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Jera
04 Mar 2013, 01:15
Since I have been delving deeper into my studies of the Tarot, I have come across a rather annoying trend. When looking for books and resources on interpretations and meanings of the cards, I am often faced with authors who water down and sugar coat the cards. In other words, every interpretation, even for the darker, more serious cards such as Death and The Tower, are almost soft, gentle and reaffirming. Consider Doreen Virtue's Angel Tarot. Death becomes "Release", Tower becomes "Life Experience" (seriously?) and Devil becomes "Ego". I've put down several books I've picked up and paged through in bookstores because I'm tired of seeing soft phrases such as "new beginnings", "spiritual awakening", "greater self awareness", "chance for inner healing" and "cloud with silver lining" for the uncomfortable major cards, and for the more somber Cups and Swords. I realise that these interpretations can apply to these cards, but when only presented in that comfortable, unoffensive way the real message of the cards is lost.

Not to say that I want my cards to be all doom and gloom. In fact I am rather averse to the vampiric/goth tarot decks that are abounding. To me the Tarot is about illuminating the inner workings of the mind and soul, and sometimes those inner workings and the lessons that need to be learned aren't always reassuring. If newcomers to the Tarot become accustomed to these "fluffy" cards with the more scary or provocative images toned down with soft interpretations, it becomes more difficult to get a constructive experience out of using the cards, and Tarot will become another victim of the New Age "love, light and everything pretty and sparkly" scourge, if it hasn't become one already. I know there will always be people who prefer to sit on the sunny side of the fence when it comes to the occult, but it certainly makes it more difficult for serious seekers to find valid, warts-and-all information.

Maria de Luna
04 Mar 2013, 03:09
Well some of the cards which we would inherrently associate with bad aren't as bad as we would always instinctively think. I have never, for example, had the death card come up and mean "death." It has always generally involved some type of tumult, and massive change, but it has always ultimately meant for me a rebirth. Which is not nessecarily soft or fuzzy... Now there are quite a few somber cards the tower is not really meant to be fluffy, it is tumult and ruinous quite often. There are also a few cups cards to avoid and more than a couple swords that I don't like to see. At some point it is time though to put the books down and meditate upon the cards for yourself and decide what they mean to you. If it does not feel like "release" when you draw it, then it is not "release" for you. People are different and alot of people will see things differently.

thalassa
04 Mar 2013, 05:06
I have found that the people that gravitate to the kinder, gentler tarot cards are often the people that need some kindness and gentleness in their lives. It may because they are in a hard position, or it may be because that is their natural inclination...either way, I don't begrudge the creators of the cards for making them that way or the people that use them for preferring them. There are enough tarot cards in the world that I can pick the deck for me, and they can pick the deck for them.

Willow
04 Mar 2013, 09:11
I have found that the people that gravitate to the kinder, gentler tarot cards are often the people that need some kindness and gentleness in their lives. It may because they are in a hard position, or it may be because that is their natural inclination...either way, I don't begrudge the creators of the cards for making them that way or the people that use them for preferring them. There are enough tarot cards in the world that I can pick the deck for me, and they can pick the deck for them.

This. I've been through some hard times that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy, and still I have a deck that has nothing but positive and "fluffy" messages to give simply because I still have to relive those hard times on occasion and the last thing I want to see during that is "hey it's all going to hell, have fun!"

Ophidia
04 Mar 2013, 10:07
Many times, Tarot readers and authors are fighting years of superstition. In movies (older moreso than newer ones), you'd always see the protagonist visit a fortune teller who would inevitably pull out the Death card and foretell some disaster. Coupled with the depiction of Death on the card, or the Devil, or the Tower, people began seeing the Tarot as evil and dark and an object to be feared. In some places, psychics, card readers and fortune tellers were actually harassed or driven out of town because of the combined impact of Hollywood portrayals of cursing people and foretelling death and dismay. Modern authors began trying to swing the pendulum back and present Tarot and other divinatory tools in a better, brighter light - and some of them have swung it back a little too far.

