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Directionality in card images


Pretzel
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I wonder how many people here take direction of a card imagine into consideration. For example if two court cards are next to each other but the people are facing away from each other rather than looking at each other, do you use this in your interpretation? Or do you rely solely on the position, e.g. past - there was someone like the Knight, future there will be someone like the Knight.

 

The reason I ask is because it's the one thing that messes with me a little when it comes to decks where the person in the court card is facing front on - I feel like I might be lacking some information. For example, in the Knight of Wands pictured below, the Knight's facial expression definitely looks like he's determined to move forward with whatever he has his eyes set on, but there's no context of direction with other cards in the spread.

As I'm typing this, I'm answering my own question with "I could just let intuition kick in" - but I'm going ahead and ask the question anyway to see what others think.

 

image.thumb.png.58c1e9fe4be448a10311cbfba027787b.png

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TheStarOfCups

I take this into consideration if it seems to apply. For example, if I'm doing a relationship (love, family, or friends) reading and I see two people facing each other, I use the rest of the cards pulled to try to figure out if that's relevant. If they're facing away from each other, I'll use the rest of the cards pulled to see if that's relevant, too.

 

I think it can be helpful for figuring out if people are on the same page, or if they're moving towards or away from each other. Sometimes you'll see one person turned away and the other facing them. I think that if it's something that I notice, it must be relevant, because I don't normally notice things like that in readings. If my guides pointed it out to me, its usually relevant!

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A fantastic opportunity for discussion, thank you for posting this.

 

I tend to use decks with less static imagery than the one posted. I see your dilemma.

I do utilize the surrounding card correlations that jump out at me as they sometimes do for you.

But more importantly to me is the intent and nuances of the singular cards themselves, then read in totality with the rest.

 

for example, the Hanged Man in the Rider-Waite-Smith, his leg is crossed and foot facing to he right, indicating consciousness. In this case, conscious suffering.

Crowley specifically reversed this in his pack, seeing that the unconscious waters (Sea of Binah) of emotion, redemption and internal processing are at work, and suffering no longer

is needed or desired for spiritual seekers.  Now it's personal, not appeasement. I'm stating this simply because I cannot pretend to fully understand the deep weavings and workings of the Kabbalah in this context.

Regardless, that's a lot out of one position of a leg in a symbolic pose.  Directionality, and positively or ill-dignified cards, and symbolic interplay are all relevant.

 

I think you are totally on the right track.

 

 ~ M

 

HangedMan.jpg

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euripides

Oh for sure. And I think you've really picked up on something with that observation of the court card looking at you. I hadn't realized that was it.  Sometimes it almost feels confrontational; I sometimes have issues with eye contact and often find people hard to read (as in, in life, so maybe that's an issue with the cards too). Somehow it's easier to read them if they're interacting with someone else. I was looking at a card in the Druidcraft, the King of Cups, and hes kind of listening intently to someone just out of frame... it just says a lot to me. When they're staring at you, it's like they're waiting for you to talk. 

 

I think I rely on context a lot in my reading. I find the Hidden Realm surprisingly difficult to read, because it's very close up on the people, and while they are looking in different directions, they seem to be all a bit dreamy and not much engaged with something specific. 

 

I notice there are a few decks that seem to be really carefully designed to tell a story with card backgrounds that link together. I'd like to investigate this further.

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2 hours ago, TheStarOfCups said:

I take this into consideration if it seems to apply. For example, if I'm doing a relationship (love, family, or friends) reading and I see two people facing each other, I use the rest of the cards pulled to try to figure out if that's relevant. If they're facing away from each other, I'll use the rest of the cards pulled to see if that's relevant, too.

 

I think it can be helpful for figuring out if people are on the same page, or if they're moving towards or away from each other. Sometimes you'll see one person turned away and the other facing them. I think that if it's something that I notice, it must be relevant, because I don't normally notice things like that in readings. If my guides pointed it out to me, its usually relevant!


