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 Other News: The Art of Reading Tarot

ParanormalBy James Wanless
Voyager Connection – December 2007

I recently picked up the latest edition of the Harvard Business Review, which is heady stuff that you don't need to read. It included the latest thinking about decision-making in our "complex" times. Wow, I wondered if this could apply to how we read the cards. The article entitled, "A Leader's Framework for Decision-Making" by Snowden and Boone features four necessities that "wise executives tailor their approach to fit the complexity of the circumstances they face." These are probing, interactivity, seeing patterns, and using novel tools, which are exactly what I do in tarot consultations.

Before writing about all this, I picked a card that would speak to me about the art of divining the cards and it was the Woman of Wands, the Sensor. She is a shamaness who with laser-like perceptivity is able to see the multi-layers of human complexity and probe underlying psycho-spiritual patterns that are all telling. It's not a straight forward activity with few cards and simple answers, but more a process of deeper exploration. For sure, the Sensor offers the right kind of synchronistic insight.

Indeed, for in this complex time of ours, the art of divining is complex. We, ourselves, are complex. Unlike simpler days, reading the cards requires a new style. Rather than the old way of authoritative asserting, new tarot is about probing and testing, which is why I ask questions and questions in a session. By emphasizing the question rather than the answer, we explore what lies under the surface and between the words, these unobvious tell tales which drive and determine most of our lives. ...

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(Refer to the "Question and Answer" Reading in the Guidebook that comes with the Deck).

And it's about being interactive with a client. We all have pieces of the truth and as I say, "None of us are as smart as all of us." Bringing the readee into the Reading empowers that person. Today is about self-navigation, each of us responsible for our own future. Interactive Readings take a person into divining their own life. The shift is from outside experts that know what is best for us and from old traditions and conventions that tell us how we are supposed to be. It's about being your own oracle! Readers are only facilitators, not all-knowing psychics.

Rather than just getting a few facts and few cards from a readee, which worked in simpler times, navigating our changing world means looking for patterns. I read for a client recently in the Berkshire mountains in Massachusetts. She was obviously very together and successful, but wanted a Reading. Why, I asked. She responded that for no special reason but for just a kind of check in through the cards. Eventually the cards chosen showed a pattern, a pattern of Priestess-like cards, which while very strong, also suggested that her Priestess remoteness and detachment, stemming from her childhood and leading to a successful way of surviving in the world, has led to loneliness and unfulfillment.

Once we see an archetypal source of who we are, we can begin to change and divine our life. Her response to the Reading was to engage the world by joining in social activities, taking part-time jobs, and being open to relationships.

Instead of being an intuitive reader, new tarot is more like coaching and even sometimes like therapy. The next time you use the cards for yourself and others, it's asking questions, being patient with the cards as they unfold (my greatest adversary in doing professional consultations is time constraint), and not assuming that you know what's going on (another adversary is complacency, and "entrained thinking" – conventional beliefs and theories which have held true in the past. Be open to the patterns and fulfill their prophetic truth by encouraging their/your taking of action!

Another thing about consulting the cards is that in the latest Harvard Business Review magazine it speaks of using "novel" ways of making decisions in changing, uncertain, complex times. How about tarot? It is an "outside the box" endeavor, and it's wholistic, it's archetypal, it's a "map of manifestation" for any kind of business in any kind of situation.


Why is Art (Major Arcana XIV) the card of the month? Primarily because it is Sagittarius and most of December is Sag. In these holiday times, it's good to have the Sag qualities of being optimistic, jovial, and good humored! Enjoy the holidays! (And remember that Devil's Play kicks in for those Christmas and New Year's parties).

December is an especially wondrous and/or difficult time for relationships. The "alchemy" card, Art, is particularly insightful for relationships because it speaks of how friendships and partnerships can come apart, but that this is often the groundwork and opportunity for re-establishing a relationship at a higher level.

The Art alchemy card gives insight into the process of dissolution into solution, disintegration into integration. The next time you have a blow up with a friend, remember that in crisis there is an opportunity, that in setback there is a new possibility.

Relationships are not easy, for they are often composed of very different people. Fire and water, the two primary elements in the Art card, do not exactly get along, and so when together, can create boiling steam for love or anger.

The key to healing and energizing relationships gone awry is the mercury factor in the Art card. Mercury, being the god of communication and magic, reminds us that communication is the secret to partnerships. The mercurial aspect of the card tells us to use this special month of December to reach out to others and connect. The bow and arrow in the card tells us to send out our arrows as friendly communications and not barbs of criticism and revenge.

All the weaving in the Art card (the rainbow weaving of color, the spider weaving of the web, the basket weaving, and the weaving of fire, water, air and earth) tells us that relationships are an art of weaving together. Weaving a relationship is a creative act that takes focus, time and ingenuity. Relationships are a process that demand care and creativity.

Also, in this holiday time of stress and demands, remember the Art card as a map for re-creating yourself, for rejuvenating and regenerating. How to do this? Do the opposite of what you have been doing primarily. Weave a different aspect into your life. If it's constant people, get away, be the Hermit. If it's mental and emotional work, get physical! If it's about being responsible, responsible, then go have some fun!

Remember, the Art card of alchemy posits the truth of being diverse and inviting variety into life. Whether it's about a relationship, work, health, situation, be open and even encourage something different. Sameness leads to boredom, entropy, ossification and ultimately death. I say, "death by comfort."


From the entire Deck facedown, pick cards for the following themes and issues (and even create your own, of course).

What to communicate in a relationship....

How to heal a relationship...

What variety to bring into your relationship...

What diversity to bring into your own life...

How to be creative in your life...

How to rejuvenate your life, work, health, relationships...

Compose a Pattern...

Once you have selected a variety of cards, recombine them into a new pattern, a new window that gives you even more information than just single cards for single subjects. Seeing underlying patterns is most insightful (please refer to "patterning" in the article on "The Art of Reading the Cards.")



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James Wanless
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