Saturday, 27 November 2010

The Devil

Half man, half beast this winged monster evokes fear on first sight yet it’s purpose is to remind us we are human mammals with animal appetites, base needs and desires. (In psychology this is referred to as the ID - connected to the hypothalamus, the pleasure centre in the brain.) Some of the associations with the Devil card are sex, power, money, hunger, addictions, negative thinking and the mundane chores that we can get bogged down by or tied to, represented by the chains in the picture. Reversed this card shows the patterns and chains can be broken, the burden can be lifted. We as human animals can change our thoughts and behaviour with positive thinking and higher consciousness. No one says this is easy, of course.

During one reading, The Devil upright with the Chariot Reversed were selected by a client in question to what career paths he could consider.
I said “the word ‘mechanic’ springs to mind on seeing the Chariot yet I didn’t feel this was his vocation” and the Devil makes me think of physicality (I thought of a night club and/or naked flesh). So I said “it’s linked to physicality and the body and this business choice looks to be a good source of income, as it will always be in demand, regardless of the recession".
He enlightened me with the information he studied the mechanics of the body when he was studying to be a doctor but he has also tried some tattooing and was considering this amongst other things. So, I was part right and part wrong. .

I always feel fortunate when I have clients who are happy to give insight into the cards and help me continue to learn and grow as a tarot reader.

So, another interesting association with the Devil – tattooing.

It is worth mentioning that in the last century the Devil imagery has changed from full beast to half man, to reflect a popular realisation that we have animal appetites and have our own inner demons to face. Whereas the older representation was of a literal Lucifer.

p.s. In Austrailan Cricket the number 87 considered an unlucky score, known as the Devil's number. 87 added together equals 15 which is the number of The Devil card in the tarot. Thought worth mentioning.

Rituals and Traditions

I personally don’t believe that tarot cards must be given as a present, as many books and people say. I’ve always bought my own packs and haven’t encountered any problems as a result.
I don’t believe the cards have to be clothed in black velvet or silk. Of course it’s wise to protect them but again I often use plastic bags with no negative side effect.
I’m not being a rebel but I'm not superstitious. I simply believe the power of the cards lies in the symbols combined with the knowledge and intuition of the reader.
I do always use my left hand to select tarot cards asI do believe the intuitive right side of the brain that controls the left side ‘feels' the cards with the left hand. Although saying that I do believe one always picks the right card, even if it is with the right hand.

So, anything goes in my book.

The Element of Air

My boyfriend’s mother a wonderful, intelligent lady posed an interesting question to me the other night as we talked about tarot. I said I’d happily teach her tarot in easy steps if she’d like. I started explaining some helpful fundamentals; how the suits relate to the elements.
So Pentacles or Discs relate to the element of Earth (so they're linked to practical matters, every day, mundane life, finances, cards of doing);
Cups relate to the element of Water (so they're linked to feelings, emotions, relationships); Wands relate to Fire (linked to energy, passion, creativity, inspiration, anger);
Swords relate to the element of Air (linked to the mind, rationale, logic, communication).
She asked why are ‘swords’ used to represent Air? I didn't know and thought that is a good question, balloons relate better to pictorially representing air;  swords are made from metal/
steel. She thought aloud and came up with some good theories about how the mind can be penetrating like a sword, as just one example but her quesiton has left me with the desire to research how the pictorial elements were chosen. I shall let you know my discoveries.

The Power of Words, The Power of Silence

With each passing year I become increasingly aware of how powerful words can be. I truly believe words can kill, they can heal, they can move mountains. A book can change a person’s destiny through inspiration or knowledge.

So, the tarot reader’s responsibility is great. A good tarot reader gives an honest interpretation based on knowledge and intuition or however they receive information yet the delivery can make a huge difference. I think it is wrong to lie and give false hope to a client. If the cards are very dark and bleak, ask more questions to find light and positive matters to consider.

Sometimes, I can see things but nothing is set in stone, so I feel it is wiser for the client to discover this his/herself. No one said it is easy being a reader. Sometimes, less is best.

Experience Is The Best Teacher

If in doubt – don’t!

Sometimes it is preferable to politely decline reading somebody’s tarot, even having offered, if you feel it is unwise.

Many years ago, while visiting family in Israel less than a year into my experimentation with tarot one of my Aunt’s (who has since tragically passed away) asked if I could see how her pregnancy would be (it was for her first child).

Without hesitating, I picked some cards. Immediately it was obvious the spread was negative. I didn’t need to refer to my books to understand something was wrong. My heart sunk. I don’t remember the cards now, except The Empress Reversed (The Empress is the Mother card) and Strength upright, the only hopeful card in the spread. I lied, (I don't condone this behaviour now, more on this subject in another blog) but I couldn't say it looked bad, especially as I was a novice and couldn't explain the other cards. So I said the Strength card shows she will have great strength and courage; although it may not be an easy pregnancy everything will be fine. I apologized saying I didn’t understand the other cards. My Aunt’s English was minimal so it was left at that.

Time passed. Months later, the good news arrived that my aunt had a healthy baby boy, no problems. The relief was immense. Until I learnt trouble with breast feeding led to investigations that found cancerous tumors blocking her milk ducts, believed to have developed during pregnancy. Of course, the reading returned to me. That early experience taught me lots.

Medical Matters

At that moment of reading my Aunt's cards I decided I wouldn’t answer medical questions anymore. I do now, years later although like most tarot readers I prefer not to look at medical matters, as I am not a doctor. Of course, even when I tell clients this, they still ask me to have a look. I explain I’m happy to see if the cards suggest anything, but regardless of the tarot it is always advisable to seek professional medical advice/have tests etc if one has any health concerns. I say even if everything looks okay to me, and is nothing serious, get yourself checked out, even for peace of mind!

Anyway, experience has taught me to give careful consideration when asked to look at certain matters and to word the question carefully. Still to this day I associate the Empress reversed with blockages. Several months later during a part time job at a local newspaper a colleague ‘tested’ the cards when she learnt I read tarot, asking what’s going on with her house. I said the pipes are blocked,from a combination of cards including the Star reversed (Aquarius Water bearer) with the Empress reversed. She was amazed as this was correct.