I am lucky to work with two wonderful colleagues in addition to Brigit over at Biddy Tarot: Sherry and Joanna. Joanna and I were colleagues working together as free readers with Biddy’s Free Reader Network, when there were only a handful of us. I spent about three months offering free readings after having only read for myself for over a decade, before I felt confident that I was ready to go public in reading for others. Sherry and I, on the other hand, “met” as we were the first two endorsed readers that Brigit brought on board.
Sherry is a psychic tarot reader. I’ll be honest when I say that the word “psychic” has always made me put up my defenses. It’s no secret that in the world of divination, cartomancy, etc., it’s buyer beware. A client’s vulnerability and willingness/need to share intimate personal details can make him or her an easy target for unscrupulous people who pose as psychics, charging money just to tell them what they want to hear. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to deceive convincingly, especially when clients are so receptive to hearing what they oftentimes openly communicate as their hopes and desires in their inquiries.
In Sherry’s own words, here is how she describes her unique way of reading cards:
The way I read is different to most because the point at which I diverge in my methods is earlier than other readers. Rather than choosing a spread as such, I just start to lay the cards out in a line. By the time I reach the fourth or fifth card, I start to hear the ‘story’ of what is happening in your life play out in my head.
The thing is, I’m not simply a Tarot reader. I am also a clairsentient/clairaudient psychic. What does that actually mean? The Tarot cards ‘jumpstart’ my intuition, and your story comes to me in words and feelings. I can particularly feel how you feel in your given situation and I am given the language to describe this back to you. I am then shown how this situation will play out or resolve itself.
After I’d been working with Biddy Tarot clients for a while, Sherry and I connected a few times, and one of those times we connected over a shared client who had contacted each of us for a reading. The client had decided to approach Sherry for a reading after receiving my reading, for more in-depth information on some topics that had emerged. I don’t do predictive readings, so when clients want more specific predictive information on a topic, I often refer them directly to Sherry. At that time, I had no direct knowledge of the way that Sherry presented her readings to clients; I recommended her on good faith based on Brigit’s high standards. In that first shared client encounter, she and I shared with each other our individual readings for the same client, confidentially and with the client’s permission.
We discovered that despite our two different methods of reading the cards and interpreting them, and despite the fact that neither of us had had contact with each other regarding the client or additional information about the client prior to our readings, we had both received and passed along to the client the same overall message.
I’ve been doing tarot long enough now that almost nothing truly surprises me anymore. However, in this case it was a delightful new discovery to find that a reader who I perceived to have a method quite removed from my own, was receiving and delivering the same overall message that I was for the same client. It had an impact on me to realize that we were apparently somehow tapping the same source for our information, despite the fact that one of us is openly psychic (Sherry) while I feel I haven’t got a “psychic” bone in my body! This idea can lead to a number of conclusions, none of which are either right or wrong, but all of which open the door to new ways of thinking.
This phenomenon happened on yet another occasion with a shared client, and at that point I wanted to explore it further on a more intentional basis. Recently, I approached Sherry to see if she would be interested in working on a joint reading for use in a blog post. She was open to the idea, and this post is the result.
I sent the client’s inquiry to Sherry and we performed readings individually, without sharing any notes before our interpretations were complete. I’ve also included the actual readings in full without any editing, so that you can see how our styles are different and yet also find correspondences in how the client message is, generally speaking, the same overall theme.
I’m not attempting to either find an argument for or against proving or disproving why this might occur. I simply want to highlight here that on every occasion that Sherry and I have read for the same client on the same topic, we emerge with a similar message for the client. For me, given the statistical probabilities and combinations for storytelling in a deck of 78 cards, I like the inexplicable “magic” that creates this result.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
Inquiry from “Elizabeth” (client name has been changed to protect privacy):
I have had such a difficult relationship with my in laws. They have previously threatened me, terrorized me, and created a rift between me and my husband. My heart says not to trust them. I live with paranoia and anxiety that they will hurt me again either mentally, emotionally, or physically.
I don’t want to live the rest of my life worried about them and what they might do. I can’t seem to relax and believe that it’s all over with. I question every conversation we have and wonder if they mean something else by it. What do I need to know about my relationship with my in-laws? What advice do the cards have for me about how to move forward?
Elizabeth, the first thing I have coming through here relates to your relationship with your husband because this actually lies at the crux of this situation and the rest of the parties involved are just pushing energies behind him. I’m being shown that you want this man to be your knight in shining armour, as it were, and to rescue you; however, I feel as though this man wants to you rescue yourself because he is incapable of it and nor is it his role in this particular spiritual cycle for you.
I’m being given a type of ‘herding’ motion from upstairs, as though you are being pushed towards a type of self-actualisation and interestingly, this is what your husband hopes for you too. I feel as though you have entered into a pre-life agreement with this man to set up these circumstances around you in order to drive you towards this particular outcome. I’m being shown that on a soul level, his participation in this scenario is causing him significant distress though and there is a woman here who is shoving his energy forward and driving his behaviour – she’s coming through as a type of puppet master.
