May 01, 2017

Tarot Blog Hop: Do I combine Tarot with other methods of divination?

For this round of the Tarot Blog Hop, our host Ms. Arwen Lynch asks the question, "Do you combine Tarot with other methods of divination?" The short answer is, no. The long answer is, kinda-sorta yes. Stay with me on this and I promise you'll understand what I mean by the end of the essay!

So, here's a story about myself: When I was in high school, I found that I really enjoyed language classes. I thrived in the English class, but I also enjoyed foreign languages and took a semester of German plus the equivalent of six semesters of Spanish. I say the equivalent because I went on a three-week exchange trip to Costa Rica after I finished Spanish 1-2. When I came back for Spanish 3-4, my fluency was so far beyond what was being taught at that level that I skipped to Spanish 5-6. At this time, I was also looking ahead to life after high school and had enlisted in the Marine Corps where I received a year of intensive language instruction in Russian, and later I dabbled in Latin and also achieved some fluency in Esperanto.

So, yes... I'm a language nerd. And I'm not telling you that to brag - I'm guessing you probably don't care - but it's important to this essay because my experience learning and speaking languages at a really formative time in my life when I was really just beginning to develop a world-view shaped how I understand the things and people around me. 

What I found is that languages are games played according to their rules. Some games have a lot of special rules and exceptions to the rules - English and French come to mind. Other games are highly regular, or even if they have a lot of rules, they follow their rules consistently - Esperanto and Russian come to mind. Learning to speak different languages required me to learn lots of different rules, and as an extension of that, learn how the rules go together. Russian is Russian because it follows Russian rules. English is English because it follows English rules. Russian and English don't go together - the word order is different, their case systems operate differently, there are three genders in Russian (and none in English), and so on. You can't mix the languages - the Russian square doesn't fit into the English circle, do you get it? 

English, Russian, Spanish, German, Latin, and any other language you can name works because it follows its own rules, and its rules exist for a reason: to communicate meaningfully and with precision. Just like some languages don't translate well from one into the other or have words that simply don't exist in other languages, I think that some methods of divination just don't work together and are stronger when used individually. That's one reason why I don't use anything except Tarot - I don't want to have to speak two different languages in divination and try to translate one into the other.

But getting back to the discussion about rules: me being who I am and the experiences that I've had, I look to find the rules of whoever and whatever I'm working with. Consistency is important to me, and while I can surely appreciate that a person or thing might play by rules which incorporate a certain amount of chaos, that's okay as long as I understand that the chaos is part of the rules. But if you think that I'm an advocate for universal orthodoxy, then you'd be wrong. Or at least, partly wrong: I'm an advocate for personal orthodoxy. I think that every fortune-teller should choose for him or herself the rules which govern his or her language and be passionately committed to following those rules until such time as he or she decides to re-write the rules.

More specifically, what this means to me is that if you want to use just Tarot, then you're welcome to it. Or if you want to use Tarot, numerology, astrology, tea leaves, palmistry, bones, and pendulum dowsing - you should do it. Or at least, you should do it so long as the combination of different systems produces answers that are both meaningful and precise. Or if you prefer answers that are vague and mysterious, that's okay too - if that's what you're trying to achieve. I don't like to combine methods of divination because I find that their rules disagree and it's more trouble than it's worth to try and translate bones into numerology, or astrology into pendulum dowsing. And so on.

But that doesn't mean that they can't be combined at all! Speaking for myself, Tarot is the only method of divination that I use, but it's not just Tarot. I've created for myself my own method of reading the cards which incorporates numerology informed by the 9 Satanic Statements, astrological lessons from the 12 houses of the Zodiac, and elemental dignities to show waxing, full, and waning properties as well as how each card either acts or is acted upon. I'm very orthodox in my divination - I use what works for me and I don't use anything else - but the system that I'm using is itself syncretized from multiple other systems.

I don't use any other methods of divination not just because I think that they're incompatible languages with contradictory rules, but also because I feel like I can get all the meaningful and precise answers that I need with the language that I've created for myself. I understand that different kinds of answers can be produced by different methods of divination when used in their entirety as they're intended to be used, but for the kind of needs I have both as a sitter and as a fortune-teller - the Tarot does it all. So this is what I meant when I said at the start of this essay "no" and "kinda-sorta yes:" I'm using principles found in other methods of divination, but I'm not actually using any of those other methods themselves.

Which is all just a long way of saying that Tarot is my love, my angle. I don't treat it like potato.