The Tarot Story: Action and Reaction

by C.M. Hafeman ©2005-08

First Septenary

I. The Magician. The creative spark that must master the four elements of fire (wand), water (cup), air (sword) and earth (pentacle). Fire: Passion, spirituality, libido, exploratory and entrepeneurial drive. Water: Emotions, feelings, psychic ability, intuition, dreams, harmony, vibration, instinct. Air: Thought, communication, power directed through choice of words; ritual, fantasy, organised religeon, the law. Earth: Sensual pleasures, job, home, money, assets, security, commerce, education, skills.

II. The Priestess. Intuition, emotion and imagination activated; paying attention to dreams, petitioning higher wisdom. Seeks to penetrate behind the senses.

III. The Empress. To unite the Magician and Priestess; to be pregnant with a new idea, plan or design in the mental-astral realm. The adjustments and possible disillusion that must occur when the ideal vision meets the limitations of reality.

IV. The Emperor. The idea or plan is given solid shape in the material world. Mastery over physical survival in the world. The businessman, professional or politician who ruthlessly establishes dominion over all that he surveys.

V. The Hierophant. The product is then subject to modification, acceptance or rejection by laws, society and institutions of civilization and culture. One is also subject to the strictures of natural law, higher mind, divine love and cosmic law. These visit through the faculty of intuition. If you favor a condition of numbness, all is lost.

VI. The Lovers. Interaction with human society and nature leads to the necessity of making choices. There is an apparent separation into dualities-for example black and white, right and wrong, good and bad, self and the other. The basic Arcanum of magic, both black and white. Conscious awareness and integration of head and hear, soul and body, spirit and humanity.

VII. The Chariot. There arises a need to gain awareness and mastery over all aspects of one’s behavior and thought, subconscious and conscious. This is done through staying awake, from minute to minute and observing all of self without judgment. Spiritual testing occurs to determine if one will adhere to true values based on inner ground, or false values based on love of material gain and sensate overindulgence. Getting head and heart to work together, instead of fighting one another. Damaging influences of the family and ancestors must be redeemed and overcome; discipline and endurance are required.

Second Septenary

VIII. Strength. The shadow is recognized, understood and integrated. The two worlds of mind and body, conscious and subconscious, rational-linear cognition and intuitive-image creativity learn to function as a compliment to one another, rather than one overpowering the other. One learns the wisdom of not allowing impulsive desires to rule one's actions.

IX. The Hermit. Mastery over self leads to the need to retreat for awhile from the world, to gather further knowledge, examine all matters in greater depth, and to gain initiation. When initiation truly occurs, one will be protected from harm as the lifestyle begins to change.

X. The Wheel of Fortune. The initiate then sees the Wheel of Karma for what it is, and will learn to gracefully ride the inevitable cycle Fortune must take in the material world; the initiate also starts to detach inner value of the self from the ebb and flow of material fortune.

XI. Justice. To the extent that the initiate has accurately perceived both natural and cosmic law, so will the results be felt in the material world. You will reap what has been sowed. Eleven is the ultimate magical number, the number of the penitent, considered either sacred or profane, depending on one’s point of view.

XII. The Hanged Man. Based on experience in working with cycles of Fortune and being curbed by the imposition of Justice, the initiate learns how to perceive all phenomenons from more than one point of view, instead of just trusting in the five senses or blindly relying on what has been taught by family or society. Here one can become painfully aware that much of what is perceived by the five senses is the opposite of what it seems. Ponder on the word “reflection” or the phrase "we see through a glass darkly".

XIII. Death. The natural consequences of altered perception lead to the necessity of giving up, dieing to established opinions, judgments, lifestyle, choice of job or relationships that the initiate had developed. What was valued previously in life becomes meaningless.

XIV. Temperance. The healing angel. After a period of annihilation, wherein much of one's sense of self is rendered void, there is a recovery of essential inner harmony and grace. The easy flow of information and synthesis between conscious and subconscious can be performed at a whole new level of awareness. Rebuilding of inner harmony and learning to make best use of personal resources; followed by reaching out and re-establishing harmony and useful relations with others. If not choosing this path, the angel can become a devil.

Third Septenary

XV. The Devil. Pan, Dionesus; domain of the Bearer of Light. Where knowledge of dissolving (taking apart) and coagulation (putting together) is put to the test in alignment with sycronisity. The potential for creativity and the attendant forces of temptation are encountered with great impact. The ascending and descending currents of power can be channeled with discipline and wisdom; or one can be led astray by vice, egomania, illusions, fantasy, fear or words from an external authority. A sense of humor helps; not taking oneself too seriously becomes imperative for making best use of the devil.

XVI. The Tower. To the extent that one has been compromised by external and superficial concerns, there will be a fall from grace as the artificial ego is struck down by the necessity for universal balance. The deeper you go, the more you know and the more you do not accept surface appearances, the more responsible you become for conscious maintenance of cosmic harmony. Breaking down towering defenses, habits, structures. Freedom from ignorance, an upset of the status quo.

XVII. The Star. Becoming alive to idealism and hope. The ability to tap into cosmic consciousness and formulate new visions. Meditation, inspiration, spiritual regeneration. Using systems of self-insight such as astrology, tarot, and yoga. A desire to know the truth. Giving up fixed ideas, committing to the vision no matter what the cost in material terms.

XVIII. The Moon. Self-deception, bewilderment, confusion, fluctuation, changing the mind back and forth. The ancestors, a karmic relationship from the past or inherited traits that are keeping you from growth. Working with intuitive and psychic ability. Dreams, fantasies, visions. Learning to flow with your feelings. Becoming aware of the social power behind the media, propaganda, slander and gossip. Evolution and the effects of ancestral inheritances.

XIX. The Sun. Things that were previously unclear or hidden have come into the light of day. Overcoming former obstacles. Success. Good luck. The mature ability to visualize what you want and make it a reality. Creativity and personal growth. Friendship. Good health, active and energized life in protected surroundings.

XX. Judgment. Awakening to something you have not seen before. Rebirth, hearing the call of spirit. Resurrection, new life. Developing a new philosophy or sense of purpose. Being at a crossroads in life; accepting personal responsibility for how you have used your opportunities, initiations and testing. Criticism and judgment. A desire to merge with another, sexually or otherwise.

XXI. The World. Being aware of your own limitations, therefore freeing yourself to be the most you can be. Dancing on your limitations, giving structure and form to spirit on the material plane. Fear of change and complexity can keep you imprisoned in crystalized ego or convention. Mother Earth, the source; what you came out of and to what you must return. To work constructively with the four elements, the four types of people, the four directions of Mother Earth. The end, bearing the seeds of a new cycle yet to come. Prelude to the Fool; however bear in mind that the Fool can and should be made to appear anywhere in the cycle one may need him to be.


0. The Fool. Leaping off into a new phase of life. Needing new education and experience, willing to trust that the universe will supply the needed tools. Footloose and fancy free, no sense of worry or fear. Travel and gadding about; expect the unexpected.

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