Image: The Knot of Eternity. If you stare at the centre without moving your eyes all the colours disappear.
Reading Tarot cards is not the same as reading a book, or a newspaper, or a magazine.
Normally, when we read something, we start at the beginning and work our way towards the end. A similar process happens when we watch a movie, a soap opera or whatever. We start at the beginning and we only find out, or understand, what the entire story is all about just before the credits roll.
If we want to know whether or not, our two romantic heroes in the heart-wrenchingly melodramatic novel we’re reading ever live happily ever after, we know the only way we’re ever going to find out the answers is by reading the book from start to finish (or if you’re like me, skip a few chapters until the ‘good bits’ start happening).
Reading Tarot cards is completely different
You wouldn’t rewind a movie to find out whats going to happen to the hero, you won’t flick back five chapters of a book to find out whether or not the secret manuscript is going to be discovered by the bad guys, but that’s exactly what you do with a Tarot reading.
A Tarot reading, in its role as fortune teller, ‘plays‘ with time. No longer do the rules of past, present, future apply. Cards, in a Tarot spread, that traditionally represent the past, can often end up representing the future; cards that imply a relationship with someone in the past can also be reinterpreted to indicate a new relationship with someone they will meet in the future. In other words, time, as we all understand it, doesn’t exist.
The Tarot removes the Tarot reader from linear time and throws them into a black hole where the rules of the space-time continuum are mangled.
Although Heraclitus famously said, “you can’t stand in the same river twice” – that is exactly what Tarot readers have to do.
Okay Doug! But what does this mean for me?
It means that Tarot spreads that read like a book, or play like a movie, are a fundamental misrepresentation of how a Tarot reading works. It means that the next time you use a Tarot spread that clearly marks out a liner based time format (like those time-lines that move from the past towards the future), fundamentally demands that you abandon this format when the time comes.
When the time comes?
If I’m asked a lot of unrelated questions by a client, I rarely deal out new cards. To do so, misses the point, and the solution is simple – reinterpret the cards based on their questions. Remember, the Tarot doesn’t view time, nor does it understand time, the way us mere mortals do.
Avoid extra cards – just for fun
The next time you practice Tarot readings, or the next time you feel experimental within your professional practice, reinterpret the cards constantly.
Check out these simple two card readings for some examples:
- Hierophant – Page of Disks
- A general reading please!
- Okay! Firstly, you will successfully pass your exams.
- Secondly, you will receive professional advice concerning your debts which, based on these cards, will help (over time) to transform your financial situation.
- Third, I think you will meet someone who teaches within the education profession. This person will be on the cusp of publishing some of their ideas within their chosen field.
- Is this person married?
- Hmmm … yes.
- Will I go travelling?
- It looks to me like you will be busy at work – some sort of a restructuring process is going to happen and you will be involved with the logistical part of that operation.
- What is happening with my son?
- He’s completely disrespectful, and I want to know what will happen.
- Your son trusts someone – not a friend, and not someone who he would socialize with. This would be an authority figure that he has respect for. This person is subtly teaching your son, and providing moral guidance and direction.
- In terms of his relationship with you, things will improve – largely due to the positive influence of this other character.
- Overall, he is going to discover what his place is within the world, and his own sense of right and wrong.
- 6 of Cups – 7 of Swords
- General Reading please!
- You will eventually go travelling with someone special.
- Regardless of anything else that happens to you, always in the background will be your need to understand yourself – a kind of self-counselling.
- You’re not going to feel as confident within relationships as you would have been previously. You will be looking to people you trust for advice.
- One of the reasons for this is certain people you have been friends with for a long time will start lying to you, perhaps even try to manipulate you.
- Can I trust him?
- Not fully.
- What will happen in my career?
- Expect the overall atmosphere within your work place to remain the same as it always has – negative in-house politics, with the occasional laugh thrown in.
- Will I ever find happiness?
- Yes, I see you going on holiday with someone special. I also see you working out what it is that you truly want from life. However, there’s no doubt about it, this period of your life is tough. Think of it as a transitional period. These periods in our life are never enjoyable, but oftentimes necessary. They’re necessary to get us to where we’ve got to be.
Remember, the Tarot is fluid, not fixed
If the Tarot was fixed, then a Tarot reading would produce a fixed response to any question. There would also be a fixed method of shuffling the cards, dealing the cards, using only the right spread, interpreting the cards in the ‘correct’ way, and so on. But the Tarot is not fixed, thankfully.
The Tarot is fluid, it provides answers illogically, and it never allows for set methods of interpretation.
In every Tarot reading I do, I reinterpret the cards. I never stick to the same interpretation. This is a particularly important point.
After I’ve read the cards once, I will immediately reinterpret them. Why? Because the Tarot is fluid and the interpretation is not fixed. I’ll often go back to those very same cards and reinterpret them.
Nothing is true, everything is permitted