One of my favorite characteristics of working with the playing cards is that the cards rarely mean only one thing. I learned with other oracles that the cards should stick to answering the question, and only the question. I was taught that any divergent interpretation will invariably lead to an inaccurate reading. I don’t know if that is true of Tarot, but it is the way I was taught to read Lenormand.
The playing cards are multidimensional. They always provide a straightforward answer to any question, but with their diverse meanings they will almost always provide additional information not at all related to that question. In my experience this additional information is unfailingly valid and accurate. I find the same thing can happen when I read the Italian Sibilla, which is one reason why I love the Sibilla so much.
The advantage of using a multidimensional oracle is that you can get a lot of general information from just a few cards. In the 1990’s I worked the monthly psychic fair at a metaphysical bookstore. Client expectations were somewhat different from today. Back then people expected me to dive in immediately and tell them about their lives. Questions would come later, based on the initial reading. Now clients tend to be much more focused on a specific question or area of life they want to explore. Anyway, back in the day I could give a life reading in 20 minutes with only eight or ten cards on the table. Each card would function two or three different ways in the layout and cover a lot of detailed information– most of which was immediately meaningful and valid for the client.
The following reading is an interesting example of a multidimensional spread that I did for a female client recently. Let’s call her Jan, and thank her for allowing me to post her reading publicly for educational purposes. Jan is a 42 year old female who has taken the first steps toward creating her own business. She contacted me for a 5-Card email reading to ask how I see the new business developing in the next few months. Here are the cards that appeared in her reading…
I first review the number of cards from each suit, and their interactions, to get a general feeling for the energy surrounding the question. The Spade jumps out immediately. It’s a small value Spade so I know it’s not a big obstacle, but it can definitely show delays or slow progress. The Spade is surrounded by Diamonds, which represent spirit, energy and optimism. The Diamonds show me the energy and enthusiasm invested in the business, and help to mollify that nasty Spade. The remaining cards are Clubs which represent progress and growth and good luck. I already have a good impression of how the business will develop just by analyzing the card suits.
In a Line of Five I next look to the center card, which I like to call the pivot card, or hinge pin of the reading. This one card alone will often answer the question, and the surrounding cards will help fill in the details surrounding the matter. The Jack of Diamonds is a good card in financial readings. It can be about profits and cash flow. But the Jack is the face card with the least value in a suit of cards. It indicates the start of something, or a small increase. The Jack of Diamonds confirms the answer. It shows a good financial start, and some small but solid progress over the next few months.
Now let’s dig into the surrounding cards to get more information…
The 4 of Spades is a card of restrictions and slow movement. It confirms a slow start for the business. The 9 of Clubs is a great card for business. It shows forward movement, and gives a sense of heading in the right direction. There can be no doubt that progress will be slow at first, but the client is definitely on the right track with her new business, and on the right road to eventual success.
Finally let’s look at the first and last cards in the spread. The first card represents the premise of the situation in question. The Ace of Diamonds shows a new beginning. It confirms the theme of the reading, and let’s me know that the cards are responding accurately to the question. The final card represents the outcome, and it shows change– all of the fives represent change in one form or another. The 5 of Clubs is a change in a social or work/business situation. It’s always a change for the better, unless followed by an unfavorable card. In this case, the 5 of Clubs ends the row of cards, showing the continued progress and growth of the business into the future.
The cards have satisfactorily answered the question. But something else jumped out at me about this reading. The Jack of Diamonds with the 4 of Spades suggests a young person who is not feeling well. The 4 of Spades can be a card of illness, and it always grabs my attention when it falls in a spread. The surrounding Diamonds suggest a nervous problem, stress, or low energy. That felt right to me. I saw a young person, probably male, who was feeling depressed or exhausted. I saw this person taking a trip (9 of Clubs) to the country (5 of Clubs)– perhaps a camping trip. This person needs to get away, and recharge (Ace of Diamonds). The 5 of Clubs promises that the trip will bring a positive change to both his social and work life.
I always share the alternative interpretations I see in a reading. I’ve learned that this additional information can be important to the client. In this case the client confirmed that her son was feeling burned out from school and his job, and had developed some health issues related to stress. He had not mentioned any plans to travel, so I advised the mom to suggest a trip for the son to spend some time in nature. I assured her that the cards suggested that the trip would be beneficial for her son, and that the young man would be fine.
When the cards show a problem, they invariably also indicate one or more solutions. The client was grateful for the alternate interpretation because she was worried about her son. The cards, in their multidimensional and helpful ways, answered the client’s question, and also addressed a matter that had been stewing in the back of her mind.