But How Does It *Work*? Part 2

tiger lily

Obviously, the "scientific" school concentrates on the interpretation, the "metaphysical" school on the selection process. The question remains, which one is correct?

Well, I wish I could answer that, but how do you "prove" whether a card turned up by chance or by pre-selection of a Higher Force? I can?t prove either of those theories. What I can do is to dissect some common "proofs".

1. I had card X turn up four times in a row the last four days. There must be a message in that.

I won?t argue about the message part, but it doesn?t "proove" that some spirit had its hands in it. First, the usual shuffling methods do not completely randomize the cards, not even the casino riffle (I read an article about that; it was about Bridge tournaments, so I didn?t bookmark it , but I?ll try to find it for those sceptics who want to have a look at it themselves). If the same chunk of cards lands on top of your card stack every time, chances are good that you?ll get the same cards over and over. Second, "random" doesn?t mean that you get a different card each time; it merely states that you can?t predict which one will turn up next. It?s perfectly possible to be dealt the same card several times, even if they are randomized by a computer.

2. You?re just making educated guesses; you extrapolate from what you know about me.

There are countless readings done over the internet, for people who are complete strangers to the reader. I have done readings for people I didn?t even know the gender, let alone their real name, age, or anything else. They were more accurate than the ones I did for acquaintances or myself. It seems that "educated guesses" inhibit the reading more than enhancing it.

3. Fine, so you don?t know your readee; but people tend to emphasize the hits and forget the misses.

That?s a hard one, because it?s true; this psychological glitch seems to be hard-wired into our brains and hordes of con artists make their living from that fact. However, I once participated in an interesting experiment on a Tarot list I was on (although it wasn?t intended as an experiment): one person asked for a reading for a problem and, instead of dealing the cards herself, each of us did a separate reading. Although we all got different cards, our interpretation of her situation was virtually the same; we were strangers to one another and posted nearly simultaneously, so that it would have been impossible to be influenced by others? interpretations.

If you know of other "proofs", let me know and I?ll see if they hold water ;-)








tarotbear
19 Nov 2001

Once at a Medieval party, a friend with no occult knowledge went to me for a tarot reading, and another friend for a 'Celtic Tree Reading' without telling us about the other. We both gave her similar readings using two unrelated systems, which truely bothered her, since she had asked us both the same question. In universality there is truth?








MeeWah
19 Nov 2001

I can see both schools of thought being valid. Perhaps it is one of those moot topics, subject to variables.
Any scientific method involves working from a theory or hypothesis with control units in order to make comparisons from which a hypothesis is either proved or disproved.
Using strangers to throw cards & interpret the results for the same subject seems to back up the metaphysical position. The field of science deals strictly with facts & measurable phenomena. The parameters of science do not allow for "coincidences"; also known as "synchronicity", defined as meaningful coincidences.
Some years ago during a gathering of Tarot students at the instructor's home, it was decided that we each would offer a mini-reading as a gift for the birthday person. We sat in a circle, did the same 6-card spread from a sheet the instructor passed around & wrote down whatever it suggested. The results seemed to concern her current situation: a possible move (she just found out she might have to look for another residence since the previous week's class); business (very small business owner struggling to stay afloat). Although there were some details related to those two areas, there was little or nothing related to relationships. When someone mentioned that subject, she said she had no time for a social life, that it was a big enough challenge getting to class! I didn't say it, but I doubted she would return to class & she didn't.
We had met once a week for a few weeks (the class was scheduled for 6 weeks) so it's possible we could have learned personal information from her; however, the classes were structured in a strict 2-hour framework with no time for chitchat. The only person who apparently had some outside contact with her was the instructor, via phone.








tiger lily
21 Nov 2001

We need to set up a Tarot-lab, performing thousands of tests on thousands of human guinea-pigs... :D :D :D








jmd
21 Nov 2001

What a thread! thanks Tigerlilly, Tarotbear and MeeWah!

What Tigerlilly has called the 'scientific' view, I have in the past referred to it as the 'psychological' view, as the interpretation is given importance to virtually the exclusion of the 'dealing' process... this has been more than aptly decribed above (I include part 1 as 'above'). This school of thought usually makes use of the various possible meanings which a reader may make from one card (for example, a minute aspect normally not noticed becomes the focus for the reading).

This, however, doesn't account for what happens, especially with 'inexperienced' readers who use a book of interpretations to make (accurate) sense of the situation. Here I think Tarotbear really pointed to something which needs to be acknowledged with Tarot: the imprinting onto the cards of their archetypes (not your words... I know!)

Like the above thread, I tend to see that both the interpretative and the 'card shuffling and selection' are important. So how does it work?

