readings * the How to, relationships & distillations
Now that you have familiarized yourself with the deck and read through the bulwark of this companion reader, you may well be wondering about how to go about doing a reading? With or without a querist, there are many things a reader can do to ensure she or he is a conduit for spirit and has a clear channel for his or her intuitive art. Meditation, a relationship and appreciation for nature and the outdoors, and a regular practice such as dance, yoga, swim, surf or a hike, is a good idea and not without its benefits.
illustration Remi Bertoche
Most people will start by doing readings for themselves. The easiest practice is to pick a card a day, and to use that “reading” as your meditation for that day. Most will be compelled to draw many cards in a day, if not a sitting, and will virtually lose the “medicine” from most any “reading.” This is ok and to be expected at the outset of things. Go with it. You will soon find that certain cards are preponderant, no matter the number of cards drawn. Pay attention to those and “read” them more carefully. Tarot will defy the law of averages and defy mathematical probability, and reveal cards that are “up” for you.
When you ready to read for another for the first time, there are again a few things that will aid in your process. First real eyes you will be projecting your “stuff” onto that other person, and that your “reading” will have your “filter.” Trust that the two of you have been brought together at the right time and place, and simply trust in what comes up for you intuitively. Simply share your first impression, image or sense of things, with as little thought or contemplation as possible. You are “allowed” to query the querist as well. Another recommendation, is that no matter how inane or out of place your take might seem, to go ahead and share of things as best you can, and trust that things will come back around and make sense later in the reading, or that the querist will either silently, or overtly, resonate with what you share.
You are the “reef” doing your best to describe the incoming “wave,” that faces the querist, as “rider.” As their reading unfolds across your reef, it is their choice as to how they ride. Surfing life is an art. Be accepting of their “style.” They may hit the lip or duck under the curl. They might cutback, or launch an air. They might not even paddle out. Allow them their process. Maybe they need to start longboarding. Whatever the case, it is their choice, not yours. Being a reader is a grave responsibility. People quit jobs, end their love life, or move to another town, state or country, all based on what they receive from a reading. Patience and humility are timeless teachers. A good reader is accessible and shares in ways in which things are easily assimilated by the querist. Recall that “wisdom is gentle in its application.”
Meditation beforehand and asking spirit for guidance regarding a reading, before meeting the querist, can be a good practice. After the initial greeting, begin the reading by inviting in your spirit helpers, either aloud or to yourself. Feel free to meditate on things with the querist before beginning. If you have an opening invocation, song or prayer, share that at the onset. Watch their body language and listen to their tone of voice. Look to see if they are at ease, anxious, resistant, interfering or untrusting. They may be patient with you and measured in their response. Observe their eye movement. They may be closed down or wide open. Remember the immutable law of reading for another: they must want a reading. Avoid any suggestion of being an imposition. Avoid any conflict of interest, things that may be too personal in nature for the querist, or when the querist is the other half of your “relationship in the balance.” It is helpful to work on your counseling skills and to study non violent communication.
Divination is an art. Paint a picture. Tell a story and convey the images that you get. Stay open. Emanations are “spirit waves.” Describe the “wave” you “see” and feel and sense. Trust in things and share only what is “there,” as “excess destroys the very principle.” We know that “swell” is ephemeral, and that with conditions always in flux, a reading can be a bit like surf forecasting. Swell is rarely, if ever, imminent, but perhaps as to be expected if nothing changes? There are no finalities, nor certainties. Likelihoods perhaps, and clues to watch for, as you can offer direction, just remember to allow them the time and space to take responsibility for things. People simply need to be heard, and to be “seen.” We need to feel welcome and at home with ourselves. Your role is to assist with that very process.
There is a caution against fortune telling. Recall that you are a conduit and not an answerman or woman. Intuit the truth as you can sense it. Be anastrophic rather than catastrophic. Acknowledge his armor, and perhaps make light of her amor? There is also a caution against yes or no answers. Leave those to a professional. Whether gypsy queen, krone scry, psychic reader, wise woman wiccan, channel and medium, telepathic or clairaudient, chances are they are more skilled or experienced and have their reasons for sharing as they do. Stick to only what “comes up” for you, and resist the temptation to share of your judgments and “helpful” suggestions. Recall that you are a “sensor,” not a censor.
