Specific Questions & Beginners’ Tarot Readings
Out of all the tarot spreads I’ve done in my quest to understand tarot, one card readings are the most difficult. I think many beginners, like myself, probably equate more cards with more information, and that, quite frankly, is wrong. But, correcting this initial idea has been harder than I initially anticipated. Somehow one card readings turn into three card readings. This could, in all fairness, be because I love three card readings. However, I think it also has to do with the way in which I approach tarot. I primarily shy away from “yes or no” styled questions, and instead, try to encourage personal growth through reflection. Integrating one card readings this way is tricky at best, but Holistic Tarot has helped immensely. So, I figured we’d discuss it.
Holistic Tarot walks readers through a typical one card reading. This is exactly like other readings, albeit with the resources of Benebell Wen’s research at your disposal. In the interests of really new beginners, I’ll do an example reading. The problem with one card readings however, is the question is best phrased very specifically. For example, “Should I study Egyptian Mythology?” is probably not the best question to ask in a one card reading. Instead, you might frame the question as, “Will studying Egyptian Mythology benefit me right now?” The two questions are similar, but very different in implementation. So, I suppose we can do a one card reading on it as our example.
Sample Reading One
For this reading, I drew Temperance. The first thing that stands out about Temperance is that it is a Major Arcana card. This tells me the question is an important one to consider. In a way, it’s kind of like a, “You need to take notice.” moment. A glance at the keywords from Holistic Tarot tells me we’re dealing with themes of Balance, Harmony, and Attuning. Initially, this doesn’t seem to make much sense in terms of the question. You either study or you don’t. But, a deeper analysis of the card may shed some light on the topic. Temperance is also about merging two aspects of self. The card has also been seen as a healing indicator. For me, these two things shed a little more light on the initial question.
When analyzing the question through Temperance, I can see some personal factors that I didn’t before. For me, I’m currently reconciling my knowledge as a witch with being Christian. While these two things don’t seem related, Temperance warns that they are. Studying Egyptian Mythology would more than likely be a good step forward, but it does require harmonizing two very different sets of belief. Considering my Occult lens, it seems practical. But to me, the benefit of studying Egyptian Mythology might be in a newfound ability to heal multiple belief structures. Overall, Temperance is an indication I should probably study Egyptian Mythology, but it will have some challenging moments.
Feedback On Reading One
Admittedly, I hate the Sample One reading. I’m only sharing it to show how badly I read one card readings. There’s just not enough context to me. What needs to be harmonized? Where could healing take place? In what way does the knowledge elevate me? These are all sparked by the Temperance card, but then go nowhere. The reading isn’t a terrible hypothetical, and you could always draw clarifying cards, but then we’re back at the same problem. No, to me at least, this reading leaves much to be desired. Thankfully, Benebell Wen has another approach to one card readings that might be a bit more helpful. I’m going to keep the question the same, but utilize the different technique.
Sample Reading Two
For this sample reading, a significator card needs to be utilized. In my case, I used Temperance since it represented the answer in the last spread. Otherwise, I would have used my astrological significator, the Queen of Pentacles. But, to keep things interesting, I just used Temperance. So, after you choose a significator, you need to shuffle the deck. Completely randomize the cards however you want. Then, turn the deck back over and hunt down the significator card. Pay attention to the card before and the card after. I like to lay them out on the table in front of me, and then set the rest of the deck aside. In this sample reading, I drew the Knight of Cups before, Temperance, and then the Eight of Pentacles after.
Suddenly, my initial question is already seeming a lot clearer. Temperance represents the present moment. In other words, I’m currently reconciling two mythologies already. It could also be interpreted as combining two sets of knowledge together into a functioning belief system. The Knight of Cups represents a previous state, or the past. For me, the Knight of Cups means I came from a place of emotional expression and creativity. However, there was also a sense of religious searching and strong belief. This is my Lancelot card, and it is also linked to Christianity that way. In some ways, this could represent my previously strong Christian belief, prior to the disillusioned hurt I experienced. Temperance then becomes my present state of healing from the hurt, and re-embracing my Christian beliefs but merged with Occult Philosophy.
In the future position, or the card that came after Temperance, we have the Eight of Pentacles. This card represents a focus on work or specific skills. The implications of this card in the future position changes much of the spread. There is harmony between the creative themes of the Knight of Cups and then the Eight of Pentacles. Temperance then is purely an experience in the journey. What the Eight of Pentacles says is to stay focused and perfect my current studies. I don’t need to go looking to other mythologies, I have plenty already. In the long run there is success, but it will take time. Often, this is a stage of restlessness in some people, including myself. So, studying another pantheon might be a way to distract myself, but it is not a good idea.
Feedback On Reading Two
The second reading is much better than my first attempt. Yes, there’s added context, but the context is minimal. As a reader, I hypothetically can’t keep drawing more cards to clarify the issue. The spread stands on its own. The two cards, plus a significator, helps provide just enough context to become clear. To me, this is probably due to the Past and Future additions specifically. It’s easier to know where someone is headed, or ideally headed, and where they’ve been. Together these two data points allow for a free flowing conversation about the present. Benebell Wen’s additional one card spread has made me an immense fan of the overall idea of one card readings. I’ll continue using this approach in the future.