I flipped over the Ten of Swords. The man in front of me groaned. He had just come out of a nasty divorce and was asking about meeting someone new. “That’s a bad card.” he declared with a defeated look on his face.
Pointing out the sun rising in the background, I showed him that there was hope on the horizon. I wasn’t trying to negate the pain shown in the cards. Instead, I was illuminating the other side of this card. They symbol of the sunrise is an archetype of new beginnings. And that’s the cool thing about tarot cards: they are rich in symbols and carry many meanings. Which leads me to say this:
There are no bad cards. There are no good cards. The cards are neutral. It’s what you see in them and how you feel that determines whether they are positive or not.
A pessimist will always see the worst in a card while an optimist will often look for the best. Somewhere in the middle lies the truth.
Here’s a tarotcise that I like to do with my students: pull a card and then look for both the “good” and “bad” aspects of that card.
For example, the Ace of Pentacles is considered a great card to see in a tarot reading. But if you look at the card, there is a gateway and no clear view of what’s on the other side. The flip side of this card can be uncertainty.
Using another card as an example, the Five of Swords shows a battle field with people crying and stormy weather. This card is usually interpreted as a victory through deceit. But if we take the view of the victor, another interpretation emerges: you see the potential for pain and storm clouds and get the hell out of the way.
See how that works?
The reason why this tarotcise is potent is because as I said before the cards are neutral. You can always find empowerment in a negative card – and you can find problems with a positive one.
By looking at both aspects of a tarot card, you get a well-rounded approach and, more importantly, you get your preconceived notions about the card out of the way.
That being said, I am always thrilled to see The Sun…cause I’m biased like that.