This week in Step 11 of Mary K. Greer’s book “21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card”, we explore the range of card meanings from the most beneficial to the most problematic. Here we are looking at the entire range of card meanings: the good, the bad and the ugly.
I felt that this chapter was especially helpful in reinforcing the fact that every Tarot card has a huge range of meaning. Here, Mary looked at the extremes of meanings according to whether they serve a person’s goals. Some of these extreme positions were listed as follows:
Benefit – Liability
Pro – Con
Helpful – Problematic
For – Against
Desirable – Undesirable
Useful – Useless
Healthful – Injurious
Favorable – Unfavorable
Best – Worst
Gain – Lose
She provides many more such examples in the chapter. Having a spectrum of meanings for each card can be especially helpful when a “good” card shows up in a “bad” position. For example, when the 10 of Cups shows up in the “what is hindering or blocking you” position, or the 3 of Swords shows up in the “what is helping you” position.
In Activity 11:1, Mary has us look at some of the benefits and liabilities from a few cards. These are: Nine of Pentacles, Page of Swords and The Chariot. Some of my responses are below:
Nine of Pentacles
Benefits: self-sufficiency, independence, love of nature, material success, financial security
Liabilities: deprivation, unwise decisions, arrogance, self-indulgence, wastefulness
Page of Swords
Benefits: truth, justice/fairness, keen intellect, logic, diplomacy, dexteritiy, being well-informed, discretion
Liabilities: paranoia, sneakiness, being argumentative, being excessively defensive, deceitfulness, having a forked tongue, spitefulness, nastiness
Benefits: Victory, will, self-assertion, control, self-discipline, conquering challenges, mastery of self-will, focus
Liability: Aggressiveness, irresponsibility, lack of focus, recklessness, being out of balance, a control freak, lack of clear direction, being out of control
I decided to do this for my chosen card as well :
The Seeker (the Fool):
Benefits: Taking a chance, spiritual quest, a new beginning, an adventure, new opportunities, free-spirited, time for a change
Liabilities: fear of the unknown, excessive conformity, obsession, being naïve or gullible, stuck in a rut
In exercise 11.2, we are asked to use your arm like the indicator on a meter, to find out where we are on the scale between benefit and liability. First, decide and state aloud what side of your body to use as liabilities and which side to use as benefits. I choose my right side as “benefits” and my left as “liabilities.” Now, swing your hand to the most beneficial extreme meaning of the card and state aloud the meaning. Repeat except this time, move your arm to the least beneficial extreme of the arc and repeat that meaning aloud.
Then, slowly move your hand & arm from left to right until you find where you are along the arc. Think of all of the possible card meanings across the spectrum and decide what card meaning your current position indicates. Then, move your arm until you get to the place where you would like to be. What is the card meaning? What can you do to get there? I think that this particular visual exercise would be great to try with your daily one card draws.
There are many more in-depth exercises in the book that help you to explore the range of meanings of the cards. It’s fun to give this a try when doing a reading – for each card, ask yourself what it the most beneficial & least beneficial interpretation of the card – and then listen to your intuition as you determine where in the spectrum the most appropriate meaning for the reading lies. Notice any changes in your emotions of flashes of insight that pop into your head.
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