As a reader, the Death card could very well portend a death. Or it could mean the end of a relationship, job, life stage, or a t.v. show. The other cards usually help illustrate the rest of the circumstances. If say, I was reading for someone who was taking care of an elderly relative, and the Death card came up. Well, it could very well mean the elderly relative would die soon. I'd look at the other cards and see if any of them indicated that the querent might be enjoying new freedom, or a lightening of burdens, or even a financial windfall. I might then cautiously suggest that when the elderly parent passes, it would signal a time of change for the querent.

nbdy
05 Mar 2013, 05:50
My two cents, for what it is worth:

What I learned when we moved to the country is that death is an every day part of life, and this is a reality that was readily apparent to pretty much everyone even just a hundred years ago. I went from agonizing over the loss of my first chicken to assessing the flock and simply announcing to my husband that "we're about to lose one" or "we lost one," as matter-of-factly as commenting on the weather. The hawks sit it the treetops, the coyotes and foxes prowl the perimeter, the buzzards are constantly cleaning some carcass or the other back in the woods, something is dead every day. And I have done my share of killing, too. For those in urban and suburban environments this is more of an abstract reality. Sitting down to roast chicken, of course urbanites know it was a living bird at some point, but it is an abstract living bird. No one at the table wrung its neck, bled it, blanched and plucked it. Death is a step removed from daily existence -- the veil is a little thicker, and sometimes absolutely opaque, something unknown, and therefore scary. Even the death of family is removed -- people used to die at home, the wake was in the parlor. Most people now live in urban and suburban environments, and so they sort of freak out about the Death card because their understanding of death is not the same as our ancestors'. I think that adjusting the card interpretation probably brings it closer to that understanding, I am not sure about "soft and fluffy," but "release" is not unreasonable, though I'd probably choose "transformation."

Raphaeline
05 Mar 2013, 06:19
Many times, Tarot readers and authors are fighting years of superstition. In movies (older moreso than newer ones), you'd always see the protagonist visit a fortune teller who would inevitably pull out the Death card and foretell some disaster. Coupled with the depiction of Death on the card, or the Devil, or the Tower, people began seeing the Tarot as evil and dark and an object to be feared. In some places, psychics, card readers and fortune tellers were actually harassed or driven out of town because of the combined impact of Hollywood portrayals of cursing people and foretelling death and dismay. Modern authors began trying to swing the pendulum back and present Tarot and other divinatory tools in a better, brighter light - and some of them have swung it back a little too far.

That's not a bad point. I can see how authors of these cards might have felt that changing the names of the cards might help.

volcaniclastic
05 Mar 2013, 07:06
To be fair though, on Perze's point, has anyone ever actually done a spread and had their outcome be good?

I've never once, in the entire 10-some-odd years of owning tarot decks, ever divined a good thing. Almost always, they divine for me the bad shit that's about to come.

...so I stopped using them. My experience with the runes hasn't been any better in this regard.

Ophidia
05 Mar 2013, 09:48
To be fair though, on Perze's point, has anyone ever actually done a spread and had their outcome be good?

I've never once, in the entire 10-some-odd years of owning tarot decks, ever divined a good thing. Almost always, they divine for me the bad shit that's about to come.

...so I stopped using them. My experience with the runes hasn't been any better in this regard.

It's like life. Life has its ups and downs. Depending on the person, the divinatory tool, and the interpretation, you can predict any outcome, good or bad. Most people I've read for tend to focus on the bad because that's why they're really seeking psychic advice. They want advance warning of disaster. They want drama. Life moving forward as expected isn't dramatic or exciting. I've had people get pissed at me for telling them that the cards predict their life will continue to be mundane.

I've gotten really good at being able to foretell pregnancy. For most women, that's good news, isn't it? :lol:

Dez
05 Mar 2013, 11:29
I've had good news, V. Right when I was getting my first deck and starting to teach myself, I had an amazingly good spread about getting out of my in-law's home. It helped push me to get the ball rolling.

