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Conception, beginnings and endings: The Moon’s Nodes Part 3

To gain the most from the Moon’s Nodes series, please do read Part 1 and Part 2.

And now, Part Three…

Moon's Nodes

Moon’s Nodes

3. “In my end is my beginning….” (1)

The Nodes have also struck me as having strong connections, in the clustering effect I talked about, with conception, beginnings and endings, of either a literal or more often a symbolic kind.

I found it intriguing, for example, that in the two of Marc’s Turning Points which concerned the beginning of the two key relationships with women which would most powerfully affect his life, the charts for the conception points of the relationships were more powerful than those for the actual start of Marc going out with Beatrice (first wife) and then Caitlin (his long-term partner).

In Mary Shelley’s case, the chart for the waking dream in which she could have been said to have conceived the idea which led to ‘Frankenstein’, was very powerful.

All of the key moments in all the case material concern conception, beginnings and endings: in the case of Princess Diana, her physical death. Andrew’s Nodal moment concerned the dramatic end of a relationship, but also of certain pathological ties to his family past, leading to the beginning of an altogether more positive stage of his life.

Anna’s Nodal moment represented the beginning of a whole new cycle of her life; the date of the interview whose successful outcome would see her re-locate to another continent, 11 October, was also the anniversary of both her mother’s and her sister’s death. John Glenn’s Nodal moment concerned his rebirth as an astronaut in October 1998 at the age of 76 – the second Nodal Return from his original space voyage in February 1962.   He returned to Earth safely, complete with his record of being the oldest person to venture into space.

Marc’s first Turning Point represented the end of his youthful image of himself as an intellectual achiever, and a very painful initiation into experiencing the more brutal aspects of life as a necessary part of his life path. The election of Margaret Thatcher as UK Conservative Prime Minister in 1979 , when he was 33, represented  another major Turning Point: the end of his political hopes for Scottish Independence at that time – he had been a Scottish Nationalist all his adult life. The whole period since then for him has been a long struggle, for a man who needs the inspiration of belief to guide and focus his considerable energies and gifts.

In my own case, as described in the preface to the research, critical endings  on the first and second Nodal returns bracketed a long journey from spiritual alienation to deeper connection with a sense of meaning and purpose. I had needed to find this spiritual connectedness in order to become all I could be in the next stage of my vocational life .

My research confirmed both the traditional view  of the Nodes’ connection with conception, beginnings and endings and my own impressions gained over many years’ practice.

Nodal Axis

Nodal Axis


(1) Headline quotation is from East Coker, No. 2 of ‘Four Quartets’ by T.S.Eliot

To Be Continued!



550 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House

Major and Minor chords: The Moon’s Nodes Part Two

For many years I had a Moon’s Nodes obsession: perhaps not unconnected with the North Node exactly conjunct my Midheaven at 29 degrees Taurus, square a Twelfth House Sun/Moon conjunction……to read Part One of my Moon’s Nodes series, click HERE

And now, Part Two…

The Moon's Nodes

The Moon’s Nodes

1. ‘ Major’ and ‘ minor ‘ Nodal activity

Transits and progressions weave in and out of life – there may be years for example which are dominated by Pluto, others by Neptune, or very heavily  Saturnian years. There are the few occasions eg where a planet changes sign by progression, or the MC  progresses over Uranus, or the Moon.

But there is Nodal activity of  some kind going on all the time, as the Nodal axis regresses through the horoscope, transits come to the Natal or progressed Nodes, and progressions touch off the natal Nodal pattern. The Nodes appear to me to function both as witnesses (the Sun) and midwives (the Moon), symbolic translators of the archetypal energies of the  planets into the medium of Life as it is lived in the Sun/Moon/Earth system.

Where, then, does this leave the contention that Nodal times have a particularly powerful, fateful “charge” to them? That can’t be true of every year in life, surely?If it were, the intensity of it would pretty quickly reduce people to  cinders! What,  therefore, distinguishes those special moments or turning points in life where either at the time, or later, we realise we have crossed an important threshold?

From the research done on Marc’s life in particular, I have concluded that there are two kinds of Nodal activity : major and minor, as it were. As  already discussed, there is always some “minor” Nodal activity going on.

