 12 – The Empress

Morning class.  How’s it going?  How did you get on with The High Priestess?  I like to imagine that I’m spending time with these people on the cards.  What do they feel like?  I feel better when I’ve spent time with the High Priestess, but also a little bit unsettled, I can’t hide anything from her!

Today we are looking at another powerful female archetype, The Empress.


[Image: The Wayfarer Tarot]

For me this is a card of the good mother.  It asks me to trust in the provision of the universe and also calls to my inner creatrix.

The words which arise when I look at his card:

  • nature/ natural
  • mother
  • abundance
  • harvest
  • cornucopia
  • flourishing
  • Thriving
  • pregnant (with possibility…)
  • creatrix
  • power with
  • graceful
  • tender
  • gentle
  • strong
  • nourishment


Provider, protector,  nurturing presence. She who nourishes, abundant, strong.  Power of nature, creative force, universal mother; my rock, my roots, my safe and sure homecoming.


[Image: The Green Witch Tarot]

Exercise 12

Take your card/s.  Set it down in front of you.  Give yourself one minute to soak it in.

  • What colours do you notice on your card?
  • Are there any symbols?
  • Does anything jump into your mind, a memory, an emotion, a word?
  • If this woman/ person was talking to you right now what would she say to you? 

[Today’s decks were Dame Darcy’s Mermaid Tarot, The Gaian Tarot, The Green Witch Tarot, The Textured Tarot, The Wayfarer Tarot, The Wildwood Tarot]


Lesson 11 – The High Priestess

Welcome, make yourself comfortable, it’s good to see you.  Remember this is a self-paced course and lessons are aimed to take no longer than it takes to drink a cup of tea.  There is no time limit, no deadlines.  Take the journey at your own pace, enjoy the scenery, allow it to unfold in its own time.


[Image: The Morgan-Greer Tarot]

Today…The High Priestess. I love this card.  She is beautiful, composed, serene.  She looks at you with complete certainty, a look that goes straight to the heart, the soul’s centre.  For me The High Priestess is about the sacred feminine, about deep wisdom and inner knowing. This is a card of challenge and calling. Sitting as the guardian between the conscious and the unconscious, a wisdom keeper, wise woman, seer, prophetess.  Queen Esther, the Prophetess Miriam, Mary Magdalene.  There are women in modern times who embody this for me too, the poet Mary Oliver was one of these.

When I turn this card in a reading it’s time to explore my intuitive skills, to listen for that “inner voice” and follow its promptings, to use cards or runes or crystals for some divination, to meditate, and listen.  It is also a reminder that the answers are already here, I just need to be quiet enough and be open enough to let them in.


[Image: The Wayfarer Tarot]


Exercise 11:

Remember this is your path, my comments are just by way of a sign post.  None of what I see or say may reflect in your own experience.  Use your notes for your own thoughts and ideas and as an ever-evolving companion in your tarot journey.

When I look at these cards the thoughts which come to mind are:

Stillness, composure, wisdom keeper (often holding a scroll), the moon, intuition, transition, gateway, initiation, balance of light/ dark, conscious/ unconscious, challenge


Poised between shadow and light, known and unknown, calling to the soul’s deep, holding the space with wisdom’s grace, guarding the gateway to the labyrinth of your own initiation.

Journal questions:

  • How do I connect with my intuition/ inner wisdom?
  • How confident am I to act on this guidance?
  • How do I get quiet enough to “listen”?
  • Who in my life experience embodies this High Priestess energy?
  • How/ where do I embody this?


[Image: The Eight Coins Tattoo Tarot]

[Decks used for today: The Morgan-Greer Tarot, The Gaian Tarot, The Wayfarer Tarot, The Eight Coins Tattoo Tarot, The Sun and Moon Tarot]

Lesson 10 – The Magician

Good morning.  Settle down with your mug and take a few deep breaths, phew it’s crazy out there…


Notices first.  Someone raised this in the group (for which I’m really thankful, because I had forgotten to mention it…) reversals.  Reversals are where you read cards when they are upside down.  So if you turn up three cards and one is reversed it’s possible to read this.  It’s not exactly the opposite of the card meaning, more like a contrary energy.  This post tells you more.

