Maori Tattoo Tarot · Sola Busca Tarocchi, Le Tarot de Marseille, RiderWaite Tarot(although with increasing criticism - ), and Aleister Crowley’s the Thoth Tarot. Thus some points

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Maori Tattoo Tarot:

An Illustrated Companion

By Victor Paul, PhD


ISBN 978-0-9946085-5-0

Copyright © 2016 by the Rising Sun Publishing House. All rights reserved. The illustrations, cover design and content, are protected by copyright. No parts

of this publication may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever, including Internet usage, without written permission from the Rising Sun Publishing House except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.

E-mail: [email protected]


PO Box 907, NOARLUNGA CENTRE SA, 5168, Australia




Contents: Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………………..…5

Chapter 1 Divination as Art and Science ................................................................................................... 7

Chapter 2 Destiny and Free Will .............................................................................................................. 9

Chapter 3 Symbolism in Maori Tattoo Tarot ......................................................................................... 11

Chapter 4 Major Arcana ......................................................................................................................... 13

................................................................................................................................................................ 13

Chapter 5 Minor Arcana .......................................................................................................................... 37

Gourds (Cups)...................................................................................................................................... 38

Disks .................................................................................................................................................... 52

Wands ................................................................................................................................................. 67

Swords ................................................................................................................................................. 82

Chapter 6 Reading with Maori Tattoo Tarot .......................................................................................... 97

Chapter 7 The Love Story ..................................................................................................................... 100

Chapter 8 The Business Affair .............................................................................................................. 102

Chapter 9 The Family Problem ............................................................................................................. 104

Chapter 10 Self-development ............................................................................................................... 106

Chapter 11 Parenting ............................................................................................................................ 108

Chapter 12 The Health Problem .......................................................................................................... 110

Chapter 13 The Career problem .......................................................................................................... 112

Bibliography .......................................................................................................................................... 114


Introduction It is an entirely practical guide for modern divination with the contemporary Maori Tattoo Tarot

deck. You have not to believe in cards interpretations at a superficial level and accept reading results as a sentence of higher authority, but consider Tarot as a roadmap of the life path with signs indicating potential pitfalls and problems. You can do Tarot reading with a working deck, applying an operational technique to choose your life path wisely. Maori Tarot deck works, and the reading technique’s description in this guide is concise but telling.

Nowadays, Tarot attracts millions of followers from around the world. People who are interested in self-development, energy healing and spiritual enlightenment use Tarot for life coaching and divinatory purposes. More and more people are interested in Tarot. The Tarot world is quickly expanding, funnelling new themes, ideas, spiritual systems, and doctrines. There are about 2,500 Tarot decks created by contemporary artists who produce new cards under the influence of many cultural traditions, including Celtic, Mayan, Egyptian, Native American, Gipsy, and so on. Until recently, the spiritually abundant Maori culture was unjustly forgotten, so Maori Tattoo Tarot was created.

It was discovered in XX century that irrationality take place not only in religion, symbolism not only in arts, and the principle of casualty is a simplification of reality. Einstein’s theory of relativity provides humanity with the concept of non-linear time. The synchronicity principle introduced by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung was the most ‘scientific’ foundation of the divination systems including Tarot. [2] The NLP theory explains how rituals could create a new dimension of a human behavioural model. The principle of the holographic universe proposed by Michael Talbot gave us an idea how all knowledge of the world is packed within the quantum wave, in the same way as a laser hologram carry three-dimension images of reality. [9]

In XXI century the best Tarotists use scientific approaches to develop a modern divination system and separate themselves from vulgar fortune-telling, phoney psychic reading, and the old occult. Looking for answers to the eternal question, “How Tarot Works?” they found answers. Paul O’Brien’s (Divination.com) techniques and practices of the Visionary Decision Making system changed our understanding of the divination process dramatically. [6] A real Tarot reader, according to the brilliant Mary K. Greer’s metaphor, is a ‘midwife of the soul’, and the process of reading, combining logical and intuitive approaches, guides a querent to make decisions for the greater good. [3] Developing new methods of divination, we have not forgotten about ancient wisdom that was coded in authentic Tarot cards. Thomas Saunders works hard to decode this knowledge and use Tarot as a key for spiritual development. [7]

Ask yourself the following questions: - Do you find yourself in a fog, choosing a ‘right’ new deck? - Do you perceive cards not only as interesting pictures but also as a real divination tool? - Do you believe that Tarot contains a symbolically coded ancient secret knowledge? - Do you want to expand your understanding of ancient wisdom? If so, this eBook is written primarily for you to explain how to choose a new deck is associated

with civilisation, having high esoteric culture and spiritual past. Where art itself works esoterically as a channel between the spiritual and material worlds, and where authentic Tarot symbolism naturally put on an appropriate cultural background. You can find here how a modern way of divination allows predicting the future events, but without full predetermination, as it was suggested by old-fashioned fortune-telling. Realising that the future depends on the decisions that are to be adopted increases your awareness to make wiser decisions and thus to avoid some undesirable outcomes.

The eBook is intended for you: - Followers of New Age, Theosophy, modern paganism, and other contemporary esoteric movements to discover a stairway to ancient Maori occult knowledge and spirituality.


- Professional and amateur Tarot readers who can find here 78 vivid full-size images of cards with Maori symbolism, meanings of all cards including reversals and the Hanged Man spread with examples of real Tarot reading sessions. - Life coaches, counsellors, and psychotherapists, opening this thought-provoking eBook, open a full spectrum of teaching/healing possibilities. - Tarot researchers, developers, and artists can empower their creativity. Even tattoo connoisseurs can find an abyss of blueprints in the Maori Tattoo cards.

Tap into Maori Tattoo Tarot to explore new horizons.


Chapter 1 Divination as Art and Science

Divination was a sacred art and an essential part of spiritual life for the ancient Egyptians, Greeks

and Romans, but it was degraded later to a vulgar fortune-telling. The ancients believed that divine energy saturates all elements of the material world including humans, and all interconnected, so gods’ will can be read with many tools, including throwing a dice, watching the flight of birds, casting wax, and so on. Nowadays, Tarot is widely in use for a modern style of divination, which can be called ‘personal decision-making’, applying the same principles as the ancient Greeks.

The eternal question is how Tarot divination works. The answer is simple enough: by revealing underlying energetic patterns of the world and indicating the path of every human life through self-knowledge, understanding that our past is a manager of our present, and our present is a manager of our future. This manager works on the patterns, and there is no need to believe in cards interpretations at a superficial level, accepting the reading results as a sentence of higher authorities. A good reading is some kind of a roadmap of the life path with signs indicating potential pitfalls and problems. We are free to move towards our future taking into account this information or ignoring it, choosing the life path wisely or driving into pitfalls.

The synchronicity principle introduced by Swiss psychologist Carl Jung is the most ‘scientific’ explanation how Tarot works. [2] His idea of messages from the collective unconscious corresponds to the theosophic Akashic Records concept, embracing all knowledge of the Universe. Akasha is a Sanskrit word with the meaning of Ether. According to the ancient Hindus belief, Akasha works as an everlasting template for temporary physical forms. Akasha is also the fifth element, the primordial source for four natural elements: Fire, Air, Water, and Earth that exist temporarily in the material world, and then return ultimately to Akasha. The Akashic Records forms the past, present and future lifetimes. [1]

In the early nineties, the idea reappeared in the theory of the holographic universe. It is the same idea how all knowledge of the world is packed within the quantum wave like a laser hologram carries three-dimension images of reality. [9] From that moment psychologists started explaining of vivid dreams with the use of the holographic model as a journey to a parallel reality. Meanwhile, the Synchronicity principle obtains new explanation via the theory the holographic universe. It became apparent that all coincidences indeed are events in the parallel worlds, physical and spiritual. All events of the physical world are encoded in a non-physical plane, Ether or Akasha, or any term we can use.

Nowadays we at last discovered that irrationality take place not only in religion, symbolism not only in arts, and the principle of casualty is a simplification of reality. With some difficulties, the best brains of the natural scientific community ‘approved’ the existence of parallel physical and biological worlds. Psychologists developed the NLP concept in which rituals could create a new dimension of a behavioural


model. Modern Tarot artist felt that ancient symbolism within authentic cards had many senses and some of them are out of our comprehension and straightforward interpretations.

About 2,500 Tarot decks have already created by contemporary artists who produce new cards under the influence of many cultural traditions, including Celtic, Mayan, Egyptian, Native American, Gipsy, and so on. The Tarot world is quickly expanding, funnelling themes, ideas, spiritual systems, and doctrines from around the world. For the deeper understanding of Tarot, not in occult terms but scientifically, the most advanced Tarotists bridge rational and irrational points of view on divination. Paul O’Brien (Divination.com) has approached the old problem of divination in a new way, developing the Visionary Decision Making system based on contemporary theories of left and right brains, intuition, as well as on the principle of Synchronicity. As a practical implementation of this concept, an efficient web-assisted interactive divination system was created. [6]

The author of this book himself was a researcher and a university professor with a specialisation in economic forecasting and decision-making under risk and uncertainty for 20 years to be disappointed in the prediction of the future in rational or cause-and-effect terms only. It was not possible to accurately forecasting in that way, and making decisions on bad prediction results of failures. It is much better to uphold holistic view in which old magic and modern science are seen as complementary parts of divinatory practice.

What is the source of information for divination? Tarot talks to the subconscious part of the mind and the preferred language for the subconscious is the language of images. Visualisation is the most efficient way to deliver subliminal messages, and imagination is a tool to create appropriate images. The subconscious cannot see the difference between actual scenes and artificially created images. The more impressive picture we watch, the more bright and beautiful its colours, the more clear and precise its images, the stronger the effect on our subconscious.

The Tarot cards are not only old fascinating pictures that contain a richness of symbolism, but also a divination tool that opens a channel into the quintessence of the ancient wisdom. Millions of contemporary Tarot adherents believe that Tarot contains a symbolically coded ancient secret knowledge. It is a conventional way of explaining its predictive power, its ability to serve as a divinatory tool. The decks that called ‘authentic’ have an essential and notable similarity: they accumulate ancient wisdom, the esoteric knowledge of the Universe structure that depicted symbolically within standard patterns and designs of Tarot cards. Popular opinion supposes four Tarot decks as ‘authentic’: the oldest Sola Busca Tarocchi, Le Tarot de Marseille, Rider-Waite Tarot (although with increasing criticism), and Aleister Crowley’s the Thoth Tarot.

Thus some points were taken into consideration during creation of Maori Tattoo Tarot: - the theme of cards is associated with a civilisation that had a strong esoteric culture and spiritual

past; - understanding of deep hidden meanings of authentic cards allows putting classical Tarot

symbolism on the new cultural background; - the traditional structure of the new deck is chosen to be a divination tool (22 Major Arcana cards,

56 Minor Arcana cards, four suits, and four court cards). .


Chapter 2 Destiny and Free Will

The everlasting topic in the Tarot literature is ‘fate versus free will’. Sometimes it sounds as ‘fortune-

telling versus divination’ as if the contemporary divinatory technique appeared instead of old fortune-telling. These arguments are based on a false idea that the ancients, from Sumerians to Greeks, were


incredibly fatalistic people, relying on goods’ will absolutely, and asking Oracles about humans’ fate. The written evidence is very convicting because it stated clearly that ancient Greeks never asked Oracles to predict the future, but for advice from the divine to improve the situation to make a right decision. For them, ‘right’ meant ‘according to the will of gods’, and ancient Greeks believed that gods were the source of information for divination. Furthermore, they believed that gods desired to transfer their wishes to people. According to the old point of view, divination used as a guide to an action, a chance to manipulate events, to do something now to have an appropriate effect in the future. Speaking in modern terms, the ancients used divination to improve their decision-making procedure.

In XX-XXI centuries, the best psychologists tried to explain how divination works. To summarise, then, the key points how to obtain directions from the divine are the following:

- have belief in an information source (the divine or Akasha) where all knowledge of the Earth is available for our unconscious minds via divinatory techniques;

- apply a device that helps you communicate with the divine, for instance, a good Tarot deck (psychologists explain this stage as an attempt to overcome the separation of conscious and unconscious minds to encourage them working together);

- interpret a result of the previous stage as an important information from the divine (Synchronicity connects events that are not linked directly).

