The Old Godfather – Tail of the Dragon – Endings, Doorway With Footprints, Leaving, Outer Threshold, Lower Boundary – Outer Fire, Inner Fire
Cauda Draconis means “Tail of the Dragon” in Latin, and its significance is reflected in this name. This Figure represents the “tail” end of things, and is associated with endings. It represents the past, and the state of near completion. It is thus associated with the south Node of the Moon, and its association with past skills, experiences, and knowledge. It is also associated with Sagittarius, the Teacher and Philsopher, also due to its association with knowledge. It is a Mobile Figure, as it is associated with endings, and not keeping things as they were; Cauda Draconis is a Figure of radical change and disruption. It also advises us to let go of the past and be willing to move on to something new. The shape of the Figure itself represents footsteps leading away from a doorway, thus associating the Figure with departures and again with endings. All of the energies in this Figure are active save for Earth, which is passive, indicating that the only thing Caput Draconis lacks is the traditional final Element of Earth, and then the end of your journey will be completed. Its Outer and Inner Energies are both of Fire, which associates Cauda Draconis with the fiery end that comes to many things, as well as the violent nature of change and endings. This Figure can be seen as being strongly associated with the Tarot card of The Tower.
In addition to Endings, Cauda Draconis is associated with selfishness, single-mindedness, and blind focus. As one approaches the end of anything, their concentration can become intense as they strive to make that final jump to finish. They will do anything to achieve that end and final rest. Those imbued with the energy Cauda Draconis are often near to finishing some stage in their life, and while they can be generous, it is generally only so that they may gain from their generosity. The interests of Cauda Draconis are often pursued with little or no regard for others; they are utterly focused on their goal, and seek only to finish what they have started. Corruption and danger are also associated with Cauda Draconis, as well as destruction.
Cauda Draconis also looks to the past, and is focused on what has already happened, reflecting on what is no longer. Combined with the above, this makes the archetype of Cauda Draconis an Old Godfather, and not in the Christian sense of the world. Cauda Draconis is an ancient mob boss, with no scruples or conscience (except for where his family is concerned), who is focused completely on setting all of his affairs in order and increasing his family’s power before he dies. He uses his experience from the past to help him achieve his goals, and is willing to do anything to achieve them. He works for himself and his family, and no one else. He is corrupt, dangerous, and destructive, with nothing personally to lose. Cauda Draconis’ opposite Figure is Caput Draconis, or the Head of the Dragon.
The Reveler – Joy – Tower, Bearded, Laugh, Sing, Peak, Candelabrum – Outer Water, Inner Earth
Unlike its opposite Tristitia, Laetitia’s Inner and Outer Energies complement each other nicely, allowing for Laetitia to be a positive figure: the Inner Energy of the Figure is Earth, and this materialistic, practical, stubborn, and powerful nature is what supports and allows for the emotional and intuitive development of its Outer Energy of water. The emotional energy of Laetitia is extremely powerful and strong, which is why in the Figure itself, Fire is the only active element, representing the strength of Laetitia’s emotions. The shape of the figure brings to mind a mountain or tower, with the focus at the peak. Laetitia, then, is associated with being at the top of one’s life and game, filled with joy, happines, and long-term fulfillment. Interestingly, Laetitia’s emotional fulfillment can also be short-term as well, and the context in which the Figure appears will affect whether long-term fulfillment or momentary pleasure awaits.
This Figure is also associated with ascent and upward mobility, in contrast to Tristitia. It signifies good prospects, fortitude, and honest convictions to help you achieve more with the help of a supportive community. It is very similar to the Four of Wands, Completion, in the Tarot, in that it represents fulfillment within a community. Laetitia can also represent innocence, honesty, goodwill, naivete, and strong convictions and beliefs, while still remaining open-minded and open to new ideas. Laetitia is a Figure of sharing and openness, and so is not a good figure when secrets are involved; the key concept of Laetitia us that the free flow of unblocked energy will lead to fulfillment and happiness. Laetitia is approaching completion, and the peak has almost been reached, and is associated with celebration and gladness. Astrologically, it is associated with Jupiter and Pisces; good fortune, inner strength, good ideals, and knowledge of and integration with the larger universe. It is a Mobile Figure, representing its adaptability and constant movement, and its opposite is Tristitia.
The Heartbroken – Sorrow – Pit, Stake, Cross, Diminished, Cursed, Fallen Tower – Outer Air, Inner Earth
Tristitia is the Geomantic Figure of sorrow and sadness. Like the Tarot card Sorrow (Three of Swords), this sorrow is the result of a disconnect between the world as you see it in your mind, and the world as it is. In other words, the disconnect between Lacan’s Real and Reality. This disconnect is represented in the Figure by its Energies; its Outer Energy is Air, and it is sustained by the Inner Energy of Earth. Air and Earth are opposite elements, and to do touch, so the Earth supporting the Air is an inherent contradiction that leads to disappointment and sadness. In terms of the Figure itself, only Earth is active, representing the unfulfilling life one has when they only concern themselves with the material, ignoring reason, emotion, and passion. The shape of the figure suggests a bottomless pit or stake driven firmly into… something, or an upside down tower (associating it the the Tarot Tower, and therefore with ruin and downfall).
