Jill's First Tarot Reading

This first reading took place in January 1990 as an Open Reading for "Jill." Jill had been adopted at eleven months. She wanted to learn all she could about her first year. For several months, she had been trying to gain information about her birth mother and, to a lesser extent, her birth father.

Jill tried to go through the agency that handled her adoption, but found that most of the information was closed to her. At the time of the reading, she had decided to pursue legal options to gain access. These are the cards she drew:

Visual Layout

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Cards Drawn Page
Three of
Six of
Eight of
Five of

Bold phrases are from the information page for the card, italic phrases from the position page.

When these cards were laid down, both of us were immediately drawn to the Three of Swords - the root cause of the situation. This card perfectly symbolizes the heartbreak and loneliness Jill must have felt as a baby being abruptly separated from her birth parents and foster family. Note the three swords - Jill and her two parents - piercing their communal heart.

The betrayal meaning is also important. At some level, Jill feels betrayed by many people: her adoptive parents who deny her search, the agency who thwarts it, and her birth parents whom Jill may unconsciously resent for leaving her.

The many court cards suggest a need for balance. First, there is the central Cups/Pentacles pair (Cards 1 and 2). They symbolize the conflict between Jill's wish to fantasize about the future (Cups) and her need to be realistic (Pentacles). This theme will turn out to be a primary focus for Jill in the months to come.

The Page of Pentacles shows Jill's need to focus on practical matters in order to win her legal case and learn about her origins. The Knight of Cups shows her countertendency to dream unrealistically about what finding her birth mother will be like. He suggests that Jill lacks moderation in her emotions. As a Knight, he shows that her hopes are overly romantic.

This idea is reinforced by the Queen of Cups as Card 4. The word "mother" popped into my mind in relation to this card. It occurred to me that the Queen of Cups had a special meaning in this case. She is the dream mother Jill hopes to find; one who is completely loving and tenderhearted. This desire from the past is propelling Jill into her current situation.

Another important pair is the King of Swords as Card 7 and the Knight of Pentacles as Card 8. The King of Swords suggests that Jill sees herself as the agent of honesty and justice in this situation. She feels it is her right to learn the truth about her first year of life. Also, in the week before the reading, Jill had prepared a position paper for the court. She used the talents of the King of Swords - his keen analytical ability, intellect and writing skills.

The Knight of Pentacles suggests that other people may be seeing Jill as too serious and driven. Since they do not appreciate her intensity, they judge her as too obsessed to compromise. Whether or not this view is justified, it is valuable information. If Jill alienates the agency and the legal system, she reduces her chances for success. The Knight of Pentacles hints that Jill should temper any appearance of inflexibility with a moderated, reasonable approach.

The Five of Cups as Card 9 is the key to the whole situation. It represents loss, beginning with the original loss of her birth parents. Now, Jill must be willing to let go of her dream mother so a true relationship can form with her actual birth mother, whoever she may be. She is also afraid that she may lose her court case.

The Eight of Swords suggests that some confusing moments lie ahead. There will be times when Jill feels powerless as she tries to balance her conflicting feelings. Also, outside forces may temporarily restrict her search.

On the other hand, the Six of Wands as Card 5 and the Magician as Card 10 could not be more positive. The Six of Wands shows the strength of Jill's conscious belief in her ability to overcome her legal obstacles and emerge triumphant. She knows she can achieve the victory predicted by the Magician. As the only major arcana card in the reading, the Magician shows the extra dimension of power waiting for Jill when she realizes her goal. If she can consolidate her inner strengths and accept her losses consciously, she will meet with great success.

Jill's Second Reading

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