More Tarot

I am continuing with my tarot studies — to the extent that doing a daily two-card reading can be considered studies — and even after more than a year, I’m not sure what to make of the cards. Although most cards do seem to resemble my life in some way, it’s the same sort of vague way that a newspaper horoscope represents one’s life. I am not learning anything about my life that I didn’t already know, and in fact, it’s my knowledge of my life that brings sense to the cards rather than the cards bringing sense to my life.

Now that I have progressed to a two-card layout (the first year was a daily one-card pick), I am noticing that even though the cards don’t seem to relate all that much to my life, they do seem to relate to each other.

For example, the other day, the cards I dealt out were the Empress and the Queen of Pentacles. As always, the question I ask is “What do I need to know today?” The first card represents my situation, the second the challenge I face.

Some readers interpret the Empress as the female principle the positive female attributes of creativity, love, abundance, intuition, nurturing, finding balance in our lives, connecting to the world through our senses. An earth mother archetype who loves beauty.

And some readers interpret the Queen of Pentacles as nurturing, filled with feminine creative energy, compassionate, hard-working, loving, intuitive. An earth mother archetype who enjoys the comforts and luxuries of life.

Such a correlation between the two cards! And a correlation between the cards and me too, I suppose, though these cards might be said to represent any woman. What I gathered from the cards is that my life is going well, and that I should continue to focus on creating a calm and balanced life for myself.

Since that’s what I am doing anyway, this personal interpretation might have nothing to do with the cards and everything to do with my own inclination. Which leads to another possibility — instead of me reading the cards, perhaps the cards are reading me.

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What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Belief in the Tarot

Yesterday a friend told me she didn’t believe in the tarot. To be honest, I’m not sure I believe either, though I don’t exactly know what I mean by that. Obviously, I believe the cards exist because I have a few dozen decks. I believe they’ve been around for centuries. I believe that the cards have meanings, though I don’t know if those meanings are intrinsic or if they are simply assigned, especially since the cards themselves as well as their meanings have changed over the centuries. And I believe that they help people focus and perhaps help them delve deeper into their problems.

Beyond that, I’m not sure what there is to believe. Although people think the tarot is for for telling the future, those who study the cards say that’s not their purpose. Although the cards are said to help develop one’s psychic abilities, I have yet to see any evidence of that. I also don’t know if readings truly reflect anything in the past, present, or future, or if people simply read into the cards what they want to see. Nor do I find any deeper understanding of myself because of my card use. It’s possible, I suppose, that I have no hidden depths or even hidden shallows, that what I know is all there is.

This talk of belief and non-belief has made me wonder if it is necessary to believe in the tarot for it to work. If belief is all it takes, then one can use any sort of cards, such as a regular deck of playing cards (which some people do) or even seed packets, for that matter. Though perhaps “seed packets” are not a good example because in a lot of respects, seed packets can tell the future, at least for most people. Those people plant the seeds, and someday the picture on the packet will come true. In my case, I’m lucky to get a few scraggly seedlings.

If one’s own belief doesn’t matter, then it should be possible to learn something from the cards, if only to understand what they symbolize and what they mean to others.

After all (to continue the gardening metaphor) I have no belief in my ability to grow anything, though sometimes seeds do come up, and sometimes bushes I’ve transplanted do bloom, like this native rose.

Regardless of what I believe, I plan to continue learning the tarot. It’s certainly a multi-faceted study if nothing else.

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What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

When the Clouds Stopped Bursting

It rained most of the night, and when the clouds stopped bursting, they left behind a dark and damp day. The tarot card I picked this morning wasn’t any cheerier — it spoke of strife and quarrels, illness and inner conflicts. Luckily, none of those things seem to have anything to do with me, but today was a good day for huddling under the covers and reading, and the books I got from the library are full of all those things.

When the story I was reading became as dreary as the day, I went online and basked in the light of the computer screen to do more research on the tarot. My latest plan of action is to finish out my tarot year (begun on July 1, 2020) with one-card readings, then go to two-cards for a month, then three-cards for the next month, then four cards . . . well, you get the point. Apparently, a person can use any number of cards for a reading, even using the whole deck, though I can’t imagine trying to make sense of that bit of chaos.