Thanks @TheStarOfCups I agree about figuring out if people are on the same page etc. And I find the same, as you - if I can't help but stare at a certain aspect of the card, then it's totally relevant.

You brought up relationship readings, now I realise why I use this deck more for business or general. I'm also drawn to specific decks for certain questions.
Thanks for your input.

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Yes I do take that into consideration for many of my decks (though not all - some decks don’t lend them self well to those type of readings). I think it’s such a valuable method and I feel that it adds many more layers and nuances to a reading.
 

Our visual clues are vital because they are part of the input that our intuition will work with. It’s a piece of the overall puzzle and it tells us what dynamics are at play! Keywords are great as a foundation and so is symbolism, but there comes a time when most readers will move beyond that (though they won’t forget what they know, the foundation is still there!), and that can take many forms.

 

For me, directionality is part of what I do to quickly scan a reading and see what’s really going on. I do lots of other stuff too, but only the things that have proven to be vital and give accurate readings. It’s a bit of trial and error to become a good reader, I think. Over time, we will assess what works and what is the most relevant to giving a good and accurate reading.
 

I personally also like to not spend too much time on it, I like to get to the point and make sure I have answered the actual question. So if a method helps with that, it stays. Otherwise it goes 🙂 What works will differ from reader to reader, so why not try it and see if it adds value to you and your readings? 

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One of the best ever pro readings I have ever bought was from someone who only interpreted the reading by the directions of all the tarot cards. It was honestly a mind blowing reading. They didn't use learnt meanings or any knowledge of each card, it was entirely intuitive and based on the directions and angles of the cards. I can't remember the reading fully but The Hermit looked up slightly with his lantern, towards a court card. This reader linked all their eye directions and it created a dynamic reading which was 100% true to me! Sadly they don't seem to read anymore but it opened to my eyes about how important directionality is, especially if you are on the more intuitive reading side of things. The directionality creates a really accurate unique reading to the sitter if you can work out the message from the cards.

 

I always look for patterns in my readings and I do look at directions and where each card looks. My sitters always seem to relate when I go into the cards which are linked this way. Especially as @Raggydoll said about relationship readings.

 

I also look at the directions and think of the school of thought where the left side is the past, centre is middle and right side if the future. Two court cards where one is looking towards you and one on the right, looking to the left or moving towards the left, could mean that one side of a connection wants to move on now, moving away from the partner into their new future.

 

Looking straight forwards, this could indicate being in the present. It's also quite a meditation type stance of some cards, it could be about going internal. Dealing with something in your life currently or working it out internally, It's not about the past or future. Some decks like RWS have many of the majors facing forwards.

 

Reading the directions definitely adds another layer to your readings, it makes them much more dynamic and personalised.

 

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56 minutes ago, gregory said:

I did one not long ago with three cards and the two outer ones were both looking away from the central figure. That was crucially important, to me - and spoke to my partner, too.

Yes that’s a perfect example.
 

I’ve also seen readings where it has been indicated that someone’s partner has a wandering eye and is checking out other people (for example a knight looking longingly at a king, while having his back to the person he is married to…). These things are often made clear by how the people-card are interacting; their facial expressions and the direction are were facing.
 

It’s also possible to pinpoint differences in priorities between two friends or lovers by looking at what that their respective people-cards seem to direct their attention towards. 
I specifically remember a reading where the male knight had his eyes towards a typical family card, and the female court was looking at a work-themed card.

 

These things are often valuable to know and it can help the reader find the “question behind the question”, but it also gives an opportunity to ask follow up questions, like  ‘where to go from here’. That often means a greater chance of the client feeling like they got what they wanted out of their reading. Some people hesitate to get very specific about their circumstances while still very much wanting specific answers, so by looking at the directionality of the cards you can often pinpoint the core issues. Those are just my experiences 🙂

 

Edit to clarify:

It’s not always that a female card represents a female person though, I go more with my intuition and the personality traits I’m picking up on when figuring out who’s who. 
 