The really powerful “major” times on the other hand, which are few in any lifetime, are characterised by not just one or two, but a cluster of transits and/or progressions involving the natal, and/or progressed, and/or transiting Nodes.The outer planets, especially Pluto with its strong “fated” feel,  stand out. This was an impression I had  already formed after 15 years of chart reading – but I’d never tested it out in formal research before.

Pre-natal  eclipses are very much  part of the weave, as can be seen from the case study material. The most striking  example is seen in Mary Shelley’s horoscope where the pre-natal solar and lunar eclipse degrees appear as the actual Ascendant and South Node degrees in her horoscope, and the charts of  all the key people and events in her life with reference to her authorship of‘Frankenstein’. (Mary will be getting a post all to herself, complete with horoscope, as part of this series! )

I’m quite clear now, as the Nodal axis regresses through the chart, identifying via the highlighted houses the overall territory up for change, that the transiting eclipses function as “battery chargers”, gradually building up the energies of the person’s life in preparation to receive major change.

An image  comes to mind here from the female menstrual cycle, of the egg gradually being primed and prepared until it is at its maximum point of readiness to receive the male sperm, conceive and begin new life. I think the eclipses begin their work of charging-up as soon as the relevant eclipse season begins, which may be as long as eighteen months before the turning point in the person’s life appears. (i)

References and Notes

(i) A very clear example comes to mind from my own life, linked to the Virgo/Pisces eclipse season of Spring 1997-Autumn 1998. In the Spring of 1997 I decided to hire an office out of my home to create space, mainly to write this thesis. My Asc/Desc axis is 9 degrees Virgo/Pisces.

The Virgo/Pisces eclipse season started on 9 March 1997 with a total solar eclipse at 18.5 Pisces, opposite the asteroid Urania at 19 Pisces in my First House, clsely linking in Mary Shelley’s and Marc’s North Nodes at 19 and 21 Gemini respectively. It was at this time that I chose Marc as a main case study subject along with Mary Shelley.

On Friday 7 March I saw the office I decided on 10 March to rent, paying for it for a year from an insurance policy I had taken out 18 years previously. At that time, I had a feeling I might need money for a future adventure of some kind – long before I knew anything about  either astrology or the 18- year Nodal cycle. My bank manager, of course, thought I was mad….

The middle period of that eclipse season saw me well settled into the writing as the 9 Virgo eclipse fell exactly on my Ascendant in the Autumn of 1997. The following year, the day before the total solar eclipse (7 deg 55 min Pisces) of February 26 1998 fell on the Sixth House side of my Descendant, I had a call from my landlords saying they needed to know by the next day whether I was going to renew my lease, which ran out on 9 May 1998, since the building was being sold. I decided to renew for 6 months and sent my rent cheque off just before the lunar eclipse on 13 March 1998 at 22 Virgo.

The lease ran out on 7 November 1998: the day I graduated with my Diploma from the Centre for Psychological Astrology!

To Be Continued!



900 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House


Introducing the Moon’s Nodes

For many years I had a Moon’s Nodes obsession: perhaps not unconnected with the North Node exactly conjunct my Midheaven at 29 degrees Taurus, square a Twelfth House Sun/Moon conjunction……I read somewhere in my very early years of studying astrology that the South Node conjunct a Scorpio IC indicated having been burned as a witch in a previous life. This piece of conjecture gave my MC/IC axis a kind of dark, scary glamour.

Scorpio New Moon

Scorpio…dark, scary, glamorous…

However, I burned out that obsession during 1997-8 whilst completing the third and final year of  my Diploma in Psychological Astrology at the Centre for Psychological Astrology in London, where I had the good fortune to study withDr Liz Greene and the late, great mundane astrologer, Charles Harvey.  How did I do this? By writing a 50,000 word research study called “The Moon’s Nodes in Action”. After that, I’d had enough of the Moon’s Nodes.

A big part of my obsession that year concerned the links I found between the horoscopes of Mary Shelley, author of ‘Frankenstein’, and that of Dolly the Sheep, the first cloned mammal, created in their research laboratory  by Dr Ian Wilmut and his team in the Roslyn Institute in Edinburgh, Scotland and announced to the world in February 1997.

I take strange pride in being probably the first person to have written a detailed synastry between a dead human and a live sheep! Never a class went by for that whole year without Dolly and Mary Shelley being mentioned. By the end of the year, and the completion of the research study, my students had taken either to giving me presents of pens, etc, with pictures of sheep on them, or to crossing the street when they saw me approaching! ( I exaggerate, but only slightly….)

