The trouble might not be what you think it is. Just look at any good Tarot spread. I mean, really look.
Take the Celtic Cross, a classic, 10-card Tarot spread. Is the trouble the situation (position 1, in the center of the cross?) Or is it (2) what’s crossing the situation? Or is the trouble your subconscious (position 4)? What’s above the situation or the way you’re thinking about it (3) The past influence (5)? The future (6)?
No, let’s not look at the future. The future grows out of seeds from the past. Let’s stick with the present, and who we are, and who we were, and then we can worry about who we’ll become, and the problems we may cause ourselves.
But those cards running along the side of the cross… So tempting. We have you, the client at the bottom in position 7. Is it you? Are you the problem? Let’s be honest now.
Is it the environment, or someone in the environment? (8)
And then there are those last two cards, 9 and 10. I look at 9 as the key to the situation, the thing you need to do or change to get the outcome you desire. (Are you sure you desire it? Is that the problem?)
And then (insert sound of doom or delight here), 10, the final card, the course your situation is currently headed. Maybe it’s fabulous, and there’s no problem at all?
How is one supposed to unpuzzle all those cards? Personally, I look for patterns. If I see a mess of cards all pointing in the same direction, that’s the interpretation I’ll use. For example, I once was suffering a massive… I’m no psychologist, but let’s just call it an anxiety attack and move on.
I was stressed. The situation looked hopeless. And so I drew a Celtic Cross spread—nine cards from the suit of swords and one card from cups. It was the Seven of Cups, which represents illusion. Now, while Cups tend to represent emotions, Swords are their polar opposite—thoughts. The universe was practically screaming that the drama was all in my head. I didn’t even need to analyze the nine Sword cards I’d drawn. (But of course, I did).
The patterns in most 10-card readings aren’t usually that glaringly obvious. But the exercise of looking for those patterns—in the cards and in ourselves, can be enlightening.
So. Is the trouble really what you think it is?