Usually when we scan an email or an article, we miss important information or significant details. When we use scanning in a tarot reading, as a single step in a multi-step process, it becomes a powerful tool that creates a framework for the message.
A tarot reading is a tapestry made up of many threads: the reader, the querent (the person asking the question), the question, the spread, the deck used, and, of course, the cards drawn in the reading. As readers, we know that a reading is synthesis of all these elements. From there, we usually approach the reading by interpreting individual cards in their positions in the spread, in relation to the question asked.
That approach is, to me, like putting the cart before the horse. I use scanning a reading in the same way that an artist uses a sketch. A light pencil sketch is a great way to get a sense of the composition of a piece…how to all the parts fit together to create a meaningful and coherent whole? Scanning creates a framework, gives focus, and provides useful information.
Tarot cards include images, of course, which most of us "read" when we read the cards. Scanning makes effective use of the numbers and suits and other symbolic or otherwise abstract elements of a card, separate from the image and the individual card interpretation. Scanning can help identify timing. It lets you know what aspects of a querent are affected or at play in a situation. A quick analysis of the suits can let you know if anything important is missing or if there is an energetic block.
Here are the steps I use for beginning a reading. However, reading the cards is an art…things do not always happen in a linear fashion. Find your own rhythm and flow…and be open to the flow of each particular reading. These steps are further detailed in my Steampunk Tarot.
One of the downsides of scanning is it means you must deal your spread face up. If you prefer facedown, you could try your usual method of going card by card and then scanning to pull the reading together. That's the beauty of any reading process we readers share…they (like the tarot, are organic. It is fun and easy to adapt new things to suit your own personal style.
By scanning a reading, you create a framework that you use to organize the details of the reading, which come from interpreting the individual cards. You also gain other information that can help you clarify the question or the situation and direct the answer in the most useful way.
Barbara Moore (Saint Paul, MN) has studied and read tarot since the early 1990s. She wrote the bestselling Tarot for Beginners and more than a dozen other books, and she has contributed to many bestselling tarot kits, ...