In this series of posts, I am confining myself to presenting conclusions based on my original research study, which can be downloaded free from this blog should anyone wish to read it in full.

I am thus assuming at least a beginner’s familiarity with the astronomical and symbolic significance of the Moon’s Nodal axis, and its 18.6 year retrograde cycle through the Zodiac with the accompanying twice-yearly eclipse seasons.

For readers who need to be brought up to speed regarding the basics, check outWikipedia on The Lunar Nodes for the astronomy, and Cafe Astrology for a typical explanation of the Nodes’ symbolic meanings.

Before setting out my conclusions, it might be useful in context-setting to offer a  brief description of the content of the 50,000 word research study upon which these findings are based:

1) Preface, in which I outlined my personal reasons for becoming fascinated by the Nodal axis and bringing it increasingly into my teaching. 2) Introduction, in which I set out my reasons for embarking on the research. 3) Chapter One:Astronomy and Symbolism of the Nodes. 4) Chapter Two: Case Study One: Mary Shelley, ‘Frankenstein’ and a sheep called Dolly. 5) Chapter Three: Case Study Two: ‘Marc’ (age 51) : a life through the Nodal Lens. 6) Chapter Four: Case Study Three: Four “Nodal Moments” – key turning points analysed in the lives of two men and two women, two famous (Princess Diana and astronaut John Glenn) and two unknown, Anna (age 44) and Andrew (age 34). 7) Conclusions. Finally…. Bibliography, References and Notes, Charts used and their provenance.

Nodal Axis

My main research questions were these: How significant is the Nodal axis? Are astrologers missing something really important by not delineating it in their readings, both natally and in terms of its transiting cycle? Does it say something specific? Or does it act as a reinforcer for information about a person’s life pattern which can be derived from other chart factors?

To Be Continued!



600 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House


The Kepler Conference 20-22 January 2017: Unmissable!

It is my great pleasure this week to be publicising the January 2017 Kepler Conference, to be held at beautiful Coco Beach, in Florida. Gives us all something stunning to anticipate as we emerge from the fog of Saturn/Neptune…Many, many thanks to my long-term astro friend and conference volunteer Maureen LoCascio, who collated and provided all the information in this post. Read, digest, share the link with all your astro-friends, then – book your place!

The Kepler Conference 2017

The Kepler Conference 2017

Says Maureen: there is so  much I want to tell you about the  Kepler Conference 2017. It is being held at the International Palms Resort and Conference Center –  located directly on the beach. Rooms are very inexpensive, after taxes totaling just $111.15 per night. There is a lovely Tiki bar called Mambo’s Beachside Bar and Grille with Live Reggae Music every Sunday. On Friday night Courtney Roberts has planned a welcome reception with free drinks, hors d’oeuvres  buffet and cash bar –  followed by a Star Gazing Beach Party with a local Astronomers Group, weather permitting.

She has also provided links for easy access to book Shuttles to and from the conference for anyone needing transportation from Orlando International Airport or Sanford airport.  On the Monday after the conference, she has organized a tour for anyone wishing to see the Kennedy Space Center – this can be purchased separately from their website.

Coco Beach is located just 40 minutes away from all the attractions in Orlando for anyone wishing to extend their stay in Florida. I can verify that January is one of the best months to visit any of the parks; the weather is beautiful and attendance is low.

Here is a link to the Hotel Venue and shuttles.

The Speakers – and the Research Project

We have a wide variety of Kepler 2017 Speakers, all using different research methodologies, such as David Cochrane’s vibrational astrology along with extreme case sampling, Bill Meridian’s financial market research, Renay’s Oshop’s Mercury Retrograde and the big five personality types, Glenn Perry’s psychological astrology, Courtney Roberts’ sports research… I could go on, but there are as many different interests in research as there are people.

Courtney Roberts

Courtney Roberts

Here, to inspire you, is  Courtney Roberts/Maurice Fernandez,  a Q and A session on how the Conference came into being and what vision Courtney holds for the Conference in the future.

We hope to provide a foundation of what constitutes good astrological research and if we believe we have found something, to seek peer reviews of our work which hold up to current scientific research standards. Here is Courtney Roberts’ summary of  The Growing Evidence for Astrological Influence – just to whet your appetites!

