05 – The Hierophant

05 - the hierophant

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. 

The Hierophant is generally not favoured amongst readers for a few reasons: many tarot readers are non-comformists; many of us have eclectic spiritual interests–often Witchcraft or Wicca (which doesn’t necessarily jive with the religious connotation of this card); and many of us have strayed from long-standing family traditions. The Hierophant represents all of these things.

The Hierophant also embodies mentorship and higher understanding. When this card pops up it may be prompting you to seek a teacher who excels in your interests, or it may suggest that you are ready to offer mentorship to someone else. The wisdom associated with this card is related to accepted practices rather than intuitive exploration such as with The High Priestess.

In regards to healing, what is your response to the word “conformity?” Do you tense up and recoil, or do you relax? Are you indifferent? Why do you think this is? As with The Emperor, this card may trigger your feelings about authority figures. Have you experienced any negative or positive interactions or relationships with religious figures? How might that influence you in subconscious ways?

It may be helpful to journal about at least one person in your life who has led or inspired you to new and/or higher understanding. This might also be a wonderful opportunity to do a thought cloud or free-write about areas that you may be able to offer mentorship to someone else. It can be really self-affirming to see a list of all of the skills you have accumulated.

Another exciting thing to consider with this card is your ancestors and heritage. What kinds of traditions did they uphold? Do any of those traditions resonate with you? If your familial elders are no longer living, is there someone else who may be willing to share this knowledge? Tradition and convention have their place and may offer something fresh to enrich your practice!

 

04 – The Emperor

04 - The Emperor

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. 

Following the previous discussion we had about The Empress, and our relationship with the concept of “Mother,” comes the concept of “Father” with The Emperor. Although this card carries many positive connotations, for those of us who have experienced unpleasant fatherly relationships or associate this card with patriarchy in general, it presents a wonderful opportunity for healing.

The Emperor is an actively masculine card and the character is often depicted wearing battle gear which coincides with his aggressive aspect. How you have experienced and interacted with authority in your life may surface with this card. This may be a good time to reflect on the difference between healthy masculinity and toxic masculinity and how that has played a part in your life.

The Emperor represents the solid, material world. Where the Empress brings us the drive to create, The Emperor can help us shape this concept into something tangible. There is an element of responsibility with this card, which may indicate obligations that have been neglected.

Growing up, were you exposed to any role models that demonstrated healthy masculinity? What were you able to take forward from that? On the flipside, did you spend time around unhealthy or toxic masculine energy? What have you carried forward with you that could be healed? We all carry the ability to harness our masculine and feminine energy in different ways. This energy is not static, and the wonderful part is that we can choose to change how we utilize these energies at any time. Regardless of your gender orientation, you may be more aware of your feminine aspects or masculine aspects and it is a healthy balance of both that can help us become our highest self.

Another thing to consider with this card is: where is my life currently lacking stability? Do I need to make decisions in order to move forward? This is where the active masculine energy can serve you well. Stand in your power and trust your decision-making abilities. Perhaps a free-write in your journal about areas in your life that need direction might be helpful. The Emperor can also present an opportunity for you to fill a fatherly or authoritative role. What might that look like?

03 – The Empress

03 - The Empress

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. 

The word “mother” induces a host of different emotions in all of us. There are no more complicated relationships than those with our mother and father (or guardians in parental positions). Many of us spend our entire lives untangling and making sense of those relationships. Despite that personal relationship, The Empress carries many positive connotations.

In The Empress, we meet the full embodiment of both the mother archetype and the concept of Mother Earth. She also represents healthy abundance and is known to give birth to our ideas and our creative endeavors, bringing them from a concept into life! The Empress can be a symbol of our sexuality and sensuality which may be a suggestion to explore that side of ourselves. In our busy lives it can be easy to neglect that part of ourselves, yet nurturing our erotic selves is fuel for our creativity and our ability to bring our full selves to those around us. In this case, The Empress asks us to examine and release shame or guilt that you have carried forward with you in this regard.

What was the response in your belly when you read the word “mother?” What images came to mind? Did you think about the mother you wish you had, the mother you hope to be, or were you flooded with wonderful memories of your childhood? Sit with these feelings. Whether good or bad, allow these feelings to happen. Allow them to stir you up, but do not give them permission to shut you down.

Journal about these feelings and the immediate images that come to mind when you read/hear the word “mother.” These are vital insights and can be so helpful. If your relationship with this concept, or with the figure of motherhood in your life is too challenging, feel free to save these activities until you are in a place to do this work.

