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Reading non-traditional tarot question

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#1 NettlePetal

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Posted 20 July 2015 - 10:16 PM

I've just recently started really practicing reading the tarot. I have two different decks that are extremely different. One is very detailed and the other is very minimalistic with only line drawings and uses basic symbols for the minor arcana. The images on the simple deck also seem to be completely unrelated to the traditional imagery.

So I have a few questions. Firstly, when the minor arcana have no individual images, do you just remember the meanings that you've learned elsewhere and apply it? Or is there some trick to feeling intuition when there aren't many visual clues?

Secondly, the basic meanings for the major arcana in the simple deck are completely different from what the cards usually mean. Would it be okay to ignore them and just use the meanings I've learned before, or should I stick to the 'vision' of the deck and learn the unique meanings?

Lastly, how differently do different tarot decks usually read? How much have you found is from your own knowledge and intuition and how much is down to what the artist has chosen to portray? How important is the art style in a reading?

Thank you for any help :)

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#2 Aria

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 08:10 AM

So I have a few questions. Firstly, when the minor arcana have no individual images, do you just remember the meanings that you've learned elsewhere and apply it? Or is there some trick to feeling intuition when there aren't many visual clues?


Minors without images are difficult for many people, but normally there's a meaning to the numeric progression of the numbers. Numerology is a great way to start, as it gives the basis of how numbers are produced and advance from lesser cards. My breakthourgh in remembering the meaning of the minor arcana was in not trying to understand them as indivudual cards, but rather as part of a dialectical process that places them in the totality of the suit. A good exercise for doing this is to spread the whole suit on the table and start with meaning of the ace to try and get the meaning of the following trumps. Progression is key to this, as normally the minor arcana would move from static situations (normally represented by even numbers) to dynamic, creative situations (odd numbers). For example, in TdM the ace of swords normally represents an idea, a thought, an intellectual breakthrough. Add one sword, and what was a simple idea may turn into the communication of such idea ore even the clash of it with an oppisiing thought. Add another one, and you move from thought to action, from stasis to movement, from the clash to constructive advancement and realization.

An error that I used to do when I started with tarot, was to try and learn different decks at the same time. I think this is OK when you already have a good understanding of decks from different tradition, but it makes things extremely complicated when you're starting out. For example, TdM decks and RWS decks have different meaning for the minors. Trying to learn them at the same time can create unnecessary confusion.

Secondly, the basic meanings for the major arcana in the simple deck are completely different from what the cards usually mean. Would it be okay to ignore them and just use the meanings I've learned before, or should I stick to the 'vision' of the deck and learn the unique meanings?


In my opinion, this is totally up to you. People have different approaches to tarot, and I don't think there is a 'good one'. The way I like to go about it is to study the meaning proposed by the people who came up with the deck, because I'ma geek, and then to add my own nuances and meanings as I advance with the use of the deck and the understanding of the simbology.
Also, keep in mind that no tarot card has a 'fixed' meaning. Meanings change with regards to the position of the cards in the spread, and the relation they have to each other. So whether you use the official meaning or not, the final interpretation is still something you'll have to do and no booklet can replace you.

Lastly, how differently do different tarot decks usually read? How much have you found is from your own knowledge and intuition and how much is down to what the artist has chosen to portray? How important is the art style in a reading?


As said above, for me a combination of the two works.
The artwork and the style of the deck are extremely important to me. I tend to connect well with simpler, hand-drawn images and I tend to loathe 'fantasy' or 'gothic' modern decks, as more often than not I find the artwork to be distracting and all over the place. However, you will find that most non-traditional tarot decks will refer either to the TdM or the RWS system, and will reproduce those meaning through different artwork and styles.

Hope this helps :)

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La strega è un frutto di terra. (M.)

#3 NettlePetal

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 10:42 AM

Oh thank you! For some reason I didn't even consider numerology haha. I feel very drawn to this simple deck so I'll definitely try the things you've suggested to be able to read it. I do tend to bite off way more than I can chew and have lots of different things to focus on at once.
I included a picture of dome of the cards in the deck if you're interested. Thanks for all the advice, it really helped :)Attached File  FullSizeRender-13.jpg   221.7KB   0 downloads

Edited by NettlePetal, 21 July 2015 - 10:43 AM.

