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Monday 7 April 2014

Magickal Mondays: My Tarot Reading

My tarot cards in 'Celtic Cross' formation

Yesterday, JJ gave me a tarot card reading. She used her giant-sized Rider-Waite tarot deck. The Knight of Cups card was chosen to be the card that represented me. Before I go into the reading and how it might be interpreted, I'll say some things about interpretation in general, tarot divination in specific, and how it has been used by certain people, such as the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn (Pamela Colman Smith and A.E. Waite, the artist and designer of the tarot deck used, both being members).

Thinking about the future, one's own immediate future in particular, can be a difficult task as one needs to have a fairly complete understanding of the contextual factors that are affecting one's environment. Indeed, once one believes they have an idea (that is, they 'know') about what will happen in the future, this can easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

What do we mean by, knowledge of one's environmental context? Well, it can mean being self-aware of the factors that have and will cause certain behaviour in yourself. Psychological context then. This can only be available after much self-examination and detached observation (treating oneself as an other).

Of divination itself. It can hardly come as a surprise when I tell you that I think that tarot readings are neither 'real' nor an instance of magick. Rather, I believe that a reading such as this can help prompt a certain type of introspective thought about one's circumstances and general psychological behaviour and the effect these actions have on oneself, others and the world about.

I used to know much more than I adequately remember about Hermeticism now. Indeed, like many other spiritual paths I once investigated, it is something I am now done with. Once it was part of my art works, used to invest extra meaning, and this is how I believe people like Colman Smith and W.B. Yeats used their membership of the group. 

Now, the reading itself and my interpretation thereof.

Although the illustration above is pretty accurate to the order we drew the cards. What is before and behind swapped places based on the direction the significator card was facing (he looks right). Thus, before is ahead of him. 

The Knight of Cups. The Significator. JJ chose this card to represent me. As it's described as sensitive, imaginative, introspective, but with legendary melodramatic moods, too temperamental and prone to take offence easily, I thought it an excellent match (although I was offended and sulked).
1. Page of Cups. What covers him. Younger scholars are all around me, so is the atmosphere of academia. This represents my current condition, it is the lack of this studying myself that is of greatest concern to myself. In some systems of interpretation two similar cards after each other represents a reinforcement. 
2. 2 of Cups. What crosses him. As the 2 of Cups represents union and as this card is the problematic in my life, I'd say that this represents the lack of union, that is, working and writing that is my challenge presently. 
3. 9 of Wands. What crowns him. This represents what I believe to be my best outcome of my present circumstances and here the 9 of Wands could be thought to show readiness. Whatever happens, I'll be prepared and ready. 
4. The Chariot. What lies below. This card represents what resources I have to draw upon to help my situation and here the Chariot could stand for self-control. The Chariot is an odd card, but I understand it as representing an assertion of control and other positive aspects of the ego. For myself, I see it as my ability to drawn confidence, in myself, from my friends and using this confidence to control my destiny.
5. 2 of Wands. What lies behind. All cards have negative as well as positive aspects, certainly in A.E. Waite's method of description. The 2 of Wands in its negative aspect can represent sadness, the figure stands upon a battlement and has the world in his hands, but yet still gazes forlornly into space. This is the aspect I take from this, of course it also depends on how one define's 'recent past' and I chose to measure this in years rather than weeks or days.
6. The Empress. What lies before. This is a pretty exciting card to draw here, as it represents fertility, now whether this is creative or actual (children!) I don't suppose I can really comment. It is the future after all. It could also represent a closeness and connection with nature, which is also something I'd welcome.
7. 7 of Pentacles. Himself. This can represent my current activity, i.e. self assessment. Otherwise, the 7 of Pentacles can depict security or achievement, neither of which I'd consider apply to my current situation. Another reading would simply be that I'm working hard and putting in plenty of effort, which rings a little truer in my mind.
8. 8 of Pentacles. Environment. A busy workplace, this seems straight forward, the library is a busy place with some determined people.
9. 5 of Swords (inverted). Hopes and Fears. I'm still not sure why one's hopes and fears might be so closely related, but this is a recurring theme in tarot. At any rate, as the 5 of Swords strongly represents self-interest and conflict, the reversal of this might suggest it is not being expressed normally, be that inappropriate, incomplete or denied in some manner. I suppose one reading would be my fear of being too selfish, or simply it shows my fear of failure, which is something that is an ever present.
10. Temperance (inverted). Outcome. Lack of harmony. A not too happy outcome as it shows that my current imbalance will only worsen, or else perhaps the outcome is to accept this discord. At any rate, although I might have great fertility in my future it apparently won't lead to anything stable in my life. 

Anyway, these are all my own interpretations of the cards in respect to my own future and present circumstances. As I said, I find it an interesting guide or starting point for some self-reflection and as it comes from 'outside' it allows us a detached perspective upon our own life and situation. Something we should probably all do more often, however, there is a danger for over-analysing one's status.