“It’s not what you look like
When you’re doin’ what you’re doin’
It’s what you’re doin’ when you’re doin’
What you look like you’re doin’
- Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band
Before we moved across the State, I had an occasional tarot reading gig at a local esoteric shop and then, after the move, COVID completely derailed its fledgling successor (a double-whammy if ever there was one). Face-to-face divination is my first love; every remote method pales in comparison, but circumstances have conspired to make a return to that practice unlikely any time soon.
The two-way communication that a face-to-face session encourages can enrich the interpretation and ensure that the reader and the client are on the same page at every turn. As I’ve mentioned in several previous posts, the reader’s role becomes more that of the “helmsman” in a mutual voyage of discovery than the hapless purveyor of the one-sided guessing game that ensues when the querent isn’t present to contribute to the conversation. Plus, instead of me shuffling and cutting the deck, I insist that the sitter do so whenever possible since it puts the cards in the necessary order to tell the individual’s personal story without the intrusion of my own subconscious presumptions via the shuffle. (I tell them it’s their reading, not mine; I’m just the interpreter.) Once the cards are dealt, my expectation is that my client will be an active participant in the dialogue, not a mere spectator. These are nuances that are lost in most remote-reading situations.
Reader comportment during a session is an interesting subject. My brother — a veteran salesman — once told me that salesmen talk so much because it doesn’t give the prospective buyer a chance to say “No” to the pitch. With divination there is the dreaded silence during which the reader fumbles for something meaningful to say next, while the sitter looks on expectantly, then more-and-more apprehensively as the void deepens. Any more than two or three “umms” in a sentence and you’re toast. It becomes imperative to come up with some kind of “bridging” narrative, even if it means just taking a moment to recapitulate what has been said up to that point (assuming you aren’t still on the first card of the spread). Any brief digression that gets the creative juices flowing again and the reading back on track without stranding the querent for too long in limbo is justified. You’ve heard of “writer’s block;” let’s call this “reader’s block.” I might paraphrase Franklin Delano Roosevelt here: “Say something, and if that doesn’t work, say something else. But above all, say something.”
I find that any card, once it has been left behind in the course of the reading, can benefit from being revisited in light of what has come after it. If time permits, I often go back at the end of a reading and burnish the high points with further insights from the outcome, but this is something that can be done any time you hit upon a striking revelation about a card you’ve already covered (even if you have to force it a bit just to sidestep a narrative “black hole”). However, if you’re “on the clock” with a limited amount of time to convey the whole story, you might want to use this sparingly; just take a deep breath and plumb the depths of the card you’re on. The sitter will take this in stride and assume that you’re pondering sagely, not groping for meaning. The upside of a timed reading is that you can (or must) quickly glide over any “thin ice” and move on to the next card as a way to jump-start a stalled yarn, or even examine the two cards in combination as a mini-vignette within the broader scope of the reading. Either way you can move onward with some confidence, and the sitter will never know that you were momentarily stumped. Just “express yourself” and don’t agonize too much over a few “dropped links” in the story-line.
Originally published at http://parsifalswheeldivination.wordpress.com on December 20, 2021.