Using the Tarot for Creativity and Empowerment

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card: Step 9 – Query & Snapshots

This week in Step 9 of Mary K. Greer’s book “21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card“, we are working with Query & Snapshots; that is to say, asking questions and capturing snapshots (snippets of images in our memories). Want to find out what a reading is really about? As the querent (or yourself) a question. In the context of this lesson, we will use the descriptions, stories, keywords etc. that we’ve worked with thus far to help formulate our questions.

Mary points out that it is important that our questions be open-ended. An example she uses is the Sun card. The Sun card signifies joy and happiness. Instead of asking a yes/no question such as “Are you happy?”, Mary instead uses an open-ended question “Where is the joy in your life?”. These types of questions can prompt memories and open doors in a reading. Thus, most of the time you will want to use questions that begin with: Who, How, Where, and What.

The second part of this chapter looks at snapshots – those images/memories that are going through our heads most of the time. Mary describes a snapshot as, “a memory image from a particular time and place and includes all the attendant details, emotions, and sensations from that time.” She explains that we make word associations based on these images and they constantly influence our attitudes and decisions. My own experience has shown that open-ended questions as well as card images can generate these snapshots. You do have to make a conscious effort to notice them however as often, they tend to flash by very quickly.

For the chapter activities, we are first asked to come up with three open-ended questions based upon the descriptions we’ve given for our chosen card. And then, we are to answer the questions, in writing (if you don’t know what to say, make something up), making note of any memories and scenes that flash through our mind during the process. Include any emotions that come up.

The Seeker card from the Gaian Tarot image

The Seeker card from the Gaian Tarot

For my chosen card, the Seeker card from the Gaian Tarot, I came up with the following:

Q: What type of adventure are you embarking on?

A: The moment I first saw this card, it reminded me of the time when I was preparing for a year of overseas study in Paris. I was a small town farmboy who had never been overseas before and I was terrified of the unknown. Up to this point, I’ve never been one for adventure. I remember being in my bedroom, packing my duffle back for the trip, wondering whether I made the right decision in choosing to spend an entire year in a foreign country. Just thinking back on it makes my heart race.

Q: How are you making a new beginning in your life right now?

A: I am currently in the process of closing down a business that no longer speaks to my soul or is serving me financially. Just like the figure in the picture, I pause, stare off into the distance and wonder whether I truly am making the right decision. The memory that popped into my head was the day I decided to leave the corporate world. I was walking home from lunch and out nowhere, I decided that when I returned to work later on in the afternoon, I would put in my two-week notice and start my own business. And I did!

Q: How are you taking risks in your life?

A: Closing the old business is a risk as I don’t know if my other work will yield enough income to support me full time. Again, I stand at a crossroads and pause to wonder if this is the right thing for me. What came to mind as I wrote that, was the time I went on a 2-week long kayak camping trip to the Apostle Islands – just me and my partner. I again was fearful as I had never done such a thing before and was especially nervous about paddling miles from the shoreline in the middle of Lake Superior. I actually had nothing to worry about and did just fine.

In the second part of this exercise, Mary asks us to decide what we need to look at most in our life right now, based upon our responses, metaphors and memories? For me, I apparently need to have faith when trying something new and following my heart. My past memories have shown me that most of my fears have been unfounded and almost always, things turn out alright, often leading to new growth.

So – did your questions and memories create any new insights about your life?

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