The wonderful Camelia Elias asked me to contribute to a project in which she asked various people to come up with “21 +1” rules for Tarot reading and divination. I’ve asked her if I could share them here, and she said that was fine.

She actually wanted them unnumbered, but I’ve included the numbers here, because they inspired my rules.

Some people will recognize the first four as what I’ve called “The First Directive,” featured in various of my stories and books, in particular my story “Visible Cities,” just published in the current issue of Fantasy and Science Fiction.

here are my rules:

Rachel Pollack

1. See what there is to see.
2. Hear what there is to hear.
3. Touch whatever you touch.
4. Speak the thing you must speak.
5. Speak only the thing you must speak.
6. The client knows what they want. Do not change their questions.
7. Keep moving.
8. The Tarot may be scary, but the Tarot is your friend. Or to put it another way, “Fear not! Ishtar is here.”
9. Don’t be afraid to tell the truth. Someone’s life may depend on it.
10. What’s true today may not be true tomorrow.
11. You can’t go forward if you won’t look back.
12. Keep your feet in tradition, and your head in the light.
13. The one forbidden rule of divination—do not predict the day and manner of a person’s death.
14. The Tarot is a map of the Land of the Dead.
15. Be tricky.
16. Dazzle.
17. The Tarot will heal if you allow it.
18. From the back of the head, the Presence is below. Thus, the Presence is above, and glory fills the Earth. (from Ha-Sefer Raziel Ha-Malakh, the Book of the Angel Raziel)
19. Open your heart to the Sun.
20. Wake up!
21. It is always possible, at any moment, to see everything at once. Just don’t count on it, or try to force it.
+1 The eye can’t hit what the hand can’t see.
Dream like a butterfly, go home like a bee.

Published in: on July 11, 2018 at 11:47 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. This is brilliant! Thank you so much!

    • Thank you. I had fun doing it, but I do mean the things here.

  2. Wonderful!

  3. Hi Ms Pollack. Love the rules, but I have a question: These seem to be particularly introspective in relations to the reader. Would you have any thoughts or rules connected to client interaction itself. For example, holding space for the client? Or perhaps even allowing the client to interpret the cards themselves in a sense? Or are those points a tad too new agey?:-)

  4. Hi, Rash. I’m actually in agreement with you, especially about allowing the clients to interpret the cards. I often go further–with certain cards I will ask them myself what they think the person in the picture is doing, or what the person’s attitude might be. The “rules” (Camelia’s term) were not meant to be the basis of a complete practice, or even entirely practical, but a kind of almost poetic response to the numbers (the cards), and how, for example, the Fool might create a rule. I do mean them as something real and even important, just not to cover the whole practice of reading cards and working with clients. Thanks for your comments.

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