Before I get to the part where I go on and on about my inner turmoil, a word about the Secret Tarot. I received it a month ago and although I haven’t posted any readings with it yet, we’ve had a few conversations. Most of what she says to me is of a very personal nature; stuff that has personal meaning and is part of this process, but really doesn’t need to be shared. It’s… secret. Huh. That’s the exact word for what she communicates! Secret from the Secret Tarot!
What I can share is what I’ve learned about her (for she is definitely feminine):
 She is very direct, without being unkind. In fact, she is so kind-where-needed that I’ve been brought to tears multiple times. I asked about a friend I’ve lost touch with, wondering if they ever think of me. 6 of Cups. Should I re-establish contact with this person? 8 of Cups. Easily understandable, gentle, but firm.
 She has a wicked sense of humour, tending to lean strongly towards sarcasm – hello! -, but again, not with unkindess. I asked the deck what it liked most about me and got the 9 of Swords and 7 of Cups. Ha ha! My tortured mind and wild imagination. Goths of a feather will flock together!
 She is royal to the point of being a royal pain in the ass ie. why talk to the oil-rag when you can talk to the mechanic? This deck is deeply and passionately in love with its Courts, the most memorable example of this being a 9-card reading where 7 of the cards I got were Courts. I ask you. While the Courts often pose a challenge in readings, the cards in this deck are especially challenging, as they are so very different in look and feel to the usual RWS style. I think this has something to do with that sense of humour I mentioned in point number 2, as well as being a very effective method of maintaining her somewhat aloof and haughty demeanour (don’t worry, it’s all a front).
Now that we’ve all been formerly introduce, on to the reading!
The Penelope Spread was designed by obeygravity and found on the AT forums. In the words of the creator:
I’ve recently fallen in love with the movie “Penelope“. I simply think it gives a wonderful message and does such a good job of delivering a faerie tale story without it going down the cliche path (girl must find boy to fix her curse for her). So it’s inspired me to write a bit of a spread based off of it, more centrally focused on the person and how various things will add to their story, not necessarily how people or situations will fix things for them.
When I found it, I had been thinking of taking a “light” look at my childhood and it seemed like it would fit the bill. I also had a very definite “knowing” that I had to use the Secret Tarot to do this reading. She can be insistent, even from the safety of her box ;) The original spread layout looks like this:
1 * 2
3 * 4 * 5
6 * 7 * 8
9 * 10
11 * 12 * 13 * 14
15 * 16 * 17 * 18
19 * 20 * 21 * 22
23 * 24 * 25 * 26
– but I added an extra line after “6 * 7 * 8” (teen years) to include my 20’s. This brings it to a 29-card reading, but don’t let that deter you; it’s isn’t as challenging a spread as some, because a large part of it is reviewing a summary of your past.
 Where you are in your story – Where you currently are in your life at the moment. Things you’ve gone through recently that have caused a drastic change in your current circumstances and placed you in your role right now.
Wheel of Fortune
The Wheel’s been coming up a lot lately, and I’ve been avoiding it a little because I don’t quite get it… Now, it finally starts to make sense: the Wheel’s just reflecting what’s been happening in my life! There’ve been ups and downs – most notably, a major down has just passed – and I’ve just been riding it out. Right now, I feel a little on top, in control, like that winged monkey king there. Heh heh heh… my brain is bouncing back-and-forth between flying monkeys a la “Wizard of Oz” and “Monkeys might fly out of my butt” a la Wayne’s World. On a more serious note, the Wheel both shows that I could be more pro-active, as well as offering me the opportunity to do so.
 Where the road will take you soon – What’s up ahead. What obstacles you may soon encounter or changes/people/places you may come by that will add a new twist and chapter to your current chapter.
6 of Swords
Huzzah! Greener pastures, here I come! I like the way the woman is standing at the front of the boat, facing into the wind, going boldly and purposefully into the unknown (shore) future. The boat has seen better days, but it’s still got a couple of journeys left in it. What’s interesting is that, even though the 6 Swords are illustrated on the card, the woman carries 5 more with her in the boat; she is not forging ahead unprepared. Being a 6, this card also speaks again of harmony and balance: found.
Intro – Childhood
 You as a child – How you were as a child, how you acted and interacted with the people around you from friends to family members to strangers and animals/pets.
Ace of Swords
The Ace: it has no purpose yet, but is filled with raw potential, all the possibilities of the suit of air and ideas. This Sword is planted in a tone block – you have to claim it, it isn’t simply presented as a gift. It also reminds me a Celtic cross, the Swords planted as a grave marker. The death of a warrior… a warrior of…? Emotion? The bird (air) creature is swallowing the fish (from the Page of Cups’ goblet?) A-ha. Yes, I learned to swallow my emotions in early childhood, donning a mask, while at the same time removing my true face. Huh.
