The Hermit

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Solitude, learning, meditating.

The Hermit loves his time alone, to contemplate. When this card comes up, it is time to ponder things a while, to listen to the voice inside. To be still.

It is also the card of listening to a mentor, of learning new things about yourself and your surroundings. Reading a book, listening to a meditation.

This card asks to take the quiet route, to spend time with your thoughts, to face the silence, and see what comes up. Sometimes the best thing we can do is nothing at all. We busy ourselves with activities, work, television, children, anything that will keep our inside voice quiet. We would do anything but to be alone, in silence, with ourselves. But it can be done. With just a few minutes a day. Sit quietly with yourself. Close your eyes. Smile. Once you start, you’ll see how much you’ve missed spending time alone. It’s the perfect way to recharge your batteries. You probably already do this if you’re introverted, but extroverted people benefit from silence as well.

The Hermit reminds us that we have a lot to gain by sitting quietly, by being guided by the little light that shines inside all of us, if we just take the time to acknowledge it.

Johanne

The Strength card

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Inner strength, courage, listening to your instincts.

The classic Strength card is a woman holding a lion’s mouth open, easily, without much strength involved. It signified to quell our animal instincts.

I read it to mean inner strength, yes, but also to work with our instincts. This card comes up in readings when big changes need to be made, or that a difficult situation is waiting for the client. It’s a very peaceful and inner focused card.

It’s about finding the strength within us to face whatever is waiting for us. We usually forget how strong we can be until we need it.

I’m always happy to see the Strength card. It tells me that I underestimate myself, and that yes, I can do it.

It also reminds us to listen to our gut feelings, our instincts. This isn’t about using our head, it’s more about using our heart. It’s about going forward, even without a safety net. It’s about trusting ourselves, even when nobody else believes in us.

Going forward, and trusting the process. You are enough.

Johanne

What I’ve learned

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Studying tarot and reading tarot are two completely different things.

I started my tarot journey by being interested in the symbolics of tarot: The art, the Jungian archetypes and personality types, numerology, astrology, Kabbalah.

Everything about tarot was a learning experience. I spent hours every day studying the cards. I knew their different meanings, what the numbers meant, what astrological sign affected them, what the flag or flower or arch meant.

And then I started reading for others. And I soon realized what was really important. It’s the link that happens between the client and the reader and the cards. It’s the exchange that is important.

As I am writing about the paintings that I’ve done of the tarot, I’m always torn between the “real”, multifaceted meaning of a card, and then its practical meaning in a tarot reading. Sometimes it’s the same thing, but usually, the practical meaning wins.

Yes, I think it’s very important to study the tarot and its wonderful deep meanings. I also think it’s important to read the cards, to have a relationship with them.

It’s the experience with the cards that makes a difference. From experience, you know what this card has meant in the past, and if it still holds true today. This is where reading tarot becomes an art form.

I’ve learned a lot by studying, but I’m learning just as much from the cards that show up for my clients, and my clients’ reaction to them. It’s a dialogue, always.

Being a good tarot reader means to be a good listener, a listener of the client, but also a listener of that voice inside you that knows what has to be said.

I am a good tarot reader.

Johanne

The Chariot

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The Chariot: Movement, moving forward, bringing opposites together.

The classic Chariot card shows a chariot with a man steering two horses, one white and one black. The chariot isn’t in movement yet. but it is ready to go.

This card for me means to make sure that everything is okay before you take the next step. To bring everything together. This card is governed by the Cancer sign, so there are emotions involved in the making of the plans.

I chose to paint the horse instead of the chariot, because the horse is the heart and soul. He’s the one that brings the Chariot into movement. The horse is patient, and yet full of vitality.

When the Chariot shows up, it’s a big yes. What you are working on is worthwhile. There is still details to look at, but the voyage will begin soon. You are the one holding the reins.

Johanne

The Lovers

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The Lovers: Love, partnership, choice.

This card is mostly about love. This is the card you want to see when you’re looking at questions of love. My clients are usually looking for this card. Who wouldn’t? Everybody loves love.

I’ve painted my lovers holding hands, but standing tall, separate from each other, not entwined. They are looking ahead, not at each other. Love is about finding someone you want to discover the world with.

I chose to paint my couple as a man and a woman, after a long hesitation. I could have also painted a man and a man, or a woman holding another woman’s hand. Being bisexual, I know how it’s frustrating to not feel include in the imagery. I went with the classic man and woman, but please know that all love is love. No matter the gender.

I have depicted my couple at the ocean, looking at the possibilities that the future has in store. The ocean also, because it takes courage to delve into a relationship. Darkness and all.

As I’ve stated, the Lovers can also mean a good partnership, not necessarily in a romantic way. It can show that things will be running smoothly, falling into place, good communication, fairness.

This card can also be about choice, as the classic tarot card shows a man having to choose between two women.

I love this card. It speaks to me of harmony and peace. I hope that this is what I’ve achieved in my painting.

Johanne

The Hierophant

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The Hierophant. Tradition. Higher knowledge.

This card usually depicts a priest, but I’ve painted him as a monk. It works better for me and my beliefs.

This card is about tradition. What you have learned in your formative years. Stability. Power.

The Hierophant is also known as the High Priest. He is the male counterpart of the High Priestess. While her knowledge is about hidden, unconscious things, he is about conventional, formal teaching.

When this card comes up, it says to stick with the tried and true course of action. This is not the time for unconventional thought.

I like the idea of a monk as the Hierophant. It symbolizes for me years of practice and also a calmness and inner confidence in what you know.

This card is also about higher learning, going back to school, getting a degree.

It’s also about a traditional link with the sacred. The Priest in the traditional version shows this link, as being the intermediary between us and God. Again, we can compare this with the High Priestess, who shows us that we are the only link we need to get in touch with the sacred.

What is the positive side to being accompanied by the Hierophant? He can help us on our journey to knowledge. Tradition can show us how it has worked in the past, and how it can work for us too.

How do you see the Hierophant?

Johanne

The Emperor

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Ah, The Emperor. The last card I painted in the Major Arcana. I have issues with him. It’s complicated.

I think the Emperor is a bossy pants. I have a problem with authority, so he always is a warning sign for me.

The Emperor is the Father figure. He is the king of his domain. He likes order and power.

When things are going well, he is a benevolent leader. He is supportive and cheers you on.

But he can also be kind of a power hungry asshole.

Sometimes he comes up to tell me that the client’s relationship is about power struggles. That one partner is perishing while the other is taking up too much room. He also comes up with clients that have issues with authority and/or their fathers.

When he comes up in the advice position, it means that it’s time to be firm and stand up for yourself. That it’s time to get things done.

When he comes up in the warning position, it means to be careful with your power, or to be on the lookout for how you are being treated.

The Emperor can be bossy, but I respect the fact that he knows what he wants and is not scared to do whatever needs to be done to get it.

How do you perceive the Emperor?

Johanne