Friday, 04 November 2011 11:59

Comparative Tarot article

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I was recently interviewed along with two other cartomancers for an article by Rev. James Bulls.  It was very interesting to see three different perspectives.  Take a read over the article, it's full of insightful outlooks on the Tarot. 

How long have you read the Tarot? How did you first learn about the Tarot? How do you use Tarot for yourself? How do you Tarot for your clients? (Feel free to use this question as a place to share your personal and professional bio's.)

I got my first deck - The Cosmic Tarot - when I was in high school, senior year.  I am 35 now, so 17 years since I first took my baby steps with the cards. As I have found in learning Tarot, it's an ever evolving discipline; I am constantly learning and discovering new things about the Tarot to this day.

I use the Tarot to help give me guidance in a number of situations. A tricky question about one of my business clients.  How to deal with a difficult situation.  How to figure my way through a problem.  Anything really.  The cards snap my mind into thinking in new directions, and they open up doors I didn't realize were there.

I also use the Tarot in those big questions.  When I have major decisions to make in my life, I often do a ritual surrounding my Tarot reading, including casting a circle and asking the guidance of the Mighty Ones in my reading.

I also enjoy having divination nights with my coven, where we all get together and cast circle, then read for ourselves and one another.  It gets interesting discussions going about the questions we are faced with, and often everyone goes home with a lot of insight.  Nothing like having an incubator like that to bouncing ideas around in.

I read for clients, and a lot of times, I like to use it as a way to have that conversation with them that unlocks the answers that are most relevant to them.  I look at myself more as a guide than an interpreter in my Tarot readings for others.  Nobody knows their own situation better than themselves, so nobody is better suited to answer the questions better than themselves.  I interpret the language of the Tarot and work with my clients, using this information as pieces of a puzzle to which we figure out the best solutions to it.

Is there one Tarot deck you primarily use? Why do you use that deck? How did you choose it? What Tarot deck are you using for this reading? Why did you choose this particular deck for this reading?

I have a few I like to use.  I use the "Legacy of the Divine" Tarot for personal readings on daily matters.  I sometimes swap that out with the Thoth deck, depending on the depth of information that I need - the Thoth tends to be more abstract than Legacy, so I will often use that for some of the more complex issues.  The Voyager Tarot is a much more modern deck, using modern symbols in many places.  I tend to use that one more for questions of a deeper spiritual nature.  I also am in love with Morgan's Tarot, which isn't a standard Tarot deck at all, but rather has an odd, Discordian sort of bent to it.  It has cards like, "Let George Do It," "Down Home Funk," "The War Has Reached A Critical Point Between Atlantis and Mu," and "Du Wacky Du."  It has also given me some of my most insightful readings.  Again, due to its more abstract nature, I tend to reserve that one for more complex questions.

How do you believe the Tarot “works?” Do you have a spiritual or religious hypothesis for how the Tarot produces its answers? Do you work with deities, spirit guides, ancestors, totem animals, or other distinct entities? Why? If no, why not? Do you “connect” with your client's energy or spirit during a reading? Why or why not?

As above, so below.  I have always understood that my brain is a microcosmic imprint of the macrocosmic whole, a fractal image of reality.  It's just so big that it's hard to access some parts of that information directly.  Divination tools give us gateways between our very small conscious mind and our very large unconscious mind.

My work with deities in this regard is a way to open myself up more fully to those messages that the great whole is telling me.  For me, it's the Moon who most often inspires my mind into a receptive state, a quiet state, one that is like a blank pool, ready to reflect the truth of the matter.  However, sometimes a reading requires asking the ancestors.  Sometimes it requires asking the spirits and letting them speak through the cards and through me.  Find which part of the great cosmic whole can give you the best answers and ask their assistance.  This varies from situation to situation.

I connect with my client's energy in the sense that I try to keep a flow of energy going between me and the client.  It is a conversation that we are having with the cards as a guide.  No conversation is really effective unless both parties are fully engaged in listening and speaking to one another.  Syncing up with a client's energy facilitates this.

Do you believe the Tarot has a higher purpose? Do you think there are some questions that can't be answered by the Tarot? Do you believe there are some questions that shouldn't be answered by the Tarot?

I don't like spoilers, so often I will not ask it some of the really big questions. Sometimes you have to just sit back, relax, and let life unfold.  I don't think there's anything that it can't or shouldn't answer, but I think there is danger in getting too dependent on it.

Jane and John Doe have been dating for a year. They would like to get married, but they frequently argue over little things. They love each other (and being with each other) very much, but they're not sure how to resolve their differences and stop bickering for no reason. They've come to you for advice – what do you tell them?