I am still making my mind up about reversals.  To start with I didn’t read them at all.  I currently don’t read them when I read for other people.  But I am starting to read them for myself.  I did a course with Colette Baron-Reid a couple of years ago and her oracle card systems use reversals as a key part of they way the operate, so when I use her cards I read reversals.  In short you can read them if you want to.   If you’re just starting out I would say get confident with the deck and reading “right way up” before you shift your practice to include reversals but it’s completely up to you. Some days you might feel like reading them some days the dynamics between the cards in your spread will feel like more than enough.

Secondly a note on this journey through the deck.  I’m not using guidebooks when writing about the cards.  You can, of course, and I have used guidebooks in the past and will in the future.  There are loads of great books out there and I will pop a list up of my favourites at some point, however for the purpose of this class I’m just sitting with the cards and seeing what comes up.  This might be something generic, or it might be how much that character’s cloak makes him look like a Jedi.  We’ll see how it unfolds…


Exercise 10

For today I looked at five different Magician cards and these were some of the words and phrases which came out and things I noticed:

  • The elemental tools on the altar/ table
  • Eye contact
  • Focus
  • Determination
  • Intention
  • Hands
  • As above, so below
  • Infinity symbol
  • Energy
  • Creating
  • Power
  • Clothing


Gather, a cup, a wand, a bag of earth.  Light the candle and raise your hands to the sky.  This is the beginning.  Draw in, the power of the earth, of the oceans and stars.  Create the space, the place, where heaven and earth meet with you, meet in you.  Clear in you mind, clear in your vision,  you birth your magic into the world.

Some thoughts:

  • Where can you embody focus and intention in your life today?
  • What helps you to create the space to weave your own “magic”?
  • Who do you know who captures this sense of focused power?
  • Have you thought about using the four elements in your daily practice?  What would you choose to represent them?

[Decks used today: The Gaian Tarot, The Green Witch Tarot, The Textured Tarot, The Wayfarer Tarot and The Wildwood Tarot).

Lesson 9 – The Fool

Howdy card-slinging superstars.

From here on for a while we’ll be working through the deck, taking a card per lesson.  This is mostly going to be down to you, but for this round at least, as I’m creating the class, I’ll be doing this too.


This is a space for you to create your own understanding of each card.  I find that with some cards I have an immediate connection, I just “get it”.  Others are less straightforward for me, and I have to allow the meaning to grow.  Just take the process as it unfolds and allow it to be an evolving journey.

I am not a visual artist but I do like working with words so I will offer a brief reflection and perhaps some journal questions for each card, then it’s down to you.  Take a page per card in your journal.  Record the card you’re working with and then anything else which rises; you might sketch images, jot down quotations or songs which spring to mind, note key words.  You can work with your guidebook and note any phrases which jump out at you…and if you have more than one deck (**raises hand #cardaddict) then you may want to look at the card in each deck comparing and contrasting the images, symoblism and feel of the cards…and if you’re able to share your images in the Facebook group then you can compare them with other people’s cards 🙂


Today we’re starting at the beginning of the Major Arcana.  Sit for a moment.  Imagine the journey before you.  Take a deep breath…

0 – The Fool

Ready, now, for the next step

New adventure, the unknown path

Stepping out with bold hope into a

fresh beginning

Trusting to the journey

Journal prompts for reflection:

  • Who is the person in the Fool card?
  • What do you want to ask them?
  • What do they have to teach you?
  • What are your key words for this card?
  • What symbolism do you notice in your deck?


Lesson 8 – Daily Cards


Today we’re going to talk about daily cards.  As with everything else this is optional.  You might want to include this in your tarot practice.  You might find you do it some days and other days don’t have the time, or inclination. Please remember that tarot is a tool for you to use in a way that works for your good and this class is aimed at helping you find your path with tarot. 

I use daily cards and I find them really helpful.  The way I work is usually to light a candle, take a few deep breaths and draw my energy in so I’m actually present.  Then I shuffle my deck and ask in my mind what I need to know about today.  I draw my card, look at it, reflect (briefly) on what it might mean or what I might want to be conscious of, jot down which card I pulled.  I leave my card on my altar for the day so I see it when I’m back later. Then I blow out my candle and go about my day.  For me this takes about five minutes, usually around the time I’m getting ready for work.

I find it helpful to take the image and energy of the card into the day and see if I can notice it.  Sometimes I do, sometimes not.  For instance I might see a street performer with a drum, and that might remind me of the image of the magician in The Gaian Tarot.  Or I might see some friends laughing together in a coffee shop or pub and that reminds me of the Three of Cups. Equally I might set off somewhere unknown for work and remember that I am The Fool on my journey through life…so the cards inform my life and then my life informs my understanding of the cards (neat).

A health warning

Some cards in tarot have a traditionally bad rap.  I’m thinking specifically about Death and The Devil, though there are others too.  Cards, for me at least, are very much about the underlying meaning.  So the Death card is about change, and about the cycle of release and rebirth.  The Devil for me is about being trapped, and even that mindset which chooses to be trapped, what is keeping me chained up? Where am I allowing my patterns to hold me back? Where am I falling into “victim” mentality?  So if you pull one of these (or any other “dramatic” looking card) please don’t take it as a gothic portent…take a deep breath, look at your guide book and ponder.

Or you can just put it back in the deck (**winks) and leave it for another day.  Go gently x


Exercise 8.

We already talked about tarot rituals so you might like to link your daily cards (if you do them) with your tarot ritual and creating sacred space.  There are lots of options and the way you work will probably evolve as you do.  That’s life, right?

Jotting down your daily cards is a good way to notice if there are any themes coming up for you, for instance around the time I left my last full-time job there were lots of cards like The Tower, The Hanged Man and The Wheel of Fortune. If you’ve got any questions or thoughts drop by the group to share them, I’m usually lurking around near the biscuit tin 🙂

Lesson 7 – Get Creative

No class today; no input from me at any rate!

Exercise 7.

Use your time today to play with your cards.  Grab some friends a create a three dimensional freeze of the Three of Cups or the Six of Wands.  Pick three cards at random and make up a story about what is going on.   Choose a card and write a poem about it.


If you have longer you might want to draw, paint or collage your version of a card, or embody it’s energy e.g. do some gardening (Seven of Pentacles) or practice and refine a hobby or work skills (Seven of Wands).

Take today (and as many other days as you need) to allow the work you’ve done so far to filter through, to coalesce.  As your friendship with your cards deepens you will begin to get a “feeling” or “sense” of them which permeates into the rest of life. Have fun!


Lesson 6 – The Court Cards

Morning.  Notices first (settle down at the back there…) here is the promised grounding exercise. This is for after your tarot work.  It’s super simple but gives you an idea and a tool until you’re happy doing this for yourself.

Next a reminder that this is self-paced, come as you are course.  Lessons are aimed to be around ten minutes for the basic content, although you can take longer with exercises if you have the time :-).

If you want to share photos, ideas, questions, reflections then please come over and join the Facebook group.

Wonderful, let’s begin.  We’ve had a quick look at the Major Arcana and began talking about the Minors in the last lesson.  Today I want to talk about the court cards.  The courts are generally considered some of the most difficult cards to read.  They can be viewed in different ways.


You can consider the courts to represent someone of that age in your reading.  For example, say you’re doing a reading about work and a King card comes up, you might think of your boss (because obviously it’s 1950 and all bosses are men who say “doll” a lot and wear fedoras).  Or you might be doing a reading about relationships and a Queen card comes up that might be your best friend/ future lover/ significant woman in your life.  A Page might indicate your child or a young person in your life, a knight a teenager or young adult.  You get the idea.


I tend to look at the Courts as representing an energy.

  • Pages are child-like and I link these to my inner-child aspect.
  • Knights are full of energy and enthusiasm but have  a tendency (as can be seen on  the RWS decks) to go charging into action or get lost in dreams of greatness, so a caution is to stay grounded.
  • Queens have a collected inner wisdom, a togetherness, as well as some of the “feminine” nurturing energy,  they often remind me of priestesses I have known or the divine mother aspect.
  • The Kings are the strong, “masculine”, directed, external, focussed energy of their suit.

Each court card carries the energy of the suit.  My favourite courts are those in Joanna Powell-Colbert’s Gaian Tarot which move right away for the gender norms of the traditional RWS and focus on energies and archetypes.  Beautiful and relatable to life as I experience it.


Exercise 6

I first learned about the court cards in The Alternative Tarot course.  This course encouraged me to imagine them as people.  What kind of person would that be?  If you met them at a social event, what would they feel like?  Enthusiastic? Aloof? Would they be easy to talk to?  How would they interact with each other?

  • Today pull out the sixteen court cards.
  • Have a look at them.  Compare the images, what is the same, what’s different?
  • Read a few of the descriptions in your guidebook, is that someone you could get on with?  What might they have to teach you?
  • You might want to have a cup of tea with one of them…Say the Queen of Cups…I bet she’d have a whole string of incredible romances to tell you about, as well as all that aid work she did overseas, great stories!
  • Then come and share your first impressions in the group.

Lesson 5 – Minor arcana

Hey and hello.  It’s a grey day here so time for snuggling down under a blanket with a mug of something hot…


For today’s lesson we’re going to consider the elements in tarot and set a practical which will get help us connect with these.

The Minor Arcana in tarot consists of fifty-six cards split into four suits.  These are generally know as pentacles (or coins), swords, wands and cups.  Each of the suits has ten pip (number) cards and four court cards (the page, knight, queen and king).  Sometimes decks use different names for the suits or the courts but they will correspond to the above “labels”.

Each suit traditionally has a link to one of four elements (earth, air, fire and water) and one of the four cardinal directions.  

These are as follows:

Pentacles – Earth – North

Swords – Air – East

Wands – Fire – South

Cups – Water – West


The elemental system is a way of understanding the world.  There are also astrological links with the elements and you might like to look up your sign to see which elements feature large in your own sign/s.  I find them a helpful way of understanding myself.  I am an air sign, this means I can be very “heady” with lots of thinking and ideas.  My other big element is water which means I can be intuitive and also feel emotions deeply.  I have a little of the earth element, I can be practical and grounded thought this is an area I need to work on, and my “lowest” element is fire, meaning I need to take good care to stoke and tend my inner hearth to give me the energy for life. If you’d like to share your findings (and it is totally optional) pop over to the group for a chat 🙂

Exercise 5

Elemental connections – get out and about and experience the elements.  You could try some of the following:

  • Build a bonfire or light a candle to connect with fire.
  • Look for feathers or blow bubbles for air.
  • Get digging in the garden or build a sandcastle or lie down on the ground to connect with earth.
  • Paddle in the sea, take a bath, go to visit a river or stream or just have a long drink to connect with water.

These are just ideas to get started, whatever inspiration strikes you is good.


If you have extra time (!) and want to do some additional tarot play you could lay out your minor cards and see if you can spot the elements as they show up in each card.

Please take pictures of what you’re doing and come share them in the Facebook group.  Remember this is a self-paced course so if you are in a different place to everyone else that’s fine, there are no deadlines, tests or papers just some ideas as you explore your tarot journey.