Surprisingly, Tristitia is a Stable Figure, which indicates that the sorrow that this Figure causes is not fleeting, like perhaps the loss of Amissio is, but rather longer-lasting, hence its association with curses. This is also why its archetype is the Heartbroken, as Tristitia’s sorrow can sap the will from one who suffers from its energies. Its permanence is a crucial part of the figure (as reflected in Earth being its only active element), and Tristitia can be associated with less negative things as well: sinking one’s roots in and permanence (though this permanance can be either positive or negative). It is more commonly associated with sorrow, difficulty, pain, trouble, and low anything: spirits, vitality, and expectations included. It can also signify low amounts of negative things, as well, but generally does not.
Tristitia is Figure of despair and depression, but also of creativity and benevolence, for blessed are the poor in spirit, which is really what Tristitia is. As such, it is also associate with paradoxes. In this vein, it is associated with the wisdom that ones gain through suffering, and perspectives one gains from misery; essentially, the positive side of torment. It also represents downward mobility and spirals, kept secrets, idealism (usually idealism failed), unconventional styles, grief, and being stuck in an unresolvable situation. Saturn and Aquarius are Tristitia’s astrological equivalents, which is interesting, as the two are not normally complementary. This further serves to illustrate Tristitia’s sense of disconnect; the Figure is limited by Saturn, while at the same connected to the rest of the world through Aquarius, but not necessarily in a positive way. Tristitia is the opposite of Laetitia, or Joy.
The Hermit – Prison – Isolation, Enclosure, Constricted, Lock – Outer Earth, Inner Earth
Carcer is the Geomantic Figure associated with isolation and entrapment. As such, unsurprisingly, it is astrologically closest to Saturn, the planet of limitation. It is also associated with Capricorn astrologically, due to its Outer and Inner Energy being both of Earth, reflecting Capricorn’s concern with the material. The fact that both of Carcer’s Energies are Earth also indicates that Carcer as a Figure is unable to break free of the fetters of the material and move to a higher plane; it is trapped in the material world.
The shape of the Figure of Carcer is also that of a prison, with the two active elements boxing in the two passive ones. Earth and Fire are both active, but are separated by the passivity of Air and Water. As such, Carcer lacks compassion and rationale, and contains only the material and drive. Carcer is restrictive because material expression and the energy necessary to live to the fullest are unable to meet. It is, unsurprisingly, a Stable Figure, as it is rooted in Earth through and through. It is associated with rigidity, inflexibility, fixation, and imprisonment. Its archetype is the Hermit, as in its prison it is alone, and so is associated with isolation, avoidance (of any issues of people), and stubbornness (again hearkening back to its Earthy origins). As a prison, Carcer is also associated with security and stability in and of itself. As isolation, Carcer is associated also with productive energy and focus, free of the distractions of others; the isolation of Carcer can be self-imposed.
Those who have a great affinity for Carcer tend to save money and are extremely cautious, afraid to step out of line. They are timid and careful with their resources, and usually reclusive. Taken to the extreme, Carcer can be greedy. Carcer can also be associated with separation of forces, ideas, and people, as well as binding ties and agreements that restrict you. The opposite of Carcer is Conjunctio, the coming together of forces, rather than Carcer’s separation of them.
The Worker – Gain – Full Bags, Internal Grasping, Inner Wealth, Picking Up – Outer Fire, Inner Air
Acquisitio, or Gain, is the opposite of the Geomantic Figure Amissio, or Loss. This Figure is directly associated with gaining things. It is important to remember that this means the gaining of anything, whether or good or bad; it can represent gaining an illness, a lover, a follower, a friend, a stalker, wealth, or anything else. Whether this gain is positive of negative depends on the context. This Figure is also associated with success, fortune, material wealth, profit, attaining one’s goals, and rewards within reach. These good things will not come to you just for existing, however; you need to work for them. This why Acquisitio’s archetype is the Worker; the lesson of Acquisitio is that if you work hard and work well, you will reap rewards in time. The gains you make will be a result of the work you have done, and so this Figure is associated with working towards one’s goals, as well. The Worker is passionate about his work, and can be fierce in defending it. He loves life, and seeks to enjoy it. The worker has great Inner Wealth, because he works hard and honestly for everything he has.
This Figure also reminds us that we can do nothing on our own, and even if we refuse to admit it, we rely on others in order to accomplish what we do. The success of Acquisitio is communal success, and is a result of teamwork. Acqusitio is also representative of a successful, thriving market in which one can succeed. As such, Acquisitio is associated with fairness and justice, ensuring that all gains are well-earned. It reminds us that without the complex interactions of the community, wealth is meaningless; it must be placed in context to be worth anything.
