How to read Tarot Cards #7
The many faces of the Goddess- and their meanings- in the TOTEM Tarot Deck
Our TOTEM Tarot Deck is a modern spin on an old classic. While a traditional Tarot Deck in its architecture (78-card deck with 22 major arcana cards, court cards, and four suits), the TOTEM Tarot Deck leverages a more archetypal, elemental, and cross-cultural take on the story of tarot.
To this end, the TOTEM Tarot Deck has a robust kit of goddess-themed tarot cards, bringing the ancient (if not primordial) divine feminine into the spiritual conversation. Many ancient societies engaged in goddess worship, and these beings held distinct place of privilege in many minds and hearts for eons. I viewed the TOTEM Tarot Deck as an effort to call back “the old gods”, resurfacing and honoring many misunderstood- if not almost forgotten- female deities.
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From a functional perspective, a client (or personal) reading that features a disproportionate amount of these goddess-themed cards is noteworthy, and can indicate an influx of cosmic lady energy. And when working in a ritual magic or even meditative personal practice, these cards can be placed on your home altar or nook to help anchor and define the properties of these goddesses.
And, as you’ll note below and in your experience working with this deck and these cards, in particular, goddess energy isn’t just about flowing boho dresses and feathered headbands while clinking glasses of chardonnay at a full moon circle. Rather, these are ancient, primordial powers of cosmic intelligence and existential influence in the world- all with their own, very unique energy and areas of focus.
In addition to the little blurb we included in our TOTEM Tarot Deck booklet- with card “definitions” and potential meanings- there are some more woo ways too look at this ladies and their impact on us:
Our TOTEM Tarot Deck version of the traditional High Priestess card is Lilith. Lilith is hands-down my personal favorite tarot card, and in addition to the detailed meaning we provide in our deck booklet, she can also bring some deeper, more metaphysical elements of the divine feminine to a reading or ritual:
Living, human divinity: Lilith was the first human God ever created (before both Adam and Eve), and therefore personifies the magical creation of a new, soul-having, semi-divine species. Lilith’s appearance in a reading can indicate that you will be realizing your own divine nature, honoring yourself as you are- and not as society wants you to be.
Epigenetic healing and energetic terraforming: Lilith often indicates the shedding of inherited trauma, perhaps even healing from the trauma of past lives. As a part of this process, expect to see physical transformations associated with your soul terraforming your physical machine- including shifts in eye color. Vacillations in energy levels or appetite- or elusive physical sensations- will likely accompany this terraforming transformation!
Past life revelation and remembrance: Lilith is old, and this TOTEM Tarot Card brings a connection to our ancient origins. Are your Akashic Records open? What do they say? Are you getting downloads about your past lives? Who were you? Are you drawn to an ancient civilization? Lilith is giving you access to knowledge beyond space and time, so pay attention and follow the bread crumb trail.
Connection to psychic self: Lilith existed in the Garden of Eden long before the creation of written and spoken language, so she can connect us to a wordless, telepathic time marked by long silences and psychic reflection. Lilith’s appearance in a reading could indicate a quieter lifestyle- perhaps freelancing, writing or owning a small business- with a noted, silent connection to the natural realm and to animals.
Lilith may also herald major shifts in the sacral chakra, such as womb healing or releasing ancestral contracts or traumas. She is very single, so it’s not a big relationship-oriented time in your earthly experience. You’ll get a lot of value from sitting in nature, perhaps with a domestic pet, quietly and silently. Lilith loves the crystal dioptase, which I use regularly as a part of my epigenetic healing and past life healing efforts.
And, if nothing else, you’ll star to really enjoy your own company!
Instead of going with the more traditional Empress card, we decided to transform this major arcana matriarch into an ancient- and ferocious- Scottish Fairy deity: Mab. As they say in more ancient, pagan faith systems, Mab is the “Queen of Air and Darkness” and rules over the nastier nature elementals, predatory animals, and the overall balance of ecosystems. When Mab appears in a reading, she brings:
Sustainable abundance: Mab permeates and connects every living creature with her energy, acting as the animating force of nature. Working with Mab gives us access to this energy, connecting us to nature, living beings and the kind of sustainable abundance that comes from working in a garden, cultivating skills and relationships with others, and being patient with growth. Mab supports businesses and efforts that support women, children, animals and the environment.