When it “stops making sense,” is when “it all falls together.” Share from your heart and just “trust the process.” The querist may not get back what he wants to hear, but is near guaranteed to hear what he is ready to hear. “We are only given what we can handle.” If you sense your role as the reader is to play the contrarian, simply remember the second immutable law of reading for another: keep reading.
the How to
Most begin a reading by having a clear question in mind. Shuffle the deck to integrate your “energies” with the cards, and to “impregnate” your question upon the deck. Mathematically a deck is cleared of all previous influences and probabilities if shuffled seven times in a row. Another shuffle is welcome in that eight is symbolic of balance in the Tarot, and is infinity if turned sideways, seemingly making for a good starting point. After you are clear on the matter in question, the traditional method for selecting a card face down, is to shuffle the deck three times, focusing on your question all the while, and select a card with your left hand and place it in front of you in the ascertained position. If a card flys or “slips” out during a shuffle, it is likely worthy of consideration and well used in a reading. Often readers will ask for the deck back after you have shuffled and simply draw cards in a row from the top of the deck. The recommendation here is to follow your sense as to what best serves you and your querist. Trust your eye for things, and “follow your nose” and “womanly intuition.” Pay attention to the smallest of details, and allow for the time to shuffle for each individual query, and to watch that the querist maintains their focus on their question throughout each shuffle, and to not select a card until he or she is sure it holds the sought out response to the specific matter in question. It is preferable to give the querist the choice in how he or she chooses to shuffle, after explaining the traditional and any nontraditional methods.
Querists are often rest assured with an explanation as to the meaning of upside down cards. Again the traditional meanings have historically, rendered opposite, or more negatively influenced interpretations, as compared to cards read right side up. Today a card turned over upside down often represents a person in transition, with the matter at hand in flux, or the given situation one of a shift in the works, and the card symbolic of an open door or window of opportunity, and more a matter of chance than fate. We are all “in process.” Your role is to elicit a “sense” for things and to intuit where the querist is in relationship to his or her “process.” Feel free to consult the book during readings, and to suggest that the querist might want to draw another card, or even pick a card face up from the deck to be in a better “space” with things. Inquire of your querist as to how they are doing with things, or as to if they have any “takes” on the images or cards, especially if something doesn’t add up for you, or if you feel the need to “check in” on things. If you find yourself at the helm of “contrary” commentary, take a pause at your first convenience and check in with yourself on things. Embody the emanations that you know to be true. Make sure you are “sharing,” and not “suggesting,” and perhaps revisit the original question.
Relationships and distillation
Tarot has good sister relationships with astrology, the Runes, the I Ching, alphabets and many other forms of divination. Numerical coefficients can be distilled down, or up, from cards drawn, and have a distinct relationship to their sister cards. Again, for Tarotists with a keen interest, the Kabbalah, the Golden Dawn, and many other such resources offer extrapolation well beyond our common sense. You can also ascertain your life and year cards from simple addition. Add your birth year to your birth month and day and distill that number down until less than 22. Madonna was born August 16, 1958. If we add her year to her month, and to her birthday, we would add 8 and 16 to get 24, and then add that 24 to her birth year of 1958, which totals 1982. If we then add 1+9+8+2, we get an equals 20, which is the card “cloudbreak” in Surfer Tarot. Twenty also further reduces to 2, by adding 2+0, which is the “mother ocean” card in the deck. So her life cards would be 20, cloudbreak, and 2, mother ocean, from which we could deduce that she likes to “go big” in life, and may possess an expansive understanding of things related to our deep unconscious, and does not shy away from “big wave” litmus tests in her life?
illustration Roy Gonzalez
Your year card can be figured three different ways. If you are 44, you would add 4+4 to get an equals 8, which is the “noserider.” You also can subtract 44 from 44, as you would subtract the closest multiple of 22 that is less than or equal to your age, from your age, and in this case get an equals 0, which is “the grom.” The last method is to add your birth day to your birth month, and take that total and add it to the current year. So if it was the year “2525,” and you were seven lifetimes removed from the Madonna of today, you would add 8+16, which again equals 24, and add that to 2525, which equals 2549. You would then add 2+5+4+9, which equals 20 again. Using the last method we get a fourth year card, as 20 again distills down to the 2 card. Your four year cards would be noserider, the grom, mother ocean and cloudbreak, which if we again read for them in combination, might well infer that this person may have decided to step off from riding big waves, and yet still was stoked on life, as she was willing to go out on a limb and really live life like a grom in spirit, as she has a deep relationship with our mother ocean.
Other factors to consider are to look for a preponderance of any one suit or number, and to see which suit within that number might be missing? Also when a major arcana card is revealed it is generally considered to be of greater magnitude in relationship to the reading than the appearance of a minor arcana card. Simply said, a trumps card tends to carry more weight within a reading than a pips card. And again, despite what you may have read or heard, the common denominator in assessing the key relationships between cards, and in distilling out the ethereal truth from things, will be your intuition.