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I have been seeing a lot conversations around how tarot readings work and how to best learn to read the cards lately. Often these conversations come with strong feelings on some peoples part that their way is the best way. Reading the cards for me encompasses many tools, techniques, skills, and abilities. I want to share this series as a non-dogmatic exploration of all the answers to the question “Where do great tarot readings come from?” All the posts in the series can be found here.
Tarot Reading with Spirit Guides
One of my teachers suggested to me that all tarot reading and psychic ability arose from spirits. That if a person was able to know things it came from a specific spirit, or perhaps group of spirits, telling them in one way or another. I have met, read for, and taught many people whom this was certainly the case for.
They knew nothing about the traditional meanings of the cards, but their readings were very specific and good. From a structured approach they seemed to be just making things up, yet there is more than that going on.
As you might know I work with my guide Melinda a lot when reading for people. Often she has advice and suggestions beyond what the cards might say. A session recently opened with her saying “Stop messing around and wasting your time.” She also happens to have been a card reader in her lifetime so she also has a lot to say that is in line with a knowledge based approach to the cards. If you read the posts she and I do will see much that is familiar to people versed in tarot.
In the rest of this post Melinda and I will be talking about working with spirits in relationship to reading the cards. My thoughts will appear in regular typeset and her will appear in italics.
The first thing that you need to do if you are working with a spirit in your tarot practice is to learn who it it is and what it likes. It is a fine line with many spirits between needing to listen and setting boundaries. Be aware that you have a life and that being bossed around by a spirit is a waste of your life. That said, do not think that you know more than your spirit but keep your common sense. Do not ask your guide whether you should have tacos or pizza for dinner. When you do ask something listen and try to act on what you are told.
I have found from teaching people with strong guides that it might not be possible for them to learn to read the cards. Often the answers can come so fast that there is no thinking involved. This is a great skill to have, but it can really hamper the person’s ability to expand into other ways of working with the cards. I have had many conversations that go something like this. I often ask a person to interpret the card based what they see in the card and then on what the position and the meaning from the notes combined tell them.
10 of Swords comes up in the obstacles position.
“What do you see in the card?”
“Their boss is working to get them fired and they need to go to their union about it.”
“What in the card tells you this about work?” I ask.
“I just know it is.”
“Okay. You might be right but we are working on learning the symbolism today. Can you tell the rest of us how you got there?”
“It just came to me and i know it is true…”
Most of the people who have taken classes with me who work in this manner have a hard time getting that little voice inside to step back and read the cards. Maybe they don’t need to change what they are doing.
If you are in this position it is important to ask your guide if they want you to learn the cards. Maybe they don’t. Often what a person ‘knows’ can get in the way of them being a clear channel. Before starting something new take time to meditate or just ask your guide if this will be helpful to you. Not everyone should read the cards, palms, runes, or whatever you might find on the internet. Once you have a guide you trust – trust their advice.
Especially after all the posts Melinda and I have done together I get many questions about how to find a guide. Personally I think the best way is to get a reading from someone you trust about it. I became aware of Melinda consciously through a reading. It can be hard to sort through the noise of either our own brains or the spirits in our vicinity to get a clear idea of what is our guide talking and what is not. This takes time.
It can be very much hit or miss to try this on your own. Just because a spirit can tell you things that are true does not mean it is elevated enough to guide you. In fact the more miraculous the information or the brighter the future it predicts the more wary you should be in the beginning. There is a modern notion that praying to the light or asking that only spirits of light come and be present is an adequate level of protection. People often think that people of my times were too superstitious. Neither statement is true. Often people end up living with a parasitic ‘guide’ that limits their evolution. Do not be afraid, but do be cautious.
If you do want to start working with spirit guides my suggestion is to start by building a good relationship with your ancestors. Pray to them in a way they would have liked when alive. Make a spot for them in your home. If you don’t know them by name refer to them in a general way. I used to include “I pay homage to my ancestors. Rivers of blood and breath that stretch back beyond memory and time.” in the ceremonies I would put perform.
Thank you for reading. If you feel called to work with your guides and would like help with an introduction please contact us to set up an appointment.
Andrew McGregor & Melinda
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“Seance” image by Granger Art on Demand used under Creative Commons License.