For those unfamiliar with the term, a Significator is a card that represents the querent. Often based on Astrological Sun Sign, hair color/gender, favorite card or other preference, this card is consciously removed from the deck prior to a reading, and often put somewhere on the table or at the center of a spread, face-up. This Signfiicator supposedly serves as a “focal point” for the reading.
This ridiculous practice eliminates one or more cards from a reading. It’s like searching Google, but filtering some of the responses. How in the world does this benefit the client? And, if a reader needs a Significator to “focus”, how good can they really be? I mean, the client is right in front of them! THEY are the focus! Why must a card be taken out of the mix just to say, “Here, this card represents you.”
The only time a client would truly benefit from a consciously drawn card would be as a psychological exercise for the querent. It’s more than valid to use Tarot consciously (that is, face-up) for client empowerment; in fact, I feel it’s the greatest unexplored territory with the cards. Having a client drawing a card to reflect how they think or feel can be a quick, accurate indicator (and revelation) for both querent and reader.
But to merely remove a card from a Tarot reading just to have it represent the querent?
Congratulations, you’ve just hobbled the Universe in getting across a message.
Can a card do double duty? Absolutely. No reason why the 2 of Cups couldn’t substitute for The Lovers in a pinch…or the 6 of Wands doubling for the Ace of Coins in terms of a raise.
However, based on the other cards drawn, the complex nuances of a “double duty” card may get lost or misinterpreted. After all, The Lovers card doesn’t NOT equate with intimacy and the 2 of Cups does NOT necessarily indicate commitment (or a ring on the finger).
So next time you’re tempted to draw a Signficator before a reading, ask yourself: “Do I really want to do this? Will it help the client for me to remove one of the cards?” If you’re really attached to using a Signficator out of tradition or spiritual focus, then at least select it from a different deck…not the one you’re using for the actual reading.
Otherwise, you may very well be making it harder on yourself to perform an accurate, empowering reading…not to mention possibly missing an opportunity for an unexpected, illuminating revelation that could have occurred had you not removed that unique card from the deck.