Astrologically, Acquisitio is associated with Sagittarius and Jupiter. Jupiter and Sagittarius are both associated with higher ideals, philosophy, and learning. As such, through this relation, Acquisitio is strongly associated with the values of truth, fairness, and justice. Acquisitio is a Stable Figure, and the gains made through this Figure’s energies are not fleeting, but lasting.
Acquisitio’s Outer Energy is that of Fire, and outwardly the Worker of Acquisitio is filled with a passion and spirit for his work that he uses to achieve success. This drive comes from Air, which naturally fuels Fire, indicating that Acquisitio’s philosophy and meaning is natural. The Outer Fire is made possible by holding one’s principles near and dear to them. The shape of the Figure itself is the opposite of Amissio, and represents two upright, full bags. Air and Earth are Active, meaning that Acquisitio represents what happens when one’s principles and ideals are applied into the real world, when ideas become reality and improve the world around us.
The Hedonist – Red – Passion, Upside-down Goblet, Burning, Danger – Outer Water, Inner Air
Rubeus is the Geomantic Figure associated with passion and letting loose. Its archetype is the Hedonist, who lives life in the moment, does not care about the future, and forgets about the past. It is an extremely high energy Figure, associated with blind intoxication, drunkenness (divine or otherwise), joyous participation in any activity, pleasure, large amounts of sexuality, and adrenaline rushes. As it is associated with adrenaline, Rubeus is also associated with danger, and contains many warnings: it can signify addictive behavior, as well as a dangerous lifestyle, violence, and fierceness. Rubeus is a very “live in the moment and only the moment” Figure. Rubeus is strong, messy, and hot-tempered, seeking their happiness as the expense of everything else.
Interestingly, in the actual Figure, Air is the only active element. The Hedonist’s passion, then, comes not directly from the source of hedonism and Fire, but rather from some “higher” source. In this case, the hedonistic, passionate involvement in the pleasures of life comes from focusing on our interpersonal relationships with others – a form of communication, which is associated with Air. Rubeus expresses itself through a strange sort of communication, which is reinforced by the fact that Rubeus’ Inner Energy is Air. Outwardly, Rubeus is Water; indeed, he goes with the flow, doing whatever he wants, when he wants it; in many ways, he is the ultimate in “going with the flow.”
Astrologically, Rubeus is associated with Mars – from which the Figure gets its fierceness and part of its sexuality – and Scorpio – from which is gets its celebration and living in the moment, trusting in the cycles of death and rebirth. It also is exemplified in the following quote from The Art and Practice of Geomancy by John Michael Greer: “Good in all that is evil, and evil in all that is good.” Rubeus is good at seeing the inherent contradictions in life, as it represents one itself; the pleasure in living dangerously, and the danger of living safely. Rubeus is, unsurprisingly, a Mobile Sign. Its opposite is Albus, the upturned goblet; Rubeus’ goblet has overturned, indicating the possibility of unwise decisions, abandon, and violence.
The Maiden – Girl – Harmony, Mirror, Beauty, Purity, Woman, Breasts – Outer Air, Inner Water
Puella is the Geomantic Figure associated with female sexuality, fertility, women, and the Yin, as opposed to Puer’s Yang, male sexuality, virility, and men. This is not to say that Puella does not exist independently of Puer; she most certainly does, and it is only because Puer is ordered first and he therefore serves as a useful tool to illustrate Puella, that this question even arises. Puella is, unlike her opposite, a Stable element, and like Albus is associated to some extent with caregiving. The shape that the Figure itself assumes is that of a figure with full breasts, emphasizing the sexual yet maternal nature of this Figure. It is strongly associated with female sexual energy and accompanying fertility. Puella also represents love and the deep inner strength that goes along with it – hence why her Inner Energy is Water. She draws upon her vibrant and full inner life in order to support her rationality, ideals, and loftiness. Interestingly, the female sexuality is sometimes portrayed as aloof and teasing, always out of reach; one possible reason for Air being its Outer Energy.
However, in the Figure itself, Air is passive. Fire, Water, and Earth are yet still somehow held together – opposites that do not fly apart. Why do they not fly apart? Because of the harmony that Puella’s inner strength and love produces. Astrologically, she is associated with Venus and Libra – too symbols that are not too much alike, yet still held together. Puella is associated with grace and beauty, like Venus, and also with her large stores of sexual energy. Libra also represents Puella, though, for Puella is able to provide a sense of balance and harmony to her surroundings, as well as herself. She is confident, and this confidence can spread to others.
Puella is the Maiden archetype because she seeks union. She is almost complete, just like Puer is, and seeks to complete it. Rather than questing for this completion, as Puer does, Puella instead seeks to bond with others in harmonious exultation in order to complete herself, filling her passive Air. Puer and Puella were matched for each other. Puer’s only passive element is Water, which is Puella’s Inner Energy. Puella’s only passive element is Air, which is Puer’s Inner Energy. Puer seeks out Puella via his questing, and Puella provides the harmony necessary for union and completion, showing them the way (Via).
