Tarot Update

I’m glad this is a short month, but not for any reason you’d expect. It’s not that I’m especially looking forward to spring; I certainly won’t mind warmer temperatures (though I do dread the wind). And I’m definitely not looking forward to March and the anniversary of Jeff’s death, though I must admit that after all these years, the day doesn’t carry the pain it once did.

The real problem this month is with the tarot deck I’ve been using. Each month for the past nine months, I’ve chosen a different tarot deck from the collection my deceased brother left me, trying to see if any of them resonate with me. I don’t do readings, just ask a question like “what do I need to know today” and then pick a card to study. So far, there hasn’t been any special connection to any deck, though I have liked some more than others.

The one I am using this February is the one I like least of the decks I’ve sampled. There are others I dislike so much I won’t use them, such as the witch’s tarot and a renaissance tarot that feature anatomically correct figures, something I don’t particularly need at the start my day. But this one — The Jungian Tarot — seemed interesting in that the cards were supposed to be tied to Jung’s archetypes, but only some of them were archetypal (the Major Arcana and the court cards). Most of the cards I dealt myself were the numbered cards, and they did nothing for me, especially since I kept getting the same card — the ten of wands.

The ten of wands certainly seems to illustrate its meaning — oppression — because it is a particularly oppressive card.

I could, of course, changed decks in the middle of the month, but then I wouldn’t get as good a feel for the cards.

In another three days, I’ll be picking a different deck. I hope that one will be more to my liking.

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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

New Month, New Tarot Deck

Every month I’ve been using a different tarot deck in an effort to see if the deck feels the same as the rest, or if it resonates with me. Although I like a couple of the decks better than any of the others, either because of size or feel or the artistry, I haven’t felt any special affinity with any of the cards.

This month’s choice of decks is the Jungian tarot, which is based on archetypal images designed to activate the imagination. According to the designer of the deck, most of the current values assigned to the various cards were arbitrarily developed in the nineteenth century by occult groups. By contrast, he says the attributions in the Jungian Tarot were painstakingly researched in an effort to relate tarot interpretation to more ancient traditions.

Sounds good, right? Well, today’s card, the ten of wands activates my imagination not at all. The image gives me the impression of being weirdly inappropriate since it seems sinister, and the ten of wands is a rather benign card relating to careful management, functioning within a large organization, success, the loneliness that comes from success, and reacting defensively to badly organized ideas. Which is not a whole lot different from the meanings assigned by other tarot interpreters. Most say the card is about success and the perhaps oppressive responsibilities one has to take on because of that success; a need for prioritizing, delegating, and sharing your burdens. (None of which seem to have any relation to my life at all.)

It almost seems as if the major arcana (the cards most people have heard of, such as the fool, the hanged man, the sun, the moon, etc) are the cards that every tarot artist and interpreter spend most time on, and the others are “also rans.” (Which is why so many readings, such as online readings, use only those twenty-two cards rather than all seventy-eight cards.)

When I do graduate from picking just one card to doing a periodic reading (weekly or monthly), chances are I will only use those twenty-two cards until I get familiar with how the cards fit together to show . . . well, to show whatever it is they are supposed to show. I still don’t know. I do know the tarot isn’t really about foretelling the future; it’s more about communicating with our deepest being, but so far, there’s not a hint of what I might be hiding in my innermost depths. It could be I have no such depths. It could be the cards are not speaking to me, and if they are, I haven’t learned to listen. It could be that the whole thing is hokum.

So far, the only imagination it has activated in me is the possibility of using the cards as story telling cards — using each of the face cards as a character, and surrounding them random cards to see how their lives would unfold. But the idea has gone no further than that. Nor have I deepened whatever intuition I might have or learned anything I don’t already know.

But I have the cards, so it does me no harm to pick one every day just to see what I pick.

***

While sorting through her deceased husband’s effects, Amanda is shocked to discover a gun and the photo of an unknown girl who resembles their daughter. After dedicating her life to David and his vocation as a pastor, the evidence that her devout husband kept secrets devastates Amanda. But Amanda has secrets of her own. . .

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