The End Game – Wrapping Up A Reading
The cards have been shuffled, the questions asked, the spread laid out, and the cards interpreted. The interpretation has been discussed with the Seeker, and they have asked any further questions that they might have. Is the reading now over? In some cases yes, in some cases no. If the Seeker is satisfied with the reading, and they are taking away some clues as to what their next step might be, then the reading has accomplished its purpose.
However, if the reader or the Seeker would like to get a better idea about how to handle the next step, to get an idea of what energies to draw in, then the cards need to be turned to one more time. This time, the focus is on determining what energy the Seeker can call on to help them resolve their issue/situation.
One way to do this is to take a look at the card that comprise the reading. Look at the suits, and how they are represented. How many cards are there from each of the suits? Are the suits balanced? Is there a missing suit? If the suits are balanced, then the needed help may well come from the Major Arcana. If the suits are unbalanced, then look at the predominate suit. Using the principles of elemental dignities, choose the suit that will bring balance to the predominate suit in the reading. From this suit, have the Seeker choose one or more cards to help them resolve their issue/situation.
The following is a quick take on elemental dignities from Paul Hughes-Barlow’s site – supertarot.co.uk.
1. Fire and Air are friendly and active
2. Water and Earth are friendly and passive
3. Fire and Water are enemies; they weaken each other
4. Air and Earth are enemies; they weaken each other
5. Fire and Earth strengthen each other but are neutral
6. Water and Air strengthen each other but are neutral
Looking at these definitions, if the predominate suit in an unbalanced spread is Fire (Wands), then the best suit to turn to for resolution would be Air (Swords). If it was Water (Cups), then the best suit to turn to for resolution would be Earth (Pentacles – even though I personally think “mudpies” when I put Water and Earth together!). Air may strengthen Water, but the action is neutral, where Earth is passive but friendly. If the predominate suit was Air (Swords), then the best suit to turn to for resolution would be Fire (Wands). If the predominate suit was Earth (Pentacles), then the best sui to turn to for resolution would be Water (Cups).
Separate all of the cards from the chosen suit out of the deck, and go over them with the Seeker. Ask them which card, or cards, they would feel most comfortable working with. Ask them what they are taking away from their reading – what stands out most for them, and what they want to take action on. Using the card(s) they have chosen, help your client to define one or more steps that they can take to resolve their issue/situation.
Another way to do this is to go over what the client is taking away from the reading, and help them to define what it is that they wish to resolve. Once this is defned, have them go through the entire deck, face up, and choose whatever card(s) they feel will help to empower them in resolving their issue/situation.
Either technique could be considered added value for the reading. If you wish, you could scan your client’s chosen card(s) for them to take home as a focus, or you could have short written description of each of the cards, the energy that they carry, and how they can be used. Gift your client with a written description of each of the card(s) they have chosen. This works well, as the written descriptions would apply to all decks. (Note: Unless the deck chosen has reversed the attributes for Wands and Swords, which a few decks do.)
The act of drawing the extra cards helps to empower your clients, as well as helping to build a bond with them. You will also have fewer clients trying to get you, the reader, to make their decisions for them. Decisions that they very seldom are willing to act on anyway!
Wrap up your readings with style!
Note: It has been brought to my attention that using elemental dignities in this way may not bring the best choice of suits to balance a reading. There are pros and cons to both sides of this issue. I will say that this method has worked for me, and that, from my perspective, I will stand by it. If this blog does nothing more than start you thinking about ways to reconcile your readings, then it will have done its job. Take away what you will, and leave the rest behind.
© April 2010 Bonnie Cehovet
Great post. I’ll admit, I’ve tried to include this process in my readings. But, it seldom helps my interpretation. It actually puzzles me.
Say you have a seven card spread. You have 1 major, 2 swords, 1 cup, 1 pentacle, and 2 wands. Using your method, what would you draw from this?
The reading as you have presented it is balanced. I would not look for an elemental “way out” here. I would work with my client to see what they took from the reading, what resonated with them.
If the actions to be taken, or the direction to be taken, was not clear, or if there were several ways to go, I would do two things. In the first instance,where the actions to be taken (or the firection to go) were not clear, I would ask my client to go through the entire deck, face up, and pick the card(s) that they were drawn to.
In the case of multiple options, I would go over the pro’s and con’s of each option with my client. Once we had decided on an option, they could still pull one or more cards from the deck to help them determine the action to be taken.
Bonnie, thanks for responding to the question. I appreciated the added information.
Happy to answer any and all questions. As with anything, the responses that I give are from my experience – another person’s may be different.