Scratchy Readings…I do ’em!

Scratchy ReadingsI’ve had to give a few very scratchy readings recently. These are rather hard to give but I’ve no doubt, much harder to receive. I do feel bad doing them, even when I’m handing over stark declarations. Never think for a moment it’s done cavalierly.

Honestly, I think my only saving grace here is working from love and  utterly without judgment. Otherwise, it would be intolerable to receive some of these readings. Especially if it’s square on target…

I have learned not to censor, although I won’t say I am never tempted to put on a sweeter spin, pull back, especially if I’m not sure. But I try to overcome that temptation, because I know it doesn’t serve. Every single time I’ve given in without exception, I’ve regretted doing so. I believe I get what I get for a reason. I believe the people who are drawn to work with me are so drawn for a reason. That’s the deal. I mean, how can you do this kind of work and NOT have faith around you’re doing, you know?

I can say people often seem most grateful for the scratchy readings. Not always, but often. Probably because it’s information sorely needed. And there’s been more than once, from followup I’ve learned that a very scratchy reading made a very positive difference in someone’s life. I’m grateful and relieved to know that! It balances out the sting, justifies it. But that doesn’t make it feel good at the time. However, I’m far more interested in helping you find your power than helping you feel good in that moment.

I know I’m skilled in addressing difficult circumstances. The years I spent working in crisis management, psych, addictions counseling and the like? It was training, for what I’m doing now! My directness is an integral part of who I am, so it only stands to reason it would be part of the right work for me. Anything short would be disingenuous. I’m not big on disingenuous, in case that’s not evident.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel for you. Far from it! So when I send you that reading that comes across like a knife in the gut, I’m very sorry for the pain. I consider it surgery, not gratuitous emotional violence. But I do understand, it still hurts the same. So please forgive me for my bluntness, understand the intent, and use whatever it is to your best advantage, okay? Use it it heal.

You ever get (or give) scratchy readings? How do you deal with it?

Asking Tarot, “Should I?”

I’m a little funny, about “should I” questions with Tarot. It’s not because I don’t think the cards advise well. Hell yeah, they give great advice! It’s the “should” part that bothers me.

We turn to the cards for help, when we’re worried and anxious and want to make sure we make the right decision. So they million dollar question is so often, “Should I?”

Uh, no.

Not you “shouldn’t.” Just that you shouldn’t ask like that. Because you know, we have an infinite number of paths. But we fixate at times, on the choice right in front of us. YES or NO, yes or no. Black or white, left or right. And the world depends on the answer.

If you don’t go out with the guy, if you don’t take the position, if you don’t make the investment, you’re engaging a particular chain of possibilities. If you do, you’re engaging another chain of possibilities. Each chain does not imply a moral imperative. It also doesn’t follow that one of the options of leads to eternal happiness, the other leads to certain death, one leaves us a good person, the other a bad person. Living is not a true/false proposition, and Tarot isn’t a moral litmus test. You own your own morality, along with your own future, thank you very much.

If you don’t take one option, then you’ll take another. Outside of fear, what makes you so damn sure the world will blow up if you don’t make the “right” choice now? I mean, sure. Some decisions are really important. And we do well to take care making them. We can sometimes screw things up. But a good 99% of our decisions that we agonize over aren’t about those kinds of questions.

Tarot cannot tell us what’s right–that’s abdicating our personal power to a deck of cards. Magical or not, it’s not up to the cards to tell right from wrong. That’s our job.

Most often, we ask the Tarot for reassurance, that our sensibilities are on target, that our intuition is trustworthy, or the ever-present “what’s going to happen.”  So often, we turn to Tarot to keep our fears at bay. That’s a legitimate use of the oracle, but honestly, we could get so much more.

Why not use the cards to grow, to get perspective? What can I expect if I make this choice or that? What’s underlying this situation? What will make me the happiest? What’s in the highest a best good of all concerned?

I’m not ragging on your should questions, really. And I’m here to help reframe ’em as need be. I’m just trying to give you a poke here, a reminder. YOU know best what you should be doing most of the time. People worry, if they make the tiniest misstep, the wonderful future available for them will somehow dissolve.

Oh, ye of little faith. How funny, you know? Source is a whole lot more imaginative than that. Tarot can be a crutch, or it can be a shovel to help you unearth your own free will. Don’t give your power to Tarot. Use Tarot to help you find your own power, your own voice. The choice remains yours. (It always was.)

How do you use Tarot helping make decisions?

Does Tarot Predict the Future?

“If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” –Lao Tzu

That’s what everybody wants to know: what’s gonna happen? Will I? Will he? Will they? People turn to the cards when they’re looking for guidance and reassurance about their path into the future.

