Thanks for my topic this week go to my friend, Hannah. She provided me with some inspiration this afternoon. This week’s post is all about jumping to conclusions. Whether it’s the assumption that all Pagan paths are intense adventures, receiving messages from nature, or reading tarot cards, it’s all something we as humans have a tendency to do. I notice it a lot more in people just beginning their Pagan path, but even I sometimes have to step back and think: Am I jumping to conclusions?
With the Pagan community more inter-connected than ever, it’s easy to find information and personal stories from other Pagans. It’s easier still to get caught up in them. You’ve just read how Morgana MoonBeam (names made up off the top of my head) had her first encounter with the Goddess- WOW what a dream; I wish I could have something like that happen to me-
But wait. Wait right there, because not everyone will have vivid, exciting encounters that produce fabulous stories. The truth of the matter is that sometimes being a Pagan is, well, not that exciting. There will be periods of time where huge revelations aren’t made, where you might not see faeries, or get a direct message from the gods or your spirits. And ya know, that’s okay.
I was totally enthralled by some of the stories Silver RavenWolf shared in her books (boo and hiss elsewhere, I love that woman). I wanted experiences like that, too. I wanted to see the Gods, deal with spirits, the whole nine yards. I think to an extent, I even created on a subconscious level supernatural experiences because that was what dealing with the occult and Paganism was all about, right? Later, of course, I realized that some of the things that had happened were sort of my own doing, and that although nothing as exciting as the stories I had read from others was happening, I still was connected. There was peace in that. I didn’t need the excitement to feel connected with all of nature.
Another point where jumping to conclusions is easy: signs and omens. Was that crow a message from The Morrigan? Or was it just a crow?
Again, I’m totally guilty of this act as well. Typically, crows and ravens seem to appear when things are about to change in my life. They have long been my spirit animals, guides in meditation, and a source of fascination for me. However, when I find myself noticing that I see them EVERYWHERE, I have to ask myself which ones are signs, and which ones are just passersby and inhabitants of the area?
My rule of thumb here: don’t assume it’s a sign. It really could just be a passing bird. If the crow makes you think of one of your patron deities, great! It’s cool that you think about them, and I’m sure they appreciate it. Take note of it; if you’re not sure what the symbolism behind the animal is, perhaps look it up. With the technology these days it shouldn’t take more than a minute or two. After that, just keep an open eye without trying to dwell on the supposed message. If something happens in accordance, cool. If not, you took a moment to observe and connect with nature.
Last place I see many many many people jump to conclusions: divination tools. In my experience most people I know use tarot, so I’ll focus a bit more on the cards.
Each card has meanings typically associated with it. The 2 of Cups almost always suggests a relationship or partnership of some sort, etc. Learning what some of the basic meanings are is a good way to have some base knowledge when doing a reading.
Memorizing the book meanings, and not being open to more loose interpretations based on the placement of the cards, however, can provide inaccuracy. Yes, the Death card almost always symbolizes rather dramatic change, and the image DOES make it seem like things are going to be very rough while the change is occurring. But, what if it means something different?
Another pitfall- and I too am guilty of this- is assuming that if you get a card once and get a particular vibe from it that it will always have the same meaning you originally assigned it.
My advice with tarot (and any tool, really) is to:
1) Cleanse your deck regularly
2) If at all possible, have more than one deck- or a friend who can read tarot. Sometimes a different perspective on the problem at hand can provide a clearer view.
3) Take your time with a reading. Really get a feel for the cards and what they’re telling you. Don’t just remember what your previous experiences with them were.