Part 3 An Interpretation of Force XI: The Tarot of Marseilles.
Force XI: The Tarot of Marseilles and many of the older European tarot decks is an archetype that represents a need for great courage and self-control - usually required in the face of internal and external conflict and sometimes, both. She is one of the Four Virtues of the Major Arcana. When Force XI: Marseilles appears in a tarot reading she signifies a requirement for compassionate and ethical behavior; and that of critical challenges to our core beliefs about what we consider to be fair and just in the relationships with have ourselves and with significant others.
Force XI: Marseilles Is a call to us to develop inner-strength and to triumph over potentially self-destructive feelings; with a degree of self-reflection that can bring us greater wisdom.
The rich dark-blue of Force XI: Marseilles’ bodice and skirt centers our attention on the woman’s figure and reminds us of importance of the fifth chakra; of creative visualization, expression and of voicing your truth. The shape of the material in her floor-length dress cascades to the ground and as it does, takes the form of a pyramid. With that symbol, we are reminded of powerful and ancient civilisations and the significance of the soul to their every action and belief over the millenia. The pyramid, with its square base and triangular sides piercing the skies, is a symbol both of ‘stability’ and disciplined ambition offering an insight to the immense strength that can be had to face life’s challenges by enlisting these values. The sizable lower garment of deep-blue implies the qualities of nobility, sincerity and integrity and covers everything but the sandaled toes of Force XI: Marseilles’ right foot.
We see her cloak as a vibrant swash of red, symbolising the first chakra; flowing over the back of her blue skirt. The relative size of each section of material indicates its relative impact and importance in her attitude and physical expression. Red signifies the positive, energetic passion that 'backs' a dominant state of groundedness. The colours of her clothing demonstrate that Force XI: Marseilles maintains a strong understanding of her own needs and purpose together with her relationships with family and community; in the matter she is currently grappling with however, she must primarily rely on her own wisdom and integrity.
The mid to lower section of this image illustrates a strong young woman in control of a large golden-yellow beast, often depicted as a lion. The lion is a symbol of enormous strength, leadership and courage; he is considered to be the 'king of the beasts'. The lion’s roar (considered by many) is a sound that arouses both great admiration and terror at the same time! His roar creates a vibration that shakes up the senses, and is said to be ‘a voice of Goddess’. The yellow and gold colours, when well-defined, are companion colours associated with illumination, love, compassion magic and wisdom. Yellow represents the third or ‘I am’ chakra and signifies happiness, optimism, honour and intellect. Gold represents wealth and prosperity as well as the ninth chakra or the ‘seat of the soul’ and the archetypal patterns that can shape destiny. Gold has healing properties and is said to clear negative energies from the chakras (aura).
Large swirling, spirals create the beast's cascading golden-yellow mane and coat of fur and complete our interpretation of the lion as a potent symbol of destiny. The spiral is an ancient sign of creation and growth and, in some cases, signifies cosmic forces. Swirls and spirals are symbolically linked to nature, the seasons, and the path of birth, growth, death and reincarnation that all life follows.
With complete focus and concentration on the considerable task at hand, Force XI: Marseilles is seen almost effortlessly restraining the beast. She skillfully holds open the jaws of the golden lion and firmly pulls its head and body against her voluminous blue skirt and at the lower parts of her body. While the jaws face outwards and towards the future he is, for the present, nestled snugly against her abdomen, groin and thighs. The beast’s magnificent body of swirling golden spirals is set at Force XI: Marseilles’ sacral and root chakras. This is perhaps why some interpretations of the Force XI (Marseilles) and Strength VIII (Rider) imply sexual control, potency and power.
The well-defined and dynamic shapes, symbols and colours in the lower part of the (upright) image of Force XI: Marseilles provide a wonderful ‘description’ of the virtuous qualities of this archetype. The relationship between woman and beast can be seen in the relative positions they each hold; and which, in turn, informs us of the fundamental values with which Force XI: Marseilles embraces her challenge: the rich red of her cape shows her strong yet contained passions; the deep-blue of her pyramidal skirt indicates her unshakeable values and her well-developed sixth-sense; and the large yellow-golden beast - with his mane of golden spirals - that is hard-pressed into her own first and second chakras to signify her actions are driven with inner intelligence, joy and determination.
