Tarot of the Animal Lords Sample Reading by Diane Wilkes
The querent has recently relocated and wishes to create a successful tarot practice. The layout is based on the querent's specific questions and concerns on this issue. -- DW
1. What do I need to know now to improve my tarot skills? -- Ace of Pentacles
The Ace is a card of beginning, and in the suit of Pentacles, it's about beginning to be literal, mundane, concrete. This version of the card shows a cassowary holding a bright red apple he has clearly and freshly picked from a flowering tree. In his other hand is a wooden walking stick. Cassowaries are "flightless birds" and this, in conjunction with the Queen of Pentacles, indicates to me that the querent might be more comfortable in the psychic ethers than the practical world. Her customers will want practical, concrete answers to questions, and the querent will have to "come down to earth" and relate to them on their level if she wants to appeal to her potential clientele. This doesn't mean that the querent should eschew her natural spirituality, but find a way to bring the fruit of her knowledge into the earth of her readings. The querent may want to make a concerted effort to be specific and literal in her tarot readings.
The Ace, the first card in the suit, is also a reminder that she is just beginning, and needs to be kind to herself. Instead of focusing on what she wished she had said in a reading, she should first give herself credit for everything she has done right. She will discover that she does more good things than she realizes now. This is not to say that she shouldn't strive to improve, but confidence and a positive attitude breed success. This tree has quite a few bright and shiny apples on its boughs--she has great potential, as well as a bright and shiny foundation.
If there are fundamental building blocks that the querent needs to put into place--a better understanding of specific tarot basics--she needs to familiarize herself with them before dabbling with more esoteric branches of the tarot tree. In addition, her move requires that she become more familiar with the language of her new clients-to-be, so there are several areas in which the querent must remember that she's in the Ace part of the process.
2. What will assist me in gaining more confidence in my tarot reading skills and abilities? -- Queen of Pentacles
The Animal Lords Queen of Pentacles is an antelope who sits majestically upon her throne, which sits outside on green grass. The grounding we spoke of in the first card is what will allow her to feel like a Tarot Queen: solid, powerful, and connected to the earth. Again, being able to concretize and give specific, solid readings will give the querent confidence. This is not a card of flash and movement, nor an ethereal, mystical image. These may be qualities the querent already possesses and does not need to cultivate. What she does need to develop is specificity and a concrete understanding of what building a tarot practice requires. Professional Tarot by Christine Jette might be a good book for the querent to study to assist her in becoming a successful Queen of Pentacles.
The antelope is known for its swiftness, which is somewhat antithetical to the traditional understanding of the suit of Pentacles--slow and steady are words often used to describe that earthy suit. But this antelope is seated, settled quite firmly, on a throne. This says to me that the querent has a very quick mind, but for her to feel more confident in her skills, she needs to find ways to successfully ground herself.
3. Where is my blind spot? What am I missing that I need to see? -- The Wheel
This card, which depicts a butterfly in the pupa stage, reminds us again that she is in an early stage of her tarot knowledge, in terms of being a professional reader. Additionally, the querent needs to learn a new language in order to communicate with her potential new clients. This card gives me the sense that the querent would like to be able to control things more, in order to feel comfortable. But this card says that the only way to become a butterfly is to flap those wings, even in that awkward pupa state. If she is unwilling to look awkward, she will never learn to fly. In fact, all around the wheel are the various stages of the butterfly. She needs to stop focusing on her final flight and just start spreading those wings. This particular card demands that she remember this is not a destination, but a journey...and every journey begins with that first step.
The butterfly on this card seems to have additional symbolism for the querent. It again speaks to her innate spiritual qualities, yet the central image shows a brown, unexciting moth-like body with outstretched colorful butterfly wings. This card is a vivid reminder that the querent wishes to bring her mystical visions into the mundane world.
4. What do I need to know and/or do in order to build a successful tarot practice? -- 10 of Wands
The animal featured on the Animal Lords 10 of Wands is the Elk. Again, we see that wooden walking stick, but this time the Elk is walking in the snow. There is snow on the ground and snow is falling as he wends his way up. Building a tarot practice can be difficult--it's no walk on the beach, pardon the pun. Developing a tarot practice is a step-by-step proposition--there's no easy way up the mountain. It requires diligence, persistence in the face of obstacles, strength to carry the load. It's an individual walk--no one can do it for you. I see nary a ski-lift in sight! If this is something the querent really wants to do, she needs to recognize that there are attendant burdens and must prepare herself for that long walk in the snow.
Interestingly, Elk and Antelope are both in the Bovidae family. I don't think this is merely coincidence. One thing I found interesting is that they both have a four-chambered stomach which allows them to digest less nutritious foods other animals find impossible to tolerate. I suspect the querent will find the concrete part of building a tarot practice difficult to tolerate, not particularly tasty or even nourishing. She may want to determine what four components she needs to make concrete in order to develop a successful tarot business even--or especially--if these items don't come naturally to her.
The cards as a whole offer some additional insights. Two are in the earthy suit of pentacles, which speak to the importance of the querent grounding her dreams and visions into reality. One of the cards is an Ace, and two are tens, the Wheel and the Ten of Wands. In some systems, the Ace and Ten are connected, since numerically, the ten is a "one", but I see this combination in this particular reading as someone who is at a beginning phase (the Ace) but is looking at the Ten (the completion of a cycle and beginning of a new one). The querent needs to remember there are quite a few numbers in between the one and the ten in order to achieve success, but she should be encouraged by the great potential indicated in these cards, as well.
Images © 2003 Lo Scarabeo
Reading and page © 2003 Diane Wilkes