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#4 Autumn Moon

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Posted 21 July 2015 - 01:55 PM

The imagery on the deck is really important, as that is what your intuition uses to intuit with. Depending on the imagery, some cards in a deck will have a completely different meaning to the same card(s) in another deck. Also, it is really important to have a deck that you like and can relate to. Personally, I've never been able to reconcile the a large proportion of traditional numerological meanings with those of the numbers in Tarot.

One book that I like is 'The Easiest Way to Learn the Tarot - Ever' by Dusty White. From my perspective, of all the books I have read, it made the most sense.


Edited by Autumn Moon, 26 November 2016 - 04:47 PM.

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#5 Oroboros

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 04:03 PM

This question does not warrant its own thread, but I thought it loosely fits here.

 

I have been drawing "The World"  A LOT. Like way more than what is statistically possible.  One night I was practicing with the tarot and it came up in every one of ten spreads.  But also doing single card draws for days after.  I am very new to tarot.  My understanding of the world is it can mean completion, attainment, or alternately travel.  I think I may understand the meaning of this read for me, but Id like to know if the world has other traditional meanings.

 Also, it is probably worth noting that in the deck I have the World card has an Ouroboros on it, and that is not only my handle here, but my only tattoo (I got it when I was 21:) ).  Anyway- I don't expect anyone can divine the significance for me- but Im curious about alternate meanings and interpretations.  Oh, and the topics I was reading on varied and it would be the one card that seemed to not fit and came up in a variety of reading on a variety of different topics.  So- it seemed to be a separate significance or message from the topics I was attempting to do reading for.


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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#6 Autumn Moon

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 05:04 PM

This question does not warrant its own thread, but I thought it loosely fits here.

 

I have been drawing "The World"  A LOT. Like way more than what is statistically possible.  One night I was practicing with the tarot and it came up in every one of ten spreads.  But also doing single card draws for days after.  I am very new to tarot.  My understanding of the world is it can mean completion, attainment, or alternately travel.  I think I may understand the meaning of this read for me, but Id like to know if the world has other traditional meanings.

 Also, it is probably worth noting that in the deck I have the World card has an Ouroboros on it, and that is not only my handle here, but my only tattoo (I got it when I was 21:) ).  Anyway- I don't expect anyone can divine the significance for me- but Im curious about alternate meanings and interpretations.  Oh, and the topics I was reading on varied and it would be the one card that seemed to not fit and came up in a variety of reading on a variety of different topics.  So- it seemed to be a separate significance or message from the topics I was attempting to do reading for

........

Were you just practicing or really doing a reading? One thing I have learned through the years is that the cards that show up must always be related to the question at hand. Assuming you thoroughly shuffled each time, Major Arcana cards represent a little over 28% of the deck, so in a spread there is a one in three chance of a MA card showing up (according to author Dusty White), but to have the same MA card show up is not as you say statistically possible if one is thoroughly shuffling. Would certainly seem to be saying something to you...but as I mentioned, a card meaning has to be taken in context to the question asked, and your intuitive meaning might differ from the trad meaning to the card (deck imagery differences must be accounted for re: trad meaning). Also, the other cards in the reading affect one another as to meaning, and if using positional meanings in a spread, that will also affect the meaning of the card.

 

Also, totally focusing on the question while shuffling is important. If your mind strayed, the card may be answering that.


Edited by Autumn Moon, 26 November 2016 - 05:25 PM.

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#7 Madame

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 09:41 PM

Some cards can have multiple meanings, which is where surrounding cards + intuition comes in. With pips that aren't detailed, this can be difficult. With time and practice meanings begin to come naturally for all cards, regardless of imagery, and there are times I let my intuition override the traditional meaning, such as when the death card was literal rather than figurative for me in one reading (to use an example). I use 6 different decks regularly, one is a Polish deck which is fully illustrated, but switches imagery for some of the minors. The typical imagery you see for the 2 of pents is instead used for the 5 of pents and vice versa...generally I go with the imagery over the traditional meaning for those cards, as the illustrator intended, but sometimes my intuition screams at me to use the traditional meaning instead. It's all about practice and dedication and learning the nuances of each deck. If a deck comes with a specific guidebook, it's good to see the meanings the artist ascribes to each card, because it helps connect the dots between the imagery chosen. Some guidebooks are way too "fluffy," though...Mystical Cats, I'm looking at you...but even then, it's beneficial to see the inspiration the author drew from.