It’s a tricky question, anytime you’re talking about predicting the future. There’s always that pesky “Free Will” thing, getting in the way of predictive accuracy!

Reading the cards is a lot like predicting the weather–it helps assess the character and nature of energy flow, much as satellite helps the meteorologist track the ebb and flow of weather patterns. The cards reflect energetic weather.

Neither the reader nor the weatherman can predict with 100% accuracy, because all kinds of weather is prone to change. But sometimes, the markers are clearer, making for high probabilities.

The advantage with Tarot is that you have direct say in the outcome; Free Will insists you decide on your own conduct and attachments, as do all parties involved. You get to decide what you feed and what you starve.

So “yes and no,” it seems to me. Tarot does predict to a point–if the energy is moving like a freight train, barreling full steam in a particular direction, it’s a massive undertaking to change course. But other times, the flow is more malleable, change more easily afforded.

Free Will is central to my Tarot philosophy. To pick up the cards and ask for insight is, in and of itself, a direct expression of Free Will. Living is our job– working the energy, transforming, living and loving along the way. We create experiences and vibrations. Tarot is merely a snapshot of truth as it exists in the now. The cards cannot live your life for you, any more than whatever you call divine source will live your life for you.

So don’t look for Tarot to hand you the answers to all your exams. Best you can reasonably expect is a syllabus.


What do you find regarding Tarot and prediction?

Confirmation in Readings: What is it and Do You Need it?

Photo by by Tambako

Not everybody who picks up the cards can read them skillfully. And not everybody who can read the cards well performs perfectly, nailing every utterance in every reading. It just doesn’t work that way. Even the best readers will have off days.

This is where confirmation comes in. While I don’t much like the feeling of someone testing me in the sense of expecting me to trot out otherworldly revelations like some kind of a psychic dog and pony show, I DO welcome folks looking for confirmation. I look for confirmation myself all the time, both in readings for others and in my personal life.

If I’m getting general information or a reading doesn’t have a sharp focus, I’ll specifically ask the cards to provide confirmation for the questioner–I want my people to feel confident of messages. Looking for confirmation doesn’t signal a lack of faith. It’s having enough faith to ask and expect Source to let you know you’re on the right track, just like checking road signs on the highway lets you know you’re still going the right direction to your destination.

Some use cards or other spiritual tools as props to serve self-interests, manipulate and control, or otherwise bastardize the process. Or unconsciously, they can get caught in the trap of feeling so special and gifted that their ego takes over. An individual may be quite be insightful, intuitive, knowledgeable with their tools but still use those skills in a hurtful way. Horrific karma if you ask me, but it happens.

So it’s important to be able to identify good readings so you’ll know when you’ve got one. Here are some types of confirmations to look for to know you’re getting a good reading.

  • Information is consistent with the facts and your experience–it “rings true.” For big insights, there is often a sense of just “knowing” it’s right, like a click.
  • The reading leaves you feeling empowered–even if you don’t like the situation, you feel stronger or better able to cope. You should leave a reading feeling better than when you started, often relieved or at the very least, prepared. A good reading helps you along your path.
  • The reader will NOT make decisions for you. Spirit respects free will. Good readers do the same.
  • Good readings don’t incite fear. Fear-mongering is irresponsible and cruel! People seeking readings are often vulnerable and scared. To use a reading as opportunity to build a readers’ ego or appointment bookings is unconscionable and good reason for running in the opposite direction. Warnings may be part of a good reading, but they should always be delivered with compassion and hope. Spirit energy is loving and kind and helpful in guiding you though difficult times. If that’s not what you’re getting, it’s not coming from Spirit.
  • The reader doesn’t position herself or himself as the Source. Readers, healers and lightworkers of any type are conduits, helpers, and channels to assist and guide you in finding and enhancing your personal connection with divine energy. There are many paths to get there. Practitioners work to master the use of this energy but are not responsible for it’s existence. Humility and gratitude is always in order. Yes, some of us do this work professionally and need to promote our businesses. I have no problem with that. But to promote oneself over the work is asking for a spiritual smackdown in my opinion.
  • You leave saying, “That wasn’t anything I didn’t already know. You confirmed my feelings.” This is the one of biggest compliments I can get on a reading. I consider it the gold standard in knowing I’ve done my job well.

Would you add to this list? How do you confirm you’ve got a good reading?

Interpreting other people’s Tarot spreads?

reading other people's tarot layout

What do you see?

From time to time, someone will ask me if I can interpret the cards they drew for themselves, often accompanied by a written list of their cards. I’m always  hesitant about doing so. It’s not that I’m unwilling or have performance anxiety. I don’t declare myself the one, true voice of Tarot wisdom, after all. Duh!

