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Friday, April 2, 2010

What's in Zanna's bag?

As my co-host, Helen, mentioned in her recent post: Barbara Moore wrote a great article for April Fools' Day on her blog at Llewellyn and included a fun spread. You can read Barbara's post here: http://www.llewellyn.com/journal/article/1849.

Barbara says this about the spread: “What if you are embarking on a journey or adventure of your own? As we noted, most Fools carry something, a bag or pack of some sort. People speculate a lot about what is in that pack. This spread is about what is in your bag as you begin walking down your path, whatever it may be. Keep in mind, this is not necessarily about actual stuff you are bringing (although it can be). It is more about attitudes, beliefs, and energy with which you are approaching the journey.”

For my reading, I am using James Ricklef’s Tarot of the Masters (I have a personally signed copy! I love this deck!)* Thank you, James, for giving me permission to include images of the cards in this post.

In this reading, I’m not going to discuss the paintings on which the card images are based, but I encourage everyone to visit the web site that James has set up for the deck at http://www.jamesricklef.com/ToM_INTRO.html.

This is the layout:




Like Helen, I shuffled the cards while meditating on the question "What do I have in my bag with me on my journey at the moment?"

The first thing I notice is that I pulled two Earth cards, two Fire cards, and one Major. Interestingly, my birth chart is strong in Fire (my Sun sign) and Earth (Moon and Rising signs). It is as if the cards are pointing out that my astrological makeup is indeed “in my bag” on this journey. It is part of who I am.

1. This will be very useful. This card shows something that will serve you well; you’ll be glad you have it.

KNIGHT OF COINS: Ah, the good old reliable, persistent, single-minded Knight of Coins. I identify readily with James’ comment that the painting – as well as the Knight of Coins in general – embodies a sense of “serenity and subdued power.” Here I see my Earth signs at work – Virgo rising, Taurus Moon. On my journey at this moment, I will be glad to have my sense of commitment, patience, and even stubbornness – a refusal to back down or give up.

2. This will come in handy. This card is something that you may not use often, but there will come a time when you’ll be very happy you have it.

TWO OF WANDS: James explains that this card departs significantly from the Rider-Waite imagery, and I find that I really like this alternate imagery for this reading. The “gritty realism” (as James calls it) in this card will come in handy on my journey. It is one thing to be inspired and enamored with a dream, and quite another to put one’s nose to the grindstone and make something happen. There are so many sayings that come to mind. For example, “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Planning and envisioning a goal are important, but equally valuable is taking the necessary steps to win over challenges and adversity, whether they come from without or within.

3. This you won’t need. This is something you think you’ll need but probably won’t use. You’ll probably carry it along more as comfort or security, and that’s okay. It won’t hurt.

FOUR OF WANDS: I typically think of the Four of Wands as a card of celebration, particularly a shared celebration in which people express their appreciation for each other and their achievements. Can it be that I think I need this sort of celebratory environment but, in the end, I really don’t? I have a tendency to feel inferior when others are praised, endorsed, or celebrated. I automatically think: “No one ever says all that great stuff about me. I guess it’s because I don’t deserve it.” Intellectually, I realize that this is an unhealthy, unhelpful response. At an emotional level, however, I continue to react this way. So perhaps the Four of Wands here is telling me that I am placing too much importance on public displays of appreciation, ascribing great meaning and significance to them when it is not deserved. I can still look forward to experiencing a celebration without depending on it for my own personal satisfaction.

4. This will weigh you down. This card is something that is like emotional baggage. It will get in your way and cause problems. Definitely unpack this and leave it behind.

THE CHARIOT: Like Helen, I have pulled a Major in this position. I am being instructed to sit up and take notice! It seems to me that what will weigh me down might be both the inability to understand and balance opposing forces in my life (note the dark and light-colored horses) as well as wearing various masks or personas instead of allowing my authentic Self to be revealed (look at the bottom, and you’ll see the masks of Tragedy and Comedy). This assumes, of course, that I can even identify my “authentic Self” under the masks I have collected over the course of my life. We start wearing masks at a fairly young age, you know.

5. You forgot this!


And we return to Earth! James points out that the coins are arranged in the pattern of the Qabalistic Tree of life, representing “the Higher Power out of which all wealth arises.” Wealth. Ah, yes, how do I define Wealth . . . or Success, for that matter? Is it time to do a recap, a recount, or a reconsideration? Have I forgotten how to enjoy the “fruits of my labor” – no matter what form they take? What exactly is the purpose of being reliable, persistent, and single-minded like the Knight of Coins in position 1? What is it I hope to accomplish with commitment, patience, and stubbornness? Will I know it when I see it?

Like all good Tarot cards, these have brought me more questions than answers, and much to contemplate and consider. I want to thank James Ricklef for creating such a “masterful” set of cards, Barbara Moore for sharing this wonderful spread, and “Fair Helen” for inspiring me with her reading!

* Tarot of the Masters is copyright © James Ricklef; all rights reserved." Webpage for the deck: http://www.jamesricklef.com/ToM_INTRO.html


  1. First of all Zanna, this is a great reading, one which I enjoyed immensely.

    Again I can relate the Knight of Coins to you and it seems perfect for this position, you I know, have worked hard at your profession as a writer, with great success with your latest achievements of two childrens books published. You have set a course towards a goal and you keep at it - a great inspiration to me, a budding writer.

    Hey I smiled to see we both got 4 of wands although in different positions and loved your interpretation of it.

    So glad you joined in this spread, it is so interesting to read from another's perspective and so much to learn from another's interpretations.

    I am glad I am able to inspire you now and again as you so often inspire me!

  2. Hi Zanna,
    First of all, thanks for your kind words about my deck, "Tarot of the Masters." As for your reading, I just have one specific comment.
    In the position of what will weigh you down (The Chariot) -- I would suggest that it is a need for Victory. Life isn't about winning; it's about the journey.
    Bright Blessings,
    James Ricklef

  3. Thanks, Helen!

    James, that is a very good observation about The Chariot. I do understand that life isn't about winning -- but I do love to win, or at least to be acknowledged for my efforts. I think I have become more this way as I have aged.

  4. Zanna, thanks for using my spread and posting your reading. I do love seeing my spreads in action. Especially when they are in such competent and creative hands as yours and Helen's!

    I wrote this spread over a year ago (actually I just looked in my files...November 2008!) and entirely forgot about it until Llewellyn sent it out the other day.

  5. Thanks for the compliment, Barbara (or is that "Babs"?) I'm glad you enjoyed the reading.


Thank you for leaving a comment. I love hearing from my readers!
~ Zanna