“It’s all how you set it up with the guys upstairs”
— Wendy, my first Tarot Teacher
I took my first course in tarot reading thirty five years ago when I was 18. In the first couple of classes that we took the teacher, Wendy made us learn the strict book meanings of each card. She told us tho that while having that basic grounding was important, we should not get too caught up in the memorization because as we became more experienced, our own interpretations would supersede the book meanings. She pointed out that various books and sources would have different often contradictory spins on each card. “It’s all how you set it up with the guy’s upstairs” she would say. She of course did not mean this literally. Wendy was telling us in her rather airy new age way of speaking that if we had an understanding of the basic force behind each card, the interpretations that made sense to us would be the ones that would work best in our own readings. This advice has served me in good stead not only with tarot but with any form of symbolic work including astrology, runes and ritual work.
When I do a reading for someone, what comes through has a lot to do with the communication between my intuitive self and my conscious self. A given card can have several meanings based on a combination of the card’s base meaning(s), placement and type of spread and an X factor that often supersedes the rest. This X factor can be conscious or unconscious communication from the person receiving the reading or it can be an intuitive (I dislike the word psychic) flash of insight that in this particular case the card means this. I have learned to trust this feeling for it has seldom steered my wrong. Then again, I guess this would indicate that the communication with ‘the guys upstairs’ is two-way.
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