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Author Topic: Tarot Card Meanings Different than the Books?  (Read 4592 times)
AnneNevill
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« Topic Start: April 21, 2010, 08:39:54 pm »

I'm trying to learn about Tarot. I want to learn Rider-Waite because they are standard and the symbolism is so widely used in other decks. However, I've noticed that when I pick up a card and try to interpret it, I often come up with meanings which are VERY different than the ones which are listed on websites and in the books. For instance, for the Two of Swords, I perceived "balance, harmony, trust." According to this site, the keywords for the card are "blocked emotions, avoidance, stalemate." What do you do when your gut reaction to a card is so different? Has anyone else had this problem when learning tarot?
« Last Edit: April 21, 2010, 09:33:19 pm by RandallS, Reason: Subject changed » Logged

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« Reply #1: April 22, 2010, 10:36:21 am »

What do you do when your gut reaction to a card is so different? Has anyone else had this problem when learning tarot?

First and foremost, I always go with my gut. If the card gives me a meaning, then I use that instead of the definition in the book. You can't take all books at face value, because I've seen many books with conflicting definitions for each card. For me, for example, the 2 of swords talks about choices- you have to go one way or the other, but the choice is even on both sides, and will be difficult to make. Where did I get that definition? Through using my cards, and the imagery on my cards.

That's my 2 cents.

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« Reply #2: April 22, 2010, 02:26:21 pm »

I'm trying to learn about Tarot. I want to learn Rider-Waite because they are standard and the symbolism is so widely used in other decks. However, I've noticed that when I pick up a card and try to interpret it, I often come up with meanings which are VERY different than the ones which are listed on websites and in the books. For instance, for the Two of Swords, I perceived "balance, harmony, trust." According to this site, the keywords for the card are "blocked emotions, avoidance, stalemate." What do you do when your gut reaction to a card is so different? Has anyone else had this problem when learning tarot?

If you wish to learn Rider-Waite from a book, a place to start is THE book that is supposed to accompany the Rider-Waite(-Smith) deck. The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, which can be found online at WikiSource [1]. It is a dry and droll book, I will admit and agree, but it is Arthur Edward Waite's own thoughts and opinions of the deck he commissioned. All other books referencing the Rider-Waite deck are just reinterpretations of varying degrees. Some will march lock-step with what he wrote. Some will vary wildly into completely new interpretations.

Having said that, the best definitions you can use for the Rider-Waite (or any OTHER tarot/oracle deck) are those definitions that work for YOU. Get a notebook/journal/paper/digital media and start noting how each card speaks to you. Get fifty tarot readers in a room, restrict them to one common deck, and you'll get fifty different interpretations. (Assuming you can get them to agree to share one deck, much less WHICH deck to share! *rolls eyes*)

Your "alternate" interpretation of the 2 of Swords is true and valid... for you. For anyone, or any book, to tell you otherwise is foolishness and dogma. The books merely give you a place to start learning. As you continue your studies, you'll find yourself referring to the book less and less, and to your intuition more and more. Keep going.

[1] http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Pictorial_Key_to_the_Tarot
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AnneNevill
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« Reply #3: April 23, 2010, 08:36:19 am »

First and foremost, I always go with my gut. If the card gives me a meaning, then I use that instead of the definition in the book. You can't take all books at face value, because I've seen many books with conflicting definitions for each card. For me, for example, the 2 of swords talks about choices- you have to go one way or the other, but the choice is even on both sides, and will be difficult to make. Where did I get that definition? Through using my cards, and the imagery on my cards.

That's my 2 cents.

-Devo

Thank you for the information!
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AnneNevill
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« Reply #4: April 23, 2010, 08:39:16 am »

If you wish to learn Rider-Waite from a book, a place to start is THE book that is supposed to accompany the Rider-Waite(-Smith) deck. The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, which can be found online at WikiSource [1]. It is a dry and droll book, I will admit and agree, but it is Arthur Edward Waite's own thoughts and opinions of the deck he commissioned. All other books referencing the Rider-Waite deck are just reinterpretations of varying degrees. Some will march lock-step with what he wrote. Some will vary wildly into completely new interpretations.

Having said that, the best definitions you can use for the Rider-Waite (or any OTHER tarot/oracle deck) are those definitions that work for YOU. Get a notebook/journal/paper/digital media and start noting how each card speaks to you. Get fifty tarot readers in a room, restrict them to one common deck, and you'll get fifty different interpretations. (Assuming you can get them to agree to share one deck, much less WHICH deck to share! *rolls eyes*)

Your "alternate" interpretation of the 2 of Swords is true and valid... for you. For anyone, or any book, to tell you otherwise is foolishness and dogma. The books merely give you a place to start learning. As you continue your studies, you'll find yourself referring to the book less and less, and to your intuition more and more. Keep going.

