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Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Tarot Tells The Tale
I'm a tarot reader, you see. I use the imagery of tarot cards to help people—and myself—access the information and wisdom that we already have at a subconscious level.
There are many different ways to read cards, and knowing as many as possible helps me decide which particular approach is best for any particular occasion. I also study new spreads (patterns that the cards are laid out in), new methods of shuffling and dealing, new approaches to explaining what I see, new symbolic interpretations. I especially enjoy exploring new decks. My favorite right now is the Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore and Aly Fell—it's very sci-fi geeky, with clockworks and dirigibles, a Victorian esthetic combined with a gearhead love of nuts and bolts. I also have ghost decks and Renaissance art decks and decks based on the Welsh Mabinogion lore. Decks with woodcuts and decks with watercolors and decks with images like stained glass.
Regardless of what some may say, there is no carved-in-stone "right" way to read tarot. I enjoy a narrative approach, where I let the cards' various interpretations connect into a storyline, just like I do when I'm writing mysteries. And like crafting the plotline for a novel, I find that this narrative approach is best served if I leave room for intuition to blossom.
To paraphrase Freud, sometimes a sword is just a sword. And sometimes a sword is a representation of the dual-edged nature of the human intellect. Being open to the many symbolic possibilities of the images on the cards makes a reading not just personal, but universal.
I believe the tarot works on many levels: psychological, spiritual, intellectual and practical. It works equally well for "spiritual" people as it does for atheists and agnostics. The key is the willingness to engage your own conscious and subconscious in a way that lets information and wisdom bubble up where you can reach it. Some call this intuition. Some call it divination. I understand it as both.
Does it matter what the person I'm reading for calls this power? Only as much as it helps me frame my responses. The tarot itself is neutral on this issue. If you treat it and the process with respect, you'll get a treasure trove of information in return.
(PS: If you're interested in reading more about tarot, including my weekly Writerly Tarot posts, you can visit my Tarot by Tina blog. There you can sign up for my weekly Writerly Tarot, read a tarot-themed mystery short story, or explore previous posts on the art and science of tarot).