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Is anyone here knowledgeble about tarot fortune telling?

Discussion in 'Research' started by Anders Ämting, Feb 12, 2013.

  1. Early in my book I want to have one of my characters make a tarot reading for herself, the results of which forshadows the plot. I don't want to spell out what the cards mean, but rather have my character look at them and go: "What the...? That can't be right." The plan was that any reader who also knows their way around tarot cards would be able to figure out what they mean, sort of like a bonus.

    My prelimenary research seems a bit disappointing, though - there doesn't seem to be any established and agreed upon way to enterpret the cards.

    I'm wondering if there are at least any general guidelines in common use that I can go by? I recall getting a little instruction manual with my own tarot deck but I have no idea where it is these days.
     
  2. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    I'd be happy to help you. I have a very good book about tarot and have done some really good readings. Of course there are a lot of ways to interpret, but for instance, if you draw a card, you interpret it the same every time. So for me, it might look like misfortune, but for my friend, she might always interpret that card as "be cautious". Or something. If you tell me about your plot and how you want the reading to go down, I'll make a suggestion for the spread and its interpretation. Then, if you need more in depth than that, we can do a private chat sometime and I can explain more.

    Hope that helps you.
     
  3. Aravelle

    Aravelle Sage

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    I can help as well, as I know some tarot [I read faerie tarot]. As Caged said, some people interpret cards differently than others, and it also depends on the situation/context. I'd need more details on the storyline to give more advice, but I think Caged will probably have it covered. :<
     
  4. Kit

    Kit Maester

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    Like most aspects of Paganism, ask 4 tarot readers a question and get 9 different answers. :rolleyes:

    Not only do some readers *not* interpret a card the same every time, but they can interpret it differently according to where it falls in the spread, what cards are around it, whether it's upside down, and all sorts of other factors.

    My favorite deck is the Robin Wood. The drawings are very detailed, and in her book, she goes through and describes what every little tiny thing means (to her) right down to the color of the moth on the guy's sleeve or the number of the flowers on the bush in the background. After reading that, it can be interesting to look at a spread with *any* deck and observe what jumps out at you, and what that means to *you*. Some people like to use an intuitive approach like that (they may not even study traditional card meanings at all), while others like to cookbook it.
     
    Guru Coyote likes this.
  5. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    I played with the cards when I was at varsity. As I understand it there are at least a few different decks, tellers can interpret the cards in all sorts of strange ways, and over the years things have changed greatly.

    For example most people see the grim reaper card as meaning death, and are always told that's wrong. It means transformation, perhaps the death of an old life and the start of a new one. But that's just modern readings given to people so as not to drive them away (remember we are talking about fortune tellers here who like repeat business). Traditionally the reaper meant death.

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  6. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    Seems like you got it down pretty good from others, but I would further recommend possibly purchasing a set with a manual. They can be pretty cheap. My first set was ~$20

    Does "varsity" mean something different than the upper levels of an athletics team in British English?
     
  7. Thanks, everyone. I don't have much to work with right now but at least I know there are people here who knows a bit about this. Will be in touch.

    Does that mean the Devil used to mean the actual Devil too? :p

    I'm not sure I could find one in these parts. I haven't seen any around, anyway.
     
  8. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    I recently wrote a scene where a priestess casts runes and gets a really weird reading. I think playing with scrying in novels can add an element of foreshadowing or straight-up confuse the character or reader so as to create drama. If you're interested in am sample spread, let me know and I'll "do a fake reading" for your situation. The wonderful part of writing it is you can make your reading say anything you want and leave it as clear or cryptic as you want for your character to sort out. In mine, I made the woman draw a rune that typically symbolizes marriage, which confuses her because she's not able to marry. SO I leave her questioning the interpretation and wondering what it means. If you'd like to see the scene I wrote, I'll be happy to PM it.
     
  9. Caged Maiden

    Caged Maiden Staff Article Team

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    The Tarot Handbook: Practical Applications of Ancient Visual Symbols: Angeles Arrien: 9780874778953: Amazon.com: Books

    This is by far the best trot book I've read. I bought it because I loved it so much, and then I purchased this deck (which has beautiful artwork). I also used a simpler Moon Garden Tarot deck many years ago, and while I'm no fortune-teller, I love the symbols and named my latest batch of arrows primarily using "virtues" in this Thoth deck. www.Eiksoft.com - Thoth Tarot Program

    Hope that helps you do research if you don't get the answers you need. :)

    Here's the arrows if you want to see:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2013
  10. Kit

    Kit Maester

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    Mary Greer wrote a set of books in the 80's that were interesting to work with, in that they involved exploratory projects that you could do with spreads in order to see different patterns and such.

