Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Beltane Blog Hop: My Tarot "Traditions"

Hello everyone...and blessed Beltane to all of you! If you're working your way through the entire blog hop, you're probably coming from Vivianne's blog.

Today's post is on tarot traditions, and more specifically, my own tarot traditions. Every reader has their own, and as is likely true for many other readers, mine are an eclectic mix that have evolved over time. For me, those "traditions" also meld with what I would think of as "best practices", but let me be clear: Each tarot reader is different, and each has a different method. Mine aren't any better than anyone else's.

So, in no particular order, here are some of my "traditions":

  • The tarot gives you the message you are supposed to hear, every single time it is consulted. Whether or not it is what you WANT to hear is irrelvant.
  • The message that the tarot gives is a dynamic "snapshot in time". The client's decisions make their future. All we're doing is trying to help them by letting them know what's coming.
  • The deck should be cleansed using sage smoke or a light sage-water mixture spray between readings. If that's not possible, then I cleanse them mentally while holding them in my hands for a moment before handing them to the client.  
  • Whenever possible, the client should handle the deck and decide how they will mix or shuffle it. I've seen many different methods and if they're right for the client, and the client isn't doing anything to disrespect the cards--like throw them on the ground--I'm good with it. I've never had a client be disrespectful to the cards. Once the client is done, I take the cards and cut them in 3 piles with my left hand.  
  • The cards should be treated with respect, but how it is stored isn't really that important to me. In other words, if you keep the deck in the original box, that's fine. If you want to make or buy tarot bags, or wrap your cards in a particular material, that's fine, too. I don't believe that certain materials or storage techniques enhance or detract from the reading. Speaking personally, my wife has made many of my tarot bags from cloth remnants from the fabric store that I think are cool. One of my favorites was made from my "Tarot Readers Union" tee shirt that I bought in New Orleans many years ago on my first visit.
  • If you connect with a deck, buy it and use it.  There's no special significance to receiving your first deck as a gift. My mother bought me my first deck at my request, and I used it faithfully for 20 years. It now lives permanently on the altar at the shop where I read; my wife bought me a replacement Rider-Waite-Smith deck 3 years ago for our 15th wedding anniversary.  
  • Tarot cards live, breathe, and work in the spiritual/intuitive mind of the reader. Otherwise they are just cards--pretty cards, I'll grant you that--but they have no human characteristics in the physical world. I always find it amusing when readers say, "This tarot deck doesn't like me." If YOU don't like the deck, no problem; use a different one. But they're inanimate objects.
  • When I am reading at the shop, I usually leave a piece of amethyst on top of my tarot deck when it is not in use. it's another way for me of keeping the deck "cleansed". But it's also pretty, too. I mean...I haven't met anyone yet who doesn't like amethyst.
One other "tradition" that deserves a little more explanation is that of reading tarot professionally. I believe that if you're going to read tarot professionally--and by that I mean that you take money for readings--you have to have a whole lot of confidence that what you are seeing is the truth, as well as some experience reading the cards for others and some time hitting the books. You'll see "your" truth, of course, but if you're not confident in your ability, you will struggle. 
I think some people also think that reading tarot is a great career, and jump into the moneymaking mart of it without honing their skills enough. One beginner reader I met was more concerned about the "props" and marketing herself than on doing a great reading for the client, which really bothered me. It begins and ends with the client. And I don't know anyone who has gotten rich reading cards. By and large, even if we take money for doing readings, we're not living the high life on that money. That's not a complaint, folks; it's a fact. But it's a labor of love and service; at least that's what it is for me.

Finally, depending on who you talk to, some tarot readers will not give the client "bad news" in a reading. I believe with every fiber of my being that the client has come for a reading to get the truth as the Divine/Universe sees it. If I see it, I say it. I won't read for people who "only want to hear the good things" because life doesn't work that way. For me, I'm doing a client a disservice if I don't tell them what I really see. But I labor to do so in with compassion and a positive attitude, with the understanding that the client has the ability to make changes to improve his or her life.

In other words, the tarot reader shouldn't be doing the job as an ego trip or power trip. I don't want my clients to call me every time they have to choose paper or plastic, or mint chocolate chip vs. Swiss chocolate almond--although HOLY CRAP! What a choice that would be! Speaking totally personally, I might have to pull out my own cards for that one. [WINK]

All kidding aside, part of the "tradition" of the tarot for me is sending people away feeling like they 1) have control over their own lives, even when times are tough, and 2) can indeed make choices that will improve their own condition. I want to help create EMPOWERED people who consult me when they feel they need to, but who are also capable of listening to their own intuitive sense when it comes to their own lives.

Here's to a wonderful Beltane as the wheel turns again! Brightest blessings for the holiday to all of you!

Please continue with the blog hop by visiting Tierney's blog here. And while you're at it, go buy her new tarot tool set! It's awesome!


     

24 comments:

  1. Woo hoo! Thanks for the plug, John!

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    1. My pleasure, Tierney! And good luck!

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  2. Yes, Tarot props. What's interesting about that is the props I actually use aren't what is generally "expected".

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    1. I would love to hear what you use sometime!

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  3. I love the "tradition" of the way you send the querent away feeling empowered. I do the same thing--well done!

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    1. Thank you! Empowered clients are the best kind. :)

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  4. Great entry - I love that empowerment is your abiding principle - much, much more helpful than worrying about whether a reading is 'negative' or not.

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    1. Thanks! What is "negative" for one person may not be so negative to another. :)

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  5. "It begins and ends with the client." Well put, honey. Very well put!

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  6. Yes, I was delighted with "It begins and ends with the client." and had to laugh at the very true: "And I don't know anyone who has gotten rich reading cards." that followed straight after. Yay for empowerment :)

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    1. Thanks! You don't read cards to get rich; you do it to help and empower others. :)

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  7. Definitely a well-rounded philosophy. All beginning readers should peruse this one, including me!

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  8. Great post! Yep, it's all about the client.

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  9. An enjoyable read. I learnt more about Tarot traditions here than I did when I started learning it years ago.

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  10. I'm with you (all) on the empowerment angle... and also had to smile at the bit about not knowing anyone who's become rich though reading!

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  11. I am so enjoying taking a peek at everyone's traditions! I agree, it is important to let people see that while they might not be able to change what has happened to them, that they can control how they react to what has happened. Ali x

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  12. Thanks for your comment, Alison! :)

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  13. Empowerment is a great word and what I aim to provide as well, John! Thank you for a humorous post, but I'm a mint-choc-chip gal *all the way* :)

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    1. That's awesome, Louise! And I could go either way on the ice cream... :)

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