Puella is, then, very receptive to things coming her way, and adapts and changes them. She is focused on achieving self-satisfaction and reaching deep into herself and understanding what is there. She may be lost in dreams and meditation, but she only seeks to reflect upon and improve herself. Her attentions can be fickle and fleeting, and Puella tends not to be associated with permanence, but instead with more short-term thinking and benefits. Happiness and harmony derived from Puella are often short-term only. However, she has more than enough love to give to others, and is always willing to extend the hand of friendship.
Puella is associated, like many “female” esoteric symbols, with the earth and the material. As such, Puella can represent material stability. Puella is a very ambivalent sign, with both positive and negative aspects. She can be fickle, but also stable. She can be self-absorbed, but also caring. She is able to hold others together through her natural sense of harmony, and bring balance to others, She is graceful and beautiful with a sometimes calming, tranquilizing effect, and yet often focuses on herself, representing a form of self-improvement.
It is important to remember that Puella does not represent women or the feminine. Rather, it represents those elements commonly associated with the feminine in older and esoteric traditions. It is ridiculous to assert that there is one definition of femininity. Puella is one possibility, but there are many others. The same idea holds true for Puer and masculinity.
I read a very scary book yesterday: Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves. As I explained in the first linked post, I was extremely affected by this book, on a level that no other book has ever affected me. Needless to say, it also terrified the living daylights out of me. As I was up at obscenely late (or early, depending on your point of view) hours, not able to sleep, I started contemplating ways to help me deal with my fear. As is common with me, I turned to the tarot, which I find usually calms me down when I am stressed about something.
And so I decided, last night, to design a spread to help me face my fears by contemplating them and moving past them. Fear is a psychosomatic phenomenon; fear is not a mandatory part of being alive. Fear only exists so long as you let it exist, as best explained in Frank Herbert’s novel Dune in the Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear:
“I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
Where the fear has gone there will be nothing……Only I will remain.”
What makes fear so scary is, in part our inability to effectively deal with the unknown. By making our fear known, it helps to lessen it. We cannot deal with that which we do not know. Once we know it, it can be treated and dealt with. As such, this spread is designed to help you think about your fear, and hopefully try to move past it.
The spread below has a unique shape, which those of you familiar with H. P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos might recognize. It is the shape of the original Lovecraft Elder Sign (not August Derleth’s rehashed Elder Sign). The Elder Sign was designed by Lovecraft in his short story/novelette “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” to protect its bearers from the Deep Ones. Lovecraft also used it in another instances – such as in “The Dream-Quest of Unknown Kadath” – as a means to ward off any form of unnatural being. It has since come to be used as a ward or protective force to be employed against any manner of unnatural or eldritch beings.
Since H. P. Lovecraft’s horror is known for portraying the horror of cosmicism – the utter meaninglessness of life in an uncaring, monstrous universe and the vast, unknowable depths of human consciousness and experience from which the eldritch and alien emerge – I felt that it was appropriate that the spread should take the form of his Elder Sign, to ward off the terrible unknown that forms the basis of most fear.
Without further ado, the spread is here:
The spread is divided into three parts: Positions 1, 2, and 3 (the stem) represent the nature of the Fear you are facing, and help to mitigate its impact by understanding what it is. Positions 4 and 5 represent the nature of your possible reactions to the fear, helping get you in the proper mindset to rationalize the Fear and your ultimate course of action with regards to it. Positions 6, 7, and 8 represent the nature of the Courage you need to summon up in order to face your Fear, and as such lie above the Fear and represent what you should ultimately do to allow the Fear to move past you.
When using this spread, as always, deck choice can be key. Colorful, cheerful decks (like the Gummy Bear Tarot, Angel Tarot, Wildwood Tarot) can help bring peace of mind to you if overcoming your fear through action is what you desire. Darker decks (like the Necronomicon and Dark Grimoire decks) can often help overcome your fear through a cathartic-release effect, and might also help you more deeply consider the Fear by giving it more weight. I personally find the latter approach more beneficial, but it’s entirely up to you as the reader (or the querent as the querent).
The Nature of the Fear
Position 1: The Underlying Cause of the Fear/Root of the Fear
As I argued above, the true underlying cause of almost all Fear is the unknown, particularly the intrusion of the unknown or alien into one own’s familiar life. However, it would be, for contemplative purposes, not very useful to assign a place in the spread for this already-defined idea. Instead, the “root” position of this spread represents what, on a deep level, is causing this Fear of the unknown to creep into your life. What insecurity, emotion, though, or feeling is causing this Fear? How did the unknown creep into your life? What aspect of the unknown is it that is scaring you? On the most fundamental level (without just saying “the unknown”), what is it about your current situation that really unnerves you? This position, though a “root” position, is meant to be a very, very abstract concept; Fear is ultimately rooted in the mind. It asks you the question “What am I really afraid of in this situation?”
