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NEGATIVE CARDS IN POSITIVE POSITIONS
I have been subscribing to Tarot Tips for a number of years
now and really enjoy it. Thanks for providing a great
I have a question for you... How do you interpret a
seemingly negative card in a positive position? For example,
in a relationship reading, I may ask the Tarot, "What are
the strengths of a relationship?" - and the cards come up
with something like the 10 of Swords, 7 of Swords, 7 of
Pentacles reversed, etc. Sometimes I'll take it to mean that
there are no strengths, but I wonder if this is a bit of a
cop-out. ~ Brigit
This is a great question, because the answer to it is useful
in so many ways.
There's a general answer to the question of negativity in
the cards, and specific answers to the question of
negativity in specific cards. Also, there is a short answer
and a long answer. In this issue of Tarot Tips, we'll give
you the short answer.
Negativity is not located in the cards or their pictures.
It is located, like almost everything else, in the eye and
understanding of the beholder. Our eyes and minds have
been trained by a lifetime spent in our cultural environment
to interpret certain types of images as negative. These are
the ones that suggest painful or unpleasant experiences.
Since just about everyone naturally avoids pain and
unpleasantness with an instinctual aversion which requires
no thought at all, that aversion translates into negativity
with the speed of reflex.
However, if you were given the task of finding something
positive to say about an obviously negative image, you will
need to move at a speed slower than reflex if you are going
There are standards of interpretation, other than the usual
ones, that actually give you options. For example, the 10 of
Swords could indicate the end of an unhappy situation such
as a protracted and difficult divorce.
Hard times and painful situations are also great teachers.
For example, people we would regard as role-models become
great as a direct result of what they learn from situations
none of us would choose to experience.
Tarot is a mirror that reflects the whole of what is possible
for us, both in what we are confronted with and how we
deal with it.
A negative card in a positive spread position can hint
at the good that might come from a bad beginning,
the challenge that tests us and makes us strong, and the
wisdom to see light where others see only darkness.
But to transform a negative card into a positive
understanding sometimes requires a special kind of
knowledge. That knowledge is the hallmark of a special
kind of Tarot, and it tends to eliminate most of the
problems of negativity.
Traditions of special knowledge in Tarot that are an
antidote to negativity are a subject unto themselves.
They are part of the long answer to Brigit's question,
and we'll save that for upcoming issues.
Tarot Card Showcase
In this section we will feature tidbits on a
specific tarot card. While there are many
systems and decks to choose from in the world
of tarot, here we use the Universal Waite
Tarot images and symbols.
Copyright 1992 U.S Games.
4 OF WANDS
Esoteric Title: Lord of Perfected Work
Astrology: Venus in Aries
Chart Position: 20 Aries to 30 Aries
Dates: April 11th to April 20th
Qabalah: Chesed (Mercy) in Atziluth (Spirit)
Positive Keywords: Celebration. Blessings. Harmony.
Negative Keywords: Insecurity. Social Gaffs. Thankless.
Affirmation: Harmony and peace, love and joy surround me
and dwell within me. I am safe and secure.
In the fiery and active suit of Wands, here is one card that
symbolizes stability and structure. What I love most about
this card is that it reminds us to celebrate our achievements.
So many times, we tend to take small successes for granted,
forgetting that even the smallest feat is still a feat at the
end of the day. From cooking a delicious meal, to making
your bed, or even running an extra four minutes on the
treadmill - each is a small thing but it's still an
achievement. Why not celebrate it? After all, acknowledging
our accomplishments is not only good for our self-esteem,
but also for motivating us to achieve bigger things in life.
Positively reinforcing ourselves is so much more empowering
than constant self-criticism, which only debilitates us in
The tender and nurturing feminine energies of Venus temper
the aggressive and fiery energies of Aries, allowing us time
to take it easy and find a sense of security and comfort
within our lives.
True, Venus is at her weakest in Aries, for Aries isn't
patient enough to value the finer things in life that Venus
has to offer. But it is important for us to be patient and
find what is worth celebrating in ourselves, and in life as
a whole. This act of benevolent patience needs to be
practiced over and over, so that we can we find a sense of
balance and equilibrium within our lives.