Today’s Tarot Reading: Everything’s going to hell in a handbasket

Wikipedia photo

I’ll confess, I didn’t do this reading myself. I went out to which is kind of a fun site and checked to see what my three-card free reading would be. I learned that the world’s leadership has collapsed and that I should stay alert.

Okay, I can stay alert.

I’ve had decks of tarot cards in my desk since I was in high school. I enjoy the symbolism a lot. The 78 cards cover almost all of life’s situations. When the cards appear to fail, the problem is usually the person reading the cards.

Readers must always recognize that the future isn’t engraved in stone. The cards indicate what will happen based on current conditions. You’ll find the same thing to be true if you use the I Ching, the book of changes, to ask questions about current conditions or the so-called future.

I’ve gotten rusty using either oracle because I discovered a long time ago that I can see the situation better through meditation than on relying on either the Tarot cards or on the I Ching’s hexagrams. In either case, the probable future related to your question always comes from you. The cards and hexagrams are crutches, so to speak. Perhaps “guides” is a better world.

When I was in high school, the country was gripped by one of those recurring new age fads in which folks were reading cards and the I Ching and trying to become one with the universe. As I’ve gotten older, oracles have become less important to me because I realize that I am creating the future events that I will soon experience in everyday life.

While I think oracles can provide a lot of guidance, it’s been helpful to me to leave them behind for the most part. I feel confident that I am on the right path. So I don’t need to keep checking my Tarot deck or my copy of the I Ching to see if I’m right. At some point, constant checking translates into uncertainty and doubt, and once we’re preoccupied with those feelings, we are going to hell in a handbasket.

I find that I’m usually aware of signs, the cries of birds and the appearance of clouds and winds and blowing leaves. I see this as no different than an inner-city dweller being streetwise to possible dangers around the corner or a farmer being aware of changes that might affect the sowing of seeds or the harvesting of crops. Some would say I’m superstitious. Possibly so.

When we become attuned to our environment, whether it’s a mountain town or a big-city suburb, we certainly know better where it’s safe to walk and where it’s not safe to walk. Yes, the Tarot cards can tell me that. But my thoughts are faster.

The whole shebang–whether you call it “the future” or “the big picture” comes down to trusting oneself. Conjure women used to say that if you have to keep checking on how your latest spell is proceeding, you’re signifying doubt

In Frank Hebert’s novel Dune, we were told that fear is the mind killer. That resonated with me when I read it back in 1965. It still does. I also think doubt is a mind killer because it counteracts the positive thoughts we have about a specific project or the future in general.

Symbols tend to resonate with us. Some say that’s like hitting one tuning fork with a mallet and having a nearby tuning fork make the same sound. Art impacts us. Stories impact us. So do “chance” meetings with others or odd changes in the weather or the pictures we find on a Tarot card deck. All that is like computer input. Consciously or subconsciously those symbols alert us to probabilities and help us find our way through the ever-shifting maze of life.


My novel “Lena” continues on sale for 99 cents through October 5th.





Storytelling and the Tarot

chrissyToday’s guest post is by C. LaVielle, author of the new fantasy novel Forging the Blade. As Chrissy mentions in the kind words of her introduction, we share common interests in both the hero’s journey as formulated by Joseph Campbell, and in the seeker’s journey to transformation through the Tarot trumps.

While both represent potential life paths, they also represent interesting structures for novels and short stories.

Storytelling and the Tarot

I first “met” Malcolm in August of 2010. I’d just finished (or thought I’d finished) FORGING THE BLADE and decided to do a blog about the process of getting it published. Because the book’s story arc follows the order of the tarot major arcana from The

We are all Fools.
We are all Fools.

Fool (Chapter 0) to The World (Chapter 21), I also decided to write posts about the tarot and The Hero’s Journey. Malcolm was one of the very first people to comment on my posts because Word Press saw that we were both writing about the Hero’s Journey and we were both interested in the tarot and referred us to each other. His on-line name at the time was The Knight of Swords—a most apt handle because he is both an author (knights and swords deal with communication) and a knight in shining armor to me. He was, and still is, always there with a word of encouragement when I need it most. And as a newbie writer I need all the encouragement I can get. I have decided to write about the tarot and stories—topics of great interest to both Malcolm and me.