If this position is inhabited by a Sword, a Prince, or an Ace, then your fear may be buried deeply in your mind, and is a very abstract Fear, as cards with these qualities reinforce this position’s meaning and ask you to focus your attention and thoughts here.
Position 2: The Form the Fear Takes
This position is meant to illustrate the way in which the above underlying cause of Fear appears to you. If your fear is, say, that you will die alone and unloved (the first position), then this position might tell you that this fear makes itself known to you through your recent string of romantic rejections. Another way to view this position is as asking the question “What prompted this Fear to awaken inside you?” This position will hopefully help explain to you how the Fear makes itself known in your life, how it shapes itself, and how it manifests in such a way as to affect you. This position represents the avatar of your Fear, its earthly representative as it descends from the realm of the abstract.
If a Disk, Ten, or Princess appears in this position, your Fear may be grounded inherently in the practical; cards with these qualities reinforce the card in this position, and tell you to focus your attention here. Additionally, if this card is a two or a three, pay special attention here, as this card can represent the potential for the Fear to grow (related to the “Three” position), and also as the first “harmony” of the Fear (the “Two”). Also pay attention to Fours here, as this position also represents the manifestation of Fear.
Position 3: The Effect the Fear Has on You
This is a relatively simple position; it directly helps you understand how the Fear has impacted your life, and what effects it is having on you. Carrying on with our example from above, if the way that the Fear of dying alone and unloved is manifesting itself in your life is that you have been rejected many times recently, the effect that this fear is having on you could be withdrawal and contemplation of your dismal prospects, perhaps thus producing a self-fulfilling prophecy. Perhaps the effect that the fear has had on you is that you are becoming more and more desperate to find someone who won’t reject you. Perhaps you are losing sleep over, or feel that your life is out of balance. Think deeply about the card in this position, as it is a reflection of your mental state as you instinctively try and cope with the Fear that you face. This position’s meaning is very broad, and can be interpreted in many ways, depending on the situation.
If this card is a Cup, Queen, or Three, pay extra special attention to the card in this position, as cards with these qualities reinforce this positions meaning in terms of how the Fear is affecting you and your healthy inner life.
The Nature of Your Possible Reactions to the Fear
Position 4: The Reaction That May Benefit You
No card in any spread is guaranteed to fit perfectly, or even well, and so the card in this position represents not “the reaction/mechanism of coping with the Fear that will help you” or “the positive way to react to the Fear,” but rather offers a (usually short-term, but also possibly long-term) course of action that might possibly help you cope with the Fear. This card also serves as a sort of “sum” of the meanings of Cards 6, 7, and 8, representing them in their totality. This position asks you to think about a particular course of action and what benefits it might bring you; it is advice, nothing more, and represents one possibly way to react to your fear. Of course, thinking about the negatives of this reaction is always a positive too, and should definitely be done, though this card’s emphasis is on how to react positively to the Fear, and gives guidance primarily in that regard. Essentially, this position asks you to think how the meanings of its occupying card might help you deal with the fear well. Going along with our example, perhaps this card advises you to take a step back and take some time to contemplate your actions as seen in Position 3; maybe there is something you are doing that you can change so that you won’t be rejected. Maybe it advises you not to worry because there is someone for everyone, and with patience they will come.
If a Four is occupying this position, then pay extra attention to this position, as Fours (representing Chesed and Stability) reinforce this position’s inherent desire to stabilize you among your fear.
Position 5: The Reaction That May Harm You
Like the above, this card has a disclaimer attached to it. The same one as the card above, in fact. Additionally, like the above position, this position is associated with Position 3 in the spread. The difference between Position 3 and Positions 4 and 5 is that Position 3 is meant to get you to think about how the fear has affected your life directly, while Positions 4 and 5 ask you to think about possible courses of actions to more effectively deal with this fear (if you didn’t want/need advice on how to help you overcome your Fear, then you shouldn’t have been doing this spread in the first place). Position 3 is a more immediate reaction, whereas 4 and 5 are more thought-out and considered reactions.
That being said, Position 5 is the opposite of Position 4. Where Position 4 asks you to examine a reaction to your fear that might help you, this position asks you to examine a reaction that you should avoid, as it may harm you or even increase the power that the Fear you are experiencing holds over you. Keeping with our example, this position might tell the querent that their Fear will only be made worse if he continues going out to singles bars, or perhaps that solitude isn’t the answer for now. This position asks you to consider a possible course of action and the negative outcomes it might bring (though, again, always think about the positives too!).
If a Five is present in this position, ponder it carefully, as Fives (Geburah and Destabilizing Motion) represent the energies present in this position.
