We can think of the previous books in the series as background information for the upcoming readings. This is similar to having a client tell you about a situation before doing a personal reading. Sure, you can read the cards without any background, but it gets pretty vague; it’s like saying that the Harry Potter books are about a youth who experiences loss and overcomes hardships. That could literally be any YA series ever. We need to know who the major players are, where this drama takes place, how the Wizarding world works. You know, context.
I’m going to assume that, as I actually am the last person alive to read the series, I don’t need to do a “when last we left our heroes…” bit, and we can jump right in here. So, before I even crack the book open, I want to pull a couple of cards.
1.) Strength Rx (reversed)
In the upright, this is a card about compassion and balance, the ability to know and harness one’s strengths, to have the confidence to move forward. The reversal indicates an imbalance in this energy. There’s a struggle between thepower we could potentially wield over others and mastery over our own wants and needs: our good vs the greater good (and a happy medium between the two). Considering where we left off in the Goblet of Fire, I see this as playing out within the Wizarding world as a whole. Who will choose to fight for what is right for all (even at great personal risk), and who will put their own desires first at the expense of others?
2.) the Empress:
This card carries a nurturing, growing, guiding energy. This is the ability to relate to others, to intigrate contrasting elements into a workable whole. Think of it like the various members of a family, all with different opinions and views, but always part of a larger whole. This card can symbolize a matriarchal-type figure (thought not necessarilly female–the nurturing aspect is the important point here) who inspires others to come together in order to honor, love, or protect said figure because they represent the higher qualities of the whole. I see this as a rallying of witches and wizards around both Dumbledore and Hogwarts. Both the school and its headmaster represent that nurturing energy: helping to shape young minds and guide young hearts, forming a center from which others can draw tremendous strength. When the nurturer is in need, those who have been nurtered will come to their aid.
3.) Eight of Cups Rx (reversed):
The upright view of this card shows a figure headed on a quest. They must leave behind the love and support of home in order to find knowledge through self discovery. This is a card about finding your own way. The reversal can indicate a delay before the journey, being held back from moving forward by outside forces, not having all the tools/information needed, or being constricted in our choices by another’s idea of how things should proceed. In Mary K. Greer’s book Tarot Reversals, she says that this can represent being “trapped by those who think they have your best interests at heart.” I’m looking at you, Cornelius Fudge! The Minister of Magic doesn’t want to cause unnecessary panic. He wants all the facts. But he also wants those facts to fit a narrative he’s already written. Any deviation from the story he has chosen, he will either ignore or attempt to fit to his own theories. I see the Ministry of Magic holding back efforts to prepare for the battle ahead because they’re unwilling to see that the evidence in front of them can lead to only one conclusion: the Dark Lord has risen.