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Pamela Colman-Smith
I bought my first Rider-Waite in 1971. I carried it cross-country from Michigan to Oregon and eventually to PA where it has stayed. I have bought and sold and kept some beautiful decks over the years but that faded Rider-Waite remains not only my primary reading decks but one of a relatively small number of objects kept almost continually in my possession over the years.

The deck is vintage now but not pretty. Illustrations that were washed out to begin with have faded, edges have discolored, and the drawings themselves are heavy with ink. Reading tarot is not about color or art or numbers or words, however. It's about intuition, energy and symbolism. The energy is there in this particular deck and intuition isn't a problem. The Rider Waite symbolism is not always my sort of symbolism but there is nothing like a good gypsy style Tarot reading and this is what I got earlier this week.

I'm not reading professionally at this point in time because I found doing frequent paid readings very energy depleting. I do still read however - mostly for people I know or for barter. Occasionally I swap readings with a professional tarot card reader who has been my neighbor and friend for over ten years. She has great energy is and is sharp intuitive reader so I was thrilled to pack up my old deck and meet at her home this past Wednesday.

The reading I received was pretty extensive. A lot of ground was covered but I'm going to blog on the last four cards drawn for my reading. They were in response to my question about my current spiritual path as it manifests in my work and livelihood. These are the cards:

The High Priestess: The High Priestess is the second card in the Tarot deck. Preceded by the Magician, the Priestess represents the female aspect of spirituality as it relates to intuition, psychic ability and connection to other realms. This card signifies wisdom and encourages us to open ourselves up to other dimensions through sacred study, meditation and prayer.

Images: There are many symbolic elements on the Coleman-Smith High Priestess card (right) including a Torah scroll, a Christian cross, two pillars, a moon, possible moonstone hat and a backdrop of pomegranates. Some of the associations attached to these images are relatively common, others are more esoteric. The design element that jumped out at me in the course of this reading was that of the pomegranate.

About the Pomegranate: The pomegranate is an ancient symbol. It is believed to possess 613 seeds equal to the 613 commandments of the Hebrew bible and was depicted on the pillars of Solomon's Temple. In Exodus 28:33-34, the bible describes a pattern of pomegranates which was to be woven into the robes of Israelite Priests per the command of God. In middle eastern culture, the pomegranate represents fruitfulness, knowledge, learning, and wisdom. Interestingly, many Jewish scholars believe that the pomegranate was the “forbidden fruit” of the Garden of Eden. Like any other Tarot heavy hitter, this is a card to think about over a period of time.

Money Cards: The Six of Pentacles indicates that this money will flow rather than be accumulated but that personal needs will be met which is good enough although this card frequently contains a caution against being too open-handed. I found the Ace of Pentacles especially encouraging. I love the energy of the aces and I like to think that the Ace of Pentacles has an association with spirit. In my reading this card was presented in a very positive light.


The Ten of Cups: What can I say? This is the card. It was the last card in a long reading and there couldn't have been a better point to stop.

Specific advice I received:
  1. Improve energy flow in house. Be aware of energy of second hand inventory when purchasing. Don't buy stuff with a bad vibe. Keep stock moving. Smudge house. Get rid of clutter.
  2. Pursue interest in crystals intuitively. This will benefit me personally by healing emotions and opening up the heart chakra. My ability to give and receive love will be positively affected.
  3. Money will be made but this is not the primary objective.
I always try to look at readings in terms of insight and guidance because this is the only understanding of a reading that can be of any real use to us. Still it was nice to get a a thumbs up because that hasn't been happening a lot lately. I was pleased with the reading I gave in return. Good card readers are open up to a fluid reality. They dialogue. It was a wonderful dialogue.

Photo of Pamela Colman Smith (above) taken from the companion book to the Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Set which is pictured to the left and available by click through from amazon. I don't have this deck but am tempted to get it for the book. I hope to write a little something about the Rider Waite Colman Smith :) Deck at some point in the future and have actually just bought the Original Rider Waite which I also hope to review.

Post a Comment

  1. Hi Barb! :) I LIKE THIS POST.

    The Pictorial Key to the Tarot is the book that comes with this set. There is another by Stuart Kaplan with pictures of her art. The Pictorial Key can be read for free at Sacred Texts as the copyright is expired. Call me if you want to come over this or next week.

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  2. Thanks Tara! Yes, I love Sacred Texts (sacred-texts.com) but I didn't know The Pictorial Key was on there. I have already called you :) but we'll talk again soon!

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