Still workin’ these cool questions posted on Tumblr by Rhee what seems an age ago…She asks:
How much emphasis do you put on the text-book meanings for cards, and how much stress do you place on the “feeling” you get from cards through their artwork/symbolism/etc. (aka reading intuitively)? Do you do both, or one or the other?
I do both, about 50/50, really. Let’s take a card (any card!) and see how that works, at least for me.
First, I look inside my memory for keywords from the traditional meanings of the card and its suit: a little money, start of a business or investment opportunity, new gardening project, new/small health news; new abundance generally. Themes are new, small, financial, health, garden/home. The fact that it’s an Ace, a 1, meaning beginnings or potential.
The specific choices will depend on the question and the relationship to other cards in the spread (due to my affection for the Lenormand linguistic reading system, I like to have three or more cards in Tarot to create real meaning for a question).
Second, I look at the visual stuff in the card and see what “comes to me” (the intuition part), also based on the question or other cards in the draw. I see a hand coming from a cloud as if offering a golden opportunity; so this new gift of money or other material abundance (health or home improvement) is coming from somewhere unexpected, maybe. Also, the opportunity being offered could mean moving out into the outdoors or the larger world (see the mountain in the distance and the lovely path and opening in the hedge). Also, it looks like the flowers in the garden might be lilies, which have meanings of their own (I’ve heard everything from sexuality to purity). So, maybe getting focused on a new path to abundance, or feeling passionate about it.
The first part of taking meanings from the tradition forms the basis for the intuitive part, and the intuitive part depends also on the deck used. I will pull ideas from the imagery in the card, and this can vary, of course, depending on the deck. Take Ciro Marchetti’s Legacy of the Divine Tarot Ace of Coins:
Same traditional meanings apply, but when we get to the intuitive/visual portion, we’ve got some different imagery to deal with. The association of pentacles/coins with the Earth element is very much in the forefront here. The little hedgehog reinforces the newness thing to me, as well as the in-the-earth concept. And the acorns speak of the initiation of material growth (also health). Lots of greenery, so a further sense of growing abundance. Bees and ladybugs giving a sense of spring and new growth. But in this case, the gift of growth comes from the Earth herself and not from an “angel” in the sky. All of these elements would feed into my interpretation if I were using this card instead of the traditional RWS.
So, given all the different symbolism opportunities, how would you see these cards? For example, I know there are traditional meanings associated with ivy, and there’s ivy in the LDT card. How would that affect your reading? Or would you make anything out of the pentacle itself besides its traditional coin/financial meaning? In Wiccan tradition, the five-sided star itself has all sorts of associations. I’d love to learn more about the symbolism, from those in the know. 🙂