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Reading Between the Cards

Lately I’ve been doing readings with just two cards. I don’t read the cards one-two, past-present, cause-effect. I read the space between them: the field of energy, the tension, the interaction. I ask what must happen for one card to turn into the other, or for one card to reach out to the other and transform it?

A few weeks ago I asked Lo Scarabeo’s Ancient Italian deck what I can do to kick off a summer of creative and artistic experimentation. I got the Star and Nine of Cups: waters of heavenly inspiration cascading through the levels of cups. But the Nine of Cups has a sterile, conformist feel, like rows of soldiers or synchronized dancers. Something stale and dry is being watered. The cards resemble the fountain in my living room where water cascades down several vertical levels of copper flowers.

The owl and the starlight signify the wisdom of the stars — astrology — surfing the planetary energies. Mars was turning direct when I did the reading, and I felt a tidal surge of creative energy move through me.

The water needs an outlet. The Nine of Cups feels like a trap where water will stagnate — like my fountain where the water just re-circulates but never really goes anywhere.

Blog Reading (2) 06_29_16I pulled another card to give the water an outlet: the Knight of Swords. I’ve been thinking of spending the summer focusing on my neglected collage and watercolors. But the cards are telling me my creative libido wants to flow into my writing and my intellectual interests. I think I’ll watch and wait, see where my creative energies want to flow, not force them toward any particular creative product.

Reading Lesson

Go with the flow of energy between the cards. Don’t get stuck feeling you have to read in a left to right, or past-future orientation. If the cards are facing or gesturing in a certain direction, read them in that order. Enhance the interaction among the cards by arranging them vertically, stair stepped, in a circle or any configuration that emphasizes the natural flow of energy. Don’t hesitate to pull more cards until the spread feels complete and the energy is resolved.


Try This Yourself

Pull two cards and feel the energy humming between them. What alchemical transformation wants to emerge from the space between? Do you need a third card? Let me know how this works for you in the comments section below.

Here’s an articleabout Dellarocca’s Soprafino design and its many versions.

The Cartomancy section of this website has several pages of tips for reading with the Tarot de Marseilles and other historic decks.


2 Comments Post a comment
  1. If I wrote everything I could say here, my comment would be longer than your post. So, by way of thanks, I’ll spare you … and say this was most interesting, helpful and thought-provoking. I’ve been doing work with 2 card pairs myself … and this brought more dimensions to consider. Thank you so much for the work it took to write and publish it. As always, you’ve produced another gem. Have a marvelous day! ❤

    July 20, 2016
    • Rebecca, thank you so much for your kind words. It means a lot coming from someone I always considered a mentor and role model. I would love to hear more about your adventures reading with two cards, either here in the comments, or how about a guest blog post?

      July 20, 2016

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