Tarot and the present moment

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Katrina Wynn asks: “Is Tarot only for answers? There is an assumption of many that working with Tarot is always based on a question-answer dynamic.”

She offers this thoughtful perspective:

“I would like to pose an alternative point-of-view. What if working with Tarot was taken out of the context of reading for answers to questions—moving away from the anticipated predictive or informative hunt for the who-what-why-when-where answers of this contractual agreement? To do this, we need to bring our focus into the present, the Now, instead of forecasting the future based on events from the past. Basically, asking a question is a call and the answer or reading is a response….call and response…action and reaction…cause and effect.

Someone is reading this and already going into the thought that a desire for self-enrichment is still an inquiry into the cards, such as “How can the cards enhance some aspect of myself or my life?” So let’s simplify this exploration more, moving further from expecting satisfaction of our inquiries.

As Marshall Rosenberg expressed in his teachings about Nonviolent Communication, we all have needs, uniquely expressed through our individual character. These are our motivating forces and the roots of our emotional responses to life when our needs are meet or unmet. For example, if I need food but I’m in a location where food is not available, I may become anxious. If I am in a cold environment and I am sitting close to a fire, I can feel content for my needs for safety and comfort are being met.

These needs can be divided into at least seven basic categories: autonomy, connection, physical well-being, integrity, play, peace, and meaning.

We could have a long and interesting discussion about the fundamental contrast between needs and desires and I could certainly embrace a variety of views, but for the sake of this exploration, I would like to differentiate the satisfaction of a need from the longing for a desired outcome. I am purposely not addressing the spiritual definition of desire in terms of longing for oneness with God/Goddess or the Beloved, for I am placing that concept into the needs category…meaning.

Of course, satisfying needs, such as companionship or safety, is what drives most querents into Tarot readings, but addressing certain needs are not necessarily in the form of questions requiring responses—action taken with an anticipated reaction. Please allow me to share examples of what I am proposing.

I may have an essential need for visual beauty in my life and am particularly drawn to the artwork in a special Tarot deck. My impulse is to display these cards in a way that enriches my life, not as a response to a lack of beauty, but as an enhancer. Again, not from a perspective that something is missing or needs to be found, but, rather, icing on the fabulous cake that I am already enjoying. The art stands on its own and has no message about future or past perspectives, yet may transmit a message in a moment of synchronicity. Note the release of expectations.

Enrique Enriquez promotes a wonderful practice, what I call a “walking meditation”, where life can imitate Tarot cards, or visa versa. The curl of a palm frond may be reflected in the curve on a Marseille Tarot card, as in the “Two of Pentacles.” There was no question and the synchronistic connection stands on its own—whether there is meaning or not, be it a spontaneous coincidence or a resonance with nature.

In other words, there was no seeking for this connection, yet there was an openness to recognizing it the moment it appeared.

This can be extended into the chaos of connecting with people as well. When we release the longing and effort to connect with others and replace it with openness to opportunities as they arise, just being present in the moment with no preconceived agenda for filling our desire for a particular type of relationship, natural magic happens. We release the old structures that limit our access to new possibilities. We become more authentically ourselves for we release expectations and attachments to a particular outcome, a limitation in itself, especially in our personal presentation or energy.

Now, let’s take this opportunity for connection into our relationship with the cards (or whatever oracle you choose). When we pay attention to the meaningful potential that is already present in each card, we can play in the present, dance or delight, rebuke or condemn, but always with an open attitude of exploration with our friend, the Tarot. Perhaps associations to our past or future freely appear. In that moment what transpires is a gift, not an answer to a question.

Additional ways of relating with the Tarot include meditating on the image of a card. Meditation upon a sacred image is a technique promoted in many spiritual traditions. Since most meditation is a form of stilling the mind and facilitating guidance for our thoughts, these is no seeking, unless that is your expressed purpose for the meditation. And again, connections and messages can appear, but may not be the intended outcome of the meditation.

But what about actually reading the cards? Can there be no question or attachment to outcome when approaching a reading? I would say there is, again, depending on your attitude and expectations. We can embrace what is called “Beginner’s Mind” in Zen and other Buddhist practices, where we clear ourselves of any attachment or expectation and just turn the card over with curiosity and presence, suspending our interpretation of the card, being absolutely in the moment. This, too, is like a meditative practice for it requires managing that part of the mind that craves answers and wants to put concepts into recognizable boxes.

Beginner’s Mind and presence are qualities that I endeavor to embrace and promote in my Tarot practice. Less emphasis is made on asking questions or receiving answers, but more on the process of relating with the cards, their energy and essence, and gleaning any meaning that may be useful in the moment as guidance, not as prediction or mandate. It is an open relationship with the cards where they are free to explore whatever they like as we dance together in mutual enrichment.”

Katrina Wynne, known for her work with Tarot Counseling. She is author of “An Introduction to Transformative Tarot Counseling”, a Kindle e-book and will be offering a unique presentation at Reader’s Studio 2017 in the “Tarot and Psychology Conference”.

She facilitates online study programs for beginning to professional lovers and readers of Tarot. Her two courses and 20 webinars can be found at the following link:

http://TarotCounseling.org ~ website
http://MySacredJourney.org ~ weblog
http://OracleSoup.org ~ podcast with Gina Thies