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Advice on Changes

October 24, 2011


Advises you on making changes

By Madeline Montalban

The divinatory powers of the Tarot are immense, for a great deal of wisdom and many arcane secrets are concealed in its symbols. In fact, each card is a magical spell in itself, but many years of study are necessary to understand their full depths, and for this reason.

When occult practitioners fell into disrepute, and were held to be in cohort with the powers of evil, even the most honest seers and mediums ran the risk of being condemned to horrible deaths as witches or warlocks.

So many perished in the great witch hunts that the accumulated knowledge of centuries ran the risk of dying with them, as they were passed on to students by word of mouth, and seldom written down.

So the Tarot was used, and symbols were added to it, in such a form that only the sincere student could unravel them. Thus it will be understood that the pictures and symbols on the cards are merely “reminders”.

Judging by the number of times she repeats these views during the ’50s and ’60s, they appear to represent Miss M.’s actual beliefs about the Tarot. They deviate little from views expressed by Brian Burgess in his Tarot articles, some of which have been republished on this blog. They are, in fact, the views of the day, widely held by almost everyone interested in the Tarot, with only the rare maverick daring to challenge the status quo. The views are long-enduring. There exists today a sizeable minority that would agree with every word of Miss M.’s introductory remarks, even though most of her ‘facts’ have been demolished by modern research into the history of the Tarot.

Towards the end of the ’50s, Miss M. expresses a different opinion regarding the assertion that “So many perished in the great witch hunts that the accumulated knowledge of centuries ran the risk of dying with them, as they were passed on to students by word of mouth, and seldom written down.” She speaks instead in favour of the oral transmission of occult knowledge, saying that though the secrets may at times become garbled, they have never been entirely lost. Just as instructions on how to drive a car might become mangled if they were only passed on orally over a ninety year period, by the empirical expedient of taking an automobile out for a spin, disputes about which pieces of advice worked and which didn’t would be speedily resolved. Similarly, so Miss M. believed, the Tarot student could take up the divinatory meanings of the cards in whatever form they came her way and by a process of trial and error uncover mistakes that had crept into the delineation of certain cards or into the mechanics of making readings as handed on by tradition.

When consulting the Tarot pack as to the wisdom of making changes, either in love, business finance or domestic matters, you must first be completely honest with yourself before posing the question.

Examine your heart carefully, and discover what you hope to gain by making a change. Muddled or wishful thinking can only result in an incoherent reply from the Tarot.

Example. A young woman asked: “If I change my job, will I be lucky?” She got a chaotic answer because that was not a true question. What did she mean, for instance by “luck”? It is comparative. Was she in pursuit of financial gain, personal happiness, or merely excitement?

What she really wanted to know was this: “If I change my job, will it lead me to romance?”

When she posed the question properly, she got a plain answer, and so will you. But think it over carefully before you propound your question. Don’t try to fool yourself, or the Tarot.

Wise in the ways of divination, Miss M. recognized the importance of phrasing questions correctly. She suggests that anyone contemplating a change ask themselves what they hope the result of the change will be. Do they seek a happier work environment from a change of job, or are they looking for better opportunities for promotion? Once the inquirer knows what they want from the change, they should word their question accordingly. For example: If I start afresh in Washington  D.C., will my business prosper? An ill-formed question most often results in an obscure answer. Almost every spread I’ve been shown where the reader has bewailed the fact that they can’t make head or tail of what the cards are trying to convey has been laid out in an attempt to answer a poorly thought- out question.

One firm occult rule can be laid down to guide you. It is this.

Never contemplate a change from any job, place, or condition in which you have been happy. If you do, you will change for the worse.

But if you are decided on a change, and want to consult the Tarot for guidance, begin this way.


Select the minor arcana suit which corresponds with your complexion, that is:-

Wands: (or Staves) represent very fair complexioned people.

Cups: are for mid-browns, and not quite blondes.

Pentacles: (or Deniers) stand for dark haired people who have blue, grey, hazel or green eyes.

Swords: represent black haired people with dark brown or black eyes, and the coloured races generally.

