And the Tarot, dealing with the formative past, the issues of the moment, and prognostication of future outcomes, or at least goals ever put forth, is both motivated and time-bound.
Indeed, that old fortune telling scam appeals to the mark's keen love ofmelodrama! The yearning to discern passionately involving adventure and symbolic allegory in even the most ill advised and pedestrian of personal foibles. For the Tarot system deals in the universals of human nature and experience, with easy interpretive application to the individual particulars.
A popular and capable fortune teller, however, is not one who is accurate in prediction, but rather one who is incisive in telling the mark exactly all they yearn to hear. For even though ministration to the soul of one sort or another has long predated inclusion into medicine as psychotherapy, alas the fortune teller specifically, is but a living tool of denial and self-harm, validating irresponsible fatalistic passivity.
Indeed, all too often, a fortune teller yielding to an attack of conscience and seeking to actually help a client, truthfully, will frequently loose customers very quickly and learns better by conditioning from the experience.
And so, beware, as it will be good advice if any one may heed it, to eschew the vicissitudes of melodrama and not to attempt prediction or divination of the actions or feelings of others as however off stage from ones own role, completely out of ones own control, and hence entirely disconnected from ones own responsible interactions. Instead, to remain flexible and seek better insight, ask the cards all what you may already know full well deep down or at least begin to suspect, all of the dramatic and karmic questions as to what you may expect in your dealings and relationships with particular individuals, and what may be called upon of you in turn.
Nevertheless, surely there can be no malice or falsehood in laying the Tarot, say, for storyplotting or Improvisational scenework with entirely fictional characters, or, indeed, in their creation, purely as a fiction writing aid, without any exploitative misrepresentation or salutary claims whatsoever.
Divination rituals or mimesis such as the Tarot symbolically reflect the unpremeditation of Fairytale magical realism wherein ideations of even unbidden thought and motivation all by themselves influencing events and circumstances, and the collective unconscious including logical fallacies of argument by analogy, are all anti-rationally projected in fairytale magical thinking uncritically and at face value, hence without distinction from the truest external reality. Indeed, the esoteric law of correspondence as exposited, along with that of contiguity, in the often plagiarized 'The Golden Bough' A Study in Magic and Religion by the noted Anthropologist Sir James George Frazer in 1922, and as applied spatially in the laying of the cards — as above so below — correlates also temporally, in sheer predictability, allegedly by way of sympathetic magic and the esoteric law of similarity, as in the future unto the past. Because certain symbolic arrangements in the laying of the Tarot are meant to signify the dimension of time frame. In the material embodiment of the Tarot, the mythic coexistence of past, present and future, are spatially represented and distributed in the spread of the cards.
Because the future as well as the past, is thought to belong to theeternal now, beyond transience and duration, wherein space-time abides as a seamless whole. the mystical expansive sense of the timeless, of Eternity, at the root of all religion, a feature of mystical expatriates achieved in meditation and prayer by the inwardly focused suppression of spatiotemporal coordination in the superior parietal lobe, is even hypothesized to manifest from an innate neurological denial and coping mechanism evolved in defense from the dreadful eventuality of death and consciousness irreversibly extinguished. Indeed, it was the ambient preconscious timelessness of the mythic Astral Plane that gave rise in the fertile mind of HG Wells, instead, to the revolutionary Ontology of time frame as an actual fourth physical dimension, for Einstein later to build upon the paradoxical Lorenz Equations, and even, though not to digress, the tantalizing prospect of time travel.
For the evocative imminence of the readings conjure upthe Phenomenal time-bound present state of the highly evolved human social intelligence, which nevertheless recollects the past and anticipates possible future events, in hope or in dread, even constructing possible or likely scenarios, indeed, as mysteriously suggested by to the position of the cards. Hence, in the semiotics of the Tarot, said sequencing, signifying the future aspect of time frame, correspond to the specific synthesis of time, or the mythical memory of the future that is the celebrated poetical gift of the Muse, inspiration.
Indeed, the cards may also be said to distinguish the range of willful choice from the restrictions of fate that define situation.
