This isn't like one of our normal hops where all of our hops appear at the same time. We were given a week to write on the topic of To Be Honest, which is a play on the initials for the Tarot Blog Hop. Our fearless wrangler, Jay Cassels, has challenged us to write about "Being honest: what does that mean for you in relation to the tarot, and how do you maintain your integrity and honesty when faced with challenging cards?"
Before I dove into this, I wanted to define for myself and my readers the words Truth and Honest.
Truth: The best definition of Truth, according to Dictionary.com, is "a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like." However, when we are dealing in the world of Tarot and the questions asked such as "Does he like me?" or "What is the future of my marriage?" truth is a little hard to define as the cards will provide insights and suggestions, but the cards cannot declare cold hard facts around questions like these.
Honest: According to Dictionary.com, Honest is being "honorable in principles, intentions, and actions; upright and fair." There is nothing in this or the other definitions about being honest being about telling the truth. Additionally, this definition is a little wiggly because if my principles are to be honorable, may mean that I sugarcoat the truth in order to not hurt someone.
Now that I've provided those definitions as background, let's look at the key components of Honesty and Truth within a Tarot reading: the querent, the reader, the question, the deck, and the cards pulled.
The best tarot readings happen when the querent comes to the reading table with an open heart, an open mind, and a willingness to hear and accept the truth from a reader. Unfortunately, if a querent is in an emotional state or is looking for a particular outcome, they may not be ready to hear or accept the truth of a reading no matter how blunt the reader or the cards are.
Immediately after my husband left me and I was desperate to reconcile, I went to readers and asked about the state of my marriage. The below represents a typical reading and my interpretation versus a more realistic interpretation of the cards.
The reader greatly influences the truth of a tarot reading. As I noted above, being honest is about having honorable principles. However, honorable principles can be interpreted several different ways. One reader could interpret honorable principles to mean being brutally honest in a "rip the bandage off" kind of way and could read the cards in the harshest possible way even if it leaves the querent in tears. Another reader could interpret honorable principles to mean giving the reader hope knowing that what the cards say is not set in stone and that there is a possibility that if the querent has a positive attitude and takes positive actions, things could change. The below shows how the Prince (Knight) of Cups could be interpreted by two different readers in a reading about love.
The Deck (And the Little White Book)
The deck a reader chooses to read with and the accompanying little white book, which provides the deck creators thoughts on a card, also impacts the truth of a reading as each deck creator and artist interpret the cards based on their own life experience and their vision for the card. The below shows four different "Devil" Cards and each deck creator's thoughts on the card and my reading of the card.
One of the things I learned when going through a period when I was getting regular Tarot readings is that how the question is phrased really matters. While the questions "Does my husband still love me?" and "How does my husband feel about me?" are both asking about my husband's feelings about me, one will be more likely to give a yes or no answer, but the other will give a more nuanced reading and could indicate he has mixed feelings about me that include anger, care, etc. In a job related reading, the question "Will I get this job?" will give a yes or no answer, but doesn't really tell me a lot. However, the question "Is this job right for me?" will give me more valuable information. I've learned that more open ended questions work better for me because they give me more information and often give me things things to consider that I might not have thought about.
The last variable in a reading is the cards that choose to present themselves in a reading, but there is much overlap and subtlety in a tarot deck. For instance, both Death and the Tower speak to change but in different ways. Death speaks to a time of transformation and rebirth, which could occur over time. However, the Tower tells us to expect an unexpected and sudden change where the old will be swept away.
In another example, the Empress, Nine of Pentacles, and the Queen of Pentacles are all beautiful earthy women living abundant lives, but they are not interchangeable.
Queen of Pentacles: Like the Empress, the Queen of Pentacles is also living an abundant life, but she doesn't have the wild creativity of the Empress. QOP is the quintessential homemaker as she loves taking care of kids, dogs, and the house. She loves things of beauty and she lives a life of abundance. She is nurturing, practical, and pragmatic.
To Be Honest
As I reflect on the words Truth and Honest with regards to Tarot Readings, I realize is that there is no "one true truth" as Tarot readings are more art than science. However, I do believe that as readers we should approach each reading with an open heart and honest intentions. We should seek to be honorable in our intentions and to have the best interests of our querents at heart. If we approach our readings from a pure heart, I believe we will be guided to choose the right deck for the reading, ask the right questions, and pull the right cards. I also believe that we will find the right words to help the querent understand and accept what the cards are telling them.