Another question from an inquisitive student.
Question: Sometimes nothing really seems to be happening outwardly (in the physical world) yet I get 10 of Swords or some other dramatic card. Do the cards represent a state of being (emotional state, mental state) in addition to representing what actually happens in the physical world? In other words, do the cards symbolize how one feels rather than what actually happens in the physical world?
Answer: The Tarot cards ave layers and layers of meaning and significance. Of course it is important to note where a dramatic card is in the reading. Is it at the center of the reading, in the past, far future or fears? Each of those positions would change the way the card may be operating in your life. since I assume that you are referring to doing a reading for the next 24 hours, as a part of the homework assignment. In that case, it could be that only the near future would fall in the window of that time frame. Cards in all the other positions may occur before or after that day.
Let’s say that the 10 of swords is in the far past. Then the events of the day may focus around or be a result of something that was fairly dramatic in the past. That drama could be a “stab in the back” which was actually some fairly damaging gossip, or it could have been a time when you broke an ankle or had a car accident. Then the actual activities of the present day may be fall out from that previous event – Pain in the ankle or being slowed down on a hike, or encountering someone who has a lowered opinion of you because of gossip they had heard in the past.
Alternatively, if the dramatic card is in the center (card #1 in the Celtic Cross layout), there may be an indication of some painful situation, and it could be that you are affected by someone else’s painful situation that day. Or it could be that there is a world event that occurs that draws your attention – and that even relates to the 10 of Swords. Many people reported having the Tower card in their readings for days leading up to and after 9/11. It was certainly an event that took all our attention, even if we were not present at the Twin Towers that day.
And yes, it could also relate to a state of mind or emotions. Perhaps during the day something triggers a memory of a dramatic or painful time. Sometimes we respond to events in a certain way that reflects some unconscious, unresolved pain. We may not even be aware that we are angry or depressed because of something that happened long ago, and yet, the reaction would not, perhaps, be as strong if we were only responding to the immediate event.
Sometimes, when I have cards that don’t seem to fit, such as your example of having dramatic cards on days when no much is going on in your own life on the physical level, I may do a second reading asking for more information on that specific card. Or, if you know how to use a pendulum, you could ask the pendulum a series of questions to pinpoint the reference of the card.
From a certain standpoint, the cards will always have layer upon layer of meaning. This is very similar to the idea that the macro reflects the micro, and vice versa, and as above, so below.