6 Things You Can Do When Working with a Really "Mean" Tarot Deck

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What do you mean, "mean"? 

I often hear people talk about "my deck is being really mean to me", followed by a sad face..which made me think, interesting. Though I would personally describe some self-readings as unsatisfactory or confusing, I've never described used the term "mean". This is why I decided to explore the idea of "mean" in this post, and how we can address it or make the best out of it. We'll stand up to the tyranny of our decks and face their rejection and criticism with determination and bravery! * roars*

But first, let's explore what does it mean when a deck is being mean to you. What does it mean when your deck is being difficult? By "mean", I find that often people don't mean that their decks are being bullies to them--usually, it's a case of the cards being very blunt or direct with their problems. Or, the deck doesn't provide you with an answer that you're currently seeking, or it gives you answers that don't match your question--answers that you didn't really ask for. Or if it's a case of being insulted by our tarot cards, it's usually because the messages of the cards have managed to hit one or some of the sore spots in our psyche, ruffling our feathers and poking at our insecurities. In short, tarot tells us something that we do not want to hear.

If we could manage to work through our emotions or find a new angle to keep moving, then awesome! But sometimes, we inevitably get stuck in a rut, or we get trapped in our own head or own moods and we can't seem to move past the mean tarot deck that is blocking our path towards emotional or physical solutions. Ah, what to do in those situations?


Wait and try again later

A simple thing to do when you are faced with an incredibly mean deck is to wait and try again later. Wait until your emotional waters have calmed, wait until you are less likely to interpret your cards with a charged attitude, wait until your system has caught up with your higher truths so you can shuffle with a fresh new perspective and better vibrations. Your cards will respond in kind.


Ask for a "second opinion": work with a deck that is lighter in tone or gentler in images

Sometimes, your deck may be really mean to you because the symbolic landscapes or the artwork of the deck are naturally dark and grotesque (I'm looking at you, Deviant Moon!!!) Darker symbolism tends to inspire darker interpretations and harsher language. Depending on your question and your emotional state, something that cuts straight to the point and lands right in your shadowscapes may actually be damaging. In these situations, it'll be a good idea to consult another deck that you trust or work with--a deck that has a lighter image and can help deliver the same messages with a lighter tone.


Pull an oracle card for an alternative perspective 

When you feel like your tarot deck is pressing closer to you and you have your back against the wall, drawing a card from an oracle card can really help change the energy and dissolve the tension. Oracle cards are generally more positive and optimistic in nature, so if you've received a really dark and difficult message, an oracle card can help balance the perspective and remind you of light aspects of any situation. By the way, it's not good to spiritually bypass truths that you need to face--so this shouldn't be used as an excuse for escapism. But it's good to inject a new angle into your stream of thoughts--because more often than not, we get stuck in our own head and vicious thought patterns, so it's good to have an alternative perspective.


Rephrase or reframe your question 

There are two ways to go about this: one is to try to rephrase or reframe your questions into something more empowering, something that puts you in the seat of power. For example, if you've asked, "Why did he break up with me?" and received a mixture of heartbreaking answers, you can change the question to: "How can I move forward from my confusion and heartache in a positive way?" or "What is the best thing I can do to nurture myself right now?"

Another way to go about this is to rethink your question and consider what it is really that you want an answer to. Are you seeking to be comforted but you received a card that tells you how to solve the problem? Or you are look for practical ways to communicate with somebody but your deck ends up reflecting back all your insecurities about communicating? Tarot can be extremely and profoundly insightful and transformative, but it helps when we are channeling its wisdom in a constructive way, at the right time and with the right frame of mind. So think about what you want to ask and what kind of answer you are seeking--this will help you gain better clarity on what it is really that you want to know.


Journal about the "mean answer" and unpack its messages

If you're that emotional over a mean comment from your deck, chances are you probably have a lot of unhealthy emotions that are in need of releasing and clarifying. Tarot may just be pointing you to the fact that you need to do some psychological housekeeping. You need to get mad about this. Let your feelings out. If that's not the case, it's a good thing to do to try to make sense of your state of mind anyway-a productive self-reflection session never hurts. By journaling and noting down your feelings, thoughts and stream of consciousness, you can dump out your pent up feelings freely. Once you're done, you can look over what you've written down and look for clues. Read with both discernment and an inquisitive mind. Did you figure out why that particular tarot "comment" upset you? If you did, what can you do about it?


Do some shadow work and examine the triggers

Similar to the journaling tip, something that we experience as extremely triggering is probably a good indicator of the presence of something shadowy. What's lurking in our shadowscapes? What's making us feel insecure, defensive, angry, salty? Why are we feeling this way? What is the source of these feelings-the real source? I think instead of getting "mad" over your deck, think of it this way: tarot never gives you anything that you can't handle. If it's talking shit about you or to you, it's probably because you have the inner strength to overcome the difficult emotions and work through them like a champ. Say this to yourself: You're gonna talk shit to me? Well I'm going to figure out why and get better and you can't say nothin' after that!! 

Well, tarot might just respond by giving you the Sun card-I'm sure it'll be very happy with your progress and growth as a human being. :) Tarot is kind of like our personal spirit guides, no? Such a wonderful thing. I am grateful for tarot every single day.