Consequences and effects.
If only I had known…. I didn't see this coming …. I should have been prepared for this.
No one can truly predict the future; too much depends on our decisions and actions, those of others that affect us, and events and influences around us.
What we can do is look at possible and probable futures based on how things are now, and the preferable future that we might be able to bring about.
We could also consider consequences that are less likely to occur, but if they do, would have a significant impact. (In futurist studies, these events are called “wildcards.”)
In cognitive therapy, “fortune-telling” happens when a person assumes things will turn out badly, with little evidence to base this prediction on. Or expects everything to turn out well, despite ominous signs.
In all of these cases, a reflection on possible consequences—and what to do about them—has many advantages.
The previous post showed how a pretend-divination can provide material for introspection. The current technique uses a pretend-prediction to consider how past and current actions could influence the future.
For this technique, you can use any spread that includes "outcome" or "future" cards. You can stick to one "possible future" card, or have a card each for probable, possible, and preferable futures.
Two spreads that I often use with this technique are:
Problem / Cause / Solution / Probable future / Possible future / Preferable future
Long ago / Recently / Present / Near future / Far future
I also use the Celtic Cross spread with three cards in the 10th position ("Outcome").
How it works
The trend in Tarot reading has moved from predictive (fortune-telling) to a reflective, introspective exercise. For this technique, however, we make predictions like the old gypsy woman of fame and knowing eye.
What would you like to know about the future? An example could be “Will I get the job I was interviewed for?”
A second option is to reflect on past or current actions, and how they might influence the future. An example would be “I chose to end a relationship that has become a burden. Did I make the right decision, or should I have tried harder?”
Write down your question, choose your spread, and draw cards for each position.
Using traditional or book meanings, note the keywords or predictive statements for each card.
Don’t try to find a link between the card itself and the question. Use the link between the keywords or phrases associated with the card and your question. Tarot images lend themselves to multiple interpretations. The purpose of this technique is to ‘force’ you to find connections between the card and question using a limited set of options. Our brains are more creative when confronted with constraints such as a deadline, rules that have to be followed, requirements, available resources, or a limited number of stimuli to generate ideas.
Let’s imagine you drew the Four of Cups in a "Near Future" position, and the Six of Wands for "Far future." Keywords associated with these cards are dissatisfaction, depression, apathy (Four of Cups) and victory, reward (Six of Wands).
Your “prediction” might read:
As usual, I will [Near Future] become bored with the activity and want to move on to something new and exciting. However, if I persevere, I will be rewarded for a successful result.
Now ask yourself questions such as:
- Is this what I want? If yes, how can I make it true? If no, how can I prevent it?
- Yes, but I also want ... .
- Yes, but there are aspects I don't like. How can I change them?
- No, but some of it look promising.
- No, but it will probably happen. How can I best deal with it?
The most useful books for pretend-predictions are those that give keywords rather than long descriptions (such as the LWB* that comes with a deck of cards), or the ones that give a predictive statement for each card.**
* Little white book
** A few of my favourite books for a pretend-prediction reading:
- Kathleen McCormack, Tarot decoder: Interpret the symbols of the Tarot and increase your understanding of the cards. Quantum Books, 1998. (Interpretations for each card in every position of the Celtic Cross).
- Eileen Connolly, Tarot: A new handbook for the apprentice. Newcastle, 1979.
- Nancy Garen, Tarot made easy. Simon & Schuster, 1989. (Divinatory meanings for each card in various types of situations, for example emotional, finances, family, the physical body, pleasure, news, endings and beginnings, and outcome.)
- Leanna Greenaway, Simply Tarot (revised.). Sterling Innovation, 2007.
Books with many keywords per card include:
- Anthony Louis, Tarot plain and simple. Bounty Books, 2008.
- Paul Huson, Mystical origins of the Tarot: From ancient roots to modern usage. Destiny Books, 2004.
Mark McElroy’s books give specialized meanings:
- Putting the Tarot to work. Llewellyn, 2004. (Business and career applications)
- Creative brainstorming with the Bright Idea Deck. Llewellyn, 2005 (Business and career)
- Taking the Tarot to heart. Llewellyn, 2005. (Romantic relationships)
Other possibilities are
- Mary K Greer’s Tarot for your self: A workbook for personal transformation (New Page, 2002)
- Joan Bunning’s Learning the Tarot (Red Wheel/Weiser, 1998).