Tuesday, 12 November 2013

the intent of the vision

I did a Tarot reading for a friend of mine last week. Afterwards he nodded, smiled and said, 'That was really accurate.' It occurred to me in that moment that accuracy is not the principle aim when I break out my deck. It's always nice to know that my intuition is doing its work and that I have formed an energetic connection which can delve beyond what I logically know about someone, but it's not my pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I smiled and said to him, 'Beyond accuracy, what I really hope you'll take from it is self-awareness, a chance to explore new thoughts, an opportunity to heal any wounds which may still be open..' Fortunately, he agreed that he had been given much to think about and felt ready to start the work ahead with renewed understanding. 'There is always more mystery', Anais Nin once wrote. My role is not so much to know it all as to give my all in the interest of strengthening his connection to himself. After all, that's what really counts.

It seems as if there's a kind of powerful enchantment at work when a reader picks up on something they couldn't possibly have known about you. It's riveting, it's startling and it's something you'll probably always remember, particularly if it was related to your childhood, your relationship with your parents, your fears, your feelings about love.. In that moment, a connection is formed and it's a lot like a portal into the hidden parts of your psyche, available to the reader for that time. But it's not the whole animal. In fact, it's just intuition - it's human, it's common and it's ordinary - it's not the gift of a chosen few. In fact, the juiciest part of any Tarot reading is the useful stuff. You might very well know what your problem is and when a reader elaborates on that problem, fleshing it out with their visceral intuition, that's wonderful. It might make you feel less alone, less uncertain, less unseen. But what comes next is the big deal. Can the reader help you to navigate your way through the emotional swamp and find yourself on dry land again? Can they put you in touch with signature strengths and core abilities long forgotten? Will they be your advocate as you try to work out why the same old thing isn't working anymore? Will they hold space for you? The kind of space which enables you to breathe in deeply, exhale fully and own your decision completely?

I'm currently reading 'The Shaman and Ayahuasca' and on page 73, Don José Campos offers a fantastic definition of the phrase 'holding space':

'To hold space means to keep the intent of the vision of what the ceremony is, regardless, but it also applies to how you go about in the world outside the ceremonial space.' 


For me, to give a Tarot reading is to hold space for someone's intention. It takes great concentration to hold that space sometimes. It also takes great compassion and the ability to lead a discussion into unlikely places, into dark rooms from the past, into the infinite possibilities of the ever-changing future. But, as Don José so rightly points out, the ceremony shouldn't exist in a bubble. It's a reflection of whatever the client wants to manifest and stay true to once they walk back out into the world. What I am really aiming for is making sure that the reading bleeds into the client's life just as much (if not more) as their life bleeds into the reading.

I've often said that the only thing more important than my intuition as a Tarot reader is my desire to help people formulate an intensely strong bond with their intuition. Every client who crosses the path of a Tarot reader has a different relationship to their inner voice. For some, there used to be a strong bond but then they made a painful error in judgement which cost them their trust in others and in themselves. For some, their intuition is usually rock steady but one particularly complex situation has them confused and unsure. One rule which always seems to apply is that a strong connection to intuition relies on a strong connection to personal power. The two are married to each other. Without a good sense of personal power, you're unlikely to feel entitled to listen to your intuition and act on it. You're also unlikely to listen to yourself as much as you listen to those you admire or back down to or live in fear of. Every client is walking a strangled and complex route towards the answers within.

The act of purchasing a Tarot reading is an act of desire for progress of one kind or another. Time is of the essence, so it's far more important for a dedicated reader to aid that progress than it is to aim for a long ream of accurate facts about the client's tastes or beliefs. Each reading is different and both reader and client will be in a unique situation each time on a day that neither of them will live again. That's what keeps it interesting. But if you're a Tarot reader, ask yourself, 'Can I hold space for someone? Do I really know what holding space is all about?' Try writing down your observations. Perhaps the answers to these questions could be the real difference between a Tarot reader and a healer of souls who just happens to read Tarot. If you see what I mean.