One of the blessings and curses of being a prolific tarot reader is that we can see patterns in human behavior.
Sometimes this can be very helpful. When a person comes for a reading with a problem that, to them, seems unique and incomprehensible, it can be a great relief to both of us when it becomes clear that I have seen this before and I know what it is.
Each person is unique, but our human experiences are common. That’s why archetypes, stereotypes and demographics exist.
Sometimes my psychic intuition appears as a memory of a past experience (either mine or someone I know). If, during a reading, I have a sudden flash of memory, it is very likely that what I am remembering is the very same thing my client is currently experiencing.
That seventy-eight tarot cards can speak to a vast array of experiences, and still express the common archetypes that are the building blocks of our humanity, reflects this paradox of psychic reading. Although we readers learn a great deal about human behavior, we can’t assume that humans will always behave true to their patterns, or to our assumptions of them. Sometimes, people will surprise us.
It’s easy for tarot readers to fall into a demographic trap. It’s easy to believe, for instance, that, if he cheated before, he will cheat again. It’s tempting, in a reading, to spout that sort of experienced-based wisdom without actually consulting the cards, or checking with intuition on the matter.
The reason we are tempted to bypass the divination and go straight to the advice is that, nine times out of ten, the divination will reveal the obvious wisdom, which we believe we already know.
If he was attentive and romantic at first, but then disappeared without warning or explanation, he probably really is commitment-phobic and in love with romance. However, before I rush to reassure my client of what is almost certainly true, I do the divination to make sure it wasn’t something she said that chased him away.
As a younger reader, I was often tempted to share the wisdom I had gleaned from reading for many people and observing their patterns and behaviors. Mostly, that wisdom was correct and helpful.
Today, rather than sharing those nuggets of wisdom, I use that wisdom to help me craft questions for the divination that will reveal whether or not the situation fits the pattern.
I may know that a particular behavior in a particular type of person usually indicates a particular problem. Rather than simply announcing my belief that this problem exists, I use my experience to construct the right questions for the divination. If the divination confirms the problem, I can move forward in the divination process to help my client understand the situation and find solutions.
Sometimes, the divination will surprise me. Maybe he really is sorry he cheated, and really won’t do it again. Maybe the young person with the lovely singing voice really is destined for fame and fortune.
If my clients wanted conventional wisdom, they could get it from their BFF for the price of a drink. They could read a self-help book about dating or business.
That kind of wisdom can be helpful. Tarot readers need to have some conventional common sense in their toolboxes.
However, a tarot reading isn’t a self-help book. A tarot reading provides a unique set of information, specific to a particular person, place and time. A tarot reading is custom-crafted for the individual.
It’s important that we professional readers not get stuck in the rut of dispensing conventional wisdom without doing the divination and addressing the unique aspects of the situation.
As much as human behavior is often predictable, our human unpredictability is what makes divination so necessary and helpful.
As tarot readers, we do our best work when are able to learn from the experiences of our clients without using those behavioral patterns in lieu of actual divinatory work.
Sometimes it feels silly to ask questions of the cards when we think we already know the answer. I’ve learned not to worry about that. It feels even sillier when we make assumptions about people based on demographics rather than performing the divination our clients request.