Saturday, August 25, 2012

Know Your Enemy

Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across.
-Sun Tzu, The Art of War

There are different types of Tarot readings, depending on what you're looking to get out of the reading. True, there are different layouts and spreads to use, but here I'm referring to the actual reason a person is seeking out a Tarot reading. The inspiration for this post comes from the Tarot Eon blog, and the idea was first put forth by Douglas Gibb. Gibb states that in order to perform an effective reading, you must identify the enemy. The enemy is not necessarily a person, gender or group of people in a situation that are opposed to the querent, but rather are the forces working against a desired end. This too calls for a couple different factors.
First, you have to have a clearly defined end. You have to know where you (you here referring to the querent) want to go. Say it's a better paying job. You have to have an idea what you want to happen- and the clearer this idea is in your mind, the more effectively you can develop a plan. You can certainly do a Tarot reading for someone who does not have that direction in their life, and help to clarify goals and what the end-state should look like. However, if you're working towards something without knowing what you're working for, how will you know when you get there? What standard can you use to measure success or failure in that case? So in this instance, you'll need to have a defined end before you can identify what's standing in the way of what you wish to happen.
Second, you have to understand what forces are against you, or opposed to that end. These are not always external, nor are they sometimes entirely internal. Usually it's a combination of the two, and here a Tarot reading can help. It can often identify things that happen outside of conscious awareness, and can identify patterns of thought and behavior that can work against that end. It is quite possible to be your own enemy, in thought or in action.
So what do you do with this enemy? Know them! For example purposes, let's say that the enemy here is another person. Why does this person do what they do? Revenge? They don't like you? Perhaps they don't realize how their ends and yours are not compatible, and perhaps a compromise can be reached. This also can be applied to more abstract forces- understand them as well. If it's something (or someone) that has to be overcome, that's one thing. Sometimes an opposing force can be a means to redirect you, and push you in another direction. The end does not need to change, just the route around it and towards it.
Another aspect here is to know yourself. Again, to quote from Sun Tzu, "If you know others and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know others but know yourself, you win one and lose one; if you do not know others and do not know yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle." Your own motivations, as well as a clear knowledge of your own objective, can allow you to make an accurate and honest assesment of the situation and where you need to go to reach that objective. What are your strengths, and what are your own weak points? Knowing these can allow you to develop a strategy. Again, this is an area a Tarot reading can be useful in, as a part of its utility is to provide insight.
So again, this is but one aspect of a Tarot reading, and one approach. Are there always enemies? Not always. If you have a clear objective in mind, and know how to get there, but want to get a little clarity on what the road ahead looks like, this also can help. If you want to know a possible outcome, this too is another approach. All in all, This model has a great deal of usefulness, but is not absolute- readings vary as much as the people they are done for, or by! But the idea of self knowledge and situational knowledge is a good one across the board. We don't need to view everything as opposed to our own ends- in fact, it would be a mistake to do so! But understanding the situation, and understanding oneself is always a good plan, regardless of the situation.

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