GoetSorceror - Friday, December 17th, 2010 - 8:42 PM
So, something that's been going round my head recently - as Tarot seems to be making a big impression in my life as of late - is the idea of whether interpretation should be the focus of the reader or the querent.
Traditionally, the onus is on the reader - they're to glean meaning and semiotic connections from the cards and find out how these connect up with the querent's life. Ostensibly, that's quite difficult, as the reader often doesn't have a good enough knowledge of the querent's background to know which of the many variations of meanings particular cards are relevant to the querent's question.
That said, we also don't want to give the reader /too/ much detail, otherwise it could easily become a case of them just twisting their interpretation to match up with what they already know, and affording no new insight. So we have a dilemma - we have to tell the reader just enough that they can find the general area in which particular meanings of a card might fall, but not so much that they just hastily transpose a meaning from the card to one's life.
However, there's a third aspect to this - a kind of meta-lemma. Does it matter how much information we give the reader? Sure, in a pier-end Tarot situation, you probably don't trust them, and you aren't going to part with money just so someone can give you answers that (ostensibly) anyone could have given you. But what if you were doing the reading for a friend, perhaps a friend who isn't very good at understanding "the language of symbols" (or whatever you want to call it) and wouldn't realise that the themes of a particular card might match up to a particular event in his life, but you would, had you been given the knowledge of that event?
o) how much information should one give a reader in a Tarot reading?
o) at what point does "finding matching meanings in the cards and the querent's life" become "twisting the meaning of the card to match pre-established information"?
o) should the onus of interpretation (finding out the exact things particular cards indicate/relate to) be on the reader, the querent, or both? Why?
I think that the amount of information given does not matter. Personally I tend to give less (I know, after that huge fucking textblock I gave you Goet that seems like a lie). But I prefer to try and explain what is being said in terms that are as clear as possible instead of dumping someone with information. When I read in person it's true that I have a better sense of the person, but all I intentionally do with that is use it to better relate the answer to them.
For example if I have someone who is very easygoing, I like to use a little humour or be loose with them, describing things in easy terms that are more conversational. If I have someone who takes readings quite seriously, then I am serious with them and use more in-depth explanations to get my point across. I never dumb it down or tone it up; I just make the CONVERSATION more or less formal. I could give them as much information as I could possibly know and none of it would mean a thing if they didn't understand it and why it was important.
I think that we start twisting meanings when we start making assumptions about what we think is going on. Yes, if you know someone and you're privy to a bit of their situation it puts you in a bit of a spot. But I NEVER change or alter results to match what I think is going on in their life. I often draw cards that do go with it and I tell them so. "This, to me at least, reminds me of what happened last week when...". But I also make it a point to say that I could easily be wrong and it could relate to something else. I ONLY do this if the rest of the reading also seems to agree. If the cards are all pointing in the direction that what happened last week was significant in some way I will tell them so. But I will, again, tell them that it isn't necessarily THE WAY IT IS or anything like that. I also tell them I could be biased because of this. I encourage them to ask questions and question me if they don't feel something is right.
I do worry that by drawing from what I know about them I am influencing how they see the reading, but I can't ignore what I see when I lay out the cards. I often literally laugh when I see it because, to me, it makes instant sense.
I am also a bit loose with interpretation sometimes. I find that when I first started reading I followed every aspect of the card religiously, but as I go along I've found that my intuition and something else (?) plays a big part in my readings. The card's meaning is never changed, but how much detail and how specific I am about it changes. Especially based on the rest of the cards and how THEY have laid out.
I think it's up to the reader to know as much as they can easily and fluidly remember about the cards firstly. I'm not saying they should be a tarot encyclopedia; most of the time, at least in my readings, all that exact information wouldn't even be used. It would be lost on the person listening or not relevant, or simply forgotten in confusion. After all they often have to hear about ten cards, not just one, and that's a LOT of information to remember.
However a querent should know a little something as well about what the cards generally mean or what to watch out for in a reading. They should find something they consider to be an adequate benchmark for quality and learn what they can about that so they can compare future readings to it. It's the idea that the buyer should beware; know what you SHOULD be getting. Know what to watch out for in scams and frauds, etc.
If everyone is informed and honest, the most information possible can be passed and, I think, the best experience can be had.
>how much information should one give a reader in a Tarot reading?
It depends on the Reader, I think. When doing readings in person I don't expect much details to be filled in for me, as I rely mostly on the querent's energy to guide my interpretation. At most I ask for definitions (when specific terms are used) or slight context (project is mighty vague.. I usually ask for a field), mostly so I can use appropriate vocabulary in the answer.
When being read to I try not to give much information either, unless the Reader is someone I know really well and knows this information off hand anyways.
>at what point does "finding matching meanings in the cards and the querent's life" become "twisting the meaning of the card to match pre-established information"?
That's a tricky one and the reason I stopped reading for a few friends. It can depend if the querent is expecting you to twist it to its situation.
I try to remain neutral even if I know some of the specifics of their situations, and to describe what I feel/see from the cards and how they relate to each other. I usually go over each card individually stating what they are saying, then go over the whole layout and describe the overall feeling or narrative of the answer.
>should the onus of interpretation (finding out the exact things particular cards indicate/relate to) be on the reader, the querent, or both? Why?
I think the Reader must pick up the nuances of the symbols and cards and describe what they evoke and how they relate to each other. However, I believe the Querent should link those nuances and shapes of things to what is exactly going on in their life and where those prescription can be used.
Once the reading is done and the narrative given, if I have a good enough relationship with the querent, I might get into a discussion on how things relate or how to use/perceive the advise received. But that really depends on the person sitting with me, their needs and their level of self awareness. Someone who is blind to his own self will need a lot more help to understand and accept the guidance they asked for in the first place.