The “Big Three”

As I frequent the more popular Facebook tarot pages, I notice a number of patterns beginning to emerge in posts by those new to divination. Almost every day, someone (or several “someones”) asks one of the following questions, even though it may have been posed just the day (or the hour) before. There doesn’t seem to be a reliable way to search for previous threads in order to add to them (I’ve tried with dismal results), or maybe these individuals are simply too lazy to try.

By far the most common request is “Should I (or do I have to) read reversed cards?”

My tongue-in-cheek answer to that is “If you don’t, you’ll miss half the fun!” Seriously, though, I always advise doing so as soon as you get your head around the general meaning of the upright cards. While they don’t exactly double your inventory of available interpretations, they provide enough of a unique perspective to make exploring them worthwhile. (I think of them as giving each card its “Hanged-Man moment.”) Just don’t assume that they automatically mean the exact opposite of the usual definition; that is seldom the case. Think more along the lines of divergence in how the information is delivered and received than how it changes the upright meaning (which is usually not very much). The mutability lies within the querent’s outlook and reaction, not the  cards themselves.

Second in popularity is “Can I ask “yes-or-no” questions of the cards and get accurate answers?”

My opinion is “Yes, certainly, as long as you don’t expect to get them from a single-card pull.” The “complexion” of the entire spread can be assessed to see which way it leans, and a judgment formed on that basis. A personal method of weighing and reconciling the variables must be devised to make this work, and the answer may still only be “ballpark-reliable.” I’m more comfortable adding qualifiers to my predictions: “Yes, but . . . ;” “No, unless . . . ;” “Maybe, if . . . .” based on the narrative in the combination of cards.

The third puzzler is “Can I do timing of events with the tarot?”

As I see it, there is no 100% accurate way to do so, and what you get is typically no better than a “SWAG” (Scientific Wild-Ass Guess). The best approach is to generalize and make no promises. A lot depends on the context of the question: subjects that typically have a real-life turnaround time of “days-to-weeks” aren’t realistically going to take “years” even if shown by the cards. (I like to say it doesn’t pass the “giggle test.”) For example, “When will I hear about my job application?” could conceivably take from a week to a month, but if they hire someone else you may never hear back. The trick is to read the cards on a “sliding scale” that can cover a range of possibilities. Spread type can provide a clue. I usually consider a Celtic Cross to have a six-month span of reliability, after which diverging futures (both human and situational) can erode the confidence level. It may be best to limit a three-card or five-card line to a week-or-two duration.


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