When I do a reading, the first thing is to talk with you about your question, topic of concern, or you OK for an open reading. Then we shuffle the cards, put them into the layout you ordered (by email, you get a photo of the actual real life cards, by phone I’ll list them out for you, or whenever in-person readings come back, you can see them for your self.
Once the cards are ready, the first part in all formats bigger than a one-card, is what I call the “general pattern” where we look for any clues from the patter of cards taken as a whole. One of the things we look at is the number of major vs minor arcana cards. Of the minor arcana cards, we look at what suits are showing and how many of each suit are there.
“Negative space” is an idea from art and sculpture. The art-thing itself sets shapes and boundaries in and around the space it occupies. Kind of like a paper snowflake where the cut out parts are shapes too. Like the hearts in this one (Found this on a Google search. you can get the pattern at papersnowflakeart.com)
Sometimes, if three of the four minor arcana suits are showing, intuition will pull toward the suit that is missing as if it is being conspicuous in it’s absence and is sending a message by not showing up.
2020 has been a heck of a decade, and hindsight is 20/20 too. When we look back what can we learn? Surprisingly, I found one of those negative space, conspicuous in its absence kinds of messages when I looked back at the broad swath of cards that have shown up in the past year, a couple of patterns emerge. Early in the year, there was a preponderance of Pentacle cards, with their earthy, practical, pragmatic advice. The message was to not judge ourselves too harshly as we did what needed done during the early days of the covid pandemic. If it took pajama days and pandemic snacks to cope, so be it. If it took nuts-and-bolts, one foot in front of the other suiting up and masking up and putting food on the shelves….well, let’s just say the rest of us are very grateful. Then things shifted. Later in the Summer and Fall Cups cards stepped forward with a shift toward the intuitive and the spiritual. Wheels and worlds, Towers and Magicians, even the Devil card (Shadow Side in the Witches Tarot deck) put in an appearance.
But no Death card.
At least not in any prominent, repeating, attention-getting way. Given the profound tragedy the pandemic has brought and continues to bring, it is a wonder that the card didn’t show up every other day. With so many lost, this year has brought profound and permanent change to so, so many families.
Early in the year, there was a lot of zeitgiest, general-culture, general-society energies. If we look at the Death card from that perspective, then its absence makes more sense. Not intending to be callous toward the worst that has happened, if we remove tragedy from the card (as is its actual use and meaning….we all know the card actually isn’t a harbinger of literal death)
The Death card is about permanent change. When permenant change is conspicuously absent, maybe the big scary change isn’t so permenant on a large scale cultural level.
We’ll never regain and never forget those who were lost. There may be permanent scars from all of this. But in the end, in the very very long run, life just might get back to OK.