Most tarot readers consider the Major Arcana cards to be more spiritual than the Minor Arcana cards, which are usually read as representing everyday life events and people. The Major cards, on the other hand, are doorways to powerful archetypal energy, life lessons, important life changes, and events beyond our control. The cards are, indeed, often read as a story of a Fool going on a spiritual journey, with each card being an important lesson that the Fool must learn along the way before reaching the World card, where he has completed his education and is now no longer a Fool but a complete person. Like my colleagues, I do accept this view of the Major cards. Moreover, I think that taken altogether, the Major cards represent a kind of wholeness of divinity, each card showing a different facet of the Divine, just as different gods and goddesses present different faces of the Universal spirit. Therefore, I worry that by imbuing the Major cards with such importance, they may become too heady, too for removed from us, too unapproachable. It always makes me nervous when the Divine becomes separated from physical existence.
This is why I like exercises or techniques that help us relate to the Major cards in a more mundane way or that encourage us to channel their energy into our everyday lives. For example, my friend Mark McElroy, taught me a game he called "What Would Tarot Do?" The idea is that you use the Major Arcana cards, as a whole, as a brainstorming tool. You take your Major Arcana cards and put them in order (I guess, honestly, you don’t have to do that, but we always did). Then you flip through the cards, one by one, asking your question. The question could be anything. For example, you could ask, "What should I get my dad for his birthday?" At the end of the exercise, you have generated twenty-two gift ideas. Maybe not all of them are good ones, but there is likely to at least one that resonates as the perfect choice. This is a really great brainstorming exercise that you can use for almost any question. What can I do to enhance my resume? Where can I meet interesting people to date? Where should I go on vacation? What should my novel be about? How can I increase the morale of my team at work?
The other day, I was explaining to a friend why I liked a particular exercise video. This work is low impact with large moves that are slow and repetitive. I told my friend that it made sense that I like that kind (better than fast-paced dance-like workouts) because I am a Capricorn. That led me to wonder: can people find guidance about what sort of exercise or health practice is the best match for them based on astrological sign? I am no astrologer, so I didn’t pursue it any further. But as a tarotist, and as one who, as I said above, likes to connect the energy of the Majors to the physical world and everyday life, I wondered about whether or not our birth cards can help us find a natural match in terms of physical activity.
Your birth card is determined by adding up the digits of your birthday. Some people do it in a way that gives people pairs of cards. Others reduce down to the lowest number and just use that one. Usually, I work with birth card pairs. But for this exercise, I just explored cards 1 – 9. If you don’t know how to get your birth number, here is an example: March 8, 1970 would be: 3 (March is the third month) + 8 + 1 + 9 + 7 = 28, 2 + 8 = 10, 1 + 0 = 1, so this person would be a 1, or The Magician.
So let’s combine the ideas of "What Would Tarot Do" with "What is Your Favorite Healthy Practice:"
I, The Magician: Because he uses all the elements of the tarot, he would recommend cross-training or circuit training.
II, The High Priestess: With that stream at her feet and that veil, I cannot help but think of all the wonderful benefits of a nice, hot sauna.
III, The Empress: This one is easy! Eating healthy, organic, fresh foods…preferably locally-grown!
IV, The Emperor: Anything, as long as it is done consistently and systematically. Bonus points if it is also efficient.
V, The Hierophant: Take a class…yoga, aerobics, Zumba, spinning…it doesn’t matter as long as there is a knowledgeable teacher and other students.
VI, The Lovers: Finding a running or walking partner!
VII, The Chariot: Wheels! But no horsepower…instead, use your own energy on those roller blades or on that bike. If you happen to be a horse-lover, though, horseback riding is also an excellent physical activity with the added benefit of being out of doors and connecting with nature.
VIII, Strength: Another easy one…weight training. Even just starting with your own weight, or a couple of water bottles from the refrigerator or soup cans from the cupboards.
IX, The Hermit: Rock climbing…or at least hiking through rough terrain.
So…what’s your birth number? And do you think you’d like to try the recommended healthy activity? If not, try coming up with your own options. After all, each card is a doorway to many possibilities!