On our healing journeys, and especially those in shadow work, it is integral that we are constantly listening to ourselves and practicing self-care, which includes knowing when we do not have the capacity to work through the really tough stuff.

 

“But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begin.” 
― Mitch Albom

 

02 – The High Priestess

02 - The High Priestess

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. 

Have you ever ignored a gut feeling only to discover how valuable that warning was?

The High Priestess embodies the very fabric of our intuition. She represents our dreams, our secrets, and the darker aspects of our personality. She helps shed light on patterns which may not be in our own best interest.

She may manifest as a strong desire to expand your spiritual life, such as a sudden interest in the occult or the inclination to explore the powerful messages in your dreams.

The High Priestess carries the same wisdom as the crone archetype and leads us to our inner world, illuminating the path to our destiny. Although her energy is feminine and passive, this aspect can be present in the whole spectrum of gender and non-binary associations. It is a suggestion to trust in our own inner knowing.

Consider a time in your life when you ignored that inner voice. Was this followed by a difficult lesson? Have you ever followed that inner voice despite reason? If so, where did it guide you? Often we dismiss this important, but sometimes neglected part of ourselves.

Learning to trust and nurture our inner guidance is a practice–a muscle that needs strengthening. Meditation can be a helpful tool for this inner work. If you struggle with meditation, you may want to try a guided meditation such as this one.

While on your self-care and healing journey, allow time to meet and embrace this vital part of yourself.

 

01 – The Magician

Please note that this series of interpretations is intended to assist specifically in personal healing and shadow work. There are many incredible websites that offer traditional meanings and correspondences. 

Do you realize that you have all of the tools you need to begin your own healing? Often we look everywhere but inside to see what is missing, to see what is broken, to see what has been lost. If we are not kind to ourselves and at peace with our own company, we will never be able to find that through someone or something else. 

The Magician embodies our ego and our sense of self. With one arm raised and one pointing towards the earth, he reminds us: “As above, so  below” but perhaps on our healing journeys, we can consider: “As inner peace is found, outer peace can be discovered.” Can we recognize that if we were to find somebody, something, or some way to “fix” what is hurting inside of us, it would only be temporary as no one has that power to heal ourselves but us?

The Magician brings us raw energy and the capacity to move forward. He represents the will, so although you have all of the resources you need, you must have the intent to use the skills at your disposal. Harness these internal gifts and set your intention. What do you really want? Remember: you are so much stronger than you realize.

When was the last time you felt fully equipped to deal with what you had been handed? Is there a time when you were tempted to crumble under pressure but instead took a moment to recalibrate and stand in your power? Try journaling about both ends of the spectrum–a time when you felt powerless and a time when you found your strength. What was different about the time you were able to get your legs under you? How can you carry that with you to be better prepared next time life throws you a sucker punch?

While you are pondering this, consider this Buddhist quote: 

“You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

0–The Fool

Society doesn’t often refer to someone as a fool in a complementary fashion. In fact, being seen as foolish could easily be one of the main things we spend our lives trying to avoid. Why is this? 

In fact, if we look at things differently, being foolish can be quite freeing. Once we have surrendered to the fact that humans are quite ridiculous creatures all things considered, why not allow ourselves to slip the leash of normalcy once in a while? If we are not hurting anyone, there may be growth in foolishness.

When was the last time you truly felt foolish? What was it that made you feel that way? Was it the perceived response of those around you, or was it your own attitudes about the way you were acting? Is it truly foolish to take a risk without having a guaranteed outcome, or is the very essence of life to do so? Take some time to journal these questions and see if you can lessen the grip of this fear on you. 

The Fool reminds us that in order to fully experience life we must be willing to adjust our adult glasses and be able to see things as we did in our childhood. This card invites us to be open to new experiences, even when they feel like a blind step off of a steep cliff. 

78 Ways to Heal with Tarot

 

I have been using the tarot for personal healing and guidance for over 20 years. I feel that each of the cards carries a valuable gift that can help us find our way to our truth and gently heal the parts of ourselves that we have hidden in the shadows.

Each week I will examine one card, in the traditional order, and share my thoughts and suggestions on how to integrate the tarot in your healing and/or shadow work journey.

These interpretations are based on my personal interactions with the cards, so take what is helpful and keep in mind that you are the author of your own story-no one else has that power. I can only hope to be one resource of many in your journey to self-actualization.