Archive for October, 2011

 

That’s what I get for being a smartass.  What’s wrong with me is that I cling tenaciously to my vision of the world and my place in it.  I am a very fixed personality and change really shakes my security tree.  I can be oblivious (deliberately so) to any potential benefits that might result from these changes.  And one of the concept which I cling to strongest of all is how I see myself.  I am a master at rationalization and can explain away any positive or negative consequences or outcomes.  It’s quite amazing if I do say so myself.

So after my pity party resulting from the fact that I do not seem to be very successful at expanding (okay who am I kidding, creating) my Tarot business, I began to consider why none of the folks for whom I’ve done readings have ever come back for a second.  None!  That has to signify something.  Of course I’d prefer to believe it’s all them but in reality the only answer is that it’s me.  Something about my reading style or personality does not encourage repeat clients.  I can be oblivious but even I can’t ignore this fact.  So then the next thing I need to consider is what is the problem?  What do I do (or not do) that discourages repeat clients or even recommendations and referrals?

Well, let’s see.  The first thought that sprang into my head is that perhaps I’m not the most sympathetic ear folks can find.  I realized this last night as I was chatting with an acquaintance on Facebook.  I would say we are friendly rather than friends.  This person is actually a friend of my mother’s and I have known her for many years.  However, I have never really considered her my friend.  And as we were “chatting” I felt myself thinking “why are you telling me this?  I don’t care”.  That’s when it clicked, when the lightning struck and blasted away one of my preconceived notions about myself – I can be fairly intolerant and find it difficult to fake interest and friendship.  If I like someone, then I like them.  If I don’t like someone, I am fairly transparent about that too.  As I have often said, I am as deep and mysterious as a shallow stream.  I have no ability to hide how I feel.

Applying this to reading Tarot cards for others, that means if I’m in the wrong frame of mind I can seem unsympathetic and even judgmental.  Even if I don’t say the words, I’m fairly sure my body language and attitude convey this.  It’s interesting that the most frequent response I receive from clients is “Well I already knew that” and my reaction (even if I never voice it) tends to be “then why haven’t you done anything about it?”  Not exactly the best approach for a Tarot reader I suppose.  It’s not that I don’t care and don’t want to be supportive but unfortunately I often take a more traditionally “masculine” approach to things (you know that “c’mon, man up” attitude) in an effort to avoid dealing with feelings; painful, messy, awkward feelings.

And of course all of this is further complicated by the fact that I detest marketing myself.  I feel it would dishonest of me to claim that I’m better than other readers or that I have amazing gifts.  I might be better than some readers but I’m sure there are others better than me.  I just have an aversion to the whole concept.  Or perhaps that is simply an excuse I use to explain why I’ve been unsuccessful at building up a Tarot practice.  As I’ve already explained, I’m very good a rationalizing things.

I really need to consider this because it occurs to me that perhaps I do not have the personality to be a Tarot reader.  I may have the technical knowledge and the skill to be a reader, but if I am unable to connect with clients then what is the point of reading for others?  So if I do wish to pursue a career as a Tarot reader, then I need to change my technique.  Obviously what I am doing now is not effective so something must change.  I can only imagine that what I would need to change is me.  I would need to be more sympathetic, more open and allow myself to connect with the clients on an emotional level.  Of course the mere thought of people becoming overwrought during a Tarot reading gives me the shivers.  I’m not at my best when dealing with others’ tears.  This card has given me a lot to think about and will definitely force me to make changes that will probably have some life-long impact.  Damn!!!

 

Drawing the Queen of Cups today was especially symbolic and appropriate because over the last few weeks (oh who am I kidding, over the last few years), I’ve developed a lot of self-doubts about my abilities as a Tarot reader.  Don’t misunderstand, I know I have a fairly decent knowledge of Tarot – its history, the card meanings, its connections to various other occult traditions.  However, this does not necessarily translate into an ability to read for others.  I’ve seen people who have less experience that I do become fabulous & successful Tarot readers.  I do no begrudge them their success and if he or she is a friend, I am usually happy for them.  Then I end up wondering why I don’t have that kind of success.

