The Tarot and a spot of Psychic Kettle Cleaning

Yes, you read that correctly. This blog is called True Tarot Tales for a reason. The Tarot is a tool for use in the real world and does not disdain to talk about anything at all: money, plumbing, toilets -and kettles. The Devil card might be the Tarot’s way of trying to tell me about someone’s diarrhea.

Love n Light. Give me a break. I don’t mean to be mean, but certain mantras can become debased by a kind of lazy reductionism. Life doesn’t come off the peg. Yes, there is love and light, we need to give it and receive it, the more of it the merrier, and a little goodwill goes a long way. But reading for others isn’t a party piece demanding applause, is not about the reader and their self-image as an aspiring Merlin, Witch Goddess, Earth Mother or Buddha- in- waiting.

Life can be a struggle at times, sad or lonely, even frightening, demanding not only patience and fortitude but concerted thought, effort and direct action. And how much money, time, energy and actual worry is invested in the basics of everyday living?

The Tarot would be very self-indulgent, snooty, and in fact, pretty pointless; bugger all use to anyone else (oh, I say, Jeeves, steady on) Not fit for serious purpose if its readers decided such conversations were not deserving of its very best attention, the same as anything else of a purportedly more spiritual nature.

If the Devil is in the details, so is God and and all the angels, which doesn’t mean the Tarot doesn’t have a sense of fun.

Junior Sprog was annoyed this morning (we were talking via Skype…she lives nearby with the ‘boyf.’) She had purchased a box of three sachets of limescale remover for her kettle, but when she opened the box, it contained only one sachet.

She duly deployed said measly single sachet, which I understood was a formula based on baking soda.

‘Why not just use baking soda?’ I suggested in that annoying way parents have, but she explained she had lent hers to Amy next door but one, who was making banana bread. Maybe new craft habits and other good things will come out of these very sad events and this lock-down, even though we’d all like to tell the hideous coronavirus (and I would like to tell certain relentlessly self -aggrandizing figures in the media this)….

Junior Sprog had done the job, and rinsed the kettle out, but wondered was it safe to use again now, and drink from when boiled?

Bicarbonate of soda, aka baking soda, isn’t going to hurt anyone, unless they ingest it in inappropriate quantities when it certainly could hurt them. I didn’t know what else was in this cleaning product.

Struck with a sudden horrific image of my baby afflicted with alkaloid poisoning, I whipped out a Tarot card:-

Card Number One: The premise of the situation in hand

The Three of Swords Reversed. Uh oh! Death, mourning, separation, severance, divorce, heartburn/heart attack.

The Three of Swords from The Gilded tarot, Ciro Marchetti

‘Are you OK?’ I asked. Tarot often picks up other stuff, regardless of the actual issue being presented for discussion. I like to rule out the worst case scenarios- and either clear the decks or flag up the other priorities being detected, and give the other person the opportunity to discuss that first if they so wish, and then come back to the other thing.

Junior Sprog rolled her eyes.

‘I’ll take that as a yes,’ I said, and had another think.

Of course. No worries. The Three of Swords Reversed was saying two things at once, confirming that ‘it,’ – the Tarot, my spokeswoman/spokestool of The Psychic Mind Delta aka Twilight Zone had heard me perfectly well, and understood the real question; ‘is my daughter at risk from poisoning if she uses the kettle as it is, or does it need another rinse?’

The Tarot was specifically commenting that:-

  1. Indigestion…baking soda is a remedy for heartburn, referring to the other well known use of sodium bicarbonate…a more benign aspect of that classical ‘heart ache/pain/attack’ possibility of interpretation.
  2. She had bought a product advertised as containing 3 sachets, but the box contained only one. 3 sachets not present = 3 Swords Reversed

Card Number Two was asking for advice….where are we at now?

The Eight of Swords. Stress. Abandonment. A flooded bathroom. No hang on, I said to myself. Let’s keep this narrative kettle-based. Just stick with the kettle!

The Eight of Swords has long since proved its worth to me as MY card for spotting problems, letting me know if my client is dealing with drains, plumbing or damp issues or making home improvements along these lines.

The Eight of Swords, The Gilded tarot, Ciro Marchetti

‘How many rinses have you given it?’ I asked Junior Sprog.

‘Seven or Eight,’ she said.

‘That’s OK then. That should do it.’

Final card. Is the kettle completely safe to use?

The Knight of Cups. Flow of water. Healing. Yes it is. This is the ultimate card of clean water…excepting only the Ace of Cups, which symbolizes the Healing Chalice/ Grail Cup. There is a touch of salt here, and the waters may be shark infested but the sharks are not hungry today. This water will not ‘bite.’

The Knight of Cups from the Legacy of the Divine Tarot by permission of Ciro Marchetti

Common sense may well suggest we hardly needed the Tarot for this exercise, and that’s fair enough in general terms, but it’s beside the point here. When I started learning the Tarot, there were so many sources dealing in generic, quasi mystical language, counselling that this card was exhorting us to ‘let go of what does not serve,’ or to ‘rediscover our true purpose,’ that when I first began to write this blog in 2010, it was with a determination to learn, apply and illustrate the Tarot as a useful, modern psychic tool capable of talking in terms of concrete realities, and dealing in specifics.