The last but not least point is the most controversial for modern Tarotists. Two schools exist here, having diametrically opposite approaches to the subject. The first school insists on learning of each card’s prepared in advance meanings from books written some authorities. These meanings suppose as imperative and ‘correct’ ones. The second school is primarily based on insight, not taking into consideration any prearranged meaning of cards, any authority or books. The first approach is attractive due to its simplicity and convenience but is inevitably limited. Insight is an important part of divination technique, but a purely intuitive method does not have sufficient credibility because of its subjectivity.

To overcome obvious limitations of both schools, Mary K. Greer proposes a new revolutionary R.I.T.E. method. Reading Interactively for Transformation and Empowerment allows combining advantages of both approaches, applying prearranged meanings together with its individualised interpretations. This method uses the scientific systems approach, taking a reader, a querent, and cards itself as a whole system and perceiving all interaction within the system intuitively. In addition to what is visible (cards’ meanings from books), a skilled reader can unveil more vague meanings, using insights. In this case, left and right brains complement each other, recognising patterns that otherwise look pure ‘accidental’, and thereby empowering results of divination. [3]

Our destinies depend on the equilibrium between unconscious and conscious minds, and Tarot is a tool to balance them via appropriate imagination. The root of this word is ‘image’, and our unconscious minds need vivid and bright images filled with deep internal meanings. Within everyday life, people suppress imagination (except poets and artists who perceive it as a gift of gods), but for every person, the unconscious mind works on impressions that are built into a system of images to be included in the smooth rhythm of the thinking process.

Appling the theory of the holographic universe, we can see images look like a pack of Tarot cards, where each impression is recorded on a separate card. Then they are shuffled in order of our impressions’ brightness, the brightest are put atop, and the dimmest ones are underneath (talking metaphorically). A good Tarot deck simulates this process, and the comprehensive system of images on cards during Tarot reading process textures a metaphoric language to encourage communications with our unconscious minds.


Chapter 3 Symbolism in Maori Tattoo Tarot

When Tarot is mentioned, pictures are supposed as an important part of the divination system, but we have to distinguish Tarot esoteric system and its expression through art. The ancient knowledge of the Universe was coded within the Tarot as a pack of images. They were pictures of the Renaissance epoch, sometimes with a dull and ugly painting of that period. We called it ‘authentic Tarot’. In recent years Tarot is expanding enormously, funnelling new visual themes. Admittedly, contemporary people need new images, and understanding of beauty is rather different today. Artists have a range of media now from watercolour to digital. As regards Tarot readers, they have own preferences in terms of imaginary. Some of them like faded watercolour pictures, while others prefer bright digital images. Readers choose images that work for them, but the system has to be the same good old Tarot.

In authentic Tarot decks, we can uncover ancient symbolism and decode its meanings. To do so, it is necessary to develop abilities to recognise hidden patterns and implicit connection between events within the life path. As Thomas Saunders proposes, there are several levels of meanings to reveal or decode from the language of Tarot symbols. The language in which every element is meaningful, and reading itself can trigger the person’s insights to see a step ahead. He metaphorically represents the human life as a play in three acts and set of cards as a life path’s map. [7]

Some cultures apply both a rationally based model of thinking and irrational one, and their languages had no expressions for causality. These cultures developed a rich mythology and art full of hidden symbolism to express their understanding of universal laws. The ancient Maori civilisation was driven by such principles. Maori people had no alphabet, but they developed wood and bone carving and tattooing arts full of sacred symbolism and unique art patterns to depict and transfer important


historical events and lore. [5] Social and spiritual life of the ancient Maori were mutually intertwined, their chiefs supposed as direct descendants of gods, and their Tohungas (priests and healers) provides ordinary people with spiritual guidance and connection with gods. [4]

Like European societies Maori had the aristocracy. Their chiefs or kings, Ariki, descended titles from predecessors, although there was not the exclusive right of the first-born son of the predecessor to become a chief because abilities of a candidate were taken into consideration. A younger son or even distant relative has a chance. On the contrary, a chieftainess, princess or queen, Ariki-Tapairu, had to be the first-born female in a high-ranking family.

Some symbols reflect Maori esoteric culture and their connection with nature. For instance, a turtle represents eternity, harmony, and health; the sun symbolises power and wealth; a spear is a symbol of strength and courageousness. There are some of them that used in Maori Tarot cards (all images created by an artist, Roxana Paul):

Tiki has multiple meanings: a god who created life, the first man on Earth who originated from the stars, a symbol of fertility, a talisman to keep evil spirits away, and the human embryo.

Matau (Fishing hook): symbolise prosperity, abundance, good health, and power. It also represents sea life and provides good luck during water travels.

Koru (Spiral): Is originated from the silver fern and its circular movement towards an inner coil. This image is a symbol of new life, rejuvenation, rebirth, a new beginning, and awakening.

Pikorua (Twist): is an eternity symbol. It also symbolises connection between people, loyalty, and friendship.

Pounamu: a club made of nephrite jade, a spiritual weapon that contains mana and shows the high status of chiefs.

Whale tail: symbolises protection, speed, and strength. It is also a symbol of the connection between people and animals.

Manaia: a mythological creature, a guardian angel, and a messenger between the material and spiritual worlds. Sometimes is depicted as a seahorse.

Shark: symbolises strength, guidance, and adaptability. Gourd: was used instead of pots and cups to keep water and food. [8]

The deck is illustrated throughout in a brightly coloured Maori tattoo style. Digital drawing on the skin background creates an impression that is both enchanting and delightful. Within the deck, Court Cards are named as Apprentice (Page), Warrior (Knight), Chieftainess (Queen), Chief (King). The artist uses the non-traditional poses for the Court cards: Kings and Queens are not enthroned, Knights ride a canoe or some sea creatures instead of horses (the ancient Maori had no horses). Suits are the following: Swords, Wands, Discs, and Gourds (instead of more habitual Cups). Major titles include the Fool, the Magician, the High Priestess, Ariki-Tapairu (The Empress), Ariki (The Emperor), Tohunga (The Hierophant), The Lovers, The Chariot, Justice, The Hermit, The Wheel of Fortune, Strength, The Hanged Man, Death, Temperance, The Devil, The Tower, The Star, The Moon, The Sun, Judgement, The World.


Chapter 4 Major Arcana


0 The Fool

The Fool sits on the moon in the meditation pose and looks at the sun. According to the Maori

belief, the sun and the moon are invested with mana (magical power, prestige, influence, and authority). The half of his body is tattooed, symbolising his age (Maori started tattooing in adolescence) and his half-and-half knowledge.

To obtain knowledge of the higher life, a person like a young apprentice has to follow the spiritual path, but not his or her foolish or even crazy desires. As regards those who follow the Fool path, they possess the following qualities that necessary eliminate: - they suppose that they move to the goal, but in fact, they are absorbed by their own follies; - they hear many facts, but understands none; - they overcome obstacles that they create themselves; - they listen to a spiritual teacher, but hear own promptings; - they act impulsively without reasoning; - they live in the moment; - they feel safe in a dangerous situation; - they believe in something out of common sense.

Description An innocent young man with a brave heart is in search of a new experience. Living in the moment,

he is free of burdens and responsibilities. The Fool is about to start a new journey, a mission, or a quest for a new life path.

Upright meanings: Impulsiveness, spontaneity, placidity. Entering a new way, beginning an adventure, following a heart desire.

Reversed meanings: Foolishness, naivety, recklessness. Getting up on a wrong route, involving in an affair, taking a foolish chance.


I The Magician

The Magician is a master of high magic or the great transformation art, and he has the freedom to

choose his own guise. So, he is depicted as Tiki, the prehistoric man, like Adam from the Old Testament Book of Genesis. Tiki juggles the sun and the moon, demonstrating his power and supernatural properties. He is a keeper of esoteric knowledge. The Magician represents a very powerful person, knowledgeable, ambitious, and able to act. He initiates new projects, putting creative ideas into practice, being self-disciplined and controlling his own fate.

His best qualities include the following: - understanding own potential; - standing out from the crowd; - having a strong sense of self-belief; - knowing what do and why; - having bright inspiration and a feeling that everything is possible; - setting realistic goals; - forming feasible and workable plans; - acting to make positive transformations.

Description: The Magician is the facilitator of elemental energies, and he is able to adapt elements

of material life as he wills. Understanding the divine source of his power, the Magician is ready to produce magical results.

Upright meanings: Creativity, resourcefulness, concentration. Putting ideas into practice, self-

actualisation, the realisation of the potential. Reversed meanings: Manipulative abilities, evil use of talents, focusing on egoistic intentions.


II The High Priestess

A young Maori woman sits in the warrior pose with a spear in her hand, symbolising strength and

courageousness. Her gaze is directed to the East, toward the rising sun. The High Priestess, the female Pope, personifies something unreal or surrealistic that related to an inner voice or hidden potential. Similarly, within the structure of the ancient Maori society, it was impossible for a woman to be a priest.

The High Priestess represents the Moon goddess; in the Maori belief system the female who personifies the moon is known as Sina or Hina. There are two interpretations of her name: Dark Hina during dark nights, and Pale Hina for periods when the moon is bright. Сuriously enough that the name of Sina closely related to Sin, the ancient Babylonian god of the Moon. She is the goddess in charge of childbirth and the art of weaving, also representing the women in general.

The High Priestess card typifies hidden knowledge through her quintessential feminine core, intuitive and secretive. She relies on her intuition, rather than intellect and conscious mind, and avoids actions, letting things go and allowing events to proceed without any intervention.

Her distinguishing characteristics include the following: - being passive and refraining from involvement; - waiting patiently; - using intuition and seeking guidance from within; - trusting the inner voice; - being open to the imagination; - being calm; - seeking what is concealed; - being open to the unknown.

Description A wise woman, full of modesty and discretion. She is eminently secretive, mysterious, and intuitive.

Understanding all things, she expresses her knowledge selectively. The High Priestess is a dependable advisor.

Upright meanings: Wise, intuitive, patient. Seeking guidance from within, listening to the inner

voice, understanding possibilities.


Reversed meanings: Ignorant, short views, misunderstanding. Holding back inner feelings, sensing

powerlessness, inability to cope with a situation.


III Ariki-Tapairu (The Empress)

Ariki-Tapairu, the first-born female in a family of rank, a woman invested with divine attributes.

According to the Maori tradition, her image expresses fertility and maternity. Ariki-Tapairu was given the respect owing to a princess or a queen. Like in European royal families Maori princess’ marriage was a political action to create new powerful unions or alliances.

The Empress, being a tender and loving woman, embodies all things that related to fertility, mothering, marriage, and pregnancy. In a general sense, she represents natural female forces, and this is how she is connected with Mather Nature.

Her most significant features include: - personalising Motherhood; - expressing love; - giving birth; - linking to Mather Nature; - symbolising abundance; - nurturing for people; - being earthy.

Description: A woman personifies fertility and giving birth, understanding the principles of life. She

is compassionate, loving, and caring. Relating to earthly life, the Empress expresses an abundance of any resources and suggests material rewards.

Upright meanings: Maternal, healthy, earthly. Caring for others, relating to the material life,

harmonising with Mather Nature. Reversed meanings: Infertile, unhealthy, materialistic. Dependency on others, over-emphasising

material concerns, embracing with practical things.


IV Ariki (The Emperor)

Ariki (paramount chief) is the name for high-ranking and influential Maori chiefs. He is the first-born

male in a high ranking family, a leader in charge of the integrity and prosperity of the Maori people. Ariki has qualities of high mana (power and authority) were inherited from gods and ancestors. His natural powers could be increased by wise governance, munificence, and care of his people.

The Emperor typifies stability and control. Representing a formal power structure, he is also a real leader, making all necessary decisions.

The notable characteristics of the Emperor include: - personalising Fatherhood; - taking leadership; - indicating directions; - establishing order; - personifying order; - guiding people; - eliminating chaos; - demonstrating strength.

Description: The man represents power and authority. He is a trusted and respected person.

Representing the establishment and being in a control position, the Emperor plays the roles of a guide and a protector.

Upright meanings: Strong, dominant, competent. Providing leadership, establishing order, making

decisions. Reversed meanings: Weak, dependent, incompetent. Providing mismanage, being influenced,

making wrong decisions.


V Tohunga (The Hierophant)

Tohunga of high class is a priest, a teacher, and a keeper of esoteric knowledge, including Maori

lore, astronomy, the arts of incantation, and healing. Tohunga ahurewa was a priest of Io, Supreme Being, and a keeper of sacred order and the secret spiritual doctrine. He had a higher status above shamans, Tohunga makutu, and tohungas-specialists in different handicrafts: carving, navigation, canoe building, tattooing, etc.