    Another thing I did that was interesting and fun (although- like Greer's workbooks- probably not a feat for the casual hobbyist) was a "card a day" project. I had (IIRC) 3 decks and about a dozen tarot books by different authors. I worked my way through a deck by picking one card every morning, looking at the corresponding card in all of my decks, then reading what each author had to say about that card. Then I took exhaustive notes, not only on what the books said but about whatever impressions came to me. At the end of the day, I looked over the notes again and thought about things that had happened during my day in relation to that particular card. Some really amazing "coincidences" occurred.
     
  11. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    I bought mine in Barnes & Noble in the "New Age" section.

    Here's a few Amazon links to consider: Rider Waite, Marseilles tarot, and Easy Tarot.

    I started with a variation of the Rider Waite; supposedly Marseilles is the traditional one. The Easy one is included because of the name.
     
  12. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

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    unless your wanting to read tarot professionally, why not just use the web and find the basics?
    Basic Tarot for Beginners
    Seems like anything more people here should be able to answer.
    Research is important, finding information with as little cost output as possible is best. (because we like to research alot.)
     
  13. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    I didn't want to imply you have to pay for it, but if you want to get the experience yourself, then it helps to have a deck and do a few for yourself, friends, family etc. Same thing for fighting, I draw storyboards, act out moves and think them through in my head (when I have some experience and background fighting). If I had never fought before and was forced to rely solely upon research, I'm not saying it can't be good, but just that some actual experience can help.

    An experience is worth 1,000 words of research (depending on your ability to analyze what's happened compared to the ability of finding good research and their ability in analyzing what's happened).
     
  14. Guru Coyote

    Guru Coyote Archmage

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    A lot has already been said, so I'll try to only add my 2c...

    A common thing to most ways of reading cards (or any oracle really) is to
    * ask a question
    * then draw a card, cast the runes, lay a spread...
    The 'divination' is then usually interpreted in context to the original question.

    One thought regarding the original post, and a reading inside a story:
    I do this in my stories, and I have also used this method as gamemaster in RPGs for years:
    I use cards (tarot and similar) to *create* the story, find NPCs, define plot twists and settings.
    In one of my games, the cards have a double role: they exist as a game mechanic (we do not roll dice) AND they exist in the story. The setting revolves around a set of mythical tarot cards. So for example the characters might be presented by their mentor with a card at the beginning of the story. This in-story cards usually defines their mission. On the GM / player level, I have one player draw a card from the actual deck.

    So, maybe you can use a similar approach to 'build' your story outline (a card for the antagonist, one for the central theme etc etc)... and then use those cards to appeat in the spread the character lays out at the beginning of the story...

    BTW, I am in no way inventing any of this. Several books have been written this way, and if you search the web you will find a ton of material. Try "tarot storytelling" or "tarot story structure"

    have fun :)
     
  15. I feel we're getting a bit off track here.

    I know there are books and websites and stuff about this subject, but what I really need to know is wether or not there is any common ground when it comes to interpretations. Like, would it be correct to say that most people agree Death should be read as "change", for example? Is there any kind of authority on this?
     
  16. Kit

    Kit Maester

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    No, it is anarchy. :D

    When I was doing my card-a-day project with the dozen different reference books, I observed wide latitude in interpretations- yet there would be some common threads.

    For your purpose, I would recommend referencing perhaps 3 different sources. Look at their interpretations of a single card. Pick out the elements that show up in all three sources. There's your baseline information.
     
  17. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    Agreed with Kit. There are threads carried through different interpretations, but they might not even be recognizable to the people doing the reading, let alone the casual observer. Even most single decks / philosophies give wide latitude to the reader about how to interpret different cards and their placement. You could take two people taught by the same person with the same question and the same draw and they might interpret it differently.
     
  18. Guru Coyote

    Guru Coyote Archmage

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    The common thread between interpretations (and schools of thought) are usually on the level of *concepts* ... which are then *interpreted* (interpretation by its very definition being an individual thing)

    For example, the Emperor card is commonly assosciated with the concept of authority, of a fatherly figure. From there you can go most anywhere when this card appears... All the way to having it point towards a *rebell* ... the rebell is concerned with authoriy... only from the opposite direction. (this would be an interpretation when the Emperor shows up inverted)

    As such, you might find agreement on what each card stands for, what it relates to... but surely not on its case to case interpretation.
     
  19. Kit

    Kit Maester

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    Anders, you can take heart from knowing that however you portray it, nobody will really have grounds to tell you you're "doing it wrong". :p
     
  20. Guru Coyote

    Guru Coyote Archmage

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    Exactly.
    Actually.. if you were to imply there was One Right Reading of any card... THAT might be were you would be called wrong :)
     
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