Having used the Waite Smith Tarot as my primary tool for my reading and teaching for several decades, I became aware during the world events of the past few years of a new depth that this tarot had to offer. This same observation was also being made by other tarot readers and students with whom I was in regular communication. Towards the end of a tarot course in 2021, a student emailed me with great excitement to share a dream she had experienced featuring her Waite Smith tarot deck. She saw the cards being shuffled and spread and, after the question was asked, all the cards started talking to each other, encouraging certain cards to step forward to be chosen as they would be able to answer the question so well. They were particularly supportive of the shy cards and all were friends, working together as a supportive, harmonious community, wanting to be of the highest service to the reader and the querent.
The Waite Smith Tarot had taken on a life of its own outside time, as we experience it, stepping onto a new and broader stage to perform roles which extended their ability to take on more challenging workloads. The student’s dream aligned with the purpose and content of Caitlín’s book The Time Changer’s Tarot, which explains how tarot can enable us to bring hope and help “shine the lantern of wisdom” in times of despair, by adopting an attitude of service and gratitude to match that of the cards in the dream. This book explains not only the wholistic view of what we were experiencing, but how as tarot readers we can change to meet the needs of those who seek solutions, to become changers of our times, not mere, powerless witnesses.
This book enables us to see our world through different models, beginning with the ancient understanding of the Household of the Earth with its concentric circles that make up life on earth, inviting us as readers to work with the conjoining of physical and spiritual reality. The gratitude and service we have for the earth is an essential requirement for reading for our community and our world, beyond just our own needs, and the questions we ask through the ritual of the reading, are answered by the universe from the Knowing Field where it ripples out to find answers.
Many years ago, while speaking at a tarot conference here in Australia, Caitlín explained how, as tarot readers, we dwelt on the fringe of society, and that when individuals became overwhelmed at the centre, they headed for the edge and that is where they would find us. That is where we needed to be. While that statement resonated deeply with me at the time, in retrospect it was such a prophetic statement, spoken so many years ago, given the global events and circumstances people have experienced over these past few years. At that edge, tarot has the ability to provide insight, comfort, reassurance, and solutions through a language of timeless images and symbols has evolved accordingly, with the Waite Smith Tarot performing through the decades. Making personal changes in life is often extremely difficult, but unpredictable times have amplified this dilemma. Fear and uncertainty paralyses. Such times call for the courageous and patient approaches Caitlín offers in this book.
The Waite-Smith Tarot has connected like-minded people around the world, speaking a common language through images, a source of great richness in emotional, intuitive, and creative expression. As a teacher of deaf education, I am aware that visual language is only limited by the depth of the questions asked, the nature of the ideas expressed and the ability to interpret the communication. Caitlín addresses all these aspects of the Waite Smith Tarot in this book, broadening their horizons in every direction to deal with current challenges faced by individual, organizations, communities, and countries alike.
The Time Changer’s Tarot gives confirmation of what I had been observing, bringing clarity to jumbled thoughts on how these Waite-Smith cards were communicating at a deeper level, expanding their range during our years of dealing with the pandemic and its associated restrictions and rules. As we were being locked down, teaching and meeting on-line, the cards were revealing another level of meanings. While we were being restricted, they found a stronger and insightful voice. The cards themselves seemed to be initiating this expansion, asking with insistence to be heard. Change has arrived at great and continuing speed in our world. History shows that. when change occurs suddenly, many people become disconnected from their communities, falling by the wayside. The tarot cards became a trusted voice, a means of helping and giving hope.
Was it the cards, was it us, or was it the source from where the messages came? Something was changing as though this deck was created for these times. Her explanation of the four different ways which each major arcana card can be read explained my experience during late 2019 where it seemed that all readings for clients and students in a group would all feature the Tower! What was it that was coming to affect so many? This was clearly a “sign post of change” which was going to affect what Caitlin refers to as “the Household of the Earth”.
With her understanding of the importance of asking the right question, guidance is given on how to pose it effectively for the individual querent, for an organization or government. Caitlín provides comprehensive meanings of the cards relevant to how the questions may be asked. During the challenges of the past few years, it is as though the cards want to help us cope with circumstances which we have never faced before, revealing their hidden depth to help us access ours. Caitlin’s experience and wisdom has enabled her to decode more information from these cards which she describes in her book through meanings, strategies, skills, and spreads for working with not only individuals, but groups and organizations of varying sizes and complexities, for as she explains every thought, attitude, word and action creates a ripple which spreads through time and space and in every direction.
The pandemic with its lockdowns and the accompanying isolation, taught us much about ourselves and our place in our families, communities, and the world. In isolation we learnt about connection, a concept at the core of indigenous cultures and so insightfully expressed in this book. While we are all alone, we are all connected to everything in our universe, past, present, and future and made of the same materials. The Tower taught and warned us that you can’t keep building on unsound foundations. Complexity and fragility endure, and we are all in unchartered waters but the cards understand the bigger picture. The cards know and we can access that knowledge through what Caitlin describes as the Knowing Field. Caitlin skilfully incorporates her years of study and teaching of cartomancy, her profound knowledge and skill in tarot to bring ritual and depth to the experience of accessing wisdom from beyond this plane. This enables us to tap into the signs of the natural world, connecting to our ancestors and the knowledge of our many lineages, to access the source of wisdom.
The Time Changer’s Tarot is a comprehensive guide to not only deepening your tarot reading skills but also unlocks keys to further learning for the enthusiastic tarot student. Most importantly, the skills and strategies revealed herein, express the importance of reading with hope, finding ways to deal with change and challenges, as well as understanding our connection to the past and to future generations by acting with courage in the present. By adopting the pathways of the four virtues, Temperance, Fortitude, Justice, and Wisdom, (represented by Temperance, Strength, Justice and Hermit or World card, in the Waite Smith Tarot), we can stabilize the way ahead.
This is the challenge for the tarot community in the 21st century. The Time Changer’s Tarot gives us the skills to move forward with a deck valued and respected by the tarot community for over a century, to honour its wisdom and allow it to perform to its full potential, while elevating our own skills as readers to meet these exceptional times. All we need now is the desire and dedication.
Linda Henery
The Tarot Conservatory