I also wanted to alert you to our ongoing research incubator page. We are always searching for new data from willing participants to further our research endeavors. Maybe some of your readers might be inspired to contribute their birth data to our data collection incubator? ( note from Anne W: how about it, folks? I’ve done a fair bit of astro-research myself, but would have got nowhere without willing volunteers and accurate data)

Further Information

The Kepler Conference 2017

The Kepler Conference 2017



Have a great Conference, folks!

(‘might even see you there!’ says Anne W)



550 words copyright Maureen LoCascio/ Kepler Conference 2017/Courtney Roberts/Anne Whitaker 2016

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House

The lunar eclipse in Pisces – how is your lunar eclipse day, so far?

How is your day so far, as the lunar eclipse’s power builds? I have had a very strange day: didn’t sleep too well, feeling scratchy, raw, went into city centre to drift around some shops, could not settle, feeling alternately drifty and unfocused then surging with the need to DO something useful. Eventually got into my office. Various bitty irritations awaited me. Suddenly felt sleepy. Got myself by the ear. Wrote a post. That’s better…

The Virgo/Pisces eclipse season began in mid-September 2015 with a partial solar eclipse at 20 degrees Virgo. It concludes at the end of February 2017, including four attendant lunar eclipses, with the last of four solar eclipses taking place at 8 degrees Pisces. Today, on Friday 16th September, 19.55 BST,  at 24 degrees 20 minutes Pisces, there is a lunar eclipse following on from the solar eclipse which occurred at 9 degrees 21 minutes of Virgo on 1st September 2106, 10.08 BST.


lunar-eclipse-16-9-16 (click to enlarge) 

Excitement is already mounting, since eclipses tend to produce “power surges” and crises of various kinds in our collective life. One striking lunar eclipse-related  example this week is of Democratic presidential candidate Hilary Clinton’s much-publicised falling ill and staggering into her car, helped by aides, as she left the 9/11 commemoration early, suffering from pneumonia.

 Although she appears to have bounced back quickly, appearing in public again on Thursday looking cheerful and well, nevertheless this episode has not helped her presidential campaign against Donald Trump, who is running neck and neck with her in the polls at present.

And what of their impact on our personal lives? How does that work? What should we expect from the September 2015 – February 2017 season of eclipses?

Research Revelations

My major objective in conducting research into The Moon’s Nodes in Action – ebook published in 2015 – was to put actual flesh on the bones of all the theoretical stuff I had been reading about the Moon’s Nodes and eclipses over a period of many years. I wanted to find out whether the theory stood up in practice, arriving at my research conclusions via detailed study of  six people’s lives.

Three of the participants were ‘ordinary’ citizens: Marc, Andrew and Anna, and three were famous: Mary Shelley in relation to  her authorship of  Frankenstein on her first Nodal Return; Princess Diana of the UK and her untimely death on her second Nodal Return; and astronaut John Glenn’s return to space, in his 70s, two whole Nodal Returns after his first space trip.

Honouring the Sun/Moon link I chose three women and three men – viewed from planet Earth at solar eclipse times, the Sun and Moon are of equal size and complementary symbolic significance…

Drawing together all the research threads by way of conclusion, I had this to say about eclipses:

I’m quite clear now, as the Nodal axis regresses through the chart, identifying via the highlighted houses the overall territory up for change, that the transiting eclipses function as “battery chargers”, gradually building up the energies of the person’s life in preparation to receive major change.

An image comes to mind here from the female menstrual cycle, of the egg gradually being primed and prepared until it is at its maximum point of readiness to receive the male sperm, conceive and begin new life. I think the eclipses begin their work of charging-up as soon as the relevant eclipse season begins, which may be as long as eighteen months before the turning point in the person’s life appears. (i)

General points to observe

Individual eclipses are important, and can be viewed as progressive stages of an unfolding process. However, my research and subsequent astrology practice as well as personal observation has demonstrated that one should take note of the whole eclipse season of eighteen months, applying this to whatever pair of houses the Moon’s Nodes and eclipses (both solar and lunar) are moving through by retrograde motion. You should also take careful note of those planets/Angles/asteroids (if you use them) which are being triggered.

It is also very valuable, in gaining perspective, to go back to the previous eclipse season nineteen years previously, to reflect on the changes brought then and how they may connect to what is coming up this time around.