 

Rote memorization definitely has its place here, like it would with cartomancy, but IMO allowing some leeway for your intuition is what separates a tarot reader from someone who just draws cards and looks up the meanings.


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#8 Autumn Moon

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Posted 26 November 2016 - 10:43 PM

Some cards can have multiple meanings, which is where surrounding cards + intuition comes in. With pips that aren't detailed, this can be difficult. With time and practice meanings begin to come naturally for all cards, regardless of imagery, and there are times I let my intuition override the traditional meaning, such as when the death card was literal rather than figurative for me in one reading (to use an example). I use 6 different decks regularly, one is a Polish deck which is fully illustrated, but switches imagery for some of the minors. The typical imagery you see for the 2 of pents is instead used for the 5 of pents and vice versa...generally I go with the imagery over the traditional meaning for those cards, as the illustrator intended, but sometimes my intuition screams at me to use the traditional meaning instead. It's all about practice and dedication and learning the nuances of each deck. If a deck comes with a specific guidebook, it's good to see the meanings the artist ascribes to each card, because it helps connect the dots between the imagery chosen. Some guidebooks are way too "fluffy," though...Mystical Cats, I'm looking at you...but even then, it's beneficial to see the inspiration the author drew from.

 

Rote memorization definitely has its place here, like it would with cartomancy, but IMO allowing some leeway for your intuition is what separates a tarot reader from someone who just draws cards and looks up the meanings.

........

For me, intuition holds much more weight for a card meaning than the rote trad meaning (although I take that into account, but only in accord what the card imagery shows, which may differ from the trad RW meaning). I don't go by most book meanings (the book that comes with the deck) of each card. The imagery or part of it helps to spark my intuition, and what it tells me tends to be different for every reading.


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#9 odalibuc

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 12:27 AM

O, sometimes I've found that some cards like to represent one person in particular. If your copy of The World has an oroboros on it, and that symbol is both your screen name here and the only tattoo you have, maybe its possible your deck is letting you know that it may be using that card to represent you in particular? Sometimes I read less traditional decks (read: Yu-Gi-Oh decks because the anime using the cards like tarot is what got me into card reading in the first place), and those decks like to signify myself and important people in my life exclusively through particular cards. It isn't always the case, but it does happen often enough that I noticed.


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#10 Oroboros

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 01:01 AM

To clarify - I say I was practicing because I am so novice at tarot I still have to study many of the cards as I go.  But, beyond that yes I was doing readings.  On several different topics.  I was concentrating on the topics BUT I have been know to not have full control of focus- unless I am emotionally involved in whatever it is I'm focusing on.  I definitely shuffled ridiculously well.  Increasingly so as it kept happening.  I even went so far as to move THAT card by hand deep into the deck before shuffling and it would still surface.  I then did several "one card draws" without thinking of anything the next day and it came up 3 out of 4 times I did that.  My favorite part of this whole thing was this though: 

This is a pretty new deck.  For fun, when this kept happening, I took the World card OUT completely and did a reading.  It was only then I discovered that this deck had an alternate "World" card which came up immediately in the next reading after I removed the one with the Ouroboros.  Of course, "no way" and "what the fuck" went through my mind.  I was really confused and went through the entire deck carefully and that is the only card that has a repeat and there are none missing.  Now the two world cards have completely different imagery and I had not seen the alternate before or if I had it was before the card had enough significance for me to note it.  The one that keeps turning up is the one with the Ouroboros on it.  Except the one time it was not in the deck which is when the alternate world card presented itself.  This is "The deck of the bastard"  an Esty artist compiled it.  I absolutely love it.  I realize that its way more about me than what cards I use BUT this is the first deck I have fairly consistent readings with.  (Not that I have worked that much with tarot in general- I have not.) I have no idea if that artist usually included two different "World" cards but my deck apparently came with one.

