Transformational Tarot Using Creative Imagination
Tarot invites us to be open to the world of myth, storytelling and imagination and offers itself to lead us from the world of common human sensations to symbolic and spiritual levels of awareness. When we dare rewrite our life’s story, when we allow our creative imagination to take us by the hand and unleash new energies of transformation, we are indeed in charge of our lives.
One exercise that I have found very powerful at the end of a reading is to ask the client to take the spread we have just finished discussing and move the cards around to create a story that would help formulate the decision that they will be taking, or the attitude they feel more adequate in the future. They can pick and choose which cards to work with from either the pack or the spread in front of them, which elements or characters from those cards to utilize in the new story, or perhaps to find new combinations by moving the cards around at will while allowing fantasy and creative imagination to flow freely through the cards and the unfolding story. The resulting tale can be very moving and empowering because it often opens new visions and fresh perspectives. Transforming a spread fully conscious and with the right intention brings self-empowerment and a sense of relief. Happy endings cannot be promised, but at least the ability to choose how we interpret the challenges and their endings, how we allow the energies of change to come into our life, can be certainly a blessing. Usually this is what is needed to remain open to the innumerable possibilities that are made accessible to us as we take one step in front of the other toward self-actualization and self-discovery. We need to own our story and see ourselves actively involved in solving the challenges with an open mind and truthful heart.
In a January, 2010, reading, a client received three reversed cards. This is somewhat unusual, considering that it was a three-card spread and that the deck had been shuffled and reshuffled (I always say that we don't pick the cards; the cards pick us...). The cards, indeed, reflected the rather difficult period that the querent was experiencing; not so much financially any more since he had managed to survive the 2008-09 financial crisis a bit poorer but wiser.
Nevertheless, his early retirement was not working as planned because he had to curtail much of his leisure travel and expectations as he saw his retirement funds get a 30% hit. But he felt oppressed because of set expectations from those around him (his immediate family) that conflicted with his need to seek a life of contemplation and solitude.
With my client's permission I am hereby summarizing the visual impressions more than the reading itself. We did not start with a specific question, which is sometimes quite effective if I see that the client does not want to be candid or might be hesitant to discuss the real issue at hand. Often it is best to just open Sacred Space and ask humbly for guidance and clarity regarding what is most pressing in their life at the moment.
The first card drawn was the Knight of Cups Rx, placed at the center and signifying the key issue at hand. The second card was Key 13, Death Rx, which was placed to the left signifying energies moving away from his life; and to the right the Ace of Pentacles Rx, meant to signify what was ahead of him or in the future, in relation to the question or issue. By focusing on the first card drawn, the Knight of Cups, I felt that the main issuue dealt with an archetype that the querent was trying to fulfill in his life perhaps at the expense of his own feelings, emotions or attitudes. When it comes to cards in reverse there can be an incredible array of interpretations. Some people consider them the "shadow" aspect of the upright card and, therefore, tend to read them quite negatively. Reversed cards could suggest a distortion or intensification or misuse of qualities usually attributed to the card in its "normal" position. However, one needs to look at the spread, at the question, at the energies that are being released in the actual moment of the reading. There is no doubt that there is a reflective quality, a shadow quality in a Reversed card because Spirit is telling us, "Listen up!" Or, "time to look at things from another perspective." But we need to allow the subconscious to help us understand the various possible meanings also, without jumping to specifics too fast. In a spread you must look at how the cards talk to each other, what symbol in one card transfers to another when in reverse, and many other factors.
If you look at the energies of the three cards in reverse, they seem to be flowing to the left. Take a look, for example, at the horses in both the Death and the Knight of Cups cards. They seem eerily similar. Because our querent loves to see himself play the role of Sir Galahad or any kind of knight in shining armor, he could not help but laugh when he actually saw himself reflected in the Knight of Cups, Rx. Much too often he would find himself saying "Yes" to people at the expense of his own priorities or his likes, dislikes. He loves to play the Hero archetype, the Rescuer, the "Firefighter" who comes to the rescue, the romantic who always remembers to bring flowers to any occasion. The first one to volunteer in the community, in church, among friends or enemies.
We talked about the archetype of Death and Rebirth, about how he was not enjoying his retirement because of the many obligations still on his plate, about letting people down, about his need to move on with his life, on to another level, regardless of how others would interpret his isolation. The Ace of Pentacles was seen by him as a "good omen." It meant to him to hold on to the essence, to put both feet on the ground and seek the "quintessence" of his true being. He even visualized the Ace of Pentacles as a "bowling ball" that could help him "knock down" some of the negative attributes he had been clinging to for too long. At the end, he decided to turn Death right side up and leave the other two cards as dealt as he discussed the ways he intended to apply the reading to his immediate goals. Before leaving, however, he actually turned around the Ace of Pentacles also as a way to allow the energies of this powerful card to carry him through the next necessary stages in order to put his life back on track.
Notice the radical change in the energies of the cards by just changing the dignity of one card and repositioning the spread to overlap with creative visualization.