tarot for beauty

page of swords

the princess or page of swords from the zerner-farber deck

tarot cards have interested me for quite a few years. i started playing around with using them for getting insight into situations back in 2005 but could never really get into it. i got some books and a few decks, but just like arthur rosengarten says in his fabulous book about tarot and psychology, like so many others in my profession, i was turned off by the idea of fortune telling, which has never interested me. methinks that part of the future is completely unknowable, and much of the rest if what you create for yourself, so what’s the point in fortune telling?

and then in february of this year, it all changed.  i found the right deck. i’m still not interested in predicting the future but it is as if suddenly a door opened and i have been given the gift of seeing how tarot cards can be used. they are these beautiful pictures that can help us look deeper into an issue that interests or troubles us and see a much wider “spectrum of possibilities”, as arthur rosengarten says. (i have to say i’m comforted by the fact that dr. rosengarten is a well-respected psychologist who has spent many years studying the applicability of tarot to the helping profession. makes me feel a little less weird.)

for the last 9 months then i have spent an inordinate amount of time with tarot cards. one of the things that i find particularly interesting is having what i call “tarot conversations”. it is one (or maybe two) of those tarot conversations that i am donating to the beauty for a cause fundraiser this week, a fundraiser for beauty night, a very, very worthwhile charity that builds self esteem and changes the lives of women and youth living in poverty through three streams of programming: wellness, life skills development and makeovers.

in tarot conversations, the other person (the “sitter”) and i discuss the sitter’s issue in light of tarot cards that the sitter chooses – usually at random, sometimes on purpose. i listen carefully to the impressions and ideas that the cards evoke in the sitter and then add my own observations. we may choose additional cards, remove some cards, or rearrange them. in the end, we will probably come up with one action idea to pursue.

lately, i’ve also done quite a few online “readings”. here is a real life example. (i have gotten permission from the person to blog about this.)

question:
i would like to know how i should approach my next significant relationship. what should i do and not do to get along well and avoid misunderstandings and hurt, which have been a problem in the past.

answer:
i’m a counsellor first and foremost and would feel remiss if i didn’t share with you same basic information about this topic. john gottman is the expert on relationships – nobody that i know of has studied the topic as deeply as he. i have been following him off and on for the last 12+ years, and have yet to see something where i disagree with him. and i’m saying this not only as a counsellor but also as someone who after several failed attempts has been in a happy relationship for 20 years now. anyway, gottman’s principles are here http://www.gottman.com/54756/about-gottman-method-couples-therapy.html.

so … let’s get to your questions …

i used the zerner-farber deck.

what you could do to get along well
king of swords
a strong warrior decked out in full roman garb. his helmet has wings. his right hand rests on an immense shield. he is girded with a big, broad sword. his left holds a lance; a white dove flies across the top. the king looks like he might be standing in the clouds. the top of the card shows two identical coats-of-arms.

my immediate impression is that this guy has no interest in war but by jove, if you threaten his peace, he will protect his people and fight to the last drop. it feels like a card of strength of the best kind – exactly the kind of king a country would want to have.

the implication is easy to read: be in peace with your new mate, but make it clear to him in the way you carry yourself that you are strong and know how to protect yourself. then you can “fly” with him 🙂 (the suit of swords is usually associated with the element of air, which usually points to matters of the mind; maybe you’ll find companionship particularly in the area of intellectual pursuits.)

what you could do to avoid misunderstandings
princess of swords
a very well-dressed lady intently reading a letter – of good news, apparently because she looks happy and excited. she appears to be standing in a park. a big lacy white butterfly is flying in the blue sky.

a very obvious card: pay attention to what is communicated to you, and there will be butterflies and blue skies 🙂 that sounds a bit corny but in my experience it is very true. paying attention to what is said to you, to body language and what is written to you (and not reading into it what’s not there) is an absolute must for the success of any relationship, not just a romantic one.

what you could do to avoid getting hurt
chariot
a man wearing a bedouin-type headdress and a long blue cloth around his waist is riding to the right atop a mythical creature that looks like a cross between a horse and a stag. he is looking back and riding very fast. we can see a butterfly directly above him.

what can you do to avoid getting hurt? when you see the signs (because you’ve paid attention like the princess of swords), get on your horse and run! there is absolutely no reason to stay. and because you gave signals yourself (in the king of swords) that you are not a victim, you probably won’t attract people who are out to hurt you. since this is a major arcana (one of the 22 powerful “trump” cards that tarot decks have in addition to the normal playing cards) i think this message is particularly strong.

general ideas for your next relationship
three of hearts reversed
three teenaged girls prancing about in light dancing clothes, each carrying a heart high over her head.

since this card is reversed, i think this card may be saying not to forget that relationships with men are different from relationships with our girlfriends. i myself sometimes fall into the trap of wanting my husband to be like my best friends – and darn, he isn’t! he’s not a woman, he doesn’t think like a woman, and i married him for who he is and not for who he isn’t.

this card may be going even further to advise that we need to be careful with high-flying ideas about romance. there’s a fine line between being romantic, which is lovely, and going off into la-la-land, which can be unrealistic and hurtful to an otherwise good relationship. i’m going back to the princess of swords: if you pay attention to the particular nature of this new relationship, you will get a sense for what’s possible and what comes straight out of a disney fantasy world.

when i do an online reading like that, i always add something like this:

i hope this helps! let me know what you think – any feedback, “positive” or “negative” alike, is appreciated. if you need clarification, please let me know, too!

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