The Hierophant is a synonym of the Pope, an official leader of the belief system, and a ruler of the religious establishment. He also is a keeper of religious traditions and rituals, as well as a gateway to secret knowledge and ancient wisdom. In Greek, the term ‘hierophant’ has a meaning of a priest who initiates.

The Hierophant impersonates the following distinguishing characteristics: - performing ceremonies; - keeping religious traditions; - teaching spiritual doctrines; - honouring rituals; - following conventional rules; - counselling on religious subjects; - being an expert in the spiritual; - interpreting secret knowledge.

Description: An official spiritual leader is able to interpret secret knowledge. He represents an

exoteric orthodox doctrine, rules and rituals. Following procedures and ceremonies, the Hierophant defends the establishment.

Upright meanings: Knowledgeable, meaningful, spiritual. Keeping cultural traditions, maintaining

discipline, honouring rituals and taboos. Reversed meanings: Ignorant, simple, limited. Being too orthodox, being obsessed with rules,

staying within ceremonies.


VI The Lovers

Two lovers demonstrate a hongi (a traditional Māori greeting akin to the Western custom of kissing),

pressing their noses and foreheads together. This greeting has a deep spiritual meaning, alluding exchange of the ha, breath of life (a substance that is similar prana of Hindus). This ritual symbolises interconnection between its participants and linking with Mother Nature. Ones upon a time, a visitor after performing of hongi implied as a tribal member with appropriate responsibilities, including military duties. This tradition was conveyed to the humanity from the gods.

This card represents establishing bonds and relationship, as well as cooperation and partnership. More broadly, the Lovers card typifies a force that attracts to each other not people only, but also ideas, events, and other entities. As regards people in love, besides love affairs there are such concepts as choice, openness, and responsibility. It is a life-altering decision to find a new life balance together.

The most significant features of this card include: - feeling love; - making a choice; - forming a union; - establishing a bond; - being connected; - feeling desire; - experiencing empathy; - being open.

Description: Two lovers symbolise the attractive force that creates a relationship. This force can

unite not only people but also events and ideas, resulting in commitment, partnership or cooperation. Upright meanings: Harmony, balance, love. Establishing bonds, feeling sympathy, making a right

choice. Reversed meanings: Disharmony, imbalance, misalignment of values. Being disconnected, feeling

antipathy, making a wrong choice.


VII The Chariot

A young Maori man rides a shark, balancing himself. He restrains his impulses and maintains self-

discipline to follow a natural flow of events. It is a reminder about the mythical lost civilisation of Maori ancestors, probably Atlantis, where humans and sharks live in harmony. Sharks hold a special status as a god that keep and guide sea voyagers and fishermen. According to the Maori lore, the god Maui put the shark in the sky, forming the Milky Way. Some lore about sharks is sacred and is not be narrated to profanes.

The Chariot impersonates victory, triumph and success. In a broad sense, it incarnates self-control, confidence, commitment, and focus that lead to success. The Chariot also relates to journeys and explorations.

The significant features of this card are the following: - concentrating efforts; - overcoming obstacles; - working hard; - achieving goals; - being focused; - feeling self-confident; - having faith; - keeping control.

Description: The Chariot symbolises a person of self-control and confidence who achieved that

through careful planning and hard work. Having faith in yourself, he is able to overcome any obstacles to reach success.

Upright meanings: Focused, concentrated, self-confident. Holding emotions, getting an own way,

being ego-focused. Reversed meanings: Unfocused, not concentrated, not confident. Showing feelings, having a lack of

control, being misplaced.


VIII Justice

A Maori woman balances the moon and sun with her sword. The process is a symbolical scale and

partition. The ancient Maori justice system was pure spiritual: they had not any police force to support the social order in Aotearoa, but belief in the power of gods and ancestors. The core of the system, providing balance and harmony in the society, was faith that all people and things are tapu (sacred, prohibited, and restricted) because they filled with mana (spiritual energy). Breaking tapu resulted in inevitable punishments from gods.

The Justice card embodies balance, harmony, and equilibrium in all spheres of life. It is also indicated situations of making decisions and choice, meaning logical choice and acting in fair and just ways. Sometimes this card can represent directly legal affairs, including courts and lawsuits.

The most remarkable characteristics of Justice include the following: - having awareness; - weighting all facets of a deal; - seeking for an equilibrium; - choosing wisely; - making a right decision; - understanding consequences; - acting honestly; - accepting results of actions.

Description: Justice personifies weighing of all sides of an issue and balancing all its facets to make a

right decision. She makes her choice with full awareness, setting a course for the future. Upright meanings: Fairness, truth, honesty. Balancing competing needs, making explicit judgments,

weighing all possibilities. Reversed meanings: Unfairness, mendacity, dishonesty. Using prejudice, having wrong preferences,

determining evil actions.


IX The Hermit

A hermit crab holds the moon and the sun in the claws. This image symbolises the Hermit, looking

for wisdom and morality and communicating with Mother Nature. Common opinion supports the idea that the crab’s connection to water creates meanings of sensory perception, purification, emotion and intuition.

The Hermit impersonates introspection, spirituality, and a quest for truth. Being focused inward and living in an inner world, he is able to look objectively at the world around him, and he continues to increase his knowledge.

The distinguishing characteristics of the Hermit include: - concentrating on an issue; - withdrawing from the material world; - looking for answers within; - searching for truth; - avoiding publicity; - being a teacher; - being a beacon of knowledge; - seeking for better understanding.

Description: The Hermit symbolises introspection and spirituality. He is a person who focuses on the

inner world. Looking objectively at the world around, the Hermit learns his lessons to obtain knowledge. Upright meanings: Understanding, introspection, inner guidance. Looking for truth, offering

counsel, concentrating on questions within. Reversed meanings: Isolation, loneliness, egoism. Cynical attitude to life, excepting advice,

withdrawing from the material world.


X The Wheel of Fortune

Three mermaids hold on a large Maori style fishing hook (Hei Matau). Fishing is a traditional trade

for Maori people. According to the Maori lore, New Zealand (Aotearoa) was fished up out of the sea by the god Maui. The fishing hook has deep spiritual meanings, embodying abundance and plenty, as well as determination and strength. Popular opinion supports its abilities to bring good luck, prosperity and health. In old times sea travellers carried fishing hooks as talismans, keeping them safe.

The Wheel of Fortune symbolises luck as well as a device to come events in motion. It represents all manifestations of fate versus free will, the moments of life when an invisible hand of destiny show people unpredicted events or beautiful presents.

The most significant elements of the Wheel of Fortune are the following: - being opening to luck; - experiencing unexpected good luck; - seeing future prosperity; - finding an unexpected opportunity; - catching fortune; - receiving good news; - discovering new goals; - getting advantages.

Description: The Wheel of Fortune represents unexpected events that influence destiny. It may be a

turning point or sudden twist of fate. Relying on the feelings rather than logic, it is possible to catch luck. Upright meanings: Good luck, positive changes, a turning point. Opening to luck, using what a

chance offers, moving in a right direction. Reversed meanings: Bad luck, adverse changes, out of control. Being surprised by a sudden event,

losing a chance, moving in a wrong direction.


XI Strength

A naked Maori woman sits on the back of a big shark. This image symbolises strength and

concentration of the spirit to maintain equilibrium in the material world. To the ancient Maori, the shark (Mako) was sacred and had a status of ‘king of the sea’. The shark is a symbol of victory and high power.

The Strength card typifies self-control, courage, and persistence to follow a chosen path, overcoming obstacles. Patience, perseverance, and endurance enforce natural talents and intelligence.

The most notable features of Strength include: - having fortitude; - harnessing own talents; - feeling confidence; - guiding others; - having strong spirit; - showing strength; - having stamina; - being influencing.

Description: Strength represents determination, strength, and compassion. She is able to influence

people. Accepting and understanding others, Strength guides them indirectly. Upright meanings: Strength, courage, power. Handling events, setting a right course, controlling

situations. Reversed meanings: Weakness, self-doubt, lack of power. Leaving things to fate, setting a wrong

course, giving up on life.


XII The Hanged Man

A Maori man is depicted in a bungee jumping flight (New Zealand is the world's most iconic bungee

destination). He stops resisting the circumstances and lets things go. A culmination point of his jump is just to stop before touching the ground.

The Hanged Man is a card with various and comprehensive meanings that can be viewed from three different perspectives. First of them incarnates the notion of sacrifice, selflessness, rejection of self-interest, and becoming a martyr. The second idea represents the concept of greater understanding, wisdom, and faith when the Hanged Man symbolises an open mind that is able to overcome prejudices and preconceptions. The third notion is about introspection and emotional release.

The distinguishing characteristics of this card are the following: - accepting a stream of events; - surrendering to circumstances; - letting things go; - pausing to rethink a situation; - giving up fighting; - accepting fate; - waiting for a better opportunity; - seeing from a new point of view.

Description: The Hanged Man symbolises a paradox where truth is hidden in its opposite. To solve

the problem, it is necessary to find another, not obvious way or stop, waiting for the best opportunities. Upright meanings: Suspension, emotional release, restriction. Changing position, understanding

limited opportunities, being open to a new experience. Reversed meanings: Martyrdom, vulnerability, surrender. Having an improper point of view, seeing

from a wrong angle, overturning previous values and priorities.


XIII Death

A skeleton with a Maori spear rides a seahorse. According to the Maori lore, the origins of death (Ko

Mate) lay in the fight between the god Maui, who represented light, and Hinenui-te-Po, the goddess of death who also represents darkness. This story correlates with ancient Hindu and Egyptian mythology about the immortality of humans in former times.

After death, the human spirit flies to the Pohutukawa tree, which sits on the Cape Reinga, the end point of the North Island in New Zealand. Then the spirit moves through the roots of the tree to the sea to join to the ancestors.

The image of a skeleton is an essential attribute of death in European medieval tradition and after that in Tarot. In spite of a terrible picture, frightening a novice, this card embodies some rather positive characteristics:

- closing a deal; - concluding unfinished business; - concentrating on a core; - controlling own fate; - accepting the inescapable; - cutting something unnecessary; - going through the inevitable; - moving towards a new horizon.

Description: The card personifies not death, but rather a new beginning, the destruction to create

something new, the long overdue change, renewing life like a seed which dies in the ground, creating a new plant. Death also suggests concentrating on essentials.

Upright meanings: Transformation, movement, completion. Ending one project to start another,

completing unfinished tasks, managing the destiny. Reversed meanings: Resistance to change, inability to move, unwillingness to complete something.

Being cast adrift, feeling in limbo, accepting fate.


XIV Temperance

A mermaid holds a gourd in each hand and pours water from one into another. A semi-human figure

with a fish tail, a character of Maori mythology, looks like the European mermaid. By the famous myth of Maori mermaid ‘Pania of the Reef,’ the statue was created to become a symbol of the New Zealand city of Napier.

Temperance represents moderation, harmony, and balance. This card also symbolises an effective adaptation to the environment as well as moderation, ability to reach a compromise, and temperance.

The unique features Temperance include: - creating harmony; - avoiding any extremes; - being moderate; - finding a balance; - providing healing; - nourishing well-being; - achieving equilibrium; - experiencing recovery.

Description: A woman pouring water from a jug into another symbolises constant alternations of

life, choosing a moderate path, and avoiding any extremes. Adapting to the environment, she achieves equilibrium.

Upright meanings: Moderation, integration, balance. Creating synthetic approach, harmonising

wishes with possibilities, reaching compromises. Reversed meanings: Extremity, ignorance, resistance. Asserting a wrong position, getting the own

way, avoiding commitments.


XV The Devil

The Devil-Taniwha has two snake-tailed women chained to him. In the Maori lore, Taniwha is a

supernatural creature, a monster that lives in deep water, having many forms (like the Christian Devil). Its appearance varies according to the different tribal lore. Some Taniwhas looks like giant serpents and dragons of the European tradition. They had wings and a nasty habit to eat people.

This card represents the materialistic world in its worst forms: hedonism, all kinds of addiction and self-indulgence, violence, diseases, and self-destruction. The Devil is great controller and manipulator, persuading people to follow the ignorant path of materialism.

