Sunday, 29 April 2012

understanding the role of the page

I've often asked myself what the difference really is between an Ace and a Page in Tarot. After all, they both signify a beginning, a new project, phase of life or subject of study. They're both infused with messages of energy, optimism and forward motion. They both speak of the importance of recognising that success is a journey and that the road from A to B rarely goes in a straight line. Yet they also seem to have a major difference between them, particularly since Aces are the first cards in each suit and Pages make up part of the royal court at the higher end. I suppose I've come to view the major difference between them as a matter of consciousness. When an Ace appears in a reading, the new beginning is at its very inception and is often not a desire that the querent is aware of or actively pursuing. I think of the Aces, therefore, as a kind of call to action. An alarm clock for the soul and a way of reflecting outwardly the hopes and desires that lie deep in the querent's heart. When a Page appears, it's to portray much more of a conscious desire. The Page is a symbol of the serious need for self-belief just as the journey is set to become intensely complex and highly demanding, but not without its rewards. So, to clarify, I think Aces represent the little spark of potential a child might show in the art room at nursery, whereas Pages represent a youth who's honed that skill and is now about to embark on a three year course to obtain an Art degree. See the difference?

So, what are the recurring themes inherent in the Pages? Well, I like to think that they often ask querents to question their level of preparation for what's in store. They almost hold a sense of the deep breath we take before the dive down or the jump off - a final chance to compose ourselves before we give it our all. I also think the Pages offer an important message about the need for maturity, self-awareness and humility. They are young optimists on the verge of new experience. They're full of 'piss and vinegar', they want to get out there and take life by the balls, but the victory they seek will only be theirs once they accept that they have much to learn and can only find true benefit in teaching and instruction, not arrogance and complacency. There's no longer any room for naivety either. Some people in this world will tell you anything you want to hear and at some point in your life it becomes your responsibility to detect bullshit. This is a big part of the message - get wise. The Page has reached that vital stage where childhood is about to be left behind and independence is no longer a distant reality. So, in many ways these cards are about calming down, becoming more pragmatic and understanding your personal limitations.

If this all sounds like harsh parental guidance of the 'tough love' variety, fear not! I think the Pages are much more versatile figures than that. They're not merely arrogant, over-confident teenagers. They're also ambitious, daring pioneers, about to try and make their fortune against great odds, and that's to be admired. They're entering the fray and they're going to be flying by the seat of their pants. They have to believe they've got what it takes or there's no point in even getting started. So, when Pages appear in a spread, I often take their presence as a chance to impart some real encouragement and reassurance to my querents. I ask them to give themselves some nurturing words and some credit for the things they've already achieved. When a Page appears in a reading, it can be somewhat of a 'cheerleader' card. It's a chance to bring home to the querent how much is truly possible and how much they have to offer. As the great Hunter S Thompson once implored us, 'Buy the ticket, take the ride.'