So I made this nifty system last night, and I think it'll work great for this. In another Tab, Open up one of the Iwaku RP boxes Put in the code "/roll 1d20" 3 times. You should get three numbers. Match your numbers up with steps 1, 2 and 3 to obtain your randomized Genre, Plot Direction and Underlined Theme. THE WORLD GENERATOR: 1. Genre 1. Western 2. Superhero 3. Wizards n’ Shit (swords/sorcery) 4. Victorian 5. Space opera 6. Noir 7. Horror (haunted houses, man vs uncontrollable supernatural) 8. cyberpunk 9. End of the world/post apocalyptic 10. Military 11. Myth (greek/roman/celtic/etc) 12. Slice of Life 13. Mad science. 14. Preternatural (vamps n’ shit) 15. Pirates 16. Spies 17. Zombies/pathogen outbreak 18 Aliens (invasion or otherwise) 19. Wuxia (Martial arts epic/samurai/ninja) 20. Multiple Genre (Choose 2) 2. Major Plot Direction 1. Heist 2. Quest: Supplication (in which the Supplicant must beg something from Power in authority) 3. Quest: Obtaining 4. Quest: Deliverance 5. Quest: Journey Home/lost 6. Erroneous Judgement 7. Conflict with God/powers that be 8. Persuit 9. Rescue 10. Escape 11. Discovery: Place/object 12. Discovery: Incriminating evidence 13. Gamble/debt 14. War 15. Revolt 16. Natural/unatural Disaster 17. Mystery/crime in the court 18. Daring Enterprise 19. Assassination 20. Multiple direction (choose 2) 3. Underlined Theme 1. End of an era 2. Revenge 3. Rebirth 4. Fall to madness 5. Corruption from within 6. Underdog Story 7. Winning battle 8. Losing battle 9. Fatal Imprudence 10. Holding Secrets 11. The road to hell is full of Good intentions 12. The Enigma: Temptation or a riddle 13. Wretched Excess 14. Rivalry of Kinsman (someone is trying for the same prize) 15. Enmity of Kinsmen 16. The ends justifies the means 17. Fall from grace 18. Questionable enemy 19. Remorse/guilt 20. Multiple theme (Pick 2) That's it. You now have your very own randomized setting of which you can structure your post around! Now you just need a protagonist! WHICH LEADS US INTO: THE ARCHETYPE GENERATOR: With this stage, we'll have a lot more stuff that's made available to us but it will still be set in an easy to use 3 step system. This time use the code "/roll 1d50" for the first step and "/roll 1d10" for the second and "/roll 1d20" for the third. This will generate your Major archetype, your minor archetype and your character's sign. 1. Major Archetypes 1. Addict (Conspicuous Consumer, Glutton, Workaholic--see also Gambler) 2. Advocate (Attorney, Defender, Legislator, Lobbyist, Environmentalist) 3. Alchemist (Wizard, Magician, Scientist, Inventor--see also Visionary) 4. Artist (Artisan, Craftsperson, Sculptor, Weaver) 5. Athlete (Olympian) 6. Beggar (Homeless person/ Indigent) 7. Bully (Coward) 8. Child (Orphan, Wounded, Magical/Innocent, Nature, Divine, Puer/Puella Eternis, or Eternal Boy/Girl) [invokes special rules due to questionable circumstances] 9. Clown (Court Jester, Fool, Dummling) 10. Companion (Friend, Sidekick, Right Arm, Consort) 11. Damsel 12. Detective (Spy, Double Agent, Sleuth, Snoop, Sherlock Holmes, Private Investigator, Profiler--see also Warrior/Crime Fighter) 13. Dilettante (Amateur) 14. Don Juan/ Femme Fatale (Casanova, Gigolo, Seducer, Sex Addict) (Black Widow, Flirt, Siren, Circe, Seductress, Enchantress) 15. Engineer (Architect, Builder, Schemer) 16. Father (Patriarch, Progenitor)/ Mother (Matriarch, Mother Nature) 17. Gambler 18. Gossip (see also Networker) 19. Guide (Guru, Sage, Crone, Wise Woman, Spiritual Master, Evangelist, Preacher, Priestess, Minister, Rabbi, Evangelist) 20. Healer (Wounded Healer, Intuitive Healer, Caregiver, Nurse, Therapist, Analyst, Counselor) 21. Judge (Critic, Examiner, Mediator, Arbitrator) 22. King (Emperor, Ruler, Leader, Chief)/ Queen (Empress) 23. Knight (see also Warrior, Rescuer) 24. Lover 25. Mediator (Ambassador, Diplomat, Go-Between) 26. Mentor (Master, Counselor, Teacher, Tutor) 27. Monk/Nun (Celibate) 28. Hedonist (Bon Vivant, Chef, Gourmet, Gourmand, Sybarite, one who seeks sensation) 29. Mystic (Renunciate, Anchorite, Hermit, wizard, Street Magician, physicist) 30. Networker (Messenger, Herald, Courier, Journalist, Communicator) 31. Pioneer (Explorer, Settler, Pilgrim, Innovator) 32. Poet 33. Prince/Princess 34. Prostitute 35. Rebel (Anarchist, Revolutionary, Political Protester, Nonconformist, Pirate) 36. Rescuer 37. Saboteur 38. Samaritan 39. Scribe (Copyist, Secretary, Accountant--see also Journalist) 40. Seeker (Wanderer, Vagabond, Nomad, hobo) 41. Servant (Indentured Servant, Slave) 42. Storyteller/performer (Minstrel, Narrator, musician) 43. Student (Disciple, Devotee, Follower, Apprentice) 44. Thief (Swindler, Con Artist, Pickpocket, Burglar, Robin Hood) 45. Trickster (Puck, Provocateur) 46. Vampire (Not like that, someone who leeches off people, the system, etc) 47. Victim 48. Old Crone 49. Visionary (Dreamer, Prophet, Seer--see also Guide, Alchemist) 50. Warrior (Soldier, Crime Fighter, Amazon, Mercenary, Soldier of Fortune, Gunslinger, Samurai) 2. Minor Archetypes or Enneagrams 1. One: Reformer, Critic, Perfectionist [Anger]. This type focuses on integrity. Ones can be wise, discerning and inspiring in their quest for the truth. They also tend to dissociate themselves from their flaws and can become hypocritical and hyper-critical of others, seeking the illusion of virtue to hide their own vices. The One's greatest fear is to be flawed and their ultimate goal is perfection. 2. Two: Helper, Giver, Caretaker [Pride]. Twos, at their best, are compassionate, thoughtful and astonishingly generous; they can also be prone to passive-aggressive behavior, clinginess and manipulation. Twos want, above all, to be loved and needed and fear being unworthy of love. 3. Three: Achiever, Performer, Succeeder [Deceit]. Highly adaptable and changeable. Some walk the world with confidence and unstinting authenticity; others wear a series of public masks, acting the way they think will bring them approval and losing track of their true self. Threes fear being worthless and strive to be worthwhile. 4. Four: Romantic, Individualist, Artist [Envy]. Driven by a fear that they have no identity or personal significance, Fours embrace individualism and are often profoundly creative. However, they have a habit of withdrawing to internalize, searching desperately inside themselves for something they never find and creating a spiral of depression. The angsty musician or tortured artist is often a stereotypical Four. 5. Five: Observer, Thinker, Investigator [Avarice]. Believing they are only worth what they contribute, Fives have learned to withdraw, to watch with keen eyes and speak only when they can shake the world with their observations. Sometimes they do just that. Often, instead, they withdraw from the world, becoming reclusive hermits and fending off social contact with abrasive cynicism. Fives fear incompetency or uselessness and want to be capable above all else. 6. Six: Loyalist, Devil's Advocate, Defender [Fear]. Sixes long for stability above all else. They exhibit unwavering loyalty and responsibility, but are prone to extreme anxiety and passive-aggressive behavior. Their greatest fear is to lack support and guidance. There are two types of sixes, phobic and counter phobic. Phobic sixes will have a tendency to run from or hide from what they fear, while a counter phobic six is more likely to attack or confront said fear. 7. Seven: Enthusiast, Adventurer, Materialist [Gluttony]. Eternal Peter Pans, Sevens flit from one activity to another. Above all they fear being unable to provide for themselves. At their best they embrace life for its varied joys and wonders and truly live in the moment; but at their worst they dash frantically from one new experience to another, being too scared of disappointment to enjoy what they have. 8. Eight: Leader, Protector, Challenger [Lust]. Eights worry about self-protection and control. Natural leaders, capable and passionate but also manipulative, ruthless and willing to destroy anything and everything in their way. Eights seek control over their own life and their own destiny and fear being harmed or controlled by others. 9. Nine: Mediator, Peacemaker, Preservationist [Sloth]. Nines are ruled by their empathy. At their best they are perceptive, receptive, gentle, calming and at peace with the world. On the other hand they prefer to dissociate from conflicts and indifferently go along with others' wishes or simply withdraw, acting via inaction. They fear the conflict caused by their ability to simultaneously understand opposing points of view and seek peace of mind above all else. 10. Pick a second Major Archetype and roll again for a new Minor one. 3. Signs. Signs are based on Major Arcana found in any Tarot Deck of Cards. Unlike major or minor archetypes these listings tend to be vague and are very open to interpretation. They serve as fodder in order to create a more rounded character rather than set in stone mile markers you should shoot to meet with your character. Usually these represent things like your character has gone through a trial recently, or that they are unwavering in their morals but sometimes they can refer to more personal levels of depth. Most of these I highlight the section most important to the construction process, but a few of them are completely open ended. Use these in your character construction, but do it as you see fit. 1. The fool Without the notion of Zero, our system of mathematics becomes meaningless. Similarly, the Fool is an essential part of the Tarot because he is the spark that sets everything else into motion, the divine breath that gives life and inspires the first step towards fulfillment and completion. Though the first step down a long path may often seem small in comparison to the journey, that first step is vital because without it there would be no journey at