The most significant Devil’s features include: - being focused on material well-being; - obsessing with money; - joining the darkness; - being ignorant; - lacking faith; - feeling tired; - believing into physical; - feeling hopelessness.

Description: The Devil represents focusing on the material life, lacking faith, and choosing the dark

side. It is the sign to examine one’s assumptions carefully and understand real oneself. Upright meanings: Oppression, material bondage, hopeless. Being obsessed, feeling tied down,

believing only in the physical. Reversed meanings: Detachment, breaking free, hopes. Having faith, releasing from bondage,

believing in the spiritual.


XVI The Tower

A tower made of stones stays ashore, touching the sky. The top of the tower is break downed by

lightning, and two fishes are falling down into the sea, symbolising dramatic changes in the stream of life. The New Zealand environment is characterised by the highest levels of volcanic and seismic activity, which produce earthquakes and tsunami, as well as coastal flooding, erosion, and landslides. Ancient Maori used traditional knowledge and divination procedures to forecast natural disasters.

The Tower card symbolise an unexpected catastrophe, the end of the previous order and a new beginning. The latter is made not by free choice but by unexpected events. It is a crash of stability, turmoil and upheaval. On the other hand, such dramatic change can derive insights and a new understanding.

The most significant features of this card are the following: - experiencing a disaster; - understanding a bitter truth; - being shocked; - losing balance; - experiencing chaos; - getting rid of illusions; - feeling insight.

Description: The Tower is a symbol of an unexpected catastrophe and dramatic changes in the

stream of life. It also represents a new beginning that is coming inevitably and not for good. Upright meanings: Disaster, sudden change, revelation. Experiencing overturn events, realising the

truth, having a crook in the lot. Reversed meanings: Avoidance of a disaster, fear of change, limitations. Keeping a previous course

of life, being engaged in self-deception, avoiding shocks.


XVII The Star

A mermaid pours water from two gourds into the sea. She looks inspired and relaxed. The Maori

tohunga kept astronomical knowledge as a celestial calendar in myths and legends where the stars were personalised.

The Star represents hope and faith in the future. The water is being poured from the jugs symbolise rejuvenation of the land and new life. This card promises something inspiring, but undertaking efforts are necessary to obtain it.

The most significant elements of the Star are the following: - thinking positively; - believing in the future; - realising goals; - looking forward; - being relaxed; - enjoying internal harmony; - seeing the path clearly; - being prepared to act.

Description: A woman, pouring water from the jugs, represents hope for the future and coming

rejuvenation. The Star symbolises high expectations, but for practical solutions, it is necessary to take real actions.

Upright meanings: Faith, hope, spirituality. Having faith in future, thinking positively, releasing

tension. Reversed meanings: Lack of faith, despair, discouragement. Being in despair, thinking negatively,

feeling anxiety.


XVIII The Moon

A scene of the solar eclipse is depicted where two seahorses and a lobster realise it as a full moon. A

misperception of reality occurs here. The ancient Maori developed the lunar calendar, according to which the New Year begins with the first new moon at the beginning of June. It was a period when the star cluster of Pleiades (Matariki) appeared on the horizon. The Mairi understood how phases of the moon affected the rhythms of land and water to keep balance with Mather Nature.

This card relates to the realm of dream, an imaginative subconscious world where the Moon stimulates creativity and intuition. It is the world of visions, even psychic revelations to ignite the inspiration. On the other hand, it is the world of deception and illusions where the Moon derives nightmares and self-destructive behaviour.

The Moon’s notable features include: - applying imagination; - having visions; - obtaining fantastic ideas; - releasing inner demons; - being unrealistic; - experiencing illusions; - being deceived; - feeling distorted.

Description: The Moon represents the state of vivid dreams and visions. A person can accept a

delusory picture of the world, deceiving him or herself. Upright meanings: Visions, dreams, strange thoughts. Releasing inner demons, losing a direction,

having silly ideas. Reversed meanings: Phobias, nightmares, obsessions. Suffering from phobias, feeling disoriented,

feeling confused.


XIX The Sun

Two fishes jump from the water towards the sun, being energised and full of enthusiasm as if they

participate in a competition. The ancient Maori used several names for the sun including Ra kura. In old times the sun god was the chief deity worshipped in Aotearoa. It is the most striking similarity between ancient Maori and Egyptian civilisations where the sun god Ra was also the principal deity.

The Sun is a symbol of life and vitality physically as well as a sign of enlightenment spiritually. This card promises enthusiasm, fresh ideas, and clarity of thought.

The Sun has some notable features, including: - being energised; - feeling vitality; - experiencing insight; - being confident; - understanding the matter; - achieving success; - becoming inspired; - feeling joy.

Description: The Sun represents a situation of enlightenment, realising the truth, and vitality. A person can attain a high level of insight, feeling joy and being overflown with enthusiasm.

Upright meanings: Vitality, success, celebration. Experiencing social relationship, being confident,

getting charged up. Reversed meanings: Decline, lack of success, prostration. Feeling loneliness, experiencing

depression, getting exhausted.


XX Judgment

Two snake-tailed women lift up a tattooed head, and a tohunga’s figure rises from a big flower with

hands up, looking at the rising sun. This picture symbolises rebirth of the stars from the fires of Te Ra (the Sun) at Dawn, a part of ancient Maori belief that was rather similar to the idea of Ra resurrection in Egyptian mythology. At the end of the every year (May for the Maori) the Pleiades’ (Matariki) disappearance in the West was associated with death, and its reappearance in the north-east before Dawn was associated with life and wellbeing.

The Judgment card represents Christian ideas of resurrection, redemption, and salvation. More general spiritual concepts include remorse, awakening, and forgiveness. These ideas correlate with the Buddhist and Maori concepts of rebirth and reincarnation.

There is the list of distinguishing features of Judgment below: - feeling renewed; - seeing things from a new perspective; - being restored; - making a fresh start; - finding a new hope; - being unburdened; - experiencing transformation; - being prepared to act.

Description: Judgment describes a state of transformation or renewal. A person can start seeing

things in a new light, knows what to do, and feels a strong impulse to act. Upright meanings: Awakeness, rebirth, transformation. Awakening to new possibilities, seeing

things in a new light, enjoining new hopes. Reversed meanings: Worry, disappointment, delay. Making a hard choice, feeling drawn in an

undesirable direction, feeling sorrows.


XXI The World

A Maori woman, holding a spear in each hand, enters the world. The figures in the every corner of

the card are the beasts of Maori lore: a turtle, a whale, Taniwha, and Tiki. The turtle image’s meanings include eternity, wellness, and harmony; while the whale symbolises well-being and emotional depth. It is a picture of wholeness and balance.

The World represents completion, fulfilment, and integration, as well as successful achievement of goals. The notable features of this card are the following: - creating integral approach; - experiencing wholeness; - finding an optimal solution; - seeing goals realised; - feeling satisfaction; - achieving balance; - enjoying success; - having prosperity.

Description: The World represents a situation of accomplishment and enjoying peace of mind. A

person can achieve his or her heart’s desire, finding the best solution within the life path, and achieving balance.

Upright meanings: Perfection, completion, satisfaction. Achieving goals, seeing dreams coming true,

feeling blessed. Reversed meanings: Imperfection, incompleteness, failed endeavours. Failing to complete plans,

feeling frustrated, getting unsatisfied.


Chapter 5 Minor Arcana

According to the traditional Tarot structure, the Minor Arcana cards of the Maori Tattoo Tarot consist of four suits – Gourds (Cups), Discs, Swords and Wands. Each suit of the Maori Tattoo Tarot is composed of fourteen cards, including ten cards numbered from 1 (Ace) to 10, and also four Cards of Court, including the Apprentice (Page), Warrior (Knight), Chieftainess (Queen) and Chief (King). The Court cards represent people, while the numbered cards reflect life situations and its influences on people.

Nowadays, following in the footsteps of the ancients and applying the principle ‘As above, so below’ tarotists employ an energy approach to understanding how the Minor Arcana cards work. Everything in the material world comes into being on the energy level before it takes the material form. The Maori energy concept based on the existence of Mauri, the primordial life force that is the essence of being. Changing the patterns of things or events leads to turning in forms and the physical manifestations.

Each suit corresponds to one elemental energy. The Suit of Wands incarnate Fire, the Suit of Cups represents Water, the Suit of Discs embodies Earth, the Suit of Swords represents Air. Each person has all elemental energies, but in different proportions, and one element prevails, predetermining the person’s behaviour and to a large degree his or her fate.

From the position of earthly life the four elemental forces symbolised both four energy channels through which the forces influence on the people, and four types of people who behave themselves in different ways under such influence. Naturally, the four types of people are pure abstractions because the forces’ impact generates the multiplicity of behavioural patterns, but it helps us to realise the main patterns are reflected in the four suits of the Minor Arcana.

Comprehending the Minor Arcana as a key to the energetic perception of the material world creates an opportunity to use it as a tool to discover the possible developments of events no matter how ‘minor’ they are. This method lets us see persons of our interest, their social interactions, personalities, points of view and attitudes, directions of development, particular approaches to life, roles to be played, and paths of life. We can also disclose and change ourselves to change our future through proper understanding symbols and patterns. Say more, we can even speak of our inner transformation.


Gourds (Cups)

Ace of Gourds

A gourd from which flowers grow symbolises positive feelings that are helpful for further growth.

There is water with purifying energy to give life and provide wellbeing, the energy that generates deep feeling, compassion, and empathy in a person whose heart open to others.

Description: Ace of Gourds represents deep emotions, developed intuition and trusting the inner

voice. It may be a moment of love and emotional awareness, as well as spiritual enlightenment. The main features of this card include: - being open to others; - experiencing thorough understanding; - establishing a relationship; - being led by heart.

Upright meanings: Spirituality, feelings. Expressing deep feelings, empathising with people. Reversed meanings: Materialism, callosity. Having emotions repressed, establishing mock relations

with others.


Two of Gourds

Two gourds are linked together, symbolising a new opportunity arising when efforts are joined.

There is freshwater from two streams that merge together, turning them into a single creek where they became inseparable. There is a profound esoteric sense of in pairing two water streams where their life forces are combined, giving more power than their simple sum.

Description Two of Gourds represents a situation of harmony, union and mutual affection. For established

relationships reconciliation is possible or a new agreement is coming. Two forces draw people to each other, bonding them, and creating love affairs and partnerships. The most significant elements of this card are the following;

- feeling attraction; - establishing relationship; - being in agreement; - experiencing a union. Upright meanings: Partnership, relationship. Establishing a union, balancing between a practical

sense and sensitivity. Reversed meanings: Break-up, an imbalance in relationships. Conflicting interests, broking



Three of Gourds

Two gourds grow from the third. Fishes whirl around in an endless cycle. The picture symbolises

different forces doing the same job while working as a team. In such way the life force binds the spiritual and physical elements of earthly life together, enabling order out of chaos.

Description: Three of Gourds represents a situation of successful finalising of a deal and celebrating

a victory. Working in a group with others, relying on each other and having mutual help allow to achieve a goal. It is a moment of happiness and celebrating. The distinguishing characteristics of this card include: - being together; - supporting each other; - sharing something; - relying on group members.

Upright meanings: Community, success. Getting together with people, forming a team bond. Reversed meanings: Loneliness, failure. Experiencing self-reliance, refusing to share.


Four of Gourds

A fern with three fruits in the form of gourds grows of a buried gourd, symbolising a sacrifice of one

life for others. The spiritual essence of this situation can be incarnated with still water. Something dies every moment in nature to give way to new life. Death is a dark side of vitality.

Description: Four of Gourds represents a situation of losing interest in life, boredom, and apathy.

There is no motivation to make any efforts. Boredom and fantastic daydreams cause self-absorption and escapism from reality in different forms, including alcohol and drugs. There are the following characteristics of this card: - being passive; - having not enough life force; - reflecting instead of acting; - making no efforts.

Upright meanings: Unhappiness in spite of success, disappointment in healthy fruits of efforts.

Accepting success passively, losing interest in life. Reversed meanings: A bright outlook on life events, new hope. Feeling motivated, finding life



Five of Gourds

An eagle carries five gourds to a mountain top. The image symbolises fruitless efforts. There is no

need to carry water up as it always flows down. It is grieving water through which bad luck can be transferred, causing grieving.

Description: Five of Gourds represents a situation of loss and regret. Often it is connected with a

wrong choice that was made before. Quarrels and separation are possible in family life. The loss could be in any form including money, property, job, or even reputation. There are the following features of this card: - feeling grieving; - experiencing self-pity; - being ready to cry; - acknowledging a wrong path.

