How to Come Unstuck, Part One

February 16, 2012 § 1 Comment

Do you ever get caught in a loop during a reading where the only thought going through your head is the name of the card you’re staring at? I hope so, because if not I’m going to look pretty stupid here.

It happens to me quite a lot, mostly when I’m attempting to read for myself. It’s like I’m flying at 2000ft, just enjoying the view, when everything I know about the cards – all my years of study and accumulated trivia – straps on the last parachute and drops out the side of the plane. And I’m suddenly hit with the thought that I don’t know how to fly.

Which is a very roundabout way of saying, sometimes my mind goes blank. It’s like I’m looking at the card without seeing it. My brain gets bogged down trying to retrieve all the data it has on the card instead of just reading the card fresh. At least I think that’s what happens.

So this morning I thought of one way to come unstuck. It’s not big and it’s not clever but it may be of help to you one day and it almost certainly will help me most days so I thought I’d post it here for posterity. It consists of two questions:

1. What am I looking at?

2. What’s going on?

So, for example, the 9 of Wands which was the card giving me a headache this morning. The words in brackets are associated thoughts that surfaced as I was answering the questions.

1. What am I looking at?
A guard (be on your guard, keeping watch). A fence (fenced in, putting up fences, defensive behaviour).

2. What’s going on?
Patrolling, protecting, defending, guarding. Keeping out. Keeping in. Being vigilant.

Told you it wasn’t big or clever. But those two simple questions were enough to stop my brain going into overdrive. The first question wants concrete answers – nouns, specifically. The second, verbs. The combination of the two sparks my intuition and gets the interpretative juices flowing again.

It works better with some cards than others. It doesn’t suit court cards very well and majors tend to be a law unto themselves anyway. But you can’t have everything. If this helps me to come unstuck 40 out of 78 times then that’s a start. 🙂

How to be a S.H.A.R.P. tarot reader

October 3, 2011 § 1 Comment

Morgan Greer High Priestess

Look, I made an acronym!

When I grow up I want to be a tarot reader even though, at the moment, I am not a very good one. Even so, I am perpetually fascinated by the concept of “a tarot reading” – this strange consultation between two strangers and some cards (and maybe something else besides) – and the ethical questions it raises. If I am ever to be a tarot reader (one who reads face-to-face, and who maybe also gets paid) I want to be a Good one. What is Good? I don’t know – someone who is competent, professional, ethical and compassionate, someone who provides a service of value to another person. And so, over the course of my day-to-daydreaming about my one-day tarot-reading self, I came up with this acronym to remind me of what sort of reader I’d like to be.

S.H.A.R.P. stands for:

First and foremost, I want to be sensitive. If someone goes to the trouble of seeking out a reader and shells out their hard-earned cash for a tarot reading, the least I can do is take them seriously – regardless of whether their question is “Will Brad call me tonight?”, “Why does my cat hate me?” or “How can I bring about world peace?” Being sensitive means thinking about how someone might be feeling, and treating them with respect and kindness. It means not judging and not forgetting that I’m there to help them. Even with the most straight-forward seeming readings, there’s always a story behind the story and as tarot readers, we hardly ever know the half of it (even though sometimes we might think we know all). People ask for help when they’re scared, hurt, or vulnerable.

As a “real” tarot reader, I’d have the opportunity to help people in all sorts of different ways. I could help them understand. I could help them make a decision or find a solution to a problem. I could help them take the next step. Maybe I might help just by reflecting their situation back to them – or even just by listening. However the means, I’d like my readings to be helpful, so that afterwards the sitter is in a more positive place than they were before. It sounds a little obvious, but what I don’t want is to just read the cards with no consideration for the sitter. I need to remember to ask myself “Am I helping or am I just talking?” And of course, it wouldn’t hurt to ask, “Is that any help?”

I don’t mean, “You’ll meet a man at 3.30pm on Wednesday afternoon. It’ll be raining and he’ll be wearing a dark blue Mackintosh and carrying a black umbrella.” I mean, I want my readings to be specific (but SHSRP doesn’t spell anything). I want to answer the question that’s asked – not just vaguely rehash my favourite interpretations. I want to pay attention to position meanings and how they interact with the cards and the question. I want to choose my words carefully. (Hmmm, interesting – tarot cards are predominantly visual, but a tarot reading is all about accurately translating those visual symbolic messages into words.) I don’t want to just blaze through the reading thinking I already know what the cards mean. Each individual reading is an unrepeatable moment in time: an alignment of random forces and deliberate intentions – a unique mix of sitter, reader, question, spread, deck, and cards drawn. I must interpret accordingly.

Tarot cards are powerful things. Of course, I know they’re just bits of printed cardboard, but they have this habit of dispensing uncannily accurate observations. It’s easy to understand how mere mortals might believe such observations are messages from a higher power. 😉 The problem with messages from a higher power is…they’re very difficult to ignore.
I don’t want to be one of those readers who says, “This reading is for entertainment purposes only (yeah, right), I just read the cards and tell you what they say, it’s up to you whether you choose to follow any advice given and hey, it wasn’t me giving you the advice, it was the cards, so I’m completely off the hook.” (Yes, I know readers don’t actually say that, but sometimes it feels that’s what they’re saying. It’s like a nurse saying, “Now, I’m giving you this jab, but it’s really up to you how your body responds to it.” A professional accepts responsibility for the service he or she provides.)
When I read tarot for others, I will essentially be interfering in their lives. Influencing their decisions. Putting thoughts into their heads. I must be aware of the awesomely huge responsibility that bestows on me. I’ll say that again – AWESOMELY HUGE RESPONSIBILITY. A tarot reading is not an isolated event; it will have consequences. I want to make sure they’re good ones. I think part of doing this involves using the cards as prompts for questions that the sitter can answer for him or herself, rather than giving them the answers. I have a bee in my bonnet about this particular point, which is why I’m labouring it. 🙂

