What to Do
With the situation, issue, or challenge in mind, draw a single card in answer to the question, "What do I need to know most about this issue?"
And yes—this strategy is really that simple.
If you're new to the process (or if the ideas don't come of their own accord), invest a minimum of five minutes studying the card. On one side of a sheet of paper, list all symbols, images, colors, numbers, titles, and details that catch your attention. When five minutes are up, spend an additional five minutes recording an association for each element in the list—what the symbol, image, color, number, title, or detail suggests to you.
When done, relate the observations you've made to your situation, issue, or challenge. Beginners frequently find answering the four questions below helps them make the leap from observation to application.
- How does this card relate to my situation?
Do the items on your list seem to be associated with a person who is involved with or influencing your situation? Could these items somehow connect with the development of the issue—how it evolved, or how it is progressing? Might they relate to factors within or outside your control, which influence, create, disrupt, or cause your situation?
- How does this card relate to actions surrounding my issue?
Perhaps an item on your list will cause you to see a past action in a new light. Perhaps you'll be prompted to consider an alternative course of action you've overlooked. Or maybe you'll suddenly see a great reason to take an action you've already come up with. At the very least, ask yourself how some of your observations might translate into tasks on a "To Do" list!
- How does this card suggest an approach to my issue?
Could any items on your list suggest a new way to think about or evaluate your situation? Do any suggest a new perspective, or a new "take" on the issue? What would happen if you adopted an approach suggested by your brainstorming list? Might any of your ideas represent an approach to recommend? To avoid?
- How does this card suggest an attitude or prejudice influencing this issue?
What conclusions have you already drawn about this situation? Are there items on your list that connect with those conclusions or assumptions in some way? Do they challenge them? Reinforce them? How might items on your list represent conclusions or judgments others have made with regard to this situation?
Excerpted from Putting the Tarot to Work: Creative Problem Solving, Effective Decision Making & Personal Career Planning, by Mark McElroy