The more planets Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and especially Pluto are involved in the eclipse dance, the more life-changing are the outcomes likely to be. As Alexander Ruperti wisely observed in his wonderful Cycles of Becoming:

“Eclipses simply measure intense confrontations with all those things in human nature which hinder spiritual progress by keeping one in a rut, albeit a comfortable and happy rut. They are opportunities to use the past and the present – all that one has previously acquired, as well as where he stands at a given moment – in order to build a more creative future. Since they always challenge an individual to discard all limiting influences and to start something new, they may be stressful times.”(ii)

As always, I am interested in your feedback from YOUR experiences. How is your eclipse day going? What changes have there been in your lives since mid-September 2015?

lunar eclipses

lunar eclipses



(i) The Moon’s Nodes in Action by Anne Whitaker (Writing from the 12th House e-publication 2015) p 120

(ii) Cycles of Becoming by Alexander Ruperti,CRCS 2005, quoted in The Moon’s Nodes in Action, p 7


I am offering this research study, featured in 2015 on, as a FREE download to any student or teacher of astrology who is interested in learning more about a fascinating topic.

Download The Moon’s Nodes in Action now [3.27 MB PDF]

e-publication by co-occurrence

e-publication by co-occurrence


850 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page


Tarot Readings – the clients’ view

 ‘Exploring the psyche – via the Tarot should have given the reader some idea of the depth from which the Tarot can be approached, of issues raised by its practice, and of how it can be used as a valuable aid to self-development.

Here, the second part presents feedback from two clients, one female – Anya – and one male – Marc. They were chosen for the way in which they brought together, in their respective accounts, elements of most people’s responses to the tarot creatively and responsibly used.

I was also interested to show how Marc wove his experiences of very different symbol systems ie tarot, astrology and the I Ching as well as more conventional psychotherapy, into his long struggle to arrive at a place of reasonable balance in his life again.

Both names are pseudonyms.

The Tarot

The Tarot

 From Anya, a female client in her late thirties:

……This felt like an extremely powerful experience and I could hardly believe the cards which were turned up. A number of the cards made a direct impact on me as I realised their significance. Some of the other cards were more difficult to connect with at the time, but have since shown their relevance. All in all, it was an extremely affirming experience and offered me the support I so badly needed at the time – gave me something positive to hold onto.

Meaning continues to unfold as time has progressed, and I feel (six months on) that I am shifting into another phase, having embraced each of the cards’ messages in turn.

This experience has underlined for me a sense of being part of something much larger and greater than myself. This is awesome! I take faith from this. I found the pictures on the cards most evocative and enjoyed looking around ‘within’ the pictures.

The experience remains with me as an affirmation of my life over the last six months. In many ways I can see that I am at the place of ‘final outcome’ in the reading, certainly having lived through and faced that which I most needed and feared.

Without the reading, I feel that I would have gone through the experience in much the same way. However, holding on to the most positive aspects of the reading offered me vital support and helped me make connection with my inner strength. Furthermore, the element of warning and caution in the reading helped me to be extremely aware of my need to protect myself. This helped sustain me during a most harrowing time. I look forward to my next reading very much!’

The Sun

The Sun

From Marc, a male client in his mid forties, extracted from written feedback he provided:

‘…..The best way I can think of to approach this, is to answer the question ‘why did I go for astrology and tarot readings at all, especially bearing in mind my previous contemptuous rejection of such things?

Well, as you know, only a catastrophe got me there! My previous, very rational, world view having collapsed in some considerable disarray, I had a desperate need for some other source of ‘meaning’ in my life – or rather, some other ‘meaningful’ way of understanding myself and what had been happening to me. I don’t think I was too interested in prediction, only in gaining insight.

I graduated to the tarot reading from several astrology readings and from participation in your astrology classes. Astrology was powerfully attractive for me – after I had crossed the Rubicon of ‘letting go’ of my previous contempt – because within its own terms it is in fact another vast rational system of understanding the universe. What I mean is, even if you think the whole thing is nonsense, it is nevertheless internally consistent, rational nonsense. Hence it rapidly became acceptable to me.

Moving on to the tarot was perhaps my way of travelling further down the road away from rationality, just to see what it was like. By April last year, my worst times were over and I was feeling the green shoots of recovery. Psychologically, I think I had come to terms with what had happened to me and was beginning to look to the future. I had sent the divorce papers to my estranged wife, but she hadn’t yet returned them, and I was experiencing pangs of doubt about what I really wanted.

