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Elder Jabberwock
Join Date: 10 Jun 2011
Location: Where the wild things are
Posts: 9,055

There's an old saying in astrology (attributed to Claudius Ptolemy, but I couldn't find it verbatim in my copy of Tetrabiblos):

"The stars incline, but they do not compel."

My firm belief is that tarot taps into that same paradigm. At best, it shows us an inclination in the fabric of our personal reality, more like a surface wave from which we can discern the direction of the wind rather than the movement of a deep undersea current. The more subtle and variable the wind that moves it, the more challenging it is for the reader to deduce where the wave is headed. Readers like to come across as confident and convincing, so the least ripple can sometimes drive the most unlikely pronouncement. This is where I find the esoteric approach (as in qabalah + elemental dynamics + astrology + number and color theory + mythology etc.) to be of the utmost value: it offers numerous layers of subtlety that - if wielded with discernment and not the usual starry-eyed eclecticism - can really open up those "undersea vistas." But while the vision can be inspiring, its intelligible translation can be beyond the reach of those readers with an average command of language. So they fall back on what they know, which may yield an imprecise or incomplete judgment. This isn't an elitist attitude, just an observation from long experience.

To me, the most useful predictions are those that come not with an explanation point (Yes! No!) but with a qualifying clause that conveys a hint of the options available to the querent (Yes, if . . . No, but . . . Maybe, assuming . . . ). This sends a clear message that he or she has ultimate responsibility for following through, either to reel in that happy ending or to stave off that less fortunate one. A flat "Yes" or "No" lets the querent off too easy. I want my sitters to reconize that the reading is theirs, not mine. I interpret the cards in the spread as a mirror of the querent's subconscious knowledge of the most likely outcome, however dim or flawed, at that moment in time, and I'm their impartial agent. Readers take your money for their time and effort, not for the absolute perfection of their vision. That's for you to strive toward with the knowledge handed to you by the cards. Hopefully you (the plural you, that is, like what they mean in Philadelphia by youse, or in the American South by y'all) can run down that epiphany before it hits you over the head.
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