Whatever the question, whatever the concern, the reader must never lose sight of the ‘so what?’

Cup of tea? Biccie?

I wonder how Amy got on with her banana bread. The Six of Pentacles suggests it went down pretty well. Maybe just a touch on the heavy side…not quite enough baking soda.

But the sprog didn’t rate her single sachet of kettle cleaner. I have told her baking soda plus adding vinegar does a pretty impressive cleaning trick…kaboom… but four hours later she’s confirmed she’s OK, and that was the priority today.

Until next time 🙂

Tarot divination: How does it work?

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Image: Public Domain; The Tarot de Marseilles

Have you ever had a Tarot reading with someone else, or pulled cards for yourself, and been surprised, mystified or even spooked because the cards were so timely, relevant and meaningful it was downright uncanny?  How does that happen? After all, there are 78 cards in a Tarot deck. For those few cards you chose entirely at random, the other cards stayed in the deck.

The Basics

Tarot is only one of many systems of divination. Others are far older in origin, including astrology, palmistry, the I-Ching, runes and reading bones/entrails etc as in Rome, where Spurinna, the haruspex predicted the assassination of Julius Caesar. The popularity of card games took off after Mamluk game cards were brought to Western Europe from Turkey, and the earliest known set of tarot cards was created in the 14th century. The Tarot, also known as the Tarocchi or Tarock, began as a game of chance in the courts of northern Italy but did not become seriously associated with fortune telling or other psychic divination until much later, by the mid 18th century.

Physically speaking, a Tarot deck is little more than 78 pieces of illustrated, numbered card-stock.

The meanings in the cards need a reader to interpret them and make them come alive. No faith required, no religion, no need to commune with spirits. I have read for Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Chinese and Jewish clients, as well as for atheists, agnostics and downright skeptics. The imagery in the Tarot crosses cultural boundaries.

But in communing with some ancient part of ourselves, perhaps we are also communing with the divine, however one wishes to define it.

I see it as a transcendence or suspension of the everyday self. When I am doing a reading for another person, I need to free myself, try and take myself out of the equation, me and my worry about getting it ‘right’ or ‘wrong’; me and my ego.

In a  Tarot reading the reader and enquirer sit down together, and in essence, use these symbols as a meeting ground upon which to converse via empathy, which can sometimes be so acute that it amounts to telepathy, with the cards helping the reader to decode the telepathic signals coming from the other person. Social instinct comes into it too. Of course it does when the reading is face to face. Who wants a nitwit reading for them?

Many readers, me included, also do distance readings, working without that direct interface to help them, and yet the Tarot still delivers.

But then, the point and the fascination of doing a psychic reading is to explore and test what we think of as the normal boundaries of time and space.

I sometimes joke as I shuffle the cards, ‘OK, now my ancient inner animal is going to have a little talk with your ancient inner animal.’

We are going to converse on at (at least) two levels, consciously, and via telepathy, enabled by the imagery of the cards.

psychic pig

Marcus the psychic pig, accurately predicted the result of the EU Referendum, and The US Elections

Suspension of self and ego notwithstanding, delivery of a professional level of service means I need to do at least as well or better than the pig.

The reader draws cards blindly and at random, and lays them out in a pattern or spread, using the placement of the cards, the imagery and associated meanings of that card. Why choose this card and not that one? Well, there is the mystery. The central nervous system has a mind of its own, and dictates my movement, in determining the instant at which I stop shuffling. I can think of no better explanation. The choice to stop shuffling is not remotely deliberate.

The reader then interprets the cards, sharing what they sense about a given person, situation or question, past, present and possible future.

This stuff is not omniscience. I don’t KNOW anything. I just say what I see and feel. The thing that amazes, and can even startle the person being read for, and the readers too at times, is the total, immediate and undeniable relevance of cards drawn blindly and at random, and then organised into a pattern or spread for interpretation.

The cards were drawn at random,  but the results do not seem random at all.

They fit.

OK, but shaddap! How exactly does this stuff WORK?

There is no one single, neat and tidy answer.

The reader  has ‘uploaded’ a ‘programme’ by learning the meanings and associations of the cards. With much repetition and practice, just as with learning to play an instrument or indeed any kind of rote learning, this programming becomes almost second nature, and the cards may act now, not only as technical support but as a springboard for insights prompted by lateral or associative thinking, backed up by instinct.

This provides them with their starting point, and then their own ideas, empathy or intuition supplies further comment. The cards provide a spring board for the reader’s intuition, but the associations of the cards supply the details enabling greater precision of interpretation. Associative thinking, or lateral thinking helps me a lot in arriving at ‘psychic’ insights or ‘hits.’

I look at the card and there is a kind of a ‘ping’ moment.

For instance: I drew the Six of Wands, and this card generally means progress, promotion, a trip but on this occasion, something about the artwork made me say something I had never said on previous occasions, drawing the self same card, and I asked the client, ‘are you thinking of going to Siena?’