If one assumes the underlying foundation of the world as spiritual, then the answers one may arrive at will be quite different to ones which seek to answer this question in a way which may suit physicalists... and I am not in the least suggesting that the above contributers do this. Rather, some books certainly do.

I personally assume this spiritual underpinning...

Could it be that there are a number of factors at play, all assisted by the spiritual dimension of the world (ie, the interaction of one's true I with other spiritual beings, both in the I of the querents, and non-incarnate ones... you know, Angels and the like!). These influences here also become causative factors to a reading, and may include:

1) the precise time at which the cards stop being shuffled and the manner in which they are selected (and turned!);

2) the attention the reader gives to selected parts of the cards;

3) the interpretation of the symbolic representations, also influenced by one's own past understanding and learning;

4) the manner in which a particular deck has an increased affinity to the reader through frequent and qualitative handling; &

5) the interaction which occurs between the reader's true I and querent's true I.

No doubt physicalists may argue that this is just a re-stated version of the 'metaphysical' view already proposed... I would respond that, as with some of the contributions above, it includes it but is not limited to it.








tiger lily
22 Nov 2001

The problem with the two types of theories I described is that they tend to dismiss each other: the "scientists" scoff at the idea of spiritual forces at work, the "metaphysicals" (metaphysicists??) argue that you can?t make up the meaning in the interpretation part, since it has been already determined by the selection process.

So, since you listed arguments from both sides, you won?t find much support in either camp :) .

And even if all those factors do play a part, we still don?t know *how exactly* they influence the cards and the interpretation. I?m not dismissing your points (in fact, I tend to believe that they contribute to the reading), but I?m looking for a working theory which can *somehow* be proved or disproved (it may be impossible, who knows? But it?s sure fun to flex the brain muscle ;-) )








MeeWah
22 Nov 2001

JMD: I can see where the scientific view is also the psychological view.
I tend to rely on the metaphysical view because it is "constant" due to the qualities of Spirit, not subject to variables.
You express exactly the variables that I believe come into play. Especially the first: the throw hinges on the *precise moment* it or the reading takes place!! It almost pertains to "being at the right place at the right time". I do not know I can explain this as well as you have with the points you outlined, & I am not sure my understanding is not without flaw, but it may be that Time only matters in this physical dimension since Time is not said to exist in Spirit (all Time being Now).
In this finite plane or dimension, the flow of energy, forces, vibrations, etc are in a state of constant fluctuation. At the moment of a throw or reading, it is like capturing a moment with a photograph-- here it is with the cards. That moment is imbued or imprinted with all the forces currently at work in the querent's life.
That may be why for some of us, the reading can only be done at that moment. Returning to the throw at a later date, the throw has already lost some if not much of its clarity. I've experimented with this, & found that it does not always occur, as long as I am able to "return to" or "pick up" the same stream of consciousness. "I" can "tap" into it & get continuing information if not more, oft involuntarily. It is then my understanding that all of that information is constantly available. It depends on whether one, subject to variables such as physical conditions (for the reader &/or the querent) is able to access it from any given point in time.
Years ago, when I had already been reading cards (using a regular deck of playing cards & Zolar's deck) a friend obtained a set of those ESP cards used in psi experiments. Being of a practical mind & a very private person, she could not understand why my readings for her were accurate. I was not sure I could perform under "lab conditions". I glanced quickly at the cards (different shapes or symbols I was not familiar with) before she commenced. The first couple of times, I seemed to be way off; however, after the third time, she noticed that a number of my "guesses" corresponded to the next card. She remarked it was too bad we didn't think to record the results of the other attempts to see if there was a pattern. She concluded that my being able to "foretell" certain events in her life was similar to the results of the third round. I am not saying I can "predict" (EEK!) but it certainly is interesting, yes :D








jmd
22 Nov 2001

Quote:tigerlily (22 Nov, 2001 20:37):
The problem ... the "scientists" scoff at the idea of spiritual forces at work, the ... metaphysicists... argue that you can?t make up the meaning in the interpretation part...

So ... you won?t find much support in either camp :) .

...I?m looking for a working theory which can *somehow* be proved or disproved...

Hi again Tigerlily and MeeWah...

I agree that flexing these neural 'muscles' is somehow so important...

I wonder if any 'proof' first requires a common ground of investigation... Kiama, if you're reading this, you've probably encountered similar problems in the history and philosophy of science (HPS)... It may be that adherents of either camp will find the above thread unsatisfactory.

I wonder, however, whether the main problem is to seek how Tarot readings work, or whether resolution to the problem needs to accept points of views from either camp and see how it may be explained from their particular underlying positions.

