When I first began reading Tarot cards, using Pamela Colman Smith’s famous cards, created with Arthur Waite, I never thought I could get the truth from a single card.
I was 22 years old, and was reading Tarot books with big, complicated spreads. Today I only use one card – for anything. Within one card you can see the past, present and potential future. You can actively work the card.
Better still, you also get to work with the principles of the New Physics. Quantum physics and the new, liberating, reality. But first, let’s look at what happens when you pull one single card from Pamela’s Tarot and ‘move’ the action, as if you were directing a character in a play. This is from the After Tarot.
Tarot Single Card Secrets and the New Physics
In the old days of Tarot, you pulled a card (or many cards) and submitted to your fate. Your Tarot reader, or the book you used – or the deck itself – would give you a verdict. You either believed, or you didn’t believe, and then you set about your life. You had a Celtic Cross layout in front of you, or some other weird and wonderful pattern – and that was that. Your fate was sealed.
Quantum Mechanics, or the New Physics, or Quantum Physics – whatever you want to call it – is so shocking that Einstein had trouble accepting it. However, it is behind the computer you are using now.
We’re talking about Quantum Reality here. As you may know, it goes something like this, as all experiments to date have proven – there is no single reality. In fact, until you look at your life – the real world – and ask a question about it – nothing is there, at all. Everything is negotiable.
It’s the moment that you choose to ask, that fixes it. And even then, your present and future can be changed. Strangely, even your past. Time is a very strange thing. So odd, that some authors, like Fred Alan Wolf (Dr. Quantum), believe that altering your perspective on the past, can also change your present and potential future.
Have a look at two more cards. One is Pamela Colman Smith’s original, and the other is from the After Tarot.
These After Tarot ideas – moving images – were created by Pietro Alligo and Giulia F.Massaglia.
With imagination and concentration, you can also shift the action. Direct it like a stage play. Remember, Pamela Colman Smith originally created stage sets and was very close to actors, writers and directors in the theatre world. This is one of my favourite examples of a shape-shifting, time-shifting, reality-shifting single card reading.
Why? Because it’s a difficult image, showing imprisonment, frustration, lack of vision, lack of choice – but according to all the rules of the New Physics, this is just one reality among many. And if you pull this card, you can change it. How? By changing your mind. Bring people in to rescue the woman. Have her get out of her own blindfold and bandages. Use the swords to cut her free. Think about who might be in the tower, in the background, who she could yell to.
In the old days of Tarot if you were asking about your impending marriage and drew the card, you were stuck with it. And you really didn’t need a Tarot interpretation book to tell you what it showed. In the 21st century, though, you can work the card.
How a Single Card Shows Past, Present and Potential in One Hit
By drawing just one card to show you your present – as if your life was a magazine cover, and this was the illustration – you can validate the truth of the Tarot. This is my standard advice for beginners, but also for Tarot professionals who are using the Single Card Spread for the first time. Use it as a benchmark for accuracy. If it faithfully shows the snapshot of what’s really going on for you at the moment – you and the Tarot are in tune. And you should spend some time on your reading, because (as you are seeing with your own eyes) it’s working!
This is the Two of Cups, below. This is the card I just drew for Meghan Markle. She is of course, engaged to Prince Harry. What you are seeing here is a bang-on description of her present situation – as if it was a magazine cover.
Now, use the card as if it was a pocket mirror. See through the couple (Meghan represented as the woman on the left and Harry represented as the man on the right) to the little house, on the hill in the distance. That’s the future. It could be anything. It depends on how far they explore, what you create behind the hill, and what’s in the house.
Now look at the space in front of the couple – the space that opens up across the yellow ground they are standing on, and stretches all the way back to you – looking at the card now. What has brought them to this point, the exchange of trust? What is the back story here? Think about the action (or scenery) to the right of the man, and the left of the woman. Is there anyone else there? What brought them individually to this point of exchange, trust, engagement? You’re squeezing the most from one card.
Tarot Single Card Secrets
One of my favourite books about the new science is God and the New Physics by Paul Davies (Penguin). In it, he explains how the physicist views time. “He does not regard time as a sequence of events which happen. Instead, all of past and future are simply there, and time extends in either direction from any given moment in much the same way as space stretches away from any particular place.”
The old way of reading Tarot, with a lot of cards on the table, was ‘looking into the future’ or ‘predicting’ but actually, we know that time is a lot more interesting than that. I believe Pamela Colman Smith knew that, either unconsciously or intuitively. The creator of the biggest-selling Tarot deck in history virtually channelled that idea about time. And here’s why –
Pamela Colman Smith, W.B. Yeats, Schrodinger’s Cat, Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker
One of the most interesting things about Pamela Colman Smith’s illustration of the Queen of Staves (pictured below) is the black cat. We now know it was probably Snuffles, the pet of the actress Ellen Terry – and her unconventional daughter Edith Craig. Pamela was close to them and probably created most of her famous deck at Smallhythe, Ellen’s home, in the months before Arthur Waite, her Golden Dawn (magical society) mentor requested the finished work.
