I’m gonna wander a bit. I’m gonna meander way off into strange territories – but stick with me.
Sometimes as we’re reading, we get stuck. We look at a bunch of cards, or a card and go, "huh?” We look up at the client and panic sets in, "Shoot, they’re paying me $40 for 30 minutes and have no idea what…” Sometimes we wonder if we are fraudulent, "Why am I doing this? When will I learn?” The ‘committee’ in our head gets loud. If it’s an Internet reading we reach for the book, maybe that dog-eared one by John what’s his name…
The book’s no help, the ‘meaning’ doesn’t fit.
Extreme panic sets in.
I once wrote about "The Blank Spot,” and discussed extra-ocular vision mode (staring off into space), but some folks can’t grok that, and well, perhaps it did fall short.
Some of us are taught to deal the cards face up; it allows us to get a look at the big picture of the sitter’s life.
It also allows us to create a panic mode situation because there’s that group of cards over there making no sense, and the sitter’s staring at Death and the Devil, we’re staring at these other two cards…everybody panics!
I laid out the cards face-up for years (still do sometimes). However I find that it allows too many opportunities to become overwhelmed. Both you and the sitter can be distracted by stuff over there – when the ‘here and now’ is waiting….
When reading with the cards facedown, I find that I have more control over the relationship of the reading. Clients tend not to reach over to grab the Hanged Man (or what ever card…) and turn him over, or pick whatever it is up, "What’s this three Sword sticking in this heart mean?”
I find that reading facedown, and turning cards up as I come to them allows the reading to unfold in a much more logical, feeling, emotionally stable manner. The reading takes on a flow – rather than
It takes on a dynamic stream…like life itself.
But still, sometimes we hit the wall.
Sometimes it’s not the card per se, but a cessation of that flow….
Something – stops us.
I used to teach folks how to trade the stock market. My students ranged from Housewives to Hedge Fund traders, retired Doctors to high-powered Brokers.
I’d tell the folks on the first day of class, "Most books tell us to impose mechanical processes to the market and to be devoid of emotion. Most strategies fail because they eliminate the human (emotional) element. The markets are silent, and brutal, but not devoid of emotion. Emotion is the most dominant force in the market; when we understand it, it can be a source of profit. (After we spend a few days learning to read a ticker, you will recognize that the ticker (Time and Sales) is pure emotion).”
We’d spend the first four days looking at tickers. The students ask, "When are we going to look at charts?”
"Not before Thursday.”
We’d spend those four days looking at tickers of the Wholesale Environment and the Retail Environment (a Market-Maker ticker showing the movements of the Market-Maker’s bid and ask prices; and the Trade Ticker), and of course, a Level 2 screen.
In the trading manual that I wrote, and each student received, there is the paragraph, "You will want to focus on the rhythm or momentum of trades as they print. Typically, the tempo will accelerate as a stock begins to test a major technical level or even number ("The Fig [short for figure]) and will often signal a move.”
I’d explain that some days were Mozart, and some were Mahler; some were Bach, some were Beethoven – and that it was imperative to know the difference before entering a trade.
A student would raise their hand, "When we gonna learn charts?” They’d wave some chart book they’d read, "You know, I know about charts…”
I’d put on my serious face, ""Every thing that was, is in the charts. That’s the problem, a chart is history…it’s past…gone…it’s everything that was. Now a Level 2 screen, that’s the present. It’s real. Like the Zen Masters will tell you: ‘Always be in the moment’. That’s the key. Learning to read a Level 2 screen is what keeps you in the moment.”
Tuesday nights, Management would tell me about the complaints, "They wanna hear about Charts…I know…Thursday…”
I’d tell the class on Thursday morning, "It is highly recommended that you observe an issue at least 15 minutes before opening a position. Sometimes an issue will appear inviting. The chart looks like profit waiting to happen. Observing the behavior of the stock in the Level 2 Screen, and judging its behavior on the tickers can prevent a loss before it occurs.”
They’d be eager to get into ‘Real-Time’ Charts. I’d tell them, "Trade the truth…React to reality. The ticker does not lie. It always speaks the truth. Only fools with egos attempt to predict the hard right hand edge of a chart.”
One day out on the trading floor, on the last day of class, one of the traders asked me, "If you owned Sun Microsystems (SUNW) right now, what would you do?” I put it up on the white-board screen on the wall of the trading floor.
"I’d watch the tickers…”
And that’s what I did. It’d been on a hell of a run. And I’m watching the tickers. And watching…and watching…and watching…and watching…and watching…and watching…and watching…and watching…and watching…and I took out my dry-marker…and watching…and watching…and took the cap off…and watching…and watching…pound a mouse button and pulled up the chart…and watching…and watching…and walk up to the board and make a mark on the board and yelled, "Sell! I’d be a seller right now!”