The question which would then need to be asked is whether a satisfactory explanation somehow ensures its truth (a dome with pinholes may have been a satisfactory explanation of the night sky!).

The 'scientific/psychological' explanation does somehow partially explain the results... but does it do so correctly? The presuppositions inherent in the explanation have applied Ockham's ('occam's' in standardised US spelling) razor and disregarded the spiritual foundation from which the world emerges... (well, that's my view anyway!).

Operating from a position which seeks to explain events by disregarding a foundational part of the world will probably not lead to any satisfactory and true view. I personally reject the materialist's position, which this latter in turn 'scoffs' at...

I also realise that part of the criticism which some make is that a theory is to be scientific only if it can consistently predict events or if it is possible for it to be disproved... and although these views have been shown to be incorrect in terms of how science actually works (post 1960 HPS), they still appeal when someone wants to criticise an area like Tarot...

The telescopic visual 'proof' of the moons of Jupiter by Galileo, for example, were utterly rejected by churchmen who just did not have the right framework from which to 'correctly' see what Galileo was showing them. It may be that those who hold a materialist framework and seek an 'scientific-psychological' explanation of the workings of Tarot readings are in a similar position to those churchmen!

...I'm putting my neck out here!!!... for I know there are many wonderful Tarot books and views which expound the scientific-psychological view... especially from a Jungian perspective... I just find that I just cannot accept their basic premises, but do not try to convince them of another view.

Their explanations may be shown to 'work', and so does a rotating pin-holed dome for the night sky. Underlying premises, however, are too much at variance... unless it can already be shown that physicalism is a sufficient point of view...

This probably doesn't really help with the original question... but they are peripheral points.








MeeWah
23 Nov 2001

This may not address the query, but on the premise the physical world is based on a spiritual foundation, it follows that Cosmic Law is at work--in Tarot & other forms of divination.
The physical life or the three-dimensional realm is composed of more than one layer or level of consciousness. Those consciousnesses are commonly referred to as the basic three: physical-material, mental-unconscious & spiritual-soul/superconscious.
They interact with each other in apparent & not so apparent ways in the daily life.
Of the three, only the conditions pertaining to the physical can be determined with any degree--such as can be obtained with a medical physical examination of the human body, subject to limitations in technology, knowledge & perhaps observation as well. The mental body or the mental health to a lesser degree, with more of the limitations since the mental realm is not tangible as the physical body; therefore not as measurable. The spiritual body, not at all determinable since it is wholly intangible or invisible.
Physically manifested conditions or events are tangible & thus measureable to some extent. Those pertaining to other than the physical or are of a metaphysical nature defy measuring since there are qualitative differences: they are unpredictable; defy logic; there is no known framework with which to compare. Thus, they may be termed "unknowable". Like trying to prove or disprove the existance of a higher power. Or the very old argument of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
The scentific/psychological theory works to the extent in that it is but one layer or facet of this life; a part of Truth but not wholly Truth.








jmd
26 Nov 2001

Quote:MeeWah (24 Nov, 2001 07:32):
The scientific/psychological theory works to the extent in that it is but or facet of this life; a part of Truth but not wholly Truth.

my emphasis

I have to agree with you, MeeWah...

I guess part of the problem is that the scientific/psychological view seems to answer any questions of interpretation.

I'm also pleased to see that Fairyhedgehog has posted a reply to part 1... and hope a response is made here too... (glad to have you with us, Fairyhedgehog... and great site you have!)

Now for a different but related and further matter.

When I have a quick question I wish answered, I frame the words in such a way that a 'Yes' or 'No' answer can be given. Over the years, I have determined certain cards to signify these.

Unless my selective memory is playing with me, I definitely get clear answers more so than not. The times I don't, I sometimes ask if this should best be left, to which I often get a clear 'yes' or 'no'.

My 'yes' cards are the 4 aces, I the Magician and XVIIII the Sun upright. I likewise have 6 'no' cards: the 4 fives reversed, XIII the Devil and XVI the Tower reversed.

In this case, the interpretative aspect one normally makes of the cards is negated by the predermined 'meaning'.

May I suggest that those who subscribe to the scientific/psychological model experiment and see for themselves. I wouldn't suggest using the twelve cards I've mentioned. I would suggest using only the 4 aces for 'yes', and 4 whatevers (twos?) for 'no'.

Assuming what I am presenting above works (as I clearly think it does), how is is to be explained by only seeking a scientific/psychological model? To me, this shows not that the model is wholly incorrect, but that it is incomplete.








fairyhedgehog
26 Nov 2001

Thanks for your welcome to this discussion and your comments on my site :)

I'm not sure I'm quite ready for your challenge at the moment but it is certainly in the scientific spirit. I think that the loophole for the psychological theory is that the interpretation of 'was the Tarot right' is in the mind of the reader, so it is not a fully objective view. On the other hand, if I tried this for a while and kept getting the 'right' answers I must admit I'd be impressed. And there is always the option to keep a note of what happens, so at least 'selective memory' wouldn't be an issue.

