In any tarot group, the conversation will turn to what particular cards mean to us. So often, a person will come up with a meaning that is very different from any standard or traditional meaning. Sometimes, by looking at numerology, the elements, or the illustration in a particular deck, it is easy to understand and justify the particular meaning. Sometimes it is not at all.
For instance, some people see the Three of Pentacles as predictive of a new baby. There is very little to support that traditionally. But, since the earthy Pentacles are very physical, and the number three is very productive, and the Waite image is in a church (think baptism) this departure from the traditional meanings of the card can make sense.
Last night, in a tarot class, one student said that the Two of Pentacles often shows up for her as predictive of an important telephone call. I have a hard time making that fit, except maybe that the number two can indicate a conversation between two people. But, for this particular student the message is clear.
This is part of the beauty of tarot. While I do believe it is important for us to know the traditions behind the cards, it is equally important for us to listen to the cards when they tell us what they mean to us.
It is as if we develop a personal relationship with each card, and an agreement about what each card might mean when it comes up in a reading.
While I would never say that any card “always” means a particular thing, it is clear that some cards often mean very specific things to specific readers.
Wald Amberstone once said something very important to me; something that I share with all my students.
“We trust the Universe to bring the right question to the right reader with the right cards at the right time.”
That one statement takes away a lot of anxiety, doesn’t it?
Sure, every reader sees the cards differently. Some tarot decks read very differently than others.
But the way tarot works is both amazingly universal and deeply personal – enough to allow each of us to hear what the cards say to us.
When we can share this with each other in a tarot class, fellowship or on-line discussion, sometimes we learn new ways to work with the cards for ourselves. Other times we find ourselves shaking heads, rolling eyes and saying, “How in the world do you get THAT from that card?”
But it just doesn’t matter. If that is how the cards speak to you, and it helps you to give great readings, that is all that matters. The fact that we each develop a personal relationship with the cards, and a personal reading style, is what is important.