all! The Fool is the cause behind all effects, the power behind all manifestations and the seeds of the end sown in every beginning. The Fool is unmoulded potential, pure and innocent, neither positive nor negative yet containing the possibility of both. He is the unconditioned soul about to come into manifestation for the first time to start learning the lessons of the world. Though everyone calls him a Fool, he does not pay them any attention, and he simply goes on his way. Certainly what they say can be justified, since his ignorance of the world can lead him to do things that more experienced people would never imagine. But in these things he can find knowledge and enlightenment. He does not care what others think or say about him, because he knows that what he is doing is right for him. His approach to life is a strange, unconventional one, because he does what is comfortable to him. This is a viewpoint not often supported in our modern world, in which "do as I say" is the commandment most followed. To those who have lived their life under this philosophy, the approach of the Fool may be extravagant, shocking, even frightening. But this approach is all that the Fool knows, and because the only approval he requires is his own, he will continue to live this way, despite what all others think of him. He has total faith in himself. Perhaps he is not such a fool after all. The Fool does not hide himself from the light, because he is the light - the wonderful light that shines out of every child before they see the world and are forced to build so many walls and barriers to protect themselves. The innocence of a child, sadly, is something rarely found outside of children, even though a lot of people could use it these days. With this innocence comes perfect trust, fearlessness in others, and total self-reliance. It allows you to see the world with new eyes and learn new things every day of your life. Think of how much better the world would be if everybody acted this way! It's a shame that only children, and the Fool, see this light. The Fool almost always stands for new beginnings, new experiences and new choices; the first steps along a new path and the first words written onto a blank page. Like the Aces of the Minor Arcana, such beginnings are like the Fool himself - neither positive nor negative, but with the potential to turn into either, depending on the choices you make and the path you follow. But this must not be your concern, because when a journey begins no one can know (or should know) what will happen on the way to the destination. Never let another person control your life. Live in the present and trust in your own abilities - this is the way of the Fool. Such journeys always imply a degree of risk, and hence the Fool is pictured walking toward the edge of a high cliff. With any new experience there is always the risk of failure and the certainty of change; it is the degree of change, and how that change will appear, that are undeterminable. But the Fool has no qualms about taking chances, so why should you? It is through the first steps that we learn how to walk, and it is through changes that we learn how to live our lives in harmony and peace. So jump head first into the abyss of the unknown, and know that even if you eventually fall to the ground, for a while you will soar. 2. The Magician The Magician's number is One, the number of creation and individuality; his power is transformation through the use of his will. In his manipulation of the basic elements into all the substances and materials of life, he shows us that from a foundation of the mundane can emerge all that is to come. He can take the Nothing from which the Fool emerged and shape it into Something, making one out of zero. Clearly this is power of a divine sort, and it is true that the Magician is a conduit for a higher power, which commands all of the material world. Since all that we can see in the physical world is the conduit himself, the acts he performs often seem like magic. The Magician may seem like a strange title for someone who holds real power, because the word "magician" tends to conjure up pictures of illusionists and escape artists, whose power involves sleight of hand and misdirection. The Magician, however, is similar to the stage illusionist in many ways. He is confident in his skills and his ability to produce the effects that he wants. His real power comes from sources outside of him, and he is powerless without these sources, just as an illusionist depends on people "behind the scenes". Both magician and Magician, however, are as important to their powers are the powers are to them. Without a conduit, power itself is impotent and useless. With his powers the Magician holds influence over all - theory and practice, logic and emotion, thought and action. Almost every modern depiction of the Magician includes one or more symbols of infinity to denote his limitless power; the snake eating its tail and the lemniscate (horizontal figure-eight) being chief among these. This limitless power comes from sources outside his body yet under his control. And as long as the Magician remembers that this power is his to command, even if he loses all of his worldly power and skill he can never truly be called powerless. For his Will is a power that, while it can be subdued, it can never be destroyed. Another nearly universal association with the Magician is the red-and-white color scheme. This theme recurs throughout the Tarot and it is very symbolic that it starts with this card and not the Fool. For while the Fool was the potential for positive and negative, the Magician is the union of positive and negative. He creates and he preserves; he destroys and he redeems. His true power is that he not only knows what he must do, but he knows how he must do it, and why he must do it. Then he does it. The Magician reminds us that a wish alone will change nothing, but a decision can change everything. A desire to create is nothing without an ability to create, and vice-versa. When the Magician appears he shows that you are ready to become a conduit for power, like he is. The forces of creation and destruction have always been at your command but now you have the wisdom and confidence needed to use them constructively. Now is the time to act, if you know what is it you want to accomplish and why. Since the powers of transformation are at your command, change your desires into objectives, your thoughts into actions, your goals into achievements. If you have recently met with failure, now you can change that failure into success as easily as the Magician changes fire into water. The only limits you have are those you impose on yourself. The outward manifestations of such power are as numerous as they are varied, but the most common outer effect of the Magician's influence is unswaying and total confidence. The realization that the world is under your control is what inspires this kind of confidence, and with good reason. So go out into the world, set your mind to whatever goal you are interested in, and then just stand back and watch as everything falls into place under your command. Ultimately, the message of the Magician is a simple one despite his limitless and infinitely complex power. Your life is under your control. Your life is what you want it to be. Your life is what you make it. 3. The High Priestess The High Priestess is arguably the most difficult of the Major Arcana to qualify with words alone, because so much of her power and ability is veiled in mystery that it is difficult for anyone to fathom it all. Every card in the Tarot speaks differently to everyone, but the Priestess seems to bear the widest range of interpretations, because she speaks directly to the Inner Voice, the unconscious mind. She is the manifestation of the unconscious and the effects of the mysterious in our everyday world. Trying to see how such mysteries work often defeats their purpose, and with this in mind, the High Priestess will be explained in as much detail as possible. She is, above all else, the base of potential that is the source of the power wielded by the Magician. She is the unlimited potential that allows him to transform and create whatever his Will desires. Understanding this type of balance, as found between potential and creation, masculine and feminine, is the key to unlocking some of the mysteries of the High Priestess. We see the clear progression of the theme of balance; instead of integrating opposites, the Priestess keeps them separate and keeps them in balance nonetheles. She herself is the scales; this symbolism is found in many Tarot decks. Without this balance there can be no power. The second symbolic motif found in almost all instances of the High Preistess are symbols of the unconscious mind. On the Rider-Waite version this motif is especially prominent, but most decks feature at least some lunar imagery that in turn has ties to the unconscious. Most decks that have the "twin pillars" symbology also depict a veil strung between those pillars; the High Priestess stands between us and that veil as a moderator. Behind the veil lies the powers of the unconscious, which we cannot start to understand but which, through her, we can learn to control. She is the gateway to realms that we may never fully comprehend or master. While it would be impossible for anyone to learn all of her mysteries and secrets, the High Priestess remains as a guide to those of us willing to venture deep within our minds to discover the true powers hidden deep inside each of us. This is the same power as that depicted on the Magician, but the scope of the Priestess' power is far different. While the Magician focuses his powers outward, to achieve a meaningful effect on the world, the High Priestess shows us that we can also use these powers on an inner level, to enrich and transform ourselves. Such transformations are certainly not as dramatic as the Magician's, but they are almost always more powerful. The High Priestess represents the mysteries of the unconscious and the Inner Voice, and her appearance is often a sign that your own intuition is trying to send you a message. The unconscious often speaks to us in symbols, so be alert around you for anything that seems out of the ordinary. This said, if you have an important decision to make when the Priestess appears, this is often a sign that the answers will be revealed to you, if you are patient and open to the whispers from within. You simply have to wait and be receptive to inner messages. Her lesson is that everything you need to know already exists within you. The theme of dualism in the High Preistess cannot be avoided either. She is often a sign of the Shadow, the negative portion of your personality that no one sees, and that you yourself could be unaware of. (In this sense, the term 'negative' does not refer to evil, just the opposite polarity from the positive and expressive part of your personality.) If you accept the Shadow within you, its powers will be open to you if you wish to use them. In most people the Shadow side is the more passive of the two, and the Priestess can therefore advocate a need for passivity in a situation. It is not always necessary to act; sometimes goals can be realized through inaction. 