Upright meanings: Loss, sorrow. Breaking up a relationship, being disappointed by a situation. Reversed meanings: New relationship, hope. Rethinking a course of life, experiencing a sudden

improvement in an irredeemable situation.


Six of Gourds

There is a big gourd from which water pours and five small gourds are attached to the big gourd’s

side. A circular motion of water symbolises returning to the beginning as a reminder of the past. It is the glistening water. Memories of the past distort a realistic picture of the present, and distract

a person from current affairs, although it is a pleasant sensation. Description: Six of Gourds represents a situation of recollecting enjoyable moments from happy

times, sometimes from childhood. It is a time for nostalgia and remembering events from the past. Memories of happy times squeeze real current problems out of the consciousness. The most notable features of this card include: - enjoying memories; - being relaxed;

- feeling unconcerned; - experiencing escapism.

Upright meanings: The past, nostalgia. Feeling nostalgic, being no practical. Reversed meanings: The future, an upcoming situation. Having a clear conscience, being realistic.


Seven of Gourds

A Maori warrior stays with a spear in his hand. Seven gourds make a visionary canoe as if it is a game

of the warrior’s imagination. It is polluted water in which the life force has been altered. Figuratively, illusion spoil mind, letting

the imagination run and introducing a dissonance. Description: Seven of Gourds represents a situation of wild dreams and building castles in the air.

Facing multiplied choices results in procrastination or developing unrealistic plans. It is a case of a temptation and dissolution. The distinguishing characteristics of this card are the following: - becoming dreaming; - lacking common sense; - believing in improbable; - experiencing deception; - letting things go.

Upright meanings: Imagination, an illusion. Creating fantasies, getting caught up in dreams. Reversed meanings: Hard facts, reality. Setting realistic goals, being well organised.


Eight of Gourds

A whale throws up two gourds and six gourds are left behind in water, being ready to move. For the Maori, a whale tail symbolises speed and strength. There is the energy of water flow that signifies a new stream of life.

Description: Eight of Gourds represents a situation of leaving home to start a journey in a broad

sense, leaving not current location only, but also career, relationship, or a regular flow of events. It is probably a step to achieve a greater goal, especially if things are going wrong, understanding the necessity to change life for good. The main features of this card include: - rethinking a current situation; - understanding that previous life is over; - looking for new opportunities; - walking away.

Upright meanings: Limitations, stagnation. Changing a path, leaving something behind. Reversed meanings: Focus, energy. Looking for better things, finding a new way.


Nine of Gourds

Manaia, a half-man and half-snake protrude from water being surrounded by nine gourds. In the

Maori lore, Manaia plays a role of a guardian angel and a messenger between the material and spiritual worlds. There is ocean salt water on this card.

Description: Nine of Gourds represents a situation of hopes and wishes come true. It is a moment of

satisfaction and pleasure. This card incarnates joy, happiness, and satisfaction in a time when a long-awaited result is achieved. The following special characters typify this card: - achieving a desirable goal; - feeling a dream come true; - enjoying the moment; - being satisfied.

Upright meanings: Material success, overall well-being. Obtaining a goal, getting a desirable result. Reversed meanings: Financial worries, imperfection. Being mistaken, experiencing a physical loss.


Ten of Gourds

A Tiki’s head is suspended in the air being surrounded by ten gourds. It is a talisman to keep evil

spirits away. Description: Ten of Gourds represents a situation of emotional well-being and harmony with others,

having good fortune. It is love and happiness in the family life. The key features of this card are the following: - feeling love; - bonding with others; - experiencing well-being; - having harmony.

Upright meanings: Family values, happiness. Delighting in family life, bonding with family members. Reversed meanings: Misalignment of values, family problems. Experiencing family strife, increasing

stress and tension.


Apprentice (Page) of Gourds

A young man lifts a gourd up. A jet of water is linked to the sun, symbolically connecting Water and

Fire elemental energies, and reflecting the Maori doctrine of holistic relationship within the natural world.

Description: Page of Gourds is about feeling vulnerability and sensitivity as well as being romantic

and sentimental. New love or relationship is possible. In person, these qualities underline great intentions and sensuality. The main notable features of this card include: - being in love; - expressing feelings; - understanding others; - being sentimental.

Upright meanings: Sensitivity, compassion, communication. Being touched, being led by heart. Reversed meanings: Selfishness, cruelty. Hiding feelings, refusing to share something personal.


Warrior (Knight) of Gourds

A Maori man rides a seahorse. In the Maori lore, a seahorse is one more image of Manaia, a messenger between the material and spiritual worlds. He balances values of inner life with ones of the material world.

Description: Knight of Cups represents a person whose life is ruled by emotions, but not practical

reasoning. He or she is romantic and feels empathy for others. Below are some distinguishing features of this card: - idealising relationship; - experiencing romanticism; - expressing sentimental attitude; - understanding others.

Upright meanings: Romanticism, idealism. Experiencing strong feelings, responding intensely to life. Reversed meanings: Deception, cynicism. Having no emotions, being indifferent.


Chieftainess (Queen) of Gourds

A mermaid holds a gourd. A jet of water forms a circle around her, symbolising wholeness. Maori understand the world through the integral mix of cosmogony, mythology, and religion.

Description: Queen of Gourds is a romantic, creative, and artistic person, sometimes with psychic or

spiritual abilities. Her path in the world is guided by feelings and intuition rather than the logical mind. The distinguishing characteristics of this card are the following: - understanding others feelings; - trusting intuition; - being guided by heart; - having a bond with people.

Upright meanings: Emotional security, empathy. Accepting unconditionally, being sensitive to the

feelings of people. Reversed meanings: Emotional insecurity, nonchalance. Being unreliable, being untrustworthy.


Chief (King) of Gourds

A Maori king with a gourd is depicted in front of an ornamental globe, symbolising his absolute

power, and the water below, showing his emotional state. Description: King of Gourds is a wise, emotionally stable, and tolerant person. He cares about others

and responds to their emotional impulses. King of Cups tends to rely on persuasion rather than royal power. His real power is based on an understanding of his people's feelings and needs. The most significant elements of this card are the following: - feeling compassion; - accepting limitations of others; - being patient; - having influence.

Upright meanings: Emotional impact, full mind. Being charming and likeable, accepting the limitations of people.

Reversed meanings: Difficult to please, shady character. Being shifty in dealings, achieving goals

through emotional influence.



The Suit of Disks represents the Earth elemental energy. The ancient Maori had a broad concept of Earth, combining spiritual (wairua), sacred (tapu), and practical knowledge that was inherited from the ancestors. This fundamental knowledge was based on a spiritual understanding of the essence of the universal energy (mauri) interweaving into mythology, beliefs, and cosmogony, forming the whole Maori esoteric doctrine. In full compliance with the principle ‘as above, so below’ the Maori understood their earthly life and cosmos are inseparable, and all interconnected with Io, the Source or One.


Ace of Disks

A tattooed turtle reaches for the sun as if looking for new opportunities. Earth energy is ready to

materialise ideas and spiritual impulses. Description: Ace of Disks represents a situation when applying practicality and common sense

create a foundation for good fortune. There are some opportunities or seeds of future success and prosperity. It is the moment when ideas are ready to become something touchable. The main features of this card include: - being practical; - creating a flourishing enterprise; - seeing results of efforts; - experiencing abundance.

Upright meanings: New financial opportunities, prosperity. Focusing on realistic goals, achieving tangible results.

Reversed meanings: Lost opportunities, vegetable life. Misplacing priorities, seeing efforts fruitless.


Two of Disks

A Tiki’s carving is depicted with two disks symmetrically attached to the front of him, symbolising

that his power is measured and balanced. It is the Maori way to cooperate with the environment and natural laws instead of its overexploitation.

Description: Two of Disks represents a situation of keeping things in balance, and finding the ways

for cooperation with others. This card symbolises good times, and has the following significant characteristics: - keeping balance; - being open for opportunities; - using possibilities; - being flexible.

Upright meanings: Balance, harmony. Cooperating instead of fighting, getting people allies. Reversed meanings: Misbalance, disharmony. Inability to maintain balance in life, having difficulties

to adapt.


Three of Disks

A fish throws a disk up, and two disks lay at the bottom. The disk in the air is a symbol of the sun

power, and two disks symbolise a union. Successful collaboration is an extra source of power. Description: Three of Disks represents a situation of partnership, coordinating well with others to

achieve success that was carefully planned and thoroughly worked out. The most significant elements of this card include: - having all necessary resources; - organising team work; - having joined efforts; - following a plan.

Upright meanings: Realisation, gain. Manipulating emotionally other people to reach own goals,

knowing what to do and how to do it. Reversed meanings: Procrastination, loss. Achieving less than what was expected, operating in the



Four of Disks

A mermaid holds a fern leaf with three disks attached in her hand. In her other hand, she has one

disk with a fern growing from it. This picture symbolises a situation of frozen assets when money is not invested efficiently.

Description: Four of Disks represents a case of holding material possessions when any its

development is blocked. This case may be connected with business, investments, or inheritance. The main features of this card include: - keeping the status quo; - follow a habitual path; - denying new opportunities; - being defensive.

Upright meanings: A congestive financial situation, which is not bad but it is no evolving. Holding

assets. Reversed meanings: Financial instability. Inability to keep the money.


Five of Disks

The profile of a Maori girl with five disks in a circle. She looks sad and broody. Her facial flame tattoo

symbolises Fire energy to change this situation. Description: Five of Disks represents a case of facing financial problems, hardship, and poverty.

Support from true partners is possible. The most notable features of this card are the following: - having a period of difficulty; - losing assets; - struggling to get by; - lacking resources.

Upright meanings: Financial misfortune, salvation. Lacking support, feeling insecure. Reversed meanings: Recovery from financial loss, improvement in a situation. A good time is

coming, feeling much better.


Six of Disks

A Maori warrior pulls the sun down to give light to six disks, symbolising as an efficient way to use

natural resources as a gift of gods. Description: Six of Disks represents a situation of receiving presents, profits, or inheritances, being

sponsored, supported, or rewarded. It is possible to help others as well as to receive help. Some distinguishing features of this card include: - receiving an award; - sponsoring somebody; - offering support; - being generous.

Upright meanings: Charity, generosity. Sharing wealth, being wasteful. Reversed meanings: Selfishness, greed. Hoarding money, being stingy.


Seven of Disks

Six disks are loaded into a cracked canoe, and the seventh disk shines in the sky instead of the sun.

The picture symbolises a crossroad from which a new path is necessary to find to be in the stream of prosperity.

Description: Seven of Disks represents a moment of pausing to check and evaluate a situation to

choose a new way or change a strategy. It is a time to make a decision or choose a route. The most significant elements of this card are the following: - estimating a current situation; - pausing to make a decision; - being prepared to change a route; - assessing a reward.

Upright meanings: Investment, reward. Getting return on investments, seeing fruitful results. Reversed meanings: Lack of vision, limited success. Doubting own abilities, being not self-motivated.


Eight of Disks

Six discs hang on a dead tree, and two disks are buried under the tree’s roots. It is a symbolical

sacrificing of two disks to save six, in other words, it is extra efforts to keep the business running. Description: Eight of Disks represents situations where hard works, thorough and methodical

approach as well as paying attention to detail are necessary. In business, it is called due diligence with a meaning of bringing more knowledge into a situation. The main features of this card include: - approaching a problem methodically; - checking feasibility of any possible outcomes; - working hard; - looking for extra information.

Upright meanings: Education, knowledge. Learning new skills, pursuing bigger understanding. Reversed meanings: Sloppy work, laziness. Lacking in skills, having no interest in work.


Nine of Disks

A young man sits in front of a pillar with seven disks attached. One disk is above him instead of the

sun, and one disk is on the ground. It is a picture of prosperity in all possible ways. Description: Nine of Disks represents a situation of enjoying prosperity, independence, and financial

success. New properties or luxurious vacations are possible. Some possible characteristics of this card are the following: - achieving material success; - enjoying a luxury lifestyle; - relishing achievements; - reaching a goal.