And she was, or rather, a place just outside Siena, but how did I arrive at that guess? Firstly, I had already established that we were looking at a travel destination. Secondly, something about it suddenly made me think of the Palio.

6 wands legacy divine tarot
palio

The Six Wands from The Legacy of The Divine Tarot, Ciro Marchetti

At other times the six of Wands has told me about motorbikes. Once it ‘showed’ me an upcoming sporting event, a big one and I asked the client, was this correct, and learned he was going to the Paralympics as a reserve member of the wheelchair rugby team. Most recently I drew this card, and said to the lady that it looked as though she may be meeting a man who was into speeding vehicles, but his job involved teamwork. She recognized this description and said he was a firefighter. In this instance then, the six of Wands denoted a fire engine.

Same card, three entirely concrete, different yet related interpretations, talking about the real, modern world.

Synchronicity

The psychologist Carl Jung never learned to read the Tarot himself but was fascinated by its ability to reflect what was going on. Jung theorized that Tarot works by means of a phenomenon he called “synchronicity”, or meaningful coincidence.

Jung was also fascinated by what Tarot could tell us about real people we know as pictured through story archetypes, e.g.; The King, The High Priestess, the Hermit, and for its insights into the conscious mind working real time in tandem with the unconscious mind.

quote-synchronicity-a-meaningful-coincidence-of-two-or-more-events-where-something-other-than-carl-jung-52-5-0551

The enquirer feels that they have been seen and heard by some invisible presence. This is where the ‘spookiness’, and the apparent or indeed real miracle of synchronicity manifests.

The reader  has ‘uploaded’ a ‘programme’ by learning the meanings and associations of the cards. With much repetition and practice, just as with learning to play an instrument or indeed any kind of rote learning, this programming becomes almost second nature, and the cards may act now, not only as technical support but as a springboard for insights prompted by lateral or associative thinking, backed up by instinct.

The clues in the cards

Each card has many keywords attached. These are the basic building bricks of the reading.

The Chariot card, for instance, has these meanings attached; a vehicle, a driving test, a garage, a road trip, travel, ambition, project, a partnership, teamwork, discipline, and also the zodiac sign of Cancer and the dates associated with this sign (June 21-July 22)

So, let’s imagine I draw this card. Which meaning do I choose here and now?

John William Waterhouse - Sketch of Circe, 1911-1914
Circe by Waterhouse

John William Waterhouse – Sketch of Circe, 1911-1914 (public domain)

How does the reader

1:  choose cards which so appropriately describe things you have not yet told the reader?

2:  choose which of the many possible card interpretations to go with?

The context of the card is a clue. What are the surrounding cards? The reader studies these with care. Beyond this, the short answer is, the reader doesn’t know. They make a judgement call and go with their first impressions, trusting the unconscious process, then making it conscious again, putting it back into words.

This is presumably working on empathy.

Intuition is one’s inner tuition – one’s instinctive understanding. It’s necessary for survival, and we all possess it to some degree.

Using a learned system such as Tarot helps us give it words.

Sometimes these words are so specific, many call it ‘psychic’ and psychic ability and intuition are often seen as “supernatural.”

But anyone can learn to read Tarot cards, while the degree of proficiency attained depends on a certain natural talent, but also depends to a very great extent on study and practise. Lots of people start learning, but give it up again without ever finding out all they might be able to do with it.

In Summary

Tarot is an art not a science. It is a form of language; a system but it does not function like a machine. You clearly see there’s a process at work, but you can’t dismantle the mechanisms. It is based on the physical actions of shuffling, drawing and arranging the cards, and then upon card knowledge, feeling and sensing and finally, word choice.

Becoming proficient at reading the Tarot, such that one can read to a service level feels like a big responsibility. Well, it is, and it demands a heck of a lot of practice, and the more you work with the Tarot or whatever system of divination you might want to work with, the more confidently you will be able to tap into your intuition, but you do not need to think of yourself as psychic in order to learn to read the Tarot, or to become fluent and proficient.

There is a native understanding beyond your conscious awareness and control. Whether you think that proceeds from your subconscious, the collective unconscious, God, your guides, or your higher self doesn’t matter.

The Tarot works according to the reader’s way of using it, commensurate with their skill, experience, and innate intuitive talents. No faith or belief system is required.

The results are the proof. Sometimes these can be put to the test, observed and validated immediately as when a reader says something that they could not have known, but the subject if the reader knows to be correct. Other times, not. But when a reader comments in respect of an event that may or may not happen many months ahead, it might be turn out to be pie in the sky or it might be bang on the nail but only time will tell.

We can, and do know more than we know, any of us, all of us, without necessarily knowing HOW we know it. Perhaps there are biological algorithms at work here, and why should this be surprising?

We don’t even know how old we are as a species. Until 2015 we were told, based on the available evidence, that humanity had been practising organised agriculture for 12000 years, but subsequent discoveries by the sea of Galilee suggest humanity has been experimenting with crop eugenics for at least 23000 years.

We’re more ancient it seems, with every new discovery.