Tarot Va Va Voom

Va va voom – expressing that something is lively, passionate and exciting.


Yup, for me, the Tarot is all of those things. Usually.

I, (and I guess many folks who read the Tarot or any system of divination), go into learning hyperdrive from time to time. Quite often, when I have been on a learning kick, I find myself all analytical and formulaic about reading, my mind goes all Sheldon Cooper and nerdy and refuses to open up to be creative and receptive. The other half of the lovely marriage of left and right brained approach switches off. This leaves readings perfectly acceptable – but hell, who on earth wants perfectly acceptable, when we know in our hearts we can do bigger, better, deeper, more?


Jesse Milton of Seven Metals Tarot said a ‘thing’ on a post in a Tarot facebook group the other day, on a thread about received wisdom, and received fuckwittery in Tarot. He said words to the effect of – the fuckwittery is that there is so much to learn about the Tarot and the wisdom is that there’s so much to SEE in the Tarot. And though learning is a life-long love of mine – a Tower lightening bolt exploded in my head at this. Jessie’s comment set me to thinking of a few other bits and pieces I’ve seen online recently which have piqued my interest, but perhaps didn’t give me the same brain thump.

Paul Hughes Barlow on his You Tube channel was speaking about the Tarot from the perspective of The Book of Thoth regarding the meanings of the cards. In divination, according to The Book of Thoth, the cards have no meanings. They are dynamic and the meanings assigned to them fluid, depending on the operation at hand (the operation being the act of magic that divination is), the cards interacting with them and , I suspect (although it wasn’t specifically said in the video), the intuition – or the information accessed by the reader from wherever it is summoned from. For me, that would be the collective conciousness. Which I think is a very difficult concept for new readers to grasp. After all, there needs to be a foot hold to get started. But it becomes more apparent with time and experience, and is ultimately, profoundly liberating.

And finally a video by british psychiatrist Iain McGilchrist on the importance of both the left and right brain in any given circumstance. The right brain gives a broad perspective, an overview and impression of the situation at hand it notices gut feelings, and emotions, and allows for inspiration and association. The left brain looks at the minutiae. The analytical process of checking out the detail and logically adding up how this affects that situation.

I’ll add links at the end of the post to Jesse’s blog and to the two You Tube videos I’ve referenced here.

I think it’s worthy of note, that in my experience, Marseille style tarot decks do take less of a hit from ‘overlearning’ than do decks with a definite system and bazillions of possible correspondences and bolt-ons such as the Waite Smith and the Thoth, or decks that are based on these (there are other systems of correspondences out there, think Etteila, Worth and more).

I’ve found a way to release the dam when my readings are in danger of becoming dry and formulaic. It’s quick, and it’s fun, and it can be used in place of usual Tarot for a wee while until that freshness, wide eyed wonder and joy at the miraculous tool that the Tarot can be returns. Using this no system system is also, (in my experience), a profound and useful time of resetting.

It’s oracle cards.


Not just any old oracle cards – it’s taken me YEARS to find a deck of oracle cards that I can actually work with. They often have images that aren’t useful or beautiful quotes printed on them (nice, but no use for my purposes). The decks often have too few cards to be helpful for the method I’m about to outline, or they have their own designated system (e.g. lenormand or kipper or sybilla), even Psy-Cards didn’t cut it for me. I needed a deck with lots of images that are not only archetypal to me, but also relatable to the day to day small stuff. The deck I came accross in a second hand shop, is called Dream Power and is by Tony Crisp. It’s designed for a very different purpose (interpreting dreams), but the minute I saw it I knew I could utilise it. It has numbers, themes and images both modern and timeless, colours, jungian archetypes, planets (not all of them), and animals. There are 100 cards in all and I use them exactly as I would the Tarot, but am forced to drop the Tarot system and let my intuition do the work – which isn’t work at all. It’s more surrendering to, and accepting the messages and insights offered up. And it works. The spread and question give the context. The images spark the reading process.

I use these cards in exactly the same spreads, and in exactly the same way I would The Tarot. They allow me to explore, and work on situations in exactly the same way Tarot cards do, but I have to ‘allow’ myself to be open and receptive, flexible and fluid for this to happen.

So if ever you feel all dried up and system blocked. If you find yourself doing little equations in your head (element+number+esoteric title+position on the tree of life+astrological correspondence+spread position+question=OMG MY READING IS SO DUSTY), why not break out and try a no system system that works for you? As Iain McGilchrist says of situations such as this, don’t serve the servant (the rational mind), honour the gift (the creative mind).

I’d love to hear about your intuition restoration methods in the comments!

Seven Metals Tarot Blog – https://sevenmetals.wordpress.com/about/

Paul Hughes Barlow Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BujebAdmOU

Iain McGilchrist Video – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFs9WO2B8uI

Decks used in this blog post – Noblet by Jean Claude Flornoy, Aquarian published by US Games and Dream Power by Tony Crisp (i’m not sure that the Dream Power cards are still in print, but they are available online used very reasonably)

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