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katrinka

I think people have always done this.
I have an old list somewhere, probably based on Etteilla's Multiples but not exactly that, IIRC. Two Kings facing each other is a consultation or something of that nature, but two Queens doing the same is gossip. That one is kind of sexist, lol. And then you get into Lenormand and Kippers, which are old cartomancy preserved, and facing directions are utilized.

Phillipe Camoin calls it "The Law of the Glance." It's used in playing card reading, too. It's an accepted technique, and it's useful.

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6 minutes ago, katrinka said:

I think people have always done this.
I have an old list somewhere, probably based on Etteilla's Multiples but not exactly that, IIRC. Two Kings facing each other is a consultation or something of that nature, but two Queens doing the same is gossip. That one is kind of sexist, lol. And then you get into Lenormand and Kippers, which are old cartomancy preserved, and facing directions are utilized.

Phillipe Camoin calls it "The Law of the Glance." It's used in playing card reading, too. It's an accepted technique, and it's useful.

Yes. Directionality is very old school in divination. I’ve seen old fashioned methods (not involving cards) where they study the way things are facing and moving. In my family it was also common to study directionality of birds, as a way of foretelling weather and future events. I’m sure it’s universal. 

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MuninnMissinHuginn

 

4 minutes ago, Raggydoll said:

it was also common to study directionality of birds

 

In the area I live, I have seen the ravens follow the coyotes, mountain lions, and bobcats and is one way that we are able to spot those animals.  In the Pacific Ocean, I have seen the seagulls follow the whales, and it is a way to spot those and see them breach.  One seemingly unrelated thing signals the presence of another, just like the cards.  (These comments are a bit out in the weeds).

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4 minutes ago, MuninnMissinHuginn said:

 

 

In the area I live, I have seen the ravens follow the coyotes, mountain lions, and bobcats and is one way that we are able to spot those animals.  In the Pacific Ocean, I have seen the seagulls follow the whales, and it is a way to spot those and see them breach.  One seemingly unrelated thing signals the presence of another, just like the cards.  (These comments are a bit out in the weeds).

Absolutely, makes a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing! 

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katrinka
17 hours ago, Raggydoll said:

Yes. Directionality is very old school in divination. I’ve seen old fashioned methods (not involving cards) where they study the way things are facing and moving. In my family it was also common to study directionality of birds, as a way of foretelling weather and future events. I’m sure it’s universal. 


That makes a lot of sense. Birds know.
I don't quite trust the weatherman, but I trust birds. 💖

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On 8/17/2021 at 1:31 AM, gregory said:

Enriquez is huge on direction; take a look at some of his stuff,

Thanks! I will.

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On 8/16/2021 at 7:11 PM, DanielJUK said:

One of the best ever pro readings I have ever bought was from someone who only interpreted the reading by the directions of all the tarot cards. It was honestly a mind blowing reading. They didn't use learnt meanings or any knowledge of each card, it was entirely intuitive and based on the directions and angles of the cards. I can't remember the reading fully but The Hermit looked up slightly with his lantern, towards a court card. This reader linked all their eye directions and it created a dynamic reading which was 100% true to me! Sadly they don't seem to read anymore but it opened to my eyes about how important directionality is, especially if you are on the more intuitive reading side of things. The directionality creates a really accurate unique reading to the sitter if you can work out the message from the cards.

 

I always look for patterns in my readings and I do look at directions and where each card looks. My sitters always seem to relate when I go into the cards which are linked this way. Especially as @Raggydoll said about relationship readings.

 

I also look at the directions and think of the school of thought where the left side is the past, centre is middle and right side if the future. Two court cards where one is looking towards you and one on the right, looking to the left or moving towards the left, could mean that one side of a connection wants to move on now, moving away from the partner into their new future.