I think I shall stay with my humanist viewpoint for the time being, but I think Shakespeare had it about right when he had one of his characters say 'There are more things in heav'n and earth ... than are dreamt of in your philosophy'. (My philosophy, I mean, not yours :) )

All the very best,

FH








The But How Does It *Work*? Part 2 thread was originally posted on 19 Nov 2001 in the Talking Tarot board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Talking Tarot, or read more archived threads.
 

tarotbear

Once at a Medieval party, a friend with no occult knowledge went to me for a tarot reading, and another friend for a 'Celtic Tree Reading' without telling us about the other. We both gave her similar readings using two unrelated systems, which truely bothered her, since she had asked us both the same question. In universality there is truth?
 

MeeWah

I can see both schools of thought being valid. Perhaps it is one of those moot topics, subject to variables.
Any scientific method involves working from a theory or hypothesis with control units in order to make comparisons from which a hypothesis is either proved or disproved.
Using strangers to throw cards & interpret the results for the same subject seems to back up the metaphysical position. The field of science deals strictly with facts & measurable phenomena. The parameters of science do not allow for "coincidences"; also known as "synchronicity", defined as meaningful coincidences.
Some years ago during a gathering of Tarot students at the instructor's home, it was decided that we each would offer a mini-reading as a gift for the birthday person. We sat in a circle, did the same 6-card spread from a sheet the instructor passed around & wrote down whatever it suggested. The results seemed to concern her current situation: a possible move (she just found out she might have to look for another residence since the previous week's class); business (very small business owner struggling to stay afloat). Although there were some details related to those two areas, there was little or nothing related to relationships. When someone mentioned that subject, she said she had no time for a social life, that it was a big enough challenge getting to class! I didn't say it, but I doubted she would return to class & she didn't.
We had met once a week for a few weeks (the class was scheduled for 6 weeks) so it's possible we could have learned personal information from her; however, the classes were structured in a strict 2-hour framework with no time for chitchat. The only person who apparently had some outside contact with her was the instructor, via phone.
 

tiger lily

We need to set up a Tarot-lab, performing thousands of tests on thousands of human guinea-pigs... :D :D :D








jmd
21 Nov 2001

What a thread! thanks Tigerlilly, Tarotbear and MeeWah!

What Tigerlilly has called the 'scientific' view, I have in the past referred to it as the 'psychological' view, as the interpretation is given importance to virtually the exclusion of the 'dealing' process... this has been more than aptly decribed above (I include part 1 as 'above'). This school of thought usually makes use of the various possible meanings which a reader may make from one card (for example, a minute aspect normally not noticed becomes the focus for the reading).

This, however, doesn't account for what happens, especially with 'inexperienced' readers who use a book of interpretations to make (accurate) sense of the situation. Here I think Tarotbear really pointed to something which needs to be acknowledged with Tarot: the imprinting onto the cards of their archetypes (not your words... I know!)

Like the above thread, I tend to see that both the interpretative and the 'card shuffling and selection' are important. So how does it work?

If one assumes the underlying foundation of the world as spiritual, then the answers one may arrive at will be quite different to ones which seek to answer this question in a way which may suit physicalists... and I am not in the least suggesting that the above contributers do this. Rather, some books certainly do.

I personally assume this spiritual underpinning...

Could it be that there are a number of factors at play, all assisted by the spiritual dimension of the world (ie, the interaction of one's true I with other spiritual beings, both in the I of the querents, and non-incarnate ones... you know, Angels and the like!). These influences here also become causative factors to a reading, and may include:

1) the precise time at which the cards stop being shuffled and the manner in which they are selected (and turned!);

2) the attention the reader gives to selected parts of the cards;

3) the interpretation of the symbolic representations, also influenced by one's own past understanding and learning;

4) the manner in which a particular deck has an increased affinity to the reader through frequent and qualitative handling; &

5) the interaction which occurs between the reader's true I and querent's true I.

No doubt physicalists may argue that this is just a re-stated version of the 'metaphysical' view already proposed... I would respond that, as with some of the contributions above, it includes it but is not limited to it.








tiger lily
22 Nov 2001

The problem with the two types of theories I described is that they tend to dismiss each other: the "scientists" scoff at the idea of spiritual forces at work, the "metaphysicals" (metaphysicists??) argue that you can?t make up the meaning in the interpretation part, since it has been already determined by the selection process.

