All Hallows Eve is traditionally the best time to practice divination with real intent. Without going into depth regarding the traditions and beliefs surrounding this ancient festival, it is conducive to fortune telling and many Pagans nowadays include divination in their rituals to mark the occasion. Tarot and Palmistry are regularly included in the fun and games surrounding the day but if you want to do a reading that goes beyond entertainment and delves into the all-encompassing themes Samhain offers, here are some pointers.
- fresh start, fresh focus
Samhain is Celtic New Year. It's worth thinking about all of the themes people focus on at the end of December and apply them equally to a Samhain reading. New Year's resolutions are one of the most profound markers of the year's end and Tarot can help your querent to clarify and prioritise their goals. Practical advice makes itself just as available as spiritual guidance here, since the querent may need help recognising what matters and needs to be worked on, as well as what they need to let go of.
- lessons of the past
Samhain has its focus on the thinning of the veils between the worlds and ancestors are honoured and remembered at this time. As an extension of this sentiment, draw the querent towards their past trials and triumphs and ask them to use their experiences to navigate the present. What haunts the querent and why can't they let go? Which experiences have defined them? Many querents come to the cards at Samhain to get in touch with dead loved ones. This isn't a service I personally offer, at least not in a literal sense. I can approach the emotional issues regarding a death and how best to seek closure. In fact, I recently completed a paid reading for a client whose main concern was how to get over the death of two family members. However, I don't believe I can communicate with the dead or that it's particularly helpful to do so.
- pastures new
The Otherworld being closer and more accessible to mere mortals was a big theme in the olden days and has made its mark today with the glorification of all things freaky and frightening, scary and skeletal.. But if we take this message in a more mundane direction it can offer ideas and inspiration for opening ourselves up to a new environment and making something happen - changing jobs, moving houses, joining a new community, learning a new subject, branching out socially, new friends, new events.. What is important about fresh experiences? Does the querent need to embrace new places and people? Where should they start and what advice is offered by the cards?
- fright night
Fear is a huge Halloween theme and this can be translated to great use in the Tarot. Taking a look at what we're afraid of and what's stopping us from moving on fearlessly with the next phase of our lives can give us huge food for thought and can instigate those first steps to moving on. Most of the readings I do have a card or two that specifically focus on the querent's fears. This is because what holds us back from happiness is often elusive and difficult to nail down and deal with amongst all the other concerns and responsibilities we so often tell ourselves are more important than personal therapy.
- weathering the inevitable storm
Samhain is sometimes referred to as the time of chaos. When we look at the meaning of the Death card in Tarot the emphasis is on the importance of flexibility as a way to deal with huge, life-altering transformation. The way we behave and adapt during times of change is central to our ability to be positive and fearless in the face of uncertainty. Letting go and relinquishing control are key themes, as well as looking at our coping mechanisms and our outlook on life. The work through the summer is now complete, the fruits of our labour are going to see us through the winter, now is the time to reflect and to ready ourselves for harsher climes and the frantic time that's made of equal parts celebration and hardship.
- spirituality rules
During Samhain I also like to delve into what querents are doing spiritually in order to grow and consider their life choices. Samhain is steeped in ritual and there are so many traditions associated with it. These traditions form part of society's makeup and help us to effectively mark the turning points of our year. But in our personal paths ritual is often absent. I like to use the cards to instruct each querent of the different ways they can remind themselves of what matters and introduce some spiritual order to every day life.
click for Part Two