When Symbols Get Stale

As astrologers and readers, we look at the same symbols over and over again. We spot the Sun in a chart and register it immediately, a learned response. We pull the tarot Sun from our favored deck and have an automatic reaction.

Is this what happens when we boil our symbols down to stereotypes only to have them become stale and ho-hum?

I sometimes wonder if I’ll ever be able to “read” tarot again because of the symbolic associations I’ve made for the past 30 years. The meanings are so ingrained that I bore myself. It feels like my intuition evaporated. Ever felt that way?

With tarot, we can switch to another tarot deck or maybe stop using the tarot completely, using an oracle deck to rev up our intuition. With astrology, it’s different. There are only so many symbols to work with. We can’t swap them out for another artist’s interpretation.

Perhaps this is a crisis of Pisces, when we are to “let go and let God,” but don’t. Here’s an example of a reading I did for myself on how to develop faith, a Pisces issue. The cards are from Titania’s Fortune Cards by Titania Hardie. I’ve never connected with these cards and don’t use them, so they were a perfect choice to try to get a new perspective ~ something different from the old standby stereotypes I’m mired in.

Here are the cards I drew and my gut responses regarding faith: a cold, lonely path (12th house?), a fish (duh! Pisces), and a snake (Scorpio/transformation). One standout response is that faith should never feel cold or lonely.

What do you see?

The accompanying book gives the card meanings as:

  • “The Road ~ a new direction” (this makes sense as I’m feeling stale)
  • “The Fish ~ a fortune, money, and sometimes dreams.” (I didn’t know fish were symbols of money; a strong symbol in feng shui, apparently. Money might help me develop faith, but dreams are more likely.)
  • “The Snake ~ a tricky card, can be deceit if surrounded by negative cards; can be wisdom if surrounded by strong, positive cards.” (Faith is certainly able to lead us down the path of deceit, and Jupiter, the classical ruler of Pisces, is a symbol of wisdom.)

All in all, an appropriate reading, but not inspired. Predictable, same old same old. Boring.

How do you keep it fresh?

13 thoughts on “When Symbols Get Stale

  1. Patricia says:

    The road…Mars is retrograde try turning around and walking back to see what you might have missed

    The Fish…Dream when your feelin’ blue….dream that’s the thing to do….

    Snake….time to shed your skin and be renewed…

    Study an individual’s birth-chart or even the daily transits and create an allegory where each planet is a character….become a story teller….

    • cj wright says:

      I like the storyteller idea, Pat. That could be a very good way to loosen up the intuition. Who knows where that road might lead.

  2. VJ says:

    I’m Gemini, and speaking of boredom, well let’s not! I’ve used tarot, fairies, angels, and unicorns cards, writing letters to angels, working with daily transits, plus transits of the moon, meditation with the archetypes, etc.

    I’ve written stories using my birth chart – focusing on my T-squares (two of them that keep me hopping). Also, recently invested in a set of cards by Caitlin Matthews, entitled, “StoryWorld.”

    So, I do my best to keep it fresh, and new!

    • cj wright says:

      All that sounds familiar, VJ. (Except StoryWorld) Do you just switch when you’ve worn out (for lack of better words) one medium?

      • VJ says:

        Yes, CJ! When I’m worn out or bored — switch gears!

        I watch movies, and attempt to identify the tarot archetype in the film. Once a person starts on the “path,” the path never ends. It may spiral, but it never ends!

        I won’t talk about the endless Solar Return trips, classes, lectures, seminars, travel, etc. I recently finished a two-year course, “Writing for Children and Teenagers” at the Institute of Children’s Literature. It is a great course, and highly recommended.

        • cj wright says:

          No, the path never ends, VJ. What’s that quote about finding ourselves at the end, only to discover we’re at the beginning? That’s the path we’re on, it seems to me. There’s always more to learn.

          I have a 3rd house Moon, definitely a bit of Gemini in that configuration. I’ll spend weeks or months on something, and then switch to something else, too. Sometimes, though, the “spark” is missing and you can’t force the spark.

  3. Sandra says:

    One of my favorite oracles from the mid 80’s was Star+Gate. The cards had simple pictures, much like the ones you show above. However, it really wasn’t the imagery I found so wonderful, as the process, which I modified for my own use and continue to use today when it seems applicable.

    Basically it is Patricia’s storytelling turned into a 3 step process:
    #1. Pick your cards (3 cards work best for me) lay them out and apply their symbolic interpretation.
    #2. Imagine a better interpretation (story) using the card’s symbolism. Rearranging them can be helpful.
    #3 Finally, Imagine the best possible interpretation (story); again, rearranging the cards can be useful in seeing different outcomes.

    Try it with the cards above and let me know how it works.

    • cj wright says:

      Thanks for this, Sandra. I’ve been rearranging these cards and coming up with better and worse interpretations. The worse scenarios definitely help put things in perspective, while imagining the better and best scenarios really does help the “dream.” With a dream comes faith and with faith comes inspiration. I needed that. Thank you.

  4. Elouise says:

    I came across these cards via FB and while watching the demo – at bottom of home page – it occurred to me they could be used for ‘divination’ as well. Anyway, I hope you find the idea as entertaining as the investors have – and me too!

    • cj wright says:

      Hi, Elouise.

      I took a look at these online and someone said they were like tarot cards for writers. There are even plot “spreads.” An interesting premise. Thanks!

  5. VJ says:

    Elouise:

    I’ve never heard of Story Forge. But, it is definitely another tool I can use to increase intuition, and creative writing. My Vertex, Moon, and Neptune are in Scorpio in the 5th house, so I definitely need the intensity of spiritual
    disciplines to channel into creative pursuits.

    I’m currently using the tarot for Lectio Divina. There’s also Corinne Kenner’s Tarot Journaling, and Tarot for Writers. Both books contain writing exercises using the tarot.

    I am inspired by this topic, and the exchange of information!

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