Quantum leaps and manifestation: Mab’s animal is the rabbit (and the wild hare) and, because of this, she is associated with temporal disturbances in reality and very strange, almost-psychedelic serendipities and coincidences of divine timing. She can ordain you a “strange attractor” in the tradition of chaos magic, so get ready to circumvent linear time/ space to manifest your dreams in the here and now- always to your benefit.
Connection to the Fairy Realm: If Mab shows up, it’s a great time to say “thank you” to the nature spirits, elementals and fairies in other dimensions all around us. Designate a “wild area” in your yard or on your city balcony dedicated just to these creatures. You can also offer them gifts: they like sweets, sweet liquoir, junk food (especially pizza), shiny trinkets (like costume jewelry and mirrors), and more. Then wait for the high strangeness to unfold, courtesy of your new, fairy friends!
All of nature is connected by Mab’s energy, and she sees us as a big, cosmic family. Think of her as a sweet, protective grandmother…that will pull out a metaphorical machine gun if a bad guy gets too close! She loves to work with us via the crystal ametrine, which helps to anchor abundance and manifestation into this realm.
And, if you pull this card and see a rabbit or hare, you know what’s up. That’s Mab. And I think Mab is going to have a big year, what with it being the Year of the Rabbit and all;)
Venus is our reimagined TOTEM Tarot Deck version of the more traditional Lovers tarot card, and I think she’s a pretty badass. Now, Venus is both a goddess of beauty and love and a goddess of war, a very common theme across nearly every continent in the ancient world. In Venus’ case, her creation was the product of Chronos cutting off his father Uranus’ penis and throwing it into the sea. It was from this watery and very bloody birthplace that she rose, Venus in the half shell, from this incredibly savage act of violence.
So, love and war. Or, as the French say, “L’amour c’est la guerre” (“Love is war”).
When she pops up in a reading, get ready for a lot of awesome shit, including:
High magnetism: Venus pops up for people that are at peak magnetism, making them unusually and inordinately desirable, engaging and persuasive. So, be thoughtful about how you’re going to use your new superpower. What message or call to action do you want to communicate? What is the goal you want to achieve? Be thoughtful and intention and then….just let that pony run!
Freedom of choice: Venus indicates you are being given choices, and that you are in the driver’s seat of life at this precise moment. So often in life we’re just happy to get what we get- generally out of necessity- so this abundance-of-choice energy is very different and often disorienting. Remember: this choice really is up to you, so be thoughtful about what you want to call into your life and remember that you are actually worth it. Get ready for two or three job offers, not just one. Get ready for two, three or four people asking you out on a date. Get ready for invitations to be a keynote speaker at multiple events- seemingly out of nowhere!
Beauty, art and the finer things in life: If Venus pops up in a reading, go to the art museum. Get a nice glass of champagne while you’re there. Linger and take your time and wear a comfortable but super hot outfit. Stir and simmer and see what happens;) Maybe book an appointment at the salon or the spa to indulge in some beauty treatments. Buy a new piece of art for your home, or scoop up an amazing fresh-cut floral arrangement. Embracing beauty and art right now will produce dividends- often in unexpected ways.
Please note: there is also a warning that comes with Venus’ divine appearance in a tarot reading: be careful what you wish for. You’re so magnetic and powerful that, odds are, you’re going to get what you want, so spend some serious time and brainpower assessing whether or not “this” is really what you want.
Venus energy is embodied in jade and jadeite crystals, enabling the user to smooth out their rough edges, become increasingly persuasive in speech or writing, and to manifest that which is desired. She also likes pearls, coral and shells from the sea!
X- Three Sisters
One day long ago as a very young child, I turned on the TV, clicked over to HBO and quickly found myself enraptured, totally immersed in a harrowing cartoon version of Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. While the story is full of scary characters- like Mr. and Mrs. Macbeth- the most terrifying were the “Weird Sisters”, three otherworldly witches that materialized to share the prophecies that generated all of the action in the story.
This experience planted more than one seed in me: a burgeoning love of writing and the work of Shakespeare and a fixation on all things witchy and woo. And, while Macbeth is set in rural Scotland, these “sisters” evoke an ancient and cross-cultural archetype of the Three Fates (Ancient Greece), the Norns (Ancient Norse), and many, many more permutations. In our TOTEM Tarot Deck, we reimagined the Wheel of Fortune card into the Three Sisters card, evoking this ancient, witchy archetype in the world of tarot.
