In the United States, and increasingly throughout the world, many people see October as a month that culminates on its last day of All Hallow's Eve, Samhain, Halloween. But during October the days continue shortening and we draw ever closer to winter, mirroring another journey, causing many to realize that each passing day takes us one step closer to the incredible but unknown adventures that await us in the next level of existence.
According to some traditions, during the last night of October the "veils between the worlds" are at their most transparent, and we can approach a dimension of transformation. We can use this time of change to alter our lives for the better. The path is shown to us in the symbolism found on the Judgement card.
Traditionally, the Judgement card relates to final decisions, but on closer inspection there is another meaning. The Golden Dawn version of the card shows an apparent Last Judgment scene, wherein an angel blows a trumpet to raise the dead from their tombs. But the card's meaning is far more mystical, for it is a glyph of the powers of fire. To ancient alchemists, fire did not destroy: it changed what was not desired into spiritual gold. The angel at the top is the Archangel Michael, the ruler of solar fire. The figure at the lower left is Samael, ruler of volcanic fire, and the figure at the lower right is Anael, the ruler of astral light. The central figure is Arel, ruler of latent heat and an allusion to the person who traverses the Path of Fire. The Hebrew letter seen on the tomb of Arel is shin, which relates to the Fire of the Divine. The seven green marks are the Hebrew letter yud, which alludes to the seven ancient planets representing everything in our physical reality.
There is much more in this card, but you can see that it is an incredibly powerful symbol of transformation. The figures at the bottom of the card are rising from their pasts, the spiritual fire from the Divine burning away all that is unwanted and leaving something better.
As living beings, we are constantly in the process of transformation. These transformations may be tiny or may drastically change our lives and enhance our spiritual evolution. One major test for a practitioner of magic is fostering an awareness that such changes are going on constantly and he or she will, at times, seek to control those changes. Halloween, the night when the boundaries between the planes are at their thinnest, is the ideal time to use the tarot to examine our pasts so that we might create our futures. One way to do this is with a Metamorphosis Reading, explained below. Using the Metamorphosis Reading can help give you direction for the coming year.
The Judgement card is placed in a "dedication" position. Shuffle the rest of the deck while you look at the Judgement card and say, "I call on the Archangel Michael to send me the Divine Fire to help me evolve mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Guide these cards as they speak to me of the past." Stop shuffling the cards and put a card, facedown, below and to the left of the "dedication" card. Put a card facedown directly to the right of this card, and say, "Show me the present." Put a card, facedown, above the "past" and "present" card but below the "dedication" card, and say, "Fire me with desire to create my future." This forms a facedown triangle with one point up and the Judgement card, faceup, above it.
Turn over the "past" card (1), and say, "Show me what is past and how I should change it." Deal out three more cards face up, to the left of this card. These three represent what should be changed (4), guidance on how to change it (5), and the result of such a change (6).
Repeat this by dealing three cards (7, 8, 9) to the right of the "present" card (2), saying, "Show me what is current and how I should change it," and interpreting accordingly. Finally, repeat again by dealing three cards (10, 11, 12) below the "future" card (3), saying, "Show me what is most important for me to change for the future." Complete your interpretation.
From Llewellyn's 2001 Tarot Calendar. For more Llewellyn tarot books and decks, click here.
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