“Mixed-Media” Reading

“Mixed-media” technique is a concept usually limited to the visual arts; a good example would be combining paste-up photo-collage and manual deposition of some kind (brush, pen, pencil, crayon, stick, etc.) to create an integrated and aesthetically pleasing image. (Before anyone asks, presentation technology often relies on “multi-media” delivery, a different animal.) I’ll get to the point of this post soon, but I’ve done some graphic art of my own in this vein, using public-domain clip-art, chalk pastels and artist’s markers to create qabalistically-derived personal heraldry:

Gematric Heraldry.JPG

In the world of divination, I consider “mixed-media” to describe any predictive method that employs two or more different branches of the art in the same reading. Although it isn’t a one-for-one correlation, tarot and astrology have been linked since at least the time of French occultist Etteilla (mid-18th Century). Esoteric number theory has been similarly employed to add depth to the meaning of the cards, as has color theory although it sees much less widespread use. But in all of these approaches, tarot is the primary source of interpretation and the alternative techniques are distinctly secondary.

Over the last year I’ve been working with several such dual-mode reading styles, but in my case the non-tarot skill begins the reading and the tarot cards take their cue from that introduction. As shown in some of the spreads I’ve posted here, I have used dice, I Ching coins and cards, board-game spinners, oracle and playing cards,  and various kinds of “sortilege” or “lots” (small cast items) as “pointers” to show which path among several should be pursued via the tarot reading. I often couple these opening moves with face-down cards in a spread, one of which must be “triggered” to advance the narrative. Some choices are based on an “odd-or-even” paradigm while others use a direct index to show the way, and there are a few that bring special tables to bear on the selection process. In the future I hope to experiment with geomancy and lithomancy in combination with tarot, as well as working more regularly with oracle-and-tarot pairings.

There is an opinion, common among traditional purists, that tarot is wholly self-standing and should not be “polluted” with other types of divination. While I may agree with them when it comes to Lenormand reading, tarot has already been thoroughly bastardized by other disciplines like psychology and astrology, so I have no qualms about making things up as I go as long as there is a coherent and defensible rationale behind them.

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