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

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I am a naughty tarot reader. I break the rules. Oh, I know, there are no real tarot rules. Technically. However, there are some rather strong suggestions regarding tarot usage and I am here to say I've disregarded those, too. I say this with neither shame nor pride, but simply to say we each must forge our own way with this tarot reading thing and whatever works for you, both functionally and ethically, is what is best.

I'm a rulebreaker by nature. My own mother can attest to that. Some of her earlier memories of me involve me with hands on hips snapping to some adult or other, "I don't hafta listen to YOU!" It's good I am a Libra, so I only go off the rails part time. So it may not come as any surprise that where tarot is concerned, while I soak up everyone's opinions, ideas, and suggestions like a sponge, I don't set limits on what the cards can and can't do or what they should or shouldn't be used for. That, my dear, is up to you. As The Rebel, Arcana 4, from the Osho Zen Tarot depicts, according to Osho:

"People are afraid, very much afraid of those who know themselves. They have a certain power, a certain aura and a certain magnetism, a charisma that can take out alive, young people from the traditional imprisonment...The enlightened man cannot be enslaved - that is the difficulty - and he cannot be imprisoned...Every genius who has known something of the inner is bound to be a little difficult to be absorbed, he is going to be an upsetting force. "

So yeah, sometimes the rule breaking upsets people, but hey, they're my cards and I can do what I want with them. I have my own way of reading and so do you. I don't care if you read while standing on your head in the lotus position.

Broken Rule #1: Thou shalt not do multiple readings on the same question unless or until something in the situation has changed. Right. Ok, there is good reason for this rule. Often, too many readings on the same question, given the random nature of the cards, will only serve to confuse and befuddle the reader. Maybe it's a case of too much information, or not being able to accurately interpret the initial reading, but it is true that too many readings on one thing can leave you frazzled and no closer to an answer. However! (You knew there would be a "However," didn't you?) The primary benefit I have found from doing multiple readings on the same question is confirmation. The cards, over the years I have worked with them, have proven themselves to be amazingly consistent. Just last night I was doing a reading for a friend and the first throw didn't seem "right" to me. I second-guessed my own state of mind while throwing the cards and so I offered to do another throw right after I interpreted the first one. Lo and behold, the second throw, while different cards appeared, was very, very similar in meaning and message as the first. So it served to confirm that the first reading indeed had been on target. Personally, I really appreciate getting this kind of reassurance from the cards. Another version of reading on the same question is by using different spreads but asking the same question. I think that's okay, too, as different spreads often reveal different aspects of the situation and are different in their approach and nuance. I think each individual reader knows when to quit. When you've gotten your answer. Though you may still have doubts, you know the cards have spoken and even though you try again, they still say the same general thing. Or, the cards will start throwing out random things, nonsensical and obviously not pertaining to the issue at hand. One reader shared with me that when she does this, her cards will start throwing court card after court card as if to say, "No more information for YOU!" Other readers have said they will start getting all reversed cards. Now, there's a result that just screams, "BLOCKED!" So, you kind of know when your deck is giving you the finger. So stop already.

Broken Rule #2: Thou shalt not use clarifyers unless absolutely necessary. Whatever! I use them when I need to. Clarifying cards are cards drawn and laid onto an existing card to further illuminate the meaning of the first card. Many readers use clarifyers with court cards, especially when they appear as outcome cards in spreads. I will often use one on the Majors as well, especially a card like Death to see what is ending or transforming and what will it change into. They're helpful with the Tower to see how the Tower will affect the querant. Sometimes they act as confirming cards when I'm not quite sure which aspect of the original card is to be taken, such as the 2 of Wands where a decision is being considered I might ask what the decision is about. However (there's that word again), the reason this practice is cautioned against is because, again, too many cards can create the kind of confusion resulting from too much information. It can also make for a kind of "lazy reading." Coaxing the meaning out of a card isn't always quick or easy, so sometimes clarifyers can be used as a sort of crutch, allowing the reader to quickly cut to the chase without spending a long time on the first card. The problem lies when the clarifyer does NOT clarify but confuses instead. Also, one has to be pretty adept at reading card combinations with this method. You have to understand your cards very well and comprehend how they interact and whose energy is stronger and so on. For the novice, clarifyers just might be too much, too soon.

