To open up this 2-card series, this is really less of a 2-card reading, and more of a one-card reading plus a bias, but it starts moving us out of one-card territory.
If you missed the opener to this series, you might want to check it out, as it contains a useful exercise that sheds some insight and depth to the entire series here.
We’ll use a very simple way to choose two cards, using the cut card and the “deep” card, or bottom card. I tend to prefer drawing cards off the top of the deck, so I like using alternative ways to choose cards. Cutting the deck is not so unusual, but it’s not my habit, so this is a start at breaking that habit 🙂
Shuffle the deck well and then cut it. Turn over the cut pack, and see what card it is. Already, any familiarity you have with that card will start running in your mind. Get the general sense of the card in its overall, generic purity, and then when you’re ready to narrow the card’s meaning down a bit, turn over the bottom pack and view the deep card.
Use this deep card to shade your interpretation of the cut card.
So for instance, I shuffled and cut: The Hanged Man is my cut card, and the Knight of Fire (wands) is the bottom card. So what aspect of the Hanged Man is like the Knight of Fire, or what does the Knight bring out from the Hanged Man?
These are two very oppositional cards to me:
- one about being stuck; the other about pure activity
- one about stopping and even changing direction; the other is full steam ahead
- one inverts perspective to see something new; the other sees clearly and doesn’t look back!
So, how do I reconcile them as if they were one card (though perhaps with more weight to the cut card, like 75% Hanged Man, 25% Knight of Fire)?
This is a bit different from an if/then interpretation, or a problem/advice duality, it’s more like reading a single card, but just with the influence of another — this can be challenging on its own, since the mind wants to jump into timelines and duality.
So, what part of the Hanged Man contains direction and action? Perhaps it is the action of turning within, without hesitation. How often do we meander on the inward path? We wonder and wander, but also find distractions along the way… we say we want a new perspective, but then get “hung up” on our old ones. The Knight of Fire modifies this to say, “stop jerking around, just dive upside down!”
It suggests that the risk is worth the effort. This modified Hanged Man is quite different than if it were alone… Alone we might have arrived at this interpretation, but the Knight of Fire gave a much clearer direction for that interpretation.
Let’s try another example:
Cut card — Two of Water (Cups)
Deep card — Ace of Fire (Wands)
Traditionally, the Two of Water/Cups is a friendship or relationship card. Young love, an emotional pairing. It could also be conflicting emotions, feeling two things at the same time, creative collaboration or having two passions, codependence, companionship, even brotherly/sisterly love or twinning (whether platonic or romantic). As Water, it is in the feeling/emotional realm, and as a two it is not only about duality, but could also denote being early on in a process or at a less complicated degree.
The Ace is even less complicated, a singular action or direction. It modifies the Two of Water by seeing between duality toward singularity. It strengthens the “two emotionally connected individuals acting together as one” idea. There’s also some movement toward seeing the similarity between conflicting emotions, and noticing the results of that conflict.
I admit, this is a challenging exercise, since I keep catching myself wanting to interpret the card in an if/then fashion, a cause and result manner that reads the cards in reference to sequence rather than reading them together as though one card. The challenge is worth sticking to, though, as it stretches your skills as a reader, and encourages you to look at cards in ways you may not have.
Stay tuned for more Pairspectives!