The combined lower imagery in Force XI: Marseilles suggests that she bases herself in the reality of her immediate circumstances and relationships; her stance is balanced and strong and her effort is unwavering. She ‘keeps-a-grip’ (as the saying goes). Force XI: Marseilles' gentle yet unyielding control demonstrates the importance of reigning over sometimes instinctual desires and powerful, destructive emotions.
Force XI: Marseilles is the archetype that demonstrates self-discipline as the means to stem any self-doubt or anger; she recognises these thoughts and emotions as being distractions from her meeting her objectives. With a steady mind and an even heart she is able to overcome life’s hurdles and achieve her soul‘s calling (the infinity sign at the ninth chakra in the shape of her hat).
All the best,
Martha Adams Copyright
Written by Martha Adams Copyright 2017
Upright interpretations of Force XI: The Tarot of Marseilles and Strength VIII: The Rider Deck
In the following posts we talk about Force XI: The Tarot of Marseilles, (B.P. Grimaud, France) that, together with many of the older European tarot decks, is an archetype that represents a need for great courage and self-control; usually necessary in a situation of considerable internal and external conflict, and sometimes, both. She is one of the Four Virtues of the Major Arcana. When we are gripped by challenges to our core beliefs and to our sense of fairness, usually surrounding events that involve significant relationships, Force XI: Marseilles and Strength VIII: Rider often appears in a tarot reading indicating a need for compassionate and ethical behaviour.
Force XI: Marseilles Is a call to us to develop inner-strength and to triumph over potentially self-destructive feelings; offering the opportunity for a level of self-reflection that can bring us greater wisdom.
Force XI: The Tarot of Marseilles. Upright
Force XI: Marseilles depicts a graceful yet gritty young woman wearing an enormous hat in the shape of a lemniscate; also the sign for Infinity and the ouroboros (worn by The Magician I). Her broad hat touches the very top of the card’s image and appears to extend past the card’s uppermost border; an indication of qualities that lie beyond the realms of the physical and seen world. Her hat is the shape of a number eight and positioned at the eighth chakra; signifying divine love, spiritual compassion and selflessness.
Her hat is an elegant pattern of blue, white and golden-yellow. White, which is also the colour of the eighth chakra, indicates the pure intentions and unlimited potential. Deep-blue represents the sixth chakra; that of inner-sight and ‘knowing’. This colour depicts a person of integrity and a vibrant intellect. Golden-yellow is the colour of the third chakra and suggests self-confidence, generosity and abundance.
In the Tarot of Marseilles, the direction in which the Major archetypes face - their whole body language - is entirely intentional. The face of Force XI: Marseilles is raised and, when she appears upright in a spread for a tarot reading, her head and body turn towards the right; traditionally the direction of the future. Her facial expression appears a little weary but one of quiet confidence; and her eyes convey a sense of clarity and solid determination. Her gaze is steady and her attention seems drawn beyond that of her immediate challenge, that of comforting the beast below her, to a further challenge of The Hanged Man XII. Even while she has successfully dealt with a threatening or fearful situation, calmed the beast and quieted ‘the rage within', Force XI: Marseilles might now see that a personal sacrifice lies ahead in order that she grows as a person.
Force XI: Marseilles wears a well-tailored dress of fine fabrics and strong dynamic colours. Her bodice and flowing skirt are deep-blue. Her full sleeves and prominent central bodice-lacing are golden-yellow. And her large cape is a rich-red. Medieval nobility were the only class permitted to wear deep-blue as it was a colour that symbolised high status, honesty and honor. Blue, represents also, the capacity to express oneself creatively; to find one’s voice and to speak one’s own truth. Force XI: Marseilles’ radiant red cloak represents well-grounded passion, physical vitality and robustness. Red, the colour of the first chakra, signifying a sense of security and a solid grasp of reality. Red signifies courage and wisdom and strong and meaningful relationship to one’s family, tribe or community.
