I find what you've said here, Enriquez, to be absolutely fascinating and I swear that somehow, it has a hypnotic vibe to it, I felt very calmed after reading this post!
(I know I am pretty open to suggestion, but still.....) I would love to be able to give the kind of reading described here, it sounds ideal. And what you've said about the Tarot de Marseille specifically, how because it is iconic it lends itself better to this type of reading, gives me hope that trying to use these older decks for readings is not a futile effort. It gives me reason to want to trudge on with it, even though lately I have been getting more and more discouraged.
Thanks for you kind comments.
Just bear in mind that I am not saying that this is the way in which one reads with the Tarot de Marseille nor tat there is any tradition in what I am saying. I am just describing the kind of work I am interested on doing, and how I find the Tarot de Marseille to be more suited for such work. I find the Tarot de Marseille to be simple enough to be easily recalled by memory while possessing what philosopher Richard Wollheim signals as the three qualities of good iconical representation: subjectivity
Quoting Oliver Sacks again:“Experience s not possible until it is organized iconically; action is not possible unless it is organized iconically. The brain’s record’ of everything-everything alive- must be iconic. This is the final form of the brain’s record, even thought the preliminary form may be computational or programmatic. The final form of cerebral representation must be, or allow, ‘art’-the artful scenery and melody of experience and action.”
Readings are about talking to the client brain, and I think the Tarot de Marseille is aptly suited to speak such language.
On a side note, hypnosis -a technique as widely misunderstood as the tarot, and mainly for the very same reasons- is one of the most useful, sobering pieces of knowledge one can explore.
(NOTE: I have posted some more info on these ideas in a new thread: http://forum.tarothistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=207&start=0
In another post, a comment was made about trying to put a positive spin on cards that are clearly "unhappy" cards....and that doing so leaves the client in a state of "WTF??" because he knows what he is seeing and you are trying to say it's not as bad as it looks etc... I do that, and have had people say things like "but isn't the devil a bad card?" or "there are no cups here at all..." in a love reading....where my response for whatever reason was to try to talk them out of it, like oh, but that's okay, no cups does not mean no love for you from this guy...or that devil may mean breaking free of whatever.... I wish that was not my first response to seeing negative images in a reading, if I really want to try to read the cards for people other than me, I need to get over this ingrained tendency to "nice-up" a reading.
I know that this may feel off-topic, but I think it still is relevant since it pertains to the question about if any historically-conscious look at the trump cycle has to include the notion of some cards depicting positive events and some of them depicting negative events, instead of asuming that any card can mean anything.
I recently did a reading for a woman who told me the following:
She goes to a meditation class once a week. Usually, the teacher -who call herself Raven- complements all the students after meditation, commenting on how the beauty of the experience was due to them, or to the mental state they all contributed to create. But in the last session, right before mother’s day, everybody was invaded by very dark feelings which lead to a rather unpleasant meditation. Afterwards, our friend Raven was upset. “This isn’t supposed to happen”. She was taken by surprise by all these negative feelings and she didn’t know how to react to them nor what to do about it other than blaming the students for not having ‘happy thoughts’ that day.
I told my client that the name of the teacher gave her away. ‘Raven’ is a New Age name. Forgive me for over-simplifying but it seems to me that one of the main dictum of the New Age movement is a militant positivism. Everything has to be ‘light’ and ‘rainbows’. We see that in the tendency many readers have to reject any negative implications that can be found in the cards. As I pointed out before -and it seems that you, Prudence, have had similar experiences- each client has very stereotyped reactions to cards we could define as ‘negative’ and contradicting these reactions creates a cognitive dissonance.
We can’t panic because someone didn’t get cups as response to her love-question and we can’t freak out because people meditating got dark feelings. Panicking, or saying that all these swords look lovely and Le Pendu means ‘main falling from trees for you’ equals to say ‘this is not happening’. What we need to know is how to acknowledge these feelings, or the negativity in these images, and re-route it. When a kid falls and bleeds telling him that it is ‘nothing’ only accomplishes one thing: convincing the kid of the fact that we don’t know what we are talking about. This is the same thing that happens when we tell a client ‘Death doesn’t means Death’. It would be more effective to tell the kid: “yes, it hurts, and it will hurt a little bit more before it gets better” (this is Erickson 101, BTW). By acknowledging the kid’s pain we are eliciting a yes response: “Yes, it hurts”. The kid can agree with us in that. “Yes, it will hurt a little more”. The kid can agree with us in that, and therefore, he will be more open to accept our third statement: “after some more pain, it all will feel better”.
In very simplistic terms we could say that the trump cycle is designed so, although there are good and bad cards, the positive cards trump the negative ones. Understanding the design, and flowing its guidelines, provides clues about how to turn, not a bad card into a good one, but the acknowledgement of a negative process into a set of tools to overcome adversity. In that regard readings are some sort of cognitive judo in which we must turn the clients pain into a will to succeed. But that can’t be accomplished if we don’t start by validating that client’s pain, or the fact that life, both as it is represented by the cards as how we experience it, is full of hardship.