advanced metaphysical lessons without the usual bullshit
(. . . the short version)
Enter your text here...NOTE: This is a rather long lesson, but it is a very powerful one, with examples, so please take the time to read it and practice at home. This one lesson will change the way you read cards. It will help you master the art of giving great readings, not just card interpretations.
Too many tarot readers (students and professionals) read cards individually but fail to blend them together into deeper meanings and more intricately-woven spreads. All of that nonsense ends here. Even with two- and three-card spreads you can blend cars together to go beyond the individual card meanings. In fact, the whole purpose of a spread is to paint a tapestry of the situation and its elements, all cooperating and conflicting with each other. This is how life is.
Some people are happy to work with us while other people just suck. It is natural to find events and people at cross-purposes with us, but the world seems to never stop producing those who just need to make our lives miserable. Hopefully you won’t encounter too many of these on a regular basis.
The tarot is the same way. Certain cards play nicely together while others seem to be completely at odds with each other. This is great. If the tarot did not accurately reflect the themes and events of daily life it would be rather useless. So, how do we blend and weave individual cards together to form a story, or a “big picture,” of what is going on in response to our question? In exercise three (The Easiest Way to Learn the Tarot—EVER!!) I asked you to compare and contrast individual cards.
I would like you to develop the ability to instantly see which cards have obvious commonalities and which cards are vastly different in meaning. You can do that just by looking at the pictures on the cards. Over time, ass you practice in “real-life” situations with the tarot, you will develop a deeper understanding of what each card can mean in various circumstances. Unfortunately this only comes with practice, so please practice.
Blending cards generically (doing your practice exercises) is always harder than blending them in an actual spread; but until you learn the process your readings will be choppy and very hard.Don’t make things hard. Practice laying out a few cards at a time and glancing over them to see how they interact with each other. This is an exercise I am asking you to do on a regular basis for years to come. The rewards are unspeakably amazing. You can, and you will only get better at it, read the future. Please take a moment to think what a valuable skill this is, and how kings and queens, emperors and presidents, even business tycoons and billionaires have sought out the services of those who could accurately forecast events. Even in your personal life this one skill helps you avoid mistakes and helps you make the most out of all of the opportunities that will come your way.
Isn’t that great?
I think so. I also think it is worth the efforts you are putting in now. The problem with the tarot is that there are only 78 cards to work with. This is like having only 78 words in your vocabulary. If you only had 78 words you could use to communicate each word would have to have various meanings. These meanings would have to conform to the situation at hand. Take for instance the sound of the word “pair.” When you speak the word “pair” (two things), it sounds like pear (a fruit), or pare (to cut away). This one word, when spoken can mean any of three completely different things. In fact you could “pare a pair of pares, to make a pie.” (Please don’t make me repeat that—but it is fun to say.)
In much the same way, every tarot card can mean various things: The Lovers card can mean a marriage, “relationship issues,” soul-bonding romance, or even teamwork (where everyone is working in harmony). The specific meaning of each card is highly-dependent on the question being asked as it applies the situation at hand.
The tarot has pictures on it. This makes everything much easier. When comparing two cards please don’t allow yourself to get locked into assigning keywords or phrases or you will just make it harder on yourself. Instead of doing that I would like you to understand the general parameters, or boundaries, of each card’s potential meanings. When you match a card up with another card you should look to see how each card is an aspect of the total picture.
Sometimes one card will be dominant and the rest will be subordinate to it. Other times cards will blend, or contrast, equally. In practice sessions the choice is yours of course. They can mix and match together however you like, as long as each card meaning does not stray from what is in the picture. In “real-life events” the situation and question at hand will help you determine where each card fits into the answer. In practice sessions you get to make the rules. In “real life readings” the situation (circumstances, question, details) makes the rules and the cards must fit into “real life” events.
Let’s try a few examples. Please grab your cards and follow along. Lay out the cards as you read this and see if you can find the suggested meanings we come up with. Feel free to come up with your own variations if you disagree. Let’s start with two random cards, shall we?
Card one: 3 of Wands
Card two: 7 of Coins (or “Pentacles"—which really means coins, or money matters, not “stars”)
Individually, the cards have completely different meanings, but they have many commonalities. Starting with the 3 of Wands we can say (generically) that this man is watching his ships sail out to sea, carrying his goods. We come to this conclusion as he started with an idea and the will to carry it out (Ace of Wands) and thought and thought (2 of Wands) to come up with a plan that works. Now things are in motion and he is supervising (or managing) his affairs. So far, so good.
Let’s leave that card alone for a moment and visit our friend in the 7 of coins. This card is a bit more tricky. Is he happy? Is he disappointed? Unlike the 9 of Coins his clothes are that of a peasant, a field worker in fact. It is entirely possible that he is just a day laborer working in the fields of the man who owns the estate. (This may be the King of Coins or the old guy in the 10 of Coins.) Perhaps he is thinking about the beautiful woman in the 9 of Coins who doesn’t have to work at all.
– or –
Maybe he is taking a break from all of his labors and wondering how he will spend/invest the results of his hard work.