Yellow-gold is the colour of Force XI: Marseilles’ large and powerful arms and of the third chakra which, when well-defined, is the energy centre of self-esteem and one that can be developed by pursuing right action. The action of her significant arms is at the level of her strong solar plexus, to emphasis her self-believe in her ability to restrain and subdue the beast. The arms are also an extension of the heart chakra which we see expressed in the tender but determined grip she has on the lion’s gaping jaws. The feminine and neutral colour beige of her forearms creates an element of calm and ease in her hold. Beige can express simplicity, piety and warmth. With these qualities, Force XI: Marseilles is able to draw the beast close to her own body and legs; giving the appearance of restrain him without difficulty.
Introduction to Tarot Strength VIII: The Rider Deck and Force XI The Tarot of Marseilles.
Strength is Key VIII in The Rider Deck while, in The Tarot of Marseilles, it is Force XI. This Archetype is one of the four Virtues in The Major Arcana. A virtue indicates moral value, ability or advantage. When it occurs in tarot readings it often indicates challenges taking place to our core beliefs, usually ignited through the relationships we hold with ourselves and with others. If we understand the lessons that Strength brings we can achieve mastery over potentially self-destructive inner drives and emotions; leading to a deeper self-understand and a peaceful inner-life.
Strength VIII: The Rider Deck. Upright
Strength VII: Rider is the first archetype in the second ‘stage’ or plane of The Major Arcana sequence. The number eight characterises power, organization and executive ability; and qualities of instinct, charisma, self-motivation and competency. Strength VIII: Rider is the first of many lessons in self-discipline, self-control and wisdom.
Strength VIII: Rider is depicted as beautiful and graceful young woman dressed in a simple white gown caressing a large, orange lion. Above her head in the position of the ninth chakra we see a lemniscate, a sign for Infinity and a variation of the ouroboros, which represents the mathematical concept of ‘a quantity bigger than any number’. This is also the position of the ninth chakra which signifies the seat of the soul and the wheel to the archetypal energies that can shape one’s destiny. The lemniscate is similarly seen in The Magician I, the first archetype of the ‘first stage’ in The Major Arcana.
A garland of beautiful red roses and green ivy is woven through the woman’s head of golden hair. The interweaved garland of red, green and gold appear as a wreath of victory upon her head. The red rose is a hardy plant that demonstrates deep emotions of love, devotion and desire. Ivy is a perennial plant that can grow in the harshest environments; it represents strength, fidelity, endurance, eternity and immortality.
Similarly, her lush sash of of red roses and ivy wrap themselves around her waist then cascade down her white gown down over her hip to the ground. Red is the colour of the first chakra and, being upright, is well-defined. The first chakra is associated with our basic instincts for survival; for feelings of safety, vitality and the physical-identity of the self. Green is the colour of the fourth, or heart, chakra; the seat of our emotional or ‘heart intelligence’ and healing.
Strength VIII: Rider is completely covered in a long, flowing, white gown. White symbolizes purity of thought and intention and the colour of the seventh chakra, which represents one’s connection to the divine and spiritual and universal knowledge.
The lion is orange and the colour of the second chakra. It is the energy centre of flexibility and flow and of our ability to express ourselves in healthy and meaningful ways through money, relationships, empathy, movement, sexuality and intimacy. The orange lion is symbolic of our experiences through feelings, sensations and creativity. The lion can be a terrifying foe; his roar can leave you frozen in your tracks. However, we see Strength VIII: Rider look down directly into the lion’s raised head. She has placed her hands on top and beneath the lion’s powerful jaws and caresses the beast so gently and with such skill that the animal is at peace; even appearing in a state of bliss! In this simple act, Strength VIII: Rider demonstrates the true quality of strength which is a control over subconscious thoughts to and master one’s own emotions.
A glorious yellow surrounds both the woman and the lion. Well-defined in its upright state, yellow is the colour of intellect and understanding; of hope, happiness and honor; of energy and optimism. It is the colour of the third chakra which relates most closely to identity; the sense of self, courage, self-confidence and self-control. Yellow represents the element of fire, the sun and sunlight which gives life and light and warmth to everything it touches; often referred to as the ‘divine rejuvenator’.
The woman and the lion stand together in the open, green countryside. Green is the colour of life, renewal, harmony and safety and clearly supports a journey to healing. The mountain on the horizon can represent large, long-term undertakings in the future. Turquoise is a colour that represents being spiritually-ground and calm. It signifies a sense of wholeness, in which creativity, intuition, emotional balance and joy is stimulated.
