The archetypal imagery of tarot teaches us many lessons, and lately I’ve been thinking about what business lessons the Major Arcana might teach us. The following is by no means an exhaustive list and it would have gotten excessive for me to address every single Major Arcanum. For sure, each of the twenty-two cards has a lesson to be learned, but here are the key cards I found most pertinent.
The Magician: Creating Change with Available Resources
The Magician card is about using the limited material resources and assets availed to us to create progressive change. One of the first business lessons an entrepreneur learns is how to create product and run a business with only what is on hand. The Magician is the master of manifestation, and inspires the entrepreneur to model an attitude after the magus.
The Empress: The Gestation Phase of Every Project
The Empress symbolizes fertility and creativity. In business, she represents the gestation phase of a launch. The Empress teaches the entrepreneur the value of creativity and innovation. The pomegranate imagery often associated with The Empress tarot card teaches the importance of knowledge, learning, and wisdom and how knowledge will beget the fruition and material abundance that the entrepreneur seeks.
The Emperor: Implementing Structure, Order, and Discipline
There must be order and structure to a business. The Emperor card teaches the entrepreneur how to instill discipline into the undertaking, entity formation, and what type of corporate hierarchy to establish for the new business. The Emperor is an authoritarian figure on the logistics of running a startup.
The Hierophant: Working within the System vs. Rule Breaking
When the Hierophant appears upright, he represents social authority and the system that the entrepreneur must conform to or work within. When the Hierophant appears upside down in reverse, a different lesson is taught, one of rule-breaking. The entrepreneur by his or her very nature is a rule-breaker, but to succeed, there are times when the entrepreneur must navigate a rigid system. When to work within a system and when to break the rules is often what separates the success stories and the failures.
The Chariot: Tenacity is the Vehicle That Drives You to Your Destination
Persistent drive forward is accomplished by personal willpower, and The Chariot card symbolizes the entrepreneur’s tenacity. It is what pushes progress forward and takes the entrepreneur to the goal. The pair of dark and light sphinxes represents the cooperative effort of knowledge and intuition that drives willpower. The Chariot card reminds the entrepreneur of the mechanics of achieving success, the motion of conquest. Starting your business isn’t enough; you must have tenacity and momentum.
Death: Dealing with Uncertainty
In tarot, the death card symbolizes transformation, yet a transformative passage that moves from certainty to uncertainty. Uncertainty can paralyze the timid entrepreneur. The Death card depicts a glowing sunrise at the end of the horseman’s journey, reminding the entrepreneur not to let fear of uncertainty paralyze action. Trot forward into unknown terrain—it is the inevitable path of every entrepreneur, and is the inevitable path for progress, to transform from the lower to the higher business consciousness.
The Tower: Coping with Failure
Every entrepreneur will confront failure, especially early on. How that failure is dealt with is what determines whether an entrepreneur will succeed in the future. The Tower card shows the narrative of an ambitious undertaking built from the ground up, but greater forces at hand destroyed that undertaking, causing its builders to start again. The Tower card teaches the budding entrepreneur important lessons on failure, and how failure can become success if you get right back up again to rebuild.
The Star: Creating a Vision
To thrive, an entrepreneur not only needs tenacity, but needs to have a vision of how his or her business will improve and serve the world. It is also the card of opportunity. The entrepreneur must think about how business can create vitality for others. For long-term success, a business must become a citizen of the world. The Star card in tarot is asking the entrepreneur how he or she will be contributing to the world and what legacy will be left long after. That is, after all, the entrepreneur’s objective—to create a vision that will leave behind a legacy.
The Sun: Sharing Your Vision
The Sun card exudes self-confidence. The entrepreneur must be confident, must operate with the conviction that he or she has unique talents to contribute. While The Star card is about the conception of a vision, The Sun card is actual success of implementation. The Sun card is validation. It is what every entrepreneur strives to achieve—seeing his or her vision become reality, radiating into the world like the rays of a sun, sustaining life.
A Tarot Reading for Your Business
Sift through the tarot deck and pull out the following cards:
- The Magician
Shuffle the cards until they are randomized, face down, and then set out the nine cards in rows of three and columns of three. Think on your business, your aspirations for that business, and turn over one of the nine cards.
The card you turn over will reveal what it is you most need to know about the current milestone of your business that you’re focused on.
Next, turn over all the cards, so all nine are face up. Take the rest of the tarot deck, shuffle well, and pull a single card for each of the nine cards, placing that drawn card atop one of the nine fixed cards.
The card drawn and placed atop The Magician will reveal what you most need to know about the change your business will create in this world.
The card drawn and placed atop The Empress reveals what is in the gestation phase at the moment and what to do about it so it will bear profitable fruit.
The Emperor reveals what you need to know about your business structure or the logistics of business administration and operations.
The card atop the Hierophant reveals what outside figure of authority will be of most advantage and benefit to you.
The card atop the Chariot reveals what needs more momentum.
The card atop the Death card reveals what you’re uncertain or insecure about and how to deal with that uncertainty.
The card atop the Tower card warns of what is going in the wrong direction.
The card atop the Star card reveals facets of your business mission, purpose, and vision that you want to stay focused on.
Finally, the card atop the Sun card divines and forecasts your great success story.
Before leaving the divinatory reading, assess the positioning of the nine cards. Which are along the top row? Which are along the middle and which are along the bottom? Middle cards are most certain and most related to the present. Top cards are speculative. Bottom cards are what forms your foundation and your past.