Card Combinations

This post builds on this post I wrote for Arnemancy.com about webbing. Given that, the whole post won’t be about doing the webs, but about the ways we can link cards together in a reading. It’s important to be able to connect cards across a spread, or even when the whole thing is a simple pair.

That post I linked is sort of the how-to guide for tarot webs. You can go about this in two ways: you can either link together cards you get in a reading or you can pull cards specially for this exercise. If you do the latter, then you can proceed systematically if you want, or you can shuffle the cards and choose them randomly. I will be using the cards that I get for my daily draw, since I already pull two cards per day.

And those cards are the 9 of Swords and the Queen of Wands. I am now writing the rest of this post on the following day, so I can actually talk about how things worked out.

Here’s the web:

A web of connections between the 9 of Swords and the Queen of Wands

So while there are some images that pop up for each, the connections are strongest around the zodiacal information. The 9 of Swords is associated with the second decan of Gemini, and that decan is ruled by Mars. The Queen of Wands is associated with the second and third decans of Aries, and that sign is ruled by Mars. As a little treat, I put down all the decans, and the “shadow decan” of the Queen is the final decan of Pisces, which is ruled by Mars. The first decan of Aries is also explicitly ruled by Mars, making that decan doubly Martial. So that’s a lot of Pointy Boy, is what I’m saying here. You don’t necessarily look at those cards together and think there’s a lot of Mars stuff happening, but apparently there is!

Now, how’d that go for me? Did I get in any fights? No, not specifically. But I did sleep poorly, both the night before and the night after. And it was a cardio day, so that was a treat to suffer through. My partner is dealing with a foot injury, I was grumpy all day, and I found what looks like half a bird’s worth of feathers in my backyard. This day is the day my partner finally admitted she probably needed to see a physician about the foot. Short term injuries are related to Mars, certainly, especially when there’s swelling involved.

It’s worth looking at where a planet is when you get it a lot in a reading. Mars was in Capricorn at the time, making a square to Chiron in Aries (as well as a trine to Uranus in Taurus). There’s our Aries and Mars energy: a rough square that happens to include the healer centaur as well.

Is a web really necessary to get this information? No. Of course, I did notice things about the pairing that I wouldn’t have because I did the web, so maybe it’s good practice anyway! But really the idea I want you to carry away is about connecting cards and what to do with the connections once you have them.

Another way to connect these cards is through their respective elemental qualities. Fire is hot and dry, while air is hot and moist. At least in some systems, there are a lot, and whether air should be moist or dry is a whole thing and I don’t have strong opinions about it. The thing to keep in mind is that a sword and a wand share an elemental attribute. They are supported by each other, but not strongly supported. So if you got two fire cards together, they add to each other’s heat, so to speak. If you think of it in terms of a fire, wind can spread a fire or kill it, depending on the intensity of the flames. So my sword and wand card will most likely play nicely together, which may not be the greatest thing for me. But it’s possible one could shut the other down. This would be more likely if they were opposed; if I got a wand and a cup, for example, the fire would dry up the water while the water damps the fire. Both cards would be somewhat weakened.

Now consider the web from earlier in the light of this strengthening and debilitating tendency. The cards are  not only slightly strengthened by their partial affinity (hot for hot), but also through their shared Mars correspondence. So this doesn’t just mean I’m getting Mars and no other planetary influence – though that’s true – it also means the two things are going to be connected. So I could get two cards in a day that are about two separate issues. In a larger spread, there’s no necessary reason for any individual pair of cards to be connected. But if they share these connections, as visualized in the web, then you can link them together, even if they aren’t otherwise connected.

Consider the good old Celtic Cross spread. If these two cards fell in the “recent past” and “hopes or fears” positions respectively, we might say that things that just happened in my life were XYZ, and I may fear ABC, but also that they’ll be linked – so what I’m afraid of either just happened, or I was very worried about it happening (that’s the card itself, the 9 of Swords, coming in again of course).

On Polyvalent Meaning and Magic

I’m here to tell you something you already know: symbols mean more than one thing. No, that’s not the whole post! Come back! In the practice of magic, mysticism, and the occult, a pattern is played out that is far broader than those admittedly broad fields. Humans have a tendency to think symbols are simpler than they are. So, for example, you might think the 7 of Pentacles means “be patient,” while your friend thinks it means “suffer.” And it means both! And we know that, really. But it gets lost in practice a lot of the time. So this post is specifically about importing theory and techniques from the formal study of symbols and art – my actual specialty, for once – into occult studies generally.

Continue reading “On Polyvalent Meaning and Magic”