A conversation with a friend last night forced me to stop and think about my situation.  I often joke that I have a resistance to becoming a professional reader but is it truly a resistance or it is fear?  Am I really afraid that if I put myself out there as a reader I will fail abysmally?  I have to wonder why none of the people for whom I’ve done a reader come back or recommend me to a friend.  When I read for others I often get reactions such as “well I already knew that” (which can be a bit frustrating when they insist they don’t have any specific questions at the start of the reading).  Maybe my technique needs work.  I don’t know what the problem is but it’s demoralizing.  I feel like shaking them and myself or maybe just shaking my fist at the Universe and crying out – What am I doing wrong?!!  Am I sending out the wrong vibe?  Am I really just not that good a reader?  I just don’t have the answer right now.

And that brings us back to the Queen of Cups.  For me, the Queen of Cups often symbolizes trusting my intuition and listening to my inner wisdom, developing my psychic abilities and learning to use them in a way that benefits myself and others. In the past, we’ve had a somewhat antagonistic relationship because I haven’t always trusted my intuition, psychic abilities or emotions.  To often, in my past, these have been used in negative ways for manipulation.  I’m much more comfortable with my Wands-y and Swords-y nature.  Having said that, the Queen of Cups and I have been able to forge a relationship but it’s still in its early stages.  So is my fear driven by my reluctance and mistrust of the Queen of Cups’ gifts?  Or is it that I have not yet fully embraced my inner Queen of Cups?

I’m still very confused about this issue.  I think I need to do a more thorough reading about it but it’s also distinctly possible that can’t see things clearly.  Unfortunately because I’m exceedingly stubborn and convinced I know what best for me, getting a reading from someone else would probably go in one ear and out the other.  Although I always appreciate the insights of others, for some reason, they just don’t make as big an impression on me.  Sheesh, right now I’m feeling like quite a mess and I just don’t like it.  Indecisiveness is not natural to me.  I need to do something to fix this situation.

 

My initial reaction to these cards is that my message from the Tarot is that I need to spend some time finding ways to reconnect with that side of me that still has a child-like sense of whimsy and fun.  Sometimes it is so easy to get bogged down in the day to day responsibilities and obligations in life that I lose sight of the simple joys such as seeing a bear walking across my backyard at 2AM (which happened a little over a week ago), and watching the leaves change color and fall.  Even reconnecting with friends brings a lightness and joy to my heart that I didn’t realize I was missing.

Last week I was able to spend two days reconnecting with friends.  We had wonderful times (well I had wonderful times – I can’t vouch for what they felt).  I got to see a rather quirky, short play with one and had dinner at a fabulously funky cafe in the East Village (one of the last lingering remnants of what the East Village used to be before gentrification struck).  One day I met a friend for lunch at Le Pain Quotidien – a place which always makes me feel marvelously continental.

I also visited some of the few brick & mortar bookstores in the area.  They are dying breed and I want to try to keep them open as long as possible.  I always love The Strand – both for the challenge of finding books there and because I stumble across books I have never heard of before.  I stopped at Barnes & Noble on Union Square but it has become obvious that I am no longer their target demographic.  It seems as though their Nook is gaining space and their children’s section has been expanded but their cookbook section is smaller and I couldn’t bear to visit their Pagan/New Age section.  That has been depressingly limited for some time.  When I realized the entire second floor is being transformed into Kiddie Land I was both happy and horrified.  I think it’s wonderful that B&N are trying to attract children while they are young (presumably with the hope that they will stay customers as adults) but why the second floor?  You can’t avoid passing it who wants to hear hoards of screaming kids while looking at books (and trust me – no matter how much they are told to quiet down, kids get restless and fidgety after a while).  It seems to me that putting the children’s section on the top floor – where they won’t negatively impact other patrons, makes more sense.  Then again I realize I’m becoming more curmudgeonly as I get older.

Anyway, I think my message is that I need to stop and watch the bears sometimes.  I need to have fun, play like a child and let myself laugh, remember and smile.  There are days when that’s not such as easy thing to do but those are probably the days when it’s the most important.

What the hell was I thinking?

