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Each card has a ‘definition’ – a meaning or word that tradition and practice has given it. For example, a card might mean ‘Severance’ or ‘Happy Family’. These definitions can vary wildly between decks, but there are some generalities that applies to most decks. For example, the suit of Swords (or Diamonds in a modern playing deck) refers to our minds and intellects, and represents some aspect of understanding and making choices.

However, in the hands of a skilled reader, each card becomes more like the cover of a novel. Every card in the deck is complete with deep and rich backstories, relationships with other cards, and characters with their own motivations and stories.

In this way, drawing random cards is similar to drawing random novels from a pile. If the first novel drawn is Moby-Dick then we would say the reading has something to do with themes of obsession, possible even monomania, and revenge. But we do not know who we are in this limited reading. Are we Ishmael, serving alongside a monomaniac? Or are we Ahab, long suffering from a chronic resentment and need for revenge? Or are we instead the whale? Or are we the ship Pequod?

So we draw another ‘card’ for clarity, and get Frankenstein, The Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley. Now we can say that there is likely to be some sort of obsession involved.

drawing cards is similar to ‘pulling’ novels. For example, if a reading began with the novel Moby Dick we would say that there is some obsession or passion