So, since you listed arguments from both sides, you won?t find much support in either camp :) .

And even if all those factors do play a part, we still don?t know *how exactly* they influence the cards and the interpretation. I?m not dismissing your points (in fact, I tend to believe that they contribute to the reading), but I?m looking for a working theory which can *somehow* be proved or disproved (it may be impossible, who knows? But it?s sure fun to flex the brain muscle ;-) )








MeeWah
22 Nov 2001

JMD: I can see where the scientific view is also the psychological view.
I tend to rely on the metaphysical view because it is "constant" due to the qualities of Spirit, not subject to variables.
You express exactly the variables that I believe come into play. Especially the first: the throw hinges on the *precise moment* it or the reading takes place!! It almost pertains to "being at the right place at the right time". I do not know I can explain this as well as you have with the points you outlined, & I am not sure my understanding is not without flaw, but it may be that Time only matters in this physical dimension since Time is not said to exist in Spirit (all Time being Now).
In this finite plane or dimension, the flow of energy, forces, vibrations, etc are in a state of constant fluctuation. At the moment of a throw or reading, it is like capturing a moment with a photograph-- here it is with the cards. That moment is imbued or imprinted with all the forces currently at work in the querent's life.
That may be why for some of us, the reading can only be done at that moment. Returning to the throw at a later date, the throw has already lost some if not much of its clarity. I've experimented with this, & found that it does not always occur, as long as I am able to "return to" or "pick up" the same stream of consciousness. "I" can "tap" into it & get continuing information if not more, oft involuntarily. It is then my understanding that all of that information is constantly available. It depends on whether one, subject to variables such as physical conditions (for the reader &/or the querent) is able to access it from any given point in time.
Years ago, when I had already been reading cards (using a regular deck of playing cards & Zolar's deck) a friend obtained a set of those ESP cards used in psi experiments. Being of a practical mind & a very private person, she could not understand why my readings for her were accurate. I was not sure I could perform under "lab conditions". I glanced quickly at the cards (different shapes or symbols I was not familiar with) before she commenced. The first couple of times, I seemed to be way off; however, after the third time, she noticed that a number of my "guesses" corresponded to the next card. She remarked it was too bad we didn't think to record the results of the other attempts to see if there was a pattern. She concluded that my being able to "foretell" certain events in her life was similar to the results of the third round. I am not saying I can "predict" (EEK!) but it certainly is interesting, yes :D








jmd
22 Nov 2001

Quote:tigerlily (22 Nov, 2001 20:37):
The problem ... the "scientists" scoff at the idea of spiritual forces at work, the ... metaphysicists... argue that you can?t make up the meaning in the interpretation part...

So ... you won?t find much support in either camp :) .

...I?m looking for a working theory which can *somehow* be proved or disproved...

Hi again Tigerlily and MeeWah...

I agree that flexing these neural 'muscles' is somehow so important...

I wonder if any 'proof' first requires a common ground of investigation... Kiama, if you're reading this, you've probably encountered similar problems in the history and philosophy of science (HPS)... It may be that adherents of either camp will find the above thread unsatisfactory.

I wonder, however, whether the main problem is to seek how Tarot readings work, or whether resolution to the problem needs to accept points of views from either camp and see how it may be explained from their particular underlying positions.

The question which would then need to be asked is whether a satisfactory explanation somehow ensures its truth (a dome with pinholes may have been a satisfactory explanation of the night sky!).

The 'scientific/psychological' explanation does somehow partially explain the results... but does it do so correctly? The presuppositions inherent in the explanation have applied Ockham's ('occam's' in standardised US spelling) razor and disregarded the spiritual foundation from which the world emerges... (well, that's my view anyway!).

Operating from a position which seeks to explain events by disregarding a foundational part of the world will probably not lead to any satisfactory and true view. I personally reject the materialist's position, which this latter in turn 'scoffs' at...

I also realise that part of the criticism which some make is that a theory is to be scientific only if it can consistently predict events or if it is possible for it to be disproved... and although these views have been shown to be incorrect in terms of how science actually works (post 1960 HPS), they still appeal when someone wants to criticise an area like Tarot...

The telescopic visual 'proof' of the moons of Jupiter by Galileo, for example, were utterly rejected by churchmen who just did not have the right framework from which to 'correctly' see what Galileo was showing them. It may be that those who hold a materialist framework and seek an 'scientific-psychological' explanation of the workings of Tarot readings are in a similar position to those churchmen!

...I'm putting my neck out here!!!... for I know there are many wonderful Tarot books and views which expound the scientific-psychological view... especially from a Jungian perspective... I just find that I just cannot accept their basic premises, but do not try to convince them of another view.