I've selected 10 Tarot cards at random to fill the following positions of the traditional Celtic Cross; Jane and John Doe don't exist, they're just names I used to give “faces” to the following question. Using the deck you selected and laying your cards in the arrangement shown, please perform a reading for Jane and John Doe. For sake of brevity, please make an effort to limit the length of your reading to two standard pages. If possible, can you please include a high resolution picture of your cards laid out in the order of the Celtic Cross shown in the picture I attached to the email?

1. Heart of the matter: the Empress
2. That which crosses it for better and for worse: 4 of Swords
3. Above you; top of the mind: 4 of Cups
4. Below you; what carries you through it: Judgement
5. Recent past: The World
6. Near future: 5 of Swords
7. You in yourself; your attitudes toward self: The Devil
8. Your environment; friend and family attitudes: 7 of Cups
9. Your hopes and fears: Ace of Cups
10. The outcome: 9 of Cups

Hello, John and Jane.  Let's explore what the spirits are saying about the forces that are at play and affecting your decisions about your future.

It looks like you're starting from fertile ground here as the Empress tells us.  Very much in love, you can see yourselves successfully building a life together.  There is a sense of hope that the reality of the future - marriage, careers, children if you want them - can be yours.  More than that, you want it to happen.

Crossing you is the four of swords.  This is directly what is coming in your path.  The fours are cards that often indicate a moment of standstill, and the four of swords is suggesting that a time of rest is coming your way.  This card, specifically, reminds me of  taking a rest after a period of strife - a little downtime to heal your wounds.  We all need this from time to time - perhaps it's worth considering taking some time to rest?  Don't push life changing decisions too fast.  You have the rest of your life ahead of you to be married, if that is truly your path.

(I read top and bottom a little differently.  Top is where you expect to be going, bottom is where you come from.  I will use what I am used to here instead.)

It looks like you may be worried about disappointment and stagnation in the relationship as indicated by the four of cups.  This man isn't happy with what he has, he wants more.  Can we be careful to remember that our partners in life are only human, we all have flaws.  The best way to avoid disappointment is not to make expectations.  Loving the other for who they are, not what you want them to be can help keep you loving that person for a long time.  Also remember that a hot date and a good wild romp in the bed after will often cure that ennui.

At your base is Judgment, a major arcana which indicates some bigger forces at play here.  It looks as if you both are ready to make bigger decisions in your life, such as those regarding marriage.  Judgment indicates to me that you have taken the time already to do some soul searching and feel you know your heart well enough to make a solid choice.  I think this card indicates that you should trust yourselves and your ability to come to the answers you need together.  The resources are right there within you.

The recent past which is influencing you now is indicated by The World.  You came to a moment together where you feel a completion that goes beyond the lovers card and into a real sense of wholeness in your lives.  Given that the World card comes right after Judgment in the deck, I would think that your soul searching did pay off.

Before you, in your near future, is the five of swords.  You have fought your battles, and will continue to fight your battles.  You'll gather victories and points on one another, but ultimately, it will leave you feeling tired and empty.  Those victories came at the expense of hurting the other - and through the connection that you have, hurting yourself.  The future is not laid out in stone, though - this just reflects the path that you are on.  You have the choice to take a different route.  The five here serves as a warning to do so.

The Devil card represents what you are bringing to the table... and in this case, I think it's more soul searching to do.  You know you want to be together, but you're still needing to work on how you will best accomplish this.  The devil, likewise, serves as a warning.  He keeps people chained to bad habits, chained to poor behaviours, chained to bad ideas - and he uses your ego against you to do so.  Put down your ego and look beyond yourself to break his grasp on you.

The seven of cups represents the attitudes of those around you.  Many choices and many delights are there for you to pick from - but you can't have them all.  Are there jealousy issues that maybe need to be resolved?  Or do we have trouble focusing our attentions on what it is we want?  Let's be careful not to let the distractions from others drive wedges, and let's make sure we know what we really want.

Your hopes and fears show up in the ninth card, the Ace of Cups.  The beginning of your journey of love.  Renewal of the heart.  Dedication and devotion to one another.  If you want it, you can achieve it.

The last card is the final outcome of the path you are on.  You will find your way past those difficulties that you face, but you will be challenged along the way.  The nine of cups shows, though, that these challenges will not be fruitless - your love will blossom into a garden together, and a well-tended garden that you both put conscientious energy and effort into.  Love dies when it's not tended to - we must always be careful to make sure we, and the other, are happy in our relationship.  If so, fulfillment and contentment is yours for the taking.