“Yeah, but when is he going to come? What month?” She breathed as we poured over her cards. Admittedly, the prediction looked good. Knight of Cups was galloping into the Sun while Ace of Cups and 2 of Cups danced around him. This is what I call a home run reading.
My client had been single for years. Together, we built a relationship as we read past the detritus of bad men through her 20’s to finally land at the doorway to her 30’s. “Can you tell me anything more about him?”
The cards were decidedly mum on the details, “No, I am sorry, I cannot see anything other than what we already covered.”
“Do you know how I will meet him?” she asked, anxiety beginning to build. I took a long, slow breath, “Again, there is no more information besides what is here, yet, it looks like your drought will come to an end and something loving is coming your way.”
About a year later she returned. She was still single. She had forgotten all of the details that the reading included about her: start getting out more, go online, stop fixating on that married coworker, work on your self worth, stop texting the toxic ex. She had just zeroed in on what she wanted to hear. The one piece of information that would make her feel better and not all of the attendant pieces of data that would lead to that very future becoming possible.
So why do people do this? Why do people want the date on the calendar, the full name, the exact and excruciating details without any thought about their place in making them?
In a word: anxiety.
When I get a client that overly fixates on the ‘final and complete answer’, when they are intolerant of ambiguity, grey-area, when they forget about their part in this, then I know it is anxiety talking and not really them.
But even when anxiety is presenting: spitting out rapid-fast questions one after the other in a frenzied pace, and looking at me expectantly; It is not my job to indulge their anxiety.
Tarot can be in fact be dangerous if placed in the wrong hands. It can be commandeered to act as a ritual for anxiety reduction which then just reinforces the pattern. We can see this whenever we have the urge to read over and over again about the same question, or if we feel like we need to see just one more psychic for a problem on our minds. If we allow anxiety to take over, tarot readings can in fact exacerbate rather than relieve.
Anxiety reduction rituals by their very nature increase the anxiety cycle.
Underlying belief: “I fear being alone.” (usually some trauma event where abandonment was in play)
Triggering Event: “He broke up with me.”
Anxiety is provoked: Intense discomfort, emotional chaos, i.e. the freak out. “I will always be alone. No one wants me.” etc.
Introduce a Ritual: Get a tarot reading, “Will he come back?”
Reading says yes- anxiety is reduced. Reading says no- get another reading.
Wash. Rinse. Repeat.
If we use tarot to speak to the fears presented by anxiety: the what, the who, the how, the why, and we do not use tarot to target the underlying belief, (so we can begin dismantling the anxiety cycle) we as readers are inadvertently making things worse.
And I am not here to make things worse.
But, I will play the difficult role of not catering to the temper tantrum 5 year old which is the anxiety presenting. My job is to resist the desires of anxiety so we can speak to the wisdom below. I work to dismantle the underlying belief-set and do readings that open-up the trauma that started all this in the first place.
So for you readers out there, when you get that tough client who is demanding, sharp and full of clearly unattainable expectations, I ask you to see that as the anxiety. That is the fear and pain from something deeper. Breathe into the difficulty, and dive deep. You don’t have to indulge them. In fact, it is better if you do not.
For you clients out there, be deeply suspicious of readers who are telling you what you want to hear. The walk in reader who doesn’t push back at all but redirects the problem to something outside of your control (curse, past life work, $500 candles, whatever) they are using YOUR anxiety as a manipulative tool to part you from your coin. Don’t give in to the discomfort that anxiety is forcing on you, sit with the discomfort, allow a good reader to take you on a journey that, if you do, can honestly shift your life towards what you actually want by giving you the tools you need to change yourself.
The other day I got an email from my love lorn client. It is her in a white dress with her family and friends around her. Her knight had indeed come, after she made the changes and was patient. And she is happier than any prediction I could have given her. But of course we know that the happy ending is rare. What we can get to are happy moments in a river of a life meant to be challenged, to learn lessons, and to evolve.
The other day I drug myself to the grocery store. I was exhausted after having read for the equivalent of 65 people over a four day trip out of state. I just needed some milk, maybe some cat food.
All the sudden, I hear my name being called out. “Hey, Jenna!” and I turn around to see a client that I last saw over a year ago. I gave her a wide smile, happy to unexpectedly find a friendly face.
That smile changed quickly, however, when the first thing out of her mouth was a very loud proclamation about how wrong I was on a prediction. No, “Hi, Jenna, how are you?” Just, “Hey Jenna, GUESS WHAT YOU WERE WRONG ABOUT THE PREDICTION YOU MADE OVER A YEAR AND A HALF AGO!” she loudly proclaimed in the store.
I was so shocked and felt so assaulted that I turned on my heel and walked away. In fact, her desire to humiliate me got to me. I’ll admit it. I was crying in my car not one hour later questioning everything. Why am I doing this work? What do people really expect from me? Do people read my website at all, actually?
Or, do people just see the word tarot and reduce everything to it’s easiest trope: that cards tell fortunes?
The next morning I got an email from a client who was gushing over the fact that I was right. The guy who was a fire sign showed up just like the prediction foretold. When a prediction lands favorably, I am sometimes given this weird kind of ‘guru’ treatment as if I have a strange sort of superpower. In all honesty, I am just an uncomfortable about the positive reinforcement as I am with the negative. I don’t feel ‘pride’ for being right. Because, honestly, it is not my story, I’ve just been tasked with telling it.
As an intuitive, I am only responsible for the message.
