Exercises - Lesson 11

Interpreting a Single Card

(See Introduction to Exercises.)

Exercise 11.1 - Your Personal Reactions to a Card

Choose any card from the tarot deck. Look at it carefully and then write down your response. It doesn't matter if you are already familiar with this card and know its meanings. Consider whatever comes to mind to be your personal reaction. Some elements to think about are:
  1. What feeling do I sense in the card scene?*
  2. What feeling do I sense in myself when I see this card?*
  3. Am I attracted, repelled or neutral about this card?
  4. What aspect of my life comes to mind when I see this card?
  5. Does this card remind me of someone?
  6. What details seem important in this card, and why?
*These two feelings may be the same or different.

You may not feel any reaction to the card, or perhaps just a mild one. Try to notice any quick thought, feeling or image that comes to mind, no matter how slight.

Exercise 11.2 - Combining Sources of Meaning

In this exercise, you will practice blending card and position meanings. Choose a card from the tarot deck, and read over its keywords and actions. Try to get a feel for the card's essential meaning.

Imagine that your card has appeared in Position 1 of a Celtic Cross reading. How does being here refine the meaning of this card? How do the card and position meanings work together to create a composite?

Write one sentence that sums up your interpretation. Don't try to figure out the right answer because there isn't one. Select a possibility that appeals to you and makes sense. Your sentence doesn't have to relate to your own life in any way as this exercise is simply for practice.

For example, the Emperor stands for

Some choices for this card in Position 1 might be:

These sentences are all different, but each one blends the meanings of the Emperor and Position 1. In an actual reading, the most appropriate interpretation for you would become clear as you considered other factors.

Next, write a sentence for each of the other nine positions using the same card. If you want extra practice, write more than one sentence for each position, or choose a different card and repeat the exercise.

Exercise 11.3 - Interpreting Single Cards in Celtic Cross Readings

Use your ongoing Celtic Cross readings as an opportunity to practice combining the four sources of meaning:

Be systematic at first about considering each of these areas so they become second nature to you. Try writing a sentence for each card as described in Exercise 11.2. Of course, you will not have to write these sentences forever. Later you can be more relaxed and simply respond without having to think about where your reaction comes from.

Lesson 11

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