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‘Cool’ and the King of Swords

He exudes 'coolness'.
He exudes 'coolness'.

 

 

 

 

 

My own children often provide the inspiration for my writing.  I always find it interesting to sit with my teenage son or daughter and discuss what they see in the cards.  Their observations are often insightful and poignant.  This morning, as my girlfriend and I drew our morning card, I invited my son, as happens on occasion,  to do the same.  He draws the King of Swords.  “Cool,” he says, in his detached 14-year-old demeanor, and puts the card down without another word.

I go on for a brief moment to talk about what the card means from my own experience. But upon further reflection, I think his one-word answer might have been a more accurate definition.  I think I know what he meant or, perhaps even more relevant, I know what his one-word response meant to me.  It may have had nothing to do with the coolness that does indeed surround the King of Swords.  However, the word “cool” has been added to my own list of key words, phrases, affirmations and insights about the king. 

Our king is emotionally “in check”, intelligent, well-spoken and well-groomed, and, as my son so confidently exclaimed, his detached nature might in fact make him ‘cool’, à la Paul Newman in ‘Cool Hand Luke’  And of course, the cold steel of his sabre could again highlight how ‘cool’ fits here.  Having spent almost 20 years working in education, I know that some of the most poignant lessons about life come from youth. I firmly believe that Art Linkletter and Bill Cosby were dead on when they quipped, “Kids say the darndest things.”

The Power of the Querent

Sometimes a positive outcome is as simple as turning cards.
Sometimes a positive outcome is as simple as turning cards.

My teenage daughter, (who was thrilled to be included in my first blog post and who loves it when we explore the Tarot), taught me a valuable lesson about the power of the querent. The querent is the name often used in Tarot that is given to the person asking a question. After a particularly challenging reading, she asked me what she could do to make the outlook better. Of course, as any parent would, I began to struggle with the already blurred line of objectivity and responded very generally.  My words went something like: “You have the power to do anything with the cards you see,” expecting my words to prompt her into realizing that she was in control of the outcome of the reading. She instead focused on the immediate and tangible nature of the cards in front of her. Her unexpected response was, “You mean, I could just turn them over?” and, with a sly smile, proceeded to turn over four cards for which she had expressed concern. The symbolism of this one simple action was significant and, I noticed her ‘lighten’ immediately. She seemed less anxious. She asked me to keep the spread out on the floor so she could be reminded of the power that lived within her.  I immediately observed that the major life changes that were occurring for her seemed less cumbersome and, more importantly, she was showing herself as much better equipped to deal with them.

            Tarot is empowering, but that power does not make the Tarot a deterministic medium.  That power instead highlights Tarot’s role as a guide. The querent is still the master. Simple acts such as turning cards over, moving cards around, selecting specific cards or placing meaningful cards throughout the home or work space, place the power exactly where it belongs, in the hands of the person asking the questions. After all, isn’t that where the answers are truly found?