Does Tarot "Personalise" Itself?

Do certain cards ever take on their own specific meaning in your life, so that they’ll appear in a reading where they represent one action, person, event, or whatever, even though that may not be the “official” meaning for that card?

For example, if your Grandad looks like The Hermit, would that card in time come to represent him if he’s an important part of your life, and even where the traditional meanings don’t apply?

I’ve increased the amount of readings I do and this seems to be happening, but I don’t have enough faith in my Tarot skills to be certain, I could just be getting it wrong… :\

This makes perfect sense to me- I have thought about this before, and I think this is very probable.

I experience this sort of thing sometimes when doing a series of readings on a particular subject. For example, a few months ago I did some readings on a particular person. The high priestess card kept popping up, and I couldn’t’ quite understand why- the obvious traditional meanings didn’t quite seem to fit. Then I realised that the person has their moon in Pisces. Ah OK, I thought, Pisces = High Priestess. So every time I do a reading on this person and this card appears, I assume that it is somehow related to their moon in Pisces, that that particular aspect of their personality is someone influencing the events. Of course I can’t be 100% certain either, but that’s what my intuition was telling me.

Another example is the 6 of wands. When I first started doing tarot, the first book I bought said that if the 6 of wands appears as an answer to a yes/no question- it will always mean yes. So for me, this card now means ‘yes’, and will often appear as the answer to a yes/no question even though I’ve shuffled the entire deck and the chances of this card appearing is obviously quite slim, yet it does, because that is the card that means ‘yes’ for me.

I realise this is not exactly the same as the situation that you have described, as the cards in my example are still related to the traditional meanings, but I think it still shows how the cards ‘personalise’ themselves. I really do think that with tarot you need to let your intuition guide you, just go with whatever ‘feels’ right.

They always say throw away the book when the cards start telling you something else…

I did a little exercise with The Fool, and what I got wasn’t close to the “standard” meaning. IMHO, the cards should personalize themselves, but like you, I have little confidence in my Tarot skills, so what do I know :wink:

This makes me wonder, if someone does a reading for me, and say The Hermit shows up, would it mean my grandad, or The Hermit with all the usual meanings?

Or maybe the reader’s Uncle Jim, who looks the same and bets on horses so it always means take a chance! Gah!! >_<

In my noobish opinion, I don’t think it matters. If someone else is doing a reading for you, it’s their interpretation that matters, not yours. If you start re-interpreting the meanings, why have someone read for you?

FWIW, I’m going to start fresh with Tarot, and give Josephine McCarthy’s method a shot. Her method of memorizing meanings seems very simple. It’s here, if you, or anyone is interested:

Sounds good - I recently committed to basically reading on E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G… that’s where I found anaomlaies, cards that represent things to me but not by-the-book meanings.

I think I’m working out my won system but still nowhere near what I’d call proficient! :wink:

I’m working with playing cards as well, I used those a lot before because I prefer to throws a fan of cards down and scry them, that seems to work well for me.

I’m working out some new systems, as well… :slight_smile:

First a disclaimer, not “always”: of course your grandfather surely can’t be expected to have a bearing on -every- question you read on.

But really, yes, your cards should absolutely begin to have their own meanings to -you- as you get a feel for them and use them often. They will pretty much begin to be as familiar as old friends, and you’ll find in the readings that they “interpret themselves”, that you’ll end up deviating pretty far from the “standard” cut-and-paste interpretation that’s abstractly outside any real context.

And certainly readings followed up in intervals of months will see consistent themes that you’ll be able to readily identify.

What I recommend, if you haven’t yet, is to ensure a good bond between you and your deck, by meditating briefly on each of the cards, dwelling on its symbolism, and “consecrating” it to your accurate divination.

Sorry if that’s a bit loopy. Rough night for me lol.

Sounds good, thanks! :slight_smile:

I’m planning on doing this asap:

Not sure where it’ll take me, but I’m going to find out.

Oooh nice, I remember encountering something like that in the ONA exercises for familiarity with their Sinister Tarot (some great images by Christos Beest if you haven’t seen them). I think I’ll revisit that now that I’m so much better at “travelling into concepts”. But my plate is full and I shouldn’t get distracted, as you know. Best of luck!

