As it should be obvious by now, I’ve been interested in oracles and divination systems for a long time. I’ve worked with them for so long they have become a central part of my daily life. One of the first concepts anyone who studies divination learns to work with is the basic, 3 card Past, Present and Future spread. Matter of fact, it becomes a foundation of any reading from there on out. It takes different forms.
“What I need to know from the past?”
“What experience from the past is influencing the issue now?”
“What can I expect of the issue in the future?”
“What should I know a month from now?”
It is, after all, what oracles are for, right? They are there so you can learn about things in advance, so you can prepare for them, right? Right?
You take those three ideas, Past, Present and Future and, as you become skilled, you build a reading around them with other questions or ideas in order to get a clearer “image” of the issue. Those three questions became a tripod of support for nearly all the work I’ve done with divination in all it’s myriad forms. I’ve done it this way since I picked up my first rune stones.
You can imagine the upset to things in my sandbox when Eckhart Tolle came along with new wisdom and kicked over the Past and the Present and informed me they carried no weight! No matter what the cards might say those sections of past and future simply did not exist. The cards and the moments of Past and Future were simply illusions, curtains of the Ego.
I might have dismissed his information simply out of habit or out of a deep set sense of Ego, of not wanting to, in effect, “start over” or “be wrong.” Matter of fact, I know I would have done all of this if not for the fact that almost immediately it was proven to me he was right. The Present is all we have AND all we will EVER have. It is hard, simple, elegant, and sacred Truth.
So, what is someone like me to do when they’ve built up a skill set with tools based around the principles of Past and, more importantly, Future? The cards still exist. I still have a connection to them. I cannot ignore the experiences I have had with them, the deep conversations and insights gained. Yet, if one is going to stay in the Present what is the point of divination? Trust me, I came around to the answer but first, an example.
How many times has the following occurred to you as a reader or as someone who has had a reading? Let’s say it’s the weekend and you are doing a reading to see ahead to an upcoming week. You are using the Tarot. The deck you are using is very good or perhaps the reader you’ve been consulting is very accurate. You feel connected and in sync and you shuffle. You draw a card for the past and it seems very spot on. Your card for the Present is something pleasant like, say, 4 of Wands. You’re starting to get psyched up for the week, right? Then, for the future card, you draw the Tower or, perhaps, the 10 of Swords. Uh-Oh!
Quick, damage control! red Alert! Maybe you draw a card or two to get a better angle on what might happen? What will help me? How can I alleviate things? How can I avoid the lightning blast of the Tower? Oh, sure, the first of the week looks good with that 4 of Wands but what is going to happen at the end of the week? As the week progresses you walk on eggshells. You’re constantly on guard and alert for the results of that card.
In the meantime, what has happened to being connected and, more importantly, the faith of that connection? The minute you see the negative card in relationship to the Future what happens to your energy? To being in a receptive state?
Maybe you get to the end of the week and nothing happens or if something does it’s minor like an argument with a co-worker that makes you rethink your job? Well, that wasn’t too bad, was it? Or, maybe, the Tower does happen. Now what? Did it help to know in advance? Possibly. Did it help to waste all that energy looking for it to happen? Did it help prove anything? Were you REALLY any better off to handle the situation while worked up to a fever pitch of anxiety? Perhaps you over-reacted to the situation because you were on edge in the first place?
A similar scenario can be played out when looking at a Past card to a present issue. Does a Past card bring up those memories of being hurt? Of betrayal? Does it trigger an emotional response that perhaps give you focus but more often than not brings up anxiety and possibly even a sense of pain or vengeance? Not necessarily healthy, right?
With this example I’m pointing out the crux of the problem I have been working on. As I said previously, the Past and the Future are illusions and, honestly, they have a way of causing trouble. Is it possible to even continue working with an oracle if one removes the Past and the Future from the equation?
The short answer is, of course, “Yes.”
The idea of this is new to me (and I’m still proceeding slowly through it) but it comes down to this for me. Prognostication needs to be cautioned against, observed and, if possible, removed from any layout. The other curveball? Oracles should be used as a conversation on the present issue in the present tense. Everything else needs to be carefully watched for too much connection to either past or future issues.
Due to the numerous habits I’ve built while working with oracles, this is both easy and difficult to do. For instance, my Questing Path Spread breaks down as it relies heavily on what is going to transpire as you move forward in time. On the other hand, my Triskelion spread does not use any sense of time and, instead, talks about and interconnects three related subjects with no sense of past or present. (A spread I think I will be going back and revisiting soon.)
Needless to say, this has been a large turning point for my work with oracles. One of the reasons why I was not posting here is because I was trying to work through this very issue over the past month or so. As I did, I worked on using the cards from the single vantage point of the Present. The oracles were used as conversations but with no sense of “how will things work out” or “What thing from the past is causing problems now.” All of that has been removed. The result? A reduction in stress when a negative card pops up and an amazing amount of clarity in the readings.
There are two components to this style of reading. The obvious one is no placements in the spread for Past or Future. The less obvious one is the question being asked! I no longer ask, “What do I need to know about Issue X in a month?”, “How will the project idea work out?” or “What does my upcoming Summer look like.” I avoid those questions all together.
The Future, I am finding, will take care of itself.
The idea is to have a conversation with the cards while, at the same time, being very aware and careful of the trickiness of your Ego who, by the way, absolutely adores the Past and the Future and essentially cannot function without it. They are, in effect, the Ego’s playground.
In my next post, I’ll be going through a full reading with these new ideas fully in play and hopefully illustrate what I am talking about further. In the meantime, I would like to hear your thoughts on the ideas presented. Can oracles function without using any sort of time stamp? Also, give it a go yourself. Do a reading with no placement for Past or Future, just what “is” and let me know your results!