So many tarot readers say they cannot read for themselves. In fact, in the many Tarot “myths” abounding, one of the more popular ones especially about 40 years ago and persisting today is that a Tarot reader “shouldn’t” or “can’t” read for themselves.
In an effort to bust myths about Tarot, Mary K. Greer wrote a classic called Tarot for Yourself, published in 1984. It’s still available and a good workbook for Tarot readers who want to do the work, the real work of The Hermit’s introspection. There are exercises, meditations; we’re talking homework here. But like some of the other best Tarot exercises, when you can feel those muscles at the end of the workout, you know you’ve learned something. And you probably can read for yourself.
I’ve taken a trip through older books lately, so I can’t really classify Mary’s book with the oldies from the 19th century, but in the 1980’s, Mary’s book was trailblazing as part of the modern Tarot movement. We give “props” to Mary for this and her many other books and contributions, perhaps not enough props!
I thought I’d draw a few cards for myself about my Tarot experiences over the years. I drew three cards.
Before we get to those, I should say that I started out first reading regular playing cards as a child to amuse myself. I particularly liked the Queen of Clubs. When I bought my first Tarot decks, like most other people I stuck pretty closely to the little white book that came with the Rider Waite Smith deck and David Palladini’s Aquarian Tarot. It took a while for me to let go of the training wheels. One of the features of most of those earlier Tarot instructions was a large spread called the Celtic Cross.
Even the name sounded like mystical powers! Ten cards in a spread started out, “This card covers you,” signaling the topic of the reading and perhaps noting the quality of the card that could help you; then, “This card crosses you” went on to represent the challenges and hurdles to be overcome. The Celtic Cross proceeds card-by-card with each position of the spread representing a unique aspect of your situation.
I probably used the Celtic Cross spread for the last time about 30 years ago, maybe more. The items covered in that spread can be a pretty good comprehensive reading but I quickly found that, reading for myself, I may not care to go through each position and ponder, say, the past influences on the current situation, or what other people think about it all in my reading. For instance, if the topic were my cat’s health, I really didn’t care if people thought I was an insane Cat Lady. Bless them all, each and every one, but the topic was what are the best things I can do all around while my cat is ill. Peer pressure had very little to do with that.
I think it’s this comfort zone readers come to when they realize they probably don’t need a 10-card spread to tell them what they need to know. Many professional readers will use 2- to 7-card spreads for just about everything.
There are exceptions of course. My friend Kristine Gorman (catch her weekly radio show Visionary Woman Tarot with Kristie Gorman on Mondays, streaming live on KSVY FM http://sunfmtv.com/) uses variations of the Celtic Cross and 3-card spreads, dealing cards on top of cards as the reading unfolds. She’s a great intuitive reader and someone I go to for readings when I want a second opinion.
Robert Place showed the Readers Studio attendees a mind-blowing spread of three cards per chakra, so do that math there and you’ve got a bunch of cards on the table. While listening to Bob’s explanation and instruction, I realized that this reading could take a good two hours done properly. I wondered if I had the attention span to last through it, let alone one of my clients. But, remember, we can use the Tarot for multiple reasons and a long meditation on chakras and blocks could be just the ticket.
Still, I’m more inclined to use fewer cards now and go more deeply into those fewer cards. One of the temptations of using more cards or a large spread is to ignore the cards that aren’t making sense to you at the time. To me, that’s the Big Signal that I need to Pay Attention in a reading. Glossing over a message is so often what we do in everyday life. I don’t do a reading to get the same perspective that ordinary observation gives me. If it doesn’t make sense right away, it’s like the thing I need to know.
So I pulled three cards: Page of Cups, 3 of Swords, The Emperor.
|From David Palladini's Aquarian Tarot|
The first two cards made me think of all the experiences I’ve had as an intuitive reader. My earliest experiences so often brought the sense that something bad or difficult was going to happen. The Page of Cups receives messages and learns from the realm of spirit and emotion, the essence of the intuitive reader. The 3 of Swords signals sorrow, actually just one of its interpretations.
I’ve been thinking lately about the way intuitive readers or psychics in the news almost always make the sensational headlines with predictions of big, scary events. I remember a Tuesday night when I was restless and could not settle down. Finally, I drew three cards with the question (poorly worded and certainly not recommended for a good reading), “WHAT???” The cards I drew were eye-poppingly terrible and I realized something really awful was going to happen. I followed up with a question about who is affected and finally got the sense that it was no one I knew personally; a few days later the tsunami hit Japan. Now, this would, of course be a much better story if I had put that reading out in some public forum with a clear date/timestamp. I didn’t. It was, after all, a reading to help me figure out why I was restless.
One of the things I maintain is that Big Bad News is one of the easier things to predict because if you sense the news coming, getting the message that something Big and Bad is going to happen is a lot like saying you could hear someone screaming in your face.
Another thing about sensing difficult events as a professional reader means I feel an obligation to help people through some difficult times. And sometimes some of the reasons just defy logic which actually is another aspect of the 3 of Swords. Logic sometimes fails and must come home to the heart.
Finally, here’s the kicker: The Emperor. So I spent a lot of this talking about the easy part, the intuitive reader senses sorrowful subjects. But what’s the Emperor doing here?
There are plenty of possibilities, but one of them is that I need to remember that while I’m walking other people through difficulties, I’m also one of the resources in my own empire that I need to defend with the setting of boundaries. The Emperor is in charge.
I can take a hint. I was blue today, so I took a luxurious bath with bath salts and lavender. That and some enthusiastic adjustment from my chiropractor made a huge difference. Because no matter what the news is, I’m in charge of the choices I make next.