The OP made me think, though...I have a card that isn't a "prime offender" that always seems to pop up as not even "change" negative, but irksome, button-pushing, dealing-with-my-personal-demons bad: the eight of swords. All. The. Time.

volcaniclastic
05 Mar 2013, 11:42
It's like life. Life has its ups and downs. Depending on the person, the divinatory tool, and the interpretation, you can predict any outcome, good or bad. Most people I've read for tend to focus on the bad because that's why they're really seeking psychic advice. They want advance warning of disaster. They want drama. Life moving forward as expected isn't dramatic or exciting. I've had people get pissed at me for telling them that the cards predict their life will continue to be mundane.

I've gotten really good at being able to foretell pregnancy. For most women, that's good news, isn't it? :lol:

I suppose so, but I don't feel like I'm actively seeking out the bad. I would love to have a time or two where something bad DOESN'T happen. Last time I used the runes, they told me that doing anything at all (I was asking which cardinal direction I should physically move in) and each outcome was basically bad. And it said I wasn't gonna keep my current relationship to boot.

Maybe it's different for everyone.

Ophidia
05 Mar 2013, 19:04
The OP made me think, though...I have a card that isn't a "prime offender" that always seems to pop up as not even "change" negative, but irksome, button-pushing, dealing-with-my-personal-demons bad: the eight of swords. All. The. Time.

I frikkin' hate those cards. Hate hate hate. Those cards that pop up every single frikkin' time and poke you in the eye.

I've been using a Goddess oracle deck as kind of a daily touchstone. Keep pulling 'Pele', which in this deck symbolizes Passion.

'What do I need to do today?' - Cards: 'Find your Passion!'
'What do I need to help my husband deal w/his anxiety?' - Cards: 'Find your Passion!'
'What is my goal for 2013?' - Cards: 'Find your Passion!'
'What's for dinner tonight?' - Cards: 'How 'bout serving up some nice, juicy Passion!'

I'm going to find someone named Passion, kidnap them, take them to Hawaii, and throw them in a damned volcano.

Jera
07 Mar 2013, 03:09
Originally Posted by Dez http://www.paganforum.com/cpstyles/darkvision/buttons/viewpost-right.png
(http://www.paganforum.com/showthread.php?p=89556#post89556)The OP made me think, though...I have a card that isn't a "prime offender" that always seems to pop up as not even "change" negative, but irksome, button-pushing, dealing-with-my-personal-demons bad: the eight of swords. All. The. Time.


I've been using a Goddess oracle deck as kind of a daily touchstone. Keep pulling 'Pele', which in this deck symbolizes Passion.

'What do I need to do today?' - Cards: 'Find your Passion!'
'What do I need to help my husband deal w/his anxiety?' - Cards: 'Find your Passion!'
'What is my goal for 2013?' - Cards: 'Find your Passion!'
'What's for dinner tonight?' - Cards: 'How 'bout serving up some nice, juicy Passion!'

I'm going to find someone named Passion, kidnap them, take them to Hawaii, and throw them in a damned volcano.

Hahaha oh goodness that made me laugh.
Surprisingly I haven't often had forecasts of doom, my future influences generally revolve around my cards repeatedly telling me to calm the f*** down and stop making the same stupid mistakes.

volcaniclastic
07 Mar 2013, 07:36
Hahaha oh goodness that made me laugh.
Surprisingly I haven't often had forecasts of doom, my future influences generally revolve around my cards repeatedly telling me to calm the f*** down and stop making the same stupid mistakes.

Mine are basically non stop divinations of "you're coming to the end of something. There will be suffering and pain. There will be struggle. You will move on."

No matter when or how often I divine. Seriously. Same message, going on six years now. Where's my break?

Jera
11 Mar 2013, 02:21
Mine are basically non stop divinations of "you're coming to the end of something. There will be suffering and pain. There will be struggle. You will move on."

No matter when or how often I divine. Seriously. Same message, going on six years now. Where's my break?

Did these endings end up happening or was it inaccurate?

WinterTraditions
11 Mar 2013, 03:02
I have found that the people that gravitate to the kinder, gentler tarot cards are often the people that need some kindness and gentleness in their lives. It may because they are in a hard position, or it may be because that is their natural inclination...either way, I don't begrudge the creators of the cards for making them that way or the people that use them for preferring them. There are enough tarot cards in the world that I can pick the deck for me, and they can pick the deck for them.

