This is the middle of the sign and season of
Capricorn. It can be a happy time for the spirit,
even if it is winter for half the world. It's a
time to get on top of things, to work at your
ambitions and to get the best results from your
efforts. We hope this will be true for your Tarot
work, as well as for the other areas of your life.
The Tarot Card Showcase for this issue will be the
3 of Pentacles - the Tarot School card! It's
also the card that is astrologically associated
with the middle 10-day period of the sign of
Capricorn, which is where we are now.
We also have a special guest article by Peggy
Firth and a new featured blog. Enjoy the party!
Wishing you birthday delight,
Ruth Ann, Wald & Gina
Tarot Tips is here to help you with the practical side
of your Tarot journey. In order to take the greatest
advantage of this newsletter, please send us your
questions regarding any aspect of your tarot study
or practice and we'll do our best to answer them
in an upcoming issue.
Spread the experience of tarot - share this newsletter
with other Tarot Enthusiasts!
NEGATIVE CARDS IN POSITIVE POSITIONS
For the sheer pleasure of the pun, we're going to
propose a "theory of general negativity" and a
"theory of special negativity" in tarot. In this
issue, we'll talk about general negativity.
The blueprint, the intellectual and magical floor
plan, for the esotericism that underlies 200 years
of meaning in tarot, is qabalah. You don't have to
know qabalah to do a tarot reading, just as you
don't need to know electrical engineering to use a
light switch. But knowledge systems are what make
it possible for things to work, whether they are
visible or not.
In qabalah, there is a single great principle at
work from which everything else flows. Mysticism
flows from it, magic flows from it, and tarot
flows from it. That principle is as simple to say
as the great mathematical formula of the 20th
century, E=mc2, and as difficult to understand and
The formula for general negativity in qabalah, and
in tarot, is "Something comes from No-thing." In
fact, in one way or another, that formula is the
basis for most of the great spiritualities of the world.
The first level of that principle in qabalah is
called "Ain" in Hebrew, which is the language of
qabalah. Ain means "Not." It is the first and
purest negative. It is the realm of purest
non-existence that can be stated in words by a
human being. It is the farthest away from us that
we can imagine divinity to abide. In this no-place,
it is said that divinity abides in non-existence.
Not even No-thing has been imagined here.
The second level of our principle of general
negativity is called "Ain Soph," which means,
approximately, "Not -- without end" or "the
limitless no." Ain Soph is the subject of
considerable mystical pondering and practice in
qabalistic circles. On this level of negativity,
divinity draws closer to considering the
possibility of actually existing, but No-thing
has not yet happened.
The third and final level of this divine negativity
is called "Ain Soph Aur," which loosely translated
means "Endless negative light." Here at last,
divinity reaches the stage of seriously considering
the possibility of existing. No-thing is in the state
of not existing, waiting for its moment to become
something at last. Light is still the primal darkness,
waiting for its chance to shine.
The number One is the inconceivable transformation
of the original incomprehensible Zero. Non-existent
divinity becomes an existent god. The world and
everything in it, including light, is born in a kind of
existential big bang. The symbol of that explosion in
tarot is the Ace. There are four Aces, because this
explosion happens four times, once for each of the
four elements and the four worlds and suits that
arise from them.
Everything that happens after that is commentary.
Everything that happens from that point on becomes
the world we know. Everything, and the light that
illuminates it, is positive from that moment on.
Even what we see as darkness and experience as
pain is a form of positive light.
Negativity is the original condition from which
even God is born. It is the annihilation of all
that is. It is the source and opposite of everything
that can be described by tarot.
From the perspective of the theory of general
negativity, everything that happens to us in this
world is positive. We know this is not the usual
understanding, but you know, as a student of
tarot, that a chance of perspective changes
In the next issue of Tarot Tips, we'll give you
part 3 of this series, a theory of special
negativity in the cards themselves. We'll give
some specific examples of how to reinterpret
"negative" cards in a positive light.
In this section we will feature tidbits on a
specific tarot card. While there are many
systems and decks to choose from in the world
of tarot, here we use the Universal Waite
Tarot images and symbols.
Copyright 1992 U.S Games.
3 OF PENTACLES
Esoteric Title: Lord of Material Works Astrology: Mars in Capricorn
Qabalah: Binah (Understanding) in
The 3 of Pentacles is Mars in Capricorn,
suggesting energy and persistence in pursuit of a
goal. Something important has been planned and
begun, with the knowledge that it will be a long
time until the project is completed.
Steady effort and cooperation with others, a long
view, the patience that comes with faith, and the
value of a goal that transcends personal gain are
the themes of this card.
Hard work is rewarded as the apprentice becomes
Positive Keywords: right livelihood, promotion;
renown, glory and initiation within an inner circle.
Negative Keywords: laziness, pettiness,
mediocrity, profiting at the expense of the
As Tarot readers many of us have querents who
'sleep around,' getting frequent readings from
a variety of readers, or who call us for every
decision or turmoil they are experiencing. Such
people may be 'tarot addictive' or co-dependent.
I feel that discouraging this behavior is part of
our job. Encouraging this behavior may be
lucrative and even fun but not in the best interest
of the querent.
Discouraging co-dependency for frequent readings
can be as difficult as 'tough love' but ultimately
serves us, and our querent. When I started reading,
I had a querent who called me every twenty-eight
days for a couple of years until I realized that her
monthly hormones were causing her to freak out.
Knowing that her body chemistry was causing her
mind to focus on the negative, I helped her by
directing her to a physician. Keeping a record of
callers who abuse the reading process can expose
some of these mental and physical problems. We
can direct our troublesome querents to professionals
who are better able to diagnose and treat.
The desire for greater insight and assistance to
meet the demands and turmoil of daily life or to
make sense of it is healthy. However, some clients
end up preferring that assistance to working
things out for themselves. By allowing a reader
too much influence too often, the querent runs the
risk of being manipulated or used. Readings then
become fraught with a whole new set of problems,
which can lead to unforeseen harm to all
Too many reading from too many readers can cause
a multitude of problems:
- The need for intimacy and interest in one's
life....a paid friend
- Confusing and contradictory readings
- Financial - paying for removal of curses,
cleansings, healings, etc.
- Following false direction, using a reader as a
- Reliance on information that may not be accurate
- Giving away one's free will to make decisions
from inner awareness
- Losing empowerment to make choices or decisions
- Limits a mature approach to life
- Sets the opportunity to be scammed
Different readers can also add their own
elaborations to a reading, which may not benefit
the querent as their perceived psychic abilities
may not be in integrity. Also, different spreads may
be too vague or may not address the issue brought
to the table. Sometimes the real issue in a reading
may be hidden beneath the symptom, which is the
central focus. Only a very good reader can
effectively and graciously communicate this.
Setting boundaries and empowering, teaching and
educating ourselves about the human condition are
the signs of being a responsible reader.
Peggy Firth is a Certified Tarot Master living in
Albuquerque, New Mexico. She feels that her
study of the tarot has increased her innate psychic
abilities. Peggy asserts that "We all have access to
universal knowledge yet may not be able to access
it consciously. Increasing this ability allows me to
A blog about the mysterious, mystical, miraculous
deck of cards we call Tarot.
Helen Howell and Zanna Starr explore the Tarot
through poetry and meditative journeys. These
journeys are taken utilizing a variety of the
blogger's favorite decks, and feature deck
reviews, interviews with deck creators, and free
It is well worth a visit for a deep journey into
newer decks like the Deviant Moon.