On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me…

10 Lords a-Leaping

one lord a-leaping

Ten is the number of pips in a playing card deck and the tarot, which is the focus of today’s topic. I will look at a more intuitive way to learn and read with pips. Whatever system or deck one uses, there is likely a standard set of meanings assigned to the cards. In olden days (early 1900’s or older) these tended to have no rhyme or reason, at least when it came to organizing them. The 8 of Spades might mean illness or a thief, whereas the 8 of Hearts could be new clothes. (Those are real meanings that I recall.) Thus the only way to learn the cards was to memorize them without any shortcuts. Older tarot meanings were much the same, a hodgepodge of meanings stemming from a fortune-telling tradition of cartomancy.

Nowadays we tend to rely on the four elements to provide structure to the pips in our decks. Fire, water, air and earth each provide a “flavor” for a suit and numerology does the rest. So if hearts are love, emotion and romance; and 8 is a number of success; the 8 of Hearts referenced above could mean a successful romantic relationship or working problems out with a dear family member or friend. It’s much easier to remember this sort of thing because if we know the basics, we can infer the full meaning for each card.

A different way to work with the idea of ten for the pips is to think of ten as being a scale of accomplishment: one is the idea of something, five is the halfway point and ten is the completion or achievement of that something. Then mix this with the pip’s suit element, throw in a dash of the specific question and there you have a card meaning! I must credit this idea to Marcus Katz of Tarot Professionals.

For this scale-of-ten, it is best to integrate it by sitting down and figuring out something you would do or make; and then writing all ten steps it would take to achieve that goal. So if I were going to write a software application, (1) is to have the idea that I want to write an application; (2) would be to determine the requirements — what it should do; eventually I’d get to (7), which was software testing in my list; and so on until (10) was having a complete and useable application.

Going back to the 8 of Hearts again: still love and romance from the suit. 8 is more than halfway through the cycle, so nearing completion of something. There is still 9 to go, but we’re past the mini-goal of 6 and over the hurdles of 7. In the list I came up with for my scale-of-ten, 8 is fine-tuning and reworking things although not yet perfection. So the 8 of Hearts for me could me a relationship that has overcome some hurdles and isn’t “til death do us part,” but it certainly has the foundation to be.

What if the question was about personal finances but the 8 of Hearts showed up? I’d probably focus mainly on the number 8: things are improving, the sitter seems to have suffered some monetary setbacks or at least faced lean times; and she is now in a holding pattern. Time to work in the hearts: some real conviction and confidence (I’m putting “passion” into more relevant terms for finance) to move forward, and some small changes are needed to achieve the next stage of the client’s goals.

That sounds like a bit to work through, but the more I used the technique, the more intuitive it became, rounding out my tarot readings a bit. And I confess I use this method almost exclusively nowadays when I need to interpret playing cards — along with a smattering of other meanings that have stuck with me from my more intense cartomancy days. I do believe it’s a good tool for one’s reading arsenal, and I encourage people to try it. Sit down, write up that list for your personal scale-of-ten, then try it out on some pips to answer actual questions.

That concludes today’s “tenly-ness,” see you soon for the ninth day of Christmas!