I own a few Doreen Virtue decks simply for this. I don't pick a deck based on what has the coolest pictures, or is the most 'accurate'... I choose based on circumstances. If I'm doing a reading for a distressed/depressed friend, I generally reach for the angel cards to give them a more gentle message. For the more hard-headed and stubborn, I use the most blunt deck I have.

LizardMind
11 Mar 2013, 09:48
I've sen the same thing with my tarot. Recently I picked up the Shaman's Tarot and found them to be very.. vague and soft. I'm not even sure how to take them half the time.

Corvus
13 Mar 2013, 19:09
I usually interpret death to mean a passing from one matter to another, a change, the "death" of one part of life and the beginning of another; an inevitable change. I've rarely met people that consider death to actually be an ill omen. I've been using my rider-waite deck for years and I love it, it's easy and accurate enough for me. Anyone who considers the tower to not be a bad sign I would think is delusional. However I've never met anyone that looks at tarot in a fluffy way. Usually the opposite; people thinking theres dark omens everywhere. I admit that I dont read many tarot books (or witchy/pagany books in general)

Ophidia
13 Mar 2013, 21:22
Anyone who considers the tower to not be a bad sign I would think is delusional.

The Tower isn't always a bad sign - my nickname for it is 'Shaken Foundations'. It's another one of those situational cards.

Usually, when I see it come up, it's an indication that someone is about to have a profound truth revealed to them. In some cases, it's an epiphany, a deeply spiritual revelation that changes someone's entire world view. My best friend's 'Tower' moment was the realization that she not only really enjoyed pastry baking, but she's damned good at it - and another friend paid her tuition to cooking school as a surprise gift.

Other times, though - in one reading I did for a man, The Tower came up in relation to his kids and wife. Within a week or two, he found out that his kids weren't his kids, and his wife was leaving him for their biological father.

It's all about the context.

Willow
13 Mar 2013, 21:26
The Tower isn't always a bad sign - my nickname for it is 'Shaken Foundations'. It's another one of those situational cards.

Other times, though - in one reading I did for a man, The Tower came up in relation to his kids and wife. Within a week or two, he found out that his kids weren't his kids, and his wife was leaving him for their biological father.

It's all about the context.

I've had a couple similar experiences like this one with the Tower.

Tylluan Penry
14 Mar 2013, 02:35
There is nothing wrong with kindness. Sometimes it's the easiest way to break bad news.

In my own experiences with divination (and I've used palmistry, tarot, crystal ball and the runes - the latter being my favourite) I always sought out patterns rather than relying on an individual card. And I always bore in mind a quote from a book (Moonfleet by J Meade Faulkner, in case anyone is interested ;) ) "As with life, so with a game of chance. Skill will make something of the worst of throws."

Corvus
14 Mar 2013, 13:45
The Tower isn't always a bad sign - my nickname for it is 'Shaken Foundations'. It's another one of those situational cards.
It's all about the context.

I've never had a reading where it wasn't something catastrophic or horrible so my views are probably skewed

thalassa
14 Mar 2013, 16:42
The Tower isn't always a bad sign - my nickname for it is 'Shaken Foundations'. It's another one of those situational cards.

I love this!

I usually interpret the Tower as more of a house of cards sort of thing...which is pretty much the same idea.

QuercusRobur
14 Apr 2013, 13:49
I frikkin' hate those cards. Hate hate hate. Those cards that pop up every single frikkin' time and poke you in the eye. I've been using a Goddess oracle deck as kind of a daily touchstone. Keep pulling 'Pele', which in this deck symbolizes Passion. 'What do I need to do today?' - Cards: 'Find your Passion!' 'What do I need to help my husband deal w/his anxiety?' - Cards: 'Find your Passion!' 'What is my goal for 2013?' - Cards: 'Find your Passion!' 'What's for dinner tonight?' - Cards: 'How 'bout serving up some nice, juicy Passion!' I'm going to find someone named Passion, kidnap them, take them to Hawaii, and throw them in a damned volcano. LOL! I asked about this sort of thing on another group and they said that if cards kept coming up it was something in my life that needed to be dealt with. I did a reading today about a meeting I'm going to have with my boss tomorrow and in the immediate future position The High Priestess came up. I immediately thought **** no - he's got plans for me! Checking the book, it said guidance. So either way, I'm in for a rough meeting. The High Priestess isn't thought of as a bad card, it only is in conjuction with this person...