Before, with astrology, I was looking for insight; now, with the tarot, I was looking for a method of choosing – but one that was different from what I had done before, one that involved some kind of surrender on my part. That’s not clear. What I mean is – all my therapy with you brought home to me how much energy I have always devoted to creating a picture of reality inside which I then lived. But it turned out that my reality wasn’t reality after all. By relying so heavily on my rational powers, I had created a faulty picture of how things really were.

Tarot seemed appealing because it involved allowing the universe to show you what reality was. If you made an initial commitment to the ritual, surrendered control, the turn of the cards would show you where you stood. I see the I Ching in essentially the same light, and the notion has a ‘thrilling’ aspect to it precisely because I have been so controlled in my life so far.

The Lovers

The Lovers

What was the experience of the reading like? Given that I was dipping my toe in previously uncharted waters, it felt slightly unreal. I couldn’t ‘believe’ in the tarot as easily as I could in the more ‘systematic’ or ‘rational’ astrology whose terms of reference, unlike the tarot, arise from physical bodies we can actually see in the night sky. But it was thrilling.

I would have to say that I hadn’t fully committed myself to the outcome, but I was much more open to what was going to happen than I could ever have been in my life before. It was an experiment. It was a valuable experience – it helped me to work out my real feelings about my ongoing divorce and about career choices. But it was the talking stimulated by the cards that did that – they were a mechanism for releasing talk and thus feelings.

My tarot reading suggested that I needed to consolidate choices I had already made in my heart, and move on to new commitments on the basis of the wisdom I had achieved through experience. I did in fact go ahead with my divorce, not without further emotional upset, and have in fact consolidated my relationship with my girlfriend.

My experimentation with both the tarot and astrology has led me to an appreciation that many aspects of our lives are ‘fated’ – but that does not obliterate free will or personal responsibility. On the contrary, it seems that everyone has the responsibility of understanding the purpose of his or her individual life – which will depend on his or her inheritance at the start – and has the freedom to choose to make the effort of understanding, then the freedom to do something with the knowledge – or not.

My response to the pictorial images on the cards? You know, for a Presbyterian Scot, I’ve decided I could go in a surprisingly big way for all kinds of pictorial religious symbolism! The allure of forbidden territory? I got the same reaction recently at the temple at Samye Ling (a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the Scottish Borders). My senses were drenched in gold, red, blue, green and in accompanying sounds and smells! Seriously – perhaps a slightly infantile thrill at ‘surrendering’ my destiny to pretty painted pictures with supposedly magical powers.

I am intrigued with the idea of ‘drawing lots’ either via the tarot or the I Ching, and I think it’s something I’ll probably do again. The idea of choosing by ritual is powerfully attractive to me because, if done with full commitment, it could of course represent the placing of trust in something outside myself. But it remains an aspiration, not an accomplishment…

Well, there you are! That’s the best I can do to recall my reactions to the experience….

Tarot Deck

1400 words copyright Anne Whitaker/’Anya’/’Marc’ 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Exploring the psyche – via the Tarot

 Tarot cards, in the richness and variety of their images and symbols, have exerted a fascination over the human mind and imagination for hundreds of years. Just as the origins of the tarot itself are shadowy and mysterious, so participating in a tarot reading can transport both the reader and client to a level of experience which defies the linear world of the rational mind, yet holds it own validity and wisdom.

People regard tarot cards with feelings ranging from the wary and fearful, to the gullible and accepting, to the angry and dismissive – they are rarely indifferent. A reading, done well, can let us see how our personal journey brings together aspects of the ever-repeating pattern of life, as represented by the seventy-eight cards. This awareness of connection to the timeless human struggle can bring dignity and meaning to our individual experience, especially in times of difficulty and turmoil.

Tarot Deck

This two-part article is an attempt to explore the Tarot. The first part should give the reader some idea of the depth from which the tarot can be approached, of issues raised by its practice, and of how it can be used as a valuable aid to self-development.

The second part presents feedback from two clients, one female and one male. They were chosen for the way in which they brought together, in their respective accounts, elements of most people’s experiences of the tarot creatively and responsibly used.


