The Fool card

An Alternative Order for the Majors

One of the most interesting tarot things I’ve learned in the last month is how the majors were not originally numbered.

(That link includes the typical list, 22 cards numbered from 0-21.)

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In her book Tarot 101, Kim Huggens suggests an exercise where you re-order of the majors according to a story structure

The commonly suggested “story” of The Fool’s Journey has never worked for me as much of a story, so I loved the idea.

I took this on because she suggested a form of The Hero’s Journey – something I already have familiarity with – so it felt like a solid foundation to build on.

That link is to a version of the Hero’s Journey I wrote about some years ago. If you like to write fiction you’ll find a whole new rabbit hole to explore in that series.

What I’ve laid out here is the order I came up with based on the way I see the majors and how they line up with the pattern (Departure, Initiation, Return) as Huggens laid it out in her book.


1. Call to Adventure

image: sphynx leans on a wheel from behind, holing a up a sword in one hand
from This Might Hurt Tarot

Wheel of Fortune. The randomness of fate – often proving to be not-random (destiny).

I love the sphinx in this card for this position, and she’s surrounded by the elements: Earth, air, fire and water. You know from go this isn’t a game, and everything is involved, whether for you or against you.

2. Refusal of the Call

Image: Hermit Card
from Tarot of the Hidden Realm

The Hermit. No desire to engage. Alternatively, the hero might already be fully engaged in their current/inner world and aren’t responsive to or motivated by the call when it first appears.

After all, how many of us would respond to an outrageous demand from a stranger.

And these demands almost always seem outrageous…

3. Supernatural Aid

image: magician card
from Spellcasters Tarot

The Magician. Here we add to that story all the raw material (resources) and power.

This is the point where the hero is convinced that what needs to happen is mathematically possible: those elements mentioned in The Call? Here with the magician we see the physical representation of each of them as tools: The wand for fire, sword for air, cup for water and the pentacle for earth.

4. Crossing the First Threshold

The Fool card
from Vivid Journey Tarot

This is the fight our protagonist has to be able to enter the arena. The big change embraced, even as they don’t fully know all they’re saying yes to. Of course I saw The Fool.

I love how she’s got her little knapsack and her dog. She doesn’t have to have everything figured out before she starts, but she doesn’t have to be alone or empty-handed, either.

5. The Belly of the Whale

The Empress card
from Shadowscapes Tarot

The worst so-far – and we’re not all that far in yet. This is a form of rebirth through a death-like experience. The Empress: the power of life and death, tied up in nurture (or the withholding of it).

This is sometimes where our hero realized the stakes – how much there is to lose, which restated can also be a reminder of how much there is to fight for. Read more

Examples of 2-Card Email Readings – with feedback

Two-card readings are a nice way to get your feet wet as a tarot newbie, and a quick check-in for anyone who wants some outside input.

These are 2-card readings for querents who were willing to let them be shared on the blog, and the responses of those who agreed to let their comments be public.


For E.A. of Keller, TX.

Child of Create and reversed five fo think
Cards from Hip Chick Tarot

The Child of Create and Five of Think (reversed) in this deck are analogous to the Page of Wands and the 5 of swords (reversed). This pair of cards feels like a sweet complement or affirmation for you, E. It suggests you’re using your creativity and enthusiasms to interrupt conflict and work toward cooperative solutions that will benefit more than just one person. Well done!

From E.A.

[The reading] made me feel glowy. I definitely connected with the words and interpretation. I train and the reading directly relates to not only my job but things going on with family! As an overall holistic reading, I felt very connected. Using creativity to overcome conflict defines my life!


For A.J. in Whitehall, PA

Reversed 5 of Cups and The Tower
Cards from the Luna Sol Tarot

Your cards speak to a rough season. It looks like you’ve been pressing down some grief to manage the upheaval around you. If I can suggest it, I think the reversed 5 of cups is an invitation to honor the reality of what you’ve lost, and let yourself grieve. The Tower is something we can’t control, and we hope will come around to our ultimate good, but that is usually later.

The Now is where we are, and tears are for you. They also are only for a time – they do have an end – and so often they can help as we look for a way forward.


For E.W. in Bristol, UK

Reversed 7 of wands and reversed page of pentacles
Cards from the This Might Hurt Tarot

In your cards I see you in a bit of survival mode. You are managing your tension – perhaps feeling the world against you, or your own spoiling for a fight – it’s tough but you’re managing it. This takes a lot of energy, and I get the impression that as a result you’re not able to put the focus you’d like into your own studies.

I’ve always seen the page of pentacles as the student of the beginner’s mind. The diligent consistency to pursue learning. And it probably disappoints you how hard it is to study right now. The way I see it you have two options: Cut yourself some slack (always fair in these situations), and/or let yourself work on a different level.