4. The Empress The Empress represents a departure from the dualistic philosophy of the first three Major Arcana, as well as from the strongly spiritual teachings of those three cards. Rather than simple dichotomies of positive and negative, the Tarot now starts dealing with the unfication of spirit, mind and body. The Empress is the latter leg of this triad, representing the physical body and the material world. From her comes all the pleasure of the senses and the abundance of life in all its forms. She is also the mother archetype, and through her we get a first glimpse of the power of love in the Tarot. The world of the Empress is an ideal and perfectly beautiful place, totally natural, untouched by artificial colors, lights or sounds. This is a place of bounty and fertility, a living representation of the process of creation and birth that the Empress herself symbolizes. She doesn't just live in this place, she is this place, just as much as the Priestess is the balance that keeps apart positive and negative. The Empress is no less beautiful than the flowers that throw their scent across her fields, no less fertile than the soil that lies underneath her throne. If anything represents the idea of Mother Earth in the Tarot, then it is the Empress. Her primary power, like the two Arcana before her, is the power of creation. But her creation is not based on creating the world she wishes to live in, or the person she wants to be, because she has that world and is that person. She creates life in all its myriad forms. The Empress is the archetype of the mother, the ultimate creator and giver of life; thus her associations can be extended beyond creativity into fertility, pregnancy and the daunting task of motherhood, which she always faces with a smile and a happy heart. She takes pleasure in all things, particularly her own creations - and everything in nature is her own creation. Tying into the theme of motherhood is the notion of unconditional love, which the Empress also represents. She makes no demands, sets no conditions, just loves everything equally and with all the power she can. From this, it can be said, derives her only real weakness, and it is something that all mothers deal with at some point. She is often over-protective of her creations, and wishes no harm to come to them at all. That would disrupt the eternal bliss and happiness of her realm. But as it is, the realm of the Empress is both the picture of beauty and of stagnation. So while the Empress' love can make you feel as secure as if we are in your mother's arms, it can also turn into a prison if experienced for too long. When the Empress appears in your life, you should make special effort to open up to her perfect and unconditional love. In that way you can become more like her: gentle and affectionate, gracious and elegant. Such qualities are often neglected, but they are also useful in a world of harshness and apathy. So instead of plodding through life, take some time to celebrate it! The Empress can often herald the conception or the birth of a child, and in that circumstance there is even greater reason to celebrate. Inspire others to do the same; the Empress is a leader, and the power she holds over other people is firm, but loving. Know this and lead as she would. Know also that the perfectly abundant world of the Empress is always free for you to enjoy. Even if you know that you have to go back to the "real world" eventually, a vacation from the hectic and artificial life that most people live these days will certainly be welcome. Spend some time outdoors, in the fresh air, enjoying every aspect of creation. And then, when you go back to where you were, the Empress' creative power and beauty will remain to inspire you and give you power. Strengthen your innate connection with the Earth's creativity and you will, by association, strengthen your own creative power. Cultivate your creativity and plants the seeds of a bountiful harvest. 5. The Emperor The second leg of the Body-Mind-Spirit triad is the Emperor, representing the power of the mind to shape the world. Such action does not take place at the command of the will, but through the command of the spoken or written word. The Emperor is the representation - and the ruler - of the structured and regulated world. This is an ideal world like the Empress', though one that is not always as beautiful or lavish. But just because it is more harsh does not mean it is any less necessary to enlightenment; on the contrary, it is completely necessary to balance Mind and Body, male and female. The Emperor is the opposite of the Empress in many ways. She is the Mother, he is the archetypal Father, wise in the ways of the world and knowledgeable of how to live as part of a structure along with everyone else. The Emperor does have a strong and powerful heart, as every father should, but he shows this side of himself through the imposition of strict guidelines and rules, as most fathers do. If anything he is even more protective than the Empress, because he has created order from chaos and wishes nothing to disturb that order. Underneath his royal robes hides the suit of armor which he proudly wears when defending those under his protection. The Emperor teaches us many things, the first of which being that every rule has an application and a reason for being. If we can understand this, then his world may not seem so restrictive after all. In fact, all restriction is ultimately for your own good, because without the law and order that this card so powerfully symbolizes, the world would fall into anarchy. Government and law both draw their power from him, but unlike the governmental figures that we hear so much about in modern times, the Emperor cannot be corrupted by power. He rules like King Arthur, who brought together the warring powers of England and knit them into the greatest empire the world has ever known. He is truly the master of his realm, and he rules with a firm hand, but a just one. He will listen to the counsel of others, though the final decision is always his. War is one of his many tools and he will not hesitate to use violence to protect those he cares about. The privileged few who are subject to his protection always repay him with the loyalty and respect he deserves. But the Emperor's power does not only extend to the controlling of nations. He is also the father, the male role model who offers advice, sets direction and brings security. He takes what he has learned, and passes it on to the next generation, so someday they can be as wise and powerful as he is. Any of the Major Arcana can represent people, but the Emperor is the kind of energy that often manifests in the form of a person. Obviously all kinds of leaders and fathers will harbor some of his influence, but he can also show someone who acts like a father by setting tone and imposing structure. He is a regulating force and thus associated with the government, bureaucracy and the legal system; his appearance often indicates an encouter with one or more of these systems. The Emperor can also personify the assumption of power and control, by you or someone close to you. If you are the one in power, take care that you always use it wisely. Above all else, the Emperor shows the benefits of structure and logic ruling over the emotions and lesser desires. Often, domination of the mind over the heart is not wanted, but in some cases is it necessary and even welcomed. When hard choices must be made it's important to maintain your concentration and focus, and this is something the energy of the Emperor allows you to do. When he shows a part of you, let that part of you manifest and take control. Enjoy the assertiveness and confidence it brings. Forge ahead and do what you know is best. If you can master yourself then you should have little problem mastering the world and all the things in it. 6. The Hierophant Spirit is the final leg of the triad that has been previously seen in the Empress and Emperor; the archetype of the spiritual world is the Hierophant. This is the card of beliefs, both religious and otherwise, though it does tend to focus on the religious and spiritual aspects because the Hierophant himself is often depicted as a holy man. Indeed, in some decks this card is known as the Pope or High Priest. But in actuality, a Hierophant is a person who holds 'forbidden' or 'secret' knowledge. While