Having dealt with the suits of Cups, Pentacles and Wands in preceding articles, Miss M. now side-steps the suit of Swords, a decision which may have rankled with some Prediction readers. Instead of using the Swords suit to predict the possible outcome of a proposed change, Miss M. directs our attention to the suit corresponding to the inquirer’s coloring. Oddly enough, the scheme outlined here is not the one she herself favors. For her, as for Sepharial and the author of the Complete Book of Fortune, Wands court cards represent brown-haired people; Cups courts indicate  fair-haired people; Pentacles courts are “not quite blondes” as Miss M. puts it; and Swords courts (the only attributes to coincide with those given above), are very dark-haired, with dark brown or black eyes and olive complexions.

Social conditions in Britain at the time the article was written are reflected in Miss M.’s advice that the Swords suit be used to denote “the coloured races generally”. By the ’70s, when many more people of Asian, West Indian and African origin populated the country, Miss M. had adjusted her approach. When sharing with Prediction readers the advice she had given to three sisters of Asian extraction whom she had taken on as students, she explains that, since they and the rest of their family were all brunettes with dark brown or black eyes, she had found it prudent to jettison coloring as a means of identifying people in a spread and to rely instead on temperament. Thus the Wands cards were taken to indicate people who have practical, business-like natures and are apt to be helpful. The Cups suit denoted those with kindly dispositions who were sympathetic to the inquirer. The Pentacle suit represented those who, while not unkind, tended to take an austere view of life. And the Sword suit indicated those who were mean-spirited or antipathetic to the inquirer. (These are the temperaments Miss M. associated with the four suits.)

In each case, the Querent’s card is represented by the King (if male) and the Queen (if female).

Laying aside the three other minor arcana suits, take the chosen one and shuffle the cards carefully, keeping your mind on the question you wish to ask. Don’t be in a hurry with the shuffle. Give the cards time enough to absorb some of your personal vibrations. They do not fall by chance, but
in response to a certain occult law.

This is in line with what people believed was the correct way to shuffle the cards at the time. It is broadly the approach adopted today. But then it is a very sensible approach, which is the reason it has withstood the test of time.

When sufficiently shuffled, cut them into three heaps. Now search each heap for the one which contains the card which represents you as Querent. This heap contains the first half of the answer to your question.

Discard the other two heaps, and spread that which contains the Querent’s card out before you in the order in which they fall.

The most important cards are those which lie to the right and left of the Querent’s card. The right-hand side represents what you will accomplish by your own efforts. The left-hand side stands for the influences of fate.

This differs from the way a love spread is read. For a spread dealing with relationships, one reads the card that falls on the inquirer’s card and the card that falls on the card representing the loved one. Here there is no ‘significant other’ and so the suit cards to either side of the inquirer’s card (and the Trumps that fall in association with them) assume greater importance.

Now read the meanings of the cards you have before you from the following table.
King: The Querent if male, or the man nearest to the female Querent.

Queen: The Querent if female, or the woman nearest the Querent’s heart.

Knave: A new friend of the opposite sex. Reversed: A helpful friend.

Page: A new friend of the same sex. (Either way up).

Ten: A fateful change. Good if upright, if reversed, one which will lead to unhappiness.

Nine: A fruitful change. Well starred. Reversed: Some time will elapse before you make it.

Eight: The hand of fate in your affairs. (Either way up).

Seven: Impending events which must be judged by the Tarot trump which you will place upon it later.

Six: A new romance. Reversed: It will not be satisfactory.

Five: Unsettled conditions, for some it means travel. Reversed: The outcome will be good in the long run.

Four: Domestic disharmony results from change. Reversed: A removal from the home.

Three: Personal struggles against difficulties. Reversed: They will be difficult to overcome.

Two: Content. Reversed: Danger of accepting too little from life.

Ace: The Sword of Fate which cuts all knots. Reversed: Destiny takes a hand. Things not under your control.

The Trump Cards

It is not necessary to use all the Tarot trump cards for this reading. Select the following only, discarding the others –

1. The Juggler (or Magician): Represents occult guidance, or intuition.

2. The High Priestess: Stands for one who has already received guidance. If reversed, not fortunate.

6. The Lovers: Represents a love affair which will be unfortunate if this card is reversed.

7. The Chariot: A fortunate indication either way up.

8. Justice: According to your merit you will be judged and rewarded.

9. The Hermit: Signifies an isolated position. Sometimes loneliness. Reversed: Great responsibilities that you will have to shoulder alone.

