The Tarot Reader’s Burden


Reading tarot cards well isn’t easy. I’ve only been seriously practicing this form of divination for a year, but that was the first thing I learned. It isn’t as easy as it sounds. Not only does the reader have to be open to their intuition, but they also need to be somewhat open to receiving the energy of the person they are reading. This is very draining on the mind and the body. In addition, a reader should practice and attune with their cards frequently, and study the meanings of each card–that’s a lot to remember, even with the basics memorized. What’s more, most tarot readers are unable to read themselves and sometimes even close friends, as they are too close to the situation to be truly objective in the reading. Trust me, I’ve tried many times to read myself, and it all comes out in a great muddled mess.

I recently discovered an added complication in reading people. The times when people don’t listen are frustrating. A friend of mine asked me for a reading about a relationship problem a few months ago. I did the reading, purposely having received as little information as possible about my friend’s relationship to avoid interjecting my personal feelings onto the cards and reading, and told my friend the negative result. This person was all wrong for my friend. And after finding out more, I agreed with the cards and with old-fashioned common sense–it wasn’t a good idea for my friend to get involved with this person.

Now, months later, the reading has proven true. My friend is left broken-hearted, though months before my friend was advised it would be this way. My friend chose not to heed my advice (though I have to toot my own horn a little–when it comes to readings, I’m usually pretty good).

This is a part of reading tarot for others. We all have free will, and we all are capable of making choices. We can choose to heed advice, or ignore it and follow a different path. As a tarot reader, sometimes the truth of this is brought home forcibly through situations like the one just described. I had hoped my friend would follow my advice. But there was nothing wrong in not following it either, as that was exercising free will.

Sometimes the reading can be depressingly bad. Sometimes you have to tell people that based on what you see here, their hope will not be fulfilled. And most people will listen to that, whether they necessarily should or not, because tarot cards are still viewed by many people as somehow mystical and untouchable magical. The hard part is not only in telling people the hard things the cards hold, but telling people that you advise them not to follow this course based on what you see and then taking that necessary step back to let them make their choice, even if you know that they won’t take your advice to heart.

And when the world goes to hell in a handbasket for that person and you’re there to try and help pick up the pieces, you have to fight back the impulse of “I told you this could happen.”

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One response to “The Tarot Reader’s Burden

  1. I don’t usually ask people their question at all – I usually only give them what the cards hold. This is because it gives THEM the choice to follow it or not. People will always do what it is they do (there’s a whole conceptual battle between fate and free will here that I’m skimming over) and ultimately we are never in power to be able to change that. We can give advice, maybe even give warning, but we can never alter that. It’s always hard seeing someone you know go through pain, but it’s even harder when you know it’s going to happen before it does, especially when they won’t heed your advice.

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