Skill Level: Intermediate & Up
Set aside 30 minutes for a mood-altering tarot reading experience. This is a guided reading with the Riddle of the Sphinx tarot spread from M. M. Meleen’s Book M: Liber Mundi (2015).
Book M is the companion guidebook to Meleen’s tarot deck, the Tabula Mundi Tarot. She recently launched a Majors only deck, which I’ve been working with and loving, the Pharos Tarot. You can support this incredible artist and occultist by ordering your copy here.
If you have a specific question you’d like answered by the Great Angel HRU or you don’t have anything particular in mind and just want a general prophetic reading about the direction of your life, try out this spread. You can use any tarot deck or even a Majors only deck.
First, a lecture. Don’t worry, it won’t be a long one. Before you go off and invoke anything by name, it’s only prudent to learn a little about the history, the legacy, culture, and collective knowledge behind that name. Hence, the lecture.
Get comfortable, but sit in front of your reading table with your deck ready to go. Right after we cover the basics, we’ll jump straight into a guided meditative reading experience.
To help with the interpretation of your cards, consider elemental dignities. Enhance your impressions of what the card are telling you with an analysis of their chemistry.
Some Holistic Tarot intermediate study guide handouts may be useful here:
The north positioned card in your spread is Fire. Consider the elemental essence of the card cast into the Fire position. For example, if it’s an Air card, it amplifies this card’s significance as a factor in the matter at hand. If it’s a Water card, there’s a tension and weakening here to consider.
The west positioned card is Water. A Water or Earth card will magnify this card’s relevance over the other cards in your spread, especially card where the elements are ill-dignified. Fire, such The Emperor card, or a card from the Suit of Wands, is going to reveal a tension or knot of conflicting energies to ponder further on.
The above-linked handout shares with you my elemental correspondences for each tarot key, which can help you assess the elemental dignities in your reading.
If you are enjoying these free tarot studies and you’ve got disposable income, please support more free content by ordering one of my self-paced online courses. Click on the banner above for all course listings.
I recommend the Witchcraft Fundamentals course that covers the first 12 (really, 13) chapters of Part I: Doctrine in Eliphas Levi’s two-part Transcendental Magic text. Click on the hyperlinked image above to learn more about that course.
If this Riddle of the Sphinx installment of Sightsee the Tarot was right up your alley, then you’re also going to love these budget friendly online course offerings: Tarot and the Four Pillars: Keys to Unlocking Esoteric Wisdom or Tarot, Occultism, and Modern Witchcraft.
Sharing My Riddle of the Sphinx Reading
I’m hoping to use my own Riddle of the Sphinx reading as a case study for you to consider additional layers of interpreting your own. The deck featured here is the Tabula Mundi Tarot. If you’re not familiar with the deck, you can read my review of it here.
Card 1 is designated a Fire position, per Meleen’s instructions for the Riddle of the Sphinx spread. The Ace of Swords I pulled for Card 1 is elementally Air. Fire and Air are in harmony, and amplify each other. Also, there’s that whole ceremonial magic thing of wand vs. ritual dagger and when to use which for what. That makes it doubly interesting that the Ace of Swords is showing up in the Wand position.
I read Card 1 as Spirit echoing back my inner-most want. As I said in the video, looking at your Card 1 is going to be like looking at your reflection in a truth mirror, and I definitely see that here.
Card 2 corresponds with Water. Here, the Four of Wands is a Fire card, so there’s a tension in this realm for me to ponder further (because Water and Fire are in conflict). Loving the freemasonry symbolism here, by the way.
If you’re using an esoteric tarot deck for your reading and it’s by a creator who has also written a comprehensive guidebook to that deck, I encourage you to read the card entry from the guidebook, especially when reading for yourself. Here, Meleen was inspired by the Chinese legend of Fuxi and Nuwa. In the interpretation of my own reading, I’ll think on that myth and what facets of it might pertain to the situation I’ve inquired about.
In the Air position, I pulled a Major Arcanum that’s Earthly. Air and Earth are in conflict, so I read The Hermit card as pointing out to me where I’m experiencing the most dissonance, pain, or tension– upon which grounds within the battle is being fought.
Since Card 3 is the child of Card 1 (father) and Card 2 (mother), I’ll take some time here to look at the Ace of Swords and Four of Wands, and connect them together to better understand how they would produce The Hermit.
In the Earth position, Card 4, I pulled another Major, The Chariot. Remember: read this as a call to action. In the video I talked about considering whether the card you pulled here is “positive” or “negative.” The objective reality is no card in the tarot is inherently positive or negative, and you always want to account for nuance. So what I mean to say is to self-reflect on whether your judgment of the projected outcome is desirable or undesirable.
Fascinating synchronicity– the Princess of Swords is related directly to the Ace of Swords (a Crowleyian thing). In Meleen’s deck, she’s emphasized that with the parallel imagery you’ll find between the Ace of Swords and Princess of Swords.
Tarot Reading Tips.
Feeling stuck with your spread? Here are a few reading tips.
- To read a tarot spread, I like to connect the dots. What are the dots? Connecting colors. Connecting numerology, astrology, or features in the imagery. Here in my reading, connecting the Ace of Swords and the Princess of Swords is a good example. If you look at the vertical line of the cross, all three cards feature illuminated rings, which seem to get consolidated “in summary” in the Four of Wands. Then you want to ask yourself what the repeating imagery across the landscape signifies to you. Here, for me, the illuminated rings reassure of a divine presence.
- If you can’t seem to make any cohesive sense of your cards, start by writing out a few keywords for each card and a few words documenting your emotional impression from seeing that card. Do this for every card in your spread. Then take a step back and look at it holistically. Now try to “connect the dots” among the keywords and phrases.
- Assuming you’re using a deck that comes with a comprehensive guidebook, like Tabula Mundi, read the entry for every card in your spread, in the sequential order they appeared. Read the entries in that successive order like you’re reading a short story. When you’re done, put pen to paper and free-write what your intuitive responses are to that “short story” you just read.
- “I think… no!– there is no way this means what I think it means…” Uh, yah, it probably means exactly what you think it means. =) In other words, don’t dismiss your crazy thoughts. The reading might just mean exactly what that crazy ass thought of yours is conveying.
Putting it All Together. At the end of the video workshop, I said your reading will, in addition to answering your private personal inquiry, also send you a message worthy of being transmitted to the greater collective. If you’re comfortable sharing what that additional message you received was, please go ahead and do so. Here’s mine.
Today’s date is April 16, 2020. The pandemic was the earthquake, but it rocked many things we as a society had not built up securely. Before we’ve fully rebuilt, a tidal wave to shores is coming and we’re going to start seeing it come for us this summer solstice. With it, however, there will be spiritual catharsis. Thus, this isn’t a negative forecast. If anything, it instigates progressive change, epiphanies, and finally rising out of our past complacency. I also think we’ve been suppressing science, religion, esoteric knowledge both scientific and spiritual, and intellectualism, but a new enlightenment era is rising.