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Elemental Dignities... Neutral Cards?? Ill Dignified Cards??

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Elemental Dignities... Neutral Cards?? Ill Dignified Cards??


Hi
I'm new to Elemental Dignities, and I was wondering about "Neutral " cards. When a card is neutral in a reading, does it mean it doesn't affect the reading at all, or that the reading is little oinfluenced but such card? Also, I was wondering how do you read a card when it is "ill" dignified, Is that when there is an antagonism of elements? and how do you read them negatively, as like it was reversed, or the exact opposite?? Thank you
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Not and expert here, but how I deal with that. Neutral cards do not influence their neighbours nor are influenced by them. they just are what they are.

Ill dignified I read in a reversed way: whatever seems appropriate, blockages, delays, latent etc.
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Thank you so much Marion, that really helped me to understand better the subject!
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Hi Frannie,

In the GD system, neutral interactions are considered friendly. That means that every element has 2 friendly and 1 unfriendly interaction, which seems unbalanced to me. So I leave neutral interactions as neutral (meaning that each element has 1 friendly, 1 unfriendly and 1 neutral interaction, which seems much more balanced to me). Originally I took neutral to mean that the two cards that were neutral to one another coexisted without affecting each other. But someone here at AT said something that made a lot of sense to me and now I look at neutral interactions differently - neutral interactions may be interpreted as positive, negative or neutral depending on the situation and surrounding cards.

The best analogy I can think of is World Wars. A given country starts out neutral to what's going on between other countries. Depending on what occurs, that country may continue to be neutral, may become adversarial or may become an ally to one of the warring factions.

As for ill-dignified cards, if I have the triad ABC and AB are ID, then I read it as B is negatively affected by A. For example, I might interpret 6 Cups (as A)/Strength (as B) as a lack of fortitude (or inability to call upon one's inner strength) because of issues stemming from the past (possibly from one's childhood). If the positions were reversed, I might interpret the pair as being forced to deal with issues from the past (if I saw the 6C as fond memories of the past) or being forced to deal with issues in the present (if I saw the 6C as living in the past).

HTH,
Rodney
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Thank you so much rwcarter, that was so helpful!
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These issues come up because few people bother to study "Book T" and how Mathers actually used Elemental Dignities. It is the most misunderstood topic in Tarot.

The system was a way for determining how 'strong' (i.e., powerful and important) each card or set of cards was in a reading - and therefore which cards to pay most attention to. It was also a way to eliminate irrelevant cards. It was designed to go with specific spreads in which the cards are read in pairs and triads.

You need to actually lay out the cards he used as examples and follow closely what he did if you want to understand the GD system. For one thing, Mathers used the terms "neutral" and, in a different context "neutralize," and they signify two different but important things. Secondly, the term 'friendly' does not mean that the cards act nice toward each other. Any combination can be for 'good or ill' depending on the cards!!!

Here are Mathers' basic rules (see _21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card_ for a more complete explanation):

1) Cards are "Strong" when the suits/elements are the same; they are "very strong for either good or evil, according to their nature."
In other words, two swords cards are like-minded and egg each other on. They can greatly increase either the good or ill in each (depending on their individual meanings).

2) When the suits/elements are both masculine/active or feminine/passive, they are "moderately strong because they are friendly to each other." [Fire+Air; Water+Earth.]
They increase the power and strength of the other, but whether this is good or bad depends on the specific cards.

3) When the suits/elements complement each other, they are "somewhat friendly" (also called neutral). [Fire+Earth; Air+Water.]
They show relatively ineffectual interactions. (Personally, I like to think of them as mild irritants that can be mildly correctional and therapeutic to each other but without great impact as to whether they strengthen or weaken the other.)

4) When the cards are of contrary elements they tend to "weaken each other greatly for good or evil, and neutralize [cancel out] their force." [Fire+Water; Air+Earth.]
In practice, Mathers often cancelled out the effect of cards with contrary elements.

He simply did not read PAIRS that were of contrary elements!! (They could not co-exist in the same room so BOTH would leave.)

In TRIADS, if the two cards flanking a central one were contrary to each other, he simply didn't read those flanking cards but, instead, concentrated on the center card as if it were alone.

However: "If the contrary element is only in one flanking card, then the other becomes a connecting card so that the first [center] is not weakened, but is modified by the influence of both cards and is, therefore, fairly strong." In other words, the center card overcomes the neutralizing force of its contrary flanking card through the support of a card that is more 'friendly' to it - for good or ill.

If both flanking cards are contrary to the center one then they dominate it completely; the effects of the central card are extremely weak.

People have modified this system to make sense to themselves (and often because they didn't understand the original). It's fine to modify the idea to your own use, just understand that you are doing so, and that none of these adaptations are "right" while others are "wrong." The important thing is what works.

Mary
Top   #6
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When looking at a spread in terms of pairs, what you end up with are, in terms of a book or movie:

1) Strong: the leading characters (they can be lovers or antagonist and protagonist). The focus of the action is on them.

2) Friendly: supporting actors - secondary characters - the best friend, boss, those who further the action of the story through support or by throwing a spanner in the works.

3) Somewhat Friendly/Neutral: those who add in a little but aren't terribly significant: brief encounters, comedy relief, etc.

4) Weak (neutralizing): non-speaking parts: crowd scenes, background at a restaurant, faces on the street, etc. If these people are alone in a room (without the characters mentioned above) then simply NOTHING would happen.

This is not an exact analogy but it should get the point across.
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Thanks Mary! I have always held to most of these basic tenets. For example, recently I had a pair of Death and Moon, both of which are water. So to my mind that strengthened Death -- i.e. made it "worse," an even scarier change.

Likewise, a few weeks ago I saw Tower and Emperor, both fire. That made the Tower event even more Tower-y. It's not that the Emperor is "friendly" and mitigates the Tower. Oh no, it makes the Tower even worse.

It takes courage to ignore cards in a spread, but lately I have been doing so when the elements "extinguish" each other. (But there are also those fire + water = explosive steam moments.)

Also when adding in a counting method, if the card is skipped over and extinguished, I just literally pick it up off the table, because it's without influence. This sometimes wigs people out.

what do you think of this?
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I don't use dignities in pairing -except when the cards seem to scream at me to look at what surrounds them. A 6 of Wands and a 2 of Cups will be Victory+Love.

But in counting, dignity is a must. I don't look at the number/person of the card though; I just look at the suits and determine the dignity. I had to do this when, in a personal spread, I had a negative combination which I didn't like and I was trying to find a positive meaning. At the end I decided to look at the facts; the centre card was ill-dignified.

One last thing. Aces are always strong cards and are not influenced by dignity.
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yes I also do that - aces are always good, and they improve the dignity of other cards. An ace in a trio can mitigate a bad pair some and the make a good pair fantastic.
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