Reading the Tarot

I am a tarot reader. I have been reading for over 20 years. In the ‘90s I used to read tarot on the street in the East Village, and then I moved on to a small and private practice.

As an early skeptic raised in a strict religious environment, I have to say that there was, at first a spooky thrill about it - the first time I read, I was waiting for the walls to bleed. But of course they did not. And that spooky feeling was just a spiritual hangover from my evangelical upbringing. Readings shouldn’t make you feel spooky or scared. Readings should help you. I learned that from my first “alive” tarot reading.

She sat down at my little table on St. Mark’s - a young, blond tourist out bar-hopping with a couple of girlfriends. Seemed happy and having fun. She was probably my age exactly. I laid out the Celtic Cross and told her what they said. There were badly aspected male court cards and a 9 of cups in the “what others are thinking of you” position - a strange place, I thought, in a pretty unhappy reading. So I told her what they said. And she told me what they meant. She was celebrating her upcoming wedding to a man everyone thought was perfect and he was secretly abusing her. We both sat there and stared at each other. Cautiously, I explained that I was not saying this, because I did not know her, but the cards were telling me to tell her to break it off.

I was as surprised as she was! It was a sign of the tool’s benevolence, though, that the first time I nailed it was to give someone an important and helpful message. And a lot of those were negative, scary cards. But she needed to see them. They were there to help her. Not to tell her she was doomed.

I know the cards won’t hurt me. Life hurts. The cards just don’t lie. Everyone needs a friend that doesn’t lie.

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