When I interpret a reading, I go back and forth between sensing the cards as a whole and examining each one individually. The two approaches reinforce each other. In this lesson, we will look at how to interpret one card in a reading on its own. There are four sources of meaning:
At first, you will probably rely on the card and position meanings to guide you. Later, your personal reactions will be more important. Your reaction may be triggered by a card's image. The scenes on the cards can seem to relate to your situation very directly. For example, if you are building a house, the document on the Three of Pentacles might strike you as a set of blueprints.
Assume that you have drawn the upright Seven of Cups in Position 5. Your question is:
"How can I improve my chances of receiving a bonus this year?"To begin reviewing this card, you would first note your reactions. Perhaps your glance falls on the cup filled with jewels. The figure in the foreground seems to be looking directly at this cup. You identify with him as he reaches out for treasure. This fits your question - you're reaching out for a bonus.
Next, you look at the keywords for the Seven of Cups. They are:
On reading over the meanings for Position 5, you feel a pull toward:
Clearly there are other possibilities. You might have been struck by the array of delights floating in front of the shadowy figure. He seems to have many options, another meaning of the Seven of Cups.
There is never just one right answer in tarot work! Both of these interpretations make sense. You may wonder how you can decide on the best meaning when there are so many possibilities. You must trust your intuition. Your Inner Guide will give you hints that will lead you toward the ideas that are most important for you. An insistent thought may keep popping into your mind. You may circle around a meaning - thinking about it, moving off, then finally coming back. When one meaning hits you with particular force, you know you are on the right track. This is the "Aha" reaction. An "Aha" reaction may not happen for every card, but when it does, you know it is important. These are the ways that inner knowing manifests.
Exercises for Lesson 11