Animating the Tarot Pips: An Introduction

This is a series born out of a book idea. Instead of going the book route, I will share most of what I had in mind here in pieces or parts. This is the introduction, as such, I’d like to keep it brief but with enough context to wet interest.

Firstly, the intention for this series is to add ripples, however minor, to the sea of tarot voices. I am not all knowing and neither am I judge nor jury. Remember, that how you read tarot is your journey, what you receive from others should enrich your overall divining and tarot craft, giving depth, and bringing perspective to your experience with the cards. As I’ve heard stated elsewhere, take what resonates, leave the rest.

My approach to reading the cards starts from an experiential position. It is a phenomenological approach rather than a symbolic one. In other words, my focus is on the individual experience of the image rather than on symbols that point toward abstract concepts. I prioritize what the individual, me or you as the card reader, sees and experiences in a lived sense.

We might not all be emperors, popes, and charioteers, but we can approach the emperor, the pope, and the charioteer from a personal perspective, what you or I as readers have lived that approaches the gestures, the positions, the body posture, and the bearing of said characters. This approach favors the subjective within each of us, spurring us, as card readers, to contemplate questions of agency and function vis à vis the cards on the table. In other words, and always within the context of the question, the reader looks at what type of interactions are going on in the cards, reflective of the question and the context.

What I’d like to explore with this series is the experiential and phenomenological within the tarot. In a sense it is a living the tarot approach. Attending to what within the dynamic played out in the cards in the spread mirrors the question posed and consequently life, and how. While also ruminating on the tarot as archetype, the cards and their embodiment outside of the question, not necessarily card meanings but the individual card’s essence, from my own experience and point of view, and also within the structure of the suits themselves. This includes elemental observations based on my particular approach.

Moreover, the focus for the entire series will be the minors or pips within the framework of the full 78 cards within the tradition of decks with non-pictorial minors.

After the exploration of the suits and their archetypal qualities, I will end on an oracular note taking the form of fluid verse. This is meant as an evocative encounter with the suits in general. Which would bring the journey full circle.

What this series will not be is a plunge into the esoteric tarot, nodding towards the Lodge variety such as the Golden Dawn, and others from Continental Europe. Neither will it be a survey of the history of tarot. There are really great resources on the history of tarot, both esoteric and otherwise, excellent books that dive deep into the formation of tarot through the ages, leading up to the esoteric link.†

Herein follow the content list:

  1. Encountering The Suits:
    1. Swords: Armed Force
    2. Cups: Heart of Life
    3. Batons: Accomplished Work
    4. Coins: Weight of Influence
  2. The Suits and Their Element
  3. The Oracular Incantation

You can expect each part monthly. I hope you stick around for this series, and I also hope you find inspiration and insight along the way.

† See the following:

  • Holistic Tarot, by Benebell Wen, 2015
  • Rachel Pollack’s Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meaning, 2008
  • The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination, by Robert M Place, 2005.
  • Mystical Origins of the Tarot: From Ancient Roots to Modern Usage, by Paul Huson, 2004.
  • A History of the Occult Tarot, by Ronald Decker & Michael Dummett, 2013.
  • There are plenty more options besides these as well.

 Creative Commons License
Animating The Tarot Pips by Natalia L Forty is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at


Mist and Aether La Maga Etsy mist and ether

Published by Natalia

An eternal lover of the literary arts, I am fascinated by words and their power. I am a diviner that writes, reads, enchants, dances and dreams.

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