by James Wells
There are many ideas out there about how we get the “right” cards in a tarot consultation. Some say that it’s psychokenesis at work, others say spirit guides pick the pasteboards for us. One person might say that god/dess helps select our cards, another will swear that it’s our autonomic nervous system.
My own current theory is that it doesn’t really matter which card(s) we pick from the tarot deck. They’re ALL appropriate for any situation or inquiry. Since the concepts and images in the tarot are rooted in centuries of human experience, and since we’re humans having an experience, whatever card is selected will respond to our inquiry. Each card contains a piece of the whole, just like one of my cells contains the entirety of me.
I’ve often thought that the 78 tarot cards are like facets of a gem or windows looking into a room. Each one has its own beautiful gleam or its unique perspective on the view. Then my mind and intuition make the tarot concept or image fit into my topic and question. NOT the other way around! This is where so many tarot practitioners get tripped up. They go on and on about what they know about the card, completely forgetting that there’s a context being explored at the moment. We need to make the cards fit life, not our lives fit the cards. In his book, The Creative Astrologer: Effective Single Session Counseling, Noel Tyl says that we must make the planets fit the person’s story in order to bring the session to life. The same holds true with cards.
Recently, I read the first section of Tarot of the Spirit by Pamela Eakins, a book that accompanies the deck of the same name painted by her mother, Joyce. On page 17 of Eakins’ text, I finally saw in print in a tarot book some words that reflect the above thinking:
“Because the tarot is so well conceptualized, any one of the cards will bring you into sharp focus…Any card of the tarot applies equally to any human problem or endeavor…no matter which cards turn up, they will all be correct. Each card merely provides a distinct focal point. Your imagination, then, provides the story which binds the sequence of cards together.”
There’s more in her text, of course, but I at least wanted to provide you with the essence of what she says. It just makes sense to me that one can’t pick a “wrong” card, that our own minds, imaginations, and life stories are what flesh out a basic card interpretation into something real and alive.
JAMES WELLS — Merging soul and strategy through tarot, Reiki, journal writing, & council circle.