Decades ago, when I first discovered tarot, there wasnâ€™t much internet nor too terribly many books, so a lot of learning was done through experimenting, just laying the cards down and seeing what happened. Whether I was exploring with my sister or a friend, you can probably guess where we worked: the kitchen table. It was always the kitchen table. When Melissa first brought us this book, I knew it would be something specialâ€¦and it is.
She has a chapter on taking good care of your toolsâ€¦something most tarot books have. However many of us forget that our bodies, spirits, emotions, and minds are also part of the reading mix and need care just as much as our cards. Here is what she has to say:
Your state of being will affect your readings. This is important. Even the most experienced reader has bad days. You have to take care of yourself to give good readings. Youâ€™re the tool in this exchange. Youâ€™re the conduit. If youâ€™re feeling broken down, your reading will be battered as well. Here are some ways you can be sure to give terrible readings:
Mental: Doing readings while youâ€™re high or drunk just is a bad idea. How are you supposed to help someone find their path when you canâ€™t even stand up on yours? Bad idea.
Emotional: If youâ€™ve just suffered a crisis and are emotionally wrought – please donâ€™t read for other people.
Physical: Pain can alter your perceptions. You might be cranky because of it. You might be distracted. Just be aware of your body and its limitations. If you have the flu, put the cards down.
Spiritual: If you are World Weary. If you have had too much bad news lately and itâ€™s really getting to you, just reschedule the reading.
Once you find your groove, make new habits that help you before and after readings. Iâ€™ve been reading for a very long time, and my routine is still changing. I have a morning meditation time which is something that Iâ€™ve never done before. I choose a card for the day and journal about it, and then I feed my tortoise, Phil. Itâ€™s 20 minutes of my day that gets my head on straight and gives me time to wake up.
I know readers who will meditate before each reading, or will do a cleansing ritual. Iâ€™ve never prepared a lot before readings, but again, everyone is different. I am personally a very straightforward person, and this is reflected in how I approach Tarot readings. I just do them. I used the book to suss out the card meanings for about 10 years, but honestly? When I read for someone, about 20% of the information comes from the cards, and 80% comes from my brain. I hear names sometimes, I see pictures or scenes play out like a movie reel.
This works out in a few ways for me because giving readings is truly as natural as breathing. I’ve read for people at bars, on Venice Beach, in the grass, in the woods, while riding in a car, whatever. I’ve never had problems preparing to give readings or getting in the right headspace.
The problem is this: I’ve never learned how to properly ground and center my energy. Gasp! Scandal! Yes. This is truth. I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way from people who have been doing this longer than me, but I never really thought about it until a few years ago. The purpose of grounding and centering is to make sure that youâ€™re on solid ground emotionally and spiritually, and that youâ€™re going to be fine after the reading is complete. This is why you have your tarot cards. I gave a reading without my cards (bad, bad, don’t do this) a few years ago, and I was swimming in my client’s emotions. She drove home grinning and singing, and I drove home sobbing hysterically and calling my Reiki Angel – begging her to get it off, off, OFF of me. (and she did and I love you, Jenny). Our tarot cards are the conduit between our clientâ€™s selves and ourselves. Theyâ€™re like a welderâ€™s blast shield and keep you separate.
Whatever your spiritual path, I feel that learning how to visualize protection energy is extremely important in any stressful or emotional career. If you envision a shield around you, you not only have the visual to boost your confidence, but you’ve been still, taken the time to slow your breathing and have mentally prepared yourself for what’s coming up. It’s like putting on emotional/mental armor. I don’t know that my readings will change for this, but I know that I will. I’ll be stronger, and better able to do my job.
Grounding is essentially settling down. After doing energy work, after readings, after finishing a huge non-mystical project – where does that energy go? Well, nowhere, really, unless you send it away.
Have you ever had so much energy that you can’t stop moving? I’m a bouncer. I bounce and fidget constantly. If I don’t pay attention to it, I literally don’t stop moving. Sometimes, though, especially when I’m about to do a reading, that kind of Tigger behavior is distracting and inappropriate. It’s especially bad for me after I’ve done a lot of readings. I can’t concentrate. I can’t stop talking. I call my poor friends and blather on and on about my day. I’m annoying as hell.
To help you remember how to ground yourself, so you’re not as annoying as I am, I’m going to use the four elements as teachers.
Here are a few things you might do to get ready for your readings or wind down from them, organized by Element. Weird, but it works:
1. Earth – Stomp your feet on the ground. Go running or walking. Lay down in the grass. Garden. Put your hands in the dirt. When I was a social worker, I would stop outside of my car before I left for the day and stomp my feet like crazy to get all of that (sometimes very negative) energy off of me before I got home. Pet your animals. Have really good sex.
2. Air – Breathe! Yoga breathing is outstanding. This kind of breathing by Dr. Andrew Weil works great for me – you breathe in for a four count, hold for seven, and exhale for eight. It feels great. You can read or meditate, too.
3. Fire – Use a candle to meditate. I would say smoke, because that worked for me for a long time, but smoking is bad for you, so light a candle and stare at it for a bit. Send your energy to the wick and imagine it getting turned into smoke and blowing away.
4. Water – Take a shower. Take off all of your jewelry and put it in water to disperse any energy it’s collected. Take a bath. Go for a swim. Stand in the rain.