I’d planned to use a specific deck for that second phase, the deck that so far seems the only one to speak to me — if a vague affinity can be called “speaking” — but I haven’t yet finished sampling all the decks. If I continued the way I’ve been going, learning each deck by doing a one-card reading for a month, it would take me another year or two to try out all the traditional 78-card decks I have, and then another year for the specialty decks. Most decks, of course, combine the Major Arcana (the twenty-two cards depicting the human archetypes that show a person’s spiritual evolution into enlightenment) with the Minor Arcana (the court cards and the numbered cards), but I have a few decks that are simply the twenty-two Major Arcana cards, while a palmistry deck seems to be just the Minor Arcana. The Persian tarot has fifty-five cards. The Oracle of the Triad has fifty-seven cards. The Chinese Horoscope has forty-seven. The Book of Destiny deck has thirty-three cards. A cartomancy deck has thirty-two. If that isn’t confusion enough, I also have a Deva Tarot deck that has an additional suit called the Triax, for a total of ninety-three cards.

So many options and possibilities!

That, I think is what keeps me interested in the Tarot — the possibilities. I’m sticking with the traditional decks for now because that’s where I find most of the focus for study, both online and in the books I own, but even there, I find a plethora of possibility. There seems to be a vast array of spreads and layouts, and an even greater number of ways to read each spread.

There are also secret codes and arcane symbols on the cards adding further complexity to readings if one chooses to consider them in order to find deeper meaning. According to one interpreter, he keeps his interpretations of the cards brief because if he gave all the various meanings of the cards, he could fill an encyclopedia. Still, it amuses me that so many of the books accompanying the decks will spend pages describing each of the cards, defining the symbols, explaining the codes, and then, at the end of those pages will give the card’s meaning in a single sentence. I really don’t see the purpose of all those symbols and images and codes if it all just comes down to a few keywords.

But then, I am a neophyte. Maybe ten years from now, when I’ve learned much about the cards, I’ll be able to understand, but for now, not so much. Mostly, this research is a way to play with the cards I inherited from my deceased brother, rather than simply treating them like a curiosity.

And it gives me something to think about on this dreary day.

Besides, you never know — I might actually learn something important from all this research and study and practice.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator

Interpreting the Tarot

Today’s tarot card was the most confusing card I ever picked. The only consensus among the various interpretations I found was that it’s a card pertaining to work or money in some way.

One interpretation said it means making money by working for the law or outside the law. The same source said it means illegal money doomed to be squandered. Also, losing a seemingly secure asset or other financial troubles as well as the worry and suffering stemming from those troubles.

Ouch. So not a good omen!

And yet other interpretations are almost diametrically opposed to the first one, such as the card signifying hard work, tasks to be accomplished, saving money rather than squandering one’s earnings. Also, the rewards of honest labor as well as prudence, industriousness, patience, perseverance, diplomacy.

Still other interpretations talk of apprenticeship and mastery, such as learning the tarot. Working hard to improve one’s skills. Sheer determination and concentration to master those skills. It also offers assurance that the energy invested in one’s development will be worth one’s while.

Since I’m still not sure there is any value to my tarot studies, that interpretation seemed specifically geared toward me, as did the final one, which suggested that it’s time for me to work at improving my health and to stay vigilant about diet and exercise.

Although I am sticking to my diet — no sweets of any kind, no fried foods, no baked goods — I have been getting lax about exercise. I find myself not wanting to walk because I’m intimidated by the cold, of all things. That doesn’t portend well for me since we haven’t even hit really cold weather yet. Luckily, I have warm coats and other cold weather gear like hats, ear coverings, gloves, but eek. I am not ready for winter.

As for the interpretations of this particular card that seemingly have nothing to do with me — it shows that the cards are truly open to interpretation. They can mean whatever anyone says they mean within certain parameters. Will that make learning the cards any easier? I don’t know. So far, I’m still taking the cards one day at a time.

Actually, I’m taking everything one day at a time, or at least I’m working on it.

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Bob, The Right Hand of God is now published! Click here to order the print version of Bob, The Right Hand of God. Or you can buy the Kindle version by clicking here: Kindle version of Bob, The Right Hand of God.

What if God decided to re-create the world and turn it into a galactic theme park for galactic tourists? What then?