This  file  is from PANEGYRIA Volume 4,  Number 1 (Spring Equinox 
issue).  Panegyria is $8 per year;  their  address  is  P.O.  Box 
85507,  Seattle,  WA  98145.  It  can  also  be  downloaded  from 
Earthrite BBS, at 415-651-9496.   Enjoy! - Talespinner, WeirdBase

                          TAROT TIDBITS
                            by Pagan X

     I realized only recently that as systems,  the Tarot and the 
I  Ching  have different areas of emphasis.  With the Tarot,  the 
effort is in the interpretation,  and the cards  seem  to  easily 
arrange themselves properly.  With the I Ching,  the effort is in 
obtaining the correct hexagram,  as  the  interpretation  is  all 
written  out.  Using  the  yarrow  sticks,  it takes some time to 
obtain the hexagram,  and that time is spent thinking  about  the 
question.  I assume that it is in this time that the mind somehow 
gets  the  fingers to obtain the correct hexagram.  Sometimes the 
answer occurs to you in the time you take to think about  it,  so 
the  I Ching actually functions functions as a means to still the 
mind for careful thought!  

     Under debate is the importance of having read the books that 
go with most decks, and knowing the correspondences,  etc.  I now 
feel,  and the newer Tarot books emphasize this, that the corres-
pondences to other systems (most notable,  the  Kabbala)  is  not 
intrinsic to the traditional design of the cards.  Some decks are 
designed with these correspondences,  such as the Waite-Smith and 
Crowley-Harris decks, and for these it probably is a good idea to 
read their accompanying books.  Numerological, astrological, etc.  
symbols and interpretations may be fun or  useful  to  know,  but 
probably  won't give one some revealed,  indispensible truth that 
is applicable to all Tarot decks.  The truly traditional deck (in 
which only the Major Arcana has pictures,  such as the IJJ Swiss) 
works on mythology,  archetypes, and Renaissance art and seems to 
have more validity than the works of  occultists.  I  think  that 
those who emphasize the necessity of studying all the symbols, in 
classes  and in reading books,  have a vested interest in getting 
one to take the classes and  buy  the  books!  The  Sight  itself 
cannot  be  taught.  At  the same time,  it is useful to know the 
artist's intentions and to have something to fall  back  on  when 
inspiration fails.  

     There are several things to remember while reading that give 
one confidence: 

     1.  People  want to believe,  so they will take anything you 
say  and  try  to  make  it  fit.  This  is  especially  true  of 
interpreting court cards as people they know.  

     2.  Just paying complete attention to this person makes him/ 
her feel better.

     3.  If  you are hammy enough,  you are at the least,  enter-

     4.  If you are confident enough, you will be believed.  When 
I  teach a class,  I try to instill a sense of chutzpah in poten-
tial readers.  

     Those are all forces operating even when  your  ESP  is  not 
engaged,  and  you are just intellectually doing your best.  Any-
one can learn to read Tarot.  If your Sight is  working,  if  you 
are  truly  inspired  in  the  sense  of prophecy,  you will know 
things.  I find myself doing readings both  ways,  intellectually 
dredging  ever  morsel  I  can  from  the cards in as confident a 
manner as I can muster, or,  dramatically Seeing the situation in 
little pictures superimposed on the faces of the cards.  

     Most  people  come to you wanting you to know amazing things 
and tell them wonders.  They want to believe in magic,  and  they 
want  to  be  understood  as  people.  But,  they only want to be 
understood just so far; if you know too much, you can be invading 
their sense of privacy.  Well,  why did they  get  a  reading?  I 
told  you  they _wanted_ to believe,  but that doesn't mean they _do_ 
believe.  And, if you get someone who has made it a point to be a 
very rational person and not believe,  you can actually  threaten 
their  vision  of  the  universe.  That's  scary.  Some people go 
through a period when synchronicity intrudes upon their lives and 
they have to re-think the  connective  forces  in  the  universe.  
They  deny  and  delight  in  these  forces  simultaneously.  The 
disgusting thing about synchronicity is that it is so very  often 
trivial  (and  that's a good indicator of its connection with the 
subconscious).  Oracles, such as the Tarot and I Ching, are means 
of controlling the phenomenon of synchronicity  and  of  becoming 
comfortable with it.  

