Monday, November 11, 2013

The Omily Tarot: Inspiration from Unexpected Places

You probably have a mix of friends in terms of the tarot: some who are into it like you are, some who are curious, but not fascinated, some who are curious, but simultaneously spooked, and some who think the whole thing is nonsense. I love talking tarot with other tarot enthusiasts (see the Brooklyn Tarot Meet-Up group on Facebook), but on the other hand, some of the coolest tarot lessons I've ever learned have come from people at the other end of the spectrum. Surprised? Why? You know what the Buddhists say: "In the beginner's mind, there are many possibilities. In the expert's, there are few."  People who can look at the tarot with objectivity instead of awe, and questions instead of answers are inevitably going to see possibilities in it that you'll miss.

Here's an example:

The husband and I were in Korea visiting a couple of friends of ours teaching English there.  We were in a foreigner bar in Busan drinking beers and laughing about the differences between Korean and American culture, when I pulled out my tarot deck (because tarot readings done a couple of beers in at a bar are always the best ones.  Seriously).  Rose and Audrey (our friends) were asking questions about how it worked, how you did a reading, etc., so to keep it simple, I just laid out one card for each of us on the square table.  It made for a fun spread: four cards each facing a different direction. I was picking up all kinds of ideas from each card for each person, and not really listening to my husband explaining how he saw the tarot as a jumping off point: what was interesting about it was what the images provoked in you, 'cause whatevs, I know all about it, right?

And then he reached both hands over the cards, and rotated all of them 90 degrees around the center of the table, so now each of us was looking at a different card. I was pretty miffed. I had been in the middle of working out interpretations for each card, and I had been totally yanked out of my flow.  How was I supposed to remember what I had had in mind for each person now that the cards were all different?  But then, looking at the new arrangement, different ideas started jumping out at me.  I was tempted to point out that these weren't the cards that had been chosen for each person...but did I really believe it mattered?  If the Universe had a truth to tell, wouldn't it find its way out regardless? And wasn't the husband talking about something I had often said: that the cards function as inkblots, reflecting back to us whatever issues we're currently working with?

There are actually tons of possibilities for spreads that move the cards around on purpose, or tarot reading exercises where different people get the chance to interpret different cards in light of different positions, but I never would have considered the possibility without the husband's beginner mind getting all up in my spread.

Admit it: don't we all have a nasty habit of tuning out when someone who's a mere dabbler in a field we're crazy about starts to talk about it?  We assume we must know more than this person, so anything they have to say will just be a repeat, or something that will never work, but that's not always the case.  Next time you're talking about what you do with someone who doesn't do it, let me be an opportunity to mine that person for fresh perspective.  I'll bet you a drink at the next Tarot meet up that you'll come away with something awesome to ponder. ;-)

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