A Star to Steer By

Old wine in new bottles . . .

Those of you who have been reading this blog for a while will no doubt have noticed that I tend to recycle certain ideas that have become almost axiomatic for me, and I trot them out whenever the occasion warrants it. There are a couple here but I won’t give them away.

As a part-time professional tarot reader (the rest of the time I’m just plain retired), I often ponder what the people for whom I read will do with the information I give them. Most of us who practice divination know that it’s rare to receive client feedback confirming or refuting the final outcome of a reading. Once all of the sitter’s immediate questions about the session have been answered, they go their way and, unless they return for another reading, they’re never heard from again. Sometimes I wonder whether they’re actually seeking a meaningful itinerary by which to steer a course or are only fishing for reinforcement of the opinions or suspicions that they already hold. Because I usually don’t ask for a specific question in advance, at most only wanting to know the general topic of interest, I don’t seek, nor do I get, much of an impression regarding their private motives. My job is to read the cards, not quiz or counsel my clients, so I don’t need to know the details of their lives if they choose not to reveal them. I’m not trying to impress anyone with my prescience, only offering total privacy. As I’ve said many times before, the sitter’s dialogue is really with the cards, I’m just the interpreter.

From a purely predictive standpoint, I’ve found that tarot isn’t particularly useful for identifying routine events in the near future, especially of the “yes-or-no” variety, since – assuming a life-changing disaster of some kind doesn’t intervene to turn the situation on its head – it’s all too easy to twist them into self-fulfilling prophecies through one’s intentional action or inaction (like staying home with your head under the covers, although some might argue that gaining awareness of the need for such caution is the best justification for getting a reading). It’s forte seems to be mid-range forecasts promoting well-thought-out engagement with upcoming circumstances of a more exceptional nature. It excels at what I like to call “situational awareness and developmental insight,” both of which invoke a broad scope of inquiry that examines more consequential factors and essential variables (for which I typically draw a larger number of cards). Because the timing of predicted events is seldom immutable, it may be feasible as well as prudent  to brace for their presumed arrival by adopting a defensive stance while still not knowing exactly when to duck. At the other end of the spectrum, unusually long-range predictions of a year or more often prove to be unreliable because over time one’s personal destiny can become so thoroughly entwined with the objectives and agendas of other people or of events-at-large that those external impacts can drive the outcome in an entirely unexpected direction. In other words, don’t trust them to follow the script.

When I was in college, a philosophy professor (who was also an ordained minister) sprang “Pascal’s Wager” on us, which he paraphrased as “It’s safer to believe in a god who doesn’t exist than to doubt the existence of one who does.” As Bob Dylan had God say to Abraham in Highway 61, “You can do what you want to but/ The next time you see me comin’ you better run!” In the present context, it is unquestionably wiser to act as if an unfavorable result shown by the cards is plausible than to utterly discount its likelihood, even if only by keeping your eyes peeled for its onset and preparing to give it a wide berth (or to run if necessary). Think of divination as a navigation tool similar to a compass, not as an infallible weather-vane for your successes and failures. (Hmm, another “quotable quote?”)

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