Top Row: Knight of Wands, Queen of Cups. Bottom Row: page of Swords, King of Pentacles. Deck used: Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore and illustrated by Aly Fell.
Significator. The word itself commands attention if only becaue it is long. Just what is a significator, anyway? A significator is a Tarot court card (usually, though not always) that the client selects to represent themselves in the Tarot reading. Simple enough, right? Well mostly, the thing is some Tarot readers, myself among them, opt not to use significators at all.
Why is that? Well it boils down to three things.
Reason 1: Using a significator removes that particular card from appearing elsewhere in the reading.
Let’s examine that a bit closer, shall we? ANY Tarot card that is selected from the deck and placed into the Tarot spread cannot appear in that spread a second time. Unless the Tarot reader has two decks, this is simply not possible at all. If that bothers you, as a Tarot reader, go purchase another copy of the Tarot deck you use and remove the court cards from that deck so they can be used solely as significators. Problem solved.
Reason 2: Significators are a very old hat and no one uses them anymore.
Plenty of Tarot readers use significators. To the proponents of significators, they are a wonderful way to settle the Tarot reader’s mind and focus on the Tarot reading. For clients, significators are a fantastic way to bring them into the Tarot reading itself. Many people are not Tarot enthusiasts and they feel uncomfortable in a Tarot reading setting. A significator can effectively break the ice and makes the Tarot reading more personal for the client. Isn’t that great?
Reason 3: No one person can be represented by a single Tarot card.
I will not argue this claim. It is true, one person cannot be represented in their entirety by one anything. However, looking deeper, we already use one thing to represent a facet of ourselves every day. It’s called a profile phot or an avatar which we select to convey what we believe to be important about ourselves to others.
So why am I, a self-professed non-significator-using Tarot reader, talking about significators? I recently read an excellent Tarot post about significators being used all the time. Yes, even outside of Tarot! But Genevieve you just defined the term significator at the beginning of this post and it is ONLY used in Tarot. I know, but bear with me here. Significators are, in essence, the Avatars of Tarot. Avatars are everywhere. They’re in forums, on Facebook, Twitter, and on blogs. Avatars are selected by the user and they represent that user to the larger community. A picture of your favorite pet on Facebook, a mug of tea on your blog, your own smiling face on Twitter, all of these things are important pieces of your Pet-Friendly, Tea-Loving life and these images are you. YOU choose them yourself.
Every day, you look at avatars. You might even recognize who posted something just by looking at the avatar the poster used. If avatars are that common, why aren’t significators? There’s really no reason other than Tarot usage is not widespread. Let’s change that. I am proposing a revolution. SIGNIFICATORS FOR ALL! They should absolutely be as familiar to us as our avatars are. No question about that. Join the revolution! Get to know your significator as well as you know your avatar.
The next time you want a Tarot reading, select a signficator first. Do this enough times and you will start to see yourself in a particular court card. Keep going and soon ALL the court cards will remind you of yourself in some fashion. Don’t stop there though! Spread the word: Significators are Tarot Avatars.
Don’t know where to start? Try this Tarot exercise:
Grab a Tarot deck and remove all the court cards from it. Select a card to represent yourself and place it in the center of the spread. Place four other Tarot cards around the significator. One above, to the right, below and to the left. Leave the four cards face down for moment and focus on the central card. The aim is to build a solid connection to that card. When you are ready, turn over the cards one at a time.
I have selected the Page of Swords as my significator (Note: the Significator has no question to answer in this spread.) and the questions I am asking are as follows:
North of the Signficator: What lesson can I learn from (the Significator)?
East of the Signficator: What aspects of (the Significator) do I consciously embody?
South of the Significator: What is one bit of advice you have for me, right now?
West of the Signficator: What aspects of (the Significator) do I subconsciously embody?
Repeat this exercise with all of the court cards. Be sure to leave enough time between these Tarot exercises so your brain can recharge and absorb the messages from each court card.
BONUS: Do the exercise with your favorite non-court Tarot cards. Leave the Major Arcana alone for this exercise. Looking to find love again?The Ace of Cups is a good significator for those open to love again after being alone. Ready to chase those dreams? The Three of Wands is an excellent significator for those chasing their dreams. The list goes on. Be creative and challenge yourself by selecting non-court Minor Arcana cards for advanced Tarot familiarity.
Journal about the results of this exercise (and the Bonus section, if you did that one as well). What surprised you? What did you expect to happen? What actually happened?
Blessings to You!