Confidence and Determination
As strong stance – whether sitting or standing – can convey a sense of confidence, determination, will power, and determination. In the four cards above, notice how each figure is sitting squarely and facing front. There’s a sense of confidence and authority, and a seeming determination to stand firm on whatever situation is before them. Now note how each face is staring straight at you, eyes fixed, with no apparent emotion; none of them will tell you any of their secrets and will not divulge any more information than what they think you need to know.
Now think of how this may influence a reading. How does the High Priestess’ seemingly blank stare play into the message you’re seeing? Is she lost in thought? Is she in a quasi-meditative state? Is she attempting to look into your soul? How does her posture play into this? She’s sitting in a relaxed state, despite the look on her face. Might that mean that you need to relax more in order to tap into your intuition effectively?
What might the strong stance of the rider in The Chariot card imply? He seems quite confident, despite the fact that he knows that the road ahead might be difficult. He’s determined to drive through the path ahead of him successfully, regardless of the risks. What do you see in his facial expression that might convey how he feels or what he’s thinking? How does that affect the message you might get from this card?
As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, crossing your arms and legs can be a subtle sign of defensiveness, regardless of what you’re trying to convey via your facial expressions. I don’t believe defensiveness is inherently a bad thing, especially given that you can assume a defensive posture even when you’re quite happy and content. The three cards above demonstrate this quite clearly; note how each person has his arms crossed.
For example, the figure in the 4 of Pentacles is not only crossing his arms, but he’s also holding something that he considers quite valuable. In this case, without saying a word, he shows you what he considers most valuable, that he’s prepared to keep it secure, and that he has no interest in sharing what he has. (Pop quiz: How does his facial expression support this notion?) How might this all figure into a reading? Should you be holding on to what you hold dear? Are you stretching your resources more than necessary or reasonable?
On the opposite side (in a manner of speaking) is the figure in the 10 of Cups. He’s obviously a happy person and very content with his life and relationships, but his arms are crossed, too. He’s sitting squarely in front of his cups, has his arms across his chest, and a smile on his face. The subtle message here seems to be that he’s completely happy with where he is and has no interest in discussing the possibility of going outside of his comfort zone. The smile on his face seems twofold; it expresses his happiness but also belies the stubborn determination he has to stand his ground. Additionally, he’s possibly sending subtle mixed messages by having his legs spread apart and his arms crossed. How would this play into a reading? Could this possibly mean that you’ve perhaps gotten a bit self-absorbed in your own happiness? (Extra bonus points: Is the figure in the card sitting toward the edge of the bench? That could imply something…)
Sometimes it’s hard to determine what a person’s body language is saying – certain postures can be a bit ambiguous. This seems to be especially true when there is no direct interaction between you and the individual in the ambiguous posture. The three cards above seem to demonstrate this quite well.
I’ve always thought the 9 of Swords is a great example of this. In my view, the woman is covering her face for one of two reasons: she’s in complete despair over the stressful issues the swords represent or she’s at the end of her rope and is praying for comfort and guidance on what to do next. The cards surrounding this card will help you determine what she’s actually doing.
The 5 of Cups is another good example. The man in the card is looking down at the fallen cups in front of him. These cups (to me) seem to represent emotional ties or relationships that have ended. His stance shows that he’s obviously sorry that this is the case, but what are his true feelings here? Does he have regrets or is he relieved? Again, the cards surrounding this card will help you determine what feelings he might be hiding inside.
Sometimes life is ambiguous during difficult times and we can’t tell what we need to do or if we need to do anything at all. How might the ambiguity you see in these cards weave into your reading? Does it mean that you must take a more active role in a given situation, despite the fact that there is no clear path or resolution?
Focus and Distraction
A lot of people think it’s harder to stay focused and much easier to get distracted in our day and age. I think it might actually be that we have more to distract us than in the past. Focus and distraction, however, have been with us for ages and are a constant source of frustration. As with other facets of life, the Tarot is good about showing this part of our lives. The four cards above are good examples of this.
The Queen of Pentacles and the Queen of Cups are both very focused women, and their body language and facial expressions show this. Both are squarely seated on their thrones and are firmly holding the object of their attention, and their facial expressions show their deep concentration. You can almost tell that they would rather not be disturbed unless it is a matter of great importance.
The Queen of Wands and the Queen of Swords, on the other hand, seem to be distracted by things or people outside of our view. They both sit squarely on their thrones, but facial expressions and gestures belie their inattentiveness to you. Although the Queen of Wands was in the process of speaking to you (as evidenced by the cat that is looking straight at you), she seems to be distracted by something going on off to her left-hand side. Though you might have had the ear of the Queen of Swords for a moment, it seems that she’s now motioning for someone to come forward. (So much for trying to grab 10 minutes of her time!)
How do you think this perception of focus and distraction might affect your reading? Could the appearance of the Queen of Pentacles or the Queen of Cups imply that you need to be more focused on the issue at hand or on what either queen represents at that moment? Might you infer that you should not allow yourself to be easily distracted? Could the appearance of the Queen of Wands or the Queen of Swords mean that you need to pay attention to other things and people around you? Is it time to move away from being single-minded about the issue at hand?
It’s interesting how body language and facial expressions can add subtleties to a reading. It’s certainly added certain nuances to my readings that have turned out to be quite beneficial for my clients. I don’t necessarily look at body language during each reading, but it’s amazing what I see when my intuition says I should pay attention to it.
I’ve really just scratched the surface of this topic, and you can probably tell by now that we could easily spend a lot of time reviewing other cards and digging deeper into these techniques. For those of you who may have noticed, I did indeed avoid discussing some of the cards in my examples. I wanted to give you a chance to try these techniques on your own after you read the entire article. Go back and review them now and see what subtle information they reveal to you.
Good luck and enjoy!
Facebook: “Mike Hernandez – Tarot Reader”