In my work attempting to expand on tarot personality and soul cards, I’ve found myself striding up to some new concepts. This is part of the reason why I haven’t posted much about my Tarot Ecosystems and the cards within them, as I’ve been slowly trying to understand what any of this is and what it all means.
But as the work itself has evolved, I’ve realized that part of what’s missing is feedback and lived experience. So even though I’m at the edge of something new that isn’t fully realized, I’ve decided to start sharing more of the development and behind-the-scenes process of this work. I’m hoping for two things with this transparency:
That sharing helps motivate me to keep going, even when I’m not sure exactly what it is I’m figuring out.
That readers like you will be willing to share your own experiences as we experiment and play with these concepts.
I don’t have any real plans for what this work becomes, but I’m hoping you’ll join me for the journey. And with that, I introduce to you…
The biosphere is the global ecosystem that encompasses all living beings, their relationships to their environments, and each other. There are many parts of the biosphere, but three we interact with are:
Atmosphere: The gasses surrounding Earth (or any planet, for that matter).
Hydrosphere: All of the waters on the surface of the Earth, including fresh and saltwater (and sometimes clouds).
Lithosphere: The outer layers of the Earth, including the crust and upper mantle.
When I initially began trying to frame groupings of Tarot Ecosystems, I had intended to follow the parts of the biosphere above because they’re so elemental. It seemed poetic and beautiful— Look at me! A member of the lithosphere!— but it also quickly became unwieldy. Each ecosystem felt like it needed to be more grounded, and saying that some of them operate in the sky or that others exist in the sea just didn’t quite work. The metaphor got muddy, and the idea stalled.
Weeks of head-scratching and internet searching later, it finally dawned on me: Climates.
Climates encompass general patterns of weather, and they also happen to fall into three basic categories:
Low-latitude: Climates nearest the Earth’s equator, such as tropical rainforests, savannas and deserts.
Mid-latitude: Climates reaching above and below the Earth’s equator as you look at the globe, such as steppe, chaparral (Mediterranean), grassland and temperate deciduous forests.
High-latitude: Climates further from the equator (in both hemispheres), including taiga, tundra, and alpine climates.
I’m not going to assign each of the Tarot Ecosystems to ones listed above (though the thought did cross my mind). Instead, I used this model as a way of prompting how we might classify the ways each of the ecosystems within a climate share common traits, just like climates classify shared weather patterns. They also related nicely to the qualities found in Cardinal, Fixed, and Mutable signs in astrology, since Tarot Climates can also indicate how the members of a triplicity of ecosystems might deal with their environment.
When we add the concept of climates into the mix, we end up with a neat little system that isn’t just helpful for understanding ourselves-- it also reflects the physical world in which we live:
Climates: Groupings of ecosystems with shared qualities.
Ecosystems: Groups of cards with linked archetypes.
Habitats: The individual archetypes (cards) within ecosystems.
With that, let’s explore these climates! Please remember: The terminology here is a work-in-progress (comment if you have ideas/feedback), so please let’s not get too attached to these titles as they may or may not stick.
These descriptions are just a beginning, but I’d be interested in knowing if they resonate with you so far-- or if you think important qualities are missing. Drop me a line or comment to share your thoughts! (Also: I’ll have more information in the coming weeks and months about the individual ecosystems and the archetypes/habitats within.)
Climate One: VISION
Ecosystem of Will
Habitats: Magician, Wheel, Sun
Ecosystem of Trust
Habitats: Emperor, Death, The Fool
Ecosystem of Initiation
Habitats: Chariot, Tower
Much like the Cardinal signs in astrology, the Ecosystems in this climate are active and ambitious.
When acting from their wholeness, members of this climate have no shortage of big ideas and plans. They are natural storytellers who crave a connection to purpose, especially in their work, creative pursuits, and relationships. The members of this climate are quick to act on or share their ideas with others because once the idea has landed, they’re ready to initiate.
The great paradox of this climate is that the ecosystems within it crave both stability and change-- two forces that are in constant tension when it comes to having a vision and seeing it through.
But what happens when these inhabitants realize that change is too slow, unrealized or just plain unrealistic? When stressed or acting from their unconscious wounds, members of this climate might be manipulative, secretive/withholding, critical toward self or others, over-confident, bored and/or crestfallen, prone to emotional swings or outbursts, make assumptions about people’s motives or behaviors (which in turn shape their actions in less-than-desirable ways), over-commit/promise more than they can realistically achieve, or feel just plain lost.
Climate Two: CONTEMPLATION
Ecosystem of Intuition
Habitats: High Priestess, Justice, Judgment
Ecosystem of Knowledge
Habitats: Hierophant, Temperance
Ecosystem of Hope
Habitats: Strength, Star
Like the Fixed signs in astrology, the inhabitants of this climate are focused and thoughtful.
When acting from their wholeness, members of the ecosystems within this climate are perceptive, supportive and persistent. They are natural interpreters, relating the experiences in the world around them to the lush landscapes of their inner-worlds. They are seekers of wisdom and truth, and they find the most fulfillment in their lives when they are able to capitalize on their own deep well of inner-knowing.
The great paradox of this climate is that, while the ecosystems within have that keen sense of intuition, they are drawn to external influences that feel more tangible, true or valuable than their own knowing.
When acting from their unconscious wounds, members of this climate can be quick to disengage from their own intuition through unhealthy attachment to others. This might manifest through emotional dependency or over-focus on others’ needs or desires, allowing them to put their instincts and vulnerability in the back seat. This can also sometimes show up as forming ulterior motives behind their connections to others, or becoming stubborn, rigid or inflexible in their opinions. What translates as focus in their wholeness can sometimes turn to single-minded obsession or unconscious prioritization of others in their wounds.
Climate Three: DEVOTION
Ecosystem of Creation
Habitats: Empress, Hanged Man, World
Ecosystem of Union
Habitats: Lovers, Devil
Ecosystem of Introspection
Habitats: Hermit, Moon
Like mutable signs in astrology, the inhabitants of this climate are particularly adaptable and resilient.
When acting from their wholeness, members of the ecosystems within this climate are genuine, diplomatic, versatile and creative. They are naturally dynamic and charismatic to the delight and awe of those around them. When they are moving through life in awareness, members of this climate feel grounded in their own power and are devoted to seeing how they can use it in service to the greater good (even if the ways that do that seem small).
The great paradox of this climate is that the ecosystems within house unique and vibrant individuals, but their deep hunger for connection tempts them to detach from their own power.
When acting from their unconscious wounds, members of this climate can feel deeply insecure, sometimes becoming inauthentic, skeptical, prone to projecting their thoughts or feelings on others, passive aggressive, or prone to disasterbating-- worrying that moves beyond reality into expectations of failure or sorrow (perhaps living as if the expected disaster had come to pass, even though it isn’t real). What shows up as dynamic personal power in their awakened state can manifest as an abdication of their agency when living in an unconscious wounded state.
How does all of this sit with you? Comment below or drop me a line if you have questions or thoughts.