By Sarah Taylor
There were two things that I noticed initially with the three cards in this week’s reading.
First, there are two major arcana cards enclosing a minor: there is a point of presence in the everyday of the larger soul themes (the majors) that underpin your life and which need minors such as this to make themselves known tangibly to you.
Second, the two swords at the top of the picture in the Two of Swords indicates a kind of exchange or reciprocity between the two majors — perhaps a conversation, a working out, or working through at the mental level. Some breathing space is opening up. A negotiation is at hand.
These two majors are both associated with the personal end of the 22-card scale that ranges from card 0 to card XXI. What does this mean? In the same way that the zodiac signs travel along a continuum from the outward-focused, self-defining “I am” of Aries to the transpersonal, collective unconscious of Pisces, so the majors move from the zero-point field of The Fool, to the birth of consciousness, to its manifestation in human form — and finally to the experience that that human moves through as it becomes increasingly aware of its place in the interconnectedness of all things.
Here, in this reading, things are on the more personal end of the scale. This is immediately about you, and your experiences with and as yourself, and with another or others. It is self-centred, self-defining. You are working something out in your world, and it holds in it the tension and potential alliance of two contrasted ideas that are, at heart, connected.
On the left, you are The Hermit: solitary, reflective, sitting in your hermitage in the act of sifting through and transforming your inner darkness. The Hermit is The Magician who has understood that true magic depends upon the connection to one’s own core wisdom — the inner fire that burns and which itself is a product of the great mystery. The Hermit is The Magician, humbled. He understands his divinity, and life has also granted him the ability to experience his humanness; he is the meeting point of both. It is The Hermit’s inner work that then leads to the shift and change that comes with The Wheel of Fortune.
And yet, on the right, you are also The Lovers: experienced through togetherness, the reflection of a counterpart, sleeping in coupledom as you look into the mirror and are offered the choice: What do I choose to see?
Is my certainty about what I’m looking at simply a statement about what I know about myself rather than the person in front of me? Who am I, really? Who are you?
The Lovers is an interesting card to me because so many tend to associate it immediately with romance and romantic love. This is apropos, because so many of us tend to associate intimate relationship pretty immediately with romance and romantic love. We get swept up in the mirror of our own falling in love with ourselves, and perhaps brush over an opportunity to sit with what we don’t know about that other person. When we embrace that opportunity, in that moment we are also letting go of the certainty that we actually know ourselves.
Can we be as comfortable with mystery in the seductive coupling of The Lovers as The Hermit learns to be in a solitude that rarely offers up such easy answers? It all comes full circle for me when I remember that in the Thoth Tarot deck, it is The Hermit who presides over the marriage of the two figures in The Lovers. The connection between the cards is a strong one, and here the connection is brought forward again by the Two of Swords.
We are knowable; we are unknowable. We are individuals; we are connected, incontrovertibly, to our core, to each other, to everything. We can hold our own; we can hold another.
This is a dialogue between the states of independence, dependence, and interdependence. Give that dialogue some wiggle room to take place — even if it is simply the possibility of dialogue — and something quite magnificent can happen: the world expands, movement is invited in. There are peace, co-operation, and the formation of some kind of alliance between two aspects of your experience that are now prepared and able to talk to each other.
Here, you can clear a lot. Remember what it has been like to connect inwardly, and remember the sense of what you found in that connection. Now, you can use it beyond the front door of your hermitage, in the most practical of ways and in your relationships with others. Keep the lines of communication open — first with yourself. The rest will follow.
Astrology/Elemental correspondences: The Hermit (Virgo), Two of Swords (Moon in Libra), The Lovers (Gemini)
If you want to experiment with tarot cards and don’t have any, we provide a free tarot spread generator using the Celtic Wings spread, which is based on the traditional Celtic Cross spread. This article explains how to use the spread.