If the Three Sisters appears in a reading, they bring a very specific form of prophetic energy:
Self-fulfilling prophecy: this can be both positive and negative, or perhaps a mixture of the two. In Macbeth, the sisters’ prophecies drive Macbeth to murder just about everyone he knows in an effort to attain and retain the Scottish crown. The whole play is basically a warning against taking prophecy too seriously or throwing out your morals and ethics the moment a psychic reading comes to town (dumb dumbs!). That said, this card’s proximity to other cards in the reading will give us some insight into the areas this prophecy is going to impact.
Ripples in the fabric of reality: Our tarot card image of the loom is not an accident! The Three Sisters have the ability to manipulate the fabric of reality, intervening directly (and often dramatically) on your behalf in whiz-bang, high impact ways. Look for dramatic swings in fortune, unexpected news, and sudden opportunities. Sometimes, you’ll even psychically see the ripples in the fabric of reality, so keep your eyes peeled for unusual light shows!
Unbelievable alignment: When these Three Sisters come into a reading- or energetically into your life more broadly- you will not believe the crazy alignment that unfolds in real time, often putting you in seemingly impossible positions with almost otherworldly opportunities. That person at the coffee shop might just host a podcast that can catapult your business. That guy at the park might just be your future husband. Explore everything and follow the signs!
Any crystal that lends itself to gazing- such as optical calcite, smokey quartz or the classic clear crystal quartz ball- will amplify this connection to your new goddess friends. Pay attention. Follow the signs, omens and portents. And trust your witchy gut!
And check out my personal favorite- and very faithful- version of Macbeth here:
XVIII- Inari Okami
I absolutely love Shinto, the imperial religion of Japan. It’s a lot like the pagan faiths that predated Christianity in Europe, with nature spirits and fairies and a lot of powerful goddesses.
Their lunar goddess, Inari Okami, is *literally* the coolest. She shapeshifts into a fox form, called a kitsune, and is the inspiration for the Yakuza’s kitsune masks (Ala the Kill Bill movies). She governs sake, rice, commerce conducted at night and much, much more. When she pops into a reading, it might be time for:
Shapeshifting: A step beyond totem animal work, shapeshifting involves the merging of energy bodies such that you physically shift or develop sensory capabilities similar to your animal. In Inari’s case, it will likely be a nocturnal animal, such as a fox or wolf or owl. You may notice shifts in your eyesight (higher contrast) or increased sensitivity to sound.
Gates of perception opening: When working with Inari’s energy, you may find yourself falling into the deep end of the spiritual pool, having incredible dreams or visions in meditation. The images that emerge will likely be heavily white and black, with a great deal of contrast, and with very few other colors. You may even see the moon in these dreams or visions, letting you know you’re in Inari Okapi’s realm.
Rest and recuperation: Inari wants you to work less and rest (and play) more! This is a quiet energy of watery flow and yin energy, so while you may get incredible, abundant opportunities, you’ll get them easily and without focused effort. Have you been working too much lately? Burning the candle on both ends? Slow down, build unstructured time into your calendar, and go to the spa. Clear space of your home by gifting items you no longer use. Overall, create space in which to receive Inari’s gifts and blessings.
Inari loves New and Full Moons, so expect to have interesting experiences on those two lunar events. She likes to work with clients through moonstone, an auspicious crystal that maximizes luck and serendipity (especially when traveling). You may get super energized or need 14+ hours of sleep on New and/or Full Moons, so make sure you’re checking in and paying attention to your energy body’s needs!
Mab has a sister…and it’s Titania! Titania is the literal light at the end of the tunnel. The Fairy Godmother granting wishes made upon shooting stars. The benevolent, life-giving goddess of healing, resurrection and reward after suffering and struggling.
Aside from all of the obvious, spectacularly positive meanings associated with the more traditional Star tarot card, our Titania TOTEM Tarot Deck version brings in the magic of this Fairy Goddess:
Alternative healing modalities: When Titania graces a reading, it’s an ideal time to tackle that evasive health issue. Have you been low energy, fatigued and struggling with basic tasks? Do you have latent pain in your joints or extremities, but doctors don’t know what’s causing it? Have you become frustrated with traditional medicine, losing hope of feeling more like yourself again? Go outside of the lines and boxes of tradition: explore acupuncture, massage, reiki energy healing, breath work and even flower essences. These alternative healing tools and modalities will be exponentially powerful for you at this time. The only trick? Staying optimistic and believing that healing is possible!
Connection to star seed insights: Titania really likes working with star seeds: aka those people who’s souls come from other star systems, times and places. When she comes into a reading, you might have dreams about your previous lives in these incredible places (like Lyra or Andromeda), reconnecting to your celestial origins! If this is the case, reach out: we make Starseed Flower Essence to help support folks’ star seed work!
