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Autumn months are always fraught with contradictions for me. Nature overflows with bounty and vibrant color that all too quickly gives way to falling leaves and early frosts; the earth is preparing to rest and rejuvenate. November and December bring the need to review the past year and start thinking of the next
As 2008 winds down, I cannot help but think of all the changes this year has brought and what changes lie ahead. It is a good time to look at where we've been and where we are. Like the 7 of Pentacles, it is a good time to assess the results of those changes.
Do you ever think about your approach to tarot and how it's changed? Do you use the cards differently than you did a year ago? If nothing has changed, is that a result of mastering your craft or could it be a warning of possible stagnation?
If someone looked at my earlier books, What Tarot Can Do For You, for example, they would see someone who believes almost entirely in freewill and who encourages asking only proactive, empowering questions. Fast forward a few years to The Dreamer's Journal (companion to the Mystic Dreamer Tarot) and you'll find someone who thinks that maybe fate sometimes plays a role in our lives and that people should be respected enough to ask the questions they want. Those are pretty radical changes and were my own personal Tower moments.
Compare those changes to ones you'll find in Rachel Pollack's new book, Rachel Pollack's Tarot Wisdom. Many people are familiar with Rachel's brilliant work Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, which Rachel wrote thirty years ago. Tarot Wisdom is a kind of sequel to Seventy-Eight Degrees and incorporates all the wisdom and experience she gained over the last three decades. In contrast to my radical changes, the changes between Rachel's two books are more organic, her journey much more graceful and elegant. Rachel's changes are a deepening and expansion rather than a departure.
Tarot Wisdom synthesizes the foundations of her first book with the changes in known tarot history, the changes in card meanings, the evolution of the tarot community, and her own personal experiences. Tarot Wisdom is a large book, full of treasures and surprises for any student. Among them are spreads for what she calls Wisdom Readings. These are readings about large issues rather than personal concerns. Rachel's example is "…rather than ask the cards 'How can I find my soul mate?' we might ask 'What is the soul?'"
Because Tower experiences have been on my mind lately, here is one of the Tower Wisdom Readings from Rachel Pollack's Tarot Wisdom:
Lay the cards out in a horizontal line.
Another spread I love was published on the now defunct Tarot Passages website (the site www.tarotpassages.com is still up and filled with great information but has not been updated since January 2006). The Hourglass Spread was created by Teresa Michelsen, author of The Complete Tarot Reader, and is particularly illuminating when you are both looking back and looking ahead:
The spread is read from bottom to top as follows:
May these spreads be useful, and your journey always interesting.
Barbara Moore (Saint Paul, MN) has studied and read tarot since the early 1990s. She wrote the bestselling Tarot for Beginners and more than a dozen other books, and she has contributed to many bestselling tarot kits, ...