 

This card combined with the Knight of Cups earlier this week forced me to reassess and reconsider the way I’ve been living lately.  The first thought that struck me when I saw this card is that I need to remember who I am!  I’ve always identified with the Queen of Wands.  I have a lot of fiery energy in my personality and my birth chart, sometimes to a fault.  Lately, as a result of various family obligations and lifestyle issues, I have been tamping down all that fiery energy.  When one is caring for an elderly relative, that aggressive, assertive energy is overwhelming and misplaced.  It called for a gentler more nurturing approach.  On the one hand that is wonderful because it has provided me with an opportunity to more fully explore my inner Queen of Cups and we have come to a cordial detente.  She and I  will probably never be bosom buddies but at least I can allow her energy in my life without the negative reactions I’ve experienced in the past.  Unfortunately my inner Queens of Wands and Swords have been virtually neglected and unappreciated.  Seeing the Queen of Wands come up for me today brought all of this into my consciousness.

Seeing the Knight of Cups on Wednesday reminded me that I’ve been searching for something that will allow me to unleash some of my energy and fulfill me on an emotional level.  My first reaction when looking at the Wormweird Knight of Cups was that I should be careful not to drown my sorrows in a bottle, which is certainly a family tendency.  I have been rather cautious about drinking simple because if something goes wrong I want to be able to handle it without the added burden of being hung over.  Unfortunately that has also caused me to avoid friends and situations that might involve drinking – oh hell I’ve avoided most socializing in general.  I’m isolating myself and that’s not healthy.  I think the Knight of Cups is reminding me that I need to seek out my own emotional supports.  I need to find friends that can help me deal with my own frustrations during this time.

Like many stay-at-home mothers, I’ve lost sight of myself – my needs, my interests and my desires, because I put the needs of someone else ahead of my own.  It is certainly a noble sentiment but what happens when the person for whom you are caring no longer needs your care?  You are left feeling hollow and empty with no idea of who you are anymore.  I think there is a serious risk in wrapping your whole life around someone else’s needs or to your profession because if the situation changes and that focus is gone, we risk becoming lost and drifting.  We forget what our goals were and what we dreamed of achieving in our lives.  I don’t want to let that happen to me.  In order to avoid it, I need to take more concrete steps to take back my life – even if it’s only for 2 days a week.  I am entitled to it and I deserve it.  There is nothing wrong in occasionally being a bit selfish and claiming time to attend to your own needs.  I lost sight of this fact for a while but now I’m changing that pattern.

Looking at the two images on these cards I was struck by the idea that no one cares, no one is watching out for me or seeking to help me.  The female figure on the Deviant Moon card (described as a fallen woman in the LWB) is straggling through the streets in search of succor and it seems she can find it at the church.  However that one big eye peering out at her is unnerving and seems to be watching her struggles and judging her.  So the question becomes – will she be allowed into the sanctuary of the church or condemned for her lifestyle and turned away?  There is often help available but when we ask for it we are asked a series of questions and judged as to our worthiness to receive aid.  It is discouraging and demoralizing to go through this process and be denied.  How many people in the US right now are in need of assistance but cannot receive it because they don’t meet the criteria?

On the Dark Grimoire 5 of Pentacles, a lone man sites in an alley watching cloaked and hooded figures parade by him.  At his side is a bottle – could it be alcohol?  He has the appearance of a man haunted by his dreams or perhaps his nightmares.  Are these hooded figures searching for him?  Perhaps he was expected to participate in these rites but his fears and conscience would not let him.  Or perhaps this is the first time he has been made aware of this group and their practices – could they hold the answers he seeks?  Although there is something vaguely repellant and frightening about these figures, it does not necessarily follow that they are evil.  Or maybe he is just trying to convince himself of this because he so desperately wants what they seem to offer.  How often have we ignored our better judgment, not listened to our inner voice because it was telling us not to do something which we truly desired.  In retrospect we often come to regret our impulsiveness and wish we had heeded our inner wisdom but it is often too little too late.

Combined these cards present a portrait of a lonely figure who is seeking answers, the way, assistance or simply shelter from the cold.  Sometimes we are afraid to ask for the aid we need, other times we do ask and are denied or judged wanting and do not meet the standards imposed by those providing the aid.  Looking at them reinforces my sense of being alone and helpless in an uncaring universe.  However I refuse to dwell on these feelings.  There are people who care and who will help if they can.  Unfortunately bureaucracies are often useless in times like this (for example, how is FEMA’s arranging loans for flood victims to have lost everything actually helpful?) but where bureaucracies fail, human kindness and generosity often makes up for the lack.  Maybe that is what I need to see today – there is assistance out there but I need to seek it from individuals and small good Samaritan organizations rather than NPOs and government agencies.  There is often assistance, succor and support available if we look in the right places.

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