Tarot Cards and Rorscharch Tests

I’ve read in a few pagan 101 books that Tarot cards and other divination methods work by tapping into one’s subconscious mind. This actually makes a great deal of sense to me, though I honestly don’t think it’s the whole answer. To me, Tarot is a create-your-own Rorscharch blot test.

Have you ever taken a Rorscharch test? They’re not used much anymore. They’re basically big colored inkblots on cards, and you (the patient) have to interpret them. The “results” are totally subjective, which is why they’ve fallen out of favor. I tended to see animals: bugs, birds, a fox’s face. “Normal” people, I learned, usually saw human faces and figures. My therapist confessed to me that he had patients who saw terrifying things.

Tarot too is almost entirely subjective. Yet, like the ink blots of the Rorscharch test, it can still tell us about ourselves. I love animals, which is no doubt why I saw critters and creepy-crawlies of all sorts in those shapes. Realizing this has made my Tarot skills stronger. I no longer try to use rigid layouts, instead building my spreads intuitively and organically, card by card. They tend to spread outward from a central point.

Like an inkblot…

My Mom Gets It

So I’ve been having a super shitty week. Normally I can bounce back from the kind of things that’ve been happening, but not this time. So I ended up on the phone to my mom, in absolute meltdown mode. After she calms me down, she sighs. “It’s really my fault,” she tells me. “I let your candle go out and didn’t light another one.”

Dharma Police!

Are you Buddhist? Have you ever met a Buddhist? Do you know what Buddhism is all about? Let’s get this out of the way. Buddhism (I’m speaking especially of Mahayana schools, as I am more familiar with them) is all about compassion and mindfulness. Right speech, right action and all that shit.

You wouldn’t know it from Buddhist fora. It might just be me, but I’ve never seen the kind of jeering anger in pagan forums that I’ve seen in Buddhist forums. People aren’t just snarky. They aren’t just trolls. They’re cruel with a breathtaking sincerity that can drive unexpecting seekers away from the faith altogether. Yet for all that, Buddhist fora are home to some of the kindest people as well, and they display great sincerity in their acts of kindness.

Sincerity is the great flaw and the great weakness of online Buddhism. Everyone means so well, but all too often, this sincerity leads to moral rigidity, and posters become self-appointed “Dharma Police” who think that the best way to correct a new Buddhist’s mistake is to come down on them harder than Palden Lhamo.

300px-PaldenLhamo

(This is Palden Lhamo)