This is one of the advantages to working with ilustrated minors in my opinion. I used to be very against decks like that as people often relied more on the picture than the traditional meanings. Like it or not tarot has traditional meanings but it also has layers of menaings through the astrological, numerical, Kabalistic influences on the cards. Seeing some dipshit who claims to be such a great reader tell me I have a good spread because of “All those 7’s in the spread” tells me more about him as a reader than I care to know but I’ll get to that later…

It grates me unmercifuly when I hear people say to throw out the books and go with your gut. The problem with that is that everyone and their grandmother has a tarot deck now and many have absolutely nothing resembling a traditional deck in terms of images. I have looked at these decks and the feelings energies they pull from me neither correspond to the traditional tarot or the creators own companion book. This makes these more “Oracle” decks than Tarot to me.

Now to answer the question can cards have a personal meaning? Absolutely. The example Eva provided of the Hermit is a great example of the card becoming a significator to that person while still personifying the energy of that card. The Hermit is the magician grown older and wiser and he no longer needs the advice and guidance of others as his own experiences have allowed him to see his own path and it is shown to him through the illumination of his insight and past experience (his lantern). When we think of our elders we often see them as people of experience and their opinions should be taken into consideration as they have already walked where many of us are still trying get to so seeing an elder appear in this capacity is a good sign to heed their advice as well as someone who has a wealth of knowledge to share.

I have personal meanings for each and every card and they often vary slightly between decks in some degrees depending on the images, keywords and most importantly the context of the question and querent themselves. For example the 7 of Swords has many meanings from lies and deceit, indecisiveness, mental stagnancy etc. The 7’s are cards of imbalance and instability in the tarot which is why I referenced that earlier in the post. The Swords in the tarot are of the element of Air which dominion is over thoughts and communication and fears. So breaking that card down to an elemental point the card is all about an imbalance of communication be it with others (lies, deceit, thievery) or with yourself (indecisiveness and the inability to choose). Depending on the context of who and what you are reading on it can be less about the more common book meanings and more about a lack of clear communication and misunderstanding one another.

Hope that all made sense and didn’t come off too much like an asshole.

Brilliant, thanks!! This has been bugging me for a while - actually since last year, some cards seem to have gotten “glued” to some situations/events that are extremely loaded in my life, and they don’t make any sense except in that context.

I believe it does. When I do a reading for myself, I know which cards to pull from the deck because as I approach those cards I get a tingling electric feeling in my left palm, like sensing the energy from those cards. When I reach the correct one, it feels like my palm is literally trying to magickally suck the card out of the deck, like a magnet.

Lately, I have been working with a particular deck more often than usual and am noticing that even though I’m not second guessing the cards and my palm is telling me to pick this card, the meanings seem to have nothing to do with my questions. First I thought okay, I have lost my touch, a sign that I’m not reading enough but upon examing the pictures and not the book interpreted meanings, I am finding there is a deeper connection with those cards and my life after all. So yes, I think that even if you are not trying to memorize the cards and intentionally form your own interpretations, if your intuition is awakened enough, the cards will take on their own meanings and personalize themselves to you.

I keep getting a particular card now every time I do a reading, no matter what the question is or how many cards I draw, that one is always in there like it’s reminding me to keep getter deeper into magick and trying to pursue my dreams, and they will come.

RavensAscent brings up what I meant about using illustrated minors. I’ve done readings such as “Is my lover faithful?” And the cards drawn really have no context to the question but will have a card or cards which show multiple people and from that context sn answer can be divined.

9 of Pentacles in the Rider deck is good example. I’ve been reading for a particular client for over a year about a love interest and consistently gets this card. Usually a court card is used to describr a person but this card both in illustration and other layers gives a good grasp of her that would not possibly be seen in another deck. We have a lavish woman in a card suit that deals with money and material security and the cards traditional meaning is one of gain. In this instance the woman is an earth sign, enjoys the finer things and well…I ain’t saying she’s a gold digger lol

Holy cow, you’ve got some Tarot mojo there mate, because I just read that and SAW for the first time clearly exactly what the three cards that have got attached to specific situations really, truly, mean.

I’ve been gazing at one of those since last year, and not getting it!!

Serious thanks for that, it’s made everything fall into place and these are pretty important issues so that insight’s really valuable.

THANK YOU!! :slight_smile: