How to handle negative feedback: A card reading

IMG_9811With up to seven planets in retrograde, mercury being just one of them, it is no wonder that my tarot readings of late have garnered mixed feedback. But why is it that the one slightly negative feedback overshadows the positive comments from all the others?

Recently I received some feedback which was disheartening. The querent thanked me for my time and appreciated the effort I had made. But she said that since she had not received answers to her questions she would not rely on tarot any more for providing them. That saddened me. I had a moment of self-doubt. What was I missing? What did I need in order to get to the next level in my readings? How to service the clients who want quick answers and are not so interested in self-development? I decided to do a reading for me and my tarot readings. I chose a three card spread answering the questions “What will help me?” “What will hinder me?” and What is my potential?” Then, concentrating carefully on my situation and channeling my energy, I shuffled the cards. I pulled the following Tarot cards from the top of the deck and laid them out. This is what the cards tell me.

Card #1 – What will help me? – The Devil – A fierce looking satyr with horns and bat wings looms in a black cave, his right hand saluting us, his left carrying a torch of fire. The Devil’s number is fifteen which becomes six which is the Lovers’ number. Here the Lovers are a horned and naked Adam and Eve chained to the Devil. The sign of an inverted pentagram signifying the occult and dark magic is above the Devil’s head. How’s all of this going to help me? This is the card of bondage and addictions and we might ask ourselves which comes first because the two are irrevocably entwined. We know that addictions come in many forms: alcoholism, drugs, shopping. When we feel fear or lack which are uncomfortable we tend to find a behavior/activity that will dull or mask the discomfort. Over time when we rely on that behavior to cover the pain we become attached to it and it becomes an addiction. The Devil card encourages us to look at our attachments and to see what negativity they may be masking. For me it is my negative thinking. I am prone to a saturnine disposition (Saturn being in my second house on my natal chart) and I am on a constant quest to turn that around. Critic be gone! Being a sensitive person I feel the sting of other people’s displeasure deeply. We think it would be better to acknowledge another’s perspective as separate from mine and remember that I am delivering a message but am not the message itself. I read the cards and share the message. How the querent receives it is their story, not mine.

Card #2 – What will hinder me? The Ace of Pentacles Reversed – A hand appears out of the clouds holding a beautiful golden coin. The landscape below is verdant and lush. Pentacles in tarot refer to the element of earth and signify material things, growth, finances, wealth, work, all that is tangible. Aces are new beginnings, fresh starts, inspirations, and here represent new opportunities. However, the card is pulled in reverse, i.e. upside down. Reversals in tarot can signify delays, postponements, blockages of energy. In this retrograde climate there is little doubt that a reversal would pop up in a reading. Here we feel there may be delays in business but that should not quench my fire. Or make me believe any less in the value of my ideas and the opportunities that will show up soon. I must keep believing in the abundance that is just around the corner and work to make that happen. Perhaps more tarot study, more practice, more experience will loosen up what’s blocking the acceptance of opportunity in my mind. My tarot reading skills are solid and developing. Clients will come…

Card #3 – What is my potential? The Star – A beautiful naked woman is pouring water through two pitchers in each hand. One into a pool of water, the other making a rivulet in a surrounding landscape dotted with flowers. A bright golden star shines in blue night sky along with seven smaller white stars. Each star has eight points and there are eight stars in the sky. In tarot the number eight refers to Strength card which pictures a woman taming a lion through gentle kindness. This represents inner strength and the Star’s message of hope and inspiration allies itself with the inner strength that results from total unconditional self-acceptance and self-love. If I can tame my negative thinking and stay positive, I can infuse this hope and inspiration into my tarot card readings. In the Major Arcana, a group of cards in the tarot deck having to do with great life lessons, the Star card appears after the Tower card of upheaval and disruption. It is like the phoenix rising from the flames. Full of wisdom and grace she encourages us to live in the waters of intuition and guide our actions by the light of the stars.

Summary: When it comes to managing negative feedback, it is important to take a good look at where the sting pierces and get past the defenses of attachment behavior. Although business may be slow that should not stop belief in skills and desire to contribute to the wellbeing of others. Use the slow times to prepare for the opportunities that will reveal themselves soon. And when they do it is a call to share the hope and inspiration that is the calling to be a candle.

Where Spirit and Tarot Connect

Photo by Margaret Emory

At the beginning of a Tarot card reading I shuffle the deck of cards and say a prayer inviting spirit to come to me. What does that mean? I am focusing my energies into a higher realm and asking for divine guidance. I want to clear out my ego with its personal thoughts and emotions and allow spirit to infuse my consciousness. I am essentially clearing the way for that which I don’t know to become apparent. Because I do not know everything. That is the first lesson on my way to grace. Accepting that beyond all the study in the world the intellect is not the final ruler is perhaps, for me, the greatest lesson of the esoteric. As Hamlet says to Horatio, “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

To be sure, there is knowledge beyond the tangibles of this world and it is found in the ether of spirit. 

What is this spirit I am inviting? Where does it abide? It’s the stuff I can’t see. The wind whistling in the trees. The breath of life, source, “creator” if you will. Our lives come to us through our senses and appear in tangibles—things we touch, feel, smell, hear, see. I’m most interested in all that is not apparent. Which is interesting, for me, because I am such a Taurus earth person with my feet on the ground, plodding along with my senses establishing a secure firm hold on my world. 

Tarot, for me, is my gateway to the unseen, what lies beyond the veil in the space between dimensions. Historically the Tarot is a system of symbols, a language come down to us through the ages. At the most basic level it is a deck of playing cards with pictures of situations marking the journey of a soul through the vagaries of everyday events. Colored pictures of figures, events, stories with icons from Egyptian, metaphysical, esoteric lore are blended into a tapestry rich in symbolic meanings. 

A tarot reading could be entitled “Where the Universal and Personal Collide,” as the vibrations of these symbols resonate on many levels of awareness for each individual reader. Those impressions blended with the archetypes of the collective unconscious create a unity of awareness. A system of symbolic meaning mythic and personal in their impact. As I parse through a reading I often wonder what connects the imprints of messages. What is the glue binding these “hits” to make a story, a message. I believe it is spirit which filters in and out of the bits and pieces of information like a ribbon. 

As I watch the clouds drifting in the sky drifting in and out of shapes it seems to me that our experience on this physical plane is similar. Consciousness focuses on elements of tangible existence. Who or what guides the focus of consciousness? Is this the veil the High Priestess guards so intently? That which separates us from the mysteries of beyond? The fascination with the unknown is real and cries out for a key to help open the door. What is my key?

The tarot. These cards with their pictures, colors, symbols, are the tool I use to connecting to my intuition. My intuition is the bridge to the world beyond where the workshop of the divine exists. Angels hammer out messages of the divine guidance, readying them for my reception. As everyone’s experience of the divine is different and calls for different path enhancers, the tarot is my tool of choice. And this is my experience. I hope the experiences shared here may benefit you on your journey.