Hello Across the World to all my Tarot Students and Fellow Enthusiasts,
I have been getting a lot of mail recently from students with regards to making connections between cards when reading a spread. I understand exactly what you mean.
When you are initially learning to read the Tarot Cards, you spend a lot of time getting familiar with the individual cards and all their Keywords and Meanings, both Upright and Reversed. You eventually feel you have an understanding of the relevance of Numerology and know the influences of the Four Elements and their associations. The Colours you find simple and the Symbols are beginning to make sense. You now want to apply all your hard-earned, and long-studied knowledge to an actual Tarot Spread.
You Cleanse and Shuffle your Deck. The Question has been agreed in advance and you know which Spread you want to use. The Cards are drawn and laid in their Correct Orientation (you have decided to include Reversed Cards) in their Spread Positions. You are all excited yet nervous at the same time. Slowly you turn the Cards over one by one, being careful not to change their Orientation. In front of you lies your lovely Tarot Spread, but your heart sinks. You spot all the Cards you know very well, and also the ones you struggle with. Most are Upright but there are also a couple of Reversed too. Two Court Cards have made an appearance and already your mind is racing. Are they representing people, an energy or just advice given? Slowly the panic sets in. You are looking at all the Cards and instead of them giving you information or telling a story, all they do is confuse you. Your mind is all over the place as the Tarot Cards you have been studying for so long, now seem to be just a load of meaningless pictures that have absolutely no bearing on the Question that has just been asked.
Now you believe you didn’t shuffle the Deck properly, or enough, or maybe you were not concentrating sufficiently on the Question, or had worded it poorly. Gathering all the Cards together and putting them back in the Deck, you decide to start all over again and nearly pass out from all the intense concentration this time. Five minutes later you feel you are ready to draw the Cards once more. You follow the same process as before and lay them out in front of you. To your horror, most of the Cards are the same as the last time, maybe not in the same order, some previously Upright are now Reversed and vice versa. There are one or two new ones, and you don’t like the look of them or can’t remember what they mean. You stare at the Spread again and make an attempt to read. It is impossible. You just cannot apply the Cards to your Question.
All the Cards you have drawn seem disconnected and vague. You feel very disappointed and disillusioned because you believed that by having an understanding of what the individual Cards meant, a Reading would automatically come together for you. It has all been a waste of time and you feel very down and inadequate. You are about to gather them up and put the deck away when something makes you stop. A voice within tells you to ‘calm down and sit down because you are not going anywhere just yet’. You are going to have to ‘persevere with this Reading until something comes out of it’.
You now have to put on your Detective or Forensic badge and get to work. Let us pretend now, that we are in an Incident Room which has been set up after a crime was committed. You are Heading the Investigation and your Team have been working night and day, gathering evidence, collecting samples, taking photographs, and interviewing suspects and witnesses. On a wall in the room hang huge boards on which is pinned all the evidence collected, and a timeline of events. You stand in front of these boards and painstakingly go through all the details, stare at the faces and read through all the statements given before starting all over again. Some of your Team have hunches and share them with you. You mull over these theories in your mind and try to apply them to the data in front of you. Some may be relevant, others not. However on the boards in front of you lies the answer. The clues are all there but you, the Head of Investigation, just need to make the connections. It is going to be a long night and a lot of coffee is going to be needed in the incident room, for no one is leaving until the crime has been solved.
How many times have we seen the above scenario being played out in movies and tv dramas? Thousands of times no doubt. Your Tarot Spread is not much different, but hopefully it will not be a crime you are trying to solve. The information is there, but like the scene above, it is sometimes the very obvious that is overlooked. Sometimes it is what is not there or missing, that turns out to be the most important. Sometimes what is written between two lines can be more relevant than what’s on the lines.
If you are a Rookie Detective (Reader), solving crimes (Reading) may be a struggle for you. The more veteran and experienced Detectives (Readers) seem to have a sixth sense which you believe you lack. These Veteran Detectives have been in more incident rooms than they care to remember and have stared at incident boards for days at a time. They have developed the art of quickly linking clues and information to get to the heart of the matter. They can ‘smell out’ a deception or suspicious situation with one look. They just know when something doesn’t look or sound right or add up. They can spot gaps in stories within seconds, can bend and flex their minds to piece together a story line to solve the crime, which not only makes sense but is also feasible. The Rookies will take time to get to that level of competency, but they can’t give up. They have to start somewhere, that is unless they want to totally give up and call it a day.
They don’t and neither do you. That is why I have prepared a Tarot Reading Analysis Chart which I hope will help you break down your Readings and assist you in piecing and linking together, information the Cards are waiting to divulge. The Analysis Chart will guide you through a process of dissecting your Spread. It provides a checklist of areas to cover and think about. The Analysis Chart is only meant as a Short-Term Reading Assistant, and not for constant use. In time, your mind, like the Veteran Detectives’, will automatically analyse the incoming data without you having to consult charts or guides to remember. Use it as a springboard to developing your own techniques.
I have used The Analysis Charts in my Tarot Classes and Private Lessons. The Charts can be very useful for Group Readings, when a few Students come together to do an interpretation. Consider it similar to an Investigation Team working on a crime or incident. Each Member of The Team contributes their views, opinions and theories. When all the information is pooled, various conclusions can be arrived at. You do not have to be in a Tarot Class to do this type of brainstorming. Why not get a few fellow Tarot Student Friends together and carry out a Reading using the Analysis Chart.
Just click on the link The Analysis Chart to bring you directly to the Chart Page, or alternatively, it can be found in the Section called Spreads. If the Chart is not loading properly or is unstable please contact me and I can forward a PDF Copy.
I do hope you find it useful. I will be posting more articles and exercises over the coming weeks in relation to Linking Cards and Story-Telling when Reading. At present I am working on The Four Pages and will post a notification when all have been up-dated.
That’s All for Now Folks,
Vivien (Your Tarot Teacher)