Thursday, May 28, 2009

One Picture, many Stories

One of the classic works of film, Rashomon, is famous for the way it tells its story. Each character gets an opportunity to retell the same tale from a different point of view. You could say that it becomes several different stories, but it also offers several different ways to understand the same sequence of events.

So it is with the images in a tarot deck. It is said that every picture tells a story, yet it is also true that every picture in a tarot deck can tell a number of stories.

Look at the Tower. It is about rapid change. One viable interpretation of that includes events like layoffs, accidents, sudden illness, sudden death, divorce or other radical changes where a person is jolted out of their current circumstances. Those lightning bolts can also be wake up calls. Perhaps a person has let their ego become too large and they needed that jolt from the lightning bolt to bring them back down to earth. From the rubble, then there is a place to rebuild and create something new. If you have ever seen an old building demolished to make way for new construction, you know what I mean. Then there are other powerful, positive connotations. How about those people who get jolted out of their job and subsequently find a way to either create a new business for themselves or get into another job they like better? Ever know someone who became more peaceful or more fit as a result of finding ways to overcome a serious illness or injury? Ever hear someone who is in a new relationship describe how it "rocked their world"? Not a bad thing at all.

Take a look at the 6 of Cups. In Rider-Waite-Smith and other decks, the image is of a little boy offering a bouquet to a little girl. Waite said that the image could be about the influence of a past life. It can also be about a relationship between an older and younger person. It can be about a platonic (non-physical, non-sexual) relationship. It can also be about friendship. It can signify the openness, joy, sweetness and innocence that is common to children. It can signify a relationship that is protective with one person looking out for the other or one acting as a mentor to another. It can be about reconnecting with old friends from childhood. It can be about old patterns of the past.

Look at all the possibilities present in each picture. Of course, which meaning might apply to each reading is influenced by what other cards are drawn and the art of the reader to intuit what is going on and what is the most appropriate interpretation for this reading.

Sometimes we get locked into thinking that a card only has one meaning, and although there may be dominant possibilities, it is always refreshing to step back, take another look and consider other ways of seeing the same picture.

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