Conflicting Information

by Barbara Moore

Someone once asked me how should a beginner deal with the fact that some tarot books include conflicting information. That is an excellent question because there is no one definitive list of what the cards mean. There may be any number of ways to deal with conflicting information and I hope some of my readers will share their ideas here.

When I first started in tarot, the internet existed but it wasn’t anything like it was today. In fact, I worked with my mentor via snail mail (and, oh, how I wish I’d saved that correspondence!). After a few years of exploring tarot via as many decks and books as I could get my hands on, I decided to go through certification with the American Tarot Association. This organization still offers education but not certification. I do not think that certification matters. What mattered was the process I went through to prepare myself for certification.

I worked on one card at a time. I surrounded myself with all the books I had available and read about each card, making notes in a notebook of all the meanings (unless they seemed to make no sense to me). After collecting all the information, I was able to see many themes repeated and worked with those until I was able to boil it down to a core meaning. Then I expanded the meanings in ways that made sense. This helped the meanings all connect rather than just feel like a disconnected collection of random meanings. It also sometimes showed me that the information wasn’t really conflicting but rather just a different point of view or focus. But sometimes, yes, of course, there will be conflicting information.

Tarot cards are keys that open doors of knowing. Every time you open that door, the landscape will be slightly (or hugely) different. Is this because it has changed or you have? Or both? Probably both. So this is why, I think, it is really challenging to create a list of meanings that are always true or complete. For me, it was better to distill the meanings down to their core, their key. Everything else moves outward from there. If you have your core, your North Star, for each card, you can navigate through any situation or reading and find the right interpretation.

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