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confusion and dismay

Thread originally posted on the Aeclectic Tarot Forum on 23 Sep 2003, and now archived in the Forum Library.

caledonia  23 Sep 2003 
I'm a new member here, so yall please pardon any faux pas I make... anyway, I was sitting here trying to figure out how to put my finger on the reason that I have given up on tarot several times; yet I have always wanted to do it and retained heavy interest in it. I really long to do it.
Here's what I came up with, hope yall can help:
Each time I try to do a reading (only for myself- I wouldnt try it for a querant unless I was good at it), I find myself thinking, "Well darn it, the supposed meaning of this card could be twisted around to mean anything- so what's the point?" But then I forge ahead, then I turn up a card that makes me think,"Well this card cannot possibly have anything to do with my current problem, but... what if it does, and I just can't see it, and if that's the case, what good is it doing me to sit here and bother with it!" Arrgh! Then I find myself bogged down in trying to either make the reading fit, or I just get disgusted with myself and put them away for a few months.
So, what is this frustration? Is it simply not enough faith in my own intuition? Or no faith in the cards? Or could it be just that I get the cart way ahead of the horse? I tend to try and analyze each card as it turns up- maybe this is incorrect? I would value the insights of this forum.

firemaiden  23 Sep 2003 
Good questions Caledonia, it seems you are having a little crisis of faith. I have had some of those thoughts too -- especially the idea that any card could be twisted around to mean anything. However there are little riverbeds of meaning for each card that they tend to flow within. :)

You may wish to post some of your readings in Your Readings for ideas from other readers. Somehow it all becomes more real and meaningful when other people's perspectives are added to the mix. 

Thirteen  23 Sep 2003 
Originally posted by caledonia So, what is this frustration? Is it simply not enough faith in my own intuition? Or no faith in the cards?... I tend to try and analyze each card as it turns up- maybe this is incorrect?

It's not incorrect at all to try and analyze each card as it turns up--that's the way most of us do it. I'd guess, however, that you rarely take a look at ALL the cards in a spread and see if they relate. This could help you see the big picture rather than focusing on the individual cards--which will help you see the story better, and relax about interpeting that story.

Try this. Lay out a three card spread: Past, present, Future. Now instead of trying to interpet each card by itself, try to see what they have in common--for example, are all or two of the same suit? (Cups? The story is about feelings, romance or depression, possibly). Are all or two the same number? (2's? A story about dualities--balancing 2 things or 2 things coming together or choosing between 2 things). Or maybe the numbers go up? How about down? Are they all Majors? (Tower, Death, Judgement--tells a story of upset, metamorphsis and ressurection).

Try to find patterns, connections--a story that leads from past to present to future. Seeing the larger picture will help ease your frustrations and give you more confidence.

One last bit of advice: Trust what you see in the cards, even if that message seems to have nothing to do with the Querent's question. Sometimes the cards have a more important message to give the questioner--so you'll say, "Is there something wrong with your job?" rather than answering a question about their love life--and they'll likely say, "Oh, my, yes...." And then you can explain what message the cards have to tell them about their job problems. See? 

jog1118  23 Sep 2003 
i think you're being too analytical. tarot is, first and foremost, intuitive...if nothing comes up with your intuition then you go to the analytical side of things. i'm also fairly new to tarot but always had interest in it since i was in my teens (by the way i'm only 26 yrs old, you might think i'm a grandpa :) ); i've read several articles and books about card meanings but i've always prioritized that first spark in my head whenever i see a card...

personal bias is also one thing to watch out for...prior to your reading, look into yourself and really know what you want and do'nt want to see in your readings; awareness is one way to prevent personal bias stemming out from your readings. personal readings are considered by many tarot readers as the most difficult reading (again due to the personal bias issue)...try to look for willing friends (or guinea pigs) who are not too concerned about your accuracy and give your tarot cards a round or two...let go of your pride / fear in giving inaccurate readings (remember, making mistakes is part of the learning process)


caledonia  24 Sep 2003 
Wow. Yall make sense, each of you. Thanks! I am going to try some of all of this. To start with, I gotta relax... oh and jog, I wouldnt think you were a grandpa, i'm older than you. teehee. Anyways I'm goin to bed, where i'll likely dream about this whole tarot issue of mine. G'night!

Le_Corsair  24 Sep 2003 
It can also be helpful if you realize that you are doing this as a leisure activity, presumably because you like to. If you realize that you are doing this because you enjoy it, perhaps it will become easier, because your relaxed state of mind will be more inclined to study the cardfall objectively. Have fun. Don't ruin the enjoyment of the cards by taking them too seriously. Think of them as the equivalent of a Frank Zappa composition for orchestra: breathtakingly complex, but also quirky and fun. If you're not enjoying yourself with the cards, why bother?

Bob :THERM ;) 

dolphinprincess  24 Sep 2003 
i've been in your shoes before - i've always had an interest in tarot, but in the past, i had gotten frustrated and put the cards away...

some advice that has helped me...

1. stick to small spreads - as a beginnier, its much easier to interpret one to three cards than a celtic cross.

2. try not to read the definitions in a book so literally.. spend some time with the cards before looking them up... and if the book says it means one thing, but you think it means another, trust yourself..

3. Until you build up some confidence, don't ask the cards questions about issues that are very emtional, personal, etc.. Try to stick with general throws or lighthearted topics. Or don't ask about yourself at all... I sometimes "pretend" I have a querent adn throw down three cards randomly.. then act like I'm giving a reading to that person. This a great practice bc you can just let your mind flow and not try to "apply it to you"... It is usually when you "think" that you block intuition...

4.. Last... find a deck that makes you feel good when you use it and that you connect with. This, (IMHO) is very important... !

hope this helps a bit :o) 

Dark_angel  24 Sep 2003 
I think you've got some excellent advice here, so I'm just offering support. I only picked up my first deck a few months ago, and as a hardened atheist and sceptic I couldn't explain why I wanted to learn to 'read' a pack of cards with pretty pictures on them. It made no sense to the logical, scientific part of my mind. But I wanted to learn on a deeper level than that, and I think everyone feels that irrational attraction to their cards, to tarot in general. My advice would be to accept the analytical aspects of your mind, indulge them by reading a serious book on the subject (preferably one that ties in with the deck you're learning from, but this is definitely not essential), then put the book away and only look at it when you're having doubts about your ability or the cards.

If you have a scientific bent, it is possible to apply science such as chaos theory to tarot reading, if not, then perhaps the secret lies in powers greater than ours.

If you have periods when you just CAN'T read, why not just enojoy the images. I find that they speak to me outside the context of a reading, and that this really helps when you're doing a spread, because you feel what the cards are saying and can then weave the message around them, rather than altering the meanings to fit what you think the message should be.

And remember, it's not the cards themselves that are the protagonists, they're just a tool (albeit a beautiful, mysterious one) for the reader to use to connect to the querent and the answer to the question. If you look at a spread and see something that doesn't fit with the LWB meanings or the standard positions, you're the one that's right. Have faith in yourself.

Why not try and find a local group or reader who could share the experience with you?


The confusion and dismay thread was originally posted on 23 Sep 2003 in the Using Tarot Cards board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Using Tarot Cards, or read more archived threads.

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