As a professional Tarot reader, I sharpen my skills in the same fashion a pianist plays the scales: by applying Tarot concepts to a real-life situation. Trust me, the process is more fun than you might think, so don’t run for the hills just yet. Whether you’re an experienced reader, or just curious about Tarot cards, this simple exercise can prove beneficial for yourself and others. My hope is that this blog will inspire you to try it for yourself.
In this example, I’ll work with the progression of the 22 Major Arcana cards that pave the path for our highest and holiest missions in life. It is true that we have little or no control over many of these divine situations. The only choice we sometimes have is to summon the courage and conviction required to take the leap of faith to set foot on our daring journey.
Along the way, the 56 messages of the Minor Arcana will spell out the day-to-day issues, where our own personal power lies in the four suits of the Minor Arcana—the Cups for matters of the heart, Coins for management of resources, Wands for implementation of effort, and Swords for decisions and communication. But that’s another story. Today’s practice will focus only on the big-picture events of the sacred Major Arcana.
How does it work? The first step is to invent a character who finds her/himself in a dead-end situation. Yes, a zillion ideas bubble up. What popped into my head was this: At the end of her rope, Kate can’t fathom attending her 10-year high school reunion. She feels like a failure after dropping out of college two months into her freshman year. Also, she was never friends with many of her classmates anyway. But mainly, she has to work that weekend. At her third job. Stocking shelves at a truck stop. Ugh. For Kate, the future looks bleak. Desperate for change, she boldly sets her sights on Nursing school.
So pop some corn and sit back in your recliner. It’s story time!
Kate’s fed up. She’s sick of working all the time and still not being able to pay all her bills. She’s disenchanted with inebriated patrons at the bar she tends and remains uninspired, her only form of entertainment—bad TV. Worse yet, her dismal future holds more of the same. So, she applies for financial aid and enrolls at a local university. With a trembling voice, she quits two of her dead-end jobs. Committed to a better life, she swings a backpack over her shoulder, boldly makes her way through a swarm of college kids in a brand-new pair of knock-off Birkenstock sandals, takes her seat in the front row of Biology 101, and thereby becomes The Seeker. Whether she realizes it or not, Kate’s on a sacred journey.
During her second week, Kate takes advantage of a study break. Mindlessly, she wanders across campus, finds a quiet spot in the shade of an oak tree, and plops down to rest in the warm grass. With a ragged breath and troubled mind, she turns her tired face to the late summer sky. Help me, she silently pleads. As if by miracle, the voices of nearby students ring clearly. “If it’s not connected to God, it doesn’t have any magic,” she overhears. Hmmm, she contemplates as she accepts the divine message. Instinctively, she rests her back against the tree trunk and becomes one with all that is, all that was and all that ever will be. Magic requires me to become The Magician, she realizes. So, she vows to maintain her connection to this Higher Power, allowing divine energy to rule over her relationships, possessions, attention and decisions, which represent, of course, the four suits of the Minor Arcana.
The High Priestess
For the next few weeks, synchronicity connects her to empowered beings. “This class is designed to help you appreciate the importance of nurses in the medical arts,” her Intro to Nursing professor instructs, channeling the energy of The High Priestess. “Doctors, patients, loved ones of the sick and injured…they will all need you!” she emphasizes, confirming Kate’s commitment to her studies.
The Empress and The Emperor
“What kind of life will you create for yourself?” her grandmother asks, assuming the role of The Empress. “Have you thought about how you will manage your career and finances?” her older brother questions. In Kate’s eyes, he had always been The Emperor.
At a Christmas party, Kate meets the head RN for a local hospital. Her Hierophant stance helps Kate to contemplate the bigger picture. Their conversation sheds light on the specialized fields within the medical industry. “Neonatal,” Kate tells her brother later that night. “I want to help babies.”
