Ever been giving a reading, only to find yourself embarrassed to tell your querent what the cards are saying because what they are saying isn't particularly nice? If you've been reading for long, I'll bet the answer is 'yes.' What gives? Tarot guidebooks don't list a 'sarcastic interpretations' section. The tarot's supposed to be enlightening and empowering, not snappy or snarky!
This is a good time to remind yourself that the cards are just the cards, printed on paper, most likely by a game company. The snark's not in your deck. It's in you. Or at least, it probably is. There's one other source of card snark, but we'll get to that later.
Don't get all defensive! First of all, card snark doesn't have to be bad. Maybe your querent needs some tough love: a kick in the pants to snap them out of it before they can see their situation clearly. Maybe your querent has the kind of sense of humor that will appreciate the irony of a pack of cards communicating through sarcastic zingers.
To get to the root of whats going on, and to find out if it needs to be addressed, take a quick time out, and assess your feelings about this querent. Did her or his question force you to suppress an eye roll? Have you done one too many readings for this person lately? Maybe it's not this particular querent. Have you done too many 'finding true love' readings lately? What about too many readings in general? We tend to resort to sarcasm and bluntness when we're just too mentally exhausted to speak in a more nuanced manner. This could be a symptom of burn-out. If you need a break, take it.
If none of those things are true, then maybe this is just the way you're sensing your querent needs to hear the message. Let it fly, but be willing to accept the consequences.
There is one other possibility, and that's our other source of card snark: the querent! Red flags that this is the case is if your querent is the one pointing out the card's snappiness, or if you already know your querent is proficient in snark him or herself. If snark is the language your querent is fluent in, that's the language the tarot is going to speak. If the querent expects or thinks he or she deserves to be scolded by the tarot, that's the voice he or she is going to hear.
If that's the case, be honest about the voice you're hearing. Point out ways the tarot is tempering its harsh message (if there are any). Talk to the querent about how the tarot will generally reflect the inner voice of one of the two of you, and if it's the querent in this case, he or she should think about how frequently she or he is this tough on him or herself. The solution the querent seeks may be as simple as cutting her or himself some slack, or cultivating some compassion.
Do the cards ever get snarky when you do readings for yourself? When it's just you, does it give you a laugh, or do you find it unsettling? The cards may be asking you to confront your snarky (shadow) side! Sometimes we kind of want to say mean things. Sometimes we feel like being smart-asses. If we try to shove that down, it's going to pop out somewhere as the Tower, and we know that's no fun! Give your sarcastic self a little room to run in situations where you know no one's going to get hurt. The tarot can also give you snark for the same reasons it gives snark to a querent: should you know this lesson by now? Are you over-using the tarot and tuckering out your subconscious? Give it a rest, and see if it's a little sweeter next time.
Do you have anything to add to the tarot snark conversation? Is there a reason for card snark that I missed? Let me know! Maybe I'll bring up card snark this weekend at the first (as far as we're concerned!) Brooklyn Tarot Meet-up! I'm really looking forward to an evening chatting and playing with cards over local beers in Carol Gardens, and I'm also looking forward to blogging about it in my next Tarot post. Until then, happy taroting!