Psychic luminescence and aura perception: Titania’s main jam is Muse’s “Starlight” for a reason- she’s all about the special, sparkly light from stars and star systems. Expect more sensitivity to flashes of celestial light in the corners of your eyes, in the room in which you do your woo work, and/or even the backlit auras of other people, pets and plants!
Any spirit quartz will help you align with Titania, particularly when focused on healing efforts at a cellular (i.e. stardust) level. What’s more: if there’s ever a shooting star, comet or meteor shower, pay attention and make a wish. It might feel a little silly or childish, but it actually really works!
In our TOTEM Tarot Deck, we’ve reimagined the Hermit card as Persephone: the Ancient Greek Goddess of the Underworld. Persephone has been popping up a lot lately: in client readings, in mentions on social media or televisions, and even in my own, personal card pulls! Why? Well, we live in a crazy, out-of-balance, overly-social, enmeshed, codependent and noisy society…and we’re all energetically pretty sick of it. Time for an energy vacation!
But Persephone also brings some other, less well-known attributes to a reading, including:
Support for independent career efforts: Have you been contemplating going out on your own as a freelancer, contractor or small business owner? Or have you already built your own thang but found the last year or so a bit challenging? Now is the time to dive in and enjoy your ability to provide for yourself! You’ll be financially successful but you’ll also gain something else: the ability to control the rhythms of your own day, season and year, giving yourself the option to hit “do not disturb” without fearing getting fired! Whatever your passion, Persephone tells you to follow it…and enjoy the rewards for your personal bravery.
Focus on nourishment, sleep and self-care: I know a LOT of people that work 70-80 hours a week, put everything on social media, and then wonder why they don’t feel good just because they use a meal-planning kit or get the occasional manicure. That ain’t self-care, kids! Slow down and really focus on food, sleep and self-care in a tangible, daily way. Slow-cook real food (like a roast chicken or root vegetable soup) that’s nutrient-dense, nostalgic and soothing. Go to bed early and read a book- NOT on a screen. Leave your phone out of your bedroom at night. And check in with your body: are you tired today? Take a nap. Are your muscles sore? Take a salt bath. Seems simple, I know, but many of us fall short of handling these basics in a consistent way.
Hormonal rebalancing: Persephone is all about the connection point between our navel and sacral chakras, focusing energy on the connection between our inner child and ancestry. I got this card a lot before getting my full hormone panel back from Ways2Well here in Austin, finally learning the cause of all of my bodily weirdness since going off of birth control: I have literally no testosterone or progesterone. As all of this was revealed and I began hormone replacement therapy, tons of stuff came up around my inner child healing and releasing ancestral patterns. My underworld is now my own, a place of rest and quiet instead of a noisy juncture of inherited and experienced trauma. Pay attention to your cycles and feminine health when Persephone appears- you just might be getting the chance to take back your power!
Cutting energetic cords: Persephone told her overbearing, narcissistic mother Demeter to go scratch, and so should you! It might not be your mother or even a mother-figure, but odds are: you’re over functioning for someone else while denying your own dreams, goals and happiness. Take a salt bath and visualize cutting cords with these folks, wishing them well but wanting the energetic pivot back to yourself. Society places a lot of expectations on us, so much so that it can be a real effort to objectively assess and systematically peel back the layers until you get to the truth: yourself!
Persephone loves stilbite and carnelian crystals, soothing you into a state of self-care and peace and quiet. Your monthly cycles might get temporarily screwed up, but think of this as a renovation phase in order to improve your existing systems and set you up for success in the future!
I just wrote about our TOTEM Tarot Deck version of the Strength card, Hathor, in our recent Leo Full Moon Deep Dive here:
As a goddess, Hathor is one of the world’s oldest. She’s certainly the oldest worshipped goddess in ancient Egypt, commanding attention and awe millennia before Osiris, Isis and the rest. Hathor is thought to be the inspiration for the Sphinx, taking various animal forms including: the cow, the vulture, and the lion.
I met Hathor for the first time in an incredible dream. It started with me pulling cards for a Celtic Cross spread. Each card has an image of a different-looking goddess figure (one even being in chain mail, ala Joan of Arc) that all said, “Hathor” on them. Then, I walked into my kitchen and saw a gorgeous, alien-looking woman with striking red hair that said- like a question, “You rang?”. I then saw her foot, now a cow’s hoof, hit the ground three times.
