Thursday, January 17, 2013

Every Picture Tells A Story

Here's a question I've encountered before- why do you need a Tarot reader? Can you just read the cards yourself? The answer to that is yes, you can read your own cards, and many people do this. It's sometimes harder to be objective, and you may find that it's difficult to avoid reading into the cards, and simply seeing what you want to see.
However, Tarot writer Sasha Fenton makes an interesting point in her book Super Tarot- that the cards form a kind of narrative, and it's up to the reader to provide interpretation of the cards and messages in them.  When a question is framed, we kind of get the general outline of the story. Who and what is our story addressing? Where does the story seem likely to be going? And what other people are likely to come into play?
As the reading progresses, more details become filled in, and like with any story, be on the lookout for plot twists and unexpected factors. I'm going to generalize a bit, but readings will more often than not fall into three main areas- past, present, and future. The past points to influences and factors that have led up to the present situation and how decisions and actions shape the present. The present in turn deals with the decisions and reactions occurring at present, which can pave the way for the future. The future then shows what is likely to happen. We can change this future by changing our decisions in the present. It's also true that some factors are easier to change than others, and some may be very persistent.
And in the midst of present and future, the cards themselves come into play. Examining the cards is not simply a matter of rote memorization. There are other factors to consider- what each card represents relative to the situation, and what each card will mean in terms of  influence and effect.
Barbara Moore, another Tarot author, makes mention in her companion book The Steampunk Tarot Manual of core meanings, and this is a useful way to approach readings. Think of the cards as symbols- there will be a core meaning to the card, as well as relational factors that tie into that core meaning. The core meaning is the gist of the card- what you would describe it as in a couple sentences. Take as a for example the Temperance card- this version is from the Vertigo Tarot.
I chose this particular card because it's on the abstract side. Notice the two vessels in this figure's hands- they are combining their contents together, and this can provide a part of the core meaning of this card. It's about balance, combining and synthesis. With these key words, we can begin to develop a more specific interpretation for the card in each situation. What other cards surround this one, and how does that factor into the card's role in the reading? Let's say we're dealing with a question about a relationship, and along with  Temperance we see the Five of Cups and the Four of Swords. The Five indicates a sense of loss and perhaps a troubled past- it could be that this person is holding on to emotional baggage or scars from previous relationships, and the Four of Swords adds to that message by indicating that it's time to step back and get a little perspective. The Temperance card would tell of using those past troubles and hurts not to be overly cautious in starting a new relationship, but rather to use the lessons learned from these past relationships (and perhaps even past failures) to grow emotionally- the  message here would be not to rush into a new relationship and make the same mistakes all over again, but to bring the knowledge of what has occurred already and grow from the experience. Take the joy and companionship from the current relationship and temper it with the wisdom gained from the past. Don't be too eager to jump in, but don't be  too bitter not to try again.
There's that same core message of balance and synthesis, along with a few other factors- the nature of the question, the other factors that come to bear, and the meanings of other cards that surround it. Many readers also look to intuition- it's true that there are factors that are generally not explainable in terms of our current scientific understanding. I'd like to think there's a "not yet" attached to the end of that statement as well. But the common experience of readers seems to be that this intuitive sense grows and develops over time- like a muscle, it grows stronger with repeated use.
There are, to sum up, several factors that go into a reading, and make an effective reader for that matter. It's both a matter of learning to read, and learning to tell the story written there.

No comments:

Post a Comment