Their explanations may be shown to 'work', and so does a rotating pin-holed dome for the night sky. Underlying premises, however, are too much at variance... unless it can already be shown that physicalism is a sufficient point of view...

This probably doesn't really help with the original question... but they are peripheral points.








MeeWah
23 Nov 2001

This may not address the query, but on the premise the physical world is based on a spiritual foundation, it follows that Cosmic Law is at work--in Tarot & other forms of divination.
The physical life or the three-dimensional realm is composed of more than one layer or level of consciousness. Those consciousnesses are commonly referred to as the basic three: physical-material, mental-unconscious & spiritual-soul/superconscious.
They interact with each other in apparent & not so apparent ways in the daily life.
Of the three, only the conditions pertaining to the physical can be determined with any degree--such as can be obtained with a medical physical examination of the human body, subject to limitations in technology, knowledge & perhaps observation as well. The mental body or the mental health to a lesser degree, with more of the limitations since the mental realm is not tangible as the physical body; therefore not as measurable. The spiritual body, not at all determinable since it is wholly intangible or invisible.
Physically manifested conditions or events are tangible & thus measureable to some extent. Those pertaining to other than the physical or are of a metaphysical nature defy measuring since there are qualitative differences: they are unpredictable; defy logic; there is no known framework with which to compare. Thus, they may be termed "unknowable". Like trying to prove or disprove the existance of a higher power. Or the very old argument of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
The scentific/psychological theory works to the extent in that it is but one layer or facet of this life; a part of Truth but not wholly Truth.








jmd
26 Nov 2001

Quote:MeeWah (24 Nov, 2001 07:32):
The scientific/psychological theory works to the extent in that it is but or facet of this life; a part of Truth but not wholly Truth.

my emphasis

I have to agree with you, MeeWah...

I guess part of the problem is that the scientific/psychological view seems to answer any questions of interpretation.

I'm also pleased to see that Fairyhedgehog has posted a reply to part 1... and hope a response is made here too... (glad to have you with us, Fairyhedgehog... and great site you have!)

Now for a different but related and further matter.

When I have a quick question I wish answered, I frame the words in such a way that a 'Yes' or 'No' answer can be given. Over the years, I have determined certain cards to signify these.

Unless my selective memory is playing with me, I definitely get clear answers more so than not. The times I don't, I sometimes ask if this should best be left, to which I often get a clear 'yes' or 'no'.

My 'yes' cards are the 4 aces, I the Magician and XVIIII the Sun upright. I likewise have 6 'no' cards: the 4 fives reversed, XIII the Devil and XVI the Tower reversed.

In this case, the interpretative aspect one normally makes of the cards is negated by the predermined 'meaning'.

May I suggest that those who subscribe to the scientific/psychological model experiment and see for themselves. I wouldn't suggest using the twelve cards I've mentioned. I would suggest using only the 4 aces for 'yes', and 4 whatevers (twos?) for 'no'.

Assuming what I am presenting above works (as I clearly think it does), how is is to be explained by only seeking a scientific/psychological model? To me, this shows not that the model is wholly incorrect, but that it is incomplete.








fairyhedgehog
26 Nov 2001

Thanks for your welcome to this discussion and your comments on my site :)

I'm not sure I'm quite ready for your challenge at the moment but it is certainly in the scientific spirit. I think that the loophole for the psychological theory is that the interpretation of 'was the Tarot right' is in the mind of the reader, so it is not a fully objective view. On the other hand, if I tried this for a while and kept getting the 'right' answers I must admit I'd be impressed. And there is always the option to keep a note of what happens, so at least 'selective memory' wouldn't be an issue.

I think I shall stay with my humanist viewpoint for the time being, but I think Shakespeare had it about right when he had one of his characters say 'There are more things in heav'n and earth ... than are dreamt of in your philosophy'. (My philosophy, I mean, not yours :) )

All the very best,

FH








The But How Does It *Work*? Part 2 thread was originally posted on 19 Nov 2001 in the Talking Tarot board, and is now archived in the Forum Library. Read the threads in Talking Tarot, or read more archived threads.
 

jmd

What a thread! thanks Tigerlilly, Tarotbear and MeeWah!

What Tigerlilly has called the 'scientific' view, I have in the past referred to it as the 'psychological' view, as the interpretation is given importance to virtually the exclusion of the 'dealing' process... this has been more than aptly decribed above (I include part 1 as 'above'). This school of thought usually makes use of the various possible meanings which a reader may make from one card (for example, a minute aspect normally not noticed becomes the focus for the reading).

