Traditionally in magical and mystical circles, death represents a major, usually sudden, unexpected ending and beginning. This is along the lines of when one door closes, another one opens. It's not just an ending, but an ending which becomes a new beginning. Although it usually applies to something unexpected, it can also apply to something expected. It can be making a real positive shift or a real negative one, depending on how it shows up in the reading layout, but either way, it is a major happening in the spiritual realm, to the being as a spirit. It may or may not affect the physical level, but definitely works on the principle that all endings are beginnings and all beginnings come from endings. The Death card represents transformation and changes of cycles.
Physical death would show up in a Tarot reading possibly as the Ace of Discs reversed second carded by Tower or Sun reversed second carded by Death. The upright Death card could be interpreted as how you deal with change, whether you see change as positive or negative, how comfortable you are with change or your ability to complete cycles. Understanding principles of "As above, so below" would also come under the Death card as would the law of signatures, things that represent things, seeing the equivalency of things. It also could be referring to knowing when to let go, walk away, not repeating the same things over and over again, understanding the cycles and what they are showing you, in other words – "getting the lesson".
The Moon card represents the beginning of the spiritual journey. It shows a spiritual being, crawling out of the sea of emotion and embarking on the middle way spiritually. At this level, you can either begin spiritual progress or fall back into emotionalism. It is not a straight and narrow path but rather one that zig zags. The Moon card speaks of transformation of the emotions from lower levels of passion and greed and neediness to a higher level of compassion and understanding. At this level beings are more open and able to give from the heart, without expectations and manipulation. The Moon card showing up in a reading could indicate that a being has crawled out of turbulent or chaotic emotion, the living in drama, and embarking on the "middle road" in regards to the Tree of Life. The road ahead will have many perils as the being must face his issues and confront his fears, let go of self-absorption and crave something higher. It is the beginning of the journey for example when someone knows there is something higher but not sure what it is. It is the beginning of being open to intuition, the heart, all the water characteristics and letting go of expectations and manipulation.
Temperance deals with the idea of balance being maintained. In the card, he is walking the tight-wire and you notice that his balance is internal. He has his emotions in balance and they are being held in place by a combination of intellect, will and feeling. He has to be constantly focused to keep that balance and make small motions to adjust, just as the guy walking the tight-wire in a circus. A certain level of self-observation and vigilance is implied and not from a place of apprehension, but a desire for something higher and the wish to be impeccable. He has to really pay attention and concentrate on what he is doing. This is the next step above the Moon card, mid-way up the spiritual pathway. Maintaining balance requires a lot of use of the will and constant alertness, it is not a natural state yet. The Temperance card represents a level at which constant choices are being made on a spiritual path. It's a spiritual choice card similar to the Two of Discs and Three of Swords on the mundane level.
One of the laws of Tarot says that a small change in the present produces a larger change in the future. When we are at the level of Temperance and walking the tightrope, we are making small adjustments, which produce larger changes in the future. Acts of power are ruled by Temperance as are attention or holding of intention. You have to let go of something lower to gain dominion over something higher. Willingness is important here.
The Star card is another issue of balance and is a step above Temperance. This card however refers to a person who has attained a point of spirituality where the balance is automatic. He does not have to pay the same kind of attention now as when walking the tight-wire as he is at a higher place inside. As a spiritual being, he is now in balance and this is reflected out into his external world. The Star is a balance card where conscious attention has now been acquired through past efforts and the balance is maintained as a part of the process of inner work. The effort and attention that were needed in Temperance are not needed here. The spiritual path has become a central part of the person's being, there is more of a sense of relaxation in efforts made. This card implies a huge level of spiritual attainment, the balance is much easier and instead of it being an internal issue, it is a radiative issue in that he is definitely affecting the outer world a lot. This card shows the beginning of true flow of manifestation. It is the point where we can start to project what we have to guide others.
So the next time you work with Tarot cards, really examine the cards and listen to what they have to say. Just taking the literal meaning from a book can often lead to misinterpretations and lead to disappointing readings. You can learn more about tarot card meanings and doing readings using Tarot cards in our Tarot Homestudy Course.
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