A common error that is found in even professional Tarot readers is to view each card as an individual statement of potential activity or impending action.
A good Tarot reader will see beyond these rather limited ideas and will understand that deeper interpretation is held within a Tarot spread—not so much as a result of interpreting specific cards but in the close, or symbiotic, relationship that each card holds to its neighbours.
Very few Tarot books these days really reveal these connections or even consider this most important element to Tarot work. In fact, no single book dedicated to the subject of Tarot card relationships exists—until now.
In her book Tarot Interactions professional Tarot reader Deborah Lipp explains how in actual fact
Tarot isn’t static; it interacts with its environment in a wide variety of ways.
As she so succinctly puts it:
Understanding Tarot interactions fundamentally changes your approach to Tarot.
Deborah also states that there are a number of different types of interactions that can take place within a Tarot reading and in the first of these she looks at the interactions that develop between the cards and the psyche of their reader.
The key to developing this connection is through the personal development of one’s psychic powers which, in turn, can strengthen and expand our appreciation of a reading through the use of meditation, self-knowledge and a trust in one”s intuitive voice.
In the book Deborah offers practical advice on how this card/reader connection can be brought about and using illustrated examples and advisory commentary she adds real life examples as well as practical exercises.
Tarot is also described by the author as being able to connect to other esoteric disciplines. Typically these include such metaphysical philosophies as astrology, numerology and the Kabbalah.
All of these are commonly understood connections but Deborah points-out that Tarot interactions also exist when considered alongside less commonly-known esoteric practices such as dreams, path-working and even herbalism.
In her book Deborah also reveals how greater levels of spread analysis can be found through what she refers to as ‘frequency patterns’ within the cards.
These can include patterns suggesting themselves through any kind of suit dominance, card reversals, the appearance of Major Arcana trumps as well as number of other sequential patterns and couplings.
She also advises on how and where to look out for repeating symbolism on the card illustrations that are exposed in a Tarot reading.
Many important Tarot relationships are also formed within specific Tarot card spreads and so Deborah presents an analysis of the possible permutations and relationships that can be found within even the simplest Tarot card spreads; such as those forned around just three or five cards.
For advanced readers looking for even deeper levels of analysis the author offers a full breakdown of the classic ‘Celtic Cross’ spread.
Whilst Tarot spread positions do qualify the meaning behind any card ascribed to them the greatest influence on a cards’ deviation from its typical meaning is formed through its relationship with any adjacent card or multiples of cards.
Deborah explains in simple terms how, just by looking at only two cards, they can each influence greatly the meaning of one other.
Another form of interaction that she identifies in her book is through the use of language—or more specifically within our use and understanding of English grammar. By working or re-working the way that you describe a sequence of cards in a layout so the inherent wisdom within your vocalization can become revealed.
This powerful technique can be extremely important when trying to explain the deeper aspects of a spread to your client and can, according to the books author, be turned into quite a storytelling artform through which it becomes possible to engage more closely with the person for whom you are conducting the reading.
Towards the end of Tarot Interactions Deborah examines more closely the interactions that develop between the Tarot and the querent—or between the Tarot and yourself if you happen to be doing a personal reading.
The book closes with the author having a bit of fun with the Tarot. Here she offers a selection of Tarot-based experiments that include Tarot games, baby naming, looking for lost objects and using the Tarot cards to find a missing person,
The book concludes with an appendix of card meanings, interpretations of card patterns, recommended reading and a bibliography.
Some readers suggest that Tarot card reading is a skill. Others insist that it is a discipline but what hits you after reading Tarot Interactions is that for a really advanced student of Tarotwork the practice clearly has to become an artform.
The way that this book works, as I see it, is simple. It focusses upon one specific area of Tarot teaching and through its pages breathes life, insights and esoteric wisdom into those vitally important, but otherwise generally neglected, areas of Tarot that very few other technique-orientated publications approach.
If, as I suspect to be the case, professional Tarot reading is an artform then ‘Tarot Interactions’ offers to its reader a combination of artists’ palette, paintbrushes and easel.
Tarot Interactions, as a book, is beautifully crafted and a great deal of thought has clearly gone into its construction. The accompanying illustrations are excellent, the narrative is deeply engaging and the exercises are first class; but what really adds both color and depth of quality to this superb publication is its sheer ability to draw levels of sophistication from the Tarot that are, at times, simply awe-inspiring.