Thursday, 14 February 2013

One Deck Wonder: 6 of Disks

Thoth, Crowley & Harris
When I first started out with tarot, I could not imagine how anyone could look at a card like this and get any meaning from it at all. This  card features a pile of six large circles, topped by a layer of six spikes, topped by six smaller blue circles, topped by a single plate with a rosy cross in the middle, surrounded by six bubbles, each of which has a mysterious squiggly symbol. At the top and the bottom, more mysterious squiggly symbols.

If I didn't give up at once and go get out a deck that featured scenes with people in them, I would stare at the card and try to 'read intuitively', as I'd heard so many readers do, which to me meant just to look at the card and make something up, or just say whatever popped into my head. I soon found that I couldn't do that. (And to be honest, I don't think 'intuitive' readers actually do it either. I'm not saying there's no such thing as 'psychic' readers, but it's my belief that all the information that people take in about tarot, together with all the ideas about shapes, colours, numbers, symbols, planets, and everything else out there that they've ever heard, gets inside our subconscious mind and pops out during a reading. So people who think they are reading based on their intuition and not on things they have learned, just don't realise they are bringing everything they have ever learned into their interpretations. And the more they learn about numerology, colour symbolism, and so on, the easier their 'intuitive' reading becomes. Some would deny this, but this is what I think about it.)


This card has the key word 'Success', which right away is going to affect the way it's read. Plus, I already associate the number 6 with success or achievement, based on what I've learned about basic numerology. Then we know (or soon find out) that the disk (or coin, or pentacle) suit is about material, physical, financial matters. The interpretation begins to take shape. Considering the question, in what ways could there be a manifestation of success in a material, physical, financial way? It's at this point, I feel, that most readers begin to scan the images of the cards, waiting for something they see to trigger possible answers. This is the most mysterious and magical time of the tarot card reading. This is where things pop into my head that I don't know where they came from because they're not written in any book I've ever read anywhere, the very specific examples and suggestions that I begin to throw out there. Some of this might springboard from other symbols I see on the card, which I might or might not know the deck creator's interpretation of, like the rosy cross, or the planetary symbols. For example, I know that the symbols at the top and bottom of the card are the moon and Taurus. I don't know what it means for the moon to be in Taurus, according to astrology, but something might pop into my mind based on my associations with the moon and with Taurus, which I know is the sign of the bull. I might pop out with something like, 'past confusion suddenly finds direction, and you feel ready to charge into something. The card suggests it is a good time to go for it'.

Now, why did that just pop into my head? Maybe because today I have an intention to do something which will require a fair bit of physical discipline, but will have important benefits to my health. The card is telling me that today is a good day to try it because I have the determination of a bull. :)

Whether I am successful is entirely up to to me and the choices I make today, but the card says today is a good day to try -- that if I continue to move in the direction of my intention, with the energy of the bull, there's no reason why I won't be successful. Unless I just decide to give up.

Today may I be brave like a bull, and smash through my personal obstacles (actually, now the image suddenly looks a bit like a crashing explosion! Roar!)

7 comments:

  1. Lovely break-down of how to read intuitively - totally agree with you. And good luck with bulling your way through :D

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    1. Thanks, I made it to 5.00 then had a bit of a nosh. I have to come up with a new strategy for dealing with this time of day. :)

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  2. Your description of intuitive reading is what I always have felt that I am doing. When I say that, I mean exactly that...calling on my past experience reading various decks, various books, things seen and heard even if not properly remembered, but evoked by the image, and then take within the frame of the system, number, element, title in this case, tied together with words and...yeah. I never thought intuitive means anything else but then...i'm not really a believer in the whole 'psychic' thing as some people seem to see it...

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    1. Me neither. Though I don't dismiss the possibility completely...

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  3. First of all, Carla, may I offer the idea of a 5 p.m. nap? I love a nap! You know, I spend the first part of the day slicing through a bunch of stuff with my Queen sword--and by 5, I'm exhausted!

    Okay, on a more serious note, I am DELIGHTED to have found my way to your blog. You're so insightful and in-depth with your process. It inspires and invigorates me. I totally agree with your assessment of how "intuitive" reading works. I can't imagine anyone would say any different. But your articulation is so clear, and the example you show through the Six Pents is just a wonderful tarot journey.

    In my finicky book, you rock!
    Happy V'day.
    jme

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    1. You'd be surprised the number of people who say they never 'studied' traditional meanings, but have always read 'by intuition' straight from the box. They also advise newbies not to bother trying to learn rote meanings. I think this is bad advice, and misleading. I think it reveals that some intuitive readers don't even understand their own process. Somehow, they have internalised traditional meanings, whether they realise it or not, and to tell newbies not to bother with the basics is like telling a musician all they have to play the clarinet is pick it up and blow in it and some fantastic music will automatically come out. Bullcrap!

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    2. By the way, thanks for kind words about my blog! :)

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