For example if you’ve been studiously working in order through a text, let yourself “graze” and take in the best bits so you can continue to nourish that part of yourself that misses learning.

[Of course, this assumes these are self-paced studies and you have that option. My heart goes out the enrolled students fighting to reach targets at this time. <3]


For M.H. in New York, NY

Cards from Tarot of the Sweet Twilight

You asked about the energy around a job search, and if you like numerology I think you’ll enjoy seeing that both your cards are 8s – a number about personal power.

Short answer, these cards reflect very good energy for a job search (yours or someone else’s), with wands-8 (speed, intensity), and pentacles-8 (steadiness, perseverance) coming together.

If you’re interested in some advice, this reading seems like an invitation to stick with your strengths. Do what you know you’re good at, what you’ve mastered and will WOW your employers. That not being an option, go where you will be allowed/have time to learn. Impatience (on their part or yours) or not being able to perform (especially in unjust circumstances) could hurt you in the long run.

From M.H.

{First impression:} A little startled by the cards and due to the dark colors preparing myself for an answer that I didn’t want to hear and then quite happy to have the reading be very positive about my question. I was also happy with how much information you were able to tell me with two cards.

Your interpretation was clear and concise. You spoke about the cards individually and together. You also gave a summary and then more detail, which I thought was great. Even better was getting an answer to a question that I hadn’t specifically asked (I had been thinking about moving into an adjacent field and now I know that the timing for that isn’t quite right.)

The level of detail, the numerology, the advice were all spot on. I also really liked how you formatted your answer (short summary with individual card meanings and then together, followed by a longer more nuanced interpretation). I really appreciated the part about sticking to my field as I had been seriously thinking about applying for jobs in an adjacent field. I think, especially now, that is very good advice.

For C in Seattle, WA

C wrote:

During COVID-19 stay-at-home, I’ve begun reflecting on and trying to grow, deepen, and clarify my emotional life. How can I best go about this process? What guidance does the Tarot offer me? I’m interested in guidance about areas to spend time with and pay attention, guides for the process, or strengths/skills to draw on.

KIng of swords and reversed 2 of cups
Cards from The Light Seer’s Tarot

I wondered if we’d get an answer to the whole of that out of two cards, but this is a good example of asking for what is important to you, because I think you got it.

The king of swords suggests fully engaging your mind in your emotional life. There are excellent books about emotions (The Language of Emotions by Karla McLaren, How Emotions are Made by Lisa Feldman Barrett, The Feeling of What Happens by Antonio Damasio) that will demand work from your mind and the ability to organize your thoughts while processing competing possibilities.

I’d suggest starting with just the first title if you don’t have energy for the “competing” part.

The reversed 2 of cups suggests you keep this exploration close to home – yourself and your closest relationships right now. The reversal suggests an imbalance or perhaps just a “look here” that is an invitation to your attention. Regarding an available skill, I think that is the king of swords as well. Let your inner leader bolster you and give you confidence to pursue what you value.

From C.

I felt very seen — the cards were eerily specific, and Wren’s explanation of their significance succinctly honed in on key ideas for me to think about.

I gasped! I don’t know how you did it, but the deck you chose to do my reading with was perfect! I’ve been admiring Light Seers for a long time. That you recommended books for me was exactly right! I’ve already checked out one of the three as an ebook from my library–thank you, and the gentle suggestion of where to start (‘close to home’) is a welcome one.

Your explanation of the reversal as either a place of imbalance or at least a place to start resonated–this is a tender place and I appreciated how carefully you worded this suggestion.

Feedback on the Panda Reading

Feedback on the Panda Reading

The difference between tarot and storytelling is that tarot is done for or with a person who is seeking meaning out of the cards we’re reading.

When we’re telling stories it doesn’t matter how things connect or play out for a specific someone else, because we’re laying out a sequence of events and making meaning within a closed system.

Tarot seeks to either bring the querent (the person the reading is for) into that system, or to align the reading with the querent to add meaning to their situation.

How do we know if we found meaning – some connection to real life?

We ask questions, of ourselves (as readers) and of the querent(s).

In person – with a live reading face-to-face or via phone or video call – this sort of feedback is very natural and organic. I ask, “Does that resonate?” and the querent will let me know if that angle on the cards lines up with their situation.

Email or other distance readings (where the reader and querent are not face-to-face) cannot hold the same immediacy, but can still have value.

As I’ve expanded my practice into written readings, I ask follow-up questions of those I read for. I encourage anyone who reads for others to consider how questions such as these can both enrich your services, and provide confirmation of your instincts – which is a tremendous confidence-boost and can help a reader remember they’re not just shooting words into the void, they are touching lives. Read more