This, however, doesn't account for what happens, especially with 'inexperienced' readers who use a book of interpretations to make (accurate) sense of the situation. Here I think Tarotbear really pointed to something which needs to be acknowledged with Tarot: the imprinting onto the cards of their archetypes (not your words... I know!)

Like the above thread, I tend to see that both the interpretative and the 'card shuffling and selection' are important. So how does it work?

If one assumes the underlying foundation of the world as spiritual, then the answers one may arrive at will be quite different to ones which seek to answer this question in a way which may suit physicalists... and I am not in the least suggesting that the above contributers do this. Rather, some books certainly do.

I personally assume this spiritual underpinning...

Could it be that there are a number of factors at play, all assisted by the spiritual dimension of the world (ie, the interaction of one's true I with other spiritual beings, both in the I of the querents, and non-incarnate ones... you know, Angels and the like!). These influences here also become causative factors to a reading, and may include:

1) the precise time at which the cards stop being shuffled and the manner in which they are selected (and turned!);

2) the attention the reader gives to selected parts of the cards;

3) the interpretation of the symbolic representations, also influenced by one's own past understanding and learning;

4) the manner in which a particular deck has an increased affinity to the reader through frequent and qualitative handling; &

5) the interaction which occurs between the reader's true I and querent's true I.

No doubt physicalists may argue that this is just a re-stated version of the 'metaphysical' view already proposed... I would respond that, as with some of the contributions above, it includes it but is not limited to it.
 

tiger lily

The problem with the two types of theories I described is that they tend to dismiss each other: the "scientists" scoff at the idea of spiritual forces at work, the "metaphysicals" (metaphysicists??) argue that you can?t make up the meaning in the interpretation part, since it has been already determined by the selection process.

So, since you listed arguments from both sides, you won?t find much support in either camp :) .

And even if all those factors do play a part, we still don?t know *how exactly* they influence the cards and the interpretation. I?m not dismissing your points (in fact, I tend to believe that they contribute to the reading), but I?m looking for a working theory which can *somehow* be proved or disproved (it may be impossible, who knows? But it?s sure fun to flex the brain muscle ;-) )
 

MeeWah

JMD: I can see where the scientific view is also the psychological view.
I tend to rely on the metaphysical view because it is "constant" due to the qualities of Spirit, not subject to variables.
You express exactly the variables that I believe come into play. Especially the first: the throw hinges on the *precise moment* it or the reading takes place!! It almost pertains to "being at the right place at the right time". I do not know I can explain this as well as you have with the points you outlined, & I am not sure my understanding is not without flaw, but it may be that Time only matters in this physical dimension since Time is not said to exist in Spirit (all Time being Now).
In this finite plane or dimension, the flow of energy, forces, vibrations, etc are in a state of constant fluctuation. At the moment of a throw or reading, it is like capturing a moment with a photograph-- here it is with the cards. That moment is imbued or imprinted with all the forces currently at work in the querent's life.
That may be why for some of us, the reading can only be done at that moment. Returning to the throw at a later date, the throw has already lost some if not much of its clarity. I've experimented with this, & found that it does not always occur, as long as I am able to "return to" or "pick up" the same stream of consciousness. "I" can "tap" into it & get continuing information if not more, oft involuntarily. It is then my understanding that all of that information is constantly available. It depends on whether one, subject to variables such as physical conditions (for the reader &/or the querent) is able to access it from any given point in time.
Years ago, when I had already been reading cards (using a regular deck of playing cards & Zolar's deck) a friend obtained a set of those ESP cards used in psi experiments. Being of a practical mind & a very private person, she could not understand why my readings for her were accurate. I was not sure I could perform under "lab conditions". I glanced quickly at the cards (different shapes or symbols I was not familiar with) before she commenced. The first couple of times, I seemed to be way off; however, after the third time, she noticed that a number of my "guesses" corresponded to the next card. She remarked it was too bad we didn't think to record the results of the other attempts to see if there was a pattern. She concluded that my being able to "foretell" certain events in her life was similar to the results of the third round. I am not saying I can "predict" (EEK!) but it certainly is interesting, yes :D
 

jmd

Quote:tigerlily (22 Nov, 2001 20:37):
The problem ... the "scientists" scoff at the idea of spiritual forces at work, the ... metaphysicists... argue that you can?t make up the meaning in the interpretation part...

So ... you won?t find much support in either camp :) .

...I?m looking for a working theory which can *somehow* be proved or disproved...

Hi again Tigerlily and MeeWah...

I agree that flexing these neural 'muscles' is somehow so important...

I wonder if any 'proof' first requires a common ground of investigation... Kiama, if you're reading this, you've probably encountered similar problems in the history and philosophy of science (HPS)... It may be that adherents of either camp will find the above thread unsatisfactory.

