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How to Choose & Use a Significator Card in a Reading

Learn how to choose and use a Significator card in a reading from expert Ellen Goldberg, M.A. in this Howcast video.


Hello, I'm Ellen Goldberg, and I welcome you to this tarot moment from the School of Oracles. This segment is on how to choose a significator for yourself when you're doing a reading. A significator is the card that you use to announce yourself to the tarot tomb, and it's also the card you concentrate on for a good part of the shuffling process because the Tarot is gonna talk to you and it wants to know who you are and the significator announces yourself. There are so many ways to choose a significator that, in once sense, you really can't go wrong. But I'm gonna give you my advice. Some people choose Pages for Youth, they are traditionally associated with youth, Knights for our young adulthood, Queens for the full flowering of adulthood, and Kings for age. I, myself, would never do that, but it is done.

Other people use the element that rules their sign of the zodiac and their own sex as a choice of significator. For instance, someone like myself, who is an Aries in maturity, might choose the Queen of Wands because the Aries is a fire sign and Wands is the fire suit. This works well. Some people actually choose a Major Arcana card to be their significator and this is perfectly fine, the only quarrel I would have with that is that some people believe they should remove the significator from the deck and place it aside during the reading, sometimes to use as the base for the layout. Personally, I would never do that. I want the Tarot to have every opportunity to use every card, but I do hold the significator in mind, always, while doing the mixing and while announcing myself during the Tarot invocation. The system that I prefer does not go by man, woman, young, or old. It's the system developed by the order of the Golden Dawn in England in the late 1800's and that goes by birth date.

They divided up the calendar year into segments that deal with each of the twelve signs of the zodiac. They did not use the Pages at all and they divided them only into Knights, Queens, and Kings. I especially love that because, in truth, Pages are not just young people, Pages are second in power only to the Aces, and for sure were gonna have a segment on the Pages.

They represent giant changes in life and huge cycles of life. We take them right out of the significator class. But if you use the timing, and why not Google it? We can Google anything these days, "how do choose a significator by the order of the Golden Dawn's method." Play around with the words, I know you'll find it. And what they basically do is they make all Knights rule the mute-able signs because the Knights are on horseback and the mute-able signs, in accordance with their suit, meaning mute-able Earth, would be the Knife of Pentacles, mute-able fire, Sagittarius would be the Knight of Wands, and so forth. Mute-able Earth happens to be Virgo. The Queens are the cardinal signs of the Zodiac.

Cardinal Air that I have here for the Queen of Swords is Libra. Cardinal out of Water is, um, Cancer, which is the Queen of Cups, and so forth. And the Kings, because they know what they know and they have matured, they are the fixed signs of each element. Look them up, they have a little special trick there with them because they allow their choice of significators to be the last ten degrees of the sign that comes before and the first twenty degrees, every sign has thirty degrees, the first twenty degrees of their main sign. And this helps to explain their very particular personalities because none of us are just one thing. Whatever the significator is, there will be lessons to be learned and when we do our sections on the court cards I'll be giving you the key lessons and the key expressions for each of these cards.

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