Just ask psychoanalysts, counselors and therapists.
They really do go through their own psychoanalysis and counseling as part of their training. They are trained to be aware of their own issues and biases. They are trained to be professionals, be helpers, without losing their own health and humanity in the process. In my opinion we Tarot readers owe it to ourselves to keep an eye to a similar standard. In other words, you have to have your own shit together before you can help someone who is flipping theirs.
The decision to read Tarot for other people is a serious one. You are touching minds and hearts with no less influence than counselors or ministers. Fun, entertainment and humor have an important place in Tarot too, but let’s save that for another day. I don’t have data, or academic sources to back this up, but based on long experience doing Tarot readings for hundreds of people over the years, Tarot has a very real emotional impact. Sometimes a reading brings laughter, sometimes tears, sometimes both. Stress melts and a glimmer of hope returns to a client’s eyes during a reading. I’ve seen it happen. It is an honor to play a small facilitating role in that process.
That hints at another thing I’ve seen over the decades: the best readers are motivated by a desire to help people live a little happier. We have a lot in common with those psychoanalyzed psychoanalysts and counseled counselors. Tarot is the obvious choice for our own learning. That is our top shelf, out in view technique. Tarot is, for the professional reader, literally life out on the table. Very often we are learning from a reading right along with our clients. Readings at their best are conversations. Tarot readings are life and living shared. Tarot readings are a moment when everyone at the table is connected to the greater Cosmos
Like much in Tarot World, the private personal growth aspect of Tarot practice is self-taught and hard-won. Like everything in the realm of spirituality, it is very individualized. Our choice of private personal growth techniques are as varied as each individual. Tarot readers are growing, learning, living, breathing, mistake-making, genius-moment-having, human beings like everyone else.Which is exactly why it is equally important to have something else for self-development in addition to Tarot in our toolkit. We all need something private and personal. Sure, doing readings for ourselves or having a private session with another reader would fill the bill just fine. One note does not make a song. One eye does not let us see depth. It is helpful to have a different point of view. It helps to look at life through a different lens from Tarot ever now and then. It is back to the right tool for the right job mantra that drives this post series. You can’t drive a nail with a cell phone and you can’t send a text message with a hammer.
As a Tarot reader who likes to write books and blogs, a good pen is an essential part of my Oracle Toolkit. Most of the time these days, that “pen” takes the form of a computer keyboard (not a fan of touch screens for this) I’m of an age where I can appreciate the nostalgia and writer-ness of a keyboard and it’s throwback feel to the ancient days of typewriters. But sometimes you can’t beat the pace, feel and pure magick of honest to goodness pen on paper. Personal growth and spirituality with a pen can only mean one thing: A Journal. I’m talking a no rules, no holds barred, say anything, doodle anything, book of shadows, dear diary kind of journal. It is a safety vent of the first order. You can harmlessly blow of steam. It is deliberate, targeted and reliable, more so than the psychological subconscious underworld of dreams and oracles. And it is much more active than passive. In a journal you can deliberately release and negate the energies that are harmful, or no longer serve you. It’s as simple as using that pen in your toolkit to scratch out that stuff and write something you DO want to manifest.
If you want to learn more about that aspect of journaling, I highly recommend “Writer Your Own Magic: The Hidden Power in Your Words” by Richard Webster (Llwellyn Publications.) It is a pleasant, easy read and a giant ah-HA kind of experience.
A journal is more than a tool for manifesting, banishing, DOing. It is another way to converse with yourself. It is hard to deny or hide your mistakes….all the stuff you really need to learn…when it is right there in front of you in black and white. I’m a fan of stream of consciousness style journaling. To hell with spelling, punctuation, coherent sentences or any other darn thing. Just download whatever crosses your mind, without judgement, without processing it. In that way it is very meditative. But it isn’t like meditation because it really isn’t gone. The thoughts really released and gone like leaves floating downstream, as in true meditation. They are captured, contained for a moment so you can re-read them when you are done….THEN you release them to be changed or manifested as you see fit and as you set your intent for it to be.
There are lots of books about therapeutic and creative journal keeping. Never read a one of them. I used, loved, and greatly benefited from the no holds barred, grab a pen and a cheap notebook and have at it approach.
Of course, a journal is a wonderful tool for learning, growing, self awareness, personal growth, self expression, growing closer to your spirit guides or any of a bazillion other things if you are not a Tarot reader too. Anyone can just write, with no rules and utter privacy. Yes, keep it private, that is the real magic and trick of a journal. Like the pendulum work we talked about last time, this is you doing something for you to get in touch with you. Of course you can type it. Of course you can private blog it. Heck, vlog it if that is what resonates. For me, it is hard to beat the pace and feel of old school handwriting..
All from a simple pen.
Keeping a journal helps us be better Tarot readers both for ourselves and for our clients if we also read professionally. It helps us engage with the cards in a healthy way. It helps us just plain be wiser and more mature in our work. It can help us be happier people in general. Any tool that does that deserves a place in my Oracle’s Toolkit.