Martha Adams Copyright 2017
Part 1 of 4.
Next post (2 or 4) Force XI: The Tarot of Marseilles BP Grimauld 1969. Upright.
The Chariot Vll Reversed. The Tarot of Marseilles.
An Interpretive Approach to Tarot.
Part 2 of 3.
The Chariot VII of The Tarot of Marseilles when seen in Reverse provides clues to difficulties a person or project may have in making progress. As most of our endeavours in life are tied to how we employ our spirit, our physical or worldly progress is unavoidably tied to our spiritual journey. My understanding of The Chariot VII is a preparedness for conquest and a movement towards something of considerable value to the charioteer. In the card’s image, the charioteer appears poised and stationary in full armour; but the image is not without a divine tension as the charioteer awaits a battle, the race, or the challenge, to become clear and evident. At any moment s/he will need to act.
The prime colours in The Chariot VII : Marseilles are red, blue, gold-yellow, white and peach. Colours are symbolic; they have meaning in and of themselves but can also be understood through the system of Chakras to represent personality traits and as indicators of general well-being. When reversed the colours are, symbolically, ill-defined.
Red is repeated throughout the design of The Chariot VII and suggests challenges associated with the First or Root Chakra being out of balance. Red, is the colour of love and passion, courage and strength. It is the energy of the tribe; of community, family and one’s purpose. The ill-defined red is repeated throughout the card - in the moon-faces of the charioteer’s shoulder armour, in his/her sleeves, lower garments and the canopy-supports of the chariot itself and the large upside-down red horse and might signify the charioteer is controlled by his anger and obsession.
When the The Chariot VII is upside-down, the charioteer looks out at the world from a compromised position; (on his head in the upturned chariot). He may not have completed necessary arrangements to ensure his/her success. S/he might not have enough self-confidence to pursue his/her goals. Or, possibly, be under the influence of a general lack of self-control over his/her passions and desires.
Blue is the colour of royalty, integrity and the Fifth Chakra, the ‘communication centre’ of the body. Deep blue symbolises composure and authority, with the ability to listen to others and to speaking one’s own truth. Communication is a key to self-expression, joy, a sense of humour and ‘good timing’. In the reversed picture, blue is ill-defined suggesting feelings of dishonesty, failure, a misunderstanding, self-rejection or depression. The charioteer appears unsure and his/her intentions maybe doubtful. The upside-down blue horse signifies an imbalance of power and looks weary; even sly or shifty. The charioteer’s ill-defined blue chest-plate suggests that his/her heart may not be ‘in-it’; perhaps an element of self-delusion.
Gold or golden-yellow is the colour of the sun, the victor, success and wealth. It symbolises having a strong sense of right and wrong, of tradition, warmth and generosity. The gold personality is that of the insightful advocate or supporter; one who shares his/her abundance with others. Gold is the colour of the Soul or Ninth Chakra, is symbolic of a person’s higher purpose and representative of synchronistic patterns that play an important role in shaping one’s destiny. Being reversed may suggest that the Soul has temporarily ‘lost its way’.
When ill-defined, gold loses its sunny, optimistic and charitable qualities and its focus on higher principles. Reversed-gold personalities are pretentious, self-important and crafty; the ‘control freak’ who works long hours because they are obsessive and judgemental of the efforts of others. Two-way communication goes out-the-door when we reverse the positive attributes of the colour gold.
The golden-yellow colour is applied throughout the The Chariot VII. The ill-defined solid golden ground effectively closes off the sky eliminating the image’s sense of openness and freedom. So much negatively aspected gold at the top of the card suggests that money or wealth has become the primary or driving objective; or the big problem. Whichever way, this oppressive layer of rock, like the lid on a coffin, sets the tone of the card.
The chariot’s golden crossbar appears to slice the card into two equal, almost completely separate and distinct images. The two upside-down horses sitting in the top half of the picture gives a sense of weight bearing down upon the driver. Beneath the horses and under the crossbar, the dangling charioteer is separated from his will, power and drive. The charioteer critically divided on an issue or some aspect of his/her situation and his/her thoughts may will be at odds with her/his emotions and physical needs or abilities.
