Much of what we do with the Tarot is reflect on the questions that we bring to the table.
But think of it this way: There are questions, and then there are the better questions: questions that we are conscious of, and questions that we are not conscious of.
Often the questions we are not so conscious of creep into what we see in the cards: You formulate a question to the cards, and then there’s the question that stares you in the face; the question that the cards formulate on your behalf; the question that you dodge.
The cards have a nasty, but I would also say, tender and loving way of making what is unconscious conscious. We pay for this love with honesty. But isn’t this the idea, to read cards in order to be honest? I should hope so.
How do we deal with the questions that the cards formulate for us?
Here’s an idea for everyone, offered in love and kindness, so you can see what I mean. I use for this example one of my favorite decks, Der Akron Tarot.
Suppose you ask the classical question about a relationship that’s not working:
What’s up with this relationship?
We get the High Priestess, The Hanged Man, and Judgment.
In a straightforward reading we could say that what’s up with it is that nothing is happening to begin with, as the agents involved are either hiding something (The High Priestess) or feel impotent (The Hanged Man).
Then a lot of shit happens all of a sudden (Judgment).
Agency is taken away from both parties, and they find themselves thrown into the opposite of the reflective states, which, incidentally, both the High Priestess and the Hanged Man embody to some extent (self-imposed meditation for her, forced meditation for him, unless the man is Odin, hanging himself on purpose in exchange for some knowledge).
The big circus on the Judgment card, what with the dead rising, and the angel making a lot of noise blowing into his trumpet all the way to the crescent moon, throws the two into action.
But this is not the kind of action that either of the parties is in control of. This can be both good and bad, depending on each their luck.
Let me ask YOU a question, the cards say…
Now, suppose you looked at your cards from the perspective of letting them articulate a question. Relationship can still be the focus.
How about this, first a series of questions for her:
How often do you think of your role in this relationship as having to do with Pandora’s box?
How often do you pop surprisingly, and not always pleasantly, in your lover’s face every time he tries to open you?
If he is the type who resigns to whatever the situation, do you help him liberate himself from his regret that he cannot figure you out, or do you leave it to the higher forces to fix it?
Then a series of questions for him:
If you know you can do nothing about your predicament – you’re here to hang – then what business do you have to poke at the Priestess’s forbidden box? You know the rule: You open secrets, you pay for them. Are you prepared for whatever you find in the box?
If not, if you just sit there and stare in bewilderment, are you ready for the ensuing circus? Others will grab you, force you to play a role you’d rather not, or fling you to the public, deliver you to the city square to be drawn and quartered.
Prompt yourself to the better question
As you can see, we can do many more things with the cards, than have them answer questions.
We can ask them to show us what the better question is for whatever concern we may have.
In my work with helping people nuance their questioning skills, I offer occasionally a series of tarot prompts. A new one, focused on Coping, is starting on December 1 through December 22. One prompt a day for 22 days. This is a solstice offering (my standard is 11 prompts in a row).
I invite everyone to join the group that’s forming, if you’re interested in learning how we can use the cards to see and hear what kind of questions they formulate for us. The series of prompts is also aesthetically pleasing, as I use a different deck for each prompt from my collection.
Hop on board. Our focus this time around is a relevant theme, coping and alternatives to coping (as I think coping drains us of all our energy).
You will be added to a group and have the possibility to interact with your fellow prompters. We are 45 right now. The prompts come in the form of blog posts on a private platform, though you don’t need an account to access the prompts.
A fun way to spend the time in December, focusing on how you cope with all the demands placed on you, including your holiday shopping.
Registration closes on November 30.
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