What I often stress in my teachings on the Marseille Tarot is how to develop a sense of an internal elastic according to the most basic principles that go into the idea and practice of stretching it. How far do you stretch it? How far do you stretch what you see, how you put it, what you infer the logical way? How far do you stretch your impressions? How far do you stretch the boundaries of the form of your divination? How far do you stretch your vision of yourself as a diviner? If you can say unambiguously, ‘this much’, you’re an Ace.
In my years of teaching divination, ambiguity has been the biggest issue. When I sat down to create my divination courses under the signature of Read like the Devil, chief among my concerns was to address how you get beyond ambiguity.
‘Like this’ and ‘this much’ was the aim of my elastic. Boom. Or, slash, if you prefer the martial arts metaphor for cutting it to the bones.
In my latest book, The Power of the Trumps and Pips, an omnibus edition that collates two earlier works alongside new material, what I added that’s most fascinating is a long chapter on method that is all about the elastic of precision. From observing the rules of formal design and composition as it connects to rhetoric and storytelling to the use of semantic and syntactic markers, the idea is to practice flow.
One of the best ways of developing coherence is to place cards in rows, and read them in line. The trick is to let your internal elastic stretch in the background of what you say.
Let me give an example: I read the cards today for a ‘changing lanes situation.’ As people experience all sorts of shifts in their life conditions, changing lanes is not only desirable but more often than not absolutely necessary. While this necessity or desire can be recognized, it is not so with the clarity around it. The ‘how’ in the changing of lanes may be easier, as this presupposes the use of the same vehicle on the same road. But where the road is going is not always a given. You change lanes, and then a fork in the road arises. Left or right? Urgh, the ambivalence… Nasty business.
So I read the cards in anticipation of the fork in the road.
Let’s see what I got today. I hope you can follow the narrative, as it’s pretty self-explanatory. I won’t name the cards, but note that I start with Death and end with the Knight of Cups. The reading follows the ‘stacking of the cards’ method, which is to say that I read columns rather than rows. Here’s how I went about it, addressing the issue in conversation with the querent and the cards:
‘Halt,’ says death to the driver. Look at who’s charging against you. Not only did you make the decision to change lanes, but there’s already aggressive competition. If you’re friends with the man of money, then move with it, change gears, get in the fast lanes by hook and crook, and on my Devil, exert attraction. Sit down and review the small print, then make a proposition of value. Women are not always the enemy. There’s fairness and beauty in the world, a good reason to raise the many cups and celebrate. Only great strength can match the heavy working load, until you need to rest, let out a fiery sigh, before you return to working in a completely focussed way to great appreciation.
As you can see, it doesn’t take long to think in these terms, that is to say, to think with the 20 cards on the table. People often ask me, how long does it take you to go through the cards? My answer is always simple: it takes me exactly as long as I can say it. Once I start, I keep going. For the purpose of illustration, I actually timed myself for this one. It took me exactly 42 seconds to say what I just wrote above. Neat, no?
It’s all in the elastic. I can’t think of a better way to put it. I can’t think of a better method of reading the cards. I left out the details for the context here, as I can’t always share all my client readings, but suffice it to say that what I said in almost one breath made perfect sense to the querent.
We both looked at the cards, and nodded. Nodding is the final marker of the stretch.
It was exactly ‘this much,’ beyond any ambiguity.
If you want to learn more about the elastic, then now is your chance to register for the final run of the Marseille Tarot Foundation Course. If you can’t, I invite you to check out the omnibus edition of The Power of the Trumps and Pips.
Why the final run? As I’ve already stated last year my intent to turn my foundation courses material into books, 2021 will be the year of a trilogy, when the foundation courses will go out as soon as the books are in. So if it’s a dynamic discussion and direct feedback on student work that you want to experience, then I invite you to participate in this course. We’re almost 150 people in the group, and I predict that we’ll have a blast. Registration closes tomorrow, at midnight, Copenhagen time.