this could easily apply to the clergy, it has far greater scope than this. In a way it could be said that (with apologies to Crowley) every man and every woman is a Hierophant. The Hierophant can even stand for groups of more than one person, and in the majority of cases he is better represented by an institution than by a single person. This is because his is the power of the group and the society, who change the world to fit their beliefs. The same theme of control and change that first appeared with the Magician continues here in its fifth iteration; now there is still a well-defined leader, but the people do not follow him because they are ordered to. They follow because they are part of the group. The main philosophies of the Hierophant are that there's no "I" in "team", and that the good of the many outweighs the good of the one. Such a philosophy may seem unnecessarily restrictive but, as the Emperor has taught us, restriction leads to order. The Hierophant is charged with the maintenance and propagation of tradition and conventional beliefs, and anyone who goes against these beliefs is shunned. Balance and conformity are the goals of the Hierophant, and neither positive nor negative is emphasized - only tradition matters. In extreme cases, this can indeed have very negative effects (as Galileo found out) but in most cases having some tradition to follow is beneficial. The traditions and ceremonies of the church, which are particularly strong in this card, are a prime example of this. On a more personal level, the Hierophant is also a teacher or a mentor. One major role of a spiritual leader is to initiate others into the community and teach them the ways of the group. Obviously one who holds the secrets and is entrusted with the traditions of the group is a prime candidate to teach them to others, and the Hierophant plays this role well. Though his approach to teaching is one that centers on conformity and shuns individual expression for the moment, this can be helpful. Only once the student has mastered the ways of the group can he or she properly decide whether to remain or leave. When the Hierophant appears it will often be in the form of a teacher or a mentor, who instructs you in the ways of his particular belief in the hopes that you will join him. Such teachers do not have to be of a spiritual or mystical background; an employer training a new employee in the operation of a business is as much a Hierophant as any religious teacher. If your current situation seems to require more experience then you can call upon, be open to the presence of a teacher or mentor in your life. But do not make the grave mistake of openly seeking such a teacher - as the old proverb says, when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. The Hierophant can also represent group activities and beliefs, and in either case, support of the establishment and respect for the rules are emphasized. So if you are planning something revolutionary, the repeated appearance of the Hierophant is a good sign to forget such action and go with the flow for the time being. The traditional way of doing things must work most of the time, or else it wouldn't have been around long enough to become tradition! However, when an idea is proven wrong it is certainly time for a change. The true Hierophant is one who has a deep respect for his beliefs, but who will not blindly follow them to his own ruin. 7. The Lovers The Lovers card is not just about love and sexuality; it has several meanings which are all related to the duality expressed in the image of the card. The image of the two lovers holding hands or intertwined is a powerful symbol for the harmonious union of two beings, but it also stands for the necessity of proper choice, and some interesting concepts about the relationship of our conscious minds to whatever power brings these lovers together. It should be apparent that, in our culture which has so many words and definitions for the simple emotion of love, the image of love as expressed in the Tarot can have so many meanings. The Lovers is predominantly a card of the emotions, and it often portrays love that is divinely blessed, either by Cupid, an angel, or by God Himself. This seems to imply that nothing but good can come of this union, though with such a dualistic card there is always the potential for a sad conclusion, despite the best of beginnings. After all, love is like a flame because it can ignite the blaze of passion, but also because it can consume and destroy if used carelessly. Love is a wonderful thing, but profane or unrequited love has the power to tear families and lives apart. The Lovers has within it the potential for such love and we must always be cautious of it. Air is the element which rules the Lovers, and we should therefore expect the majority of its meanings to be associated with the spirit and the mind. The notion of choice between positive and negative is first depicted on this card with the old symbology of a man deciding between two lovers. Such a moral crossroads is often shown by the Lovers card, which now tells us to consider all consequences before acting. The situation could be as simple as a fork in the road with two paths to choose between, or a much more complicated decision by which all of our strongest beliefs and ideals will be tested. In times of such difficult choice we clearly need high guidance. The final meaning of the Lovers is perhaps best illustrated by the image of the card in the Rider-Waite deck, and some of its variants. This image shows the man looking at the woman, who in turn looks at the divine figure above them both. The man cannot see the angel, and he must trust the woman to see it for him. Likewise, the conscious mind (the man) cannot directly access Higher Powers (the angel), whatever you believe those are. The unconscious (the woman) must be the bridge between the physical and spiritual planes. This symbology also shows the true power of love; as discussed on the Ten of Cups, through love we can get a glimpse of Heaven. Often, the Lovers will refer to a relationship when it appears in a reading, and when it does, that relationship will be a perfect expression of the love between two people. This will almost always be a sexual relationship, though not necessarily. You must always keep in mind, though, the potential for conflict despite happy beginnings. Love is a flame that must not be left unattended; it must be fueled and allowed to burn for as long and as brightly as possible. If not a physical pairing of man and woman, the Lovers can also show the integration of two conflicting parts of yourself, the masculine and the feminine. Through the combination, greater wisdom is revealed. Finally, this card carries the meaning of choice, usually on the moral or ethical plane. The most familiar instance of such a choice, sadly, is the choice between your spouse and someone else with whom you have fallen in love. Alternatively, it could be between two possible partners, both of whom you love, but only one of whom would be best for you. Look inside, and turn to your unconscious for inspiration. Through it you can access the wisdom needed to make this choice properly, and for the good of all involved. Trust the counsel of your Inner Voice, and once you have made your decision, do not rescind it no matter how much opposition you face. 8. Justice Since the Major Arcana do not apply directly to physical life, it must follow that Justice does not apply to the laws made by mankind. True, sometimes the laws of mankind mimic the laws that Justice does enforce, and in those rare cases Justice can indeed refer to them. But Justice typically refers to the immutable laws of the Universe, the invisible principles that keep everything flowing forward smoothly through infinite causal chains. These are laws that cannot be violated; only enforced. And the sword of Justice, double-edged as always, is ready to mete out punishment for those who have wronged, and to reward those who have done good deeds. The two most important laws governed by Justice are really two sides of the same coin. First comes the law of cause and effect, stating that all events are connected and each present state is the result of all past states. This is a such strange idea to get your mind around because sometimes seemlingly meaningless actions will have great ramifications. Justice shows that every action you do will eventually have an effect, someday, and you really have no idea of knowing what that event is until it happens. Often the figure on the Justice card is pictured sitting in front of a curtain; this curtain hides the machinations of the universe that bring about these final results. From the law of cause and order develops the law of Karma, showing that all your actions will return to you eventually. They will be modified slightly, and they are often strengthened over time, but the lesson is still the same. As you sow, so shall you reap. This is really a simple elaboration of the law of cause and effect. Under this new law, not only will everything you do have an effect, everything you do will have an effect on you. This is where it becomes critical to be mindful of your actions, because everything you take will come back to you eventually. Before Justice, you have to answer for all your actions, right and wrong. Life, if nothing else, is fair. Indeed, Justice teaches the fairest yet cruelest lesson of all because, like in the suit of Swords, her blade has a double edge. You do not get what you expect, or even what you want - you get what you deserve. If you deserve good things then they are awarded, without ceremony or congratulation. If you deserve punishment then it is given with neither compassion nor mockery. You simply get back what you have made for yourself. And since you cannot