A Tarot Perspective Shift That Can Change Your Life
Here’s a way to perceive tarot cards that can change and deepen your experience when reading for yourself or others. This practice can also help you navigate the ups and downs of life with ease and grace.
I first began studying tarot with an Eden Gray book some thirty-five years ago. Gray clearly spoke of some cards as being bad and negative, and other cards as good and positive.
As I have learned a small bit about the practice of cartomancy with Lenormand cards, I’ve learned that each Lenormand card is designated as positive, negative or neutral. Understanding those designations is important to the study and practice of Lenormand. In my opinion, this should not be so with tarot.
I know that many tarotists, both beginning and experienced, see some tarot cards as good and other tarot cards as bad.
Here’s the shift in perspective that I have started advocating.
Consider what might happen if you were to believe that no tarot card is inherently good or bad.
When you think about this, you have to first realize that the study of tarot is not just about learning how to interpret the cards in a reading. Tarot functions as a book of spiritual wisdom as well as a divinatory device. When we study tarot, we need to learn both the divinatory aspects and the spiritual lessons which exist beyond the function of divination.
Each card teaches us something about life and about ourselves. These lessons stay with us and help us though life. When we understand these lessons, our ability to interpret the cards is increased, even when those deeper lessons aren’t especially pertinent to a specific reading.
When we understand the lesson of each card, we understand that life lessons themselves are neither positive nor negative.
Yet, in most decks, some card illustrations are attractive and appealing, while others are dark or even violent. Regardless, we need to reserve judgment on whether the message is positive or negative, or wanted or unwanted, until we do the reading.
In a reading, whether we find the information we receive positive or negative should depend entirely on the context of the reading. We may get answers we don’t prefer, yet, we needn’t see the individual cards, or the readings, as good or bad.
There is a school of spiritual thought that suggests there is no good or bad anywhere in the world. There is only what you like and what you don’t like. We see examples of this in nature. What is good for the lion is very, very bad for the gazelle. Tarot cards are like that. While we will always prefer to see some cards over others, each card has its place and its value.
So often I hear tarotists say that they don’t like a certain card, or a certain suit. Some people seem to fear certain cards.
If, in your tarot studies, you develop a dislike or fear about a particular card or suit of cards, this is an opportunity to learn something about yourself, or about the cards.
It may be that your dislike or distrust is based on an incomplete understanding of the card. It may be that your reaction to the card is happening because that card, or that suit of cards, is exposing something in you that needs to be healed.
Whenever we have a negative reaction to a card, in study or in a reading, we need to take this as an opportunity to learn something more about ourselves, and about the cards.
We all have favorite cards, and images that resonate well with us. Yet, in a reading, a favorite card might appear to give a message that, in the moment, is less than favorable.
Whatever personal relationships we might have with individual cards, in a reading, we need to let the cards speak, free from our relationship with them, and free from a standard idea of a card being positive or negative.
That said, it is true that in self-reading we can have very powerful relationships with the cards we recognize as “personal cards”. Personal cards might be our birth cards, our astrology cards, or cards we have had significant experiences with in the past. Their appearance in a reading will bring extra information, but, even then, should not be seen as necessarily good or bad.
As examples of how cards can change in meaning, the Sun is usually a very joyful card. Yet, it can also indicate a person who is narcissistic. The Three of Swords communicates heartache, yet it also offers an opportunity for healing.
Of the four suits in tarot, the suit of Swords gets the worst rap. That’s because four of its members are usually very dark images. In readings, those images can very often speak of sadness, anxiety, depression and other upset. Yet, when we remember that Swords are associated with the element of Air, we understand that those painful swords are generally words, thoughts, beliefs, mistrust and dishonesty that are laying us low.
It’s also true that having our heartache revealed in a reading can be extremely helpful and healing. Generally, if you can’t see it, you can’t heal it.
As a professional reader, I take those difficult cards as an opportunity to acknowledge my client’s suffering, and to hold space for their healing, as well as their sorrow.
It’s important to remember, too, that the Suit of Swords contains more positive messages than it does indicators of struggle. The Ace of Swords indicates truth and right action. The Two of Swords is the card of peace. The Four of Swords offers healing, meditation and retreat, while the Six of Swords helps us move toward smoother waters.
When we read for ourselves or for others, we need to color the reading with neither over-optimism nor fear. We need to approach the cards with an attitude of compassionate detachment. We will have an easier time discerning the most precise information if we do not confuse our relationships with the cards with our intuition about what is going on in the reading. We have to let each card speak as it will in each reading, regardless of our feelings toward a card in general.
If we refrain from judging cards as good or bad, we can approach the cards without fear, from that enlightened place of spiritual neutral and compassionate detachment.
When we read for ourselves and others we can get out of our own way and find information that is useful. We can use the cards to shift perspective, open opportunities and bring healing for ourselves and others.
The practice of seeing all cards as neutral allows the cards to speak more easily and more freely. When we are free of the judgment of good and bad, we can engage intuition more easily. It is at that point that we are able to have a truly enlightening psychic experience with tarot.
An added benefit is this. Tarot cards reflect all of life. Not all of life is pretty. Yet, to be alive is to experience all of life, and to embrace it all. When we can embrace and appreciate each of the seventy-eight tarot cards, we are more prepared for the unavoidable misfortunes of life. When we understand the lessons of all seventy-eight tarot cards, we more easily understand the difficult lessons of life. Tarot, as a reflection of life, prepares us for everything we might encounter in life. When we encounter each tarot card without resistance or judgment we become able to encounter each live experience the same way.