Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Nine of Swords

When I read that my friend's wife was cheating on him, I stopped reading tarot. We were sitting in his bedroom, right after I read my pregnancy (with Umberto) in those same cards. The cards were laid out on the bed. It was only his wife, him, and I in the room upstairs. From below we could hear the party, laughing and bottles clicking as people drank away. I was tired. I had already read about three other people before this reading. I had worked that day, had a full day of classes, and was not up for a night full of tarot reading. But here I was with this story spread before me. I looked down, away from them, trying to figure out a way to tell them what I was seeing. This is not the kind of news anyone wants to bare but it is harder, perhaps, when the news come from something as irrational as tarot. He insisted that I just tell him. He was already reading them himself, trying to interpret the meaning from the spread. When I finally told them, they both looked at each, amazed. He knew already.

For me it was the most disturbing reading I had ever done. Not to brag, but I am damn good at reading tarot. At this point, I had been reading for almost ten years. I couldn't, and still can't, explain how I see the stories I do. I look at the cards, I know their meanings, but what happens is that they form together in my mind to tell a story about the person I am reading for. I look at them, and can see inside someone. I see the emotions that fuel them, the ways they are likely to behave and the ways they are capable of behaving. It's never been hard, except for the energy, to see the story. What is often hard is the telling of that story. I've never doubted my readings, and the few times it has been fuzzy, I've been upfront and told the person I couldn't give them an accurate reading. But sometimes there are things I just don't want to tell people. Those are the hard stories.

I put my tarot away after that reading for my friend. I carried the deck with me for a long time. Wrapped in a bit of blue silk cloth, it came with me to Fayetteville, then to Mexico, and finally back to Charlotte. When C was about a year old, she found them, and scattered them all over the house. She chewed on them, ripped them, and even found the scissors at one point to cut some of them into a million pieces. For a while, we had the death card on our fridge but even that got lost in one of our many moves. I didn't replace the deck although I often though about buying a new one.

Last week, I ordered a new tarot deck. It was not the same as I had lost but I liked this deck and had worked with it before. It's a nice deck, clear in its symbolism and meaning. I thought that since it had been so long since I had read, having such a clear deck would make it easier to transition back into reading. I liked the deck the moment I held it in my hand. It felt right as I shuffled the cards, getting myself used to their feel.

What inspired this sudden purchase? I suspect it was just some shit that has been happening in my life. Too often I've felt utterly lost. Not sure what I was feeling. Not sure of how I should be responding. Feeling like I was fucking up on so many levels. It's the most lost I've felt in along time, and somehow my thoughts just turned towards the tarot. I know many people don't read their own cards but I always have. The cards have helped me more than once to clarify situations, to give me directions in handling things. I don't think I ordered the cards with that kind of clarity but looking back it makes sense.

H and I have been doing daily cards. I've been teaching him a bit about reading. Yesterday I drew the Death card, and just kind of nodded. Change was certainly happening. Today it was the nine of swords which also made a lot of sense. I was feeling guilt, remorse, just generally bad about my own responsibility in the aforementioned shitty situation. Then later, I felt confident enough to read the cards. I laid a spread for myself, and again found myself nodding. Smiling. Not only were the cards right on but I could read them. Again I could see that story laid before me. It was a rusty start but once I opened myself to the cards, I could begin to see the story there, the paths possible, those shadowy threads that lead into multiple becomings. And then I read for H. His reading was stronger. I still had to look at the book but with his spread, I could see the connections between the cards, the message, the story that laid there for him.

We talked about it afterwards. He was a little shaky at the accuracy, and he asked me if I always read with such accuracy. I thought about it and realized I have always told the right story. Sometimes it is not the story the person in front of me wanted to hear. Sometimes the cards pick up something deeper, something that lies below the level of the consciousness of the asker. Those readings always freak the person out more. They say "That's not the question I asked but the answer makes sense."

And now I'm reading again. Telling stories with my cards. It feels good. I forgot how much I really do love reading tarot. It's another step closer to a spirituality that feels like mine.


Jet LeBlanc said...

I put away the cards for 10 years after they correctly predicted my father's death. I don't read frequently anymore, but I share your respect for the stories and I too have experienced the freaked out people going, how did you....? The cards don't lie.

Horacio said...

Well, my reading def. was right on and reshifted the focus of my original question. It was a glad surprise to see that the reading I got was more satisfying than what I would have got if my "original" concern/question had been addressed directly by the cards.

Everytime I touch the cards before my reading or the drawing of a daily card I feel me leaving an imprint: the kind of imprint one leaves in a writing notebook, or one's keyboard when writing becomes intense or even in the hand of someone that means a lot to us.

That imprint is there but it is only up to a talented reader to make sense of it: to piece together the disparate elements in a story, to weave and read. In this sense reading tarot is not much different than tapestry: as one weaves one is also putting the pieces of a story together to reveal an image that can be read.

beautiful post. thank you for the reading and everything else.