Using Tarot for Creative Writing and NaNoWriMo
Your Deck Is Too Expensive

I Am Not a Candy Machine (Or, Why I Am Not A Fortuneteller)

Candy machine
Insert coin, get my future told. Sounds good to me!

When you go up to a candy machine, you put in your money, select the type of candy you want and get exactly what you pay for (provided the machine is in good working condition).

Many people think Tarot readers work the same way. Querents order the reading they want, plop down their money and then proceed to tell the reader what they want to know.

Sheila wants to know if Johnny’s cheating on her, Margaret wants to know if she’ll ever find a soulmate and Greg wants to know if his stocks will go up. These types of querents want easy answers that could just as readily be answered by a coin toss…and not cost them a dime.

Some readers have no qualms taking a querent’s money and answering such shallow questions. Their defense is “The querent knows what they want. Who am I to tell them to change their question?”

These are the fortunetellers in the Tarot world. They’re also known as card readers. They don’t have much wisdom beyond what the cards tell them, usually retrieved from a cache of associations they’ve memorized via books, “experts” or their own reading experience.

Interestingly, around five years ago, a presenter at a popular Tarot conference took a poll of all the professional readers assembled. “How many of you consider yourself psychic?” the presenter asked. Surprisingly, only a few hands went up. When prodded, the readers said they simply “read what’s in the cards”.

Shallow answers for shallow questions.

And that’s fine and dandy if you want to be a fortuneteller who’s strictly a “card reader”. You’ll have clients out the whazoo until the next Ice Age, because most people want easy answers—mostly “yes” or “no”—to simplistic questions.

Mow, mow, mow the lawn...weeds keep coming back. Merrily, merrily, merrily, Tarot reader don't know jack.

Fortunetellers are the candy machines of readers. To use another metaphor, they’re the ones that mow the weeds over and over and over again, ensuring repeat clients who can never seem to get rid of those dandelions.

Then there are readers like me, who don’t try to predict the future (although that may be a side benefit) and who refuse to read for such near-sighted querents. We’re the ones who have backgrounds in Jungian psychology, theology, pastoral counseling and/or spiritual directorship. Some of us even have Ph.D.s.

We’re trained to address the root of the weed so it never comes back. Since we address the root—and usually equip our clients with some Grade A weed killer to keep the pesky flora from coming back—we may not have the same repeat clientele banging on our doors as do the surface mowers.

Then again, Tarot readers who address the root of issues tend to draw sophisticated clients who want to do the hard work of consciousness, healing and growth. So when they have yet another problematic area that’s preventing their spiritual or emotional advancement, they know exactly who to go to.

The root addressers, diametrically opposed to the surface mowers (aka fortunetellers), do not believe “the client knows best”. Like a doctor, lawyer, accountant or other professional, root addressing Tarot readers are trained to give specific types of knowledge to clients.

Hey, Doc, prescribe me some Oxy STAT!

Think of it this way: you don’t go to the doctor, tell him what’s wrong with you and then order him to give you five specific drugs to take care of the ailment. Better yet, you sure as hell don’t go to a doctor, look at her and say, “Guess what’s wrong with me?” (which is what some skeptical, “prove it to me” querents attempt with some readers—again, usually fortuneteller types—because that’s the ilk they attract).

If clients truly knew what was best for them, they wouldn’t be going to Tarot readers. Unless, of course, they want simple answers so they can attempt to sway or control the future out of fear.

So that’s why I’m not a candy machine aka a fortuneteller. I couldn’t accept money, in good conscience, from desperate, fearful clients who want answers that could be easily answered by coin toss.

No, what I am is a spiritual coach, soul midwife and psychic root addresser. Of course, it depends on my clients if they want to actually pull up the roots or apply the weed killer—but at least I’ve given them the tools to address the heart of an issue.

So if you want a candy bar machine for a Tarot reader, you’ll just have to look elsewhere.

-- Janet


Lisa Frideborg

Brilliant post, Janet!

Janet Boyer

Thank you, Lisa! Thanks so much for stopping by. XO

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