And it’s not 100% out of the question. There have been occasions when I’ve seen another person’s layout, and an interpretation was just…there. Popped right into my brain. So I share it, when that happens. But more often than not, I avoid it.

Tarot is a visual medium, so seeing cards listed doesn’t evoke diddly compared to seeing images. But it’s more than that. For me, the cards themselves are the least important part of a Tarot reading!

The magic isn’t just, say, the Temperance card appearing on cue. It’s knowing if Temperance is a warning to cut back on the drinking, a call for balance, a suggestion for integrating disparate forces, or something else I haven’t thought of until I’m right there, in the flow, tuned in and asking for guidance. It’s the flow of a reading that is magic and the real insight doesn’t come from a cookbook definition of “this card in this position means X.” It’s organic, it’s visual, and it’s very nebulous. That’s why an automated reading will never give the same experience as a live reader.

I haven’t actually tried reading a whole spread from another person’s image, although I’d be open to experimenting. The cards are far more than a prop to me, for sure, but they are the medium of communication, as opposed to the actual message.  That’s why learning Tarot isn’t just an exercise in memorization, but a spiritual practice in energy work. You can’t take the spirit out of it and expect the same results.

What do you think about reading other people’s Tarot spreads? Can you? How does it work for you?

Teaching Yourself Tarot: How do you know the right way to read the cards?

Tips for Teaching Yourself Tarot ReadingI taught myself to read Tarot. It’s both easy and hard, to teach yourself the cards. There’s that point when you decide you want to learn Tarot. Somehow or other, you’ve gotten a taste of the power there and want more. So you start looking for answers. Not hard, finding answers. There’s an almost infinite number of books, websites, communities and readers who are more than happy to share their Tarot knowledge with you.

Except almost as soon as you start looking, the challenge materializes: everyone says something different! New readers find themselves in the incredibly frustrating position of figuring out which approach is right in this sea of contradictory advice.

Answers to questions on the process of reading are vital to be able to read effectively. Without confidence in technique, interpretation and the particulars of working the cards, readings tend to be inconsistent at best. Anxiety and uncertainty permeates the reading, leaving messages cloudy and confusing. This is obviously a problem. So what do you do?

You look for YOUR path. Here are some tips for developing some personal Tarot Mojo!

  • Ask for help. Not so much from your Tarot-slinging friend, although s/he is often a good resource. But  start at the real Source, wherever or whomever you believe is the ultimate provider Tarot insight. Say a Tarot prayer. If you do this each time you work with the cards, you’ll find your readings improve immediately and quite likely, you’ll also begin stumbling across just the info you needed, just when you needed it. Synchronicity triggers.
  • Approach it experimentally. Don’t take anyone’s word here–compare, contrast, and take notes. Tarot is your best teacher of Tarot! That’s why everybody and their brother suggests a Tarot Journal, to help you track as you learn. The Fool’s Journey isn’t just a life metaphor–it’s a perfect description of the process of learning Tarot. Approach it as such, with an open heart and mind.
  • Keep it playful. Reverence and respect for the cards is fine and well, but limiting yourself to panic readings on life-and-death issues makes it all but impossible to find that intuitive/psychic flow that allows you to step beyond the book definitions to truly working Tarot as a divination tool. If you’ve given yourself plenty of practice in a light, fun environment, however, you’re much better prepared to hear the messages when you do call on Tarot 911.
  • Expect differences in approach between yourself and other readers you admire and respect. These differences don’t mean someone is “wrong.” I’d be more concerned if there were no differences. Cards speak to individual readers in individual ways–and how good that is, since we all receive and process insight uniquely. By letting go of the right-vs.-wrong mentality, you open up a space to claim your personal adventure.
  • Develop a personal relationship with the cards. You can’t expect to really get to know someone solely by asking others’ opinions about that person. A deep knowing requires extended interaction. Likewise, you cannot get to know Tarot based solely on other people’s opinion. The more energy you put directly into working the cards, the better you’ll get to know how they speak to you.
  • Never stop studying how the cards work–and you’ll never stop learning about how they do. Whether it’s a simple as noting how the cards came together in a particular reading or an unusual insight that cropped up, or studiously devouring the latest book by your favorite Tarot authors, expect learning to be ongoing as long as you travel this path. Openness is imperative to grow as a reader. The most skilled and able Tarot master is a perpetual Tarot student.
  • Stay humble. As we develop skill, temptation arises to see ourselves as the official light bearers and keeper of ultimate Tarot truths. Hogwash! Get over yourself already. All noteworthy readings are by grace. The reader works to wield the cards responsibly, and get the most of what’s on offer. But the reader doesn’t personally create the magic; they only tap it. Acknowledgement and gratitude is in order–and incidentally is one of the best ways to invite further, greater grace into your readings.

What do you think? Do you have tips to share?