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How to Survive Christmas using the Tarot

by Toni Allen

Christmas, the season of goodwill and cheer is nearly upon us. Whether one loves it or hates it there is no avoiding it. Many people try to escape it by flying off to sunny seasides in an attempt to rid themselves of tinsel mayhem and misery. Yet try as they might they are still dealing with Christmas, still acknowledging its inevitable existence and making plans to avoid it.

It's around this time of year, late October, maybe a little earlier, when Christmas starts to show itself in many, many readings. What I'd like to share with you are which key tarot cards to look out for that can depict Christmas, and the type of events going on around it.

One of the most pertinent tarot cards for depicting Christmas is the Ten of Coins as it symbolises what I call the "hierarchical family". This is Mum, Dad, brothers and sisters, grannies and grandads, aunts and uncles, the cat, the dog, the new boyfriend, the difficult wife, the screaming babies, the noisy toddlers and the long lost relatives. If they are in any way related to your family, whether through blood or marriage, then they are symbolised by the ten of coins.

The Ten of Coins tarot card not only depicts the people but also the family values, beliefs and dynamics. This, along with the actual people, is what starts to become important when predicting what type of Christmas any individual is likely to experience. One member of the family might desire a traditional Christmas dinner while another might want something less exacting.

The next most important card is the Nine of Cups. This tarot card symbolises parties and get togethers in which people generally have a few drinks, socialise, and are friendly and animated.

Put the Ten of Coins together with the Nine of Cups and we find a lovely fun filled Christmas.

Next one needs to take into consideration which family member this reading is for, what part are they playing in the family festivities?

One woman had the Ten of Batons leading up to the Ten of Coins and the Nine of Cups. The Ten of Batons in Tarot symbolises excessive burdens and responsibilities, running around after other people and forgetting about oneself. This woman was the mother of all mothers, from October until early January busy shopping, cooking and organising so that her extensive family could have a wonderful Christmas. When I suggested that she might wish to share the burden she came up with two comments: that she preferred to have people come to her home, and that she was the only one who was capable and that no-one else would bother.

Looking at Christmas from another perspective was a reading for a woman whose sister-in-law was much like the previous woman. She had her Christmas day shrouded by the Three of Coins reversed. This card symbolises being weak willed and subservient, an unwilling servant who does not have the ability to stand up for their own needs. "My husband wouldn't dare defy his sister and not go to her Christmas do," she said wearily. "I just keep quiet and get on with it."

There are many other characters within any family, here are just a few examples of what I have seen, and what kind of gifts they might, or might, not appreciate.

The Queen of Swords: This card is traditionally "The divorced, widowed, embittered woman." Around Christmas time she generally shows her face as the unpopular wife of a much loved son, the mother-in-law, or a much older woman, such as a grandmother, who is on her own in life.

Gift type: Usually this type of person is never satisfied with anything. If you give them a gift voucher they say you haven't bothered, if you take flowers they complain that they will die and shed upon their floor. Best to take them a bottle of wine and get them drunk. This might exacerbate their poison tongue but it might also send them to sleep.

The Queen of Cups: This is the tarot card of the perfect mother and good cook!

Gift type: Take her something personal and special. She has enough pots and pans and homely type things, so something beautiful that she wouldn't buy for herself. Anything from perfume, to a silk scarf, to a pamper day at a local health farm.

The Emperor: A powerful father figure who likes to have his family gathered more for show than love.
Gift type: Something expensive! It need not be large but must have taste, quality and usability. This man has not built his life up on trivia. Does he need a new wallet, or set of golf clubs? A years membership to his club?

The Page of Batons: Of all the tarot court cards this page is the one who symbolises the child. When upright it is a capable child who enjoys having a go at most things, but when reversed the Page of Batons depicts the kind of child who is not very self confident and constantly requires help and reassurance, and is prone to temper tantrums.

Gift type: Depending on age the Page of Batons will enjoy most toys which have an element of exploration and fun, whether a construction type toy or game. However, the reversed page, needs something less complicated which does not require such a long attention span. Musical instruments which give instant gratification would suit, as well as any toy which speaks back, either as a learning aid or simply for fun.

With the people come the problems. Here are a few simple examples of which cards can show typical Christmas problems.

The Three of Swords: With the three of swords tarot card we find envy, jealousy and rage. Anything which isn't love. Upsets all round. Often over the festive season this can be aroused by the attitude of "He/she has a bigger, better gift than me," or by excessive alcohol. (see the nine of swords below) Arguments always abound with the three of swords.

The Four of Cups: This card when upright symbolises being rejected, which can be triggered by feeling left out or simply by not being invited! When reversed the four of cups tarot card represents, amongst other things, the need for a hug and physical attention. This is not sexual attention, and therefore, especially when next to the Page of Batons, will depict that the children need playing with with their new toys.

One card which can symbolise various Christmas difficulties is the nine of swords. This card is where stress has stress and situations potentially get so complex and fraught that some folk will start to seriously hit the bottle. Drinking is generally accepted around the festive season but when alcohol intake becomes excessive, nastiness, bad feeling and sometimes even violence can ensue.

Not everyone has a large family or group of friends to spend Christmas with. In a reading you will often find the four of swords representing aloneness. Maybe for some the isolation represents a pleasant type of solitude away from the potential arguments and bad feelings that family gathering can so often instigate. For others it represents loneliness and invokes feelings of desperation and despair. If the separation from society and socialness is not chosen but forced upon the individual through unpleasant circumstances then the Star card reversed may well be seen next to the four of swords.

And what of all those folk who like to bunk off to freedom for the festivities?

The World: Quite literally escaping into the larger world of opportunities.

The Eight of Cups: Envisaging something better far, far away.

The Sun: For those who like to escape the cold and bask on a beach.

The Knight of Cups: This is an intrepid traveller, eager to seek out new places, people and situations. Most likely to spend Christmas climbing a mountain or sitting painting it…from a tent with a view!

For many people Christmas is a pleasure, a time to draw the family together and be close to friends. For others it's a lot of fuss and bother for one day. The Six of Coins reversed symbolises overspending, so remember to budget carefully, take the preparations in your stride…and whatever you do…enjoy a very wonderful Christmas day.

Toni has been a professional tarot reader for over 20 years and an astrologer for over 13. She is the author of The System of Symbols, a new way to look at Tarot. You can learn tarot through her website at By appointment she offers private readings and tarot parties.

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