The most common question I got and still get as a tarot reader is an iteration of: what should I do in situation x? Situation x can relate to work, love, relationships, finding one's passion/vocation... More than lazy solutions and windfall victories people seek direction. We all fear wrong decisions and crave for certainty on what we're about to decide, will deliver, be as promised, be The Right Choice.
Normally, in a decision situation, there are options, even if one option is "do nothing". Tarot is a great tool for comparing options and potential pathways. I've found that instead of asking yes/no questions about "is this a good decision?" it's far more informative to ask: "if I do x, how will I feel [in x amount of time]?" Short and sharp yes/no questions are notoriously difficult to answer with pictures that blabber more than 1000 words. But, exploring emotions, feelings, states of being... for that, cards work beautifully.
Completely regardless of whether you believe cards deliver divine guidance or simply unlock your own subconscious knowledge, this question and answer combo seem to work. Wherever the answer comes from, I've found it to be reasonably accurate. Here's a worked example of a dilemma I'm currently facing: whether to apply for a job that I in some ways feel could be a great match, but also think might make me overworked and overstressed.
Compare options with tarot
1. If I decide to apply for job 1, what will follow? EIGHT OF CUPS
This card is about leaving behind an unsatisfactory situation; something you invested a lot of emotions in, but didn't deliver. This shows the ambiguity of tarot: does it mean I won't get the job (leading to a disappointment) or I'll move on in life, from an old job that clearly is not the best fit, otherwise I wouldn't be looking for anything new?
Ambiguity can be a blessing in disguise. If I knew for a fact I won't get this job, I wouldn't even bother applying and perhaps wouldn't dare to try anything similar either, making me feel more stuck. When I don't know for sure, it allows a chance, hope, attempt, that in turn can help me become better at job search in general.
2. If I get job 1, how will I feel in it initially? QUEEN OF SWORDS
I'd feel like on top of my game, using my wits to understand and crack problems, answer questions, find information, slice through any confusion with my razor-sharp sword of a mind. That doesn't sound in any way bad. Except... I might not be emotionally invested or committed, given that this card talks purely about logic, rationality, matters of the mind.
3. If I get job 1, how will I feel in it in a year's time? EMPRESS
Personally, I think the Empress is the best card in the deck because it's about creation, expansion, Mother Nature, feeling blessed and happy. Job 1 is about real estate, including tackling homelessness, so I might even feel motherly, helping people find their own nest, stand on their own feet.
4. If I stay in job 2, how will I feel in it initially? 7 OF SWORDS
This card has a bad rap as it's seen as the "thief" card: someone's taking what is not theirs. To me personally this card has often meant "research": gathering others' swords (thoughts and words) for my own purposes. This particular card shows a ferret arming its nest with swords - does it mean it's preparing for a fight, or just gathering resources for tough times? Either way, this card doesn't feel negative but not quite positive either. There's something underhanded in it. I'd probably be spending time looking for other opportunities: if I stay, I would still try to find something else/better.
5. If I stay in job 2, how will I feel in it in a year's time? 10 CUPS
This is the family and community card. It's about belonging, feeling loved and loving, happy, living the perfect life. On the outset it looks like this is the best answer I could get: "stay, of course, you'll find happiness!" I can see this happening, as I currently have a great team, even if the job content itself is a bit draining. Feeling like an integral part of a community is very much a possibility. Comparing the Empress and 10 Cups is not easy, because they are both great. That in my view means: "either way it goes, you'll be happy". Well, isn't that just what we all want to hear about decisions!
6. What is job 1 really about? EMPEROR
I added this question because I wanted to understand what would be the most essential element or most prominent emotion attached to job 1. The job description and advert can say one thing, but what's really going on might be something totally different.
The card shows a silverback gorilla ruling over his kingdom, very emperor-like. That actually is my understanding of the job: it involves negotiating with contractors, "ruling over a kingdom", and that's the reason I'm hesitating whether to apply. I've been in a workplace that was saturated with "emperor-energy", stereotypical male traits of dominance, competition, rationality over emotional connections, and drive to win financially and materially. I'm not 100% sure I want to return to a similar environment as I found it energy-draining, meaningless.
On the other hand, an emperor can also be a good ruler, just and fair leader who champions for the benefit of all his/her subjects. An interesting card - and reading - overall!
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