I woke up and googled Hathor and was pretty stunned to find that she was a real goddess…known for her unusual red hair!
When Hathor pops into a reading, she brings a lot of very cool and very ancient magic:
TOTEM Animal connection: Right after my initial dream of Hathor, I started to cycle through many very pronounced TOTEM Animals. It started with cow, moved to hawk and ended with lion- all in dramatic fashion and in short order. These experiences strengthened my connection to my energy body and physical body, increasing my sensitivity to shifts and changes and helping me be more present in my physical form.
High levels of kundalini and chi: Hathor brings an abundance of life force energy, so expect a kundalini awakening and an overflowing container of chi! You might start waking up feeling awesome, suddenly finding yourself just running ten miles at the start of your day with seemingly no effort. Where did all this energy come from? Short answer: Hathor. Feel better. Look better. And, trust me, clients that get this card a LOT report a surge in their sexual energy…so use responsibly;)
Connection to ancient Egypt: You may find yourself drawn to images, concepts, stories and movies about ancient Egypt, particularly the oldest and most mysterious stories. When Hathor keeps popping in for you, expect dreams set in ancient Egypt. If you had a past life there (and then), you’ll reconnect to it lickety split! Indulge this: watch archeology documentaries about Egyptian dig sites or even fictional movies that bring in the iconography, colors and dress (like the Mummy series!).
Hathor loves to connect with you through labradorite and peacock quartz, the ultimate TOTEM Animal crystals that facilitate wordless communion and communication. Officially, Hathor’s stone was turquoise, so if you can swing for a bigger expense go ahead and buy yourself some gorgeous turquoise jewelry!
Hecate is our TOTEM Tarot Deck re-imagination of the Final Judgment card. Like Hathor, I first encountered Hecate in two consecutive dreams. In the first dream, I was in a high floor of a high-rise building, in a unit with floor-to-ceiling windows. The windows suddenly filled with fog almost like smoke, and I looked up to see a version of a Rothko painting with new shades of gray sitting on top of each other. I woke up with a word in my head: Hecate…but didn’t really know what to think of it.
In the second dream, I was on the el train in Chicago. I looked up to one of the train system maps and saw an intersection labeled “Hecate”, understanding that I needed to get off at that spot. Hilariously, when Googling Hecate the next morning, I quickly discovered that she is a goddess of crossroads- i.e. intersections- and couldn’t believe how literal this dream imagery was!
What’s more: both dreams felt super important, like her presence was about really big work I needed to do in my life and my spiritual development. There was gravity to it, if you catch my gist.
If Hecate wanders into your TOTEM Tarot Deck reading, get ready for that same gravity, specifically:
Processing existential angst: Hecate’s first dream visit brought me into contact with what I now believe is death energy. It was quiet, peaceful, and full of shades of gray- nothing scary or violent or upsetting. That said, it’s kind of a big deal, and that dream (and Hecate’s energy) sparked an inner dialogue in which I found myself contemplating existence, death, my life’s purpose, and more. Hecate rules over transitions- birth, puberty, giving birth, menopause, and death- and has a great perspective on what matters. You may find yourself reprioritizing real connections, spiritual work, and everyday life over the pursuit of fame or money or all of those other shiny- but empty- trinkets.
Karmic debts get paid: If you’ve been running up some big old karmic debts, Hecate’s appearance in a reading could mean it’s time to pay up. Have you been denying your soul’s purpose? Lying to yourself or others about a relationship? Doing things that you feel you have to even though you don’t want to? Get ready for a cosmic reality check. The good news? If you’ve been quietly, ethically working away and wondering why all the shitbags seem to get rewarded for nothing, get ready for things to start making sense. That’s right: now it’s your time, and you’ll be elevated while those grifters (and charlatans and abusers) get their just desserts. And it’s very, very delicious to observe that there is an order to things after all;)
Making crucial choices: Hecate forces decisiveness. As a goddess of crossroads, she will insist that you make some soul-level decisions and wrap up some crucial open items before proceeding. Do you know that you need to break up with so-and-so but you keep putting it off? Have you hated your job for years and keep procrastinating about your big push off into the wild unknown? Do you have a health issue that needs to get addressed? Do. It. Now. She is looking out for you and will offer protection- but you need to start exercising your free will to make decisions and take action that reflect who you are at a soul level.
Hecate loves anything in shades of grey, so agates and jaspers in this color scheme work wonderfully. Images of crossroads- and even Tibetan mandalas and sacred geometry- are a great way to harness her power.
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