     Once one accepts and recognizes these things, and works with 
them, the universe becomes poetry as events become metaphor.  The 
universe  becomes  a  word game,  a dream place;  you see how the 
structure of the brain organizes perception and  experience,  and 
just  maybe...the  universe becomes sentient to you,  and that is 
awareness of the Goddess.  

     I know with reading  Tarot,  that  the  cards  are  a  means 
whereby  I  release  the powers of my Sight.  They become obvious 
enough that I see other pictures, as if superimposed on the cards 
or in them.  I do not know how much these pictures correspond  to 
the representations on the cards,  whether the arrangement of the 
cards itself has importance in the same way  the  arrangement  of 
lines in a hexagram is important, or whether the cards are a dis-
traction for my conscious mind, allowing my subconscious to work.  

     Of course,  as I am reading in the inspired state, it's very 
obvious to me that specific  cards  are  saying  specific  things 
strongly, but these messages vary from reading to reading.  It is 
hard  for me,  therefore,  to confidently give a meaning for each 
card that applies in all cases.  This is one  of  the  reasons  I 
suspect the books of interpretation.  Sometimes the cards fail me 
miserably,  and  I must be a showman;  at that time,  the Goddess 
does not have a message for that person,  or perhaps they are not 
permitting  me to break their privacy (this implies some coopera-
tion from the querant).  So I can read in many ways,  in  varying 
degrees of importance.  This varies,  too,  with my mood,  and my 
time, as my Sight waxes and wanes.  

     Reading Tarot cards gives me a very special  feeling,  as  a 
Priestess of the Goddess.  Sometimes I have a cold sensation from 
the crown of my head through to my mouth, as words and images are 
literally  poured into me,  and from me,  to the querant.  I find 
myself talking very much with  my  hands,  gesturing,  and  often 
trying to express very visual concepts with metaphor and similes.  
Sometimes I say things I do not understand, but the querant does.  
In doing readings,  I am performing an obvious and direct service 
for another person,  usually comforting them in a stressful time.  
Reading for myself is never so dramatic,  because I often want to 
"pretty up" the story;  but the cards often have a way of  insis-
ting  on occasion.  I knew I was pregnant when the Empress showed 
up three readings in a row.  

     I still wonder about the origin of the  cards.  I  find  the 
same  symbols  in  the  imagery  of medieval parades,  in Dante's 
Divine Comedy and Grimms' Fairy Tales.  Different decks  suit  me 
for  different  moods  and purposes,  but I still find the Waite-
Smith to be  the  most  effective,  and  the  Crowley-Harris  too 
disturbing.  The Crowley-Harris must be difficult to publish,  as 
I have seen decks with terrible  color  undertones  of  poisonous 
green,  blue,  and orange, and none that struck me as having good 
color quality at all.  I do not use the feminist decks  ("Mother-
peace"  and  "Daughters of the Moon") for divination because they 
reflect visions of the world that are too idealistic,  almost too 
optimistic.  I use them for meditation and fantasy,  but it seems 
to me aht egalitarian decks cannot be used  to  clearly  See  the 
oppressive,  real  world.  The  Aquarian  deck  is a variation on 
Waite's designs, and a visually lovely deck, very popular.  

     Definitely shop around for decks,  classes  and  books.  The 
markup on decks can be high,  as much as $3.00 difference for the 
Motherpeace deck  ($19.95  to  22.95),  and  books  also  can  be 
inflated  by  putting a little price sticker over the publisher's 
price.  Classes are harder to evaluate -- I have never taken  any 
-- but I would be suspicious of classes offered at places selling 
price-inflated decks!  Professional readers are also costly,  and 
I have to say candidly that I have gotten  much  better  readings 
from  a  talented roommate than from the professional who charged 
$26.50 for an hour.  I am especially wary  of  anyone  who  reads 
past  lives  in cards,  because there's no way to test them while 
you are sitting there.  There could  be  and  probably  are  good 
professionals, I just haven't the budget to do the research.