Broken Rule #3: Thou shalt not read for third parties, that is someone not immediately connected to the querant's situation, as it is akin to snooping and spying on someone without their permission. Well.....hmmmm...here we run into ethics and that gets messy. So much about this issue depends on how a reader believes and thinks about how the cards work. It also depends on the level of psychic intuitiveness a reader has. I have done third party readings, of course I have, and they have been more or less accurate. Many times there is no way to confirm the information you might receive in such a reading, thereby possibly acting on something you have no way of knowing is true or false. If a reader is very psychically inclined, she may feel opposed to "tuning in" to someone else in this way as she, knowing her own abilities, has learned that it is, for her, very much like spying. She may become privy to information that others with less psychic giftedness are not. In this one must trust the reader when she says, "I won't do that, it's against my ethics." What bugs me is when other readers attempt to impose their ethics on all readers and proclaim for all that third-party readings are violations of others' privacy and as such should never be done. Wait a minute. Some of us believe in a kind of universal filter that allows us to glean only that information that we need to know. Many readers, while doing third-party readings, have never uncovered anything intimate or private, and as such see no reason not to continue doing them. My main reservation regarding them is that they rarely yield useful information for the seeker. What is going on in someone else's life that is only indirectly connected to yours might or might not have ripple effects into your life, but in any case there's not a thing you can do about it. I would much prefer to offer a seeker choices and options that will impact their life, that give them power to change things in their immediate environment, not to sit by passively waiting for others to act. So while I don't place any restrictions on what or whom I should or shouldn't read about, I am reluctant to do third party readings for that reason. Often, there just isn't much point to them.

So there are my confessions. Come on, you know you do it, too.

Osho Zen Tarot by Ma Deva Padma Publisher: St. Martins Press, USA


  1. OK:

    1) I don't ask the same question within the same reading or within hours, because the same question can't be asked twice. I really believe you can't step in the same river twice. Not that I haven't tested the Tarot. But I usually just get confused or have the initial answer confirmed. A day or so later, I may ask about the same thing, but by then it is truly not the same question at all.

    2) Clarifying questions? All the time! It's why I developed a "yes/no" answer system when I can't get the clarity I crave and/or really need. (Yes/no questions are another issue we Tarot readers need to be aware of. I personally think they need to be used extremely judiciously as otherwise we upset our delicate intuitional relationship with the cards.) Sometimes the Tarot lets me know, in no uncertain times, I cannot have the clarity I seek as it simply is not available yet. Most of the time, though, I do find out something helpful.

    3) Third party questions? I'm very careful with this one. For myself a little less so as I can trust myself to keep whatever I may "learn" to myself and to know it is entirely provisional and may be inaccurate. (Though I find I get most help from the Tarot by keeping the reading about my own life/self.) But when I was reading for others? Very judiciously, based on why they wanted to ask about a third party and what they were asking, and given my intuitive take on whether it should be done. Sometimes I'd even ask a "yes/no" of the Tarot to see if we should be asking about a third party.

    Thanks for raising these important issues!

  2. Your experience with the repeated readings is consistent with what other readers report: either you get nonsense or the message is confirmed. I agree that asking the same question the next day or so is not the same question anymore, the river of life has moved.

    Re: Yes/No questions. I should have included that! Well, that's a topic for another post. As with timing, many readers say Yes/No questions should be avoided because you may as well flip a coin. But there ARE times when a simple yes or no is precisely what you need. I have seen many Yes/No methods, I'd be interested to see yours, Roswila.

    The third (or fourth) party question is most delicate, I think, and truly up to the discretion of the reader. I do think we need to be careful and responsible as readers. I have refused to do them for seekers at times. Just because I CAN do them doesn't mean I ought to. I totally agree with taking each request individually and intuitively.

  3. Anonymous9:21 PM

    I just want to commend you for reading your own way, and want to comment on how annoyed I get at times when people bring up #3. I agree that people shouldn't "snoop," but honestly, I'm not one to do that, and I should hope most aren't. But I have no problem doing a reading on a third party if I feel it concerns me personally. And when it's friends or family or love interests, and I care enough to do a reading on the issue, it is always my concern.

  4. Yeah, it's usually annoying when others attempt to superimpose their own rules and/or ethics on another. I don't have any problem at all with anyone saying, "I won't do 3rd party readings and here's why..." but to suggest that tarot reading is tantamount to wiretapping is, well...ahem. Here's where psychic ability and tarot reading skill diverge. If one is psychic enough to tell me what my mother is eating for lunch, then I should think the CIA would be really interested in that person's talents. For that person, yes, by all means place limits on oneself by refusing to read for 3rd parties. For your average (if there is even such a thing) tarot reader, it's far from that detailed and all one can ask is that the reader use discretion.


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