change your actions once they have been made, if you want good things to happen you must be constantly making choices that will lead to those good things. You can be a saint or a demon - it is your choice. When Justice appears, it should be taken as a stern reminder that the deeds of the past form the foundation for the events of the present and the future. If, in the past, you did something that you have been feeling guilty about, now may be the day when you have to answer for your deeds. If you did a deed you felt was worthy of reward, perhaps that reward will arrive. Especially when the Justice card is around, mind your actions and make sure you don't do anything you might regret later. Justice often appears to warn you that she will meet you again soon if you stay on your current path. Whether this is good or not remains yours to decide. Despite the fact that it rarely represents the decisions of judges, this card can sometimes personify the attitude of a good judge. You may wish to take on this attitude to solve a problem in your life. The archetypal judge shown by Justice is not the blind courtroom statuette, but a figurehead of fairness and authority. Be right and reasonable in all your judgements - never take sides, never show mercy but never show excessive severity either. And before you judge others you must be prepared to judge yourself, and ensure that you are not guilty of the same errors as they. Righting any wrongs in your past must be done before you can attempt to right wrongs in your present. 9. The Hermit When questions about the nature of existence and the purpose of life start eating away at your mind, answers will not be found in the physical world. They can only be found inside of you. You have risen above your desires and emotions because they will no longer help you on your journey. Now you must become like the Hermit, who seeks the answers alone. Only the whispers of his Inner Voice, and the light of his lamp, will guide him now. Eventually even that lamp shall be cast away, because it is artificial and will not help the Hermit forever. His own inner light must learn to shine in the absence of the light of others. For true wisdom to emerge, there can be no distractions. Any preoccupations of the world, no matter how small or inconsequential they may seem, will be heard as shouts that drown out the still voice within. It is not enough to rid yourself of inner turmoil, though that is a step in the right direction. The next step is to eliminate outer turmoil, through isolation and withdrawal from the world. This is the path of the Hermit, who slips into darkness in order to have the light revealed to him when he is ready. Like the Fool, he is once again alone, separated from all others. But this time it not only by choice, but by necessity. Once he has learned the lessons and seen his true wisdom, the Hermit will often pick up his lamp and return to the real world, in order to help others see their own potential as well. But the Hermit is not a teacher; he will not lecture his students and tell them all about his experiences of solitude and isolation. They must experience it themselves, for wisdom earned simply by listening to another person is not really wisdom at all. True wisdom and true enlightenment always come from within. A teacher may tell the student how he found wisdom, but the student must go and find it for himself. Wisdom is not a gift presented to you on a platter. It is a gift you give yourself. The lessons of life cannot be rushed, or forced, or made to happen before it is time for them to happen. This statement, in fact, is one of those lessons that everyone must learn. But simply reading it on a page, or hearing others tell you about it, will not give you the experience of the lesson. Only by doing - or not doing - can we ever hope to understand. Knowledge only becomes wisdom when we earn it, through the sacrifice of our familiar surroundings and all the people we hold dear. If you think about it logically, everything you leave behind when you follow the Hermit's call will remain when you return. The only thing that will have changed is you. The appearance of the Hermit is a call to learn more about yourself and the nature of your existence, and everyone experiences this call at some point in their lives. Take this as a sign that your worldly problems and affairs can safely be put on hold; there is greater, inner work to be done now. Often this will refer to a problem you must solve or a part of your nature you must deal with before a situation can progress. Only in rare circumstances will this refer to a spiritual transformation, but when it does, know that it will be a powerful change requiring much effort and commitment. A more long-term withdrawal may be needed. The Hermit can also show you that a mentor is entering your life. This is a person who will not teach you overtly, but who will show you how to find the answers you are seeking within yourself. Perhaps you will be the mentor who is indicated by the Hermit, in which case you must be careful not to preach to your student, but guide him. Your wisdom will not be your student's, and you must accept that before any teaching can be done. If you are ever in doubt, know that all the wisdom you will need is already inside you, waiting to emerge. This light will not come unless sought out, but when it does, you will see that you had the answers all along. 10. King of Cups The King of Cups is a strangely ambivalent figure. Such a powerful male form seems almost out of place amidst the element of Water, just as the Queen of Wands is somewhat uncomfortable in the realm of Fire. This is why the King of Cups is often seen as a card of contradictions. He represents someone who is calm on the surface, yet passionate and volatile underneath. He shows a situation that is not entirely what is appears to be at first glance. Under his facetious exterior the King of Cups hides ulterior motives. He can be found in our lives as another person or as a facet of our own personality. Usually a man of art or religion, the King of Cups appears as a wise advisor and a noble healer. He listens to the suggestions of others, even when they are in conflict with his own carefully formed opinions. He never judges, never blames others for their faults, and is always a sympathetic supporter. In return, others always gather around to hear what he has to say because his wisdom speaks directly to the heart. He is a natural diplomat, a romantic to the core and a stimulating partner, whether in conversation, friendship or a sexual relationship. He rarely lacks confidence, and in those rare cases when he does, nobody realizes it. In fact, the King of Cups is almost always hiding something. He enjoys the quiet power he holds over others, and his personal agenda is as well-crafted as his speeches. He is a seducer who thrives on the company of women, and he is often selfish and unfaithful. Though he does have an air of innocence to him, his character is often not deep enough to reach it. All of this comes about as a direct result of the battle between his fiery soul and his watery heart. The two opposing influences pull him in totally different directions, and often he does not know which to follow. As you might expect of such a combination, he is insecure and indecisive, often letting others act for him. The appearance of the King is often a sign that you should employ peace and tolerance to solve your problems. Use diplomacy rather than force, and accept different points of view. Do not blame others for their failures, but help them to see how they can succeed again. When the King of Cups represents a part of yourself, you must make sure the King of Cups is not manifesting his energy in a negative form. The moderation theme of the Cups suit is critical. If you strive too far into the fiery side of the King you will be burned by his inner flames, but if you slip into the deep water of his emotions you could be overwhelmed and drowned. Stay in the middle and you'll be safe. 11. Death The image of Death charging across a field on his spectral steed would strike fear into the heart of almost any man. The appearance of the Death card has a similar effect on most people, though it really should not. Whether you like it or not, Death is one of the most powerful cards in the Tarot. Humans naturally fear the unknown, and so Death is our greatest fear since it is the greatest unknown. The majority of us are unaware that our mind and spirit die all the time, constantly shedding old beliefs and acquiring new ones. It has been said many times by many readers: the Death card is not a card of death - it is a card of transformation. In the Tarot, as in reality, Death is nothing more than a transition to the next level of life. Whether you believe that a soul goes to heaven or back to Earth to be reincarnated, the fact remains that the soul lives on. The candle is extinguished, but only because the day has come. The river shown on many versions of the Death card is a symbol, showing that life will go on, no matter what disastrous things happen. The river water will reach the sea, rise into the clouds, then rain onto the land to flow into the river again. Nothing is destroyed, because nothing can be destroyed - there can be only transformation. The only real reason the transformation shown by Death is so catastrophic is because it is being held back, fought against by those too afraid to realize that change is beneficial. Every change happens for a reason, and Death is a force like Justice in that it is absolutely fair. It does not discriminate against one group and spare another - everyone is equal in the eyes of Death. So if big changes are happening in your life it is certainly plausible that you are the reason for them. There's no point fighting death, it only