The Tarot Muse
Carolyn R. Guss
Certified Professional Tarot Reader and Teacher
and the Arrows of Love –
Carolyn R. Guss, The Tarot Muse ©
a Tarot reader—whether amateur, professional, or somewhere in between—her
most frequently requested subject, and she will undoubtedly reply romance.
Love, intimacy, affairs of the heart engage us, whether we are involved in a
partnership (flourishing or withering) or are seeking one. Those in the former
category want to know, Will it last? or How can I make it better?
Those seeking love have a list of questions that resembles a journalistic
lead-in: Who, What, Where, When, Why, How? All of which can pose a
challenge to the reader and her querent.
how can the cards help us to improve our love lives? Well, chiefly, in telling
us things about ourselves: our hopes, dreams, expectations, desires, and actions
(some of which we may not even have admitted to ourselves). I work with many
clients on relationship/partnership issues. An approach I often use for someone
in an established, ongoing relationship is to draw cards for the querent (person
having the reading) and the partner with whom she is in a relationship, using
two different hands (one to represent each). (At an in-person reading the
querent herself chooses the cards, and if both people are present, they each
do.) That way we can attempt to look at each partner's thoughts and feelings
about the relationship as well as their own needs and desires, and how they are
meeting these. I also choose cards to determine the current status of the
relationship (i.e., how the couple is relating to each other) and the root of
their union, along with the energy each is willing to give to the
relationship—a key factor in determining where it is going in the future.
These last two cards are quite telling with regard to how much of
themselves—or what aspect of themselves—each can bring to the relationship
In closing the
spread we might look at strengths and weaknesses within the partnership, along
with ways to improve the problem areas (things the couple can work on). A card
or two to determine the future direction of the relationship offers final
reading like this, however, requires a relationship with a track record—that
is, more than a first or second date. For budding relationships the things that
can be looked are more limited in scope (because there's less energy between the
couple to draw on) and might amount to determining potential in the present and
immediate future as opposed to—after an early encounter—Will I marry this
person? Personally, I wouldn't trust the cards to answer a question like
that with so little to go on. On the other hand, questions such as What can I
do to keep this relationship going? or what expectations do each of us
have? are excellent ones for the cards to handle, if you are receptive to
what the Tarot has to say.
someone seeking a relationship, the cards are more helpful again if you focus
the reading on yourself rather than some mythical "other" who may be
out there. Good questions to ask include Where am I now in terms of love and
romance?; What (or who) do I need with regard to a positive, harmonious
relationship in my life (and conversely, What don't I need)?; and What options
are available to me and how can I best pursue them? This may not sound
glamorous, but it results in a reading that will prove a lot more helpful than When
will I meet Mr. Right?
a reading for a young female client, I posed the question, Where should she look
for love? The V HIEROPHANT and 3 of Pentacles suggested that she might try
volunteer work for a cause she was interested in, take a class, or become active
in a church activity, if she belonged to a religion. Two months after she had
signed up for an adult ed class and volunteered for an environmental group, she
was dating one man (from the class) and was interested in another (in the
group). "You were right!" she called to tell me. "Actually, the
cards were," I replied.
you have been involved in a series of relationships that have ultimately proved
unsatisfactory, you might consider asking the Tarot Why? or What went
wrong? If you are willing to be honest with yourself, you can ask, How
could I have contributed to the problems with my relationships? Or How
might I make better choices, improve my options, etc.? I suggested to a male
client that he ask the Tarot , Why do I always pick bad partners? The 8
of Swords, XV DEVIL, and 4 of Pentacles reversed turned up, prompting me
to ask, "Do you value yourself, romantically? And do you tend toward
dominating, controlling relationships that leave you with not much left?"
He reluctantly agreed.
said, the type of question to stay away from is Will my boyfriend start using
drugs again? Or Will my girlfriend get back together with her ex-husband?
The Tarot works best in answering questions relating to the person having the
reading. As a Tarot reader I can, of course, read "for" you and your
partner, even if s/he isn't in the room—because you and s/he are connected
through the tie of your relationship. But to ask separate questions about the
person outside of your relationship with them isn't very accurate, Tarot-wise.
What I like to call "the vibrations" (or energy currents) just aren't
there. In such a situation it might be better to pose, Why am I afraid my
boyfriend will relapse? Or What makes me think my girlfriend will get
back with her ex-husband? Now you're back in the picture—and after all,
you're the one having the reading.
a troubled relationship I might draw cards that tell me about the attraction a
couple has for each other along with what bothers them: what's positive about
the relationship and what's difficult, negative, or wrong. From that starting
point we move on to what they can work on to rebuild what they had or make
things better: what challenges that might present, along with what might be out
there to help them to do that. Ultimately, we need to ask about the potential
for the relationship to be healed and transformed.
recent client the cards clearly showed what needed to be improved: communication
between the couple and supportiveness/loyalty for each other. The potential for
transformation, however, 10 of Swords and Knight of Swords reversed strongly
suggested that the relationship wasn't going to progress. "I don't think he
wants to work on it," the client told me. "I think he wants out."
Which is certainly what the cards seemed to say. Her closing cards, 2 of Cups
reversed and 9 of Pentacles, confirmed these suspicions, but suggested that if
the relationship did end she would be fine on her own until someone else came
By serving as
reflections of ourselves and our deepest needs and desires, the cards can prove
to be a useful ally in the arena of love. However, an important thing to
remember when having a reading regarding relationship issues is that the cards
show us pictures of things, including options and possibilities. They do not
change someone's behavior; nor do they circumvent free will. Also, not even the
Tarot can see into another person's mind or heart. People are complex—as is
the Tarot. Which is, perhaps, why they work so well together!