Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Omily Tarot: It Will Be Signficant

So last week I did a reading and we discussed it, and along the way the term, 'significator' came up.  I realized, as I typed it, that I hadn't ever discussed the use of significators in readings before (because I frequently don't use one), and that this is something that's going to come up quite a bit for anybody who's studying the tarot.

A signficator is a card chosen as the first step to a tarot reading that represents the querent in the reading. Traditionally, this card is chosen from either the Major Arcanum, or the court cards of the Minor Arcanum.  If you're choosing a Major Arcanum card, dialogue with your querent, and  figure out what the situation at hand is, and what the question asked of the tarot will be, and choose your card accordingly.  A few easy examples: a reading about relationships would suggest The Lovers.  A reading about a pregnancy could be represented by The Empress, and a reading about how to deal with somebody who has wronged you could be represented by Justice.

In choosing a court card, you can select the suit based on the situation at hand: emotional matters represented by cups, spiritual matters represented by staves, intellectual matters represented by swords, and practical patters represented by pentacles.

If the reading is a general one, or the question doesn't neatly fit one of the categories available, you can also choose the court card based on the appearance of the querent: traditionally, the continuum of lighter to darker features goes wands, cups, coins, swords, though the last two are sometimes switched. You can also pick a court card based on perceived or self-identified temperament: fiery, dreamy, intellectual, or down to earth. You choose which court card within a suit by the gender, and age of the querent: children are pages, young adults are knights, mature adults and the elderly are kings if they self-identify as male, and queens if they self-identify as female.

When I use a significator, I'm likely to open my self up to the whole deck, and just move through the cards slowly until I feel one kind of stand up and start waving.  Sometimes this can take awhile, and sometimes I don't have a while, so I go with one of the other methods.  A well-chosen significator does provide a useful focal point for focusing your energies, so be mindful when you choose one: don't choose a court card based on appearances, or personality for that matter, if doing so is going to ignite stereotypes in your mind.  You need to be a clear channel for the messages from your and your querent's subconscious.

Sometimes it's best to skip the significator all together, to help prevent you from putting your querent into a gender/age group/personality/appearance box.  It's good to practice with one and without one, so you're comfortable either way and can go with what is best for the given situation.

I hope this answers your basic significator questions, and sets you up to start working with them so you can ask, and answer, some of your own.  I'm still up in the air about what to write about next week, so if you have suggestion or questions, definitely let me know in the comments!

Happy taroting!
~em

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