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The time frame of an event in a reading is a
question frequently asked by querents, even when
they know that readings are not absolute and that
free will is always important. Methods and
correspondences for interpreting time are an
important skill for a reader to have, and can vary
either by deck or tradition.
Time periods in tarot are often measured
astrologically. In addition to a specified number
of hours, days, months or years, time can be
broken into special periods reflecting things like
the phases of the moon or a querent's personal
time period, like holidays or school semesters.
In modern astrology, the zodiac begins at 0 degree
Aries, but the Golden Dawn tradition began the
zodiac at 0 degree Leo, reflecting a very ancient
Each of the twelve signs in the zodiac has three
decans of 30 degrees each, or 360 degrees for the
full circle of the year. The 36 decans were
assigned to Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, The Sun, Venus,
Mercury and The Moon in a repetitive sequence.
The Minor cards Two to Ten are each assigned 10
degrees each of the 36 sections or "decans" on
the zodiacal wheel, representing days of the year.
One simple way to determine time frame uses just
the four Aces. The Aces represent the root force
of the powers of the elements, and time sequencing
relating to the Aces reference the quality and
pace of elements. So, fire (Wands) represent days,
air (Swords) represents weeks, water (Cups)
represents months, and the slowest earth (Pentacles)
would represent a year or more. The four Aces are
also each assigned to a season - Wands (Summer),
Cups (Fall), Swords (Spring) and Pentacles (Winter).
The Court Cards have astrological attributions
that can assist in determining when an event is
likely to occur, or the best time to start or
finish something. Timing with the Court Cards
can be exact down to the hour of the day.
The Pages represent seasons, just like the Aces,
and the Kings, Queens and Knights are connected
with the decans. Each of the Court Cards share
three decans. For instance, the Queen of Wands is
associated with the last decan of Pisces and the
first two decans of Aries. This is according to
one system. The Tarot School assigns each Court
Card to a complete sign, e.g. the Queen of Wands =
The elemental attributions we prefer are as follows:
Suit of Swords (Air) = Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Suit of Wands (Fire) = Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Suit of Cups (Water) = Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Suit of Pentacles (Earth) = Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
To determine timing with the Minor Arcana, look at
the outcome card, central card in a linear spread,
or other important position, and combine the
number of that card with it's suit. For instance
the 4 of Wands would suggest a time period of 4
days, while the 10 of Cups, would be 10 months.
These are a few simple techniques for determining
timing in a reading. Try them out and see how they
work for you. We've sometimes found them to be
Tarot Card Showcase
In this section we will feature tidbits on a
specific tarot card. While there are many
systems and decks to choose from in the world
of tarot, here we use the Universal Waite
Tarot images and symbols.
Copyright 1992 U.S Games.
QUEEN OF SWORDS
Esoteric Title: Queen of the Thrones of AirElemental Counterchange: Water of Air
Astrological Attribution: Libra
The Queen of Swords, like all the tarot Queens,
resides in Binah on the Tree of Life. Binah is the
Great Mother, who gives life but is also a
lawgiver who restricts and disciplines. Binah is
also part of the lineage that begins with Chronos,
the Father of Time. Chronos was the father of
Zeus, who fathered Pallas Athena, who in some
traditions is identified with the Queen of Swords.
Pallas Athena was born from the brow of Zeus and
was associated with ideas, thoughts and
intellectual gifts. She was a goddess of wisdom,
but also a powerful warrior protecting the state
from its enemies. The Queen of Swords can be both
terrible and sweet, with a nature that alternately
creates and destroys. Like Chronos, she ultimately
decides the length of time something gets to
She wears a blue robe representing the water
associated with the Queens, and with Marah, The
Great Sea. The robe she wears has an orange trim
that refers to Hod -- the energy of the mind. Hod
is the seat of intellectual power in humans. She
raises a sword invoking the Divine Crown of
Spiritual Brightness. It represents a power that
is invoked for good or for evil.
The butterflies on her crown symbolize air. The
butterfly is thought to come to life without the
assistance of a mother. In the same way, Pallas
Athena was brought into existence without going
through a female body. The butterfly does not
refer to a flighty and unstable nature. It
represents quick wit and independence.
Wise, intelligent, analytical, original, clever,
smart, mature, perceptive, gracious and
Indecisive, cynical, impatient, self-righteous,
cold, unoriginal, uncaring, unconcerned,
abandoned, withdrawn, unrecognized.