 Life as a child – Your life as a child. How you perceived your life, how you dealt with problems that came your way, whether or not there were major turning points as well.
The first thing that strikes me about Justice is that she forms a bridge between the Swords and the Knight: she holds a sword aloft in her right hand, and the scales she holds in her left are commonly used for measuring coins/Pentacles. Red and green are complementary colours, an appropriate choice for Justice. The high collar of her cape and headgear remind me of armour, protection, reiterating the “mask” (of protection) introduced in the Ace. On the wall behind here, there is an engraving that looks like the Ace Sword, stuck in the stone throne of Justice!
As well, my childhood was dominated by thoughts of fairness and, well, justice. Having a younger brother, I was taught early on about the concepts of fair and equal. Seeing those ideals crushed out in the real world gave me an overdeveloped sense of justice and I was often furious over the wrongs I saw. Even more so when those who were supposed to come to my aid, didn’t. I was just a child…
 How your childhood set you up on this path – How your childhood set you up to become the person you are today. Did you grow up to have a great appreciation of things? Or is everything never enough for you?
Knight of Pentacles
Wow… look at the development of the armour. Being a Knight, he reinforces the “air-ness” of these 3 cards. I still can’t find a better summation that fits me to a tee than thirteen’s:
“He needs to have his own room or secret place, and woe to anyone who goes into that room or changes it in any way. This [child] has his own organization system for everything. On the negative side, this [child] can be far too solitary, too concerned with perfection, what he does or does not have, or earning a place of respect. Fear of failure or competition or standing out may keep him from leaving his room. He values and protects beautiful things…”
The Knight looks all fierce and badass, but what you can’t see is the “smiley face” on his breastplate with this expression: :| The sad face on the Ace block has been reduced to an emoticon. An oversimplification of expression…
Whoops! Reversed the two outer cards.
 You as a teenager – You as a teenager. How you interacted with your environment, how you dealt with the growing pains and lessons that life began throwing at you. How you evolved as a person from child to teenager.
6 of Wands
The progression of the Knights – even when it isn’t officially a Knight – is soooo interesting! The Knight of Pentacles has a helmet that left his face clear, but the Wands “knight” has his face partially obscured.
Being the “victory” card is fitting. I realised my weakness early on and focused on my strengths. Even now, I don’t compete if I know I can’t win; the humiliation of failure – even at something insignificant – is too acute. Every victory helped to protect me further, until I became untouchable.
 Your life in your teen years – How things were for you. The stresses you came by, the changes in circumstances and how you learned to deal with them as well.
The similarities between The Hierophant and Justice is very striking, even their positioning in the centre spot. I notice how the green has been completely covered up, leaving only red. Two things I see happening here: the Hierophant coming into [her] own and in the background, the lion pillar looks at the woman pillar – Strength? The lion seems to be having a conversation with the woman, remarking on the stuffy, uptight Hierophant, almost as if the lion can see the trouble beginning. “Oh no, here we go…”
The Hierophant also looks untouchable. Firm. One of my friends said once that I ruled our group with a velvet fist :)
 How your teen years set you up on this path – How your teen years influenced you to become the person you are today. How things as simple as your grades and classes led you to figure out what it is you truly want in your later years.
Knight of Cups
The darkness of this Knight is what stands out most, and he is finally completely armoured, with no facial features visible. His armour is spiked, keeping people at a distance. Quite literally, a dark horse. I didn’t figure much out about what I wanted for my future during this time; what I didn’t want was another story. So much need, unmet…
Once again, thirteen delivers:
“He plays music, spends long hours alone in his room with the shades drawn, he writes dark, meaningful poetry. He will fall in love, passionately, profoundly and he and his love will be inseparable. On the negative side, he should be watched for depression which can be very real. Though moody, he’s fiercely loyal to anyone he loves, including family.”
Young Adult – 20s
 You as a young adult – You as a young adult. How you interacted with your environment, how you dealt with the growing pains and lessons that life began throwing at you. How you evolved as a person from teenager to young adult.
7 of Cups
Woo-whee, girlfriend’s having a “special moment” ;) So many fantasies to explore… Hitching this 7 to the Chariot makes particular sense, because there is a sense of conflicting emotions, not being able to make up her mind. She closes her eyes and turns away… I can’t help giggling, this card if so rife with melodrama! All those choices though, they’re confusing and a little scary, unclear. There is a major conflict between wanting to give in and continuing in the old patterns of holding back completely. I had a few experiences, but I passed up way more. My Hope Chest is filled with blankets of regret and missed opportunity serving-ware.