I am not responsible for it coming true, or not coming true. I am not responsible for last minute changes in logistics or people changing their minds. I am not responsible for free will, or Divine Intervention and I am certainly not responsible for how the client will change their own actions just from getting new information. I am also not responsible for clients liking or disliking the message. People give me far too much power over their lives, and I don’t want any part of it.
What I am responsible for is to faithfully and to the best of my ability use tarot to help a person live their best life. I am responsible for reading the cards as objectively as possible. I am responsible for suspending judgement and being a conduit for whatever the Universe wants to say whether that message be slightly garbled, consoling, or difficult to hear. I am responsible for using my intuitive skills to help soften confusion when I can, to lay out probabilities as they appear, and offer suggestions as best interpreted by tarot.
I can control the question, but I cannot control the answer.
But, some people hear the word tarot and reduce me, and tarot, to an old worn-the-fuck-out stereotype. Because they want the sure thing. The right answer, the way out. Nothing in life can guarantee that kind of expectation.
Tarot usually demands more work than answers. Divination has never been about sure things, divination is about the journey: the brief, sudden, altogether mysterious conversation with the Divine.
It is far more subtle and miraculous than just laying out your future like a book report outline. Tarot shines in the subtlety of it all. Tarot is more interested in the mystery, the conversation, the unfolding. And I as a reader of tarot, find it to be far more helpful and interesting in it’s present day applications than hoping for a future to unfold as if we have no part in it.
Allow tarot to work knowing that we all have free will. That humans are pretty irrational a lot of the time. Allow tarot to speak without forcing it to be what you want. You will find it to be a far more powerful ally than you could ever imagine. Unleash expectations and like a free animal, let tarot run free and see where it takes you.
Tarot is More than Predictions
Trust me, I love a good prediction as much as the next guy. It is thrilling to peer ahead into the misty future to wonder how something will turn out and if I will be okay.
Often it feels to me that tarot is used as a hammer, that it has only one real use which is fortune telling.
But actually, it is an extraordinary type of Swiss Army knife. One deck is packed with different tools, each extraordinarily specific to whatever challenges one is currently facing.
In my practice, here are just a few of the ways that I have seen tarot help my clients beyond predictions.
Strengthens Relationships-Maybe the question is not “Should I stay or go?” but rather, “How can we make this better than it is?”
Gives permission to leave what’s broken-Sometimes we ask tarot, “Can we fix him?”, and tarot answers, “It’s okay, you tried, but you need to go now.” Understanding when it is time to let go with love is one of the hardest things to learn.
Gain hope and inspiration-When we think things can’t get better and we have to cut our losses tarot will show us a way we never thought of before, and it changes everything.
Destroys inner critics and saboteurs-Tarot is excellent bar none for directly pointing out the inner machinations that try to make us small by courting failure. I love tarot for its ability to shine a light right into our darkest corners.
Heals hearts-One session with a good tarot practitioner can do so much to heal someone with a broken heart. We ask, “Will I ever be better?”, and tarot responds by saying, “Oh yes, and this is how.”
Engages spiritual truths-Tarot has a way of reminding us of the larger picture. You know, the one beyond the parking tickets and the jeans that no longer fit. Tarot reminds us of why we are here, but most importantly, what we are here to learn.
Reveals agreements you make with the Universe-When we are reminded of what we are here to learn, we also learn about some of the agreements we made with the Universe. We aren’t downloaded into this plane with a task list. They have to be revealed by the act of living.
Scales intuitive fluency-If you are looking to become a more intuitive (or psychic) person, I cannot think of a better way than to learn tarot.
Rewrites painful narratives-We walk around with so much pain. All of us. This pain is often old narratives from the past impacting the present. Tarot has a way of dismantling those old stories we tell about ourselves (and our worth) and helps us rewrite new ones.
Alleviates anxiety-It is true that anxiety is the emotion people most often feel that convinces them that it is time to get a reading and they hope that knowing the future will alleviate anxiety. However, tarot alleviates anxiety through a different action which is revealing truth so you can face it and move on.
Offers relief-Tarot can be a great nurturer to the heart-sick, the lonely, the lost, and the hurting. I find that the tone that tarot uses in session speaks directly to the emotional needs of the querent in a way that is driven for their greater good.
Finds new approaches-When you are stuck, tarot has 78 new ways of looking at a problem in a different light.
Helps you find your path-Once you understand some of what you need to learn, and have uncovered your agreements with the Universe, you can then use tarot to help you find the action part, your path. What are you here to do? How are you here to serve? This is typically not the “Am I meant to be a nurse?”, as much as, “In what ways am I being called to heal the planet?”
Removes limits- And once you know your path, tarot helps remove roadblocks that get in the way of fulfilling that purposeful walk through this mortal coil. Tarot shows us exactly what we need to dismantle so we can move forward.
Often in session some clients of mine are surprised, they say to me, “I didn’t know that this was going to be like therapy.” But, it isn’t actually. For one, I do a helluva lot of talking in session whereas in therapy the client is doing the talking.
Like a therapy session, tarot does go deep and asks important questions that do require reflection, self-awareness, and trust with the practitioner.
But, a tarot reading is more directive, spiritual, and results-oriented than what I know of a typical therapy session. Also, it is fast. One session and I don’t want to see you again for awhile. We want to use tarot as tool to move forward, not as a tool to grab whenever you are feeling anxious.
For me, most of the work is actually getting to the right questions. When we find the right question, we strike at any of the ways tarot can help. Sometimes those questions will be predictive, but usually the most important questions are galactic. Who am I becoming? What am I leaving behind? In what shape is this unfolding taking place?
That’s the good stuff right there.
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