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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. July's Theme: "Attitude"
Volume 7 Issue 5 ISSN# 1708-3265

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Let's Talk Tarot
The Significant Self

with Marcia McCord

Do you use a significator card in tarot? How do you select one?

I see these questions frequently in regard to reading tarot. It's a personal choice to use one or not and the choice of the card is personal as well. Personally, I don't use one. The sitter is there for me and they are significant enough for me that I don't need a card to represent them. If the sitter asks for a card, I am happy to let them choose one. Usually, though, those choices are based on how the sitter wants to see themselves. Usually, too, that choice is based on representing themselves in the best possible light and choosing a "good" card.

While I'm always a proponent of a positive attitude, seriously, that's me. I'm what I call "relentlessly optimistic." It doesn't mean that I don't see negative things in readings. I do. It doesn't mean I always give a reading to a client that he or she wants to hear. I don't. I can't. I'm just aware that my nature is to see the cup has half full and, in fact, to try to fill it up the rest of the way.

The court cards in tarot can show personality traits and can be aligned with Myers-Briggs Personality Typing. Generally, my test results show me to be ENTJ so my card is, oh my gosh, The King of Swords! If I were a sitter looking to select a card to represent me, that may not be the last one I would pick, but it would not be the first. For one thing, I'd want a "girl" card! The study of Jungian archetypes, Myers-Briggs Personality typing and tarot flow together well, though. Like it or not, the word I use to modify my optimism is characteristically relentless and that's the key. That's what makes my type King of Swords. Marcia McCord Ad

But, but, the King of Swords is, well, mean, isn't he? It depends on your attitude, of course. Do you see someone who speaks up as mean? The K of S is extraverted, thinks out loud and on his feet. The King of Swords doesn't pay attention to details, right? Well, his vision is the Big Picture and it has to be. In fact of the "NT" types, the King of Swords is actually the person who brings those details together into a whole. He's able to see both detail and big picture. He's a puzzle person, seeing the Big Picture in the pattern of details. He's also intuitive. (Whew, I thought I was a goner for a minute!) The King of Swords is, well, heartless, right? Of course not! He makes decisions based on logic and intuition, searching for empirical truths. Sometimes, he might have to be reminded that people's feelings are also pieces of the puzzle, important pieces. If he uses his power for good instead of evil, he doesn't really need this reminder. Finally, the King of Swords doesn't want to listen, right? Actually, he does. He wants to hear it once. He soaks it up fast, absorbs it as part of the whole. He listens fast, if that makes sense. And in his speed, he appears not to listen. He is driven to closure, to resolution, to results, to decision. Is that a mean person? For some people, of course it is. But the King of Swords does not have evil in his heart any more than anyone else. He's just able to make difficult decisions and move on. That can seem scary.

Bring a positive attitude to the King of Swords and you have one of the best pet dragons ever: brave, able, swift, clever, strong, far-seeing, insightful, protective, egalitarian, confident, charming and fun. Bring a negative attitude to the King of Swords and you have everything that scares people in our modern times: smart, fast, evil, driven by power, heartless and cruel. The King of Swords at his worst is overwhelmed in lust for power that he will give up all to get it. The capacity for evil is not the same as the presumption of evil.

Is the King of Swords a bad card? Not at all. Like the rest of the cards in the deck, it is an archetype revealing one aspect of the human experience. And each of the 78 cards in tarot represents some aspect of ourselves, in each of us. Somewhere, in all of us, there's a King of Swords. He might be the good King, he might not.

Now, if you were me, a professional tarot reader, would you like the King of Swords to be your significator? Probably not, at the very least because of all the "bad press." But more than that, the capacity for abuse of power is something frightening to people about tarot readers anyway. The important attitude I as a professional reader can bring to the table with my own King of Swords is a list something like this:

Finally, why don't I like significator cards? Because it takes out one very important card from the reading so that the sitter may not get the chance to know as clearly, "OK, here, in this position in the reading, you're the King of Swords, you act swiftly, make decisions, take charge and get it done." That might be the most important part of the reading for the sitter.

And that might change their whole attitude.

Marcia McCord recently joined us (2009) as an Associate Proofreading Editor here at Timeless Spirit Magazine. Marcia is a professional tarot reader and computer analyst. She lives with her husband, five cats and one very patient cocker spaniel near San Francisco. Be sure to check out her blog!

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