makes things worse. Like the Hanged Man, accept that change happens and let it do what it must. Take a look at the Rider-Waite version of the Death card, and note the bishop on the right side of the image. He is actually welcoming Death, because he knows of the great spiritual transformation it brings. Almost all versions of the Death card show a symbol of resurrection or re-birth. This could be the rising sun, an egg, or a sapling sprouting from the body of a dead man. All these symbols show that to progress in life, our old form must die, just as a snake sheds its old skin to reveal a shiny new one. This is the message of the card: Death must be conquered by the regeneration of the soul, and he who knows this shall live forever. When the Death card appears, big changes are heading your way. Usually this change refers to something in your lifestyle; an old attitude or perspective is no longer useful and you have to let go of it. While the Hanged Man was a card of voluntary sacrifice, the Death card is a forced sacrifice - but that does not mean that it is not for your own good. Sometimes you cannot see how your attitudes are hurting you, and when that is true, the Death card is your wake-up call. Death is not simply destruction; it is destruction followed by renewal. Even though one door may have closed, another is opening. Will you have the courage to step through? If so, before you go forward, take a moment to look back. Is there anything that you are carrying with you that is no longer necessary? Let it go now, before you proceed. Are your old attitudes holding you back, or are high expectations constantly disappointing you? Cast them off, or let Death's watery energy wash them away from you. Open yourself and let it strip away all that you no longer need - fear, revenge, intolerance. Flowers cannot bloom if the land is full of weeds which choke the ground, and likewise, your spiritual enlightenment will be held back by doubt and fear. Let them go now or risk having them painfully ripped away when Death inevitably returns. 12. The Devil The Devil is another of the popularly misunderstood cards of the Tarot, perhaps second only to Death in this category. In our modern world we do not like to think that there is a seed of negativity in everyone, so we assume that anything bad that happens must be the work of some outside Devil, who is to be feared and shunned. But really, people do not do bad things because a force outside them is controlling their actions. They do bad things because the negative part of their own personality is expressing itself. To deny this side of yourself is to give it power over you, and to give it free reign over your life will eventually destroy you. The symbolic portrayal of the Devil in the Tarot is a clear mockery of two previous Major Arcana, the Lovers and the Hierophant. The former parody is perhaps the more obvious. Where the angel hovers on the Lovers, the Devil stands on his card, cursing the man and woman rather than blessing them. They who were once connected to each other by love are now attached to the Devil by their chains of lust and ignorance. The Devil's hand mimics the gesture of the Hierophant, but perverts it. The true Hierophant offers spiritual wisdom and beckons to us with an open hand. The Devil's gesture hides his true intentions of hurtful wisdom - not really wisdom at all. It must be stressed again that the Devil is not a force that attacks from without, but a cancer than devours you from within. When the Devil is in power everything turns upside-down; hence, the inverted Pentagram associated with him. When you submit to your inner Devil, you simultaneously submit to every other force in the outside world that would do you harm. You allow others to bind you and control your life. You allow your creative powers to be corrupted and turned against you. But through all of this you are not a victim of anyone but yourself. In fact, in a sense you are not really a victim at all, and certainly not helpless. The most important lesson the Devil teaches you is that you can free yourself from whatever restrictions are holding you back, at any time you choose to. The chains that bind the figures on the Devil card are loose enough to be thrown off at any time. There is still positive energy within you that you can tap to break free - but only if you can let go of the materialism and that the Devil embodies. In the end, the best way to free yourself of the Devil's bondage is not to submit to it, but to accept it as the shadow that must be cast wherever there is light. Having accepted the shadow, you can look to the light. When the Devil card appears in a reading it usually shows that you are not in control of your life, sometimes as a result of your own actions, but more often as a byproduct of inaction. This loss of control often leads to loss of hope, and a lack of faith in your own abilities. Sometimes ignorance and materialism are the tools of the Devil, and those traits will be evident if you focus on worldly possessions and power while ignoring the spiritual power you have inside of you. As a result, your creativity and energy can be seriously impaired, and you may not wish to regain control of yourself. Your own mindset is a critical factor when the Devil card appears. If you think darkness has won, it has. If you are willing to let others exploit and restrain you, then they can and they will. But no one has power over you unless you give it away. If you are willing to release yourself from the chains of ignorance, you can do so, and you can step into the light. Turn all that negative energy into positive energy and see how much you can accomplish when you believe you can. Take a good long look at yourself and try to see what you could not see before. Always remember, that shadow cannot exist without light, and that there is no Devil except the one you create. 13. The Tower Sometimes, when accepted and welcomed, divine wisdom and enlightenment flow freely like a calm river. The rest of the time, wisdom is blocked until it rages forth like a tidal wave and crushes anything in its path, including the recipient of the wisdom. This is the energy of the Tower card, an energy very similar to Death in that it is both a destructive and a creative force. When a building is old and decrepit, it must be demolished so that a new structure may stand in its place. The same is true of the symbolic Tower. When old attitudes and beliefs are outdated, you will have to let go of them, whether you like it or not. In most cases, the latter is true - you do not want to give up your ideals, and you cling to them like a child to his preciou security blanket. This attempt at security ensures nothing, really, except a disastrous change that will painfully rip away that which you did not discard of your own volition. But there is a greater purpose at work here. The power of the soul and the mind is far greater than the energy of some physical thing, and it can be taken with you anywhere and always. To extend the security blanket analogy, the blanket must be taken away so the child can find power and security within himself, instead of within some material object. When you believe material objects are more powerful than spirit and mind, you start building up a Tower of falsehoods on a very unstable foundation. If, by some miracle of engineering, it does not collapse under its own weight, you will eventually push it over yourself. The Tower falls not because Fate says so but because something within can no longer endure the strain it must bear. Sooner or later it will give out. This is a humbling experience because its lesson is that no one is invincible. The problem for most people is that they concentrate on the negatives and ignore the great opportunity that has been given to them. The fire of the Tower card burns away all that is negative and outdated, but it leaves behind all that is positive, all that is necessary to begin your life again and replace all that was lost. In essence, this is the energy of Death and Temperance combined, because sweeping-away and building-up both happen at about the same time on the Tower. As soon as the tumbling figures on the Rider-Waite card land on the jagged rocks of reality, they are greeted with the influx of wisdom that they need to survive. And with that wisdom in hand, they can take the first step back on the true path to enlightenment: building a mental Tower to Heaven rather than a physical one. When wisdom must be forced upon you, or when ignorance must be taken away, the Tower will appear to let you prepare yourself. If you choose to let go of what you no longer need, and accept what you do need, things will go much more smoothly and without frustration. If you ignore the warning of the Tower, however, and cling to the status quo, be prpared for a downfall. You have been oversleeping and this is your spiritual wake-up call. When the Tower is in the area, know that anything that seems secure could not really be safe at all. If a change is destined to happen, to not try to fight it, because all change happens because it is needed. On an inner level, the destruction of Tower is akin to the breaking-down of the fortress called the ego. When you build a wall to hide your secrets or to conceal your true self, you must know that sooner or later the wall will come tumbling down. Fantasies are particularly prone to being shattered by the power of this card; the Tower dissipates them like sunlight burning away fog. Fantasies and daydreams will not help where you are going so it is best to let go of them now. Do not place your faith in illusions of security; the crown on this card must be worn on by a human head, not placed atop a tower of cold stone. 