Tarot cards are fantastic decision making tools if you apply a bit of self-discipline.
D, my yoga-teaching partner, was wrestling with two options for scheduling the start date for a new yoga class she was planning. It came down to a ‘this date’ or ‘that date’ choice and she couldn’t make up her mind. Could we do a reading to see what the ‘right’ answer was?
Yes, I said, we could.
How to ask the question?
One of the most crucial parts of a Tarot reading is getting the question right. A poor question (“Will I die?”) will get the answer it deserves (“YES!”) but the shape of the question also helps shape the reading. After some discussion, D settled on “What is the best date for the class to start – this Monday or the following week?”
This narrowed the question down to two possibilities. D shuffled the cards, cut, handed them back and I started by reading one card for each of the two dates.
Reversed cards! Aargh!
The Five of Wands and the Two of Wands, both reversed. L thought it looked ominous for both dates. At first glance, you can see why. But life seldom works in black and white and a reversed Tarot card is no different. Wands, the Fire suit, traditionally refers to the kind of energy that surrounds work and creativity. Upright, the Five suggests a blustery, competitive environment. Reversed, that energy is damped down (though in combination with other cards this could be very different). Meanwhile, the Two of Wands could relate to a decision made but when reversed still suggests uncertainty.
“What will happen if you put off starting until the later date?”
“I’ll probably worry and dither all week and be back where I’ve started.”
“Then you should go for the earlier date.”
Don’t be afraid to state the obvious!
“But what if no-one comes?”
I pulled another card. The Hermit, reversed.
“It’s the Hermit! No-one will come!” D wailed*.
The Hermit, like all the Major Arcana, is full of occult symbolism and mystery. But sometimes, the Tarot can be refreshingly blunt. There are occasions when a reversed card has a completely different meaning, occasions when it simply refers to more of the same but every now and then, it simply means what it says. The reversed Hermit? You won’t be alone.
Read the pictures
But L was unconvinced – would it really be worth the effort. She drew one more card for a result – the Seven of Swords. Swords relates to thinking and (to some extent) conflict or exchange of ideas. Traditionally, the seven might be a breakthrough of some kind. But the image caught my attention. In the Colman-Smith-Waite deck, we see a man sneaking away with an armful of stolen swords. When in doubt, read the pictures.
“I think the person in the card is you, stealing a march on yourself,” I said. “You just need to stop prevaricating and move forward”
The last word
Nonetheless, L wanted to check on the outcome of the second date. We pulled the Nine of Wands. I saw that as her, not having lost anything, but tired after a long week of worrying and L agreed.
Tarot requires you to put the work in. A lot of the time, it’s about clarifying and facing up to something you’re avoiding. On this occasion, there was little to choose between either start date in reality, beyond minimising the wasted effort in time spent worrying. Interestingly, the longer term concrete outcome – would the class be a success? Would there be lots of people? – didn’t surface as an issue. On this occasion, the Tarot wasn’t delivering world-shattering insights and prophecies. It was playing the role of the friend who says, “Look, you know what you need to do – just get on with it.”
*She didn’t actually wail. It was of an eye-roll and a “Oh typical!” sort of shrug.