Change and Transition Tarot Cards
by Angelo Nasios
Change and transitions are a part of life. Every age, every time period is a type of change and transition. Life does not sit still nor does the world stop evolving. Things change. Seasons change, we age, and technological advancements improve. This has been seen more evidently in the last 100 years, heck even since the last 10-20 years! It is natural then to see cards in the Tarot that represent changes and transitions in our lives. There are four cards of the Major Arcana that I see particularly to be about changes. Each of these four cards deals with a specific type of change, because not all change is the same. These four cards are The Wheel of Fortune, Death, The Tower and Judgment.
The type of change that The Wheel of Fortune deals with is one of cycles and patterns. Often the force behind this type of change is said to be in the hands of fate. The person involved in this change has little to do with it; it is out of their control. This observation is made by examining the card itself. There are no people in the card showing the mankind is not the focus. All the cards in Tarot show a human except The Moon card and the Aces. The scene is set up in the clouds. There is a ton of symbolism in this card, too much for this one article. The fundamentals of this card is that the change this card presents is change form a higher power or source. Be it fate, destiny, astrological, karmic or whatever. The change is based also like I said on patterns and cycles. What goes up must come down, good luck to bad luck and vice versa. Knowing this you can guess what kind of change it can be based on the current status quo. If for example things are bad then things will turn good.
Death would have to be the #1 card for change! Death is the biggest kind of change would you not agree? Now I always stress that Death is not always about someone dying. The Death card is a representation of what Death stands for and does. Death brings change by the endings it brings. I have seen a common theme in readers now-a-days. Most have been seeing it as the ending of one thing and the start of another or rebirth. However I do not see it as so, Death is simply DEATH, the ending of something. The end of a chapter in life, the removal of what is longer needed. Death does not apply only in a physical way. It can be a death of an emotional attachment, attitudes, ways of thinking, beliefs, anything can ďdieĒ. Love can die; the feelings one has for someone in a relationship can fade and wither.
So overall Death brings change by removing what needs to leave. What no longer has purpose or meaning. Again I feel that this type of change is like The Wheel of Fortune, you canít stop it. It comes into your life and you have some options. These options are represented by the 4 people in the bottom of the card. You can resist it and get hurt (King), you can be innocent to it or oblivious (child), you can accept it and hope for the best (Priest) or ignore it (lady). You might be able to delay the change from happing, but why hold onto what needs to leave anyway? Welcome the change this card brings, it allows room for new thing to enter.
The Tower brings sudden and unexpected changes. One minute you have it all and the next it is gone. Ok we canít get to literal with the images. They are symbols for an external meaning. The image looks horrible but in real life the energy of this card comes in many forms. Like Death not being about real Death and dying. The Tower is not always about downfall and ruin. In my experience I have seen The Tower show dramatic changes, experiences that shock us. One time it predicted the death of a girlís boyfriend back in High School. Of course I did not know at the time what would happen only that something dramatic would happen to them. And other times like recently it served as a wakeup call or a self-realization for a coworker of their current state and was a shock to her. Both times they were about shocks and disturbances. The Tower rocks our foundations and changes our beliefs.
When we think we know something to be true and never changing The Tower comes and smacks us in the head by changing our deeply held beliefs. You may think you are unstoppable, nothing can hurt you. Tower comes and you find yourself in a car accident, thatís the energy this card can bring. The good thing about this is it allows us to rebuild and rethink our beliefs. It is a dramatic and sudden change but it can lead to a positive outcome later on if you try to find the blessing in it.
Judgment, I did not like this card at first because of its seemingly strong connection to Christian Last Judgment Belief. Let us remember that just about all cultures have a belief in a Final Judgment in the afterlife. It is not a wholly Christian idea. But the imagery on this card is. We have The Archangel Gabriel blowing his horn to wake the dead. In Christian Theology the Last Judgment arrives when Jesus returns to the world to Judge the souls of all those who lived. Now we canít apply that to the Tarot meaning because the Tarot card does not depict that in the everyday world. What this card is saying and the type of change that is brings is again external like the rest of the cards.
The change deals with making a choice, hearing a calling, finding new life again. An example would be, not knowing what career to follow in, then one day you have an experience that sparks you inside and you know what you want to do. That is Judgment brining you a calling to do something. Judgment is also about rebirth and new life or new found vitality. Death ended things and Judgment brings life. That is the kind of change Judgment brings. However this is the only card I feel you have a choice in the matter. You are brought a calling but you decide what to do, answer it or not. Generally the calling is loud and noticeable and hard to get rid of but it is your choice.
In summary these four cards bring with them changes and transitions. These changes can be a curse or a blessing. Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what youíre gonna get as Forest Gumpís mama always use to say. It is very true; you donít know what you are going to get in the lotto of life. It is how you respond to the change given to you that matters. Accept it, ignore it, welcome it, embrace it, find a way to improve and become better than before. It is up to you.
© Angelo Nasios
The recipient of Tarosophist of the Year 2011, Angelo Nasios is a rising voice in the tarot community. Angelo is known for his popular YouTube channel in which he produces educational tarot videos. Tarot: Unlocking the Arcana, Angelos first book will be released by Schiffer Publishing.