Saturday, April 9, 2016

Uses of the Deck Interview Technique

This spread comes to us from Elm Dealande, and can be used to “interview” a new deck. The design and theme of a deck is often what makes a particular reader gravitate towards a particular deck over another, and in many cases readers find they use specific decks for specific readings or types of readings, while other decks work well for different readings. I have a few favorites, and find generally the Rider-Waite, with Pamela Colman-Smith’s illustrations, works well as a good all-purpose deck. The imagery is of a medieval theme, generally Judeo-Christian in its symbolism, and the Minor Arcana cards have illustrative pictures. It’s fairly easy to use, but perhaps I use it most because it’s the first deck I had, and the one I learned to read with. But really, it’s up to you. One benefit of living in a digital age (apart from everyone being able to read this, ha ha) is that you can get a look at the wide variety of decks that are out there, and look for one that resonates with you personally. One example is the Deviant Moon Tarot- I’ve noticed people seem to either like this deck or hate it, finding it either easy to relate to or impossible to understand. It incorporates some odd and surreal imagery, and may not be for everyone. Likewise, I had a tough time with the Wildwood Tarot, incorporating a lot of animal and nature images. Not that I have anything against animals and nature, but I had a difficult time relating to this deck. It depends a great deal on you personally. When I read for other people, I often change decks when I’m reading for one person after another, and admittedly, this has more to do with me than the person, as I use decks that I can work easily with, and find switching decks keeps things fresh and ready for the next set of questions I encounter.
Some artwork from the Deviant Moon deck

But on to the spread. There are a good number of layouts there for interviewing a deck, and you can choose one which, once again, works best for you. But if you have a deck that you haven’t done much work with, you might want to consider this to find out where that deck can fit in the greater scheme of things. The layout of this particular deck spread looks like this:

2    3    4

5    6    7   8    9

It’s read from top to bottom, with each position holding a particular meaning, and addressing a particular question. This deck is the Tarot of the Pagan Cats, and this particular spread comes from Glarawel’s blog, Here There Be Magic.
The positions are read as follows:

11.    What is your nature? What can you be used for, and what should I avoid doing with this deck?

22.    What are your strengths? Another similar question here, what areas are you best suited for reading with? And what areas can I expect more difficulty in examining?

33.    What do you like doing best? What would be the easiest use for you? In other words, what areas do you most resonate with?

44.    What are your weaknesses? What should I not use this deck for, and what are the areas it will shed the least light and clarity on? You’d be surprised, some decks are more adaptable to serious, type A people, while others lean more towards relaxed daydreamers.

55.    What do you not like doing? What won’t work well in this case? What areas (i.e. relationships, career, spirituality) should I avoid asking you about?
66.    How do you feel about me? Not every deck, as I’ve mentioned before, will work with every person. Especially when reading for yourself, you may find a deck is prone to giving you advice about certain areas of life. You’re unlikely to find a “hostile” deck, one that flat out doesn’t want to work with you, but again, you’ll find different decks have different strong points.

77.    What do you think I need to learn? The Tarot is a tool of discovery, and this position asks what is there still to discover that you can show me? This isn’t always “You’re totally awesome and your life is completely in order”, but you can examine this position in terms of what areas of life you can focus your attention on when using this deck.

88.    How can I work to achieve that? This is a pretty well-phrased question in any reading, and here it provides the next step from the previous question- what you need to know here is followed up with how do you get there?

99.    Where do you see us going? What role does this deck fill? What am I likely to be using it for as time goes on?

The questions here are phrased as if the deck is a person you’re recruiting for your team, be it business or otherwise. What the deck does and does not do can help you determine where in your life it can go. Keep in mind when you choose a deck, that something drew you to this particular deck in the first place. Try to put that into words; sometimes you’ll just have a gut feeling that this deck will work for you. That shouldn’t be discounted or written off, but examine it and try to ascertain what you liked about this deck in the first place. I’ve had a deck where the main thing I liked was “it looks like an old factory town, full of secrets, with a body of water close by”. This was the Deviant Moon deck, and from this I learned the deck can point to areas of life that for me aren’t always the most comfortable, and tend to get pushed aside and ignored. Other decks may well give you a good feeling, and this positive side of things can be just as helpful too.
Now, we have a spread here that deals with a relationship between you, the reader, and the deck. There are other applications of this spread, and when you substitute your situation for the deck, you can perform a very similar interview technique here as well. What is this situation trying to tell you, and what will it take to move beyond it? Modifying these questions a little bit, we get this:

11.    What is the nature of this situation? Is it helpful, or is it an obstacle to be overcome? This position would indicate what the “presenting symptoms” are. What do you see this situation as? What does the situation appear to be, and is this an accurate picture?  This can determine how you respond to it. 

22.    What are the strong points in this situation? What are your strengths? You may find these in opposition to the situation itself, which is fine- that can indicate what you need to bring to the table. Your insight, your determination, your stubbornness or flexibility can appear here.

33.    What do you like doing best? You have things that you can draw strength from, or areas you’re most experienced in. How can you turn these to deal with the current situation? Keep in mind that if you have a helpful, positive situation that highlights your strengths, you can definitely make that work for you.

44.    What are your weaknesses? Are there any sore spots in the situation, or something (or someone, even) that really gets under your skin? These may not be readily apparent, and may be somewhere you’re not looking.

55.    What do you not like doing? Is there some step you’re avoiding, or some area that you’re going out of your way to avoid? This too may not be readily apparent, but using your strengths you can likewise address this area.

66.    How does this situation view you? What, in other words, is your relationship to this situation and any other parties in it? Perhaps you’re appearing like an interloper or a busybody. This doesn’t make this perception true necessarily, but can help to explain some reactions you may be finding, as well as areas where you encounter the most resistance.

77.    What do I need to learn? Another important question is, what does this situation teach you? What can you take away from it? Success may not always be guaranteed, but here you can get an idea where you should be directing your energy. If you're beating your head against the wall in the hopes of a breakthrough, there may be a better, yet different way. You may be called to walk away from a situation, or to take on a new perspective. The human mind is a creature of habit, and changing it can sometimes take effort.

88.    How can I work to achieve that? This question is a bit more practical- what do you need to do in terms of action, and what can you do to get through the situation? How do you want to resolve it, and what can you expect from that course of action? If you find a worrisome card here, it may be a good idea to look at the other cards- what alternative courses of action are available to you?

99.    What is the likely outcome of this situation? Your course of action may well be proven right, or it may be that you have to change tactics. This position addresses the question of, given my current course and current path, what will likely happen? Again the spread is self-referencing. If you aren’t comfortable with this outcome, go back through and see what you can change, and where potential difficulties can arise.
So instead of putting the deck on the spot, you put your own situation on the spot. In both cases, you’ll find that you’re essentially personifying what you have to work with. Then, have a conversation with this persona. Like a person, it has goals and ideas of its own, and so working with those goals and ideas can lead you to resolution and moving beyond any areas you may find yourself stuck at an impasse in.

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