Welcome to the Tarot Blog Hop! Our wrangler Morgan Drake Eckstein of Gleamings from the Golden Dawn asked us how we deal with the distasteful cards. Denver Tarot Convention speaker Richard Hartnett stepped up to discuss this issue.

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Sitting Between Light and Dark

“The High Priestess” from the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot by Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Colman Smith, 1909 Pamela-A from Sacred Texts.

“The High Priestess” from the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot by Arthur Edward Waite and Pamela Colman Smith, 1909 Pamela-A from Sacred Texts.

As a student of the Tarot and especially as a Tarot professional, it is important that we work with all the tools that the Tarot presents us. To leave a card out or to refuse to deal with reversed cards will not transform our reality. If we could change our lives by simply ignoring difficulties our lives would be much happier because most of us avoid difficulties all the time. But the truth is life is both light and dark and each has its place in a reading. Let us remember that the High Priestess sits between a light and dark pillar for a reason. If the dark side was something that wasn’t important then Arthur Waite, Paul Foster Case and the other giants in the development of the Tarot would have left it out.

We may have a strong emotional reaction to certain cards such as the Death card or the Devil, but we should remember that having that strong emotional reaction might be the first step towards freeing ourselves from negative forces that are interfering with our happiness. If something stinks it is best to figure out what it is and then to clean it up. Ignoring it will not make it go away. Neither will all the happy, smiley affirmations.

When we do a reading we are looking for guidance. Often, (but not always) a reading will indicate what is working in our lives. Just as often a good reading will tell us what obstacles are before us that we must master to fulfill our desire. The best way to deal with any of the negative cards is to accept the card’s meaning as the first step towards making a change. If everything was already working how likely is it that you would want a reading in the first place? When we identify the problem the solution is often only a half-step away.

Most of the time my clients tell me that the reading is confirmation for what they were thinking already. The supposedly negative cards just force the client to accept what they already have intuited as the truth.

As part of my personal spirituality, I have come to believe there is only one cosmic influence in the universe. We call that force many different names but each name and each belief system represents a limited understanding of that force. The belief system will hold many truths but it does not represent the final understanding. This is true for both science and religion. Most belief systems leave out something. Most of the time what is left out is what we would call negative. When you regard the universe as being influenced by a single force then, you begin to understand that even the supposedly negative influences in life are in an indirect way leading us out of ignorance and darkness. The Dark Angel insists that we deal with what we fear the most. The Tower reminds us that we cannot avoid our responsibilities by hiding. The three of swords advocates that we pay attention in order to gain wisdom from our painful experiences. That is preferable to ignoring our difficulties which only assures that we will repeat our errors. When we know that one force is behind everything then we can begin to see the negative cards as positive guidance rather than as curses or retributions.

The best action we can take when a “negative” card shows up in a reading is to be open to receiving its guidance.

I cannot promise you that it will get easier to face your life but I can say, If we hold onto our desire to find a new promised land then, like the Knight of Wands, we will find our way across the desert. It takes faith, but then with faith that the truth is there, we will all find our way.

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Richard will be speaking on “Numerology and Tarot” at TarotCon Denver 2015. Visit our Speakers page for the full line-up of presentations and workshops.

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About the Author

Richard Hartnett, H.W.,M. has over 30 years’ experience as a Spiritual counselor and teacher. He reads professionally at conferences all over the United States. He has clients all over the world that contact him for consultations. He is a Nationally certified Psychic and Master Tarot Instructor with The American Tarot Association. He specializes in the study of spirituality, myth and science. His background includes studies in Native American spirituality, Sufism, Jungian Psychology, Grudjieff’s “fourth way” and World mythology.

Richard has developed a series of classes which he presents under the banner of Quantum Spirituality seminars. He is a writer and has two books published through One Spirit Press out of Oregon. His books The New Old Gods and The Call of the Soul are available on Amazon and Kindle. He is currently working on a new book about the Tarot. He is friends with several published Tarot authors, such as Mary Greer and Amber Jamanti.

For more info, visit his website Quantum Spirituality.

© 2015 by Richard Hartnett. All rights reserved.

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12 thoughts on “Sitting Between Light and Dark

  • Pingback: The Magic of Distasteful Cards | Inner Whispers

    • May 4, 2015 at 11:35 am
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      Well I look foward to meeting you at the convention or at one of the Tuesday night meetings. Be sure to introduce yourself to me.

      Reply
  • May 1, 2015 at 4:13 pm
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    I love this, Richard. Thank you! “If something stinks it is best to figure out what it is and then to clean it up. Ignoring it will not make it go away. Neither will all the happy, smiley affirmations.” That’s for certain! Can you imagine doing affirmations instead of taking out the garbage on trash day? Not gonna work!

    Reply
  • May 1, 2015 at 6:41 pm
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    I enjoyed reading this… It made me think of that film Insomnia where a detective has to go solve a murder in a town where it never gets dark at night and the constant daylight is driving him nuts…

    Reply
  • May 2, 2015 at 2:44 am
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    I believe the difficult cards have the solutions to the problem within them 🙂

    Reply
  • May 2, 2015 at 7:28 pm
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    Nice post. It is so true that we are all constantly avoiding difficult situations that we don’t want to face, and to no effect because solutions generally only present themselves when we tackle our issues. It’s great to hear from a client: “Oh, you didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, but it was so worth the reading because it was a great kick in the ass.” Ok, happy to oblige! Now get to work!

    Reply
  • May 3, 2015 at 11:24 am
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    Thanks, Richard! Love your call to engage with the full spectrum of life.

    Reply
  • May 3, 2015 at 1:14 pm
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    This post sparked a truth I believe. Thank nothing is negative or positive. Things just are. We are the ones that make them negative or positive. Thanks for sharing and for the wonderful insight.

    Reply
  • May 5, 2015 at 2:37 pm
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    I like that you add in the HP and what you say about being between light and dark. We all are and we need the dark cards to help counter the light ones 🙂

    Reply

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