[1] http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Pictorial_Key_to_the_Tarot

Thank you for the reference. I didn't know about this book. There is a version on Sacred Texts as well.
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« Reply #5: June 12, 2010, 03:04:23 pm »

I'm trying to learn about Tarot. I want to learn Rider-Waite because they are standard and the symbolism is so widely used in other decks. However, I've noticed that when I pick up a card and try to interpret it, I often come up with meanings which are VERY different than the ones which are listed on websites and in the books. For instance, for the Two of Swords, I perceived "balance, harmony, trust." According to this site, the keywords for the card are "blocked emotions, avoidance, stalemate." What do you do when your gut reaction to a card is so different? Has anyone else had this problem when learning tarot?

Usually your gut is right. Also, it depends which deck you're using what the cards tend to symbolize, since Aleister Crowley, creator of the Thoth deck, called 2/swords Peace. If you're using a deck that has taken a lot of its symbolism from Crowley's writings, it's definitely worth looking at a site like Raven's Tarot Site for a clear explanation on the Thoth system.
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« Reply #6: July 12, 2010, 03:52:15 am »

I'm trying to learn about Tarot. I want to learn Rider-Waite because they are standard and the symbolism is so widely used in other decks. However, I've noticed that when I pick up a card and try to interpret it, I often come up with meanings which are VERY different than the ones which are listed on websites and in the books. For instance, for the Two of Swords, I perceived "balance, harmony, trust." According to this site, the keywords for the card are "blocked emotions, avoidance, stalemate." What do you do when your gut reaction to a card is so different? Has anyone else had this problem when learning tarot?

My interpretation of the cards can vary from day to day.  On a card like the fours of cups, for example, one day the person in it looks happy and content, and that is how I read it.  On another, he/she looks sad and abandoned.  With divination, it is always best to follow your instincts. 
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« Reply #7: July 15, 2010, 01:34:51 am »

I'm trying to learn about Tarot. I want to learn Rider-Waite because they are standard and the symbolism is so widely used in other decks. However, I've noticed that when I pick up a card and try to interpret it, I often come up with meanings which are VERY different than the ones which are listed on websites and in the books. For instance, for the Two of Swords, I perceived "balance, harmony, trust." According to this site, the keywords for the card are "blocked emotions, avoidance, stalemate." What do you do when your gut reaction to a card is so different? Has anyone else had this problem when learning tarot?

Yes, I've had that difficulty too.  When I'm using Tarot (I'm still a learner, have only been working a few years) I am aware that I'm both trying to "read" some issue in my life, but at the same time, am trying to learn the "traditional" meanings to the cards.  Therefore I am interested in BOTH my own take on the cards, as well as the "given" meaning.  HOwever I use a process of intuitive discrimination and selectivity as to where I go for "given meanings."  I prefer the interpretations which have the most psychological depth and richness of archetypal resonance.  So I basically use my own intuition and inner wisdom to "select" the "proper" interpretation for my own needs.  Also, I will have different responses to the cards depending on which deck I use.  A FairyTale deck showing an illustration of a fairy tale for one of the trumps, is going to effect me differently than a "standard" trump illustration.  I trust my intuition when I reach out my hand to pick which deck to work with.  Today maybe I need a fairy tale.  Tomorrow maybe I need a more Rider Waite based deck. 
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« Reply #8: July 15, 2010, 10:59:07 am »

My interpretation of the cards can vary from day to day.  On a card like the fours of cups, for example, one day the person in it looks happy and content, and that is how I read it.  On another, he/she looks sad and abandoned.  With divination, it is always best to follow your instincts. 

That's true.
The cards meanings shift. To read them is fluid, flexible.
Esp. with the Lenormand combinations (which is the main thing, that gives them meaning at all) I now start to get other meanings by intuition than they are in the books.
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« Reply #9: August 27, 2010, 02:17:53 pm »

I'm trying to learn about Tarot. I want to learn Rider-Waite because they are standard and the symbolism is so widely used in other decks. However, I've noticed that when I pick up a card and try to interpret it, I often come up with meanings which are VERY different than the ones which are listed on websites and in the books. For instance, for the Two of Swords, I perceived "balance, harmony, trust." According to this site, the keywords for the card are "blocked emotions, avoidance, stalemate." What do you do when your gut reaction to a card is so different? Has anyone else had this problem when learning tarot?


i have the same deck of cards and when i look at the 2 of swords i see a choice is on the way to take you out of your gray disposition.

i have noticed that most cards can 2 sided as well a light and a dark depending on the other cards. in would just go with the flow of the cards that is what i have been doing (even though i have only been doing readings for about 3 months) and it has never lead me down the wrong path. and who knows maybe that card is trying to tell you something
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