I hate it when decks get cranky. Sometimes it’s me, but other times it’s definitely them! Sure, I tend to anthopmorphize my decks, their personalities, and preferences. That is simply how I roll, B. I generally notice bad attitudes when it comes from a deck I use frequently and whose accuracy and quality is consistent. If it’s a deck I don’t use often, or don’t know as well it’s harder to tell. It’s an important part of the process. Recognizing when it’s time to give one deck a rest, and pick up another. This isn’t something that really seriously occurred to me until I’d amassed a good selection of reading decks. The nice thing about having a bit of a collection is the glorious variety! My mood/energy, the deck’s general mood/energy, and that of the querent (if there is one) can make or break a reading. I’ve gotten better at not blaming myself or some lack of skill when I have a bad read. I’ll admit, sometimes it is that. Particularly if there are a ton of Courts! Gah! No! Shit happens, and the tarot is not excluded from that. It’s hard not to get frustrated or upset when it happens, especially if you’re asking about something important or deeper issues. Easier said than done, of course.
If I am stuck, or suspect that I’ve got a bad reading for whatever reason but just need to sift through it a bit, I’ll usually flip over some clarifiers to go with the reading. "Five of swords, huh? Really? Can you please explain how that fits, or what I should do with it? I’m kind of at a loss here." Context is everything. If I get more yuck or muck from my clarifiers and I really want to get to the bottom of things, I will generally re-word the question, and re-do the reading with the same deck if I think something is off. Often times, I’ll just put my cards away, especially if I think it’s me. Sometimes you’ve just gotta pack it up. Yet if I think it’s the deck, I want answers, dammit! If I get more of the same, I might possibly try another deck. If it’s just a "So… like… How is my workday going to go tomorrow?" kind of thing, I won’t bother. But like I said, if it’s a Big Thing, I want to know what’s up with that.
I had a series of bad readings with my World Spirit deck last night, which was really odd. I’ve never had a bad reading from it. It’s almost always spot on, with eerie yet cheerfully pragmatic accuracy. "Here is how things are… That’s not so bad, now… is it? You’ve got options, shall we take a look at them now?". It’s not my favorite deck art-wise, but when I read with it I notice that there is something very special about it. It gives me a clear and direct conduit to that divine spark of intuition that all readers strive for. It works like no other deck, although I seldom use it for situations that call for deeper introspection or meditation. For me, it’s best for the mundane, the material, and straight forward situations where divination is needed. If it was a more emotional issue, I’d probably use my Illuminated (seems to work in a similar way, but I prefer it for more emotional matters rather than everyday stuff). I never get attitude… I never get snark… I never get anything other than exactly what I need to know. Last night, I couldn’t read on anything without pulling Death, the five of swords, the 8 of swords, the 3 of swords, or the 7 of swords. Sounds all bad, right? I thought so at first, but they kept coming up where there were other cards that contradicted them given the context of where they showed up, like the Ace of Pents, the Empress, the 9 of Cups. Usually I can strike a balance if I get a weird push-pull like that in a reading. I could say… You’ll get what you wish for, so if you wish for Swords, swords is what you’ll get. But it didn’t appear to work. I’ve never gotten that from this deck! I tried a few other things just for fun, and of course the same thing happened. I asked it… What is your problem today? Why are you giving me such bad reads? I pulled the Five of Pents. Apparently, my deck is having an off day. I got out my Illuminated, tried again, and everything was fine. I got some good reads, questions answered, everybody wins.
I try not to take it personally… The more I make reading a daily or fairly routine part of my week, the more I am able to use these kinds of situations. A few years back, I would have been panic stricken to see all of those swords! Distraught! Frustrated! Confused! Sure, I was confused, but the WS deck is an old friend to me at this point. I know it’s overall demeanor. When I read, I know what to expect to a degree. This is the beauty of the tarot, that some people who don’t read often or don’t work with several decks or more decks may possibly miss. Awesome for them if it works perfectly every time, but in my experience it doesn’t.
Frustration over bad reads is hard for any reader, but I think it’s even more discouraging when you’re new to tarot. I used to overreact, and continually doing that prevented me from learning anything from the process. Now… I try and figure out why, try to work around it, or just walk away. No one is to blame, and sometimes… you’re just not intended to receive the answers you seek. It is what it is… And if I may ever-so-eloquently say… Shit happens. I acknowledge this, and try not to let it bring me down. At the end of the day, a bad read is simply that. I go with my gut to decide what to do with it or about it, and try not to take it personally.
This is where Pents/Earth comes into play for me. I’m not all Fire, disdaining Air in search of Water. I’m not a Natural Mystic like Bob Marley. I’m a Practical Mystic. Cheerful pragmatism jogs alongside bold displays of fiery enthusiasm and take no prisoners creative gut-reactions. Surge FORWARD, FIRE! BOOOOO-YEAH! Reel em’ in just a bit, Earth. Reel em’ in… Yes. That’s it. It took me years to learn this, and I’m glad I did. My WS deck is going to get a smudging and will be given a time-out with a piece of blue kyanite (good for clearing energy/recharging). Perhaps it’s feeling like I’ve been feeling lately… tired and in need of a vacation.