Pretty much every card reader I know finds cards on the ground. Now, this could be a “chicken and egg” sort of thing: which comes first – the reader looking for cards or the cards finding the reader? Personally, I don’t ever actively “look” for cards. But, at the same time, I always pick them up when I see them on the ground. Does this happen to other, non-cartomantic people? Perhaps. But no one else in their right mind would pick up a card off the ground. That’s why people like us exist.
I like the phenomenon of finding cards “in the wild”, so to speak, because it reminds me of a larger concept—that of paying attention. Miguel and I (and both of my tarot mentors) always advocate for simply LOOKING at the cards as the main foundation for reading them. Enrique used to always say to me, “What do you see?” and then if I got too caught up in a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, he’d say “Shelley, just LOOK at the card, don’t read it.”
The photo above is a series of four cards that crossed my path, in the sequence in which I found them. The Five of Cups came one day all on its own, then the 2 of Diamonds, 10 of Spades and – UNO card! – came one after the other on one particular walk.
Can we read anything? Can we apply meaning to things that apparently have no inherent meaning?
Reading cards is like this. We are presented in a completely spontaneous—but conscious and aware—manner with images on paper. We are then charged with telling the story they convey. Although there are certain baseline “meanings” that come from long lines of cartomantic tradition, as far as I know, no one reads UNO cards. And yet, it begs the question: why not?
Exercises like this are useful because they free up our mental space to stretch and expand, allowing us to PLAY with cards and LOOK at them.
We can read this line as a time-sequence of events. Five of Cups to Two of Diamonds to Ten of Spades to UNO – what shall we call it? – going both ways? Reversing course? Twisted in two different directions? You can see how symbolism depends on the interpretation you give to it, based on the context around the question and the surrounding cards.
Here, no question was asked, other than my simple presence on the face of the Earth and being in my environment. Can we remain open to receive messages even when we don’t ask for them?
While developing a tarot teaching course, I created a related exercise. I’ll reprint it here, so you can try it if you want. Let us know how it goes by writing a comment after you complete it.
And by all means, share your interpretations of my cards in the wild! No wrong answers.
When I wrote the following exercise, I hadn’t seen a playing card on the ground for a long time, probably a year or more. What do you think happened after?
Give it a try.