(Beginner’s Guide to Tarot, Juliet Sharman-Burke and Giovanni Caselli )
Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe she’s a Leo.
From herbs, crystals, oils, and candles to deities, astrology, and everything in between, my new blog series, Eklektiki Mageia (the English spelling of the Greek words for eclectic, εκλεκτικη, and for magic, enchantment and sorcery, μαγεια) will cover an assortment of topics in spirituality!
For the premiere edition, let’s chat about tarot!
Along with astrology, tarot was one of my earliest discoveries when I started exploring my spiritual side, eventually leading to me walking down the pagan path. I found a box containing a mini deck on one of those little carousel displays at Barnes & Noble over 12 years ago and have been fascinated with it ever since.
There are literally thousands of books, websites, and podcasts that delve into this mystical tool, so, as expected, there are endless amounts of sources that can help the layperson interpret the tarot. Tarot has particularly piqued my interest, and I have read plenty of books, studied with some great teachers, and I read the cards for myself and others FOR FUN. Analyzing the symbolism depicted on these cards has truly struck a cord with me over the years. Therefore, when I will write about topics in tarot, it’s to not only share the basics, but also to dive into certain areas that may not get too much attention.
DISCLAIMER: I am not a licensed, certified tarot practitioner by any means, so I am not qualified to do readings for profit, nor do I plan to do so. All information that I am sharing with you is done for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only. I will provide some great points of reference on this website for those of you who wish to explore even further, including professional tarot readers I have studied with, websites that I frequent, and books you may wish to peek at.
I will probably post a more intensive look into the 78 cards in a tarot deck at some point, but for now, here’s a quick crash course!
- The first 22 cards that comprise the Major Arcana represent archetypes, virtues, and a few celestial bodies. As the name suggests, the Major Arcana showcases major life lessons that come out front and center. The 56 cards that make up the Minor Arcana delve into the commonplace/day to day dealings. They are not as forceful or as prevalent as the Majors, but they still have a great deal of significance and meaning.
- The Minor Arcana is quite similar to playing cards. They are usually numbered from ace to ten, divided into four suits, and are assigned to a specific element. Wands (also listed as Rods, Staffs, Batons, and Staves) are traditionally ruled by the element of Fire, signifying physical and creative energy and action, passion, and sometimes battle and strife. Cups (also listed as Chalices or Goblets) are ruled by the element of Water, signifying emotion, and sometimes love and romance. Swords are ruled by Air, governing logic, rationale, analysis, and thought. Pentacles (also listed as Coins, Disks, and Plates) are ruled by Earth, covering material goods, wealth/finances, health, and the tangible.
- Court cards (Kings, Queens, Knights, and Pages) within a suit usually signify a very prominent, influential person in one’s life, and can often be oneself. There’s a King of Wands, Cups, etc., a Queen of Wands, Cups, etc. and the rest.
Let’s take a look at one of my absolute favorite cards: the Queen of Wands!
Almost all decks state that this fire queen is connected to the sign of Leo, so it should be of no surprise that this is one of my most beloved cards in the deck. Many tarot decks will use oranges, reds, and yellows for Wands cards, because not only are they are warm and inviting colors, but they evoke an image of roaring flames. As a court card, naturally there’s an air of regality to the Queen of Wands. Like many Leo women, she has a commanding presence that is quite hard to ignore. She has a strong personality and always does what’s right and true. Her ruling element obviously makes her fiery and fierce.
My first full-sized deck was the same as that mini: the Beginner’s Guide to Tarot, written by Juliet Sharman-Burke with illustrations by Giovanni Caselli. Also known as the Sharman-Caselli deck, while it is certainly based on the famed Rider Waite, I was really drawn to its cleaner lines, streamlined design and lovely imagery. In fact, it remains the main deck that I use for divination.
The Sharman-Caselli Queen of Wands is up at the top for your viewing pleasure. Check out the flame carvings on the top of her throne, the flames coming out of her staff, and the flames in her crown. She’s creative and always radiates sunshine (see the sunflower in her hand and the sun behind her head?) warmth, and an undeniable energy. As for the Leo imagery, take a peek at the lions that make up each side of her throne, as well as the cat sprawled out at her feet. A stunning depiction that warms my heart whenever I see it.
Pictured above, the absolutely gorgeous Morgan-Greer is another deck that I adore. It has such a rich and vibrant color palette and a bohemian sensibility (which I think is an appropriate description since it was first released back in the late 1970s). A longtime friend who is one of my go-tos for readings uses this deck and I had to have it! Notice that this Queen of Rods also incorporates yellow and orange, a sunflower, and a staff. Simply beautiful.
(Left image: Universal Tarot, Right image: Renaissance Tarot)
Both of these decks also have sumptuous imagery and are keeping this Queen rich and regal. Just what she expects!
To me, the Queen of Wands truly portrays the Leo woman. She’s confident, strong, and powerful. Each of these cards invoke her spirit as well as the summer, the season in which she rules. Her radiance is irresistible. You can’t deny it.
What do you associate with the Queen of Wands? Have a topic you’d like to read about here at Eklektiki Mageia? Sound off in the comments! As always, please be respectful!