briefly: on diviners

briefly: on diviners May 2, 2013

[Important note: My computer suffered a pretty major break yesterday. I’ll be getting it fixed tomorrow, with luck, but I’m not sure when it will be fixed. As such, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to write up a big post next. However, there are computers around I can use – please bear with me though!]

I read Tarot cards. It might be more accurate to say I listen to the cards and speak what they say.  One of my decks prefers to focus on the internal landscape of the querent, while another helps querents interaction with spirits as well as typical ‘love, life, and career’ readings. It is a service I offer both as a way to help people work through blocks (usually artistic) and religious issues. I began getting attention as a reader in high school, and people returned to me again and again for assistance.

by Leelah (samhainmoon)

I don’t view reading as a parlor trick or a way to ‘convince’ people of its utility. My mother often encourages her friends to receive readings from me as a way to ‘prove’ the power of the cards. Usually, it’s helpful, and my cards don’t mind. (Foremost I consider the spirit and attitude of the deck. If it doesn’t like you, I shouldn’t make it read for you.) Unfortunately, I learned quick that people who don’t want a question answered or a secret revealed will lie, and my decks shut down immediately when that happens.

I’ve also had many readings from other people. One of my favorite diviners used a variety of decks and astrology and constantly read and researched to improve her skill. She could see and lay out problems and situations and gave excellent advice. Another reader helped me through an intense crisis of faith and gave me important words – ‘just write the stories down’ (at that time I was suffering because I had no idea what to do about the Four Gods and the religion).

Many other readers were forgettable or, worse, remembered for their level of ineptitude. One reader had all the cards in front of her to explain the situation, but her interpretation was shallow. Another was focused entirely on reading me, not the cards, and I ended up leaning over the table to read and listen to the cards themselves. (Those cards had the necessary information I needed for my question.) Other readers are incredibly basic, unable to answer questions and done with a reading in five minutes.

If I can read the cards better than the reader, there is a serious problem.

It can be incredibly hard to find a competent diviner to rely on. Tumblr is a great example of bad diviners, beginners who don’t always mention they are beginners, and, in one notable case, someone that only drew the cards for you and told you what they were, didn’t interpret.

Some forms of divination and seership don’t really come with interpretation – here I am thinking of oracular work, when an oracle might not even be aware at all of what the message means in any form, and possibly wasn’t present when the message was given – but some do, and Tarot is one of those. Anyone is able to pull cards from a deck or roll dice or throw stones. The gift is in the interpretation. Can you read the signs? Can you see the symbols?

I’m not some amazing, fantastic Tarot reader. I’ve been told I have ‘the gift’/’the Sight’ by many people, but what matters to me more is doing the readings well. This is a service, not an ego trip. The cards, in the case of one of my decks, are interacting with spirits, and the amount of respect I have for my decks is huge. I do think to be a good reader or diviner you have to actually have some talent for it; no amount of memorization can really bring the spirits or energy someone who the spirits patron does.

Though it would be nice if we were all equal and could divine with the same skill level and talent, that’s just not how the world works, and I’m much more grateful for that. There are many decks who won’t work with me. I can’t touch runes or ogham. I constantly go to new diviners to learn and hear new perspectives. Diversity of skill and talent is great.

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