How to Revisit and Update Tarot Readings

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The other day a friend of mine asked me what my cards say about my love life. I shrugged off the question, because I don’t read that often for myself anymore. Tarot has so shaped my approach to life’s events that I consult the cards quite rarely nowadays. I suppose the cards have taught me how to trust my own gut instincts more, and to listen to my inner voice more clearly.

In any case, the question reminded me of a post I re-read the other day, Fulfilling Relationships and the Role of Tarot. It occurred to me that I could easily revisit the three-card reading I performed for myself in that post from two years ago as an example of how we can update our readings over time.

In that post, I asked three questions pertaining to a general look at how I approach relationships. In looking at the questions now, nearly three years later, the first question is still valid for me, but the second two aren’t necessary to look at again.

When you’re doing multiple readings on the same topics, ask yourself if anything in the circumstances has changed since the last reading. If the answer is no, there’s probably not much reason to look at another card on that question, at least not until something changes.

In the time that has passed since that reading, I’ve grown a lot in my understanding and approach to romantic relationships, so posing the question “What do I need to be more honest about and face truthfully, when it comes to my romantic relationships?” is useful. The idea is to show me what may have changed for me over the course of these years.

Instead of reading the other two questions again, I devised two new questions that have emerged in the meantime on this topic: What do I need to know about my current love life status? and What can I expect in my love life in the next 3-6 months?

These questions emerged directly from my friend’s inquiry about “what do the cards say about your love life?” I don’t know, and I haven’t given it much thought because it isn’t a pressing concern for me presently. But, even posing questions that don’t feel emergent at the moment can be useful for looking back at over time.

To the casual eye, it might seem obvious or banal to pose a question like “what do I need to know about my current love life status.” For example, I’m currently single—I don’t need the cards to tell me that. What we already know about our status or situation is a narrative we’re familiar with and one we can easily talk about. However, with a question like this our goal is to go beyond what we tell ourselves about our situation. Hence “what do I need to know”—what is it that I’m not seeing, what is it that I’m denying, and/or what is it that is most important for me to take note of right now as pertains to this particular area of my life. In short, where the cards say I’m at may not always agree with where I say I’m at.

Finally, in the “near term outlook” question, we’re not trying to predict the future, which is mutable and unpredictable by its very nature. What we want to do with “what can I expect” questions is give ourselves an idea of what might be coming down the pike, based on current reality and circumstances, so we can see if a pattern is forming for a particular trajectory. The outlook questions will usually make sense to the querent. We may not know our future but we are building it in each moment, whether we do it consciously or not. Since we are creating our future, we usually have some inkling of where we want to go, as well as where we don’t want to go. This is why the “what to expect” question can be a confirmation of being on the right path, or a warning that we may end up off track, as well as what to prepare for.

So, here are the three questions for today’s reading:

  1. What do I need to be more honest about and face truthfully, when it comes to my romantic relationships?
  2. What do I need to know about my current love life status?
  3. What can I expect in my love life in the next 3-6 months?

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From a symmetrical standpoint, this reading is all about the Queen of Pentacles, beautifully book-ended by the two men on the wands cards. The first message I would tell a client here is that pertaining to her love life, she needs to know that this is a time when her own self-care, self-nurturing, surrounding abundance and inner self-esteem take center stage and should be indulged and enjoyed. In that sense, being single at this time is and should be more of an active internal choice rather than felt as an “exile” from a love life, imposed from without.

The answer to question one varies quite dramatically from that of nearly three years ago. In that period, the response was the icy, defensive, self-protective and almost combative Two of Swords. Now, we have a much warmer and more impulsive, creative, adventurous and passionate feeling with the Three of Wands. Interestingly, it would appear that the time could be ripe to take action in terms of scouting for a love relationship, quite possibly something long-distance or across an ocean. In terms of “being honest and facing truthfully”, this card seems to indicate that I am ready to take an active step for a new love adventure, even if it means long-distance travel or communication. The key with the Three of Wands as opposed to the Two is the part about action. In the Two we see a bold planning phase. In the Three we see imminent action or departure, both in a literal or a metaphorical sense.

The third card dovetails rather nicely with the first, in that, if there’s a long-distance relationship in the offing, it could be that challenges are ahead. The 7 of Pentacles looks like a tough card of combat or fighting, and in a way, it is. But there’s no one else present in the card itself. Here, we’re battling imaginary foes or those who haven’t yet caught up to us. We’re on top, and “they” may be fighting to take our place, but we’re fighting to stay there. This card suggests the notion of competition, or being overwhelmed by concerns, demands, or other people, and the feeling that we must fight them off or push them down. If we get on board with the idea that the current love life status is that of abundantly enjoying my own company, this 7 of Wands could mean that it will become increasingly more difficult for me to sustain that position and over the next 3-6 months I’ll have to “fight” to indulge myself and my own needs for self-care. Alternatively, if the love-life adventure on the horizon comes to pass, this card could represent challenges in order to keep things afloat, or, quite literally, having to beat back competition in order to sustain the relationship or long-distance affair.

It’s also interesting to note how the three wands of the first card double and then acquire one more, almost as a defensive and offensive weapon, in the last card. It’s as if taking action then requires some sort of battle, but at the same time I’m given the tools to fight it and stay on top.

When you’re revising a past reading, comparing, and projecting, it’s important to allow time for the ideas to sink in, as well as to allow physical events to develop and unfold. You can then come back to the reading and evaluate how much it speaks to the way that actual events took place.

Once you build up your own mental repertoire of events in association with particular cards, it becomes much easier to read cards in context for others.

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