Sin 1: The Basics.

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And so, after everything that you've read, we're still only just beginning. By this point, you’ve gained a thorough understanding of both yourself and your sitters, come to a full appreciation for the nature of fortune-telling and why both yourself and your sitters ask to be deceived, and learned the meaning of all 78 cards. Are you ready to put it together? Let’s get started.

Opening a performance is simple: shuffle the deck a few times, cut it once if you so desire, and lay down cards in the appropriate configuration. It’s just that easy, but if you want to make it more elaborate you can invent any number of reasons to cut the deck into multiple piles, feel for “energy” to select which stack of cards to draw from, and so on. I once had to wait 10 minutes for a performance to begin because the sitter insisted on shuffling the deck himself and using the most elaborate and repetitious method of rotating, cutting, shuffling, and re-stacking the cards that I’ve ever seen. You're welcome to do the same if you're so inclined, but for my preferences I think elaborate shuffling is a waste of time and would rather just get on with the show

As mentioned before, a single Tarot card doesn’t mean much on its own: it’s only when you put it together with something else that it takes on any meaning. Let me show you how: lay down the Ace of Spades, 2 of Spades, Ace of Clubs, Ace of Hearts, Ace of Diamonds, Magician I, Chaos VIII, and Devil XV. Anchor yourself in the ace of spades and look through its eyes. What do you see? 

read tarot card combinations

  • The 2 of Spades reaches happily toward you. It holds you tightly and might feel snug, but it also helps you grow while at the same time sustaining and defending you.
  • You reach out to the Ace of Clubs. It pulls you toward it, and you feel possessive of it. You guide its growth and development, but it's also able to safely grow and expand.
  • You reach out to the Ace of Hearts. You dislike its indifference and try to either tear it down or agitate it into become something different.
  • The Ace of Diamonds reaches toward you. It’s a source of pain that invades your space and tries to scatter what you've accomplished or force you to see things differently.
  • The Magician shatters you into pieces that can now be reassembled into something greater than the sum of their parts.
  • Chaos does unto itself according to its own desires and offers to share its self-immolation with you.
  • You are aren't merely a witness to the ruination of the Devil, but a contributor. Do you like being her accomplice?
See how this works? Anchor your perspective onto a chosen card and then combine it with any other reference card. Look at either the reception or expression of both cards, compare their elemental nature, and see how things fall out. And if you want to see how another person, situation, or thing exists within the spread of cards before you, then you can anchor your point of view onto any other card on the table. This shifting point of view will show you different perspectives within the same arrangement, and reveal motivations and associations among other cards.

The chapters that follow include methods for arranging the cards, the performance of which is called a reading and the fortune-teller is called a reader. These arrangements are also called Tarot spreads, because you spread the cards across the table. I’ve chosen these arrangements because their configurations produce satisfying results, and like everything else in this book you should treat them as a starting point for further exploration. I encourage you to experiment with other fortune-tellers' arrangements and also to develop your own own, because if you do so you'll ultimately learn things that nobody else can teach you. 

The only other advice I'll share with you is to not get distracted by the complexity of large arrangements, because the most important thing to remember is that no matter how many cards you’ve laid on the table, you’re only ever reading two cards at a time. If you can do this, then the rest is easy.