Knowledge may be power, but that’s a simplification of matters. There is a lot of knowledge that is useless to most people, and there is a lot of knowledge that is useless on its own. Knowing that the mayor slept with underage sex workers isn’t power unless you know how to use that knowledge. Basic geometry and carpentry can be useless on their own unless you know how to apply that knowledge to make tables, chairs, buildings and more. So while knowledge may be power it, it is more the application of knowledge that is power.
This of course brings us to the tarot. A good tarot reading is full of knowledge but the trouble is to most people the reading is useless, informative, but useless. This is a problem that affects magickians and reading recipients alike. A reading provides them with the information they ask for, but they have no idea how to apply this information.
This is another one of those things in magick that I feel should be so obvious that it doesn’t need to be said, and yet when I look around I see the same mistake being made repeatedly. I used to make this mistake all the time, I still do occasionally. When rereading my magickal diaries I’m struck by how often my readings were accurate, and moreso how often I failed to do anything about it. The problem, if we want to go so far as to call it such, is that tarot readings are by their nature abstract, and even when they’re specific, there is a level of abstraction. People don’t know how to take the abstract and make it practical. The tarot gives ideas and advice, not action.
The cards may let you know that to succeed at work you have to stop reacting to your boss and keep the work place peaceful. Good idea, but it isn’t an action. The problem with ideas and abstractions is they aren’t remembered for long and make very poor guides. We have to turn this abstraction into something doable and memorable.
One piece of advice I got from a friend and mentor years ago, which I’ve adapted, is making plans from a reading. I always make two plans with any reading; one that can and will be started in the first 48 hours after the reading, and another that can be implemented over the following week. The first 48 hours after a reading are crucial, really the first 24 but some people find 24 too stressful to work with. The longer you wait to act, the less likely you are to act; that’s the major problem. The second issue is if you believe that the future is mutable then within the first few days after a reading then things can change, so in order to make the most of your reading you have to implement it as soon as possible.
The goals, especially the 48 hour goal, do not have to be anything large, they don’t have to solve the problem, and rarely will, but the point is to create a concrete action to get you started working with the problem. Say you need to stop reacting to your boss, think quick and small. Print a sign to put on your monitor or keyboard reminding you that after you read an email from the boss that bothers you, do something else for ten minutes, and then respond. This just gives you a little cool down time. Boom -a simple way of starting to handle the issue, and something small that gets you thinking right away about how to use your reading. You’re more likely to think of other ways to handle the issue if you’ve already having something small set into motion. The key is to do something. Other times my actions have been as simple as just writing out a pro/con list regarding the issue cause it hasn’t been thought through, anything that gets me to begin working on the issue.
So many people get readings and fail to use the information, they think just knowing what will help or hinder them will be enough. They think that in the heat of the moment they’ll suddenly remember what they should or shouldn’t do. They don’t and things don’t improve and the next reading just says more of the same, if not worse. It surprises some of my clients when after the reading I work with them to make a plan of action, some are confused, some are appreciative, and some are almost indignant that I assume they don’t know what to do with the reading. Yet pretty much all of my return clients who have seen other tarot consultants mention how helpful my reading was, if only because I gave them an avenue to make the abstract ideas of a reading into a practical plan of action.
When I see people involved with tarot reading, especially magickians, who are constantly doing readings and adding more cards, all I can think is that for all the information they’re turning up, they aren’t bothering to learn how to use it. If you’re doing large readings, constantly adding more cards, and doing lots of tarot spreads chances are you’re not really in need of all of that information, you’re just failing to put the information you have into action. Knowledge is knowledge, applied knowledge is power.
The key to turning the knowledge of a tarot reading into power, isn’t assuming that you’ll remember it, or know how to use it when the time comes; instead it is about taking the time during the reading to create a real plan of action, devising something you can do in the next day or two that begins to work on the issues of the reading. Without the plan and details you’re left with an abstract. Turn a reading into a roadmap and you’re far more likely to get the outcome you want.
Of course another part of the equation is knowing how to ask good questions, but that’s a tale for another time.