Whereas, in the Story Teller's Spread, the branching right hand path of three cards in succession at positions 2, 3 and 4, represent the expected plot scenario or dramatic situation, either of chronological events, past background ("act zero"), dramatic obstacles or challenge to overcome, then the future or climax, or else some other progression of states of being, all branching from and disrupted by the inciting or precipitating incident or event in the opening scene for the querant or protagonist as represented by a single first card at position 1. While the left hand branching path of another three cards at positions 5, 6 and 7, represent change, complications, the new progression or plot scenario, either of events, dramatic obstacles to overcome, or of states of being, unfolding. Lastly, a final center card at position 8 represents some third option, resolution, themes, moral or world view.
Then pair or group any adjacent cards, seeking balance or imbalance of tendencies or relating the themes of one image to another, to creatively imagine story conditions more broadly.
For example, perhaps the figure depicted in the 4 of Pentacles sitting fast in the Tower basement even as lightening shatters the battlements above, deadly debris falling all about him, yet he guards his treasure, even to the last.
Or seek for themes in common, and yea shall find, for they are always there to be found!
And the associative system of reciprocal influence among categorized Elemental Dignities may also be utilized for gleaning further inspiration in relating paired or grouped cards, narratively.
For interpretation of the classic Celtic Cross Layout, from left to right, analyze the cards laid across the x axis at random, to derive a plotline, much as in shuffling the deck and laying out the Three Card Spread, beginning from a premise and "Act Zero" background information in the past, the rising action upon central issues in the present and confronting some dramatic obstacle represented by the overlaying card, all in turn giving rise to conflict within and without on every level, imminent in the present (represented by the center card), ending in whatever desirable motivating goals ever put forth, or future (purportedly) foretold (and as represented by the right most card).
Original Tarot Spreads
Beyond Illusions - Let the Moon Light Your Path
New Year's/Solstice Hourglass Spread
Wheel of Fortune - Dealing with Change
Lunar Cycles Tarot Reading
Empowering Spreads for Yes/No Decisions
Looking for Love
Tree of Life I: Transformational
Tree of Life II: Relationship Analysis
Past Life Spreads I: Focusing
Past Life Spreads II: In-Depth Readings
Above and beneath position one, which is the location of the center card, come the base and the crown, respectively. The base or root is thought to represent deeper, truer causes or reasons for whatever problem situation at hand, and is purported to derive from the past in issuance of the the querant's core motivation to his or her central question, whereas the crown purportedly reveals whatever the best possible outcome, alternative or achievement.
Indeed, the tarot figures of the base and crown along the y axis, no less than the chronological elements along the x axis, conjure up any range of archetypes personifying different motivations as friendly guides or malevolent misleading tricksters and in turn suggesting people coming into ones life or handy fictional supporting characters, friends and allies advancing the plot or malevolent or dysfunctional deceivers restraining the plot.
And all such archetypical characters making their entrances into ones life just as revealed in the cards. For, after all, no less than real people, characters are defined not only introspectively or in motivated action and free choice, but by their particular relationships and by their unique role or karma, the operant nature of their associations and influence within setting and milieu.
“People's level of motivation, affective states, and actions are based more on what they believe than on what is objectively the case.” -Albert Bandur
Rich and complex fiction often turns uponcomplications, often classic reversals as in the estrangement of the bullied idealistic whistle blower. And likewise, in the Yin/Yang of the Tarot, if one pays attention, traditionally the reversed or upside down card caries special mythic significance, perhaps diminished or simply opposite to that card's standard significance, or all too easy to DIS-MIS, with 12 ways that cards reversed may be reinterpreted, plus a clever 13th, in the ways the direction the characters are gazing or pointing etc., will be different with the card inverted, signifying, thereby, a different other card position affected, related to or modified than when upright.
Hence, indeed, the automated pnTarot™ even takes into account which way the figure in the card you choose as the Significator is facing, and adjusts the spread accordingly. And there are complex and novel special card combinations, no less than in any of the currently popular fad card combat games, all with bearing upon the more standard interpretations. Or there are variants more ominous and darker negation.
And then there isthe Dreampower Tarot and original spread. The positions of the cards are explicitly and specifically significant as to the role of the themes, motivation or character and the nature of their relationships and persuasive influence, represented or read into the card randomly occupied thereby, however the cards themselves may prove enigmatic enough to challenge the writer's imagination.
But beware always to employ your context sensitive right-click menu to highlight, select and then click the "Open in New Window" selection in order to read more about each card, or else when the browser back button is deployed to return to the cards as they have been laid out, the page reloads an entirely new spread!
Copyright 2001 - 2011 by Aaron Agassi