Hello Sojourners! Its Liz and I am back again to continue the series on Tarot Cards and Cartomancy that I began last week. In this portion of the series Id like to focus on creating and maintaining bonds with particular decks, as well as different ways to cultivate you own personal meanings to the cards. Lets get to it!
The LWB is Not The Only Valid Interpretation
Almost all decks come with Little White Booklets, sometimes even larger bound copies of the similar, by rote meanings associated with the Rider-Waite Decks. These booklets are helpful to the beginner, and by all means should not be discounted. I more often than not tend to toss mine in the trash however. Having the artists input on what they envisioned is fascinating, but shouldn’t be where you base all of your interpretations from. Every person has a unique, individual way that they interact with and view the world around them. These experiences will color everything you see and do, and symbols are generally very personal. I am a trained artist so a lot of my interpretations has a distinctive art history kick to meanings of flora, fauna and colors. These interpretations are further changed by the fact that I am white woman in the south. The point I am trying to get at, is that if you have a strong association with the color green and it disagrees with what the LWB says, then you do not have to disregard your meaning for the booklets. There is no hard, solid, absolute truth in tarot card readings. What we do have is the traditional way things have been done, or the way that the majority of people do things, but might does not make right. And honestly the tarot has been fiddled with for so long that even the ‘traditional’ way could have been modified like a bunch of 4 year olds playing ‘Telephone’.
At this point in my cartomancy journey, I tend to have taglines for most of my cards. These taglines are quick, easy ways to remember the more deep and usually tangled interpretations. I had to pare down the word vomit when I started reading for others, and make it even more precise when I started charging for those readings. It does mean that sometimes I have to temper and adjust my words for my clients. Code-switching is the fancy word for it , but really what it means is that if you are a close and trusted friend I have no problem calling the 9 of cups “The Masturbation Card’, or The Tower as ‘The Oh Shit Moment’. I tend to be a little less candid for strangers, preferring to try to maintain some mystery. The point of all of this is that no one has the authority from the Grand High Tarot Poobah to say that the way you read the cards is wrong. Conversely this also means that you cant tell someone else they are doing it wrong just because their method is different than yours. We always forget that the rules apply to everyone, including ourselves in this community of ours.
Well that’s great and all, Liz, but how do we cultivate these personal associations?
I’m so glad you asked! There’s a million and one ways to sort out the tarot for yourself, and just as many books written on the subject. Ill give you examples of some things that worked for me and leave it at that. I have no desire to rehash tired concepts from thousands of books.
- Tarot Journal: This method is a good way to organize your impressions when you look at a card. When you pull a card to Journal refrain from looking at any outside source for meaning and instead look at the parts of the card that stand out to you. I usually do it in a bullet format because I hate journaling. After youve exhausted your inner depths, then look up possible meanings for the individual symbols that you noted. Like on my Judgement card I noticed the field of poppies. Poppies are a flower used in art history to symbolize death and/or addiction. I then incorporated it into my meaning for the card.
- Pulling a Card per day: Everyday pull a card and then reflect on it and its meaning through the day. This is a tried and true method of figuring out a meaning of a card might be nuanced or can change from what the stark black and white meaning a LWB will give it.
- Talking to the Cards: You will look and sound like a lunatic, yes. I find talking to something makes me more likely to bound with that person, place, or thing. Talking at my cards made it easier for me to get a feel for their energy and makes it easier for me to see clearly when I use them. I talk things out with them and usually can divine some unusual possibilities from the stream of consciousness that falls out of my mouth. This is an alone, at home kind of activity, obviously.
The last one doesnt even need a number its so simple. Repetition. You only get good at something if you practice at it. Familiarity is essential with almost any skill, and tarot card reading is no different. Be patient, and dont try to be an amazing reader right off the bat. Things worth doing or getting often take time.
Well that is it for this part kiddos. Next time Ill talk about spreads, putting all this talk into action and we may even get to the most important part of all: Ethics. Ethics are essential my friends.