Sunday, July 10, 2011

When One Card Isn't Enough

Sometimes I like to use 2 or even 3 decks during readings. These are often just personal readings - I wouldn't recommend it if you are reading for others! When I want clarification, possible other meanings, or I am just trying to go deeper into the cards, I will often pull another deck and lay out the same cards beside the original ones. Here's an example:

3 Card Mind/Body/Spirit Spread

For the original spread, I used the Tarot of the Sweet Twilight (English and Spanish Edition) by Cristina Benentinde.

Mind - King of Swords. The world is blowing all around you. Things are in constant motion and upheaval. You may feel lost and distracted at the moment. It is important to stay focused and stay flexible in your thinking.

 Body - XIV Temperance. This is a Major Arcana card, and a source of distress for me at the moment. Part of the difficulties of my current job are from the physical labor involved. I cannot find the strength to lift weights and exercise outside of work because I am too physically tired (this is a source of mental anguish for me as I love to work out). This card shows a need for balance in taking care of my body (yes, my diet has been off lately as well).

It is interesting to note the rainbow between the two cups. Physically speaking, they could represent a need to balance the chakras. They could also suggest a need to balance and cleanse the aura (a great tip I was reading by Punk Rock Psychic today).

The asture landscape is reminiscent of many spiritual landscapes, especially those revered by Native Americans. While I am generally a forest girl, this is a reminder that I need to reconnect with nature for my bodily health.

 Spirit - 7 of Chalices. Feeling tired and worn down, it is time to take off all the pretenses and see what is truly important. This life is finite, and the Spirit is yearning to fulfill the desires it was born to accomplish this time around.

This card also reminds me of many Buddhist meditations on death and impermanence. And that reminds me that I have been neglecting my spiritual practice, especially meditation.

What would I see if I used a different deck for this reading? Here are the cards from the Legacy of the Divine Tarot by Ciro Marcetti. Mind - King of Swords - well-educated and expects to be paid for his/her expertise

Body - Temperance - balance, harmony, and moderation - something I am severely lacking right now. This card can also represent your Angel or Spirit Guide lifting you up or healing you with body work in the metaphysical realm.

Spirit - 7 of Cups - In this more traditional Waite-Smith rendition, the 7 of Cups represents too many choices. I am so overwhelmed by all that I could be doing, I am having trouble doing anything.

I also took a look at the same cards in Tarot of the Magical Forest (English and Spanish Edition). Here are two of the cards from this deck (my scanner is having issues and I was unable to find the 7 of cups on the internet).

In the King of Swords, the thing that stands out to me the most is the blue background. My mind is blue. I am feeling somewhat melancholy and stuck at the moment.

Both of the other cards have yellow backgrounds (color often plays a vital role in my interpretation with this particular deck). When combined with the card from the original spread with the Tarot of the Sweet Twilight, I immediately thought it could be my "yellow" chakra that is out of balance and needing the most attention at the moment. 

I grabbed two of my chakra books and found that yellow is associated with the Solar Plexus Chakra, above the belly button. This chakra deals with self-confidence and self-development. It is also the storage house for our ideas about ourselves and the world  around us. It is vital to check our judgements and beliefs to discover what works for us and what outdated ideas could be holding us back. Also, by working on this chakra, I should be able to overcome the "blueness" of my mind.

Each deck of cards lent additional ideas and meanings to the interpretation. This does not mean that any one interpretation was better than the other, or that any were "right" or "wrong." The layers that each deck added enriched the spread and increased my knowledge and self-awareness. Some decks gave me ideas on things that I could do to improve my situation (focus, meditate, cleanse my aura). Some gave me ideas about other aspects to ponder. All were quite meaningful.

The next time you do a reading for yourself, pull out a second deck and draw the same cards. Lay the two beside each other. What do the meanings for each tell you? Do they interact and work together? Are there conflicts between the illustrations? Note how each card makes you feel and how you feel when you see them together. Reading from more than one deck at a time can help you increase your knowledge of Tarot and help you see many possible sides and interpretations. It can be tremendously helpful when you draw a card and you have no idea how to interpret it or what the deck may be trying to tell you. 

Plus, it's just plain fun!

Happy Readings!

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  1. I have been experimenting with different cards. It is a learning process that is for sure.

  2. That's for sure. When I finally started buying different decks I would make myself stick with just one for an entire month. Eventually I shortened that to a week. But it really is helpful to get a feel for the personality of a new deck by limiting yourself to working with it - and only it - for the first week. Then you can break out the comparisons, and they will be much more meaningful. :)

  3. Hmmm...guess I should have taken my own advice! Haha. :)