Wednesday, 23 November 2011

the face of the future

One of my favourite things Kurt Vonnegut ever said was this:
'Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.'
I've always loved that one. I reference it quite a lot during conversations which err towards the frustrated blindness life tends to put us in. Whenever a friend is having difficulty navigating this ludicrous cosmic ocean, those words seem to fit. They seem to be about letting go and accepting that chaos is imminent, that we're all essentially food for worms in the end and that what counts only counts for the smallest time before becoming part of the great beyond. I used to wonder if reading Tarot for querents was a betrayal of that belief. After all, Tarot is about analysing, predicting, concerning ourselves overly with what's happening and of course, the question 'why?' is asked a lot, as the querent makes attempts to see their situation from the other side of the mirror and grasp onto the truth that evades them. I've been through my worries over the years about whether or not Tarot is really a force for good. Is it helping? Or is it just helping people hang on to what's hurting or confusing them? Am I muddying the waters for my querents? Or am I genuinely helping them find clarity?

The answer came to me over time as I did more and more readings. The only way to know if there's any productive end to a Tarot reading is to open your ears to the feedback from clients, and my feedback has largely been good. I'm always pleased to hear that I've been accurate. Accuracy is part of it and if I've read the querent and the cards and managed to marry the two with some grains of truth, that's fantastic. But the feedback that's really convinced me that Tarot is useful is the feedback that tells me it's helped the querent to become unstuck. Empowering people seems to be facilitated wonderfully by these 78 little cards, provided the readings have plenty of empathy and reason threaded through them. Famous, high profile psychics always embellish their websites with testimonials praising the accuracy of their readings:

'She knew everything about me.'

This is a good compliment but it's only half of what we, as readers, are really looking to achieve. I know that at times I have good insight (but call me psychic at your peril!). However, what I want to be able to do is back that up with clear, useful advice and to nurture my querent in a way that fits their individual need. For many people, divination is about chasing the initial thrill of someone picking up on your life and personality without knowing you. It's exciting, it's spooky and it feeds our desire to believe in something extraordinary. It's not all that different from enjoying an extremely convincing magician's tricks. But once the shine has worn off, is there anything left to build on and enjoy in the long term? If you've found a reader who can set you right for months on end with one reading, giving you the tools you need to make the right choices and give your life more joy, keep hold of that reader at all costs.

Back to the amber of the moment, though. I don't buy into the idea that the future is set in stone. Who would? It's a seriously depressing notion. I do believe in the importance of the now. But I have also come to know that the now is only as good as our ability to let go of the past and stop fearing the future. I use Tarot to help people do that. And, in the end, that's enough of a good reason.