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Play with Your Cards

By Barbara Moore

Most people have heard that tarot decks were originally used to play a trick-taking card game called tarrochi. While the game is still played, particularly in Europe, tarot cards are more often used for other purposes, primarily doing readings. Some readers and some people who have readings approach the experience with a sense of play and drama, with a kind of “for entertainment only” style, the way one might read a newspaper horoscope or a fortune cookie fortune. Those of us who take our tarot a bit more seriously know that it is more than entertainment. We understand the wisdom, advice, and guidance we can receive from the cards. We treat our cards with care, ask our questions with a sincere heart, and interpret our readings with reverence. We carefully consider the symbols pictured, listen intently to our inner voice, and apply all we’ve learned about each card. We follow personal rules and find comfort in the ritual of shuffling, cutting, and laying the cards. We are very serious.

But there is something about cards that is closely associated with games. Beyond the natural connection of card games like rummy, Go Fish, and poker, board games also use cards, like Monopoly® or Cranium®. And of course there are collectable card games, such as Magic: The Gathering. In addition to the actual mechanics of game play, there is a more philosophical connection. Because cards are shuffled in most card games, there is always an element of chance and randomness. The players do not know exactly what tools they will receive, but whatever they are dealt, they have to play to the best of their ability in order to achieve their objective (which is usually to win the game). With a tarot reading, we are dealt a certain hand, only we call it a spread or a reading. We are given information and thus empowered, we are free to do what we wish.

In game play, players often have the opportunity to discard cards they don’t and to draw new cards, although they often don’t know what they will get. Because there are so many parallels between game play and tarot readings, maybe we can experiment, carry some more ideas forward from games to readings, just to see what happens. This idea intrigues me, because I confess, there are many times when I’ve laid out the cards and my hands immediately want to move things around, as if I were playing some sort of cosmic solitaire. And why shouldn’t we? We do have the power to change our actions, our thoughts, and even outcomes. Do it within the context of a reading first, to see if you like the results. If not, try again until you come up with a favorable action plan.

Read the original article at: Llewellyn Journal

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