14. King of Pentacles The King of Pentacles is a lot like King Midas - everything he touches turns to gold. He is a pillar of financial stability, with wealth and experience to share with everybody. This is the logical conclusion of all the positive ideals of the Pentacles suit: through diligence, responsibility and attention to detail we can and will become like the King of Pentacles. He is always rich materially if not spiritually, and he encourages you to live your life like he would. When this card appears he can either represent a person in your life, or a part of yourself trying to be expressed. No one has a stronger character than the King of Pentacles. His word is as good as his gold, and certainly just as valuable. He's similar to the Knight in that whatever he says he will do, will get done. But where the Knight takes on responsibility for the sake of responsibility, the King is in it for profit. He's a businessman to the core, the master of the material world. This could be seen as a fault, and it can certainly become so if he lets it get too far out of hand, but this rarely happens. He has too much experience and intelligence to be swept away by the allure of money; he prefers the security and peace of mind that it brings him. A lot of people see the King of Pentacles as dull and unimaginative, but this is probably because he simply prefers old ways of thinking and acting. This is not to say that he refuses to learn new things; in fact, he likes learning and has a wide variety of skills to call upon. But the old methods usually work best for a King of Pentacles and so he sticks with them. He is relied upon because of his devotion to duty and his trustworthiness. It's rare to see a King of Pentacles get angry, because they have a steady temperament and a very long fuse. But he is unforgiving to those who violate his trust, and for those people he has absolutely no mercy. Whenever you need the skills to manage your material affairs competently and efficiently, you can call upon the King of Pentacles. Take up all the vast challenges of the material world, and know that you can conquer them all if you work hard. Give generously of your time and resources, because by giving you often receive more, and making more money is something that all Kings of Pentacles love to do! When he appears, know that you have reached the height of achievement and you don't need to take any more risks. Simply watch for the right time to draw money and wealth to yourself. Let the King inspire you to success so you can inspire others in turn. 15. King of Swords The best judge of them all is the King of Swords, because he can take any situation, look at it with total impartiality, and then render a decision that is both fair and insightful. He has powerful emotions, much more so than the other Swords court cards, but he keeps them under control and uses them for the best possible purposes. The King of Swords is the figurehead of government, law, administration and all the duties associated with his suit. In the majority of cases he appears in your life as another person, though sometimes he is a part of yourself that must be brought to the surface. A King of Swords is a man of the highest ethical standards. He is totally incorruptible, a pillar of strength who gives sound advice to everyone, no matter who they are. Though not the same as the King of Wands, the King of Swords is a leader in his own way. His command style is more like a general than a governor. He does not inspire people, he commands them, and they obey him because they trust him. His decisions are almost always the right ones, because he sees the big picture and never lets his heart sway his judgement. Though they might not benefit the King directly, his decisions are always in everyone's best interests. But the King of Swords is not a passive leader who sits back and gives orders while never doing anything himself. All generals were soldiers once, and the King is no exception. He is very active, and when he thinks it is necessary his will be the blade that draws first blood. This is especially true when someone commits an act that goes against the King of Swords' ethics. He is totally intolerant of those who break the law (or rather, those who break his law) and his retribution is swift and severe. He has no real empathy for others, and he does not care for their well-being. He leads them not because he wants to, but simply because he can. When this part of you starts to manifest you'll know it right away. The King of Swords' arrival in your life is an event that almost never goes unnoticed simply because he commands attention from everyone around him. He does not linger waiting for something to do; he appears only when he is needed to drive raging emotions from you, or when his impartiality and cold judgement will help you solve a problem. For a moment, your head is clear and you can see things in a different light. Problems which refused to be solved before may simply solve themselves rather than stand before the King of Swords. Judge fairly, speak truth, and never waver from your standards. 16. The Sun The Sun symbolizes many things depending on how you look at it. The ancients saw the sun as the giver of life and light, and almost every polytheistic faith has a Sun God. It brings light and clarity after a period of darkness and confusion, and in this sense the Sun God is often a redeemer as well; a bringer of peace and good times after ordeals. Finally, the Sun is a symbol of steadfastness and reliability, for no matter how bleak your situation may seem, no matter how many problems you have, the Sun will still rise in the morning. All of these attributions, and more, are reflected in the Tarot card that bears the same name as our solitary star. The light of the Sun is about halfway between that embodied on the Tower and that shown on the Star. It is not a blinding flash of power but neither is it a subtle glow. It is hot enough to warm but generally not enough to burn. This moderation between extremes is the goal of the spiritual traveler, first shown on Temperance, now entered into full manifestation for us all to see. In this higher state, nothing is beyond your control. In the Rider-Waite deck a powerful symbol illustrates this. The sunfowers in the garden are not turned towards the Sun, as they normally are, but to the child on the horse. He is the one who now holds power over the material world. The great ordeal of the Moon has passed, and you have emerged into the light, stronger and wiser. War has ended and made way for peace; hatred is replaced by love; fear is overcome by courage. This is truly a time to celebrate! Good triumphing so powerfully over evil is not an everyday occurence in this world, and when it does happen you should be glad that a little more light has entered your life. The rising of the Sun is akin to the completion of the tasks and trials of the night, and the warmth it provides is the reward for not cowering in fear at the darkness, not running away given the chance, and not trying to hide from the wisdom that is rightfully yours. As a sign of reliability, there is nothing more powerful than the Sun, since no force on Earth (or anywhere else for that matter) can stop the Sun from rising in the morning. In a world of chaos, it is a still point of silence and calm, an assurance that there is some underlying order, some higher power that chooses to bless us and smile upon us each day. Even when clouds fill the sky the Sun is still there, waiting for an opportunity to break through the dark barrier and shine its light for us. Know that in every challenge there is an opportunity, and behind every cloud sits a sun waiting for its chance to be revealed to all. In a reading the Sun can take on many meanings, though the most predominant one is that of success and completion. It can be a herald of joy, happiness, the birth of a child, a stable family, material prosperity or almost any other end that is positive - but above all it shows completion. One cycle is over and, before the next begins, there is a period of light and relaxation that you can and should properly enjoy. Success comes if you are confident and bold in the use of your creative energy. Glow with the vitality of the Sun whose light is umatched and whose power is absolute. Such power and clarity are within everyone's grasp, including yours, if you let the light of the Sun illuminate you. If there are areas of darkness lurking inside you, the Sun's rays will expose them so you can integrate them into yourself. Fogs of confusion are burned away with the Sun's fiery sword, and its flames drive away fear and all the terrors of the night. A seemingly hopeless situation will be hopeless no more once the Sun shines down upon the true path, the correct solution. When the Sun appears, let its power amaze and overwhelm you. But do not simply watch - reach up to grasp it, draw its power into yourself. The power of the Sun is true power indeed. 