Sunday, December 18, 2011

How to get your cards to talk to you (effectively & in plain words)

Three easy lessons here: three easy exercises. These are each designed to help you develop your dialog with the cards instead of being forced to memorize keywords and phrases, or see them as some spooky coded message. They are, after all, only scraps of paper with printing on them. Get any of that "mysterious tarot" crap out of your head. YOU are the mysterious being scientists are still trying to figure out (they should use astrology  much easier that way). The tarot  or any oracle deck for that matter  is only a VISUAL TOOL to stimulate the psychic processes inside you. Leave all of the superstition to movie directors and people who come to you for a reading.  It may feel like I am robbing you of the romance of the tarot, but trust me  when you can see the distant past and future ACCURATELY, there will be enough romance of the tarot to go around. Superstition only clouds your perception and distorts the translation of psychic impulse to cognitive awareness. You will learn this sooner or later; best learn it now (free). So here are three fun exercises I would like you to do over the next few weeks. You can do them anywhere, but having a deck on hand really helps. If you have taped up your deck (like I tell you to in The Easiest Way to Learn the Tarot— EVER!!)  this will help with the first two exercises.

Noun: Simply think up a noun (person, place, or thing  event, location . . . ) and pick a card out of your deck to represent that. Give yourself no more than five seconds to do this, fifteen if you get stuck. It is important not to over-analyze this or get too picky about which card is "most exact." When you are reading for people ("in the real world" not in practice or tarot school) you will find that the cards have to have several variations of meaning. They cannot possibly be accurate if they only have 78 meanings (or 156 if you count reversals). Keywords and phrases don't work. They limit your thinking and they are a barbaric way of teaching the tarot. While it is best to study the traditional meanings of the tarot so you know what the artist who designed your deck was intending, and what people have figured out over the years, do not buy into any of the add-ons to the tarot taht just don't resonate with you. The most important meaning any card can have is the one that is right in front of you  right now. You will see this in real life readings. These exercises help you loosen up your attitude on the cards and free them to speak candidly with you, not stilted, and in only formal terms.

Always remember: divining the future is not a "logic-based" activity or we could just have computers predict for us  and don't think corporations don't spend billions of dollars trying. To correctly divine the future we must interpret the visions, symbols, and impulses correctly. We can't do that if we limit the vocabulary that we allow our tools to use when they speak to us.

Here is an example of how to do this exercise. I will give you a noun: "Taxi cab, or taxi driver."

Now I want you to go through the deck and pick out a card that represents that (occupation or physical object). When I pose this to my students, 99% of the time they say, "The Chariot." This is a good card, but I correct them that this is more weighty, more like an airline pilot or a bus driver, as The Chariot implies autonomy, authority, responsibility, and it may mean many other occupations.

But specifically the 6 of Swords (at least in W/S symbolism) shows us a man in a gondola ferrying across his charge. This may be the husband or a professional gondolier. If a taxi driver or chauffer came to you for a reading this would make a good significator card, or if it came up in a job spread it would be a good indicator of being someone who transports people around for money. Given that The Chariot is more bold and authoritative, that card may be more suited for a white collar job or even a military career by comparison.

These are just guidelines, not facts cast in stone.

Another example: Noun . . . Church, or temple. Well, without even having to put any thought into it three cards come to mind: the chapel in the 4 of Swords, the arch in the 3 of Coins (Pentacles), and the stained glass window set into the wall of the 5 of Swords.

Any of these would be a good "instant answer." Each card has its nuances, the 4 of Swords could also serv as a museum card or a funeral home. It is all about picking a simple common noun and assigning a card to it without adding any stress to your life.

This exercises teaches you to see the cards from a slightly different perspective and relax your mind, remove a lot of the superstition that people like to pile on tarot cards. It makes you a better reader fast because it helps the cards speak to you. If you have a tarot buddy you can do this as a simple game: One person says a noun and the other goes through the deck and comes up with a card. If you have the cards spread out the process goes much faster.

Verb: This is the same exercise but with an action. Let's say you open the fridge and discover you are out of milk. So you run to the store to get some. This is a simple daily action; no big deal. So let's pick a rather unobtrusive "minor" Arcana card to represent this action. How about the 8 of Cups? He threw on a cloak (jacket) and is headed off to the corner store. There is no reason he "has to be" abandoning his home and happiness, the crescent moon showing the emptiness he feels and the full moon showing his desire for fulfillment. You have heard me say this before, but I would have drawn the crescent moon, as a reflection of the full moon, in the water. Much more symbologically correct.

So "Verb" can simply be anything you do throughout the day: eating dinner. Why not any of the Cups cards? (2, 3, 4, Page, and so on. .  .) Each card might signify drinking versus eating, or being full/not wanting seconds (4), overindulging (3?), maybe a buffet (7), or even the 4 of Wands. If you do not like these cards when you should find a card that say "eating diner" to you. Because if you cannot pull a card that say "eating dinner" you cannot read the tarot. The tarot, as a system, must be able to describe ANY EVENT OR ACTION in life or it is a flawed system. It is not about ambiguities or vague notions. It points you in the direction of an answer as clearly as the 78 illustrations will allow (in singletons or card combinations) and your mind must tie the impulse you receive as a result to the real life situation at hand.

A word here: The cards do not spell out events and situations. This is a common misconception among tarot authors and casual students alike. Tarot cards ONLY "speak" to you. They are a visual alphabet that triggers your mind to realize the link between their image and the issue at hand. ALL of the magic happens inside you. The cards must be properly placed in a spread to give you valid answers: you can't just pick cards at random without tuning in and getting the order delivered to you (shuffle, cast). But the actual reading part is not the cards telling you something. They are only sparking impulses in your mind to create the chain of though that  leads you to the answer. Without your skills and talent (learned and natural abilities) they are rather useless.

Also while you are sitting in front of the TV . . .

Simply watch life happen. This is easiest if you are watching the news, because the news (reports of daily events) is so chaotic. you never know what's coming up. When the reporter says something that sparks that interest in your head simply draw a card and glance at it. Do not put any weight or validation to this card. Just see what comes up. Here we are training you to "hear" (physically and psychically) that "ding" inside your head that something was said of importance, or that someone just lied, or there is some reason that bit of information needs to be fleshed out. In comic book terms we are developing your "Spidey sense." This is a very real teaching we use in mystery schools. Do this, as basic as it sounds. Practice it for years and you will develop a BS detector that stuns people when they discover you have this talent. Eventually you will no longer need the cards.

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Thanks for reading.

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3 comments:

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