– or –
Maybe he is slacking on the job, unlike the guy in the 8 of Coins who is happily making coin after coin—busy and productive. If we were to compare the 7 of Coins to the 8 of Coins, the 8 seems more industrious. More attentive to his duties and more likely to get ahead on the job, or succeed in life.
Wow! Now we have a mess! In the first card everything seemed so simple; but in the second card we find all sorts of possibilities. Not to worry though, we don’t need all of the potential meanings just now; just the ones that make sense. So what do these two cards have in common? Well, neither man is “doing anything” at the moment. They are both standing still, right? (It’s okay to just nod here if you like, I will get the message.) They seem to be engaged in thought. That is a commonality right there.
Also, both men are involved in a process. One man is farming (creating/manufacturing raw materials) and the other is shipping (transporting finished goods for sale). Neither man is harvesting just yet. These two cards show us “results gained from previous efforts,” and it seems that everything is going well in each card.
Perhaps the blended meaning of these two cards is that our friend (these two cards blended together now describe ONE individual) is just “waiting around.” S/he (our new friend) may be taking a break from his or her physical labors (7 of Coins) to look at the “big picture” (3 of Wands) to figure out where to go from here. Sometimes we just have to lift our nose from the grind-stone and see why we are waking up and working every day. What is the reason we do the things we do, and is this really what we wanted from life? So now these two cards could blend to mean a philosophical introspection.
Does this make sense?
Let’s try another possibility: Maybe the 3 of Wands is the foreman looking out over the construction site and he catches our friend (the 7 of Coins) slacking off. Oh no! Someone just got busted playing World of Warcraft on their PC instead of processing the backlog of orders that have been piling up. Here, the coins in the 7 of Coins represented work that needed to be done.
Either of these possible outcomes is correct (viable). But which one is “right?” How do we know the exact answer to our client’s situation? To do that, we must have a client! Even if our client is ourself: as we should always do our best to look at the question first and only then at how the cards reflect meaning appropriate to the situation at hand. So . . . Let’s invent a client. Let’s say that our “client” is ourselves. We are looking for a job and for our spread we need a “significator” to represent where we are at right now in the process.
Taken as a pair, these two cards blend nicely together into one meaning. We know that we have sent our resumes to many prospective employers. We have filled out so many job applications that our hands are cramped from writing. Now we have several offers to work for this company, or that company. Some jobs offer more money, and some jobs look more fun. Some require relocation and others offer better employee benefits.
Wow! Looking for a job is hard! “Work” sucks but it is work just to find a job at all.
These two cards, now that we have a “real-life” situation, show us having done a lot of hard work sending out requests for employment to several companies (3 of Wands). Now we are faced with too many job offers. Bah! Which one should we take? We are faced with even more work just organizing and comparing all of these offers (7 of Coins). We can only choose one, but whichever we do choose will take our future in a different direction.
Over time, our job will shape our destiny, between the routines we build, the friendships we make at work (or the enemies), the pay, experiences, and philosophies we develop base on our daily life there. Suddenly we feel like that guy in the 7 of Cups. (Please take a moment to find the 7 of Cups and place it on the table. The process of blending and contrasting cards is a simple matter of comparing various cards against each other. They may appear anywhere in a spread and will influence and clarify each other.
Read the cards individually at first. I want you to “tape them in place” (psychologically) instead of “nailing them down.” Assign each card an initial value, or general meaning, as you read it, but keep that interpretation open until you have looked over the entire spread, and then once again gone over each card and seen how it affects, and is affected by other cards in the spread.
We look at how the cards interact to determine what the real story is. This gives us a much deeper understanding of the answer presented to us. Imagine a football team: You have a coach, a quarterback (he is the “boss on the field,” just like The Chariot is the “boss on the field” whereas The Emperor is “the big boss”).
Oh, and then you have some guys who catch the foot ball and run around with it, and some other guys who stand up and block the opposing team, like a brick wall made out of really big guys. In a tarot spread each card position is like a spot on the team, or a “job position.” But who will fill that job?
Any person can be hired to fill a job, or picked for the team, but will they be any good at what they do? Will they show up for practice, work hard and stay late? Will they do their job well? Will they get along with the other team members? Will each card that fills a card position help or hurt the desired outcome? Will it “play nicely” with the other cards in the spread or will it fight them?
In “real life” some people help us reach our goals and other people do not. Cards reflect “real life,” so naturally they will often conflict some cards as easily as they help others. People are walking contradictions. This is usually why they come to us for readings. People are always shooting themselves in the foot. Part of our job is to help them find the way to the future they want, not just tell them what will happen if they keep following the same path they are on.
By understanding how cards interact we can pull immensely more information out of a ten-card spread than someone else casting three different spreads, and with a LOT less stress. We start all this by working on comparisons and contrasts in a spread, and seeing if the cards show us that our client is trying to “swim upstream” (going against the current, or doing things the hard way) or if they are “swimming downstream” (they are focused on what they want and their attitudes are appropriate to their cause).
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