 Your life in your 20s – How things were for you. The stresses you came by, the changes in circumstances and how you learned to deal with them as well.
Knight of Swords
Still stuck in Knight mode, but the armour is a lot more casual. This looks like a real knight, rather than one dreamt up by some fantasy author: His armour is functional, his weapon is functional, his steed is functional. There is a sense of movement and energy here that is lacking from the other Knights. The sky is clear and the day is bright; the heavy veil of gloom has been lifted. Still far too smart for my own good, with a wicked sharp tongue to match, but it’s amazing what can be achieved when you let your guard down, hmm?
 How your 20s set you up on this path – How your 20s influenced you to become the person you are today. College years, the first “real” job, relationship, living independently – all the aspects of venturing out and becoming your own person.
Ace of Pentacles
And when the guard is down, opportunities appear. This feels like a “starting from scratch” card; a do-over. The Ace of Swords is handing over control to the Ace of Pentacles. Pentacles are all about earth and life and body, grounded in our humanity. All my significant “firsts” happened in my 20’s, and rapidly at that. I finally found grounding – as close as I’m ever going to come to a base. I got married – something I thought would never happen -, moved to another country; my health literally got a fresh start; I worked many diverse jobs, trying to find my true calling. The roots are shallow yet, but I feel steady most of the time.
The Here and Now
 The Curse – What major problem you face in your life now, a bad habit you have, personal problems that add complications to your life and dealing with it as well.
2 of Swords
There is no doubt that this 2 is linked to the High Priestess, the imagery and atmosphere is so similar. There is a sense of calm, a pause. She has laid herself bare, hiding nothing, but she closes her eyes. I feel that she is asking for a moment – just a moment – of still and quiet, holding onto the Swords – clutching almost – praying for peace. But she is still stuck between the two, however much she doesn’t want to see it. She cant have both, but she can’t choose. Maybe if she can just sit for a little while longer, free from all trappings and outside influences, she will figure it out. Maybe even gain the strength to wield both Swords?
 How you deal with this curse – The healthy or unhealthy methods you go through to try and keep the curse in check (or not). Whether or not you allow yourself to deal with it, accept it, or try to make an active effort to try and change it.
Queen of Wands
It is difficult to associate the traditional meanings of the Queen of Wands with this decidedly un-Wand-like Queen, clad from the neck down in latex, her posture seeming to communicate that she has mostly given up. The Queens are Water, and Water and Fire are both dynamic and detrimental to each other. This Queen is just barely holding her Wand upright under the watery influence. Ha ha! Her dress is water-proof! :D This conflict of Fire and Water reflects the moment in the 2 of Swords – thoughts held captive by warring desires, modes of being. And there’s a secret life being led: Queen by day, untouchable, impenetrable; nymph by night, naked and free, unafraid. They need to be brought together, in a display of ::DUN DUN DUUUUN:: Temperance.
 Who your true love is – This doesn’t necessarily have to be another person, it could very well simply be yourself. The person who could help add a whole lot to your story, for better or for worse.
7 of Swords
Typical that I would get a card that is so difficult to understand in relation to the question being asked! If I keep it simple and assume this is my husband, then what is happening? He is stealthily making off with the Swords in the middle of the night, while everyone is asleep. Ha! He has stolen my defenses :) (But not left me defenseless – 2 Swords remain) Yes, he carries off 5 Swords of Defeat, leaving the 2 of Peace Restored. Aww, how lovely. I especially like the affirmation for the 7 of Swords in this context:
I am true to others. I am true to myself. I now lead a life of truth and authenticity. The truth sets me free.
 Problems that may keep you apart – The issues that are keeping you from meeting them, or if you have met them, the issues that are keeping the two of you from fulfilling your wants from one another.
8 of Swords
And still I manage to lock myself away in my cage of Swords. There’s a cycle (a vicious, cutting circle) here: he takes swords down, I put them up again. Old habits die hard. Thank God he is Earth and just keeps doggedly at it. My rock.
 How you’ll overcome these problems – What actions will be done by either party to get over these problems. Team work? Separation?
Huh. All I can infer is to to follow on from advice in the 8 of Swords: make the leap of faith, leaving fear behind. Also, to learn from my fool, who is much better at letting things go than I. The Fool is a card of new beginnings and fresh starts; like the Aces, but without the boundaries implied by each Ace’s element. The Fool has unlimited possibilities. We came to each other pretty much “fresh out of the box”. Although we’d each had our trials, we were relatively unspoiled. Life has beaten us down a fair deal the past couple of years. We need to recapture that simple joy of The Fool.
