Tarot Reading For The Collective ~ May © 2011 Sarah Barry

Something was laid to rest as we crossed over the divide between April and May. Something that was beautiful in its own way, yet needed to be subdued in the hope that a more vital and necessary configuration would come along. We chose the 10 of Pentacles – that archetypal overflow of creative abundance – to die so that we could see what we were really meant to do. Enter: The World! That was a clever risk we took hey? Drop a bit of abundance and get some more back a thousand-fold.

To move with The World is to put to test all the lessons we have garnered from our mistakes and revelations. Pretty intense stuff really. No wonder we moved away from The World so quickly. I think she probably only hung out for 3 or 4 days, and because I’m writing this reading 11 days into May, she could have come and gone without us even knowing. (Were any of you overwhelmed by magnificent universal love somewhere between the 1st and 5th of May? If so, unleash it now upon everyone!)

So we had a dance with The World, got a little overwhelmed with all the implications of working with divine freedom and settled down instead with the King of Cups. Not that the King of Cups has more or less to offer us than The World, it’s just that his capacity to sit with heavy emotion without reacting is so comforting.

Spending time with the King of Cups allows us to understand our capacity for being kind to ourselves.  It is so tiring getting upset about the perceived faults of our present reality: being with the King means we are more likely to accept the current world through empathy, rather than rejecting anyone who seems to stand against us, or rejecting ourselves for letting in some undesirables.

Accepting a current reality doesn’t mean we have to like it, or just sit there and take it, yet through walking a more balanced path, our actions – when we do take them – are likely to hold more room for more people’s needs to be heard and maybe even met.

Feeling the empathy of the King of Cups can help us deal with the austerity of The Hierophant. This archetype is not usually received in a popular way. Not that he’s particularly hair-raising, he just comes across as so, well, boring. True, he can at times be a little dogmatic and stern, yet all the cards have their sour side (and their loveable side) and this is his. So how does one best deal with an archetype likely to flip into authoritarian mode?

Talk to him for crying out loud. Actually to him not about him behind his back. He has as much right as any other archetype to bring us wisdom, so let’s understand what he can offer by talking and listening with him directly:

SB: So, Hierophant, why do you think you have such a boring reputation?

Hierophant: Boring? No no no my nature is no way tedious or dull. Certainly not. Far from fusty. Hmm… Can you give me a specific example?

SB: You just sit there, telling us what to do, acting as if you’re the ultimate authority that has all the knowledge…

Hierophant: I asked for a specific example.

SB: Well, take The Collective for example. We’ve just been hanging out with The World, then the King of Cups, and we’ve managed to learn a lot about ourselves and our emotional well-being. We’re not spring chickens you know. Then we arrive in your court and you don’t want to hear what we have to say, you just want to tell us to listen to your plans about getting organized and prioritizing tradition over modern ideas.

Hierophant: *sigh* Okay, so sometimes I might sound a little condescending, but really I just want to encourage you all to be as intelligent as you can be. I love that you’ve been learning from The World and The King, I just wanted to add in my intellectual rationale so that you all can be wiser leaders.

SB: Oh, ok. Do you have to always wear that hat though?

Hierophant: Pfffft!

So after our slightly uncomfortable growth with The Hierophant , it’s time for a jaunt with the 10 of Cups (phew). No intensity here – have a play, have a laugh, be careful not to get attached to the pleasant sensations (because they won’t last!) and prepare for the 4 of Swords.

Sitting up there at the top of the spread is the 4 of Swords, beckoning us to quieten down and listen to what it has to say. It doesn’t say much, per se, but simply invites us to come sit down and meditate or reflect or at least shut up for a while. To experience the 4 of Swords is to notice what it’s like to observe our personal reality rather than suppress or act out our more difficult feelings.

Maybe the time we spent with that tedious Hierophant will be helpful after all: it can help us achieve the necessary discipline to sit with any crazy-making irrational moments that pop up in that alarmingly spontaneous way. By preparing us for the 4 of Swords, The Hierophant has given us the gift of stark reality and all the freedom that lies within making peace with ourselves.

Deck used for this reading: World’s Tiniest Tarot Cards (they are 2cm x 3 ½ cm. Much harder to shuffle than the large round ‘Tarot of the Cloisters’ deck I use for face-to-face readings!)

The author is not listed on the pack, but the images are small versions of the Rider Colman Smith deck.

This deck was given to me on my last day of work at a video store, in the month I became a full-time tarot reader. On my last day of wage-slave pay, I received this deck from a video store customer who was intrigued that I was a tarot reader, and that I was about to do exclusively that for my income.

She was an older lady: she had many animals including pet rats, that kept on breeding, and sometimes she brought in a couple in a shoe box so that I could name them (I recall one of the names I chose was ‘Sabrina’). I had a soft spot for her, and was very touched when she shyly handed me this deck in an old envelope, before hurrying away. She told me that when she did tarot readings with that deck of cards, she got visions of a bubonic plague (no doubt a direct result of living with scores of rats!), so she thought it better they go to me so that I could work with them in a more positive way.

It was a beautiful gift to celebrate the start of my full-time tarot career, 8 years ago this month.

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