Now that I am back home on the Westside of Los Angeles, I’m kind-of getting “re-acquainted” with the neighborhood after having been away for six weeks—and in a similar vein, I thought I would take the time today to get “re-acquainted” with a Tarot deck I haven’t used in that same amount of time: The Manly Hall New Art Cards that are now back in print after 30 years off the market. I’d been working with these cards a great deal shortly before my mother took ill, and I took this deck with me when I temporarily moved into her house to care for her.
My work with the deck, however, ceased the very first night I spent at my temporary new address. It was my mother’s first night home after five days spent in hospital; she was still physically quite frail, and I was feeling a great deal of stress over the work that lay ahead. That night, sitting in my boyhood bedroom, with a glass of wine and candles lit, I laid down a four-card “Thinking, Feeling, Perceiving, Sensing” spread, just wondering what sort of advice the cards might care to give—some constructive guidance and uplift, in other words. The cards that turned up, dealt right to left, were these:For those of you who aren’t familiar with Marseilles-style pip-card designs, here are the corresponding cards in the Waite deck:
This might have indeed been a reflection of my emotional state at the time, but at a time when patience and sympathy were most needed, it was the worst sort of “guidance” I could’ve possibly been given!
What’s more, at the very moment I laid down the cards, I felt a kind of “chill” enter the room, and sensing the presence of a malign spirit-force, I immediately abandoned the reading while ordering the spirit to leave the room at once. I hence returned the cards to their box, where they stayed for the remainder of my time at my mother’s house. (A few days later I retrieved one of my Waite decks, and it seemed perfectly well adapted to a different address, or at least immune from the meddling of any astral tricksters.) Now that I have returned to more familiar climes, I decided to “liberate” the Hall deck from its six-week exile, and resume my “dialogue” with the cards. Here is what they communicated to me in four cards today:It’s hard to imagine a more radically different spread than the previous! For starters,the odds of laying down four consecutive cards from the Major Arcana, as seen here, is about one in 250, which means that I could expect to see a four-card spread like this (assuming one spread a day) a little more than once a year on average, so we are contemplating something out of the ordinary here (though it is not as extraordinary as dealing the 8, 9 and 10 of any given suit in numerical order, the odds of which are around 450,000 to one!).
Also, if we compare the “narrative flow” of each spread, we will see how
Thinking: Love offered.
Feeling: Loss and abandonment.
Perceiving: The power of nightmares; angels of darkness.
Sensing: The end of all reason; life out of balance.
has now been replaced, in another place and time, with:
Thinking: Love realized.
Feeling: The working of miracles.
Feeling: The power of renewal; angels of light.
Sensing: The triumph of reason; life lived in balance.
Now, how much of this is due to the passing of time, or to a change in venue, or to the presence of more amenable spirit-forces in my sphere of existence today, or to plain old random chance, it is difficult to say with any measure of exactitude. (That’s one of the beauties of Tarot, isn’t it?) And who knows, perhaps my mother’s return to health, and the support and care I provided her, helped to “drive away” any demons of disease and death that might have attached themselves to us at the hospital. But it does beg the question: Has anyone else ever had an experience with a certain Tarot deck where you just couldn’t “make it work” at a given location or a point in time? Has anyone ever experienced the presence of a “dark spirit” that ever tried to hijack a card reading, particularly in a time of duress? If so, how did you handle it? This was a new experience for me—and one I’m not interested in repeating anytime soon!