While teaching the tester-sessions of my tarot course some weeks ago, I encouraged my students to step a little further out of their comfort-zone than they were initially comfortable with. The aim of my five-week course is to learn to read a three-card-spread without assistance (as well as learning a little tarot-history along the way), but as I explained to them on many an occasion, no card is an island. Often, I find that cards are read best in pairs. Why not add a clarifying-card to each of the three in your 3-card-reading?
A second card can bring context. It fleshes out the meaning of the initial card and provides deeper meaning. Take our Knight of Wands as an example. In relationship readings, he gets a bit of a bum-deal. Those who are not already under his spell, recoil when they see that he is heading in their direction. They know him as the player. But why does he act in the way he does? A companion card might be able to offer an answer.
Imagine you asked yourself that exact question and received the 5 of Cups as a context card? That Knight of Wands might very well be lacking in commitment, but does he have good reason to? Could it be that he is hurting? Has a previous relationship ended badly, leaving him scared to commit again? Does he play the field because he is fearful of showing his emotions and having them rejected? He might think it is easier to play the lad than the emotional young man, regardless of which one he truly is beneath the surface.
Things are different in this scenario. The 5 of Wands is a competitive card. Might he simply enjoy the challenge? Or is he just being ‘one of the boys’ and not taking himself too seriously? This combination could show the knight as being someone who sees dating as a sport.
Not everybody wants to know about personal relationships in a reading. A querent might wish to know about a situation at work and could draw the 5 of Wands as her initial answer. You tell her to expect a struggle of some kind and suggest that things may become competitive in her working team.
The Magician regards personal power and intent. At best, he can connect us with our inspirations and dreams and help manifest them here on Earth. But when he partners up with a tricky card like the 5 of Wands, we see a darker side to his nature. This woman needs to keep an eye out for a manipulative co-worker who probably doesn’t have her best interests at heart. Does she recognise who this could be? She’d be a fool to not take this tip from the tarot seriously, since The Magician can definitely misuse his influence and power when in competition or if he is feeling threatened.
© Steven Bright Tiferet Tarot 2014
Illustrations by Steven Bright