The gate, the key, the passage – the Gateway tarot spread

As well as being an awesome tarotist, Moti is the treasurer of TABI and an all-round lovely egg. Reading her blog lately, I came across a really brilliant, simple three card spread.

Img_3709It’s called the Gateway tarot spread and it looks like this:

1. The locked gate
2. The key
3. The passage

Having been through a strange few years recently, at first traumatic and filled with grief and guilt, then numb, then content, then awakening, and finally now beginning to feel free again, I’m still aware of tiny blocks which I have still to shift. Self-forgiveness is one but that’s a whole other blog post. I thought I’d try Moti’s genius little spread to see if I could unlock a little more.

With my grumpy landlord away I was free to spread myself about a bit on our shared balcony, with a brew and a fag and the Mary-el Tarot in the sunshine. Lovely.

I read with the Mary-el Tarot, by Marie White

1. The locked gate – Four of Swords (reversed)

Moti writes:

This card deals with the issues which keep the gate locked:
    •    What is it about the situation that has caused this blockage?
    •    Why can’t the querent move forward from this situation?
    •    What is the querent not seeing?

This card shows a cross-section of a landscape. Down below, across the flatness of the earth, we see low cloud, rain and lightening striking a small town. Yet above the clouds are blue, blue skies, and there, birds soar, seeing all, touched by nothing. To me, this situation suggests a desired detachment from a situation, or a possible attempt to take the moral high ground. I know I am certainly guilty of this, as are other people involved in the past situation I’m asking about.

2. The key – Ace of Swords

So this card asks:

    •    What does the querent need to do to let this matter go?
    •    How do they move through this gate?
    •    How do they get a resolution to this issue?

Here, the ace is represented by a half man, half eagle figure, wings spread behind it, arms and talons bound down at his sides. What’s going on?

The card suggests I free my mind, untie its bindings and reach out towards a new sense of truth – my own. I know that the experiences of others have informed a lot of the guilt and angst I’ve grappled with, and I do know that it is time to disentangle my own decisions and experiences from the decisions and experiences of others.

In her companion book, Marie White talks about the correspondance between Swords, Air and ‘thought’:

But, Swords/Air can be so much more if sought and understood in the concept of spiritual development where it goes beyond just thoughts and intellect and maybe the coldness perceived in those ideas and into the concepts of free will, will, purpose, reason for existence, communication, language…

The Mary-el Tarot: Landscapes of the Abyss, Marie White, 2012

The crux of this card is openness – an open and flexible mind, one that is willing to seek and learn, and also to cut through bullshit to find truth in both black and white, dark and light. It reminds me a lot of the concepts in the Justice card – where balance, clarity, ability to see both sides and yet know one’s own mind, are the skills which will develop and enable our minds.

3. The passage – Eight of Cups

So what lessons have you learnt from this experience? Which pathway are you going to chose after you have got through the gateway?

Okay. I really, really, REALLY love this picture. A child, wrapped in a huge lion-skin, her calm, kind, open face beneath the mighty, fierce head of the beast – bravery and strength enveloping kindness and gentleness. It echoes the Strength card both visually and in its meaning:

Here, Hurcules’ lion skin is draped over a young and innocent child to symbolize that Strength or Fortitude is due to an open heart and lack of bitterness. … The best way to overcome obstacles at this junction is to keep your heart open and be true to yourself and overcome the fear that would normally cause you to shut down and guard your heart.

Marie White

White’s interpretation adds to my usual feeling that this card indicates a turning away from sad times, a leaving the past behind with no regrets, but some sadness, imbuing the act with courage and strength. In the Waite-Smith Eight of Cups, a figure turns away from her cups, walking staff in hand and cloaked in black, ready to being a journey to pastures new. Here, the same traveller is draped in the skin of a lion and bears a tiny, gleaming star on her wrist to guide her. She moves forwards with the emotional wisdom to know that what’s done is done, and that a chapter must now be closed. What will keep her safe will be the courage to keep an open heart and, though she has seen pain and conflict, to keep moving through the world with love. Or as White puts it, to ‘wear truth and love like an impenetrable shield.’

Amen to that.

So I’m trying to soar above the bullshit – it’s a very ‘mind’-y reading, but in the spiritual sense. I need to take a view, to step out of the every day he-said-she-said that still sometimes keeps me down, and achieve a new, higher understanding of the difficulties of the past few years. The detail is no longer important. Well, that sounds lovely. I’ll do it through learning to open my mind and seeking to crystalise and clarity my own unique, philosophical, heartfelt world view. With an ace slap-bang in the centre of my reading, I know the time for this is now and the opportunity is ripe.

And where will this take me? On a strong, brave, open-hearted journey into the next phas
e of my life. I too will don a lion-skin to give me the courage to keep on loving, to keep on learning and to know that I am strong.

Gateway tarot spread

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  1. Moti Black says:

    I have just found this post! Sorry for not commenting sooner. I am glad you found the spread useful, you certainly have handled it expertly and came up with some fantastic insights! I hope that you have found some peace with the past 🙂

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