aFirst the question: (Note: The form of the question is important. 1st person active is ideal. "How can I...?" encourges action.)
The client, Paul, asks, “I need to take better care of myself, stop smoking, get fit. How can I go about this so I will be successful?”
The cards drawn: 5 wands, King pentacles, Empress, Prince wands, Hanged Man, 3 cups, 2 cups, Fool, 3 pentacles, Ace wands.
First impression: Lots of fire (wands), no swords, creativity, love, perspective, letting go, starting at the beginning.
Card 1: The situation/question/context – 5 wands: This card couldn’t be more correct, the challenge for Paul being to rebuild something, in this case his health and body. This card reminds Paul that preparedness, patience and resolve are what are needed.
Card 2: The obstacle/challenge - King pentacles: The pondering Father shows Paul that he cannot lean back and observe, cannot be complacent too soon…that he too will be the contented “Father”, with his house built soundly, but getting there will be challenging.
Card 3: Above/conscious thought – Empress: This card reminds him to check his intuition and in this case he believes his intuition is correct. His intuition is telling him that he needs to fix this situation rather than let it go by the wayside or worse sublimate it.
Card 4: Below/unconscious thought - Prince wands: The young man, brave, strong, full of resources and proud of them. The unconscious reminder is to make best use of all his resources and recognizing their, his, worth.
Card 5: Past/past experience - Hanged Man: This card encourages Paul to look to times when he has reinvented himself before, made changes in his way of being and living and how that worked or didn’t work. Doing so will provide clues re how to proceed with this similar challenge. This requires a willful shift in perspective.
Card 6: Near Future/what to look for - 3 cups: Recommends that his creative powers can take over or be an integral part of this process and let the love etc feed him and his plan. Love of self, love of others and others’ love of him. One wouldn’t normally think that “love” plays a big role in this type of challenge but when Paul looks to see how it might be it turns out that it does play a significant role and that it can be a source of energy and commitment. (Interesting that 5 & 6 are both about creation and perspective).
Card 7: Paul’s place/role in this situation - 2 cups: Would indicate that facing the challenge alone may not be the best way. Should enlist the support and comfort of a loved one (this furthers Card 6 message). Also, can be seen as embracing the parts of self that have been neglected or unloved, embrace them sand see the support there.
Card 8: Influences around Paul – Fool: Wow, the Fool. Watch out for pranksters and those that would throw a wrench in the process, but also, be with those (and the parts of self) that are uninhibited, willing to work the “magic”. And don’t take things too seriously. Paul needs to be flexible and non-judgmental toward himself as he moves through this change toward a healthier lifestyle.
Card 9: Wants/Fears - 3 pentacles: This is uncanny – this card directly indicates what it will take is to be healthy, fit, and well equipped. This is the want and thankfully he doesn’t have much fear about the process or outcomes. “It’s all good.”
Card 10: Outcome - Ace wands: Root of Fire! Wooohooo. Moving into a new phase of life, the fire part will come alive after a long spell in water. The beginning of a productive period.
OVERALL MEANING for Paul: The challenge is about quitting smoking and getting back to the pool and gym. Paul was making mental plans this a.m. while showering and on the drive to our session. Get the lead out is the message. He has the wherewithal, the know-how and resources, etc…so get on with it. Card 2 makes a little more sense now after exploring all ten…Paul could just sit back and enjoy the comforts he has now, but clearly this is telling him there is more, that he can be and do more. No red flags other than frivolity or willy-nilly thinking and action getting in the way – he needs a disciplined approach, which has worked in the past. He feels good about what lies ahead.
UPDATE: Paul hasn't smoked in 4 months and goes to the gym 2-3 times a week. He has also changed several eating habits and says that he hasn't felt this good for a long time. His productivity has increased and his is enjoying more success in general.