The Nature of the Courage You Need to Face Your Fear
Position 6: The Source of Your Courage
The three cards making up the final part of the Elder Sign mirror the three cards making up the stem. Position 6 asks you to examine the source of your Courage; where will you or should you draw the energy from to face your Fear? Will it be drawn from within you, or from without? Will it come from friends? A significant other? Family? The community? Your pets? Going back to our ubiquitous example, perhaps our querent will draw the courage needed to face his problem from his dog, whom he realizes loves him unconditionally. Perhaps we will realize that he will always have his family. Perhaps he will realize that there is more to life than love, and will do what he can without it. If the source of your Courage is abstract, then likely a Sword or Wand will appear here. If the source is more grounded, a Cup or Disk will likely appear here. If the source is grounded, then this position also will help you determine from what physical objects your Courage will come from.
If Wands/Fire is present in this position, then your Courage in part comes from your indomitable will. If Cups/Water is, you draw it from your inner strength. If Swords/Air is, then it will come from your mindset, your rationale, and your principles of truth and reason. If Disks/Earth is, then it will come from those around you and your environment. Additionally, if a Six, Nine, Ten, or Ace is present in this position, then the source of Courage is especially strong and likely will not let you down. A Six indicates that your source is well-balanced and centered, a Nine that your Source is complete and full, a Ten that your Source is rooted firmly in the ground, and an Ace that your source is bottomless and overflows with energy.
Position 7: The Form Your Courage Takes
This position mirrors Position 2, but applies to Courage rather than Fear. If Position 6 explains where your courage is drawn from, this Position represents how it will manifest itself in terms of your ultimate reaction to the Fear. This card is linked closely to Position 4, as it helps you understand the best course of outcome for dealing with your fear. Position 4 gets you on the right track and offers one possible reaction, usually short-term, but Position 7 represents the longer-term process that will help you permanently deal with your Fear. If Positions 4 and 7 reinforce each other, than the Fear will be relatively simple to conquer; if they negate each other, then your Fear may be more difficult to conquer. Remember, however, that fear is always conquerable. It’s in your head. Sure, if an object is the source of the Fear, it can still harm you, but once you soar above bodily and hormonal reactions to it, the choice to Fear becomes yours alone.
This card represents how the Courage will imbue you and allow you to face your Fear. If we return to our example for the penultimate time, our brave querent perhaps decides that no matter what happens, he will always have his dog to return to, and so is emboldened by this to let slide rejections; he knows that he matters to someone, and so if someone rejects him, he thinks that it’s ultimately their loss, not his. In this case, the Form Courage takes for him is self-esteem.
If a Seven is in this position, be wary! Sevens in this position indicate a possible false sense of Courage, not truly drawn from your source, and might fail you in the end. This is not necessarily the case, but it is a distinct possibility, so be warned! Reversed cards in this position also mean that there might be a hurdle or blockage at first making it difficult for the Courage to manifest itself in your life.
Position 8: The End Result of Conquering Your Fear
The is the summation card, and represents the changes that you will see in your life once the Fear has been conquered by your Courage. This is a broad card, and can mean anything, but it is essentially a summation of the previous seven cards and the lasting effect that they will have on you. Returning to our example for the last time, perhaps this card tells our querent that by overcoming his Fear using the Courage of his Self-Esteem, he will become a more confident person who will succeed in the world, and as a result of this grow to be loved by more and more people, until he dies as a beloved member of the community.
If this card is a Nine or a Ten, pay special attention to it, as this process will make you stronger in the end. If this card is a Seven, the process may actually weaken you (what doesn’t kill you does sometimes make you weaker). If an Eight is occupying this position, it cautions you not to over-react to the conquest of your fear, and reminds you to remain balanced afterward.
In order to design this spread, I came up first with the idea, then the symbol I wanted to use, then the layout, and then attached cursory meanings to the cards. I then laid out a spread, and adjusted the meanings slightly to better suit the energies as they were displayed before me (I switched positions 4 and 5 from the initial reading). In the end, the result of my initial spread – my Fear about House of Leaves – was as follows, using the Dark Grimoire Tarot:
Position 1 – Four of Wands [Reversed]: The root cause of my Fear is an inability to be complete; the House of Leaves reminded me of the essential state of loneliness that we all experience in the world, that we can never escape from; it is impossible to completely “know” somebody. Everybody is, in the end, the unknown.
Position 2 – Four of Swords [Reversed]: The form my Fear took was that of an inability to obtain restful sleep, or any kind of truce or break. Quite literally, the book made it impossible for me to sleep, and as its messages ring constantly in my mind, the Fear gnaws at my mind. I am surrounded by people, and their unknowable nature constantly reminds me of how alone I am and how alien the world is. I have no respite from these thoughts, and thus the Fear is with me always, and the Fear manifests itself as a constant presence and sense of restlessness and unease with everything.
Position 3 – Ten of Pentacles: The effect that the Fear had on me was to render my material Wealth (from my family) meaningless, and illustrate how life means nothing without deep connections to others, no matter what you own. However, complete connections with others are impossible, and so the contradiction of the Tens emerge: I want that which I cannot have, and so am unsatisfied, and am affected by my fear by becoming unhappy, wanting more, and realizing that having everything is both futile and impossible.
