Estimated Reading Time: 6 minutes
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“There are some questions the tarot can’t answer,” someone in my intermediate tarot class said.
“Nu’uh,” I said, because I can be efficient if not eloquent.
“A friend wanted me to do a reading on whether she had an STD. I told her there was no way to answer that using the tarot.”
“Seriously?” I said. “The suit of Wands indicates it burns, Swords that it itches, Cups if there’s discharge, Pentacles for a physical manifestation like scabs or warts.”
The whole class was rolling on the floor. While blushing at the inappropriateness of it all.
We were doing my class on Quirky Questions.
One anomaly that inevitably comes up for readers is the quirky question, a question that initially might appear like it doesn’t fit the style or parameters of the tarot. I have found that pursuing these questions opens us up as readers, strengthens our relationship to the cards, and takes us to new levels of creativity, confidence and freedom.
I’ll tell you the story about the quirky question that started it all.
I was reading at a psychic fair and a woman and her 9-year old daughter sat down in front of me. The woman wanted me to read for her daughter. (I know some readers won’t read for children, but you are really missing out!) I asked the daughter what her question was. She looked up at the mom, and the mom said, why don’t you ask what you’re going to be when you grow up? I put my foot down—I told her that I had already read that question for one twenty-something and two sixty-somethings and there was no way I was going to read it for a 9-year old! I asked the girl what kinds of things had been on her mind recently.
“What do wolves and dogs mean to me?” she asked.
Hmmm. The original question was looking much better! How was I going to answer wolves and dogs with the tarot? But I’d just made a bit of a to-do about letting her pick her own question, and my job now was to fulfill her requirements as a reader.
We shuffled and laid out some cards.
I don’t remember all the cards, just the Ten of Wands. I stared at that card silently for an uncomfortable period of time. I focused on the imagery, all the wands bundled together. A man walking. All the wands bundled together. A man walking with all the wands bundled together.
“You’re a loner, I said, but wolves and dogs run in packs. You’re looking for your pack.”
I glanced at the mom and the expression on her face suggested I had hit something true. The girl was excited about her answer and now had tons of questions for me and off we went into a great session.
I’m a (probably unreasonable) stickler for taking the answers from the imagery in the cards. The grouping of the wands in a single bundle became for me the wolves in the pack. In class I encourage my students to find answers directly in the imagery of the cards.
We’ve had a lot of fun with this technique over the years.
In that recent intermediate class I mentioned, we were playing with this exercise and I asked what food to order from the restaurant where we were having our tarot meetup holiday party. People had apparently not been happy with the cakes I had ordered the year before. We were using the Japaridze Tarot and a random draw of two cards revealed an Ace and one with some broken up blocks of color on it and what looked like folded or crumpled bits of paper around the edge.
The person reading for me was using my deck. She first asked, do all the cards in the deck look like this, and as she said it she turned up the next couple cards from the deck, seeing that the style of those cards was very different. The Aces are diamond shapes with an indication of the element within them. In this shape she saw a tray, and with the paired card’s broken colorful blocks and crumpled bits, she saw small individual items, like finger food. She suggested that instead of the cakes, we do trays of bars and cookies. That was one of the plans I had already discussed with the restaurant and it seemed like the perfect solution.
In the intermediate class from earlier last year, someone asked what would be the name of a TV show about hoarding junk. Following are the responses from class, using random draws. I used the Universal Waite cards here when I hadn’t made note of what deck the student was using.
Title for a TV Show about Hoarding Junk
Anna.K Two of Pentacles: Juggling your Junk
DruidCraft Five of Pentacles: Chasing More Junk
(hound chasing hare in background)
Fool: Fool’s Gold
(golden glow around the main character)
Strength: Loving the Lion’s Share
Justice: Judge Junk
Tarot of the Old Path Temptation: Devil’s Dumpster
What quirky questions do you have? And what do you see in your cards to answer them? Please share your quirky questions (and answers) in the comments!
Joy Vernon has been studying and teaching energetic and esoteric modalities for more than twenty years. She is the organizer of the Denver Tarot Geeks, Denver Tarot Meetup and Denver Traditional Reiki Meetup, and she served on the faculty of Avalon Center for Druidic Studies. She is one of the psychics at Isis Books and has been featured at SpiritWays, the Mercury Café and psychic fairs throughout the Denver Metro and Northern Colorado. She is a Certified Professional Tarot Reader and a member of the American Tarot Association and Tarosophy Tarot Association. Joy also teaches Traditional Japanese Reiki. For information on upcoming classes or to schedule an appointment, please visit JoyVernon.com.
© 2015 by Joy Vernon. All rights reserved.
Joy Vernon is widely recognized by tarot professionals as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup has grown into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher at Isis Books. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.