 

Looking straight forwards, this could indicate being in the present. It's also quite a meditation type stance of some cards, it could be about going internal. Dealing with something in your life currently or working it out internally, It's not about the past or future. Some decks like RWS have many of the majors facing forwards.

 

Reading the directions definitely adds another layer to your readings, it makes them much more dynamic and personalised.

 

I love that @DanielJUK - thanks for sharing. I had a similar experience with one of my readings and it was just incredible - it was also the Hermit, but it was his lamp illuminating a section of the card next to him - really mind blowing stuff when you see it. And yes, I do the same - left is past and right is future. However in the example card I showed above, the Knight of Wands is looking forward (rather than left as in RWS) - hence my wondering about losing that extra bit of info in this deck.

 

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On 8/16/2021 at 3:39 AM, Pretzel said:

For example, in the Knight of Wands pictured below, the Knight's facial expression definitely looks like he's determined to move forward with whatever he has his eyes set on, but there's no context of direction with other cards in the spread.

Speaking a bit martial: If you cannot take the head, take the hands. If hands out of reach, go for the feet.

In this case, the card to the left might appeal. The staff he holds may stand in as a symbol for his goal, or for the means by which he wants to achieve it.

If going with the latter, a card above could do for what his mind is set on.

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On 8/18/2021 at 3:16 PM, vulprix said:

I rely very much on directionality in card reading.  Facey court cards that do not face other cards, but straight out toward the reader, don't necessarily bother me... but if an entire deck was like that it would be an intriguing reading 🙂 

I agree, they don't bother me either - but every court card in this deck faces forward (the page of swords' body is turned, but he's also looking front on), so I wonder how others feel about this. It's a great deck though and I do enjoy it, as I enjoy all of Ciro Marchetti's decks.

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Directionality is something that is just starting to cross my personal radar.  I've always been a RWS-based or modern eclectic tarot deck style person but I just started to study TdM and the French/Continental school.  Enrique is on my "To Do" list for later this month.  I started with Yoav Ben-Dov (who was highly recommended and I highly recommend) and The Marseille Tarot Revealed: A Complete Guide to Symbolism, Meanings & Methods

I haven't put his insights into practice reading cards yet, I haven't started doing readings with TdM decks yet but directionality is going to be a focus with the TdM because of the importance it seems to have with many within the conventional French/Continental tradition.  

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You'd probably like this one, too:

https://smile.amazon.com/Way-Tarot-Spiritual-Teacher-Cards/dp/1594772630

 

It's psychological and Freudy, yes, but there's a lot of directional stuff. Not just card interaction, but things like the Pages' feet pointing in two different directions meaning they're indecisive. It's certainly worth reading if you're getting into TdM. And he does some interesting stuff with the deck.

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WyalusingTim

Hi Pretzel. From what I have studied the better decks have an orientation, rather than straight forward. And when shuffling some cards chosen for the spread should have a chance of being inverted - changing whether the card is orientated toward the East/West or North/South (how your table and chairs are setup influence this too). I am evaluation how much a cards meaning is influenced whether it is first in the spread, surrounded by other cards before read, whether it is the last card read in a spread, and whether it is the Significator. And your concern has to be considered - what is the orientation of the card!

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WyalusingTim

Petzel,

I get interesting images from your name! But I wanted to share another directional tip. Think of the movement of weather systems. In the U.S. they move from West to East generally. So does the direction of the card indicate looking into or waiting for a weather system, or looking at the end of a weather system, or do other cards suggest the weather system is overhead and you are looking as it arrives or as it is moving away. Looking toward a system can suggest a time of preparation is needed, whereas looking at the remnants of the system can suggest a time for taking stock or cleaning up. When a system is overhead do you embrace it ( Sunny) or do you avoid it - seek shelter - when a storm is overhead. Or do you shy away from the light, but head out into the storm - perhaps rescuing others.

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