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Tarot Reflections


  November 15, 2003

Wisdom Reading
James Wells

James Wells is a Toronto-based Tarot Consultant, Reiki Master, weaver of rituals, and workshop facilitator. His mission is to provide sacred space for soul work and constructive feedback so that all may enjoy insight and healing. He can be reached through his website.


A reader of the A.T.A. newsletter is interested in the idea of prophecy. Cultures and religions the world over are influenced by the words and writings of prophets, people who have special insights into the heart and mind of a people and its Deity/Deities. So, using the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot deck, let's see what we can discover about prophets and prophecy.

1) What is prophecy?

KNIGHT of SWORDS. Interesting. In my personal newsletter, "The Six-Rayed Star", I just finished writing something about this very card. The gist of it is being a warrior of truth, one who keeps one's own and others people's thoughts and speech focused on what truly is. Knights go on quests, in this case a quest through the mental suit of Swords. In the image, he and his horse ride against the wind. Let's put all of that together. Prophecy is an aptitude for focusing people's attention on the truth, for riding against prevalent attitudes in search of the Divine Mind's word on a particular matter. In the public mind, "prophecy" often equal "prediction". This card would suggest that prophecy is less about future events, and more about concentrating upon the reality of the present moment.

2) What are the potential pitfalls of prophecy?

WHEEL OF FORTUNE. There is a danger of the prophet identifying himself with the Power which rules the Universe, an ego inflation in which the one who speaks prophecies believes that he or she is the sole agent on which the heights and declines of history hinge. Also, like the revolution of the Wheel, events change - nothing is set in stone. The one who believes that his prophetic declarations are unchangeable is deluded.

3) What are the benefits of prophecy

THE SUN. All can brought into the full light of day to be seen and discussed by everyone. When issues are addressed out in the open, new life can be sparked. The child in the card reminds me of the Christed One's words: "Unless you change and become as little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." In other words, prophecy can assist us to enter that state of innocence, trust, playfulness, and unconditional love we often associate with childhood. Note that, like the Knight of Swords, there is a figure on a horse carrying an object. However, the horse is taking it's time, the figure is naked rather than armored, and the weapon has become a blanket. This all suggests to me that the best prophets are those who are open and honest, who love humanity and Deity unconditionally, who wish to offer comfort and new life, and who approach truth with a sense of humor and a vision of the good that can be.


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