The Twos in Tarot are a collection of duality, decision making, divergent paths, choices, decisions, balance, juggling, and a 'black and white'/'two sides of the same coin' situations. They represent everything from tricky puzzles, cautious decision making, intuitive selection and consideration of where we are now to where we want to be moving forwards, and the choices we need to make between 'here' and 'there'. As aspects of the High Priestess, they show the connection between what is known, what is felt, what is intuited, what is hoped for, what is longed for, what is possible...and the threads and strands between them.
Individually they can show us, via their traditional meanings, the need for balancing practical requirements or concerns even when things going on in the background mightn't be smooth sailing (Two of Pentacles); the need for objectively considering our options, even when the decision itself or the outcome could potentially be an unpleasant or uncomfortable one (Two of Swords); the need to consider the future, and where the decision will carry us to, and whether distant shores or a change of situation or circumstance will benefit us (Two of Rods); the need to consider 'the other' in a partnership, or to make decisions based on our empathy and emotions, rather than being ruled by our head, or perhaps to consider a partnership, friendship or intimate relationship in a positive light (Two of Cups).
"Decisions are the hardest thing to make, especially when it's a choice between where you should be and where you want to be" ~ (Anon)
Moving onto the Major Two, The High Priestess is a spiritual card in many senses, and yet she is part of the Physical sept of Tarot Majors, number 2, sat between the creativity and ingenuity of the Magician and the grounded (and grounding) energies of the earth mother Empress - how can this be? Well, The High Priestess is the guardian sat on *this* side of the veil, that connection between the world of the Physical and the Spiritual, the Knowing and the Intuited...she is seer, she is interlocutrix, she is the knower of the beyond, yet her place must be here, in the Physical, to make use of those gifts and that connection with the 'other'. The gestalt of the separate suits of Twos, the High Priestess, brings together all those choices, decisions, differing aspects of the whole, alternate perspectives and blends them seamlessly into a powerhouse of a card, calling on us to recognise, and empower ourselves, with those aspects of a situation only half-seen, half-felt, or otherwise unconsidered in their influence and power.
The High Priestess imagery is always of interest to me, in how she is portrayed. Sitting on the Physical side of the Veil behind her, she anchors herself to this realm by sitting upon a stone block, low throne or chair, but very often is shown with her feet touching a crescent moon, emphasising her having that basis or grounding in the intuitive. The Veil is shown decorated with pomegranates, or perhaps there is a pomegranate plant nearby - this fruit being yonic in its appearance, as it ripens and splits; and is the sacred symbol of Persephone in Greek mythology, a goddess condemned to spend her time in two worlds - the physical and the underworld. Finally, the pillars to either side of her, one black, one white, are representative of Jachin and Boaz - night and day, left and right, male and female - a sacred duality that echoes throughout the High Priestess' imagery.
"Everything is Dual;
everything has poles;
everything has its pair of opposites;
like and unlike are the same;
opposites are identical in nature, but different in degree;
all truths are but half-truths;
all paradoxes may be reconciled."
~ (The Kybalion)
A plethora of Twos in a reading would suggest that there are many decisions facing the querent or perhaps one single decision that has many aspects to it that need to be considered. It can identify complexities of the decision making process, as we try to juggle the many aspects and considerations to find success, balance and progress. How are we being presented with options, possibilities, choices and pathways to success? What must we bring together, braiding from two (or more!) separate strands, or finding the common connection between opposing forces? It calls on us to recognise what we have not considered in our situations that we should look for, or add to the decision making process.
"The decisions we make, make the life we live. So if we want to live better, we've got to decide better" ~ (Lysa Terkeurst)
When we look beyond the initial Twos, and consider the numerological implications further into the chain of Major Arcana, we see that there are two other cards that embody this 2 energy.
Justice (XI, 1+1) is the archetypal balancing force - wielding a pair of scales, to balance both sides of an argument or dispute, and a sword (dual edged) to enforce that decision. Interestingly, if you compare Justice and the High Priestess side by side, we see a number of similarities. She sits atop a stone bench or low throne, and with her feet on the floor, emphasising her grounding in the Physical of her decision making and rulings, this time balanced with her position in the Mental sept of tarot Majors (cards 8-14). She sits before a veil of her own, this time plain rather than adorned, and it hangs between two pillars, but this time they are the same colour, with no distinct markings to set them apart. Often the decision making process here, with Justice, is in discerning between things of similar value or context, trying to decide where one side can be given credence or validity over another in a given dispute or disagreement. By weighing those options, and considering all aspects, Justice seeks to find balance, harmony and a resetting of the scales to a level, even and balanced position.
"The choices we make lead up to actual experiences. It is one thing to decide to climb a mountain. It is quite another to be on top of it." ~(Herbert A. Simon)
Now we take a look at Judgement (XX, 2+0), a card which is numerologically a 2, but which displays seemingly very little imagery of duality or balance... It sits in the Spiritual sept of Majors (cards 15 - 21), and in this aspect is a rallying cry for us to recognise the calling between our current state and where we want to be. The imagery shows the archangel Gabriel sounding his horn, and raising the bodies of those in the physical to be judged for their actions in life, or, considered another way, to be weighed in the balance, and found either deserving or lacking. Judgement is often a rallying cry, needing us to view our decisions beyond an emotional, physical or mental narrative, and instead recognising the call on a spiritual soul level as to where we need to take action, where we need to focus in order to fall in line with that higher calling, that spiritual purpose or soul journey. The duality in this card is between the choice we need to make in recognising where we are now and where we want to be; between accepting our lot or choosing to create a new reality for ourselves; between responding to the rallying call and staying put in the safety and security of our alloted space.
Many tarot cards present to us options, questions, considerations of different areas or aspects of a situation, but it's the Twos that really emphasise these areas, and call us to make decisions, find balance, negotiate our way through one choice or the other, or between the two polar opposites...
What are your experiences of the Twos in Tarot? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
(Images are from the amazing Ellis decK, and are used with the kind permission of talented artist Taylor Ellis. The deck is available from his website www.ellistrations.net)