The $100,000 Question: Closing in on Excellence

There used to be a TV quiz show called “The $64,000 Question.” Accounting for inflation and devaluation, let’s up the ante and call this the “$100,000 Question:” What are the key qualities that make for an exceptionally competent and effective tarot reader, those that separate the best from the rest? (Hint: It’s more than just “being right” most of the time) Needless to say, these are all things I try to bring to my own practice.

My personal list of superlatives, in no particular order of preference, includes:

Exhibits both honesty and kindness: Doesn’t beat around the bush but also doesn’t inflict undue pain when there is a more agreeable and constructive  way to deliver discouraging testimony.

Cultivates a light touch:  Keeps the reading lively and interactive, making it an engaging  dialogue rather than a monologue.

Empowers rather than enables: Expects the seeker to take ownership of the advice given by the cards, offering useful suggestions for action rather than letting the sitter off  the hook by presenting inevitable conclusions that can’t be avoided or altered.

Remains sensitive to subtleties: Makes use of all the shadings present in a reading, including reversals, card combinations, elemental harmonies and dissonances, other prominent dignities by rank and number, dominant and missing suits, story-telling “tropes,” alternate interpretations and intuitive insights. As Yoav Ben-Dov once said, “Everything is a sign.”

Wields imagination, inspiration and ingenuity to good effect: Can read between the lines of a literal interpretation to flush out its less obvious nuances, those that may defy logic but present a compelling non-linear argument for their inclusion.

Understands the history: Has a  grounding in the knowledge and wisdom found in traditional methods and their underlying body of literature, without having to quote  them “verbatim.”

Commands a superior vocabulary: Has a knack for quickly finding just the right word without having to fumble over making a point.

Is both diligent and nimble: Doesn’t miss the big stuff but also doesn’t dwell overlong on the minutiae.

Has mastered versatility:  Maintains more than one arrow in her (or his)  interpretive quiver (practical, psychological, spiritual, etc.) and can shift easily between them as needed.

Plies both the craft and the art of reading, and can segue seamlessly between “nuts-and-bolts” literalism and fluid extemporizing from free association.

Values building client awareness over dispensing “unvarnished truth:” Appreciates the difference between being truly helpful and being correct at all costs.

Exemplifies both boldness and modesty by turns. To know what one doesn’t know is the beginning of wisdom.

Feels the magic: Harbors an infectious enthusiasm and love for the practice of cartomancy. It’s not something that can be faked.

2 thoughts on “The $100,000 Question: Closing in on Excellence

  1. Maybe you will cover this in your 101 series, but expanding on “understand the history” and in aid of your other suggestions:

    Know your cards. Each deck has some underlying system, even if it is a generation or two removed in some cases. Knowing each card’s range of meanings, why it has a range of meanings, and how to apply them will help with confidence and versatility.

    Know the spread or layout. The cards fall where they do for a reason. If the reader doesn’t know the positions and what they mean, the cards may as well be turned at random.

    Know the question or lack thereof. Similar to the layout, to the extent either internal or external forces are tapped for a reading, these forces can provide clearer guidance if the minds of reader and querent are focused on the matter of interest. When the matter has been established, either in advance or during the course of the reading, keep the balance of the reading in that context.

    To an extent, these are cautions against just following your intuition or going off-script. Reading certainly involves intuition, but reading unprepared gives odd results, like stating six of cups means one will receive a gift or ten of swords means one will have back surgery, regardless of question or where cards fall in the spread. That is not intuition; it is a lazy and oddly literal method that benefits no one.

    Liked by 1 person

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