The ill-defined gold surrounds the charioteer’s face and head. At the bottom of the image charioteer is looking directly at his sceptre; which looks like a swinging pendulum. The charioteer appears almost in a state of hypnosis! Has the charioteer been ‘hypnotised’ by thoughts of wealth and glory?
The golden crown is a symbol of legitimacy, honour, glory and righteousness, but it is upside-down and fallen to the lower regions of the picture. Perhaps the charioteer is not in his/her ‘right-mind’; her/his thoughts may be of glory but, in reverse, the symbols of crown and sceptre suggests a lack of honour and honesty.
The peach/beige, the colour of chariot’s carriage, wheels and canopy is a colour representing the Soul-Spirit. The carriage, symbolising the physical body, harnesses the power of the horses (the emotions and intentions) to move the wheels that support it forwards and towards a goal or purpose. It holds it the canopy for protection. Upright, colour peach/beige, symbolises courage, charm and genuine caring both for others and the self; and represents the importance of being true to ourselves.
When ill-defined, peach-beige signifies charioteer’s aims at manipulating others to get his/her own needs met; and, in doing so, the kind, true self is lost.
Enjoy your tarot.
Martha Adams © 2017
Part 3/3 Numerology of The Chariot VII
The Chariot VII Reversed : The Tarot of Marseilles : Part 1
An Interpretive Approach to reading tarot.
Symbols, colours, numbers in reverse, taken both independently and collectively can often imply existing, potential or arising difficulties. My experience of reading tarot, is that a reverse card offers considerable value to the seeker by pointing out what is missing or incomplete, delayed or misunderstood or even important to beware of, about a situation, relationship or desire. Reversed cards simply offer warnings like a give-way or stop sign. It suggests that one looks before they leap; to double-check that one’s assumptions about are valid and authentic.
The Chariot VII of The Tarot of Marseilles, considered when upside-down or in-reverse provides clues to potential or underlying difficulties – for example – to successfully achieving their desired goal or making that big move forward in their plans. As we will look at later, the vibration of the Major Arcana Seven is primarily a spiritual one. Our endeavours in life are founded to how we employ our spirit; the physical or worldly progress we make is unavoidably tied to our spiritual journey and soul purpose.
My understanding of The Chariot VII is the need to have the courage to face difficulties and challenges in order to achieve personal objectives and goals; but to do so with our honour and dignity intact. Upright, The Chariot VII gives a sense of the reflective, anticipatory and stationary. There is wonderful tension in this image as the charioteer, in full regalia, awaits the start of the race, the battle or the challenge. The preparation involved to meet his/her quest, is clear and evident. The charioteer has positioned her/himself for a most important personal crusade.
The charioteer presents as a princely (crown) and military (armour) figure standing proudly in a glorious chariot; which symbolises the physical body. The the charioteer’s upper body represents human intelligence, thought, strategy, self-knowledge and self-direction. In front of the chariot stand two horses – red and blue – that paw the ground with their hooves to indicate their vitality, power and enthusiasm. The horses are not controlled by any harness or reins, for this the charioteer uses his mind. S/he is undivided in his/her purpose even though the circumstances difficult.
The horses symbolise the power of emotion and intention; the combination of which underlies physical organisation and stamina. The darker of the two horses, (the blue horse) represents the mysterious, magnetic and feminine aspect of the charioteer’s nature. While the brighter coloured red horse shows the dynamic, masculine and known nature.
When we look at the upright image of The Chariot VII: Marseilles we get a real sense of balance, control and organisation. But viewed upside-down, what do we see? How do the obvious changes in the placement and relationship of objects and symbols affect the card’s overall symmetry? What extra or different information do we glean from the now ill-defined colours and from the shadow-side of its numerological associations? What important information and insights does this reversed image now convey?
In The Chariot VII: Marseilles, the chariot is upside-down; no if’s or but’s. If the chariot represents the vital and purposeful body and the vehicle for progress and victory, the structure being relied on to achieve success is clearly not in a position to do so. The up-turned chariot has its wheels in the air and its canopy dragging on the ground. In this position, the vehicle is not going to take you anywhere; and may imply organisation that remains inadequate or vague or impractical. The inference is that, if you persist, you may well be setting yourself up for failure or injury.
