Bad Stuff

Shortly after I returned to professional practice a couple of years ago, I had a client who sat down at the table and said briskly “Don’t tell me any bad stuff!” I assured her that even the less agreeable insights that may arise in a tarot reading can be worked with creatively and constructively to produce useful guidance, even if they may not be entirely avoidable. Fortunately for both of us, her cards were instructive but not at all dire. Since that time, I’ve been intrigued by the wide gulf that seems to exist between those readers who choose to speak the unvarnished truth, no matter how unpalatable, and those who always try to find inspiration for personal growth in even the worst scenario. Say “Good day” to the first group and they will grumble “What’s good about it?” while the second will respond cheerfully “Well, at least it isn’t raining.” Another good analogy is the “glass-half-empty/glass-half-full” dichotomy.

I’m of the opinion that serious seekers submit to a reading because they want help in understanding their circumstances, hopefully of the kind that will aid them in making a decision or charting a course of action. Setting aside those who are idly curious, anyone who goes to the trouble of searching for a competent reader is looking for more than a kick in the teeth from the Universe (even if the reading seems to show that’s what they deserve at the time). Telling them “Your life is crap right now and in the foreseeable future, and you just have to suck it up” may be entirely justified, but it doesn’t do anything to inspire them to find a path through the wreckage. I won’t dwell on “empowering” vs. “enabling” since I already posted on the subject earlier (, but suffice it to say that the former gives hope for improvement while the latter frequently offers only excuses. While I’m not in the business of “soft-peddling” an ugly wart on the face of my clients’ private reality, I’m not going to rub their noses in it either, since I see no point in adding insult to injury.

That’s not to say I will mince words when the message appears to have some urgency, but as the Wicked Witch of the West observed when trying to remove the Ruby Slippers in The Wizard of Oz, “These things must be done DEL-i-cately!” If the Tower is showing me that someone may be run over by a bus when they go downtown on Saturday, I will advise them to watch where they walk and cross the street with care. The bus will still be there at the appointed time, but its intended target doesn’t have to be in the line of fire. Even a near miss is better than a road-kill, and it might even teach a valuable lesson.  Any method of divination that attempts to shed light on future events is much like a metaphysical weather forecast; you don’t necessarily have to cancel the garden party, but you might want to take precautions like renting a party tent.

Life goes on, and the best use of our gifts is to assist our sitters in making the most of it with their eyes wide open.

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