Willow
14 Apr 2013, 14:23
Let us know how it goes so we can see how the High Priestess comes into play. :P

QuercusRobur
19 Apr 2013, 12:18
Let us know how it goes so we can see how the High Priestess comes into play. :P The boss wasn't happy as inspectors had been in, he'd looked at a database I take care which is in spreadsheet format (we don't have a license for databases) and couldn't find things, which I suspect was because he'd never looked at it before and he took this out on me. I ended up with a long list of things to do. I did get some guidance with things I asked for, but since work practice what I call "Harry Potter management" (waving a wand in the air, saying a few words and expecting things to happen while ignoring reality) it was as much use to me as a chocolate teapot.

gwynwas
29 May 2013, 06:39
. . . I don't feel like I'm actively seeking out the bad. I would love to have a time or two where something bad DOESN'T happen.. . .

this. too true for me also.

My advice, if you're getting good readings and it accurately reflects your life, just go with it. Eventually pain and grief and suffering will come around, but there is no need to seek it out. Trust me.

- - - Updated - - -


The boss wasn't happy as inspectors had been in, he'd looked at a database I take care which is in spreadsheet format (we don't have a license for databases) and couldn't find things, which I suspect was because he'd never looked at it before and he took this out on me. I ended up with a long list of things to do. I did get some guidance with things I asked for, but since work practice what I call "Harry Potter management" (waving a wand in the air, saying a few words and expecting things to happen while ignoring reality) it was as much use to me as a chocolate teapot.

Ah, a teaching moment in the Buddhist sense (there's another case of glass half full language).

So, did having the forewarning from the cards help or not I wonder?

RainbowDemonic
29 May 2013, 08:30
I learned the foundations of my Tarot from this book (http://www.amazon.com/Pictorial-Key-Tarot-Book/dp/B007D00MOE/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1369843734&sr=1-4&keywords=The+Pictorial+Key+to+the+Tarot), this website (http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/learn/meanings/), and the in-depth symbology on this website (http://www.astro.com/astrology/in_intro_e.htm) because it also ties into Tarot. It has also helped me to delve a little bit into alchemy and a few other things, and it's how I learned to read the stars of course.

If ever there was anything I have learned from divination, it's that you can tell people anything they could possibly want to know about their future - but most people don't actually want to know their future. They seek divination because they seek hope, because they want someone to say "It will all be okay". Fluffy Tarot decks are for the squeamish among us, and I am a firm believer that true power/spirituality/metaphysics/whatever is not for the faint of heart, period.

I am old school with my readings. I do not sugar coat. I may put it politely, or nicely, or gently, but I will never lie to the person I am reading, even if it means speaking hard truths. My deck has never let me or anybody else down. People have known for a long time that if nothing else I am reliable; if they turn to me requesting a reading, they know very well that they will hear no BS from me. If they don't know, I gently explain it to them, and I tell them that if they need hope, I am happy to listen to them and encourage them as the beautiful individuals they are and I don't need a deck for that; if they want mysteries revealed, I can whip out the deck, but knowledge can be sobering, they may not always like what they hear, and in this beautiful life it is always up to us to persevere and learn and grow through our hardships. For those who agree and receive a reading, I try to be uplifting where possible, but do not ever shy away from telling the truth plainly. I would not be worthy of my tools or gifts otherwise.

Nerá
29 May 2013, 10:29
You have a point, but I think this is kind of two-sided...

I believe that the reason tarot readers try to turn the negative cards into something positive is because the seeker wants to only hear something good. Telling them that they are going to experience some sort of hardship, be it financial, romantic, spiritual, etc. isnt good for business. People that read for themselves have a tendency to do this too because they don't want to accept that something bad might actually happen or that they might have to make a hard decision. It's not just in the tarot community either....that's just how it is with life in general.