Position 4 – The Hermit: This Hermit advises me not to seek a period of withdrawal and contemplation in order to rationally sort out my fears and discover who I really am. While this could help – as we are all, ultimately, inherently alone – it would also hurt me by depriving me of the support of others. As this fear is about a lack of connection to others, cutting myself off from them could be disastrous, even though I know my bonds to others will never be pure and complete.
Position 5 – Two of Vessels: This card advises me to seek out a companion to confide in and share my Fear with, thereby lessening the burden and reminding me that while on the ultimate level we are all inherently alone, on more superficial (in the literal, not connotative, sense of the word) levels, there are always others to support us. This is the course of action I ended up taking, and it worked.
Position 6 – Six of Swords [Reversed]: My Courage will come from logic and reason. In the end, my confidante calmed me with exactly this; she sat me down and logically explained why I shouldn’t be afraid. Usually this doesn’t work with me, but combined with the calming effect of my confidante (and her humour), this did wonders. The card is reversed because the logic and rationale of Science was not enough on its own to banish the fears; the influence of the Two of Vessels was also needed.
Position 7 – Nine of Cups: The Courage took the form of Happiness, as I realized that I would be okay even if I was on a fundamental level alone, because I would always have people who loved me, and that that was the best anyone could do. Therefore, I could unblock Completion (the Four of Wands) and be happy and content.
Position 8 – The Fool: As a result of confronting and defeating my Fears, I will be ready to move on with my life, no longer worrying too much about being alone and alien to others. However, this card also reminds me of the cyclical nature of everything, and how another Fear will eventually take the place of the old one – but hopefully I will be ready and brave enough to face it.
Hopefully this spread is helpful!
The Organization – Conjunction – Interaction, Association, Gathering, Crossroads – Outer Earth, Inner Air
Conjunctio is the Geomantic Figure associated with the convergence of forces, actively coming together for a common end. On the outside, this Figure’s energy resembles that of Earth, reflecting practical purposes for material gain. Inside, however, these practical gatherings for a definite, practical purpose are driven by thoughts of idealism and principles – whether in terms of meeting on fair terms, or for some honorable or just goal. Any time two or more people, objects, or forces come together for a clear purpose, the energy of Conjunctio is at hand. The Geomantic Figure itself reflects this idea, as the two elemental pairings face each other; Passive Fire and Active Air, and Active Water and Passive Earth. The two triangles formed by these pairings face each other and work together; Water and Air work together to provide nourishing rain to help others grow (actively), while Fire and Earth come together to make life possible (passively). Forces working in tandem with each other and the ideals of teamwork are the bread and butter of Conjunctio.
The archetype of Conjunctio, then, is the Organization: a group of individual interests working together for a common cause. It is associate with contact, union, and the meeting of opposites (Air and Water work well together and yet are opposites; Water is Yin to Air’s Yang). It also represents the potential for change, the prevalence of cooler heads, and temperance and teamwork. As the Figure’s shape shows, Conjunctio is associated with diplomacy and building bridges, and combinations of forces. It is associated also with intelligence, sociability, talkativeness, recovering things that were once lost, and the enactment of often unexpected change (adding an element of surprise to this figure). This potential for change imbues Conjunctio with a sort of fertility, providing a context or field of potential for movement and other forces to act upon, laying the groundwork for others.
This Figure can be good or bad, depending on the context; change is not always good, and Conjunctio does not necessarily mean good change. It is associated with Mercury and Virgo astrologically, representing intellect – but also mischief. Conjunctio is a spendthrift figure, often unconcerned with rules, and indeed, often trying to circumvent them, but also is a Figure with lots of friends, who are getting together to change the world – for better or for worse. This Figure is Stable. Conjunctio’s opposite Figure is Carcer, the prison.
The Natural/Businessman – Greater Fortune – Valley with River, Protection, Omens, Hidden Help – Outer Fire, Inner Earth
Fortuna Major is one of the two Geomantic Figures associated with luck and good fortune, the other being its opposite Figure, Fortuna Minor. Fortuna Major represents fortune that comes from within and is derived from inner strength and vitality. It is thus associated with good luck and all that goes with it, but also is associated with the kind of luck that comes from “natural” inner-giftedness. Fortuna Major is successful and able to obtain power, and its path to this power unfolds seemingly naturally, with little apparent effort on the part of the Figure. This Figure is good at everything it does, and is associated with self-mastery and competence deriving from one’s harmonious inner spirit. When one’s outer wealth accurately reflects their inner wealth, the energy of Fortuna Major is present: one gets what one deserves is one motto of this Figure. It has superficial associations with karma in this vein, but it is not the primary focus of the Figure. Its lesson is that once you master yourself, anything is possible.