Our stories are some of our most valuable possessions. We tell them not only to our friends and family, but also to ourselves because they define us and give our lives meaning and purpose.

The Tarot Deck

The Magician teaches us how to gain control of our own stories.
The Magician teaches us how to gain control of our own stories.

A typical tarot deck is exquisitely designed to generate an infinite number of stories. When a reader lays down a spread, each card she lays down is a piece of a story which she reads to her clients. It is a satisfying and healing experience to have a small part of our own story repeated to us from a new, non-judgmental perspective. It validates us and helps us understand things and see things we might have missed.

The major arcana cards, such as The Fool, The Empress, Death, etc., represent the archetypal events that occur in our life stories. These are the biggies. Events that are destined to happen. Turning points and major plot points. Events that the Multiverse is sending us because:

  • They are what we must accomplish at this particular point in our lives.
  • They are who we must be or who we must encounter at this particular point in our lives.
  • We have single-handedly fought our way into this situation and there is no other way out.

The minor arcana are, essentially, a modern deck of playing cards with the pip cards (aces through tens); and four instead of three court cards (pages, knights, queens, and kings).

The Four Suits

The Chariot: Where there's a will, there's a way.
The Chariot: Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

In both the tarot and a deck of playing cards, there are four suits, each one symbolizing one of the four magical elements.

  • Diamonds and pentacles: earth: money, business, health
  • Spades and swords: air: communication, logical thought
  • Hearts and cups: water: feelings, intuition, relationships
  • Clubs and wands: fire: motivation, inspiration, passion

When a tarot reader deals a spread for us she is looking at a sub-plot of our life story. The pip cards indicate what is happening on a mundane level and what part of our life is involved—money, love, health, passion, art, etc. The court cards indicate who the main characters are and, depending on their suit and placement, how they are dealing with the situation. The major arcana cards are wild cards dealt by the Multiverse, or, if you will, the Divine. These are the things that we, at this point, cannot control.

The Devil is master of the material realm. Don't let him ruin your story by convincing you that money and stuff are the things that are really important.
The Devil is master of the material realm. Don’t let him ruin your story by convincing you that money and stuff are the things that are really important.

Tarot as Story

A tarot reading is a story, complete with plot points, characters, and divine intervention.

  • Our lives are made up of hundreds of stories.
  • During busy or confusing times, we may be living two or more of these stories at once.
  • Plot-lines tend to repeat in our lives, but with different characters and settings, until we figure out how to make them have happy or at least appropriate endings.
  • These stories can happen in a moment or they may take years to tell.

The pictures are from “The Fool’s Journey Through the Tarot Major Arcana,” a ritual I wrote for last Summer Solstice.

More information about her novel:

forgingthebladeForging the Blade
An Adventure Through the Tarot Major Arcana Sixteen-year-old Molly Adair would love to spend all her time in WarCraft Universe. On-line she is Darkfire, a sexy wizard who fights dragons and saves kingdoms. In real life, she’s a chubby nerd with cut scars tracking up her arm, a knot in her stomach that won’t go away, and a nightmare of plunging through screaming blackness that slams her awake every night. Her life totally sucks and Molly is sure it can’t get any worse… Until her parents die in a plane crash and a terrifying shadow begins to haunt her.

A mysterious grandmother appears and whisks her away to Portland, Oregon, where a bizarre young man materializes in her bedroom, clicks a button on his smart phone, and sends her screaming into the land of Damia. The kingdom is at war, a rogue dragon is terrorizing the countryside, and the shadow continues to stalk close at her heels. A magical black cat and a gypsy’s promise are Molly’s only guides back to her grandmother’s house. On her journey Molly travels through each of the tarot major arcana cards, beginning with The Fool, Chapter 0, and ending with The World, Chapter 21.