 How they’ll add to your faerie tale – How they’ll help influence your circumstances. How they’ll help you on your journey, or even for some, hinder it.
Page of Cups
See? The Fool made “real”! The Page is the “Ace” of the Courts: unshaped and pure. The phrase bouncing around in my head is “simple love”. A love that just is, doesn’t ask for much and always tries to make things better, even if it doesn’t know how. This Page strikes me as very innocent and kind, unsure of himself somewhat. He is certainly no match for the Queen of Swords on her bad days, but maybe he can convince her to come down from her thorny tower to splash around in the surf. To remember.
 Niche in life – Where you personally belong in relationship to the rest of the world. What role you’re born to genuinely play, not the role that the world expects you to.
Queen of Pentacles
Obviously I’m fighting a losing battle of denial here, for if it’s not the King, it’s the Queen of Pentacles I get, pointing a finger in my general direction. The Queen doesn’t upset me though.
She seems solitary, but content. She has all she needs and has chosen this life she leads. She reminds me of the woman so often depicted in the 9 of Pentacles, but… further down the road. She has reached a point where she no longer needs to tend her garden, but can sit back and enjoy the fruits of her labours. Being of the Earth, I would assume she is a good hostess, but different from the Queen of Cups. The Queen is an emotional nurturer; this Queen takes care of your material needs. Oh, I do love to feed! But she’s not very… deep. She’s far too practical and based in reality. I have more than enough Water to balance this, though. I could do with a little extra earthiness, I guess.
As far as the questions goes, I’d like to go with “born to be a Queen”, seeing as that’s how I was named ;) But it could be as simple “born to take care of”.
 How your job life will be – Will you have to work your way up the ladder or will you simply fall perfectly into place. This could also simply be the role you play in relationship to everyone else as well. Simply the point in your life where you’re required to put effort into an external source to get a positive outcome.
6 of Cups
I can only hope this is a promise for the future. The near future, thank you very much. This is one of those cards that doesn’t need to be explained, it’s message is obvious. I will add that I fucking LOVE to ride the swings.
 How comfortable your life will be – The issues you may come by, how difficult it will be to truly settle into your place. Whether you’ll get everything you wanted easily, or will it be a battle to try and get everything you want.
Page of Swords
Of course it wont be easy, because I make everything difficult. Remember, the Page is also the Princess… And look at him, all dressed up for war, wearing something totally impractical, but wonderfully showy. His imagination has gotten the best of him; he wants to understand the adult world, but has only the most basic grasp of what it means. And when he shows up for battle, what then? Where is everybody? Is he fighting an imaginary war, one that is only taking place inside his mind? What if they gave a war and nobody came?
At the same time, the Queen of Pentacles is the personification of a comfortable life, at least physically. Maybe this represents an inherent dissatisfaction – mentally – regardless of how secure and comfortable I am. A restlessness – yes!
 How this job will add to your story – How your profession will aid you in your story, or, again, hinder it. This doesn’t necessarily have to be a literal job, this could simply be your role in life as well (parent, spouse, etc.)
The Emperor to match the Empress (Queen of Pentacles). His pose and dress is a reflection of the Page of Swords, so maybe it’s not all bad. Who’s the boss? The Emperor’s the boss. Does he want to be the boss, though? It’s a heavy mantle to wear, day in and day out and Lord knows, I loathe responsibility of most forms. I am responsible t myself, and nobody else and vice versa. I do not wish to inflict my power/will on anyone. If I am the boss, I am only the boss of myself. Makes it extremely difficult to be a business owner, because you really can’t do everything yourself. Sigh.
 How you discover your true path – What needs to be done to help you find out where you’re really supposed to be. The things that needs to happen to help you find your real niche/true love/self.
Queen of Cups
Veeeeery interesting… To get to the Queen of Pentacles, I need to follow the Queen of Cups. They are a good match. Follow my dreams, intuition, imagination; let me creativity be my guide to prosperity and material success? Her green gown reminds me of Justice… With the 6 of Cups, a message to return to, remember what I was, who I was – who I am – before things got all Swordy. The word “escape” is good choice for the Queen of Cups: as much as my depression is a very real illness, it is also an escape. Water manifesting negatively in Air’s domain. So again, balance must be found and can only be done by reclaiming my identity.
 How you can discover your true self – What you need to do to help positively influence yourself and change yourself for the better.