17. The moon It has been said many times that things are not always as they seem, and in the influence of the Moon this axiom is particularly true. In the moonlight, things that are benevolent during the day can suddenly seem dangerous and malicious. The very term "moonlight" is misleading because the Moon does not emit light of its own, it simply reflects the light of the Sun. Some people even claim to see the face of a man on the Moon's cratered surface, though of course such a thing is impossible and only an illusion. A lot of people who look for that face in the Moon know it could not be there, but they look nonetheless. This card is one of the few Major Arcana with important animal symbolism, and with no human figures in the majority of cases. The Rider-Waite card shows a wolf and a dog; two members of the same genus, but the first is wild and the second has been domesticated. Both of them are shown howling at the Moon, however, and if a human were present in this scene he would probably be affected somehow too. Regardless of your place in the hierarchy of society or of evolution, you are still susceptible to illusions and deception. The Moon shines the same light down on everyone, though what you see when that light reaches your eyes depends on who you are, not on what you see. In ancient religions the Moon deity was often a Goddess with ties to female fertility, because there was a visible correlation between the cycle of the Moon and the female menstrual cycle. While this association is still valid, the Moon of the Tarot tends to deal with fertility of imagination rather than fertility of body. The crayfish shown regularly on Moon cards is a sign of the emerging subconscious and its influence over the conscious mind, and for a mind closed to the messages of its subconscious, there can be a lot of illusion and deceptions to face. You can no longer tell what is real and what is just a manifestation of your fears and desires. The ordeal of the Moon is the last challenge posed by the Major Arcana, in which you must travel in the dark, not knowing for sure if your path is the right one. There is no sunlight to guide you, no distant landmark in the hills to direct your steps, no one to travel alongside. This is a journey that must be made alone, in darkness and without a map or a compass. You must learn to rely on your own inner light to lead you along the true path. Any hesitation, any doubt, and that light will be extinguished forever. But if you believe, your light will shine forever, as brightly as the sun that will inevitably rise once this night has passed. The Moon's appearance in a reading almost always means that something is not as it appears to be, and that vigilance and perception will be necessary to find that which is hidden before it is too late. In a generally good reading the Moon shows that not all is as wonderful as you would think. You may be idealizing the sitatuion, and ignoring the fact that potential for failure exists among success. A negative reading that includes the Moon often shows that you are letting your imagination run away with you, and that things are not nearly as bad as they seem. In both cases you must open your eyes and see what it really going on. This card can also show times when you are not sure of your destination, or even of the path you are travelling - but you travel nonetheless. It's quite possible that you have lost your way, and are stumbling around in the dark. If you wait until the sun rises again the path may have changed and the opportunity could have been lost. So what should you do? The Moon is a card of intuition and psychic forces, so let go of your conscious mental blocks and let your intuition guide you. Not only will the way forward be revealed, but in a lot of cases you will learn lessons about yourself that will be valuable in later journeys. 18. The World After every obstacle has been faced and surmounted, after every path has been travelled and charted, there remains only the last step to the next level of existence - the World, the final gateway. After the union of the conscious and unconscious, the mind and the body, in Judgement, all that can remain is union with the Divine in whatever form it appears to you. This journey is over and the next is only beginning. The cycle is complete as last, with the vindication of the traveler and the immortality he has gained through development of the self. It would seem that the Fool's Journey may not have been so foolish after all. This card, as befits its nature, has the same basic symbolism in almost all of its myriad version. There are the four cherubs embodying their domains; The bull for matter, the lion for energy, the eagle for time and the man for space. Together they represent the unifed creation and control of all things in the Universe. Another common motif is the dancer in the centre, with her twin wands. The wand is that of the Magician, but it has now multiplied, and the need to ground its magical power has vanished because it has become one with its source of power. Positive and negative can be seen as two parts of the same whole. One is many. Many are one. The World could be thought of as a time of rest, the time between death and life where the soul awaits reincarnation in the material world and - for the briefest of periods - becomes one with the universe from which it came. All the lessons learned have been put to use. All the tasks accomplished have born fruit and brought prosperity. Every cause has had its effects and all of the diverse threads of effects have been woven into a tapestry of your life as you have lived it. Now is a time to enjoy your wisdom, savour your prosperity and admire the personal artwork you have created, for soon you will start it all over again. The journey may have stopped for the moment, and it may have transcended the plane on which you started, but the journey of the soul never ends. A new beginning is found in the end, the pieces are in place for a new journey to start, and after that one is completed, another will surely commence. After a glimpse of the Divine you return to manifestation, sure of your convictions and in your ability to someday see the face of God again. The cycle is as endless as the wreath that surrounds the scene, tied together by the ribbons of Divine force, and spiraling around the universe until the end of time. The World card marks a time in your life in which one cycle is over and the next is just beginning. It represents the final achievement of all your worldly expectations and desires, and the immenent approach of new desires to follow and new goals to puruse. The World itself remains the ultimate goal, because it is an affirmation of life and an arrival at a perfect state of harmony and bliss. This is the confirmation of success and the reward for all your trials and ordeals. With the coming of the World comes assured success and material well-being, as well as emotional fulfillment, and growth in the spiritual sense. In the material world, this card's energy often manifests as a promotion to a higher position or an initiation to a new level of knowledge that was only dreamed of before. But this time of rejoicing and happiness, this peak of ecstasy, merely gives us a glimpse of the next mountain on the horizon. So once again you must step up ot the cliff and leap off, ready to start a new Fool's journey and find what secrets lie in this new level of existence. The cycle of the Major Arcana begins where it ends and ends where it begins; start and finish are no longer the ends of straight line, but coincident points on the circumference of a circle that encapsulates your life. The present is now. The future is now. Eternity is now. 19. King of Wands The King of Wands is pure fire energy, but strangely enough, he has the least to do with actual creation and creativity. His forte is not in dreaming up ideas and implementing them himself, but in taking an idea and changing the world to match his vision. As such he is a natural leader and commander of all kinds of people. They flock to him to hear what he has to say and leave just as eagerly when he gives them something to do for him. Like the rest of the Kings, the ruler of the Wands suit will appear in two ways in your life: either as a person or as a part of yourself that must be awakened. As a person, the King of Wands is the ultimate leader, who looks forward to challenges because he enjoys the rush of adrenalin that solving a difficult problem can induce. He not only dispels his own fear but that of others, by ensuring them that they shall succeed. He is not all talk, though; when the going gets tough no one hangs in there longer than he does. The King of Wands has a deep and innate respect for other people, and his compassion extends farther than most people would expect. For a King, he has a remarkably good relationship with the common people. When he is unable to assist by himself, he will empower and enable others to help in his place. As with all of us, the King's faults emerge from his strengths. Most of the time he does not show enough restraint to know when assistance is not needed or wanted. He can sometimes make things even worse by doing what he thinks is the right thing - and he always thinks that what he is doing is the right thing. Most of the time his high sense of ethics proves him right, but in those few times where he is on the wrong side of the argument, he can do more harm than good. But one thing that can never be said of him is that he walks away from problems, whatever they are. He will defend another man just as vigilantly, if not more so, than he would protect himself. An inner spiritual change is often heralded when this card appears. The King of Wands invites us to act as he would to solve our problems. His vision is one of ideal reality, and his vision is that humanity might always be better than it is. He is the warrior of light who stands up for something that matters, and his appearance is an invitation for you to do so as well. If there is a cause you wish to support, but you are unsure of your position, you may proceed with the knowledge that your base of power is strong. Enjoy the King's power and authority, but be sure to use it for productive means. Take your responsibilities seriously, think of new ways to do things, and never stop believing in yourself. 20. Choose Your Sign Choose carefully though, the opportunity to orchestrate one’s fate is not always the blessing it seems. AND THERE YOU GO. You now have a setting, a plot direction, an undertone and your very own protagonist. WHICH LEADS TO THE CHALLENGE. Tell us what you ranked and then write a post that includes that setting with that character! Thank you for using the Cosmic Weiner Dog's Patented Reality Generator!