I pulled cards for over a hundred people this spring, mostly in May, and as I suspected, there is still a lot of mystery surrounding tarot. A lot of people don’t know what to ask in terms of a query—they just know that something is off, or they might need a nudge in the right direction, or they could use some validation about a recent or forthcoming decision.

I gravitate towards the tarot over other intuitive media primarily because I’m a multi-disciplinary artist. I write poems and stories and make drawings and other things, but they all revolve around storytelling. As soon as I figured out that tarot cards had a vocabulary and the different narratives they told manifested in infinite combination—I mean, I’m a story hound—I was hooked. For me, tarot is like the ultimate choose-your-own-adventure.

On the one hand, for me, there is nothing particularly remarkable about divination. As in, anyone can do it. Tools like cards, leaves, smoke, runes, etc., basically serve as a lens with which to focus the intuition we’re all born with. One of my favorite things to do when someone asks me to pull their cards, when I’m over, say, a friend’s house, is to tell them, “You pull your cards.” I hand over the cards and let them “clear” the deck (knocking on it a few times clears the energy from previous readings), cut and shuffle, then I show them how to lay a quick three-card spread usually Past/Present/Future or Issue/Challenge/Outcome. Then, when they flip the cards over and I explain their meaning, there’s usually a gasp and inevitably, “That’s exactly what’s going on right now.”

The past misconceptions revolving around techniques of divination such as tarot and crystals are falling away, because you know what? People are looking for answers and the usual sources don’t always help. And now that you can buy decks readily from places like Urban Outfitters, divination is becoming increasingly demystified. To people who think a stack of paper cards is demonic or a kind of witchcraft, I pity them. Not a person alive can say they’ve not at some point in their lives acted on instinct or their gut intuition based on the information at hand. Or sometimes with no information available at all. They just inexplicably know when to move, like Jason Bourne. Some people like artists and entrepreneurs and athletes may use that intuitive muscle a bit more frequently, but again, the cards just pronounce that muscle. What you sense when you read a spread is your own intuition giving you the same guidance it would when you can’t explain why you want to stay home on certain nights or feel compelled to go pick your kid up from school a little earlier than usual.

Without further ado, here are the questions/concerns I receive the most:

“I don’t know what to ask. Can't you just tell me what I need to know?"
This one actually surprised me with how often it came up. Here’s the thing. I can pull a general spread and the cards will pick up on a narrative no matter what, but I find that it’s useful for the querant to try and pose a question over what area of their life they can benefit from the most at that moment in order to narrow the focus of the reading. I don’t claim to be psychic per se, but I am highly intuitive and I'm very good at listening to my intuition. It’s basically a reflex I cultivated as an artist and educator and I don’t even think about how it works at this point. So, long story short, it’s actually more beneficial if you pose a question. Questions can be posed like: “Should I go for the new job opportunity? The new job would allow me to be more creative but also come with more responsibility.” Or, “Is my partner ready and willing to contribute more to our relationship?” Or, “I am really stuck right now with trying to figure out my next move artistically. What should I do to find out more?” 

“How much backstory do you need?”
There is a preconceived notion about practices like tarot that it’s only valid, or the reader is only the real deal if you don’t have to tell them anything, and they just know what’s on your mind and heart. The way I see it, if a reader is that perceptive, they’ve essentially become very adept at tapping into the collective unconscious in order to serve as a bullhorn for your higher self. So, I don’t need much. I don’t even need your sign or any of that, no more than a few sentences should do. I don't require a complete diary entry even if it feels cathartic for you to dump all your feels in an email. But I understand why people do it. Better out than in. I usually skim those because too much information can actually skew my own objectivity and get in the way of your message, which is also why I don't like doing readings in person. 

“Is this confidential?”
Absolutely. I don’t breathe a word of your situation to anyone else. Mostly because I'm not an a-hole like that. 

“Don’t judge me, but…”
I don’t judge. Literally don’t see the point in judging someone. We’re all winging it, I can tell you that much. Nobody, regardless of their prestige, rank, title, income knows absolutely for certain what they’re doing in every area of their life, even if they think they do. I’m not here to judge. I’m here to help!

"What are they thinking?”
Dammit, Jim, I'm an empath not a telepath! I can't tell you exactly what someone is thinking. I can tell you what their energetic patterns are like but be aware that just like yours, someone else's energies will shift depending on circumstances.

“Can I trust the guidance?”
Remember, a reading is an energetic snapshot of where you are mentally and emotionally on a given day. A reading is a reflection of your higher self (if it’s done right). Someone mentioned to me recently that readings are akin to weather reports. Things change! And so, your internal compass provides your own best guidance. I sincerely believe there are no wrong answers. Wherever you are is part of your soul’s journey, so you’re always right where you need to be! Sometimes, the act of making a choice or decision is part of that journey. So, yes, you can trust the guidance insofar as you remember that your card reader is generally not going to be licensed as a counselor, therapist, or medical advisor. I'm definitely not licensed to do anything but read and write a whole, whole lot. But, if you think of a reading more as a source of advice given by a friend or ally to help you strategize moving forward, you can take what you want from a reading and leave the rest.

“You were close, but you didn’t see everything.”
Well, 100% accuracy is going to be really rare if it’s possible at all. I’d have to be you to know everything that’s going on or contributing to your current issue. I can see enough about your situation to make a few recommendations on how you can move forward.

I prefer to do my readings via audio but to help demystify the process, I’m posting a sample of what I do. So, below is a video of me doing a general reading for Tuesday, June 20, 2017, so you can see me smudge and shuffle the cards, lay a spread, and pull an oracle card as suggested guidance moving forward. I don’t film my readings, so I apologize for any hiccups along the way!