Ask: What sense does it make? instead of: What does it mean?

When it comes to a Tarot card, questioners as well as readers generally will want to know: What does it mean?

I’d like to suggest that it isn’t particularly helpful to know what a card “means”. On the other hand, it is very helpful to ask: What sense does the card make for this question?

In the Rider deck Fool card, for instance, we see the white sun in the background. Various commentators will make the point that this is the spiritual Sun, and that it is always at an angle of 45 degrees instead of 90 because otherwise it would be capable of beginning to set, and since it’s the spiritual Sun and always perfect, this decline cannot be possible.

That is part of what the Fool card “means”, but if someone wants to know how to get on better with a child, or if there is promotion in their future, this meaning isn’t that useful.

If, however, we turn a card and ask: What sense does it make?, we can go places.

Consider the Rider deck 10 of Cups. It shows a couple out of doors, acknowledging a rainbow that promises a brighter future, while their children dance happily.

If the question is about a relationship, and we ask what sense the card makes, then we can say that there will be improvement after what may have been a difficult time (rainbows come after the rain, after all); that people will get along with each other; that there will be time for responsibility (the parents) as well as fun (the children); that people will understand how to treat each other correctly; etc.

On the other hand, the question may be about how some private or individual project will develop. There are no other people involved, so what do we make of the scene?

What sense does it make? The card shows relationships between various people – and this can be the sense of it. Things will go well when the different aspects of the project are in their correct or suitable relationship with each other; you have to get the different parts or factors in a proper order so they can function together, without having to give up or compromise their own nature.

When reversed, it may show that what is currently thought to be important or dominant (like the parent) is going to prove to be less so; and the new idea or recent addition (the child) is going to develop greater influence as time goes by. There is thus a change in the relationship of the different factors.

So. What does a card mean? Forget it.

What sense does the card make? Remember that.

Still offering a free reading to those who buy the Tarot Home Study Course.

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One Response to Ask: What sense does it make? instead of: What does it mean?

  1. tabithadial says:

    Very cool, John. And very important. I’ve tripped over myself lately trying to interpret cards because of this very issue!

    Hope you’ll bring something new to your blog soon. I just updated mine and hope you may be able to drop by: http://twoofwords.wordpress.com/2010/09/03/have-some-faith-in-the-sound/

    Thanks for the read.

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