If we are looking at the overall image of The Chariot VII reversed, the ground is now at the ‘top’ of the card; and at the ‘bottom’ of the card the is canopy. Both of these things appear as barricades that impose significant limitations on the charioteer. My immediate and overall impression of the charioteer is he is currently positioned “between a rock and a hard place.”
When reversed, the charioteer’s whole torso is beneath the horses with his/her head and crown appearing at the very bottom of card; This upside-down charioteer at once suggests a couple of things – that the charioteer may be undermining his/her own success by not using his/her fine intellect to make decisions and choices. Rather, the charioteer’s emotions are uncontrolled and unbalanced; and his/her intention, the driving force in this situation, is now divided.
The horse is the symbol of a balance of wisdom and power. It represents personal drive, passion and an appetite for freedom. Thus horses, when reversed, offer a warning to control physical passions, vanity and ruthlessness which may jeopardise plans or pre-empt defeat, in a battle or in competition. Not only do the horses appear upside-down but they have changed their relative positions; the feminine and masculine are now switched around suggesting there is confusion between wants, needs and desires.
Additionally, the charioteer’s facial expression has changed; showing perhaps some uncertainty or slyness. There is almost a hypnotic look in the face of the charioteer. The golden sceptre dangles loosely from the charioteer’s hand and, with the ‘power-ball’ pointing towards the ground, the sceptre appears as a large swinging pendulum. The pendulum is also used to help us make ‘yes-no-maybe’ decisions.
Martha Adams © 2017
Part 2/2 next posting; see you then!
When The Chariot VII is reversed, we are faced with an image that is clearly at with odds the upright version. How can this journeyman be expected to guide and control The Chariot with wheels in the air and a canopy dragging along in the ground? The charioteer has ground to a halt; he no longer has the means by which to move forward and achieve his goals.
The inverted image creates a shift in the picture’s weight creating an image that is at once unrealistic and unbalanced. At the top of the card the vast yellow is replaced by the upside-down sphinxes, solid earth, the barrier of city walls and the overturned carriage. The red-tips on the downward pointing turrets and towers are now ill-defined, suggest resentment or rage. The chariot in this position is useless and unsafe. When reversed, the cabin can no longer offer a 360° view of the landscape; the wheels are ungrounded; the weight of carriage bears down upon the lightweight cage and canopy, putting the carriage in danger of toppling over. The charioteer risks being thrown from his carriage, of losing authority and power and being consumed by the sphinxes; or being crushed under the carriage’s bulk and size. Yellow, now ill-defined demonstrates a loss of enthusiasm and joy. The negative qualities of the 3rd Chakra are low self-esteem, cowardice and cunning. The charioteer’s head and body hang down in the lower regions of the picture. And, with his head is so close to the ground both his safety and his sanity are brought into question. In this position, the charioteer’s capacity for visioning, magic and manifestation is greatly reduced.
The sphinxes have risen far above the charioteer signifying that ‘bestial’ qualities prevail (rather than those of ‘rationality’) and that he is trapped between the powerful forces of duality and opposites. Symbolically, an inverted lion (or two) suggests uncontrolled anger, confused thinking and conflicted emotions. As he is ungrounded, he may be given to nonsense. When reversed, the colours of black/white become ill-defined. The colour black, when well-defined, absorbs negative energies and suggests self-control and self-discipline and represents authority and power. However when ill-defined, black can signify depression, mood swings, sadness and negativity. The colour white, as a positive element represents new beginnings, wholeness and completion; and quietens emotional upsets. However, when ill-defined, white can symbolise isolation, lack of imagination, criticism and boredom.
With his armour inverted the many inherent strengths and qualities referred to the upright uniform are undone, altered or diminished. The dense and intricate astrological symbols adorning the charioteer’s battle skirt and belt that represent his truths, beliefs and actions and negatively oriented and may bring into question his self-understanding and motives. The reversed silver of his chest and arm plates imply that the magic, gifts and protection of the Goddesses may no longer be available to him; and he may be influenced by the ill-defined qualities of silver causing indecisiveness, insincerity and self-deception. The Moon-faces as sources of enlightenment and imagination, no longer look skyward for their inspiration. Facing the bottom of the card and submerged in ill-defined yellow we might question the source and nature of his driving force and ideals. The inverted wand also, makes us wonder what unseen forces are now informing his will.
