A short series on Self-Guidance through Tarot. See part 1.
Well, after clarifying the question, or more accurately, our intention we move on to the mechanical phase of the process.
Actually to call it mechanical is incorrect; it is the apparently mundane act of deciding the number of cards and the lay-out to use. This part of the process is the one that is the easiest to miss or mix up; it’s so mundane we take it for granted.
How many cards will I lay out? What does each position mean? Will I start from a significator card? What is my shuffling and cutting procedure?
As with all the other preliminary phases, reading for oneself requires more attention here, than reading for others. It is for this reason that I recommend using the minimum number of cards when reading for yourself. The more involved we are the closer our focus needs to be.
So our intention is to improve our focus by limiting the number of factors we have to juggle, thus limiting stress or anxiety. Obviously when we read for ourselves the subject is likely to be ‘charged’ making it harder to get into a divinatory frame of mind (which will be our next step).
It’s so easy to miss this, but how often we get something like… “I’ve shuffled twice, is that enough? Maybe one more time and then cut? OK, 10 card layout; hmm, not sure I get that last one, I’ll add an explanatory card there. Oh! That’s the one I was thinking of using as a significator. Interesting. Maybe if I see what falls above and below? Should I shuffle again, or cut again, or just follow on?” All these extra questions dilute our original intention, and provoke a leaning towards uncertainty at the very least; exactly the wrong state to be in when studying the cards.
So decide at this point how many cards, what pattern to lay out them out, how much shuffling and how you intend to interpret the cards. Get it all framed and focused and out of the way.
This is the analytical and logical mind being used for its proper purpose; taking care of the mundane but vital details – thus clearing the way for Step Three.