One question I was asked a lot during my gallery show was if I do tarot card readings. "Yes!" is the answer and it was because of this that I was first struck with the idea of doing my own interpretation of the Major Arcana.
My first deck was a gift (Traditionally it is believed that one should not purchase their own deck but have it given to them.) and the giver not only bestowed me with the beautiful set, but also offered to tutor me in reading them. I was fascinated with the artwork, the intricacy of the images and the depth of their meaning and wanted to learn more.
This interest was what fueled me to start exploring the history of tarot through painting. On top of that I had a strong desire to see my large depictions in a traditional Celtic Cross Spread, one of the most commonly used spreads for conducting a reading. I did get to use this spread at my show and photographed it extensively and enthusiastically, thrilled to see my dream coming true.
Another spread often used when reading tarot is the quick 'three card spread', which is usually how the cards are shown being used in popular media. The reader lays down three cards and 'foretells the future' of the querant...or something along those cheesy lines.
In actuality, the cards are used to read energy and they don't reveal anything you don't already know. They are meant to give direction, not definitive answers. Or at least that is how I've come to understand them and how I've always used them.
So what of this particular three card spread? It can represent many things depending on what you assign each card - mind, body and spirit/ past, present and future / positive, negative and self. Or it can be used to answer a direct question of the querant such as "Is my relationship healthy?" or "Am I doomed to be single forever?"
Personally I quite like current focus, coming focus, overall focus. When applied to these three cards: Love, The Chariot and The Sun, it makes a very profound statement about our own sense of self worth.
In this order Love sits in the current focus. This means that the individual is or should be working on loving themselves compassionately in every way. Good advice for anyone, really, and a large part of why I'm working on becoming a Life Coach.
People don't love themselves nearly enough but I believe it's extremely important to be your own best friend. When you can learn to rely on yourself and feel a sense of pride in who you are and how you've come to be that person, doors will open and life becomes far more enjoyable.
Which leads us to the second card, The Chariot, in the coming focus position. Ultimately, loving who you are isn't necessarily that difficult. You can sit down and make a list of the things you've accomplished, all the things you're proud of and all the joys you get out of life. You can list your favourite attributes and your skills and talents. You can find a sense of confidence and begin to really shine - but then we will notice the other things that couldn't possibly go on such glowing, positive lists. That silly mistake you made at work, or that time you were careless with someone else's heart. That selfish, hurtful thing you might have done or that cruel joke we partook in.
The Chariot asks us to look at how we can be our own worst enemy sometimes and that part of loving ourself is about compassion for those darker sides. It's about accepting responsibility for our actions and knowing that what we may have done in the past doesn't have to dictate what we'll do in the future. Rather than fighting, clinging, grasping and struggling, we need to open up, relax, accept responsibility and embrace change.
When we do we will reach The Sun, the overall focus and the plateau of Maslow's Hierarchy or the moment of enlightenment. That divine, glorious moment when we can understand that life is beautiful in it's tiny intricacy and it's never ending chaotic glory. This is positive energy, fitting in with the world and knowing that we are all connected, we're all unlimited potential and we are all capable of great things.
So this particular spread is full of a lot of good energy. It's one that I think makes a good teaching for how to live life with a sense of contentment.