 

Just for absolute clarity, obviously if there are two world cards the odds of one being in the reading has doubled, but the alternate one only came up that one time- every other time it was the same exact card.

 

@Odalibuc- I think your thoughts are very likely applicable here.  Especially considering it was consistently the one with the ouroboros that kept coming up.  It felt like a separate message from the rest of the reading like "which one of these things doesn't belong"  the world was the only thing that seemed to have nothing to do with the reading - consistently.  


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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#11 Autumn Moon

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 02:37 AM

To clarify - I say I was practicing because I am so novice at tarot I still have to study many of the cards as I go.  But, beyond that yes I was doing readings.  On several different topics.  I was concentrating on the topics BUT I have been know to not have full control of focus- unless I am emotionally involved in whatever it is I'm focusing on.  I definitely shuffled ridiculously well.  Increasingly so as it kept happening.  I even went so far as to move THAT card by hand deep into the deck before shuffling and it would still surface.  I then did several "one card draws" without thinking of anything the next day and it came up 3 out of 4 times I did that.  My favorite part of this whole thing was this though: 

This is a pretty new deck.  For fun, when this kept happening, I took the World card OUT completely and did a reading.  It was only then I discovered that this deck had an alternate "World" card which came up immediately in the next reading after I removed the one with the Ouroboros.  Of course, "no way" and "what the fuck" went through my mind.  I was really confused and went through the entire deck carefully and that is the only card that has a repeat and there are none missing.  Now the two world cards have completely different imagery and I had not seen the alternate before or if I had it was before the card had enough significance for me to note it.  The one that keeps turning up is the one with the Ouroboros on it.  Except the one time it was not in the deck which is when the alternate world card presented itself.  This is "The deck of the bastard"  an Esty artist compiled it.  I absolutely love it.  I realize that its way more about me than what cards I use BUT this is the first deck I have fairly consistent readings with.  (Not that I have worked that much with tarot in general- I have not.) I have no idea if that artist usually included two different "World" cards but my deck apparently came with one.

 

Just for absolute clarity, obviously if there are two world cards the odds of one being in the reading has doubled, but the alternate one only came up that one time- every other time it was the same exact card.

 

@Odalibuc- I think your thoughts are very likely applicable here.  Especially considering it was consistently the one with the ouroboros that kept coming up.  It felt like a separate message from the rest of the reading like "which one of these things doesn't belong"  the world was the only thing that seemed to have nothing to do with the reading - consistently.  

.......

Well there you have it...the imagery of the oroboros says it all. Now you just have to figure out what the message is for you.


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#12 Evergreen47

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 04:51 AM

Going back to the original post, I do like to know trad meanings of the cards, but intuition is most important IMO. And the key to that intuition is to really get to know your deck. I know the trad meanings for the RWS deck, but what really made it speak to me was taking the time to sit with each card and ask it what I should get from it. I wrote my impressions down in my journal and now those cards signify certain things for me that won't be in a guidebook. Some of them matched up perfectly, but some were just a little different. It's important to know what it means to you.

Edited by Evergreen47, 28 November 2016 - 04:52 AM.

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I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

-=Frank Herbert=-

 

Rock on, gold dust woman. Take your silver spoon and dig your grave.


#13 Oroboros

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 04:58 AM

That sounds like a great approach.  I will adopt it. 


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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#14 Autumn Moon

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 01:10 PM

Geez, didn't I say that in my posts above, ie. look at the IMAGERY of each card and what is says to YOU in each reading using your intuition, but also taking the trad meaning into account if it fits (but I added that the meaning can differ dependent on the question and card interactions)?!  :stars:


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#15 Oroboros

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 03:02 PM

@AM-Yes you did and I should have commented then. I have read a lot of responses in between holiday gatherings and have not always remembered to come back and responded to each one that I had thoughts on. The concept of learning the standard meaning but also putting weight in how the imagery speaks to me is already my approach to learning it. And it feels right -so I fully agree.
The way the most recent post was worded made me think of taking that a step further and meditating on each card as part of a daily excercise and writing down what I learn from each, which appealed to me as a good approach /excercise to go about the concept you had already mentioned.

