In the first part of this topic, we talked about how a card can have many subtle shade of meaning depending on subtle shifts of perception.
So how do you know which shade of meaning is the right one for you and your reading?
When you are getting a reading, if the meaning or interpretation of a card doesn't seem right to you...likely it isn't. That isn't to say you picked the wrong card, or the psychic is incompetent, or anything at all like that.
I've said it before, but it warrants a lot of repeating...
Intuitive images are very personal. The best example I can give of this is dream dictionaries. Sure the meanings given in a dream dictionary might fit your dream...but if you think it has a different meaning that is more specific or unique to your situation, then by all means THAT is the meaning for you.
The same is true of Tarot and psychic interpretations. When we are giving a reading we filter the impression through our experiences, the references we've read, and countless other readings we have done. You know right away what it means to your specific situation. Your hunch takes first priority, although you would most likely get the very most out of the reading if you were to consider all the shades of meaning before latching on to the one that bests suits you. We've all been guilty of hearing-what-I-want-to-hear-not-what -I-need-to-hear syndrome.
So back to the idea of multiple meanings for cards.
How do you know when a card means mud or when it means marinade? Stagnation or vacation? The key is what has been called "psychic attention".
If something captures your attention, then it does so for a reason. Have you ever rummaged through a box of spare loose buttons? You have buttons of every size shape and color, yet one or two particularly catch your fancy. Or for you crafters out there, have you ever just browsed through the beads or fabrics or yarns of your chosen craft when you don't have a particular project in mind. Then out of all the choices, one color or texture grabs your eye and sparks a whole design idea? Or what is it that draws you to a particular book in a book store, or an item on the menu of your favorite restaurant? We've all had experiences where things capture our attention for no clear reason.
That kind of attention-capture is precisely like the so-called "psychic attention" experience. If you are doing a reading for yourself or someone else, and one meaning from the list captures your attention - then go with that. There is an energy, a magnetism if you will, about that particular idea that makes it relevant. It is almost as if that idea lights up more than the others. If you do enough readings, you see that it is more than you being partial to one idea over another. You may indeed have that bias...but bias has a different feel than psychic attention.
If you just plain are in love with an idea, you recognize that in time as you do readings. It seems to shift to the logic side of your brain as you work with it. Psychic attention if more fluid, more attuned to the energy and feeling of the moment. Over time you see the attention shift. As the same card comes up in different readings for different people, even if the card turns up in the same position in the card spread - you begin to see the shift in attention. Different subtle meanings "light up" in different readings. The same is true of the art work on the cards. Sometimes a particular part of the picture, or a particular color on the card will grab your attention. It can help you understand the card and the message being given. The idea of psychic attention can even extend to objects in the room
This is one of those aspects of intuitive work that seems to defy words. The major language centers tend to be on the left side of the brain...intuition tends to the right, and much of what we try to talk about here springs from what is mostly a silent, wordless, creative experience. You really do have to experience it for yourself.
And you can!
Next time something - anything - grabs your attention, PAY attention to it! Let yourself ponder whatever it is for a minute, even if it seems trivial and random. Say you notice a sweater in a crowd. It might be something as simple as you have that same sweater...or you admire it...or thought about buying it yourself last week. There might be some very mundane reason for it capturing your eye for a moment. If that is all it is, then no big deal...like Freud is often quoted as saying "sometimes a cigar is just a ciger"
Before you dismiss the detail from the front of your mind, give just a moment more thought. Does the color hold a clue for you? Is there something about the size, shape or location of the object (or person) that gives you a clue to a question you've had? Does it symbolize something personal for you? What does it bring to mind? Or does it trigger a memory or emotion? Whatever association you have with the thing that captures your attention may be used to help you understand the message...if there is one. The attention and associations should come naturally and easily. If not...we are right back to Freud's cigar. It should be just that easy and obvious. If you have to work at the association, then it is probably just as mundane as it seems, and not "psychic" at all. It takes a little practice, but you will learn in time which is which.
It sounds odd and repetitive, but to learn psychic attention, you first have to pay attention to things that capture your attention.
Look for Mud vs Marinade part 3 - card spreads coming up in a future post!
For more information about intuition development and "psychic attention" please visit
Like what you are reading here, but don't want to read cards for yourself just yet? Affordable readings by the author are available at www.modern-oracle-tarot.com