ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Tarot: How To Re-Create Yourself With a Deck of Cards

Updated on December 16, 2017
CJStone profile image

CJ Stone is an author, columnist and feature writer. He has written seven books, and columns and articles for many newspapers and magazines.

by Philippe St. Genoux

Picasso's neoclassical etchings: "almost like tarot cards"
Picasso's neoclassical etchings: "almost like tarot cards"

A game which you play

This is a really interesting book.

It's not like a normal “How To” tarot book.

There's no lists of meanings telling you how to interpret the cards.

Instead it offers you various ways you can approach the cards to discover the meaning for yourself.

It ditches a lot of the old tropes of tarot reading – the Fool's journey, synchronicity, archetypes, psychic powers and the like – and offers in their place a new understanding of the process, as an art-form.

Well I say “new”. In fact he delves into the tarot's past to rediscover its roots—as a game, which you play—and introduces us to a long-forgotten form, originating in the Renaissance period in Italy, known as Tarocchi Appropriati.

The idea of the game was to select one of the trumps (the major arcana) and to assign it to an opponent in a witty, clever or poetic way, in order to amuse the other players.

This may have been a separate game from the game of trumps, or it may have been incorporated into it, so that a game of cards became an exercise in artistic or poetic license.

Whatever the method, this was a game which continued for many centuries, right up until the 19th century, and shows the cards in a new light: as tools for the imagination, as launchpads for flights of fancy, as catalysts for inspiration.

This seems to me a genuinely new approach to our understanding of the cards.

As the author says: “the tarot game can be played by all.”

And that is the secret of this book's approach: playfulness.

This is no po-faced occultism. You approach the cards in a spirit of play, as an artist approaches his canvas, as a poet approaches his page.

This is tarot as Picasso might have painted it. It is tarot as Dylan might have sung it. Tarot as art. Tarot as poetry. Tarot as a conversation with your own inner self.

The world of the imagination
The world of the imagination

I've chosen Picasso and Dylan as my examples because they were the first to come to mind. I'm sure you could think of others. But they are both, in their own way, very apt: Picasso because of his neoclassical etchings, almost like tarot cards themselves, both in their simplicity of line, and in the sense you get from them that you are entering another world: the dream world, the mythic world, the world of the imagination. That surely is the place where tarot readings should come from.

Likewise Dylan in his song “Lilly, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts” from his Blood on the Tracks album. In this case the Jack of Hearts is the trump in a western folk-tale, a figure who strides the song like a mythic presence, just like an image from the deck.

Backstage the girls were playin’ five-card stud by the stairs

Lily had two queens, she was hopin’ for a third to match her pair

Outside the streets were fillin’ up, the window was open wide

A gentle breeze was blowin’, you could feel it from inside

Lily called another bet and drew up the Jack of Hearts

— Lily, Rosemary And The Jack Of Hearts: BOB DYLAN

Cold reading isn't cold.

What the author has managed to do in this book is to remove the cards from the vagaries of the occult world, with it's recourse to pseudo-scientific jargon.

Whenever an occultist attempts to justify his work in terms of a barely understood, highfalutin, mysterious-sounding scientific concept like Quantum Mechanics, you just know that he's talking bollocks, and every proper scientist can mock his efforts. But no scientist can mock Picasso's claim to the truth because Picasso isn't arguing from a scientific standpoint. He's an artist, and his truth, profound and mysterious as it is, is forged in the laboratory of his own imagination.

It is in this spirit that the author manages to dismantle that old accusation against tarot readers that what they are engaged in is “just” cold reading.

Yes it is cold reading – defined as “picking up clues through observation of a person's appearance, speech and body language” – but it is not “just” anything.

Cold reading is itself an art-form, and a useful and subtle one at that.

To define it as “just” anything is tantamount to saying that art is “just” splashing paint on a canvas, or that poetry is “just” stringing words together.

It is cold reading that saves us from being ripped off by con-merchants. It is cold reading that ensures that a Mother knows what her child needs before the child has learned to speak. And – what's more – it's not even cold. It is warm, as humans are warm. As humans warm to each other, so they read more and more into what the other person is saying to them, in all these other, subtle, secret, interesting ways that lie outside the realm of grammar.

This is a liberating thought, and one that all of you tarot readers out there could take on board.

Next time someone accuses you of “cold-reading” you can honestly deny it, not in terms of your psychic ability, but by simply saying that it's not cold-reading at all. It is warm-reading: your warmth as a human being touching another's warmth, in order to allow you to “read” them, along with the cards.

© 2016 Christopher James Stone

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)