Upright meanings: Luxury, comfortable lifestyle. Having good fortune, enjoying material life. Reversed meanings: Bad investments, financial setbacks. Having loss of possessions, dissipating



Ten of Disks

A man kneels as if he is worshiping with ten disks on his shoulders. According to the Maori belief,

wealth and prosperity are sent by gods. Description: Ten of Disks represents a situation of stable prosperity and becoming a member of the

establishment as a result of flourish ventures. The most notable features of this card include: - experiencing abundance; - enjoying financial success; - having good fortune; - being beloved by gods.

Upright meanings: Material abundance, wealth. Inheriting assets, seeing own ventures flourish. Reversed meanings: Financial failure, loss. Losing money, feeling slothfulness.


Apprentice (Page) of Disks

A young man rehearses Haka (ritual Maori war dance). Wings symbolise his wishes to fly, to overcome gravitation of Earth. He learns how to reach earthly materialistic goals.

Description: Apprentice of Disks represents a person who is about to discover new opportunities for

wealth and prosperity and set events in motion. There are the following the most significant features of this card: - having a realistic plan; - making a right decision; - focusing on the most important points; - taking a practical approach.

Upright meanings: Learning, concentration. Looking for new solutions, achieving a significant result. Reversed meanings: Closed mind, dissipation. Opposing new ideas, experiencing a lack of progress.


Warrior (Knight) of Disks

A Maori warrior rides a giant serpent that is one of the images of the Manaia (Guardian), a

mythological creature in Māori culture. This picture symbolises a correct path. Description: Warrior of Disks represents a competent and conscientious person who proceeds

carefully, examining all tracks to see probable difficulties in advance. Often this kind of individuals chooses a conservative approach and a reliable way of action. The main features of this card include: - choosing a safe path; - making prudent decisions; - taking care of details; - checking all things.

Upright meanings: Persistent, methodical. Preferring traditional ways and actions, taking care of

every detail. Reversed meanings: Perfectionist, narrow-minded. Being reluctant to try something new, being

obsessed with safety.


Chieftainess (Queen) of Disks

A Maori chieftainess holds a fern leaf with a disk on it. She does not touch the disk, symbolising all

natural or material things, because the Maori are tied to nature but not to material values. Description Queen of Disks is a person who is generous and caring without pretensions and affectations. She is

confident and knows the right way to do things. The distinguishing characteristics of this card are the following: - being in service for others; - feeling confident; - being trustworthy; - responding to people’s needs.

Upright meanings: Generosity, security. Doing services for others, creating a secure environment. Reversed meanings: Imbalance in work, family commitments. Deceiving others, creating a phoney



Chief (King) of Disks

A Maori chief is depicted with a disk beneath. Symbolically, he is not touched by gold, because

Maori prefer conservation of natural resources to its exploitation. Description: King of Disks is a person who put ideas into practice, converting it in a successful

venture or sponsoring a profitable project. He is practical and focuses on material aspects of life. The most significant features of this card include: - applying fruitful ideas; - being pragmatic; - guiding others; - reaching business success.

Upright meanings: Wealth, profitability. Attracting wealth, finding business opportunities

everywhere. Reversed meanings: Corruption, cheat. Being avaricious, engaging into illegal ventures.



The Wands suit represents Fire, which is the first and unique element, the pure energy, the source of life, and the path for all lower elements. Ancient Greeks associated the fire with the qualities of passion and attraction. The fire people exemplify high spirits, great faith in themselves, and enthusiasm. With the fluidity of Fire they have enough courage, and energy to start new undertakings and ventures. Maori considered Fire element as the most sacred (tapu) of all elements.


Ace of Wands

A lizard, a turtle, a bird, and a fish move in the same direction. The movement of living creatures

symbolises a path, but they play different roles: according to the Maori lore, a turtle helps to navigate, but a lizard can bring bad luck.

Description: Ace of Wands represents a new beginning, new ideas and plans, finding or inventing a

new way. It is a moment to realise creative potential, to be opened to better possibilities, and to feel sweet smell of success. The significant characteristics of this card include: - being inspired; - having faith; - feeling own power; - knowing a way.

Upright meanings: Inspiration, beginning. Inventing a right path, having enthusiasm. Reversed meanings: Lack of motivation, passivity. Moving in a wrong way, being indifferent.


Two of Wands

A brave Maori warrior kneels, hanging on two spears, symbolising a choice. He has to accumulate his

power to continue his route. Description: Two of Wands represents personal power and courage. It is a situation of choosing an

own way and following it to achieve success. Below some the distinguishing characteristics of this card: - having a choice; - making a decision; - being brave; - taking the initiative.

Upright meanings: Boldness, hard work. Taking risks, taking the initiative. Reversed meanings: Cowardice, laziness. Avoiding risks, wanting in the initiative.


Three of Wands

There is a head of a Maori warrior with three wands stuck into the ground. All together they give

strength and boldness to start a new adventure. Description: Three of Wands represents efforts within a new experience, anticipating probable

obstacles, and planning ahead. Sometimes it may be travel to explore the unknown. The most significant elements of this card are the following: - exploring a new path; - estimating prospects; - planning future actions; - being prepared to overcome obstacles.

Upright meanings: Exploration, experiment. Looking for greater possibilities, taking a role. Reversed meanings: Procrastination, mistake. Inability to focus on a current deal, avoiding activities.


Four of Wands

A Maori warrior widens the eyes and stretches out his tongue, performing Haka (a traditional Maori

war dance) with four wands. Haka symbolises celebrations. Description: Four of Wands represents situations of excitement and celebration, reunion in personal

life or a fruitful partnership in business. It is time to enjoy advantages of a prosperous life. The notable features of this card include: - anticipating success; - receiving a reward; - experiencing happiness; - feeling delight.

Upright meanings: Triumph, happiness. Experiencing a success, escaping difficulties. Reversed meanings: Failure, disappointment. Feeling unapt, being trapped.


Five of Wands

A young Maori woman, holding three wands, sits on the ground, and two wands lie beneath. It is a

metaphorical picture of internal discord. Description: Five of Wands represents situations of disagreement, quarrelling, and arguing that is

impossible to avoid. It is necessary to deal with opposing forces to achieve results. The most significant elements of this card are the following: - meeting competition; - maintaining self-control; - avoiding conflicts; - looking for agreement.

Upright meanings Discord, competition. Rising to the challenge, experiencing dissension. Reversed meanings Avoidance of conflicts, diversity. Waiving competition, ignoring disagreement.


Six of Wands

A whale holds six wands on the tail. In the Maori lore whale’s image personifies solidity and self-confidence.

Description: Six of Wands represents situations of achieving success, fulfilment of desires and

expectations. It may be a moment of a triumph both in the inner and social life. The essential characteristics of this card are the following: - experiencing a victory; - feeling pride; - being self-assured; - receiving a reward.

Upright meanings: Self-confidence, challenge. Achieving success, gaining recognition. Reversed meanings: Lack of confidence, prudence. Experiencing failure, being in obscurity.


Seven of Wands

A Maori woman kneels, holding a surfboard as if it is a wand; the other six wands are visible in the

background. She looks like a competition winner. Description: Seven of Wands represents taking a stand, being sure in own position, and

demonstrating conviction. It is also about opposing challenges and showing strong spirit. The unique characteristics of this card are the following: - holding own position; - getting own way; - overcoming obstacles; - resisting pressure.

Upright meanings: Domination, competition. Being firm, acting resolutely. Reversed meanings: Relinquishment, loss. Having no faith in own abilities, being in self-doubt.


Eight of Wands

A Tiki holds eight wands and a woman in his hands. The woman here symbolises one more meaning

of this card: the possibility of new love or romantic relationship. Description: Eight of Wands represents the completion of a current project, being prepared to move

into a new field. It is the moment to put new fresh ideas into action or new events into motion. Love affairs or romantic interests are possible. The distinguishing characteristics of this card include: - moving ahead; - putting plans into practice; - opening a new route; - starting new relationship.

Upright meanings: Action, resolution. Getting movement, finding a right solution. Reversed meanings: Stagnation, frustration. Being tied, making a wrong decision.


Nine of Wands

A Maori woman stands, holding two wands to her chest as if she is making preparations for

something, and seven wands lie on the ground. Description: Nine of Wands represents a continuation of fight or journey in spite of tiredness or

even exhaustion. It is about keeping going with the use of hidden resources. The essential characteristics of this card include: - trying hard; - demonstrating perseverance; - being defensive; - making precautions.

Upright meanings: Warning, caution. Feeling guarded, taking extra precautions. Reversed meanings: Incaution, giving up. Continuing a wrong path, experiencing a lack of willpower.


Ten of Wands

Eight wands protrude from the volcano crater, and two wands lie crossed at the volcano foot. Two

hands symbolise a tension. Description: Ten of Wands represents a situation where a burden is too big, or a task is too difficult.

Persistence is needed in this case as well as lightening the load or using the help of others. The significant features of this card are the following: - fighting hard; - being overburdened; - feeling responsibilities; - having no relaxation.

Upright meanings: Responsibility, burden. Feeling tension, having a hard task to perform. Reversed meanings: Irresponsibility, an unresponsive life. Avoiding duties, doing nothing.


Apprentice (Page) of Wands

A young apprentice rehearses Haka (Maori war dance). His face expresses focus and determination;

he is ready for new adventures. Description: Apprentice of Wands shows enthusiasm and excitement of new adventure. He is willing

to employ creativity and talents to focus on success. The most notable features of this card include: - having enthusiasm; - getting excited; - having ambitions; - being optimistic.

Upright meanings: High spirit, enthusiasm. Taking a novel approach, going in a new direction. Reversed meanings: Indecisiveness, discreetness. Experiencing setbacks, temporising to change



Warrior (Knight) of Wands

A warrior stands on the bow of Maori war canoe. He has no fear and looks back to his team to check

whether men are ready for a battle. The canoe itself is also a symbol of travelling. Description: Knight of Wands represents a person who is ready for new travel or adventure and

takes risks. He recklessly seeks for changes without reasoning and reflection. The prominent characteristics of this card are the following: - having no self-doubts; - feeling no fear; - being passionate; - acting boldly.

Upright meanings: Confidence, fearless. Operating without fear and doubts, doing recklessly. Reversed meanings: Uncertainty, doubts. Lacking of trust, acting with caution.


Chieftainess (Queen) of Wands

A Maori woman with a tiki-headed wand if her hand surrounded by flame, symbolising Fire energy.

She is self-assured and full of energy. Description: Queen of Wands represents a person who has optimism, courage, and passion for

achievements. Her attractiveness and appeal result from her vitality and inner vibrancy. The most notable features of this card include: - being enthusiastic; - feeling self-confidence; - having a great impression; - showing vitality and health.

Upright meanings Warmth, vibrancy. Being loaded with optimism, creating a strong positive impression. Reversed meanings: Cold, arrogance. Being pessimistic, create a wrong impression.


Chief (King) of Wands

A Maori chieftain is depicted with a ritual wand. He is a natural leader and accustomed to respect. Description: King of Wands represents enthusiasm, confidence, and inspiration that magnetically

attract people. There is also creativity for innovative approaches and new strategies. Upright meanings: Power, leadership. Earning respect, attracting attention. Reversed meanings: Cruelty, arrogance. Pressing opponents, being tough.



The meaning of Swords as a quintessence of Air elemental energy is separating and balancing. Air puts space between what used to be a whole thing. It is the power of intellect, problems identifying and solving, as well as doing judgements.

In persons, Air creates abilities to adjust easily and quickly to new ideas and see things in a particular perspective. Such people can focus their efforts on specific ideas that have not yet realised and have the power to materialise it.

Within the Maori belief system, air is a taonga (treasure) and contains mauri (the life force) that combines physical and spiritual components of life into a single unit. The Air elemental energy can be seen from several perspectives: - in the physical dimension, which every person can observe in the material world; - in the spiritual dimension, which is known to tohunga, keepers of Maori ancient wisdom; - in the holistic dimension, which helps to understand the world as the whole system, combining the physical and the spiritual.


Ace of Swords

A two-headed eagle holds a sword, symbolising clear vision of a situation. The eagle conveys the

messages of the spirit to people. Description: Ace of Swords represents situations where it is necessary to apply mental force and

intellect to solve a problem. Logical thinking and reasoning help to find the truth and overcome obstacles. The notable features of this card include: - having a clearer focus; - showing a sharper mind; - applying intellect; - relying on logical approach.

Upright meanings: Intellect, clarity. Thinking a path through, seeing things clearly. Reversed meanings Confusion, lack of clarity. Feeling doubts, applying emotions.


Two of Swords

A Maori woman and a man have two swords and a heart between them. They look in opposite

directions that is a hint at a breakup point in their relationship. Description: Two of Swords represents a deadlock situation or an interpersonal barrier that causes

an internal conflict. The emotional closeness is for good in some cases, but here it is harmful. The distinguishing characteristics of this card are the following: - failing to make a decision; - being afraid to act; - avoiding responsibility; - ignoring future complications.

Upright meanings: Obstacle, dead point. Being defensive, keeping feelings under control. Reversed meanings: Pretending that everything is all right, ignoring that something is wrong.


Three of Swords

A hand holds a heart pierced with three swords, symbolising the heartbreak. Description: Three of Swords represents situations of moral troubles, having the feelings hurt. There

is possible to be disappointed, discovering the trust misguided. The key features of this card include: - being rejected; - feeling alone; - experiencing a heartbreak; - feeling betrayed.

Upright meanings: Heartbreak, betrayal. Suffering an emotional pain, having feeling hurt. Reversed meanings Sorrow, misery. Being disappointed, feeling lost.


Four of Swords

Four swords make the Roman X with a wreath, signifying inaction. Description: Four of Swords represents inaction or temporary withdrawal to buy time or rethink a

situation. It is a moment for consolidating internal resources and preparing for the future. The most notable features of this card are the following: - having a rest; - feeling relaxed; - being recuperated; - getting ready for the future.

Upright meanings: Temporising, relaxation. Taking rest, avoiding activities. Reversed meanings: Activity, stress. Working restlessly, feeling burnt-out.


Five of Swords

A Tohunga (Maori priest) sits next to the five swords stuck into the ground. A half apple here

symbolises an offering to gods with an extra meaning that probability is only a half of a capacity. Description: Five of Swords represents a life conflict that is associated with a defeat. The situation

may be traumatic, influencing pride and self-esteem. Nevertheless, it is useful as a life lesson. The most significant elements of this card are the following: - losing directions; - having short-term success that may result in long-term failure; - being in a conflict situation; - experiencing an internal dissonance.

Upright meanings: Trouble, loss. Finishing something with the disappointing result, being defeated. Reversed meanings: Lesson, transformation. Exposing own weaknesses, learning a life lesson.


Six of Swords

A Maori warrior kneels on one knee, leaning on his sword. He holds five swords on his shoulder as if

he prepared to carry them somewhere. Description: Six of Swords represents a journey away from previous difficulties. It may be not a real

trip, but changing the state of mind, looking for a greater harmony and new hope. The unique features on this card include: - being prepared to move somewhere; - feeling a new state of mind; - looking for changes; - having more clear understanding of a situation.

Upright meanings: Transition point, journey. Preparing to change location, leaving behind

something. Going on a trip. Reversed meanings: Entrapment, deadlock. Being unable to move. Feeling to be bounded to a

miserable life.


Seven of Swords

A Maori woman holds a sword by the hilt and has six swords are hidden behind her. She is prepared

to hide something or cheat someone. Description: Seven of Swords represents running from some life situations: responsibilities,

relationship, or hard work. Sometimes it is necessary to find an easy way. The distinguishing characteristics of this card are the following: - being deceptive; - hiding information from others; - living problems behind; - choosing solitude.

Upright meanings: Deception, control. Manoeuvring to hide real intentions, keeping something in

secret to control others. Reversed meanings: Betrayal, controllability. Being deceived, experiencing to be monitored.


Eight of Swords

A Maori woman with three daggers in her belt lifts a basket of apples pierced by five blades. The

picture symbolises a situation of self-imposed restriction. Description; Eight of Swords represents a case of self-imposed restriction, inaction, and avoiding

responsibilities. This situation may also be characterised as being trapped by circumstances. The most significant elements of this card include: - facing obstacles; - being trapped; - being in bondage; - avoiding to perform obligations.

Upright meanings: Restriction, obstacles. Being in a limited situation, experiencing a lack of choice. Reversed meanings: Freedom, independence. Feeling of self-sufficiency. Ability to overcome



Nine of Swords

Nine swords covered with thorns stick out of stone, forming some kind of a fence. The picture says

of an internal barrier in the art language. Description; Nine of Swords represents a situation of depression, sorrow, and worries. In some

contexts, it may be feeling of reaching own limits and doubting own forces. Some of the notable features of this card are the following: - feeling isolation; - experiencing depression; - being disappointed; - feeling despair.

Upright meanings: Anguish, remorse. Feeling loss of self-belief, experiencing a crisis of confidence. Reversed meanings: Alleviation, relief. Overcoming an internal barrier, improving a state of mood.


Ten of Swords

Ten swords are embedded in a shell as in a scabbard. It is a symbolical sacrificing of a previous path of life.

Description: Ten of Swords represents a situation of the victim mentality and feeling at the lowest point. It is a point-of-no-return where it is impossible to return to previous life and a point of self-pity where hopes are broken up. Some unique features of this card include: - experiencing misfortune; - feeling dreams are broken up; - suffering from despairж - reaching the bottom of life.

Upright meanings: Confusion, misery. Seeing a darker side of life, reaching a bottom. Reversed meanings Beneficiary, improvement. Experiencing recovery, feeling things going better.


Apprentice (Page) of Swords

A young apprentice forms a mockery marae (a ceremonial house), decorating it with a sword and worships the sun. The sword here is not a weapon, but a symbol of Air energy, providing thoughtful decisions.

Description: Apprentice of Swords represents a person who able to analyse a problem and develop

a plan of actions. Meeting complications; Studying a situation; Collecting data; Producing a plan of action. Upright meanings: Insight, perception. Thinking everything through, developing an idea. Reversed meanings: Deceit, lie. Pretending doing something, being an impostor.


Warrior (Knight) of Swords

A Maori warrior flies a giant eagle with a sword turned down in his hand. The warriors’ eyes are

closed as if he is deep in thoughts. The eagle is a symbol of logical clarity. The bird is Hokioi, a mystical bird of Aotearoa, which disappeared before the European colonisation of New Zealand.

Description: Warrior of Swords represents a person who is able to apply logical mind and reasoning

in a difficult or complicated situation. He acts with full certainty and without emotions. The most significant elements of this card include: - being prepared for victory; - acting with positiveness; - setting emotions aside; - being indisputable.

Upright meanings: Logic, certainty. Acting with full understanding, expressing ideas precisely. Reversed meanings Emotion, uncertainty. Acting imprudently, being evasive.


Chieftainess (Queen) of swords

A Maori chieftainess sits on a throne made of ferns with a sword in her left hand and a fern in her

right hand. She is not a warrior, and her sword symbolises Air energy to measure and cut something. Description: Queen of Swords is an honest person a critical mind who is able to face the truth, and

avoiding any games. She estimates a situation quickly and acts forthrightly. The notable features of this card include: - being straightforward; - avoiding ambiguity; - having a realistic point of view; - having high expectations.

Upright meanings: Thinker, observer, perfectionist. Opening for opportunities, understanding

hidden things. Reversed meanings: Narrow-minder, careless. Losing chances, having unrealistic expectations.


Chief (King) of Swords

A Maori chief with a sword in his hand is a person of knowledge, claiming knowledge as power. An

ornamental globe behind him can be protected or destroyed by the sword. Description: King of Swords represents an honest person with understanding all facets of an issue,

who is able to view it with an open eye to judge accurately. He has high moral and ethical standards. The distinguishing characteristics of this card are the following: - thinking creatively; - being reasonable; - having a clear-cut point of view; - showing an analytical mind.

Upright meanings: Power, authority. Being knowledgeable, applying reason and logic. Reversed meanings: Tyranny, corruption. Using of mind for evil, applying bad judgement.


Chapter 6 Reading with Maori Tattoo Tarot

Divination was a sacred art and an essential part of spiritual life for the ancient Greeks and Romans,

but it was degraded later to the vulgar fortune-telling. The ancients believed that divine energy saturates all elements of the material world including humans, and all interconnected, so gods’ will could be read with many tools, including throwing a dice, watching the flight of birds, casting wax, and so on. Later explanations of divination mechanism from Akashi fields to the Jungian synchronicity keep the same line in spite of applying a different terminology, and Tarot reading became the most popular tool for the divinatory practice. Nowadays, Tarot widely used for a modern style of divination, which can be called ‘personal decision-making’.

A Tarot spread is a useful tool to help a reader to understand a querent’s situation, focusing divination in a manner that makes it more clear and apprehensible. Such an approach helps the querent to avoid existing and potential problems. The latter possibility is especially important for us and many sciences try to predict the future. Weather forecasts, stock exchange, feasibility studies, betting, insurance, and all kinds of planning is an incomplete list of not always successful attempts to look to the future. Tarot is capable in situations where logic and math do not work properly. Divination stimulates insights, intuition and creativity to show life decisions and paths were perceived and codified within Tarot by the ancient.

The modern way of divination allows us to predict the future events in love, career, finances, health, and so on, but without full predetermination of events as it was suggested by old-fashion fortune-telling. Instead, realising that the future depends on the decisions that are to be adopted, a reader helps a querent to uncover inner demons that rule our thoughts and desires and get rid of them or at least tame them. Increasing awareness gives a chance to make a wiser decision and thus to avoid some undesirable outcomes. It should be clear that the final choice of action always makes the querent.

A good Tarot spread work in three directions: - diagnosing a querent’s problem and situation; - predicting some future events in the querent’s future; - advising the querent how to correct his or her future, making better decisions now. The Hanged Man spread works in such way.



Simplicity and convenience are also important, so the number of cards in a spread has to be minimally sufficient, and their position in space has to create a meaningful pattern, representing the dynamics and primary facets of human life. Meanings of cards’ positions within the spread are to be flexible enough to allow interpretations for numerous social, psychological and spiritual interaction and events. There are a possibility and appropriate rules to add a couple of cards in some critical positions to clarify situations when answers are not enough clear or too comprehensive.

Taking the above into consideration, the Hanged Man spread was created for the Maori Tattoo Tarot deck to receive directions from the divine. The Hanged Man spread is a simple but efficient tool to comprehend a querent’s present situation, estimate it, and provide the querent with advice about possible life path directions. The positions of this spread’s cards correspond to the body of the Hanged Man who is suspended by the legs in the air. Meanings of cards’ positions were developed for several crucial life situations. A reader may add up to two cards in each position to clarify an answer or to show some significant influences on the querent’s life path.

The general layout of the cards is the following: Card 1 represents the Earth element and the querent’s head (or mind, to be precise). Card 2 represents the Air element and the querent’s feet (in the upside down position of the Hanged Man). Card 3 represents the Fire element and the querent’s right (dominant) hand. Card 4 represents the Water element and the querent’s left (non-dominant) hand. Card 5 accounts for the Spirit and the querent’s heart (or soul in other words).

Below you can find several layouts of the Hanged Man spread for different life situations with the examples of real readings’ results. The deck and the spread demonstrated its abilities to work properly in complicated cases when the answer ‘no’ is for good and in ambiguous situations when difficult to answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’.


Chapter 7 The Love Story A querent (Helen, 33, Takapuna, New Zealand) asked about the possibility to reignite the lost spark

in the romantic relationship after the break. She would like to figure out whether they break up or stay together.

Within the Love Story’s layout, Card 1 represents a logical realisation of the general situation between the querent and her object of desire. The first card Seven of Swords was drawn with meanings of deception and control. As it turned out, within the previous relationship the man predominated, having some mental power over her. The querent thinks if she could do in her own way, their relationship would be better.

Card 2 - represents the problem from the past that created the tension and led to the breakdown of the relationships. Although feet give us freedom to move, at the same time they always return us to where we belong. Apprentice (Page) of Disks was drawn, and its meanings are learning, concentration, and looking for a new solution. Some situation in the past where the querent felt offended caused her painful memories. To get rid of the burden of the past she has to make her own rules in the relationship.

Card 3 - a card in this position (as the Fire element suggests) shows a usual course of the querent’s actions. Six of Disks was drawn with meanings of charity, generosity, and ability for sharing. The querent is ready to ignite the relationship again, and she is willing to be generous and share her life with that man.

Card 4 - a card in this position tells about people around who influence the querent, environmental facets, and the querent’s weaknesses. The Justice card was drawn, and its meaning is balancing competing needs. It was evident that the man in question did not want to give the querent more than he received in return. He acted on the calculation, exploiting the querent’s generosity.

Card 5 - a card in this position shows real heart desire to solve a problem. This is a message from the Spirit concerning the querent’s goals, wishes or social roles. Ten of Wands was drawn with meanings of burden, tension, and a hard task to perform. For the querent, it is the moment to get rid of her obsession about restoring the relationship, the time to understand other possibilities exist.

Finally, the querent was satisfied with the result of reading. Her real heart wish was not the restoration of broken and unhappy relationship, but a new romance. The reading helped her to overcome the attachment to the past and start thinking positively about the future.



Chapter 8 The Business Affair A querent (Edward, 41, Sydney, Australia) had some problems related to his business, and he asked

how his business would run in the next year, being interested mainly in its profitability. It was a moment to rethink his approach and reconstruct his business strategy.

Within this layout, Card 1 answers to the question, “What advises mind and common sense?” It was Seven of Gourds drawn with a meaning of creating fantasies, getting caught up in illusions. As seemed the querent perceived his own business as some kind of a game.

Card 2 answers to the question, “What was a real problem in the past, the unsolved problem to be solved now?” It was the Hermit, and its meanings are concentrating on questions within, learning, and looking for a new solution. In the past, the querent relied on his business as a mean to solve his personal problems. It seemed to be the biggest problem of his business’ decreasing profit. To clarify this situation, two extra cards were drawn: Temperance and the Lovers. The former has meanings of balancing, harmonising wishes with possibilities, and reaching compromises. The latter has related meanings of harmony, balance, and establishing bonds. Two extra cards complemented each other and clarified the querent situation. He was afraid to burn bridges of the past, something kept him.

Card 3 shows a usual course of the querent’s actions. Two of Swords reversed was drawn with meanings of pretending that everything is all right, and ignoring that something is wrong. The querent usually avoided to face the bitter truth and took decisive actions.

Card 4 tells how other people can use the querent’s habitual behaviour to their own advantage. The Devil card was drawn, and its meanings are bondage, being obsessed, and feeling tied down. People took advantage of the querent’s habit to pretend that things were fine when it was not so to bind him in some way.

Card 5 that answers to the question, “In what way the querent’s problem can be solved to soothe his soul?” was Ace of Swords with meanings of clarity, thinking a situation through, and seeing things clearly. It was important for the querent to consider his business plan in detail to check its feasibility. In addition to what is visible, there are other internal things such as his perception of the own business, worthy of thinking again to make it clear.

After the reading session, the querent made some alterations to his business practice.



Chapter 9 The Family Problem

A querent (Anna, 44, Melbourne, Australia) has troubles in her family background because of her

husband drinking and abusive behaviour. She asked what the reason for his alcoholism and what she can do to change this situation for good. Indeed, the potential to improve family life never worn away completely if its members can restore the family world of compassion and understanding. To do so, it is necessary to base the family life on clearer vision, not on illusions and expectations that were sometimes derived by inner demons. No less important questions are, “Whose demons rule that family?” and “Who the victim is and who the monster is?”

Within this layout, Card 1 answers to the question, “What is in the querent’s head?” It was Ace of Wands reversed drawn with a meaning of passivity and moving in a wrong way, as well as being indifferent. She tolerated a current situation, doing nothing to change it.

Card 2 answers to the question, “What are the moving forces of the querent’s husband?” It was the Magician, and its meanings are concentration, self-actualisation, and realisation of the potential. Indeed, the querent’s husband was a good handyman and did his best to earn money for the family.

There was no clarity enough to understand his motives, and two extra cards were drawn to clarify it: Three of Swords with meanings of heartbreak, betrayal, and suffering an emotional pain; and Six of Disks with meanings of generosity and sharing the wealth. There was no doubt the querent’s husband, bringing his money to the family and feeling a lack of love, has suffered emotionally and started drinking.

Card 3 shows a usual course of the querent’s actions. Eight of Discs reversed was drawn with meanings of laziness and lacking of interest. For years the querent made no attempts to influence her husband.

Card 4 says in what way the querent’s husband gets by the family life. The Moon card was drawn with the meaning of releasing inner demons. So, in this way her husband became an alcoholic.

Card 5 answers to the question, “In what way the querent’s problem can be solved to soothe her soul?” It was Warrior (Knight) of Swords reversed with the meaning of being emotional and evasive. To improve the future, the querent has to turn to a source of the inner conflict and confusion in her family. There was no logical way to solve the problem, but an emotional and evasive move to fight the inner demon that was created by the querent herself.



Chapter 10 Self-development A querent (Maria, 31, Adelaide, Australia) was pretty, well educated, and interested in a self-

development woman, but she suffered from her shyness. There were no problems for her to communicate with men, and she was comfortable enough at parties and other social functions, but she was nervous when speaking to someone in authority and felt inhibited in some situations at work. She believed that stop being shy would be good for her career. She asked how to overcome her shyness, what efforts would be helpful if any.

Within this layout, Card 1 shows how the querent’s logical mind explains the problem. It was the Judgement card drawn with a meaning of seeing things in a new light, and enjoining new hopes. A plausible explanation is the querent’s deliberate belittling to give her colleges and bosses an opportunity to lift her up. In this way, they can show their superiority over her.

Card 2 answers to the question, “What holds or binds the querent, preventing to overcome her weakness?” It was Seven of Wands and its meanings are being firm and acting resolutely. There was a strong suspicion that the querent used her shyness as a tool to manipulate her colleges and bosses.

Card 3 shows what stay behind the querent’s weakness, its internal forces. Eight of Gourds reversed was drawn with meanings of looking for better things and finding a new way. It was not entirely clear what this means, although reading between the lines suggests the querent’s focusing on something else.

To clarify the answer, the following extra cards were drawn: Six of Gourds with meanings of feeling nostalgic and being no practical, and the Hermit reversed with definitions of isolation and withdrawing from the material world. It became apparent that the querent focused on higher goals instead of achieving better results on her current job. Her behaviour was not practical and interfered with her current career, but warmed up her dreams and created a new sense of life.

Card 4 says what supports the querent’s position, her habitual attitude and behaviour. Two Gourds reversed was drawn with meanings of new hope, feeling motivated and finding life exciting. The querent supposed fulfilment of her ambitious plans more important than her current career.

Card 5 answers to the question, “In what way the querent’s problem can be solved to soothe her soul?” It was Four of Swords reversed with meanings of working restlessly and feeling burnt-out. In spite of the querent’s expressed desire to overcome her shyness, at heart she preferred to live with it and work hard to come true her soul desire, feeling burnt-out, but this cannot be helped.



Chapter 11 Parenting A querent (Julia, 34, Phoenix, USA) asked how to get her ten-year daughter to stop playing video

games. She did not understand why her daughter became an addict and was withdrawn from real life such as hanging out with friends, playing sport and so on, and Julia bothered whether something wrong in the upbringing. It seems this problem is one that is not easily solved because neither a schoolteacher nor a family doctor would be to help.

Within this layout, Card 1 answers the questions, “What is in the querent daughter’s mind? What the reason of her addiction?” It was Apprentice (Page) of Swords drawn with meanings of perception and developing an idea. The girl tried to build her own virtual world where she felt significant and mighty.

Card 2 answers to the question, “What draw her into the gaming world?” It was Three of Gourds, and its meanings are getting together with people and forming a team bond. Playing computer games, the child by no means felt herself alone, but she was engaged in quasi-team activities with fictitious characters within the virtual reality of games.

Card 3 shows what stay behind the girl’s addiction, its internal forces. Nine of Swords reversed was drawn with meanings of alleviation, overcoming an internal barrier, and improving her state of mood. The girl knowingly neglected activities in the real word, especially ones she supposed confusing or annoying, to spend more time in the fantasy world of gaming.

Card 4 says what supports the girl’s position, her habitual attitude and behaviour. The Sun card was drawn reversed with the meaning of experiencing depression, getting exhausted. Due to the poor health, the girl got tired quickly doing any physical activities, but she felt energised during computer games.

Card 5 answers to the question, “In what way the girl’s problem can be solved to soothe her soul?” There was a tacit question whether to let things go on as usual. It was Ace of Gourds with meanings of expressing deep feelings and empathising with people. At heart, the girl tended to socialise, work within a team, and to do something useful. It was evident that to do nothing may see the situation worsen, and parent’s expectations turn sour.

Much later on in the story, the querent organised a group activity for girls where they created fashion designs for dolls.



Chapter 12 The Health Problem

A querent (Joshua, 33, Adelaide, Australia) was about to have a minor surgery. He had a choice to do

an operation immediately or delay it, and he was afraid of the possibility of complications during surgery as well as about recuperation process.

Within this layout, Card 1 shows how the querent is ready for operation. It was the Ariki (Emperor) card drawn with meanings of being reliable, competent, and making a decision. Apparently, the querent was about to make a decision.

Card 2 answers to the question, “What are the querent’s fears to stop him?” It was Two of Wands, and its meanings are boldness and readiness to take risks. Nothing holds the querent, he is bold, and he was ready to put himself into doctors’ hands.

Card 3 answers to the question, “How surgery will go?” Eight of Wands was drawn with meanings of resolution and finding a right solution. It was evident that surgery would work properly, and a correct solution is found. Card 4 gives a hint about the recuperation process. The Chief (King) of Wands was drawn with meanings of confidence and operating without fear. It looks positive, but a bit vague.

To clarify this situation, the following extra cards were drawn: Ariki-Tapairu (Empress) with the meanings of being healthy, and Nine of Discs with the meanings of having good fortune. The clarifying cards supported the initial perception that the recuperation process would be going well.

Card 5 answers to the question, “In what way the querent’s problem can be solved to soothe his soul?” It was Warrior of Swords with meanings of logic, certainty, and acting with full understanding. It seemed that the querent would be satisfied with the outcome of surgery.

The operation made soon after the reading session was efficient and no harmful, so the querent was quite happy.



Chapter 13 The Career problem A querent (Deborah, 38, Miami, FL, USA) was about to change her career from a business manager

where she had a solid background to a graphic designer. She was an amateur in design, but she liked it and showed some talent. The querent disliked her previous job and felt competent for the new career, but she was not confident enough to make a decision to move away from her old occupation. She asked for reading to enforce her courage to make a right choice.

Within this layout, Card 1 answers to the question, “What is in her head and why she decided to change her career?” It was High Priestess drawn with meanings of listening to inner voice and understanding possibilities. It turned out to be true because the querent enjoyed designing as a hobby, but never suppose it as a possible profession, thinking it is not a practical idea. It was her inner voice, which told her of change career as a real opportunity.

Card 2 that answer to the question, “What she is afraid of, making her choice?” was Five of Discs and its meanings are financial misfortune and lacking support. Her main fear was the loss of the current income, risking starting the new career.

Card 3 highlights outcomes of the risky decision to start the new career. Eight of Wands was drawn with meanings of getting movement and finding a right solution. In spite of some imminent risks, the querent has all necessary skills to make a decision and start the new career.

Card 4 says about the primary stimulus that encouraged the querent to change her career. Two of Swords was drawn, and its meanings are still point and keeping feelings under control.

To clarify this a bit vague answer two extra cards were drawn: the Tower and Eight of Disks. The Tower has meanings of sudden change and experiencing overturn events, while definitions of Eight of Disks include learning new skills and pursuing bigger understanding. The meanings of two extra cards corresponded with the sense of the Card 4 and clarified the querent’s stimuli. She recognised her current job as a dead end. She was afraid to lose the opportunity to be engaged in the designer’s profession. She was ready to learn new skills and overcome consequences of forthcoming events.

Card 5 that answers to the question, “In what way the querent’s problem can be solved to soothe her soul?” was Ariki (Emperor) with meanings of to be competent and making decisions. It seemed the querent had a chance to fulfil her heart desire to start the new career, in which she is skilled enough to have success.

After the favourable reading session, the querent has made a positive decision and began her new career successfully.



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Institute for Waldorf Education. Vol 13.2. Oct. 2011.

5. Higgins, Rawinia. Ta moko – Maori Tattooing - Origins of Ta moko. Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New

Zealand. Web. 13 Aug. 2013.

6. O’Brien, Paul. Great Decisions, Perfect Timing: Cultivating Intuitive Intelligence. Divination Foundation

Press. 2015.

7. Saunders, Thomas. The Authentic Tarot: Discovering Your Inner Self. Watkins Publishing. 2007.

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9. Talbot, Michael. The Holographic Universe. Harper Collins Publishers. 1991.


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