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We don’t know how to relate to one another.

Foggy vision

By Emmaline

This became evident by the end of my first day of tarot readings at Isis Books. We don’t really know how to be in relationships, which is interesting to me because we are in relationships. Our lives are chalk-full of relationships. Yet, somehow, they remain a great mystery to us.

People who come for readings (a first observation) are seeking clarify on what to do, not what to think or believe. They want to know how to handle matters of love, of lust, of codependence. They want advice on how to move forward, but all I feel fit to give them is greater clarity on where they are in this moment.

There’s no sense in getting advice about what to do if you don’t understand why you would be doing it. I can’t imagine changing my own behavior, and having that change take root, without undergoing a process of deep reflection and discernment. How could I offer someone else advice that I wouldn’t, myself, feel comfortable in taking?

Interestingly (to me, at least), there was very little concern expressed about the nature of the cosmos during any of my readings. There wasn’t a yearning for some deeper esoteric knowledge, for a dialogue about the Gods, or God, or the lack of deity. There was none of that. It was, predominately, a question of: How do I do this love thing?

apotheosis of the Lovers (channel 4, deal 1, trick J)

apotheosis of the Lovers, By Kevin Hutchins

It was all about love. I’ve heard that this is common in intuitive readings, and I find that very interesting.

I think of intuitive readings as spirit work in the same way that I think of massages as body work. I wouldn’t go to a massage therapist with the intention of better understanding someone else’s body, and yet people seek out readings with the hope of understanding their lover, their spouse, the object of their greatest desire. I found myself on several occasions yesterday expressing that the right question was being asked to the wrong person.

I’ve written that I feel my writing is a kind of ministry for me, as much a way of reaching out as reaching in. As I begin exploring what it means to give readings for other people, I’m forced to look closer at what kind of service I can provide them. Yesterday, it occurred to me that the work of giving intuitive readings borders very close to therapy – uncomfortably close in some moments.

I don’t think readers should behave as therapists unless they’re legitimately qualified to do so. But I think the lines are blurry for the person seeking a reading. Twice yesterday I brought up to a client that it might be useful for them to seek out someone else – a therapist or counselor – who could provide them with some ongoing support. This seemed like the only responsible thing to do.

I seek counsel, most often from my husband. I read him this post up until this point, expressing concern that this subject might not be relevant to anyone other than me. I was uncertain if the ideas would engage people, or initiate dialogue.

“That’s funny,” he said to me.


“Well, look at your first line.”

We don’t know how to relate to one another.


For a moment I forgot how to relate to you, the person reading these words.

Remember remember by KayVee.INC

This happens from time to time. There’s a sense of doubt that creeps in, and it clouds my vision and allows me to forget what it feels like to be in relationship with you. I forget how to write, just as she forgets how to love, he forgets how to communicate, we forget how to be supportive of one another. All of these are the same, in a way.

The truth may be that we do know how to relate to one another, we just forget from time to time. On occasion, we have the opportunity to remind each other of that fact, and, by doing so, to remind ourselves. Maybe that’s what giving readings offers; an opportunity to remember how to love, to remember how to relate, to remember how to be in communion with one another.

Does this resonate with you? Do these ideas of forgetting and remembering make sense, and if so, have you had experiences of remembering that you’d feel comfortable sharing?

Transformation is a slow process, and challenging to describe. Best to be on the lookout for that initial spark of change, and then follow it wherever it leads you.

The Chariot: The pursuit of the Divine is a series of sublimations; a refinement of the base; lead to gold.

– March 29th, 2009

The tarot has been an initiator of change for me on many occasion. In the early months of 2009, at a moment of transition for the public voice of Weiser Books, known on Facebook and Twitter as “Ankhie,” I took over a Twitter tradition which was first called #1card, and which grew under my watch into #amtarot and #pmtarot.

The work involved tweeting a single tarot card in the morning and evening which included the hashtag, and encouraging people to respond with their own tarot interpretation. I held on to the responsibility for months before handing it over to the amazing Theresa Reed, and the tradition continues to this very day. Being the steward of #amtarot and #pmtarot allowed me to build community on the internet for the first time. I began to understand the tarot as a key to unlocking our own skills of inner knowing.

And, I fell in love with the cards.

The tweets have long since been lost in the annals of Twitter, and I’m not sure how to retrieve them. But I was smart enough to print out several pages of my interpretations, and I’ve kept them on a bookshelf alongside my decks and tarot books. Looking back on them now, I’m amazed the succinctness of the language. Tweeting a tarot interpretation is very different from the long-form explanation one might give in a face-to-face reading. You’re seeking to reduce the card down to its essence; at least, whatever essence might look like to you in that moment.

Seven of Cups: When there is no map, when no device can discern the direction in which to walk, look inward.

March 22nd, 2009

I learned something about myself through these daily interpretations, and I began to develop a deeper relationship with my spirit again. The tarot encouraged me to look inward, as well as at the world around me, with the eyes of a mystic. Rational thinking, practicality and good sense, while useful in business, had become barriers to my own sense of wonder. The tarot allowed me to return to a state of mystery.

I’m saddened that people fear the tarot. I feel like they’re missing out on something truly great. I’m not a prognosticator, nor do I believe that I have the answers to all questions. I do believe, however, that there is beauty in reaching for the answers. There is poetry in the act of interpretation; in the seeking of meaning in the abstract.

The Hanged Man (XII): That which appears to bind you may turn out to be the instrument of your freedom.

March 12th, 2009

There is no need to fear the symbolism of the tarot, any more than there is to fear the symbolism inherent in language itself. Symbols are tools, and the tarot is but a tool to open one’s self to broader thinking. Reading the cards can be an experience of deep inhalation; an expansion of the mind and the soul.

This is all on my mind right now because tomorrow I begin a new adventure: giving tarot readings at my local metaphysical bookstore. This is the first time I’ve ever opened myself up to giving readings for the public, outside of my Twitter interpretations. As with my claimed name, this endeavor is an outward expression of an ongoing inner change.

Ten of Wands: Reinvention is to the artist what tilling the soil is to the farmer; rich darkness brought into light.

March 21st, 2009

I approach my reading table with a humble heart, and look forward to the first person who walks through my door. I don’t promise answers to every question, or solutions to every problem. But, as with this blog, I will seek to engage whoever comes for a reading in a deep dialogue about the substance of our lives. I will encourage her to look inward, and to seek out the hidden narratives of her heart. I will allow the tarot to continue to be a tool for transformation, hopefully for the both of us.

I’m curious – what is your relationship to divination? Do you incorporate it into your daily practice? Are you a professional reader? Have you had positive or negative experiences with the tarot? If you’ve found your life enriched or changed by a divinatory practice, please share that in the comment section.

(And, if you’re in Englewood, Colorado on Monday afternoons, feel free to come by Isis Books and pay me a visit!)