I grew up with a witchy mother.
She read tarot cards and burned woody incense and purple pillar candles. She liked thick velvet and pagan festivals and cats.
In our house we celebrated the solstice and the light.
It was all a bit embarrassing when my friends came ’round, to be honest.
By the time I was eight I was pretty familiar with the tarot cards. I saw them on the kitchen table whenever Mum had to make a big decision. I knew the Hermit, the High Priestess and the Magician nearly as well as I knew Pooh Bear and Piglet.
When I got into my teens Mum started doing readings for me when I asked. They felt powerful—a tangible feeling the cards were getting inside me, showing me myself and offering wise advice.
In my 30s I started giving readings myself. Loved it. I saw that we all have the same concerns when it comes to consulting our angels and the Divine. Work, money, love, health, family, lottery wins.
All of which can be great catalysts for inner work, awakening and healing. Over the years I’ve seen that certain things are bound to happen, like a particular relationship or the arrival of a child. Maybe we can call this destiny or karma. Big events come and go in our lives over which we have no control, but we can choose how we respond and create our world around them.
Tarot is a powerful way to see our patterns, fears and pain, our desires, longing and how we might be hijacking ourselves. The cards show us what we have created and what we might create, so we can be more aware and make wiser decisions.
Then it’s up to us. The tarot always points us back to ourselves. And that is how it can really serve our growth and empowerment.
Are Readings Helpful?
True readings are about both the good news and the difficult news. I admit it’s hard sometimes to deliver the latter, but it’s my responsibility to interpret the cards with honesty and use their messages and wisdom to encourage and inspire. Readings are not about drip-feeding people tasty bites they want to hear or nurturing dependency.
Having said that, people can still become dependent, and I’ve had my challenges with this over the years.
Expectations vary when folks come for readings.
Some want their fortunes told. They want outcomes. Good ones. They come seeking certainty, and that’s a bummer, because there are few guarantees. Other people come when their pain is big and their is hope thin. Or their heart is cut or they feel lost or stuck or broken. People come to get a better sense of their direction—or just to know they’re on the right path.
And sometimes they sit down and have no idea why they’re shuffling the cards. They just know they needed to come.
Occasionally the cards behave in curious ways.
For example, a friend was told repeatedly by a reader that the man she was involved with would leave his wife for her. Didn’t happen. She waited and waited and waited, and put her life on hold. Didn’t happen. So why do the cards and other types of clairvoyant readings give us such apparently wrong information?
Of course it depends on the skill of the reader and people’s choices. But I also have to point to our empowerment process. Readings can reflect back our neediness and the longing we may have to be saved, or how we don’t listen to ourselves.
The answer? Develop and use discernment. Trusting in ourselves over and above anything or anyone is paramount. This is a big process and takes crafting and time. And by design it often swims in muddy waters, which draws out the ways we give our power away so we can reclaim it.
From time to time I have readings (not just with Mum), because I find it hard to read the cards in depth for myself. I take from the reading what is most helpful and resonates. But I also frisk myself for denial, avoidance and attachment to outcomes. More tricky stuff.
We might walk away from a reading feeling like it was spot on and really useful, or incorrect and pretty sh*t. If you feel it was the latter, I beg you ask this question:
Was there a pearl in there? Just one really important thing I absolutely needed to hear and work with?
Sometimes that’s all it is.
And sometimes it’s the cards confirming what we really already know. Or expressing our true inner feelings back to us, to trust.
And sometimes it’s glimpses of a path we long for that is waiting for us to walk towards it.
And sometimes it’s just about facing up to letting go, saying out loud what we keep secret but need to own or sorting stuff out with loved ones.
Or choosing forgiveness. Or processing grief. Or clarifying where we are. Or being shown we will have a different kind of love.
Whatever it is, I know we get told what we need to hear at the time. And that is one of the certainties.
Tips for Readings.
If you decide you want a reading, here are my suggestions for how to approach it and get the most out of it:
Be as open as possible and aware of body language. Try not to cross arms and legs, as this actually blocks energy.
Be willing to give your reader information to move the reading along. Not necessary or helpful to test their skills by keeping silent.
Ask questions. Write them down before you go, as often people forget them.
I always ask if people would like to take a photo of their cards. Good way to remember guidance.
Choose your reader wisely. There are many out there with different styles and approaches; take the time to find someone you feel comfortable with and trust. Most readers are happy to answer questions about how they work.
Sitting down to have a reading can feel daunting or even scary; breathe deeply. The cards and your reader are there to help.
When I’m shuffling my cards before a reading and I’m about to place them onto someone’s hands, it’s a potent moment.
Tarot has been used across cultures for centuries to give us insight, vision and guidance. I’m privileged and proud to be a reader.
Author: Dettra Rose
Assistant Editor: Jan Jan Farias // Editor: Toby Israel
Image: Kyknoord via Flickr