The traders and students roared with laughter…it went up a teeny more…and the bottom dropped. That was it’s all-time high. Did I know it? Yup. How? The ticker told me so. Not the chart (which was upward moving), but the heartbeat of the stock – the ticker. And it told me a full 90-seconds before the top…it told me when I pulled the top off my dry-marker. I was just waiting for the market to figure out what happened.
The flow changed.
Throughout the first few days of class, I’d take notes on the stocks that folks wanted to talk about all the time, the ones they were ‘in love with’. Chart day…I’d start, "Today, we’re going to learn about charting,” eyes would tear up with anticipation. Then I’d march them out en mass to the far end of the trading floor. Traders would smile; they’d seen it before. Then I’d run all the way across the trading floor and put up a stock on the far wall of the training room (which had a window for a wall) and they’d look wayyyyy across the floor at a chart.
"What do you think of this one?”
"Looks like a ski slope.”
"Looks like a homesick rock at 10,000 feet.”
"Well, this is XYZ which you happen to be in love with.”
I’d spend the morning running back and forth, showing them long-term charts….
I’d show long-term chart after long-term chart and they’d kinda get the idea, of course there was the inevitable, "Yeah, but…”
You see – they were sold on the idea that the real-time chart allowed them some close up look, and they’d zoom in to get a 5-minute chart and imagine history. They’d make up a direction based on what they wanted to see, and not the reality of what was really occurring within that particular issue, sector, or market.
"Most folks scrutinize charts too closely. There are so many books written on charting, and too many traders have read too many of them. They get into paralysis by analysis. If you really want to read a chart, print it out, tape it up to a wall, and stand on the other side of the room. Then ask yourself one question. What’s the current trend? Never trade against the current trend.”
What’s this got to do with Tarot?
So you get to a blank spot. That card…what is it? What does it mean?
As long as you search for a meaning – it’ll escape you. And most likely what you come up with – is wrong.
Think of the card not as a Tarot card, but as a scoop of Baba Ganoush from Giza. That’s it!
"What’s this scoop of Baba Ganoush from Giza doing in my reading?”
Get some distance. Move away from your spread. Move away from your cards. Stand up. Walk away. Move 6-10 feet or more away and turn around.
Don’t look at the card.
Look at the colors.
Don’t look at the card, don’t look at the suits….
Look at the flow…is there movement? (Yes this works with TdM quite well…does too…)
Look at this like visual poetry….
Look at this like modern art….
Does it flow?
That’s your meaning, that’s your answer.
Is he facing the wrong way? Does it all flow like a stream and hit this guy who seems to be blocking the whole thing? That’s your meaning.
Does the spread seem to flow backwards, off to the left and you come to this ‘stuck’ card and the flow seems to now go off to the right? That’s your meaning.
The closer you get to the spread, the card, the details, ("if we use a magnifying glass, we see that Enzio put in a little brush stoke over here on the left side of the nose of the…wha…?”)
Give yourself some room. Move back. Stand on a chair if you have to, in order to get some distance.
Do the colors flow through your blank spot?
Getting distance changes our focus.
(Author’s Opinion to follow)
We get so hung up on card meanings, and this book and that book and meanings of the each singular card, we often lose sight of the whole…we want to know what this card means – and fail to hear what it is trying to tell us.
Creating physical distance changes our focus.
"Yeah but…I’ve got a sitter here”
Yup, and you two are hunched over a table…so get up…walk around! Clear your mind! Then look back at the table…what does it say? How does it flow? Baba Ganoush from Giza has no meaning…but it either helps or hinders flow…listen…
Those of us who understood charts and tickers, were out of the market before 1999. We were laughed at – but the tickers told us what the charts couldn’t.
The hardest material in the world is not a diamond – it’s the right hand edge of a chart. I’ve watched it make grown men cry as their hearts were cut out.
Likewise, I like my cards to get turned over one at a time…each one becomes like a chart – the cold hard right hand edge…and there’s a flow between the sitter and myself, and the cards, and the spread, and there is no one single important thing – not the card, not the spread, not me…it’s the flow of the whole….
Some days, reading is like Mozart, and some are like Mahler; some are like Bach, some are Beethoven – and that it is imperative (for the sitter) for me to feel the difference.
It’s like music….
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Thank you to Dan Pelletier for permission to use this contribution that first appeared on Aeclectic’s Tarot Forum.