4 of Swords
Rest, reflect, meditate; retreat to regroup – exactly what I’m doing now, much as those who feel I should be out in the world don’t understand. Perspective. The second card that says “escape” quite literally. However, unlike most 4 of Swords, the woman here is sitting up, alert. This could be a message to pay attention; be mindful, not merely absent. Or maybe that it is time to sit up and rejoin the world.
 Where your true path will take you – Where you’ll eventually end up. The place you’re supposed to be in life.
4 of Cups
Relaxing under a tree, having shit brought to me ha ha ha! I can go with that. I love it when the cards treat me like I’m just too dumb to get it (which I admittedly often am): the Queen, upright on her throne, followed by the 4 of Swords sitting upright on her “throne” but free from the trappings of Queendom; the 4 of Swords’ rest & respite followed by the 4 of Cups’ reflection & relaxation. I hear the Secret Tarot saying – sarcastically – “Here, let me draw you a picture.”
This 4 isn’t quite as positive as the 4 of Swords though. This one can indicate boredom and opportunities missed due to being completely focused within (the 4 of Swords and Queen), or taking things for granted, but it’s talking about the intended destination, not the journey, soooooo… back to the first situation of having things brought to me, while I recine comfortably in the dappled sunlight. Ideally, I would envision this situation as having creative ideas flow freely and easily into my life; never struggling with blocks again and always having “enough”.
It’s always a challenge to understand the positive side of cards that are so heavily weighed-down with tarot baggage. I refuse to believe that where I’m “supposed” to be is in a constant state of apathy and ennui.
 Who your true self is – The Untapped potential you have inside that you may not realize. The person who’s waiting to be unleashed.
2 of Pentacles
See how easy it is to effortlessly balance things when you just relax and go with the flow? He dances along the wall, carefree and unconcerned, completely confident in his skills and agility. Where others see challenge, he sees an exciting opportunity. He is flexible enough to quickly meet the ups and downs, changes, with ease. There’s a progression in the overall meaning of these cards: reflect, rest, contemplate, adapt. The faces on the wall – 3 happy, “1 meh”. He has a “smiley face” on his belt though, much like the cranky Knight of Pentacles earlier! Laugh, have fun with it; you don’t have to be serious to be focused. Trust the inner wisdom of the High Priestess (2).
Happily Ever After
The happily ever after isn’t supposed to be in reference to you on your death bed. Simply the point in your life where the hardest part is finally over and you’ve successfully been able to move past the ‘curse’ that is currently holding you back. More chapters will to come after this, with their own “curses” to face once this point is done with.
After all those Courts, the Majors take the stage and I’m pretty much spent! Just squeeze a little more intuition out…
 You and Love – How you will, at the end of your story, be interacting with your significant other.
The Hanged Man
Seeing our relationship in a whole new way, with a new level of acceptance and selflessness. This card feels very powerful to me, but I can’t quite explain it. The Empress, exalted? The deck could just be having me on again, as he would pretty much hang himself to make me happy :)
 You and Work – Where you will be, at the end of your story, in relationship to your work.
Wheeeee, I’m freeee! She is completely comfortable in her element and, relating back to the previous “naked” cards, completely herself. It is a magnificent image. Running boundlessly across the plains of imagination, leaving fear and anxiety behind.
It looks like she’s rushing to the aid of the Hanged Man…
 You and Family – How you will act and deal with your family, and the people who are closest to you.
7 of Pentacles
It seems money does grow on trees after all – suck it, mom and dad :D The man is admiring the tree he has so carefully tended to, thinking about the future rewards it will yield. Reward for, and satisfaction in, my own efforts and work I put into my personal relationships. Rich! And blessed. Delight in simple pleasures.
 You and Yourself – How you will finally love and accept yourself.
It is a time of reckoning – will I admit myself into paradise, or condemn myself to further suffering? Dawn is breaking on the horizon, as Gabriel calls the dead from their tombs. And my, are they ever grateful! The lessons of this journey have been assimilated and I have learned and healed through integrating all the pieces of me that have been warring for so long. I will arise, free from the past, and past indecisions.
The woman with the big hair at bottom right is very Klimt-ian. I’m too done to embroider on that observation, but I can’t hep noticing and liking.
- Please note SUPER COURTS! 8 in total, which is still a low ratio based on the Secret’s record to date.
- The colour progression through the card groupings – green, (mix, mix,) yellow, blue-grey, purpley, red-orange, green, blue-purple. Again, far too beat now to make anything of it, so I’ll have to come back to this. Just based on me and how I read though, I’m sure it means something.