Wow, that came out left field (I was just trying to decide between Professional or emPowering). Why do I want to be a proud tarot reader? Well, actually, I want to be proud to be a tarot reader. This last point is kind of a sum of all the others, because if I’m sensitive, helpful, accurate and responsible then I should have something to be proud of. I want tarot reading to be recognised as having value, instead of being this kind of novelty thing that a lot of people dismiss. I want to be a skilled professional. I want to keep improving as a reader, yet be consistent. I want to bravely say (because this would be a huge deal for me), “I’m a tarot reader” instead of saying “I’m sort of into tarot, it’s my thing, nah I don’t really read”. I want to have a sign outside my house that says, “Tarot Readings, Come Inside”. I want to come out of the tarot closet smartly dressed holding my cards and some sort of appointment book. I want tarot readers to be respected and to conquer the world!

Aw, I just want to be a good reader. Do you think I’ll ever make it now I’ve set myself all these impossible targets? 😉

Tarot Tip #2: Writing It Down

July 22, 2010 § Leave a comment

When you’re learning to read, it’s an excellent idea to keep a note of all the readings you do. But this can quickly turn into a chore, especially if you’re doing larger spreads, and it can make quick, spontaneous readings seem an impossibility.

At the same time, making notes on what the cards seemed to be saying in a given meaning helps you learn more quickly and – more importantly – helps you to start trusting your own interpretations more quickly instead of relying on the interpretations in books.

So what to do? The trick is to keep it short and simple. You don’t need to write down everything little thing. Make a note of the date, your question or the subject of the reading, and the deck you’re using. Jot down the spread positions and which cards you drew in each position. Then write down something specific about the image on each card which catches your eye. Don’t try and write about every detail on every card!

For example, for the High Priestess in an Advice position you might write: “The High Priestess is covering her book with both hands. She really doesn’t want anyone to read it. Maybe I should keep my thoughts to myself for now.”

Tarot Tip #1: Phrasing Questions

February 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

In the DVD you’re shown how to rephrase yes/no questions to get more out of a reading. This is because how you phrase your question has a huge impact on how successful your Tarot reading will be. 

By far, “how” and “what” are the strongest words to use when phrasing your question. For example, you could ask “How can I achieve x?” or “What is going on between me and Bob?” and simply draw one card. That card would then show you your answer. That is, the image on the card demonstrates how you can achieve x or depicts what is going on between you and Bob. This makes interpreting the card and getting your answer really easy – all you have to do is read the picture.

Daily Drawing With Intent

December 7, 2008 § 4 Comments

I keep changing my mind about daily draws. Lately, I’ve got into the habit of drawing a card in the morning but I tend to draw it blind. That is, I don’t ask a question or ask for advice for the day or anything like that. I just draw a card at random “to ponder on”. As you might expect, this has mixed results.

I’ve tried drawing daily cards for advice in the past but either a) I spend most of the day trying to figure out what particular situation the card is giving me advice for, or b) I go through my day thinking very little about the card and forget to follow its advice!

Anyway, as I was walking the dog this morning, it occurred to me that I could be using this daily card a bit more constructively. My idea was to decide what it is I want to achieve that day. It might be something practical such as complete a particular task at work or make some progress on my book. Or it could be something less tangible like be supportive of a family member. I guess it could also be something negative, like “I don’t want to waste so much time clicking around forums today”. 🙂 Then I draw a card to give me advice on how best to go about achieving my goal for the day.

I quite like this idea. It’s less random than a random daily draw, and it makes me ultimately responsible for the content of my day. As well, since I’ve been doing this Deck of the Month doo-dah thing, I’m invariably using a deck I’m not that familiar with so this method of “drawing with intent” gives me a better chance of getting to know the deck. I find it much easier to understand what a card’s telling me if I have some kind of context in which to interpret it.

Okay, so let’s put this to the test shall we? Today is a lovely sunny Sunday in December and now the work stuff and chores are out of the way, I’ve got the rest of the afternoon and evening to spend however I like. So what do I want to achieve today? Well, at the forefront of my mind is the fact that baby is now 8 days overdue. I’ve got a hospital appointment tomorrow where I’m sure they’re going to start talking about ways to hurry things along and that makes me nervous. What I really want to do today is try to relax and regain the patience and “what will be, will be” attitude I had a few days ago. What will the Lunatic Tarot advise?

King of Wands

Well, I have to admit…I was expecting something a little more calming. But this makes sense. The reason I’m starting to panic is that I feel the consultant I’m seeing tomorrow is going to steamroller me. I feel that they’re going to start dictating what needs to happen and when, whereas I still want to allow more time for baby to arrive when she’s ready. The King of Wands tells me that I need to retain authority over my personal realm, i.e. my body and my baby. They can’t make me do anything I don’t want to so I need to go in there with my own ideas and not be afraid to be assertive. This king looks very sure of himself and very much in control. Also, with his red hair and white beard, he doesn’t seemed concerned about going against the grain.

Whilst this might sound like a reading about what to do tomorrow, it does help me today. If I’m confident that nothing will happen tomorrow that I don’t want to happen, then I’ll be able to put any worries out of my mind today.

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