Tarot Card Reader. Intuitive. Me.

As a tarot card reader, I frequently have to deal with the real or imagined reactions of people when I tell them what I do. Often there’s a subtle “WTF?” followed by a polite but blank “Oh” or a more inquisitive “how did you get started doing that?”

But regardless of what other people’s reactions are, I’ve been carrying around my own baggage around the term “tarot card reader” that I haven’t been able to shake.

Aren’t tarot card readers ladies who wear head scarves and long skirts?

Aren’t they gypsies operating out of storefronts that are really fronts of another kind?

Don’t they diagnose curses and then tell you that they’re the only person who can remove them?

Aren’t they frauds? Aren’t they charlatans? Aren’t they nothing like me?

I don’t know about you, but even though I have been a tarot card reader for several years now, I still get a little skeeved out by the term.

Which is why, after an exhilarating conversation with a good friend of mine last week, I’m trying out the more neutral sounding “intuitive” from now on.

And when people ask me what I do?

I’m going to say something like “I’m the person who helps you make the right decisions for your life. I’m here to help you confirm your intuitions and give you a new perspective on things. I’m here to provide wisdom.”

Because, really, no matter what you call me, or what I call myself, I’m here to help.

Reading about Global Warming…

Image

Last week, one of my friend’s posted a link to an article by environmental journalist Bill McKibben in this week’s Rolling Stone magazine. While reading it reduced me to skulking around in a stuporous gloom for the rest of the day – even though it was my son’s birthday – I highly recommend you take a deep breath (or a drink or a toke) and dive in.

Entitled “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math,” the article lays out the numbers – in terms of amounts and time – that are leading us towards almost certain environmental doom. I do not, however, recommend you read it just to be depressed (though that certainly is a possibility). 

You should read it so you know. AND so that you can make your own choices about how to proceed. Ultimately, McKibben advocates for social unrest of the kind that characterized the civil rights and Vietnam anti-war movements. There IS an enemy, he insists. It’s the Oil Industry* and they are an enemy worth fighting. 

Once you get that, however, comes the next question: what will be your role, should you choose to play one? What will be mine? How do I use  my specific strengths and gifts, to make the maximum contribution to the fight of our lifetime?

*Not that you didn’t know that. But just to be sure you do, you can also view Josh and Rebecca Tickell’s documentary “The Big Fix.

What the Devil?

Poster for Jean Paul Gaultier show seen on side of bus in San Francisco

Friday night I drew a few cards to help me determine whether I should attend a poetry reading at a bookstore downtown or do some Kirtan (Hindu devotional chanting) at a local yoga studio. My cards for an evening of Kirtan promised frustration and thwarted intention.

The single card I drew for poetry? “The Devil.”

I went downtown with an open mind. The Devil card made me alert to the possibility that I could be confronted by inner demons – or even succumb to them – but also that I could be made aware of a part of myself – a desire, an addiction, or a fear – that had long hidden in my shadow and needed to see the light of day.

So what did I find when I arrived at the bookstore?

Lots and lots of books.

But not just any books.

Everywhere I turned, a name from my adolescence jumped out at me, grabbing my attention and jolting my heart. From the moment I entered, I was confronted by memories not only of loving books,  but of loving men (my dad, my boyfriends) who loved books.

On one table sat a work by science fiction prophet Philip K. Dick and on another, the drunken and hilarious Charles Bukowski. There was Czech romantic/cynic Milan Kundera  and Irish playwright Samuel Beckett, the monk Thomas Merton  and the meditation teacher Joseph Levine.  And amidst this international boys club? A sole woman – African-American novelist, Zora Neale Hurston.

In the store’s window a book stood with the simple title: Russian Poetry.  Surely this was a shout-out to my first boyfriend, a Russian poet who shares a birthday with Leo Tolstoy.

All these men, and one woman, inspired me and the men I loved because of their voice – voices of madness, mysticism, drunkenness, absurdity, romance and passion.

What the devil?

Almost a week later, I can only speculate that what has been hiding in the shadows of my adulthood – and particularly my life as a wife and mother – has been a voice: possibly mad, certainly mystic, but also absurd, romantic, passionate and perhaps not often enough drunk.

In tarot, The Devil can represent repression but it can just as easily represent freedom from the chains that imprison us. I am choosing the latter.

How to Become a Tarot Card Reader

Image

Over the years, more than a few people have asked how I became a tarot card reader. With the exception of people who hail from a long line of diviners and fortune tellers, it IS an unusual field to fall into – especially for a Puerto Rican Jew from the Bronx who only ever really dreamed of being a movie director and winning an Academy Award. 

On the one hand, all it takes is a trip to a bookstore and the purchase of a set of cards. On the other hand, you could also do it the way I did:

1) Have a dream  and pursue it to the best of your ability.

2) Lose your passion in the pursuit of that dream, but remain unaware that there are any other options out there for you.

3) Endure a traumatic event that completely upends your identity and ability to cope.

4) Meet a spiritual healer who observes that you are completely out of touch with who you are and that you would benefit from daily readings with a pack of tarot cards. 

5) Read your own cards daily and start reading your friends’ too.

6) Be sitting in a cafe one day, doing your taxes, when the party planner for “middle eastern night” announces their tarot card reader has just cancelled.

7) Have a really great best friend who tells the party planner that, in fact, there IS a tarot card reader in the house.

8) Have a great time doing readings for the public and making money.

9) Spend a lot of time in therapy letting go of the old dream and creating space in your life for something new.

10) Practice, practice, practice.

 

 

Values, Part 2 of 3

Image

If you had to name five top values, what would they be and why?

I’m back at work, defining what I offer through my readings practice, my vision for the world, and, importantly, what I value most. Here are ten more qualities that made the top thirty:

  1. ACCEPTANCE – Life doesn’t always go the way we think it should go and the sooner we surrender to how it is actually going, the closer we get to being truly happy and achieving our heart’s desire.
  2. SELF-KNOWLEDGE – Sometimes what we think we want is not what we really want. It’s worth making the effort to discover what we really want, what we really feel and what we really think.
  3. JOY – I used to think joy was a luxury I had to defer until things turned out the way I thought they should. Somewhere along the line, I learned that even momentary joy can be its own reward.
  4. MODERATION – Too much of even a good thing can be bad: and that includes things like espresso, exercise, raw food, attachment parenting and “spiritual”-ness.
  5. PARADOX  – When two things that are completely opposite  seem to be true at the same time, you can tear your hair out. Or you can recognize the fingerprint of a higher order.
  6. DISCOVERY – One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned through reading cards for so many clients is that sometimes we are not meant to simply know, we are meant to actively discover.
  7. MYSTERY – And then there are the times we are just not meant to know.
  8. FULFILLMENT – I have often been guilty of postponing the fulfillment of a desire because  I was so attached to wanting it. But because getting what you want is such a good step towards knowing who you are, I’ve gotten much better at the fulfillment part.
  9. HEALING- There’s a difference between fixing something and healing it. Sometimes healing requires letting go of the person you have been to become someone else entirely. Scary but powerful. And why some people just don’t heal.
  10. IMPERFECTION – Because perfect would be so boring.