Tarot Spotlight: The Light of the Sun, Star, and Moon

A lot of cards prominently feature light as a Symbolic Element. The Hermit has a lantern. The Sun and Star get their own whole cards. The Tower is being hit by lightning. The Moon borrows light and uses it for its own purposes.

Light can bring clarity, but it behaves differently based on where it’s shining and how gently or harshly.

The Sun is warmth and easy joy for a lot of people, the kind of uncomplicated sincere unselfconscious happiness that a lot of us have drilled out of us as children. This is why there’s a child on a horse on the RWS version. This kid is out here, entirely naked as kids sometimes are determined to be, but contrary to what we’re taught… this happy and sincere and fully embodied kid is getting places. Growing out of who they are wasn’t necessary, nor was hiding anything. The most complete and sincerely-rooted version of themselves can also ride the always-symbolically-relevant horse, just as they are.

There is a caution here sometimes.

The Sun is a very vulnerable card, because sincerity is vulnerable. Being willing to be seen is extremely vulnerable. Being willing to pursue things as yourself allows other people the opportunity to form opinions about it, and other people’s opinions can turn into problems. The Sun is not just carefree and innocent; it’s very brave. The Sun goes unprotected by shade or shelter, choosing to be seen for its whole self rather than hide behind defenses.

Not everyone can be The Sun all the time. Sometimes, there are more important things than being accurately seen and understood. Honesty is a risk, and we can’t always take that risk.

The Star is less glaring, and to me implies an external source of guidance or support, tailored to your circumstances. It’s a glimpse that things are changing for the better, or perhaps most of all that YOU can change them, without the overwhelming detail coming down on you like a load of obligation bricks.

The Sun shows all the details. The world is blasted with the unforgiving glare that shows every part of it for what it is, and so are the people in it. The star is more like, “just wanted to remind you that there is a forward, we’ll talk about specifics later, xoxo”

It comes after Tower for that reason. After lightning has hit something you relied on, the last thing that’ll reassure you is GIANT FLASH OF OVERWHELMING LIGHT! HOPE THAT HELPS!! FOR GOOD MEASURE IT WILL ALSO BE LOUD!

instead it’s “light can be safe, take your time and we’ll hang out soon”

The Moon is a different illumination, in that it sort of…. doesn’t illuminate very much? You can see more, but not necessarily in a way that brings clarity. Moonlight tells you where the deep shadows are but does not dispel them. A lot of the destructive potential of water is there too, in the scorpion sort of sneaking out from the symbolically important river.

Personal discernment and judgment become really important when the Moon shows up in a reading. The Moon paints hazards vaguely, often just shrouding them in a vague dread, and you could avoid the worst of them if you avoid all of them. But can you?

I hope this makes it a little easier to see why it’s not enough to say that light is a symbol for revelation and guidance. There are types of revelation, and times for guidance, and those specifics matter.

Tarot Spotlight: Pages and Knights

Pages and Knights are probably fairly easy to read for people who treat face cards as representations of actual individual people showing up for emphasis. Pages are kids, Knights are frequently freshly-adult fellas, and that is that. I don’t read them that way, so here is an alternative perspective that may help if you don’t get much use out of things like gender symbolism.

Pages

Pages just got here and they are so excited. I don’t read them with any particular gender, just as a phase of the journey of each suit’s topic. They’re… a level of expertise in each subject area, I suppose.

In the RWS, the Page of Pentacles has a pentacle they are holding up, and you can imagine it as the Ace of Pentacles , only the hand it’s in is theirs. You can see more than you could in the Ace, their whole arm and body and even where they are. It’s having the seed that the Ace represents and also understanding its context in a way that promises to be actually useful.

The Page of Cups has discovered introspection and empathy. They may not be extraordinarily skilled with them yet, but they are invested in figuring it out. They’re going to introspect to the best of their ability (no promises) and figure out other people’s feelings as best they can too (no promises).

The Page of Swords has found a new analytical framework, a new Theory of Everything, and they are going to apply it to absolutely every single question they encounter for a while yet. They are rigorously stress-testing this approach and its assumptions, which is a step that should never ever be skipped. They will eventually need to read another book though.

The Page of Wands has found their agency. They can impact things! Their choices matter! They may not know quite what they’re going to do with their new stick but it’s real and it’s theirs and that means when they know what to do, they’ve got something to start with.

Knights

The Knights have done a little bit of theoretical testing and are moving on to applying the principle of their suit. They have the enthusiasm of the Pages but with a level of inertia that will sometimes serve them well and sometimes not. They are Pages on horses, and they are on their way to… well, hopefully somewhere.

The Knight of Pentacles in the RWS has a horse that is standing and not rearing or running or getting up to any other shenanigans. This Knight is examining their Pentacle, making sure they really knows what its deal is before they tuck it under their arm and haul ass into the sunset with it. They’re a Knight so they need to move, they need to, but their inertia is the inertia of a body at rest. They need to come to a decision and get into motion.

The Knight of Cups has figured out that intuition is important and has a role and a purpose and power and it does things! The Knight of Cups will order their entire life around a dream they had three years ago, and this is tremendously powerful provided they pick the right dream.

The Knight of Swords has learned that it’s important to be sharp, to be decisive, and to break things when necessary. This Knight has learned that that which can be destroyed by the truth deserves to be, and might be actively hunting for new things to destroy with their truth. Their last few swings went super well so they are just going to keep swinging and hopefully their momentum will carry them in a direction they chose.

The Knight of Wands needs to do things for the sake of doing them. They know forward momentum and they know stasis, and stasis scares the everloving shit out of them. This Knight needs a quest. This is good, because a lot of quests urgently need a knight! But at the same time, a Knight and their horse will both need rest, which means doing things that are not strictly quest-related. Getting going after those pauses is the challenge of the Knight of Wands.

Summary

Pages have interest and drive. Knights have whatever inertia they built up as Pages, but haven’t developed great discernment or control yet. Both have a lot of sincerity and a lot of energy to offer whatever they’ve set their sights on.

Shadowscapes Reading

This spread is my usual comprehension cross.

Swords show up a lot here, so note that going forward.

I don’t know who needs to read this but your honesty and willingness to question yourself and others is screwing you over. Are you frantically scrambling to figure out everything about a situation so that you’ll feel in control of its descent into bullshit? Because you aren’t going to find the perfect idea, the perfect explanation, the perfect argument, to prevent what you are worried about.

Since the problem is going to get worse, start saving up the energy you’ve been spending on keeping everything in order. You can’t, so decide how much energy you want to have wasted when it actually comes time to pick up the pieces. Do you want to reach that task in a place of desperation and exhaustion? Probably not. So take a rest on whatever ways you can, if only to make the rebuilding less horrific for your future self.

Tarot del Toro Reading

Hey you, reading this right now. You should know that unless you know what your next step needs to be, unless you know how things need to go for you, keeping a death grip on everything in your life won’t actually give you the control you’re hoping for.

I know you want to feel safe. But if you don’t know the difference between a surprise and the total dissolution of your life, you are going to continue feeling stuck and unsatisfied. And then you will feel even more desperate for control. It’s a trap.