On New Year’s Eve, Kate again crosses paths with the head RN. “Neonatal,” she proudly tells her new friend. A few weeks later, while reporting back to the university for her second semester, the RN shoots her a text informing her of a guaranteed opportunity to volunteer Tuesday afternoons at the local Neonatal unit. What would otherwise be a no-brainer becomes complicated when Kate realizes she will have to drop an important Chemistry 101 class to make room in her busy schedule. She wonders, Should I follow my head and go to class or follow my heart and report to the hospital? It’s sign up now or wait until next semester. Kate’s heart wins, of course, and she calls the RN with the good news. The energy of The Lovers card will work like a charm.
The commitment to neonatal helps Kate to unveil her divine mission. The Seeker is qualified for a swift ride on The Chariot. Her circumstances are about to leap forward to a promising future. While comforting a premature little girl, the doctor on staff takes note. “How long have you been working with us?” he asks. “Two months,” she answers without taking her eyes off her patient. “Nursing student?” he wonders. “Yes,” she nods while refusing to shift her attention from the fragile infant to the attending physician. “You should consider switching,” he comments. “I beg your pardon!” Kate protests, glancing up for a brief second. “Not from Neonatal,” he chuckles. “From nursing.” Kate huffs. “To what?” The doctor puts his hand on Kate’s shoulder. “You’d make a wonderful Physician’s Assistant,” he states firmly. “We could really use someone like you.” Kate stares at the baby, appreciating the promise and innocence. “Me? A PA?” she quivers. “I wouldn’t trust anyone else with that baby,” the doctor states. “Stay with us a couple of years. Finish your basics. We have some internal scholarship and intern programs,” he says as tears flood her eyes.
Moments later, the doctor leaves Kate alone with her precious patient. The vote of confidence smashes all doubt. The Seeker gains Strength.
With strength Kate takes time to study and learn, becoming The Hermit. Her commitment to excellence sparks an eternal Light, one that can shine brightly on the most complex and difficult coursework. At the end of May, she revels in her straight-A accomplishment.
The Wheel of Fortune
Kate’s faith, dedication and strength unleash The Wheel of Fortune, which will now turn in her favor. It takes this much effort and fate to become eligible for such blessings. “The Neonatal unit has offered me full-time employment for the summer,” she reports to her brother. “In the fall, I’m switching my major to become a PA.”
How The Seeker handles her windfall of employment and advancement will determine how Justice will judge her. After all she’s been through so far on this journey—the stripping down and the building up, the sacrifice and the courage—she now stands before karmic law. Kate’s willingness to follow her passions back at The Lovers card will serve her well when balancing the scales. Dedication to her summer Neonatal unit job will summon truth and fairness as Kate takes responsibility for her life in honesty and integrity.
The Hanged Man
Justice has determined fate, but now The Seeker must face her own internal struggle. Where has she been a traitor to herself? For Kate the answer was easy: smoking. The nasty habit had been holding her back from living her full glory. Kate now realizes she must not only sacrifice the ciggies but must also release the victim story that supports the self-abuse. As The Hanged Man, her life dangles in suspension unless and until she gives up and gets over the blame-shame game that chains her to unhealthy patterns.
Finally able to let go and move on, Kate now faces Death. She must let die that which no longer serves her. Several unhealthy relationships are the first to go. There is just no room in her new life for smoking, partying, or the bar scene. So, she decides to disentangle herself from three gal pals and one part-time boyfriend. In the short term, grief and remorse might pain her, but nothing can stop her from continuing her journey.
In the autumn, after completing her summer employment and releasing herself from unholy behavior, The Seeker finds the powers of Temperance. With the magic touch of The Alchemist, Kate is able to turn lead into gold. Semester after semester, she believes and achieves, consistently scoring top grades. The manifestation abilities supported by this level of being were unfathomable before Nursing school. Her dreams are coming true. The Seeker moves on.
At the end of her freshman year, Kate changes majors, aligning her studies in the pursuit of a Physician’s Assistant degree. Had she continued in Nursing school, her future would be secure. It was risky to switch majors...acceptance into PA programs is not guaranteed. Facing her Fear, Kate unchains the nurturing (feminine) and analytical (masculine) aspects of herself and applies to several programs. Although her GPA is remarkable, past mistakes remain on her record. Forsaking a degree in Nursing in favor of higher aspirations is a gamble. Would her efforts be enough? With bold steps, she faces her future with new-found freedom.