How, then, should one use the tarot as a reader, or approach it as a client? My overall experience has led me to a holistic perspective. From this standpoint everything in existence – material and spiritual, microcosm and macrocosm, inner and outer – is seen as connected with everything else. Time itself is seen not in terms of separate measurements of days, hours, and minutes, but in terms of unity : thus a moment possesses its own meaning, carrying particular clues regarding its relationship to past, present and future.

This view of time is best expressed via Jung’s concept of synchronicity which conveys the idea that each moment in time possesses unique characteristics expressed on all levels at once.

In applying this concept of time to consulting the tarot, the Greek notion of ‘kairos’ – the right moment – is highly relevant. In order to have a meaningful encounter with the tarot several core conditions need to be present. Firstly, the client should have a strong desire to clarify whatever is the issue of the moment. Secondly, the reader should be open and receptive to the client’s need. And thirdly, they should both respect the medium, ie the tarot cards, which they are about to consult.

The Reading

This being the case, the cards are chosen and laid out at a particular moment in time. What happens? It is impossible to know fully – and mystery is part of the potency of the experience.

But you could look at it this way: a biologist cuts a section through a piece of tissue, lays it flat on a slide, uses staining material to bring up the features, then puts it under a microscope bringing the section into clear focus. If s/he is skilled, a detailed picture of the organism from which the section was taken can be built up. This analogy can be applied to the moment the tarot cards are chosen, laid out in all their glowing colours in a particular order or spread, then interpreted by the joint efforts of reader and client.

This section cut through time, the moment of choosing, in some mysterious way seems to reflect the current life of the client. It also carries, in symbolic form, information regarding how s/he came to be in this situation, and some ideas regarding possible courses of action and future outcomes.

Moirai - the Three Fates

Moirai – the Three Fates

Fate or Free Will?

Nobody knows what the balance is between fate and free will. Observation and experience of the flow of life at an inner and outer, personal and collective level eventually leads most of us to form an opinion of this profound topic. Just as there seems to be a connection between who we are and the kind of life we have, so it may be that fate and free will, past, present and future are all part of the same weave – and cannot be separated.

I think that free will rests in our ability to use self-awareness, slowly and gradually developed as fully as possible, in working with the grain of our own lives. It may be our destiny to face certain unalterable circumstances; but the level of awareness we bring to the challenge profoundly affects the level on which we are able to live with the outcome.

Tarot cards should not be seen as implying a fixed and fated future; in my opinion this approach is crippling to a person’s ability to lead their life creatively, restricting any sense of their own free will. Perspective on this point can be gained by considering the parallels between the modern physicist’s view of probability, and that presented by the symbolic pictures on the faces of the tarot cards.

Briefly, the physicist observes the shifting dance of waves and particles and is only able to suggest future outcomes in terms of statistical probability. The tarot reader can observe and describe core energies, in their symbolic form, at work in past present and future – but can only speculate regarding the range of possibilities which flow from each core.

Modern physics has also demonstrated that the presence of the observer influences, however subtly, the outcome of the experiment. By giving definite predictions in a tarot reading, it is highly possible that the reader’s intervention –in some hidden but powerful way – predisposes the client’s life in the direction of the reader’s suggestion.

The Counselling Dimension

The pictorial symbols of the tarot provide a creative framework within which a person can contemplate their life’s meaning and direction, and gain guidance. But the reader, in being approached for his/her skills, is stepping into the counselling role, whether prepared to acknowledge this fact or not.

The essence of good counselling lies in being able to create a safe and supportive environment in which another person can lay out their hopes and fears, clarifying where they were, are and hope to be – and where the counsellor can help their client to see what the inner meaning and creative potential may be in even the most difficult situations, whilst encouraging her/him to take full responsibility for choices made.

All counsellors have a responsibility to use wisely the power they take on by virtue of their role. This means being prepared to subject their own lives to honest scrutiny via training and/or undertaking their own therapeutic journey. Those who take on a role of power without being prepared either to acknowledge that fact, or examine their own motives, are likely to be a danger to the vulnerable people who seek their help.

This point applies especially to those of us who work within the context of the great arts of tarot reading, astrology or the other symbol systems such as the I Ching or palmistry; these are powerful tools, carrying both healing and destructive aspects. Our job is to empower our clients, not to glorify ourselves, and to help them develop creative solutions to their own challenges, not  to become dependent on us.



1200 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016

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