Using the Tarot for Creativity and Empowerment

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card: Step 8 – Metaphor

Metaphor: a figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them (as in drowning in money); broadly : figurative language — compare simile ~ Merriam-Webster Dictionary

This week in Step 8 of Mary K. Greer’s book “21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card“, we are working with Metaphor. A Metaphor is basically one object or idea that represents another. Referring to the 5 of Pentacles, Mary uses the example of the metaphor “Out in the Cold.” Of course, this does not literally mean that the people in question are outside in undesirable weather, but rather she uses this metaphor to express that one is excluded from something or left behind.

Mary explains that the Tarot imparts information via symbol and metaphor. The images in the cards trigger these metaphors which we can then relate to our personal experiences. If you have read Tarot for others, you no doubt have used such metaphors, clichés, puns, sayings, maxims, mottos, proverbs, poems or lines from songs in your readings. An excellent example of this is the 10 of Swords. For many people, the first thing that comes to mind upon seeing this card is: “Being stabbed in the back.” It is also worth noting that metaphors can be a great way of generating keywords or phrases when learning the Tarot – or expanding your existing repetoire of keywords in interesting ways.

5 of Pentacles tarot card image

5 of Pentacles from the Robin Wood Tarot

In this chapter, she uses the 5 of Pentacles from the Robin Wood Tarot as an example. From the image, she comes up with some of the following metaphors:

– Out in the Cold
– Walking wounded
– No rest for the weary
– World weary
– Crippled spirit
– Beggars can’t be choosers
– etc.

5 of Earth Gaian Tarot

5 of Earth from the Gaian Tarot

In the end of the chapter activity, she asks us to find some additional metaphors for the 5 of Pentacles in our own deck. In my chosen deck, the Gaian Tarot, the 5 of Earth card depicts a hiker who is hunkering down in a hut, waiting for a storm to pass. Some of metaphors that I came up for this card were:

– Waiting it out
– Bracing yourself for the worst
– Better safe than sorry
– Seeking shelter in the storm
– Running away from it all
– Down and out
– Bearing the burden
– Even a shelter’s not safe
– Seeking shelter from the storm
– This too shall pass
– Keeping out of sight
– Coming in out of the rain
– Hunkering down
– The world is getting you down
– Cold and cutting
– Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

She then suggests that we find some phrases that specifically relate to the fives and to the suit of pentacles. For example, in my deck I might come up with “Test of financial hardship” or “fiscally challenged”. Give it a try with your own deck – it’s a great way to come up with some new and interesting card meanings.

In the second activity, she asks us to list as many metaphors & sayings as we can about our chosen card. I came up with a few for my card (The Seeker):

The Seeker card image from the Gaian Tarot

The Seeker card from the Gaian Tarot

– A long and winding road
– Hitting the Road
– Life is a journey; travel light
– The road bends and turns
– The twists and turns of life
– The longest journey begins with a single step
– Going with the flow
– Walking a sacred path
– Walking faster to nowhere
– It’s not the destination that matters, it’s the journey
– The journey is the reward
– Knowing your destination is half the journey
– Traveling the uncertain road
– Carrying baggage
– Lighten your load
– The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
– Starting on a new journey
– Life is a journey, travel it well
– Meandering leads to perfection
– Taking the road less traveled
– Getting off the beaten path
– Everywhere is walking distance if you have time
– It’s no walk in the park
– I have two doctors; my left leg and my right leg
– It’s not talking but walking that will bring us to heaven.

Okay…maybe I got a tad carried away here. Anyway, you get the idea.

So once you have listed your metaphors, you then use them in the following statements:

“I am _______________”

“The situation feels like _________________________ [describe an emotion or sensation implied the the metaphor]”

For instance, I could say:

“I am traveling off the beaten path” or

“The situation feels scary, like traveling an uncertain road”.

Give it try – and see what insights you come up with about your own situation.

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1 comment… add one

  • I learned this for the first time after rediang Rich Dad Poor Dad. I started just making the little change in the way I spoke about money and it’s made my mind come up with so many creative ways to make money. Instead of saying I can’t afford it, I say, I better figure out a way to pay for it, because I’m going to be able to afford it.


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