Fortuna Major represents the ideal businessman (not the stereotypical Wall Street fat cats), who is able to use what is around him to improve his own life and the lives of those around him; he is the one able to make lemonade out of grapefruit. He is generous, fair, honest, and fun. He is creative and full of energy, and so is associated with the Sun and Leo in Astrology. He can be, at times, a spendthrift, and is extremely ambitious, though rarely at the cost of those around him. Outwardly, he displays Fire, energy, will, and drive, which is all fueled by the steady energy of the Earth within himself, providing a steady base for him to operate from. The Earth represents the dry timber that slowly burns to keep his spirit going. In the Figure itself, Water and Earth are both active, which indicates that Fortuna Major’s strength comes from its grounding (Earth) combined with its almost psychic sense of intuition (Water). Together, these two make Fortuna Major seem like a natural, and everything comes easy to someone whose energies reflect this Figure. At the same time, this Figure works hard to get his results, and is never afraid to give everything its all. It is a very Stable sign, rooted as it is in Earth.
Fortuna Major is generally a very positive sign, as it is associated with inner strength, magickal secrets, unconscious efforts, nobility, and a good start leading to a good outcome. The only time this sign might not be positive is if you are in a very tight situation and trying to escape; Fortuna Major generally makes the most out of a situation, rather than trying to simply run away. However, this Figure also represents the unforced path that will lead, eventually, to victory.
The Mass – People – Stability, Crowd, Congregation, Multitude, Twin Path – Outer Water, Inner Water
Populus is the Geomantic Figure of Passivity and the rule of the crowd. Its archetype is, appropriately, the Mass, and it represents the collective consciousness of multitudes of people. The collective consciousness has no single driving will or idea, but instead represents the coming together of a multitude of ideas. The whole, in terms of populations, is greater than the sum of its parts, and Populus represents that difference between the whole and the sum. Collective consciousness and identity change slowly but surely, and so does Populus. Single events usually do little to break down or alter this Figure; rather, long, protracted trends over time elicit the most change.
Populus is Water through and through, both inside and outside, and this watery tendency shows in the Figure’s passivity and receptivity; Populus does not go out and do things on its own. Rather, it absorbs what is given to it, and adopts its own ways to better suit those around it, reacting to energies coming from outside. All of the elements in the Figure are passive, further emphasizing this nature. This passivity gives the figure a sense of powerful stability; a stability derived from intertia, adaptability, and slow, constant change (much like the Two of Disks in the Tarot). Populus always waits, and never undertakes its own action. It has no specific motion at all until it receives it from some other source; a powerful idea, social force, or other event (or more likely series of events) cause the Figure to move.
Because of this reactivity, it has many options before it (hence the Twin Paths as its symbol), as opposed to the purposeful movement and narrow options of Populus’ opposite Geomantic Figure, Via. Like water, the motion of Populus can be strong and powerful, but on the other hand, it takes a lot to move it or alter it. Populus can also represent unfocused action, the dispersal of forces, maters of emotional importance (due to its association with water), multiplicity and options, large amounts of anything (it is a crowd, after all), aimless wandering,indirect action (actions and influences that are not apparent or cannot be seen fall under this as well), gatherings, and assemblies. When large amounts of people are involved, Populus’ energy is present as the will of the masses, and as the will of the masses is hard to topple, Populus is a Stable Figure.
The Caretaker – White – Peace, Upright Goblet – Outer Air, Inner Water
Albus is the Geomantic figure of wisdom and peace. In the figure, only the element of Water is active, meaning that Albus is ruled by emotional and nurturing instincts. Outwardly, Albus appears to be a symbol of air, and its meaning is supported by this: Albus is associated with wisdom, intellect, awareness, mysticism, progress, and knowledge. However, the wisdom of Albus comes not from careful study or divine revelation; instead, Albus draws upon a deep inner wellspring of vitality: a vibrant inner life. Albus is completely in touch with its inner nurturer, and so is kind, loving, chaste, caring, and full of purity and goodness. He is a caretaker, and loves to take care of and watch others grow. He is also a stellar communicator, and in taking care of those around him, finds it simple to solve disputes and calm angry hearts.
In excess, like any other Figure, Albus can be negative. Despite its caring nature, it can sometimes be detached, aloof, and isolated. Its energy can also sometimes lead to madness and retreating from life. Its progression, though it exists, can sometimes be slow – which can be good or bad, depending on the situation. Its progress can also halt completely, creating sterility if too much Albus energy exists. Albus is also a quiet figure, and is associated with the intellect in the forms of its astrological associations of Gemini and Mercury. Albus is calm and quiet, and great wisdom can come from him. Though he might not be easily accessible, when he is reached, he will be more than you ever asked for. His goblet is full, as seen in his symbol.
A perfect example of a character strong in Albus is Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter – he is wise, kind, loving, and at the same time strangely detached and aloof, and full of vibrant inner life and energy. He is a great teacher and friend, and at the same time has his own dark secrets that keep him separate from everyone else. The Figure of Albus is calm, wise, detached, and full of powerful insights that come from deep inside himself. He represents peace and conflict resolution, as well as security and safety. World peace will never be achieved without the calming energies of the caretaker Albus, a Stable Figure. Albus’ opposite is the hedonistic Rubeus.