I feel weird writing a post about tarot card meanings because I feel like I’m not that far along in my journey with tarot. I guess I’ve been reading for myself pretty inconsistently for couple of years now. One thing I’ve found that makes it easier to be consistent is making the cards relatable.
Now, I feel like I’m probably plunging into an area of tarot that a lot of people disagree about. When I first picked up a pack of tarot cards, I was really big into memorizing the traditional meanings of the cards. After all, the cards have had those meanings for so long for a reason, right? Why mess with something that has remained unchanged for so long? I looked with disdain at decks where the authors did their own thing, jumping out of the mold of Rider-Waite or Thoth.
My thinking about tarot has changed a lot since those days as a baby tarot reader. When I stuck to the traditional meanings I didn’t read cards very much because I had a hard time relating to them. When I took a course that helped me look at the cards in a more relatable way (thank you, Lindsay Mack) I started reading cards a lot more often and using them as a way to connect with my intuition. Not only that, but using tarot in this way has seemed to be a gateway that has allowed my intuition to open up even more. I am feeling energies that I did not before, which I will expound on more in a moment.
Even after I took the Tarot course, I have still been married to the idea of memorizing card meanings. This time, though, it was Lindsay Mack’s card meanings that I was trying to memorize instead of the traditional Rider-Waite meanings. And while I have found that Lindsay Mack’s meanings are not that far off from the traditional meanings, there are some cards where either meaning just doesn’t feel relatable to me.
One thing that Lindsay Mack said over and over again in the course I took (Tarot for the Wild Soul) was that you should create your own meanings to make tarot relatable to you. Don’t count on her meanings or the traditional meanings, or the meanings in the little book that comes with the deck, or anyone else’s interpretation of the tarot. Tarot is only useful when it is relatable to you. And she’s right. How many more times have I pulled my deck out since taking her course and having the cards relate more to my life? I’m trying to do weekly spreads on this blog because I feel like I can now because the cards make more sense to me.
But this week I ran into a card that even Lindsay Mack’s meaning did not feel relatable to me:
The suit of Cups has always been hard for me to relate to because a lot of times I feel cut off from my feelings. But the tarot is actually helping me out with that by reminding me that the thinking brain is not all that there is, and that heart perception is actually even more important when it comes to life’s journey than the brain. You can disagree with me about this point if you want to. That is just my opinion in this stage of my journey. But moving back to the three of cups, when I got this card the other day I looked at the traditional meaning first:
“A gathering of friends, family, or coven members to celebrate. The power of three and the magick of manifestation. Observing the sabbats, sharing experiences,” (Dugan). Well, with the pandemic going on there is no gathering going on with me. I haven’t gotten together with friends or family members since March, and I’m not a member of a coven. Even before the pandemic I didn’t gather much. I don’t have a lot of friends (by choice) and am pretty solitary and eclectic in my magickal workings. So this definition did not work for me on any level.
Then I looked at Lindsay Mack’s interpretation:
“An invitation to come together with ourselves and our invisible community in a kind of ritual celebration,” (Lindsay Mack, Tarot for the Wild Soul, 2020). Her definition continued with an appeal to including well ancestors and how we can free ancestors who were able to come along but could not.
I am not criticizing ancestor work. Let me make that clear up front. I believe that our ancestors watch over us and help us along our way. But ancestor work is not something that I have done much of yet in my spiritual journey. It is something that I know that I am moving toward slowly in different ways, but is not something that is really happening in my practice yet. So this interpretation did not really resonate with me either.
However, I began to piece something together that does resonate with me. In Dugan’s book, the interpretation also mentions creativity and growth. And Lindsay Mack has helped me connect in a deeper way to spirit and my spirit guides. So to me the obvious interpretation would be:
“Connecting with Spirit in order to create. To be a channel for Spirit so that creations are in alignment with what is in our highest and best.”
Earlier in this post I mentioned being more connected to the energies that are out there, and this is actually an example of that. This year, according to the Tarot, is an Emperor year. It is a year for finding our voice, stepping into our truth, and knowing ourselves in a deep and meaningful way. Being able to stop relying so much on the Tarot meanings that others have come up with and make the Tarot something that you truly resonate with is a manifestation of that Emperor energy. Sometimes it is hard to do, to think outside the box that has been in place for so long, but as you work to make your practice your own, and make the tools of your practice work for you, you come into your own as a true practitioner of Magick.