11. Strength: (The Enchantress) Triumph over present conditions. Reversed: Unfortunate influences will delay your achieving your aims, but they can be overcome.

12. The Hanged Man: The change you propose making will not be advantageous. Reversed: It will cause a host of difficulties for many years to come.

13. Death: (The Reaper). A warning not to tempt fate. Signifies the death of hopes. Reversed: Personal troubles, perhaps illness.

15. The Black Magician: Only the very adventurous and entirely fearless should follow any new course which is marked by this card. Reversed: Strong and malign temptation which cannot easily be resisted.

16. The Tower: Complete holocaust in your private life, often followed by an entirely new beginning. Very fateful. Reversed: Modifies the above.

19. The Sun: A fortunate omen. Go ahead with your plans if this card lies either on, or to right or left of that of the Querent. This card, in those positions, overrules all others, unless No. 16 falls on that of the Querent. If it does, it means that the holocaust but razes to the ground to enable you to build afresh a brighter life than you have ever known.

21. The World: A very happy omen of good fortune ahead. Reversed: This comes by your own efforts.

22. The Fool: Yourself alone will be the originator of your troubles. Warns against making a rash change.

Thus, armed with foreknowledge, you can now exercise your free will; and either go ahead with your plans or, if the Tarot lay-out warns, abandon them. But which ever way you choose, you will discover that the Tarot, properly used, does not lie.

[Prediction, November 1953 ]


Having come to the end of her series on Tarot divination, Miss M. offers no example layout that would give the reader some idea of how to deal with this particular spread. Perhaps she felt she had already done in enough in that direction in previous articles. But as I have used this method of reading the Tarot for myself more than any other, and have found it both revealing and accurate, I feel it is a shame that no example was given.

To fill the gap, I present one of my own. A young man in his early twenties contemplates leaving university before he has gained his degree in order to take up a position in the brewery owned by his family. His coloring is medium-fair and, keeping to the Sepharial guidelines that Miss M. also adhered to, he takes the Pentacle cards from his Tarot deck, shuffles and cuts them into three piles. Spreading out the contents of the pile containing the King of Pentacles, he discovers that the cards are the 2, the 3, the King, the 4, the 5 and the 9. According to Miss M., the cards to concentrate on at this stage are those that fall either side of the King. They are not encouraging. The 3 tells of personal struggles against difficulties. As it is to the left of the King, it represents the influence of fate on the situation. The 4 forecasts domestic disharmony if the change is implemented. It is to the right of the significator and should indicate what the inquirer can accomplish by his own efforts; but on its own this card tells us very little. We must wait until a Trump is laid upon it before we can express an opinion.

The fourteen Trumps needed for this reading are next shuffled, cut and laid out on the Pentacles cards. The resulting pairs are 2 plus The Hermit; 3 plus The Devil; King plus Death; 4 plus The Juggler; 5 plus The Sun; 9 plus The Hanged Man. Death falling on the King signifies the death of hopes if the change is made. The combination of the 3 and The Devil reveals a struggle against difficulties that only a fearless person would contemplate embracing. All in all, it would seem that the Fates are against this change. The 4 with The Juggler (Magician) carries an equally depressing message. If the young man thinks to please his family by entering the family business, the cards in the spread hint that this course of action would only succeed in the short term. Taking a longer view, there looks to be trouble ahead, and the inquirer may even have had some intimation that the mooted change will not be a fortunate one for him personally. He is advised to follow his inner promptings.

Turning to the remaining pairs we first find the 2 (contentment) in conjunction with The Hermit (an isolated position). The interpretation may be that, if he is happily settled at university, he will be exchanging that contentment for isolation from some family members if he goes ahead with the change.

The 5 (unsettled conditions) with The Sun (usually a fortunate omen) offers some hope, but not in support of the change. The combination appears to say that, once the present mental turmoil of having to decide which option to favour has passed, the inquirer has a bright future ahead of him, though almost certainly not in the brewing industry. Finally, while the 9 denotes a fruitful change, its association with The Hanged Man alters the interpretation considerably. The combination is perhaps best read as: a change that seems promising is blighted in some way, and despite all appearances, will not prove to be to your advantage.

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