Wedged between the conflict and confusion, suggested by the reversed sphinxes, the symbol of Isis now plummets towards the ground. And the Hindu emblem, now reversed indicates his inability to harmonise his male and female energies; while the colour red, now ill-defined represents anger. The Star shines but illuminates the lower regions at the bottom of the card, suggesting that the journeyman’s vision seriously limited with the path to hopes, dreams and fame unclear.
All the best,
Martha Adams © 2017
Closing Date 28th July, 2017 for Tarot Class #42017, The Major Arcana Reversed
"Studying and reading tarot for well on 3 decades I firmly believe one does so using a combination of traditional meanings, subjective or personal interpretation (and so develops insight); and intuitively. Tarot is experiential; and reading ability is based around practice, practice, practice! And in this practice, all levels of reading are developed at the individual's own pace.
"Having offered 'read the tarot intuitively' workshops I noticed the less experienced readers in the group struggled to make meaning of their spreads. The more psychic readers went straight to 'intuition'; thus missing out on the full and rich scope and range of tarot meaning and offer accurate and contextual guidance.
"Tarot is a language of symbols; it connects the conscious to the subconscious. A reader of any symbolic medium might endeavour to learn and understand the language of their tool. Tarot is a marvellous tradition of profound knowledge; that which underscores deep understanding and skill.
"A good grasp of the traditional meanings of the cards 'can give you wings'."
All my best,
Martha Adams © 2017
The Chariot VII Upright
Martha Adams © 2017
The Chariot VII is a carefully composed, symmetrical picture that gives a sense of anticipation, organisation and balance. The card is filled with positive symbols and elements suggesting the possibility of great personal success. The rich and complex imagery on The Charioteer’s armour suggests that his/her quest will not be a simple or easy one but will demand the full extent of his/her inner and outer resources. The expanse of yellow sky shows a feeling of optimism and certainty. The visual ‘weight’ of the overall image is concentrated in the lower part of card, demonstrating that his/her quest is realistic and well-grounded in the physical world.
The Charioteer is poised; ready to take-on the challenges that lie ahead. His/her gleaming helmet brings our attention directly to the large guiding Star that serves to illuminate his/her path. The Star represents possibilities of fame, fortune and the fulfilment of hopes and dreams. The silver colour of the armour on his/her chest and forearms symbolises dignity, self-control, determination and organisation; and upright, represents the magical gifts and safe travel bestowed by Goddesses. The two Moons on his/her shoulders have their faces raised towards the sky signifying that The Charioteer is able to access information from mystical sources through his insight, intuition and imagination. His/her belt and battle-skirt are rich with astrological glyphs demonstrating a keen understanding of his/her own personality and personal destiny. The environment from which s/he commences his/her travels is bathed in bright yellow, the colour of the 3rd Chakra, signifying a joyful intellect and representing a healthy self-image, self-confidence and self-esteem.
The Chariot itself appears well-designed and structurally sound; the open cage that supports the canopy provides the charioteer with an uninterrupted 360° view of the surrounding environment. Trump 7 is often referred to as a card of ‘clear-vision’ or clairvoyance. The star-encrusted, pale-blue canopy symbolises that both Charioteer and chariot move under the protection of the heavens and the guidance of the cosmos. The light blue canopy is the colour of the 5th Chakra demonstrating the Charioteer’s ability ‘give voice’ to his dreams. The Charioteer holds his gold-tipped and pale blue wand before him/her demonstrating that the source of his/er will power; showing s/he holds the secrets of the universe in his/her hand and in action, reflects the principle of divine inspiration; again we see ‘as above so below’ as an energy that underlies personal endeavour and success.
On the front of the chariot is the symbol of Isis; the full moon supported by extended blue wings showing that The Egyptian goddess gives the journeyman both her blessings and the magic needed to take his/her vehicle on the correct path. The red Hindu emblem symbolises the seamless union of male and female energies. The solid rise of city walls behind him/her signifies healthy personal boundaries; while providing sure context for his/her quest. Both The Chariot and the cityscape are soft grey, a feminine colour that represents flexibility of thought and action offering The Charioteer the capacity to change and redirect his/her focus, as necessary. The red-tipped towers and turrets add to the image’s overall symmetry and symbolise his/her passion is supported by well-defined goals and objectives. The river of life flows full and evenly between the chariot and the city, suggesting that even while The Charioteer has his/her own agenda s/he remains connect to a potent, fluid emotional life-force.
