In this blog post I have a think about the Tarot, and how it works based on experience in many many readings, on reading books and blog posts – some of which sat well with me, some of which didn’t, and partaking in courses, seminars and watching many many lectures over the years. I emphasise that these are my thoughts only. No concrete conclusions, nothing new or revolutionary and no absolute universal truths (as far as I’m aware), just a formulation of my thoughts and I urge you to use my thoughts to stimulate yours….
I have a suspicion that the Tarot works on a lot of levels, depending on the approach of the reader.
Arguably, at its most down to earth, the Tarot is an exercise in forcing the brain to focus on elements of a question in relation to the card placed upon that element (or the position in a spread), and in relation to the placement of that particular card in the structure of the Tarot itself i.e. arcana, suit, number or personality.
I’ve experienced this working perfectly well in an email reading, but results are most certainly enhanced when there is a dialogue between the querent and the reader (and I’m speaking here from the perspective of myself both as the reader and as the recipient of the reading).
Extra depth and information can be put into each card by the overlaying of a system beyond the image, (the image itself being of primary import to the querent not versed in the intricacies of the various overlaid Tarot systems). For example in card VII The Chariot, the card itself is part of the Major Arcana or suit of Trumps, the number 7 may have significance, the card may have an astrological assignation (in the RWS system, Cancer), it may also be given kabbalistic attributes in some systems or shamanistic attributes in others. The colours may be given esoteric meaning and the card may be associated with an element and there may be symbols of meaning to some present in the cards etc., etc., etc…..
Which also gives credence to the train of thought that applying a stat one paragraph ‘meaning’ to a card is reducing a readers potential efficacy, as well as disempowering the querent from seeing what perhaps they need to see in a card, for it to make sense in its context. Perhaps considering that each card has an essence that can be altered when in solution with the situation within a spread, the time of day, the question, the mood of the querent, the weather, the place the reading is taking place (OK, I’m being a bit facetious now, but I’m sure you see what I’m getting at).
What this does is give the reader and the querent, ever increasing varieties of image prompts for ever deepening associations with the element of the question or situation being focussed upon. Each particular detail in a card also has the added bonus of setting in motion a stream of personal associations for both the reader and the querent. Even the predicted outcome of a situation as shown in the spread will make sense in this context.
Readers may also have some psychic ability (not always, and psychic ability is not a prerequisite for reading the cards well, in my opinion). Allowing oneself to be open to the cards sparking some insights from a level that is not simply ‘in the cards’, can produce some interesting and often left of field results that can be of huge benefit for the querent. In my own practise, realising that sometimes I have a ‘knowing’ in relation to the issue being examined, and that this ‘knowing’ can be shared to useful effect has been a revelation. Allowing this, and sharing this has developed this skill further over time. Oft times though, an on point and useful reading comes simply from the cards in their positions and meaningful interaction with the querent. Other readers have other psychic aptitudes, often called ‘the claires’, clairvoyance – ‘seeing’ psychically, Clairaudience – ‘hearing’ psychically, Clairesentience – ‘feeling’ psychically and Claircognizance ‘knowing’ psychically. There are other ‘claires’, less documented, often with traits and idiosynchracies that can be placed into the main ‘claires’ mentioned above.
There is no doubt that certain decks of cards suit each of us as individual readers more than others. Some stop our ‘looking’ in its tracks – a kind of closed door to any further exploration, whilst others stimulate our seeing and invite us to explore deeper, and further and from different perspectives and angles. Sometimes a very traditional, and popular deck of Tarot cards which have been allocated ‘meanings’ over the years can stilt a reading if the querent has some familiarity with it in that the ‘given meaning’ acts as the afore mentioned closed door to further exploration.
In my experience great readings come from readers skilled in enabling the querent to exercise their association muscles alongside them. To understand possibilities, potentials, obstacles, pitfalls and strengths the querent has in relation to a given circumstance or in life for them in general at any given time. Added bonus psychic hits are cool and often delightful and intriguing, but not at all a necessary component in the process of exploration and planning that empowers a querent.
There is no consideration given in this post into the other uses that folks’ have for cards here, such as part of a spiritual or magickal practise – that’s not really where my deepest experience lies and others are far better qualified to examine the Tarot in these respects .
I’d love to hear your thoughts on my thoughts, and your own thoughts on the Tarot – many say that ‘it just works, and that’s ok’, and I guess it is – but once my mind starts to go down a rabbit hole, well, I just follow it when I can afford the time.
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