The week before graduation, the empowered Seeker opens an envelope from one of the PA programs. The news is unsettling as her eyes land on, “We’re sorry but…” As the days progress, more bad news lands in the mailbox. “Now what?” she asks the stunned Neonatal doctor who seems equally disappointed with the rejection letters. In a weak and private moment, Kate breaks down. “Why?” she cries as The Tower shakes mercilessly. Pain and chaos roll down her cheeks. Bruised, but not broken, she focuses on her duties, where a struggling little boy seems comforted by the touch of her hand. “I’m sorry,” the doctor tells her. “I could have been an RN by now,” Kate responds without shifting her focus from her tiny patient. “But now I’m just a Major in Bio and a Minor in Chem.” The doctor shakes his head. “This isn’t over,” he growls before leaving the room. The baby curls his tiny fingers around her pinky. “It was never about being a PA,” she whispers to him. “It was always about you guys.” The child smiles, and Kate lets it all fall away…unholy tyrants of university administrators and unhealthy parasites of disappointment and self-doubt. All negativity tumbles from crumbling structures of would-haves and should-haves. Strong and confident, The Seeker collects herself. “Kate,” a woman in a suit interrupts from the doorway, “can we see you downstairs?”
Survival of The Tower gives cause for The Seeker to find great hope. “Sure,” Kate answers and follows her along to the admin offices. “What’s this about?” she asks while facing a conference table surrounded by hospital executives. Fire me, hire me, whatever, she silently thinks with a shrug. Firm in her commitment to excellence no matter the circumstances, she speaks. “The infant in Bed 3 needs more attention.” An executive smiles. “I told you she was perfect.” Perfect for what? Kate wonders. The Star shines upon Kate. With integrity, honesty, purity and strength, the Seeker stands before them, firm in her conviction. “What would your dream job look like?” one asks. Kate smiles. “That’s easy. I’d like to help the babies in the Neonatal unit. We need better…” An executive interrupts her. “We’d like to put you in charge of all that,” she begins to explain while helping Kate to a seat at the head of the table.
The Moon and The Sun
Later that night, Kate explains the situation to her brother. “After all that rejection, I got the job I really wanted in the first place,” she laughs. “I told you so,” he responds. Kate nods. “I just knew it was all going to work out,” she sighs. “My life’s heading in the right direction,” she predicts as she gazes out at The Moon. And ultimately Kate’s life is filled with joy and ease as she basks in The Sun.
A few years later, the hospital requests that Kate return to university for an advanced degree in hospital administration. They agree to foot the bill with a full scholarship. Kate answers to the calling of Judgment, and becomes more whole and complete than she ever dreamed possible.
On her last day before reporting to graduate school, the hospital executives throw her a party. During the celebration, she realizes how far she has come since the days of three part-time jobs. Achieving The World, The Seeker becomes The Graduate, and completes her sacred journey. Tomorrow, she will leave her comfort zone, step to the edge of a cliff, turn her face up to God, and take another leap of faith. Stronger and smarter, her journey will begin all over again as The Graduate will again become The Seeker.
The Seeker’s Journey is a powerful story of pain and redemption, failure and success. I hope you join me in this practice. Imagine a scenario—or better yet, use your own real-life situation—and experience the journey of the Major Arcana.
Very Best Wishes,
Author Joan Kristin Haugan is a master of Tarot cards, Runes stones and Reiki energy healing. She is knowledgeable in the use and application of essential oils and is well-versed in their healing properties. A graduate of the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology with a Bachelor’s degree in the field of Geological Engineering, as well as a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of South Dakota, she worked for a time as an environmental engineer before going into business with her beloved husband. Together, they own J&J Optical and the Sturgis Hitchin' Post in Sturgis, South Dakota.
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