I wonder, however, whether the main problem is to seek how Tarot readings work, or whether resolution to the problem needs to accept points of views from either camp and see how it may be explained from their particular underlying positions.

The question which would then need to be asked is whether a satisfactory explanation somehow ensures its truth (a dome with pinholes may have been a satisfactory explanation of the night sky!).

The 'scientific/psychological' explanation does somehow partially explain the results... but does it do so correctly? The presuppositions inherent in the explanation have applied Ockham's ('occam's' in standardised US spelling) razor and disregarded the spiritual foundation from which the world emerges... (well, that's my view anyway!).

Operating from a position which seeks to explain events by disregarding a foundational part of the world will probably not lead to any satisfactory and true view. I personally reject the materialist's position, which this latter in turn 'scoffs' at...

I also realise that part of the criticism which some make is that a theory is to be scientific only if it can consistently predict events or if it is possible for it to be disproved... and although these views have been shown to be incorrect in terms of how science actually works (post 1960 HPS), they still appeal when someone wants to criticise an area like Tarot...

The telescopic visual 'proof' of the moons of Jupiter by Galileo, for example, were utterly rejected by churchmen who just did not have the right framework from which to 'correctly' see what Galileo was showing them. It may be that those who hold a materialist framework and seek an 'scientific-psychological' explanation of the workings of Tarot readings are in a similar position to those churchmen!

...I'm putting my neck out here!!!... for I know there are many wonderful Tarot books and views which expound the scientific-psychological view... especially from a Jungian perspective... I just find that I just cannot accept their basic premises, but do not try to convince them of another view.

Their explanations may be shown to 'work', and so does a rotating pin-holed dome for the night sky. Underlying premises, however, are too much at variance... unless it can already be shown that physicalism is a sufficient point of view...

This probably doesn't really help with the original question... but they are peripheral points.
 

MeeWah

This may not address the query, but on the premise the physical world is based on a spiritual foundation, it follows that Cosmic Law is at work--in Tarot & other forms of divination.
The physical life or the three-dimensional realm is composed of more than one layer or level of consciousness. Those consciousnesses are commonly referred to as the basic three: physical-material, mental-unconscious & spiritual-soul/superconscious.
They interact with each other in apparent & not so apparent ways in the daily life.
Of the three, only the conditions pertaining to the physical can be determined with any degree--such as can be obtained with a medical physical examination of the human body, subject to limitations in technology, knowledge & perhaps observation as well. The mental body or the mental health to a lesser degree, with more of the limitations since the mental realm is not tangible as the physical body; therefore not as measurable. The spiritual body, not at all determinable since it is wholly intangible or invisible.
Physically manifested conditions or events are tangible & thus measureable to some extent. Those pertaining to other than the physical or are of a metaphysical nature defy measuring since there are qualitative differences: they are unpredictable; defy logic; there is no known framework with which to compare. Thus, they may be termed "unknowable". Like trying to prove or disprove the existance of a higher power. Or the very old argument of how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
The scentific/psychological theory works to the extent in that it is but one layer or facet of this life; a part of Truth but not wholly Truth.
 

jmd

Quote:MeeWah (24 Nov, 2001 07:32):
The scientific/psychological theory works to the extent in that it is but or facet of this life; a part of Truth but not wholly Truth.

my emphasis

I have to agree with you, MeeWah...

I guess part of the problem is that the scientific/psychological view seems to answer any questions of interpretation.

I'm also pleased to see that Fairyhedgehog has posted a reply to part 1... and hope a response is made here too... (glad to have you with us, Fairyhedgehog... and great site you have!)

Now for a different but related and further matter.

When I have a quick question I wish answered, I frame the words in such a way that a 'Yes' or 'No' answer can be given. Over the years, I have determined certain cards to signify these.

Unless my selective memory is playing with me, I definitely get clear answers more so than not. The times I don't, I sometimes ask if this should best be left, to which I often get a clear 'yes' or 'no'.

My 'yes' cards are the 4 aces, I the Magician and XVIIII the Sun upright. I likewise have 6 'no' cards: the 4 fives reversed, XIII the Devil and XVI the Tower reversed.

In this case, the interpretative aspect one normally makes of the cards is negated by the predermined 'meaning'.

May I suggest that those who subscribe to the scientific/psychological model experiment and see for themselves. I wouldn't suggest using the twelve cards I've mentioned. I would suggest using only the 4 aces for 'yes', and 4 whatevers (twos?) for 'no'.

Assuming what I am presenting above works (as I clearly think it does), how is is to be explained by only seeking a scientific/psychological model? To me, this shows not that the model is wholly incorrect, but that it is incomplete.