The Charioteer uses no physical means to control the powerful black and white sphinxes; their mirror image patterns symbolising the body and mind and the four elements - earth, wind, fire, and water – all existing in correct balance. The Egyptian sphinx implies the power of the ‘lion’s strength’. To avail him/herself of this power, for his/her own purposes, the emotions must be controlled by the intellect and physical strength directed by The Charioteer’s own willpower and by divine will. With this level of self-control, the mythical beasts of half man-half lion remain obediently at the base of his vehicle, quietly flicking their tails, in anticipation of the demanding and exhilarating journey ahead.
Please join me for the next post on The Chariot VII Tarot of Marseilles Upright.
But let’s face it folks, not all of us make choices based on our inner desires. The imagery in the reversed The Lovers and The Lover share many of the key indicators of unwise choices and decisions.
In both The Lovers and The Lover the Sun features strongly as a symbol of new and successful beginnings; the yellow-gold symbolises a loving benefactor, wealth, power and vibrant health. It is the colour of the Solar Plexus or the 3rd Chakra and energy-centre of the body; it represents emotional intelligence, self-confidence, self-esteem and self-authority. Reversed, The Lovers card shows the golden-yellow threatening to disappear from view; the setting sun might perhaps leave the two figures standing in darkness. Similarly, the sun in The Lover now appears in the lower part of the card and its beautiful rays of gold, red (passion and earthy-energy) and blue (truthful and noble communications) are ill-defined. Gold-yellow when ill-defined is a sign of pessimism and superficiality; weakening the chances for new beginnings and victory.
The heavenly figures of compassion and patronage hang upside-down and appear to be exiting the picture; why should they hang around when they are not being seen or heard? In The Lovers the Archangel’s head of flaming red and green hair and his great orange-red wings and hands are spread out as one who is falling – head first - from a great height. His great, purple-grey cloak becomes a confusing maze of fabric that hides him from the woman and man’s sight.
Having now risen above their angelic guardian, their heads are covered with a dense, grey fog which suggests that the two are emotionally confused. The man and woman appear ungrounded as their feet hardly touch the earth and hands and arms gesture with a sense of uncertainty. The woman’s hand motions to the tip of the large, brown mountain as it now dominates the upper part of this image. While a mountain signifies obstacles, the colour brown symbolises material security and the accumulation of material possessions. Brown, ill-defined, can signify hidden emotions and effectively hiding your true nature. The mountain apex points directly at the grey fog maybe suggesting the nature of the issue that now splits the male and female. The mountain penetrates the pale blue sky; the colour of the 5th Chakra that represents speaking your truth.
In The Lover, poor little Cupid’s wings cannot keep him upright. His chubby little legs flail around above his body as his head nods too close to the ground.
Cupid’s legendary aim now appears unsteady and the pulled bow looks as if it could backfire. The male figure looks trapped between the two female bodies. The robes of the women clearly indicate contrasting beliefs; (blue over red and red over blue). An ‘ill-defined’ deep-blue colour indicates lack of integrity and trustworthiness; while ‘ill-defined’ red can stand for anger, aggression and even hatred. The man’s feet have risen to the top of the picture with each one turned in the direction of the women. Bare feet can symbolise fear of poverty and a loss of livelihood; perhaps grounds for his indecisiveness. The mound of earth pushes downwards, giving him less space ‘to move’. The older woman appears larger and more dominant than all the other figures. While she tightens her grasp on the man’s shoulder, the younger woman’s white arms appear to flap about in chaos; she appears to have completely lost her grip.
What would be my interpretation of The Lovers and The Lover in Reverse? It is, perhaps, not to ‘let the sun set’ on what is truly important to you. Overcome obvious obstacles and do not be persuaded against the thing(s) that you are passionate about. Use the empowering energy of your 3rd Chakra and go with your gut instincts to help you to make joyful decisions about your own life. Consider your higher guidance as a unique and powerful source of inspiration, whatever image that might take. Trusting the validity of your intuition is an essential part of the journey to success.
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