We are all wanderers on this earth. Our hearts are full of wonder, and our souls are deep with dreams.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

What Do I Do?
Which way do I go? Tarot is such a great tool for decision making. This is not to say we allow the cards to decide for us. As I've said before, in this post for example, I don't view tarot readings as edict. What a reading can show us are potentials, possibilities, best and worst case scenarios. If things continue to unfold in the direction they are moving, what is the most likely course of events? I wouldn't entrust my future to a pack of 78 cards thrown in a random pattern, would you? Just because I've learned to trust the cards to show me certain marvelous truths and bring clarity to a situation does not mean I think they can be trusted implicitly. Primarily this is because the reliability of the cards often depends on the reader, and we know all readers, being human, are fallible.

Funny things happen when you ask the cards for direction. I've gotten such answers as, "wait and see" and "it's too soon to tell" and even, "find the answer within yourself." Once, when asking for what I should do the cards clearly showed two directions, one the path of following my heart and the other, my mind. The outcomes of both were positive and nonthreatening. The obvious answer was that it was my choice. Often, getting answers from tarot is like sitting with a therapist who keeps asking, "How does that make you feel?" and "What do you think about that?" I admit it can sometimes be frustrating because you just want to be told the answer, not coaxed to find it within yourself. That's too much work.

The Seven of Pentacles is one of those cards that advises a wait-and-see approach. The image on the Rider-Waite-Smith card is one of a farmer leaning on his hoe, considering the produce he has wrought from the earth, and wondering...what? What could he be thinking? Sevens in tarot are "dreamer" cards and often speak of the fantasies, visions, and plans we cook up alone. It's a mystical, spiritual number and a solitary one as well. Given the suit, pentacles, he is likely to be thinking more along the lines of a practical nature, considering the actual product, his material gains and losses, financial reward versus deficit. He's probably considering, too, the physical effort involved in the endeavor. How comfortable is he? What will yield the most security? I imagine him thinking whether or not he wants to continue expending physical and financial resources to this crop or maybe he might be better off doing something else. However, the produce on the vines is not yet ripe. He won't really be able to know whether or not he will be successful in this endeavor for some time. What if mold, disease, or insect infestation attack the crop? What if it doesn't rain? Then again, what if, out of this crop he is able to sell enough to expand his farm and grow and sell even more? But what if he's sick of farming? What if he's only doing it because its a family farm and he really doesn't enjoy it, he'd rather be an artist or a doctor or anything else but a farmer? I know a man who took over his father's plumbing business but really doesn't like being a plumber at all. He has a college degree and would rather be doing something else, but he has a family to support and the plumbing business brings in the primary income. Feeling stuck is part of this card, too. It might show someone who started a business, a project, or a way of life that they, midstream, find unsatisfying but can't just switch gears now. They know they need to wait and see it through, but it's hard when you find yourself daydreaming at work about what you could be doing instead.

One of my favorite decision spreads examines the probable results of two options, gives a likely outcome for each, and gives an advice card about something you should know. It looks like this:



I really like this spread because it allows the reader to examine the various potential results of two different courses of action. The last card which gives you additional insight often holds the key to which choice is the most sensible as it causes the reader to ponder an additional dynamic. In this example spread, without even knowing the question asked, one can readily see that while Option B might offer some initial, feel-good experience via the 9 of Cups, its overall outcome is the 9 of Swords -- ouch! What the Querant needs to know is the Queen of Pentacles: a nurturing woman that looks to practical needs and often advises taking care of oneself in a holistic way. The outcome of Option A clearly shows a supportive, loving environment or experience and healing via the Star and 9 of Wands. Just looking at these cards would indicate Option A being the better choice because even while insight and wisdom may be gained with Option B via the Ace of Swords and the Hermit, the end result brings about guilt, worry, depression or some other mental torment which really seems unnecessary given that there's an alternative option.

As you see, even with a spread such as this one, tarot isn't giving definites but possibilities. It asks you to examine those possibilities and come to your own conclusions and make your own decision in light of what you discover. Whether you read your own cards or have them read for you, this approach is much more productive. A reader that simply doles out finite answers from the cards leaves little room for an empowering interaction between the Querant and the cards, an interaction which yields so much more potential than just being told what will happen. We are not victims at the hands of capricious Fate and this oracle is best used when we coax our own best answers out of our own wealth of wisdom inside. You are your own best expert on your own life and experiences. Don't hand that over to the cards or anyone else.

Universal Waite Tarot Copyright 1991 US Games Systems