Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Contemplating The Tarot


I am a tarot reader. I don't consider myself mind-shatteringly awesome at it, though people tell me I'm very accurate. I think my partner is because she has that weird oracle sense that jives with her tarot and combines to make awesome sense.

For me, tarot has been very intellectual. I go through regular phases where the cards won't "speak to me" at all for months and I'll just be trying to puzzle out the book definitions and phases where each card clicks into place and is accompanied by a vision and everything is awesome. You can guess which it is, more often. I'm lucky enough to be in the upswing of one of my 'this makes sense' phases at present, though.

I actually have been doing readings for people over on facebook. You'll notice I've been posting less overall, and that's sort of side effect fallout from that group moving rapidly in discussion. But I've always wanted to try my hand at 'oracleing' for other people, and I saw this as an opportunity to force me back into relations with my tarot, which reminded me of all the issues I have with my collective decks.

I'm very strange. I have 4 decks that I have worked with, and around 3-4 oracle decks. When I bought each of them I was super hyped on using them. But over time, I was disappointed in that my energy just never jived with them. Ironically the one deck I use constantly because it's strangely dead on every. single. time. is my boring as fuck Rider-Waite. I have this fancy animal deck, and a fancy Shaman themed deck, and a fancy Unicorn themed deck, and I swear to god not a single one works for me. Which is terrible because they're all beautiful--but not what I need.

There's a lesson about life in there, if you didn't catch that.

I have animal themed oracles--the Druid animal oracle, and the Animal Dreaming oracle--and despite everything in me that says 'someone with Shaman nature should have no problem with this', I have no idea how to interpret them in readings. It's like we speak different languages right past each other and it's useless. 

The oracle deck that ended up working for me? The one pictured above. A silly little circular, happy deck called The Celtic Messages Oracle. A cutesy, impossible-to-get-reversals oracle based around possibly the only Mythos and Pantheon on the earth I feel that I have 0 connections to that was gifted to me by a half insane roommate.

And you know what? For some reason, when I received that deck I feel like it just got me. Something about that deck understands my energy. And it gives strangely eloquent, accurate readings every time. How odd is that? That the cutesy non-threatening Celtic deck trumps all my fancy Shaman materials?

And both of the decks were gifted to me. Both are 'boring' or not expected, but both work the best, for some reason.

It's amusing. The Celtic Oracle has no 'bad' cards, so to speak. It's full of romanticized shit and 'affirmations' and all the other words I like to avoid because I'm this Big Bad Legitimate Astral Walker Shamanic Pagan. But it sends me the perfect message when I need to hear it. Whenever I'm in danger of taking myself too seriously, I whip out the deck, and it tells me like it is, even without any dark or deep imagery.

You just can't go on appearances. I wish I knew that before when I bought up all these pretty decks that are now just dying in disuse on my shelf. I sincerely wish the beautiful decks worked for me, but it seems they just don't. The tarot and my problems with it over the years has taught me that there is a clear distinction between what my eyes perceive and what my soul perceives.

All of the decks I find visually beautiful--I pick them up and feel nothing. Literally. They may as well be a stack of papers for how much energy I can feel. But give me my Rider-Waite and it's a feeling oh 'Oh, hello, old friend.' And all the decks I have that feeling with offend my artistic sensibilities, or are not to my taste in what I would prefer in art.

I wonder if this is a lesson about the dillution of meaning. Sometimes I throw around this theory that the farther we drag the tarot away from its traditional meaning and imagery, the more it becomes something other than it was. Symbols gather power over time, and using them again and again filters back into the collective unconcious. Symbols have power. But when you take my Shaman deck, which reinvents completely all 4 suits, and totally changes the imagery completely on each and every card, are you really dealing with the same deck? Or is it something different?

Is the tarot, once removed from its original ideas, still the tarot?

I wonder these things from a Jungian perspective. The tarot imagery is very specific and grew from a very specific place. There are reasons and deep meanings on each and every suit and major card. I'm not saying changing them entirely is a bad thing. But is it still tarot? Is is still the same divinatory system, or have you created something new entirely?

Being of the Chaos nature, I think if you create something different, if the energy is there and you can use it I see no reason it wouldn't work. But is it really something of the same name...?

Perhaps the beginning visual system of the Rider-Waite (which closely resembles playing card suits and such) resonates with me, but changing the cups suit into animals of water or changing earth into forest animals doesn't? When I use those decks, they actually feel "soft" to me. As though they are somehow not "sharp" enough to tell me what I need to hear, or they skirt around issues. And I've been through tarot databases looking at imagery and despite how much I like the deck, they still don't feel exactly right. Frustrating, man. Frustrating. 

In the meantime, I'll be getting to know my Celtic Messages Oracle and trying not to feel really gay for doing so, because it really works for me. I'm just not going to question it.

Do you have any weird habits the tarot/oracle cards/runes pulls with you?




    It's true though. Fancy =/= same. Even if it was charged and the time spent on them was meticulous and devoted...then again I find it might just need its time to bleed into your life.

    Shadowscapes was perhaps too fantastical for me at first, too flowy and pretty for my nature. I visually loved it, but if you look at me--i'm rough around the edges, crass, and sarcastic......that deck is nothing like that. Overtime though we seem to like each other better, and I find myself more soft and flowy while the deck has its own breed of sarcasm. We now have a language between us.

    You have a language with the celtic oracle probabyl because despite your realistic view on things...you're still overall an optimist of sorts.....and you look for progress---which a "fluffy" deck is essentially all about.


  2. My best friend's favorite deck is a baseball themed deck. She can't use it... unless it's baseball season.

  3. I know exactly what you're talking about. I love the tarot and have many decks. However, I still read with the Rider Waite deck. (I did manage to score an old rare version on ebay once so it's a little different than most.) But I have many decks that are beautiful and yet, I just don't read with them - BUT I have learned from just pondering their illustrations - sometimes getting a little different point of view about certain cards, etc. So I don't consider them a waste of time and money. (and I have enough to call them a "collection.")

    I also use an oracle deck (The Heart of Faery Oracle) which I resonate with. I only use it, however, at the end of the reading to confirm the information and it always does.