On the other hand, cards like the Tower aren't necessarily bad. And interpreting this cards as having a "silver lining" isn't something I would consider fluffy or soft. For example....the Tower, to me, represents destruction of something or an unstable foundation. To destroy an unstable foundation gives one the opportunity to learn from mistakes and build another STRONGER structure. Is it easy? No. It's going to be hard as hell. But it's going to make your life better in the long run. That's the silver lining.

Another thing to remember is that divination isn't about predicting a future that is set in stone. Divination is a window to see possible outcomes and gives us an opportunity to change them if necessary.

gwynwas
29 May 2013, 11:30
And people have a tendency to "shoot the messenger." I work in mental health and I see the same thing there. One of the biggest mistakes therapists make is to avoid pointing out a client's distortions, letting them make the same mistakes over and over, or even worse, validating their distortions. Therapists do this because they don't want to make the client angry.

But then why does someone go to a therapist to begin with? Same question for Tarot, why does someone go to a tarot reader? Do they want it laid out bad along with good? Maybe some are prepared for that, but I think a lot of times people are looking for assurance from the reader the same way some people go to therapists expecting to be validated.

RainbowDemonic
29 May 2013, 11:37
And people have a tendency to "shoot the messenger." I work in mental health and I see the same thing there. One of the biggest mistakes therapists make is to avoid pointing out a client's distortions, letting them make the same mistakes over and over, or even worse, validating their distortions. Therapists do this because they don't want to make the client angry.

But then why does someone go to a therapist to begin with? Same question for Tarot, why does someone go to a tarot reader? Do they want it laid out bad along with good? Maybe some are prepared for that, but I think a lot of times people are looking for assurance from the reader the same way some people go to therapists expecting to be validated.

Absofreakinglutely. I nip that right in the bud - by the time the reading is over they have been duly and thoroughly warned and I give them no room to "shoot" me for it. Heard enough of that crap, lol - I don't get paid for what I do, I do it happily for dear friends and people who ask my help, so I certainly ain't paid enough to get nagged because I gave the reading they insisted so much upon (especially after I carefully inform them about how I work). In the end, though, hubs and I end up with people sort of coming back head hanging and being really appreciative we didn't BS them (we both work together on Tarot). It's better to just put it blunt but gentle, caring but honest, in my opinion.

EDIT: I mean obviously you want to be tactful, patient and kind with the reading. It's meant to help, after all. We always try to be encouraging at the end and if bad things are mentioned in the reading, we assure the seeker(s) that nothing is carved in stone and just sit and chat with them a bit. We try to leave it on a good note, having given them something to think about and plenty of encouragement. Just wanted to clarify.

thalassa
30 May 2013, 04:13
Sure, some folks want to be handed a fantasy, but its been my experience that they are a minority--YMMV. 'Eh, IMO tarot readings come from within rather than without, and the only thing you are doing is "divining are possibilities". That means that you the reader have to be open to those possibilities as much as the person being read for. The idea that you are giving someone some "cold hard truth" is only true in the sense that most people don't want the truths handed to them in a way that is cold and hard--they want to know the possibilities. The only "truth" in tarot is that there are multiple "truths" that can be divined from a single spread. If you are only giving one possibility because you (the reader) have a preference for it for whatever reason (whether it be of the fantasy OR the cold and hard variety), you are short changing the person you are reading for. A cruddy-looking spread for one person isn't always cruddy for the next, or for the outcome. Tarot is useful because there are a myriad of ways to interpret their symbols and interplay, not because they actually divine a future.

Willow
30 May 2013, 04:36
The boss wasn't happy as inspectors had been in, he'd looked at a database I take care which is in spreadsheet format (we don't have a license for databases) and couldn't find things, which I suspect was because he'd never looked at it before and he took this out on me. I ended up with a long list of things to do. I did get some guidance with things I asked for, but since work practice what I call "Harry Potter management" (waving a wand in the air, saying a few words and expecting things to happen while ignoring reality) it was as much use to me as a chocolate teapot.

Mmm chocolate teapot....

You have to love those meetings... not. But I feel you on the Harry Potter thing, my company does that and when things don´t magically fall into place within a few days they go on a turnover spree.