“Everything is a sign.” (Yoav Ben-Dov, The Open Reading)
As a life-long student of all things occult (even though I’ve gained no more than a nodding acquaintance with some of them), I’ve formed definite opinions about the “inner workings” of divination. In a shamanistic sense, what we’re looking for are “signs” that point toward intimations of truth, which then ideally mature into full-fledged insights about the future of an individual or situation. We may still be peering “through a glass darkly,” but as long as we avoid becoming mesmerized by the “glamours” of our own inflated self-image as readers, we can remain clear-eyed and true to our vision. Failing in that, we may well fall prey to our private subconscious preconceptions and assumptions about a matter under consideration or, even worse, as open channels for the flow of unfiltered data from inscrutable sources, we risk succumbing to the psychic overtures of supernatural forces or beings with no particular interest in bolstering our success. Rather than simply reading the signs, as self-styled purveyors of “hidden wisdom” we can become ensnared in trying to access and appropriate the inside track as our personal “edge” on universal truth. Such hubris strikes me as unwise.
There is a common belief among tarot readers that they are on the mainline to the higher planes of Spirit (even Deity) when they read, so everything they deliver is of unquestionable purity and veracity, They feel they can do this faithfully even if their querents (I hesitate to call them “sitters” unless they are actually sitting there in plain view) are half a world away. The cards still provide the “signs,” but in my opinion it’s entirely too likely in an impersonal setting for those signs to become a self-referential short-circuit leading back to the reader’s own cherished opinions rather than offering unbiased navigational flags on the road-map to enlightenment. They become their own testament to authenticity solely on the basis of their supposedly infallible origins.
The human psyche achieves communication with the more numinous heights of Spirit through the gateway of the Astral Plane, which is more emotional in its purview than mental or ethereal. While there may be advanced souls stationed there (call it “guard duty”) to guide unwary wanderers along the path, there are also less helpful and even actively hostile entities (elementals, stranded spirits, etc.) that will gleefully lead them astray. I’m not convinced that tapping this potentially dubious source of information is going to produce straight answers on behalf of another person whom I can’t look in the eye to gauge how close the putative revelations come to the mark. Every individual who submits to a reading knows far more in a subconscious way about their past, present and future circumstances (even if they aren’t aware of it at the time) than a reader can ever hope to glean from unilateral scrutiny of the signs. As an “outsider” in the querent’s personal drama, and lacking faith in the the astral channel as a reliable interpretive vehicle, I much prefer pinning my observations and insights on the querent’s own direct engagement and communion with the subtle planes through the agency of shuffling the cards, trusting to the humble device of immediate feedback for validation. To rephrase my oft-repeated mantra, “I’m not a mind reader. I just read the signs.”