Have you noticed that the Minor Arcana in the Rider-Waite Smith deck has focussed increasingly on a single figure as we have moved through the numbers, from Ace to Nine? This sense of isolation started in the Sevens, continued in the Eights, and is present in the Nines for the final time.

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When you’re feeling stuck, when you’ve reached an impasse, when you feel like you’ve been put on the back-burner; whenever any of these sensations colour how you experience your life, drawing an Eight is a clear message that things are on the move, about to move, or that you at least have the power to make a move.

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In tarot, I believe that when we meet the Sevens we meet the idea of “consciousness” more fully than we have before. We have an opportunity to see ourselves in a different light, and we are only able to do this when we step back and inquire into the nature of who we are.

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This is the first time that conflict has made a significant appearance in each suit. Yes, we’ve had moments of conflict, but the Fives are defined by it. When we move from the realm of non-incarnate potential (the Aces) and into the world of duality (the Twos), we have bound ourselves to the experience of contrast. Perhaps conflict is inevitable. Perhaps what we do with it is not.

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In tarot, Four enables something to come into balance more easily than its predecessors. It is a moment of suspended animation — as if there is a call to gather reserves, because they will be required soon enough as we move on again into the action and increasing complexity of the Fives.

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Each Ace has a different quality, but they all share the same idea: that of initiation, as in ‘the beginning of everything’. Each represents the purest potential that its suit offers to us; each is a blueprint. Each heralds the arrival of a thought, a feeling, a creative spark, a new method.

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