Edited by Oroboros, 28 November 2016 - 03:16 PM.

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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#16 Oroboros

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Posted 28 November 2016 - 03:15 PM

What I have been doing recently is doing practice readings and as I come across cards I don't know I would look at it first and decide what I think it means based on the imagery, symbolism, and context. Then I would look it up in a few different resources. Which seems to be an effective approach, the posts in this thread have given inspiration to tweek that a bit and helped confirm that the standard meanings are not everything. All very much appreciated.
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...From ev’ry depth of good and ill , The mystery which binds me still...— Poe

#17 odalibuc

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 04:31 AM

I have to say, this is a really good thread. I always get great information from my cards, but so far my real tarot deck has felt... stiff? Professional? Its like my cards know they're working with me and are proud to do their job, but I'd almost say they aren't really that fond of me yet. Autumn, you and Evergreen have some great advice I really need to start applying. Ah, they joys of teaching yourself tarot - there's so much you don't really know until you can talk like this!


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#18 Autumn Moon

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 09:28 PM

@AM-Yes you did and I should have commented then. I have read a lot of responses in between holiday gatherings and have not always remembered to come back and responded to each one that I had thoughts on. The concept of learning the standard meaning but also putting weight in how the imagery speaks to me is already my approach to learning it. And it feels right -so I fully agree.
The way the most recent post was worded made me think of taking that a step further and meditating on each card as part of a daily excercise and writing down what I learn from each, which appealed to me as a good approach /excercise to go about the concept you had already mentioned.

....

Thanks Oroboros. As you mentioned, meditating on each card and what the symbolism means to you is an excellent way to get deeper into the meaning of each card and applying them to your readings. 


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#19 Autumn Moon

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Posted 08 December 2016 - 09:30 PM

I have to say, this is a really good thread. I always get great information from my cards, but so far my real tarot deck has felt... stiff? Professional? Its like my cards know they're working with me and are proud to do their job, but I'd almost say they aren't really that fond of me yet. Autumn, you and Evergreen have some great advice I really need to start applying. Ah, they joys of teaching yourself tarot - there's so much you don't really know until you can talk like this!

....

 

Yes, I agree odalibuc, and thanks!


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#20 Tricycle

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Posted 01 August 2017 - 03:00 PM

I think, over time, with practice, all of your experiences and memories come together in that one moment of reading a card. As this happens, something new and fresh for that moment comes into the intuition also. Another thing that can help, is to try to relate the card to the position.

 

So, for example, one position in the spread might be 'challenge'. Say the Hermit is in that position. Relating it to your question and the position, the challenge might be read as, you need to stop isolating yourself, OR you need to challenge yourself to find some quiet time for self care/spiritual work on yourself. It also helps if you can try to relate the cards to each other, as if it were telling a story.

 

What helped me in the early days (and I keep meaning to do it again soon!), is when I did my daily draw, I'd do it at the end of the day, reflecting on the day I just had. It helped me to give meaning to the cards more quickly, because there's nothing abstract about the past! Similarly, I would do readings for practice about things that happened in my past that I remembered clearly. Some examples are: my first day of school when I was little, the pregnancies/births of each of my children, or a tv show I had already seen. It was also when I started to become amazed at how well the cards speak to us!

 

Another thing I do from time to time, is I collect songs in a list that relate to different cards. So, the Fool might be, 'the Journey (don't stop believin')', 'good vibrations' for the Sun card, etc. Then, what happens in a reading, is occasionally one of my songs will come to my mind at just the perfect time to give me a nice nudge in the right direction. Once this started happening, that's also when little sayings started popping into my head during the reading. They were pop culture sorts of sayings that we use in day to day life, that related to the cards. So, for me, it's as though the cards are talking to me! lol.

 

I also have one deck dedicated to my grandmother, and as I draw her cards, sayings pop up into my head in the exact way she would say them. So, that's another tip, is to listen to any chit-chat in your head as you go, because often the first things you hear are pretty bang-on for a reading, then it's really easy to extend on that. I hope this helps :)


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