It’s a great idea to ‘interview’ a new deck before you start to work with it, and many people rely on the following 6 card spread in that process for an effective intuitive exercise. (Six, you say? I see seven. Yup, I can’t resist making this a Seven Card Spread.) I picked up a gently used copy of The Dreaming Way Tarot at SF BATS, and could not wait to try it out.
1. Tell me about yourself. What is your most important characteristic?
Justice. If this card could speak it would say: “At first my images are sweet, like this little girl on the Justice card. But look beneath the surface. How terrifying is it to have a blind teenager making big choices? I will delight you and scare you.” Perhaps it’s just me, and my work with teens, but yes. She’s lovely and slightly creepy.
2. What are your strengths as a deck?
Sun. I always have mixed feelings about the Sun card. It always seems to say “You can’t hide.” I also feel like this card says something else about the dark side of the Sun card – our need for recognition or reward. After all, it’s a kid coming out form hiding under sunflowers for a lollipop.
3. What are your limits as a deck?
10 of Coins. In this deck, 10’s are excess. I have always liked this way of reading it, instead of a perfect and complete home with a white picket fence. But, the card seems to say “I might be a bit much for some people. My images are a bit fussy.”
4. What do you bring to the table? What lessons can you teach me?
Hierophant. Yowsa. Doesn’t get more literal than the cards saying “I’ll teach you about the tarot.”
5. How can I best learn from and collaborate with you?
Emperor. Something about this card gets me in the stomach. A man, in a garden, in a tartan but underneath he’s wearing a straitjacket. If this card could speak it would say something in my father’s voice.
6. What is the potential outcome of our working relationship?
4 of Wands. A card that has come to mean a lot for me – good partnerships, networking. Is this card trying to say “I can be another deck that’s good with the public”?
7. Anything else I should know? Any question I didn’t ask?
Two cards jumped from the deck at this point – that keeps happening! – 4 of Coins and The Lovers. It was at that moment the reading shifted for me and I saw a pattern. I tried to represent it in the picture above.
There is a story here – at least a story for me. We start with a blindfolded woman trying to decide an outcome, trying to decide between two outcomes. We end with the ultimate card about choice, The Lovers. On it is an angel/fairy trying to counsel a couple, literally holding them together. Between those cards – a splitting with a choice and a choice to stay together – we have a pattern of wealthy and richly dressed people looking at a near-naked baby with jealousy and an Emperor looking at a ‘man of the cloth’ with jealousy. We end with two 4’s – cards of happy partnership, and healthy stable boundaries. It’s as if the cards offer up a warning about excess. Sometimes you have enough. Sometimes simplicity is best and it’s a good idea not to overdo.
If this is a message I needed to hear so it’s the story I see or it’s a part of what the interview is all about remains to be seen. I’ll be using the Dreaming Way tarot in my weekly reading, so I’ll learn more as I continue to work with it.