This discovery about the strange little black cat was made in the wonderful book about Pamela’s life – Secrets of the Waite-Smith Tarot, Katz and Goodwin (Llewellyn 2015).
Arthur Waite, a leading researcher and writer inside the most glamorous 20th century magical society in the world, The Golden Dawn, never instructed Pamela to put a little black cat into this card at all. But it’s there for all time.
In the new physics, first dreamed up by Erwin Schrodinger (1887-1961) cats are central. In fact, without a cat like Snuffles, pictured here, the most famous ‘reality’ thought experiment in the world would never have happened. Schrodinger’s Cat.
The Schrodinger’s Cat thought experiment is based on the strangeness of quantum reality – the idea being that a cat in a sealed box, is in two states at once – alive and dead – until you open the lid and look. If you never, ever look – it goes on being alive and dead at the same time.
It’s a way of explaining – in famously simple terms – the nature of the universe. What’s real. And what’s real? Well, there are many realities. How many realities? Well, as some of Pamela’s inspired illustration of the Seven of Cups (below) show – infinite realities. You ‘pop’ a universe into being. It’s all potential, until you look. Until you decide. Until you select a universe.
Pamela Colman Smith was a natural psychic. She drew and painted music. She was commissioned by Debussy to do so. Golden Dawn insiders recognised her powerful sixth sense. We are very lucky to have her gifts – seeing across time, space and the new physics – captured in these illustrations, below.
Snuffles the Cat and Schrodinger’s Cat
Tarot Single Card Secrets – Pamela Colman-Smith and Magical Realities
Quantum theory, so shocking that Einstein could not accept it, was woven into Pamela’s world more than she ever knew. She was a natural psychic, just as Arthur Waite, who asked her to create the cards, was also powerfully magical. Together they created a deck for all time – but also about time. And particularly about the new discoveries being proven about time and reality.
In fact, quantum mechanics – quantum reality – was born in Dublin, via Schrodinger himself – just a few doors away from some of Pamela’s Golden Dawn magical society friends.
Not a lot of people know this about Merrion Square, Dublin, but its residents were at the forefront of 20th century magic, the Tarot, astrology and quantum mechanics.
W.B. Yeats, the Nobel prize-winning poet, playwright, author, Tarot reader, medium and astrologer – had a front door, just steps away from Schrodinger. Fate decreed that Schrodinger should move there, just a few years after Yeats had passed away.
You can see blue plaques honouring both men today, separated by a row of Dublin doorways. Across Merrion Square, you’ll see a plaque remembering Oscar Wilde. His wife Constance was also in The Golden Dawn, along with Yeats and Pamela Colman Smith. Pamela’s friend Bram Stoker (Dracula) was a visitor there. And it was Yeats who inducted Pamela into the Dawn.
Clouds and Cats in the Work of Pamela Colman Smith
One of the reasons a single card reading works so well – but only (I believe) with Pamela’s art – is her intuitive illustration of so many of the concepts of quantum physics and the new reality. Her cards, which found their way into the world in 1910, kept in step with all the important 20th century quantum leaps.
Snuffles, we know, is a lovely model for Schrodinger’s Cat.
One interpretation of the famous alive/dead cat thought experiment rests on the idea of parallel universes. Actually – many worlds – or a multiverse (below). This is why ‘action reading’ and your own thought experiments with the results of one single card, are so important. The illustration of the cat (left) on a strip of film is not unlike the shuffle of a Tarot card deck.
Pop a Possibility and Create a Reality
Pamela Colman Smith was a Bohemian artist, who liked to drink a cocktail called Opal Hush, entertain her famous friends – and no doubt enjoy the fun of having Oscar Wilde’s wife Constance as a fellow member of her chic secret magical society. She was also moved to create mysterious, swirling clouds in many of her Tarot illustrations. Cloud upon cloud. If you want to pop a quantum possibility in your single Tarot card reading – and create a reality – these cards are good practise.
Erwin Schrodinger and Pamela’s Clouds
I’ll be taking Tarot workshops around the world in 2018 and 2019 and we’ll explore the Single Card Reading. The first one is in Melbourne, where I sometimes live and work – at The Tarot Guild on Saturday 3rd February, 2018 from 1.30pm to 3.45pm.
We’ll be talking about Schrodinger’s Electron Cloud there. Not unlike Pamela’s own clouds (above).
Please follow me on Twitter or pick up your Premium Member newsletter to find out about more events. You can also follow me on Pinterest, where these images come from. Special thanks to U.S. Games Systems for permission to feature Pamela’s cards.