Now when I say ‘outcome’ – I’m not referring to an event, Elizabeth. What I feel is that you have existed in your current state for a considerable period of time and what these circumstances in your life are doing is driving you towards a transformative change where you are being asked to step into a personal power where you show yourself compassion and kindness, and almost mother yourself really. As part of this, you are being asked to do what is best for you, regardless of whether that meshes with the wishes of those around you.
It may be the case that you have lived previous lifetimes of selflessness and in order for your soul to learn and grow, you are now being asked to put yourself forward above any needs of those around you. Upstairs are telling me that you have had enough energetically; that is, you are battered and bruised from this experience and now is the time to start to put practicalities in place to rid yourself of it. This will involve a significant decision on your part about whether to not only remain in the primary relationship with your husband but also in relationships with other parties involved in this situation. I’m being told that you are very capable of undertaking this lesson and learning experience for yourself Elizabeth.
Shelley’s 6-card reading:
Cards 1, 2, 3: What do I need to know about this situation with my in-laws? 10 of Cups, Judgement, 5 of Wands
Card 4: What do I need to be aware of regarding my husband’s role in this situation? Knight of Pentacles
Card 5: Advice/guidance for me now, what I can or should do to move forward in the best way possible – 3 of Cups
In this first series of cards, we see a story in which Judgement is taking center stage, flanked by two cards of completely opposing natures. So the key here is Judgement and the concepts behind the card of Judgement, with both of the “bookend” cards explaining what’s at stake here.
When we see the card Judgement, what we’re really looking at is a complete and total transformation, a metaphorical and oftentimes very literal sort of rebirth. We see people literally rising up out of their graves, answering an angel trumpeting down to them, what I often refer to as a proverbial “wake up call.” This card absolutely indicates that you listen to this wake up call that is being sent down and also have the courage, strength, and determination to stand up and answer it. This card often evokes ideas for me of the planet of Pluto in astrology. Pluto is the smallest planet and yet it is the one that paradoxically has the most sort of mysteriously concentrated power, one in which change comes whether we like it or not, in a very sort of spiritual and soul-altering way.
Where, then, is this change coming from or what is it regarding? On the left we see the 10 of Cups. Clearly, even without having studied tarot, we can recognize that this card has a happy air to it, what with the colorful rainbow, bright scenery, bucolic setting, loving couple embracing and saluting the rainbow almost as if in gratitude, while two small children dance around. The cups in the tarot are symbolic for our emotional relationships, our feelings, our intuitive and non-rational impulses and our heart’s longings. Here we see a 10, sign of completion, and we see that we have a loving, harmonious family celebrating their good fortune and their happy home.
This plays a strong contrast to what we see on the right, the 5 of Wands, a card in which five people are openly fighting or in some sort of combative situation. While conflict in and of itself can’t really be defined as either good nor bad, when we have a group of people who are essentially all out for themselves and are willing to fight for their needs without stepping back to consider the other people’s points of view, we have a literally tangled situation. So the 5 of Wands here shows us that there is some sort of element of working at cross-purposes that is standing between your happy home, and that the way to bridge the gap is through personal transformation or waking up to the call that you’re being confronted with. Somehow you’re being asked through this situation with your inlaws, and the conflict that it has created in your life, to make some life-altering changes that will bring you back to a place of happiness (in whatever way you define that), especially as it regards your heart and related to your home and family.
So, speaking of family, in terms of the role that your husband plays in this situation with your in-laws, the cards are showing you the Knight of Pentacles.
This knight is all about stability and dependability. You can absolutely count on him for financial security and for keeping things stable, and for sort of being a “rock” in a comforting, almost controlling at times sort of way, but by the same token, in terms of this situation with your in-laws, this knight isn’t going to go out on any limbs for you. He sees things in very black and white ways: right is right and wrong is wrong, this is how things are done because this is how they’ve always been done and it’s what works. In that sense, he’s trying to keep things stable and isn’t necessarily going to be capable of providing you with the emotional support or insight that perhaps you would need in order for him to see things from your perspective and then consequently “take a stand” for you. This is the knight who will sort of “take care of you” in a rather old-fashioned way. But that being said, and especially given that very pressing sense of needing to break out of established ways of being expressed by the Judgement card, this card about your husband is really about the status quo. He’s not going anywhere, he’s staying put, and he’s even routine or by the books as to be almost oppressive or boring or stagnating for you personally. It’s almost as if with that black horse, so heavy and completely immobile, you have a brick wall in front of you who offers you financial and material stability but isn’t able to understand that transformative need that you’re currently experiencing.
In terms of advice, what you can or should do now to move forward, we see the 3 of Cups. So, once again a cups card, indicating matters of the heart, emotions, feelings, and understanding on a level that isn’t purely intellectual, material, or rational, but rather from a place of sharing on a emotional level. When we see the 3 of Cups we’re looking at a group, at harmony, at sharing on a friendship level. Where the 2 of Cups is about a couple meeting each other on equal footing, here we have a group of people toasting to their good fortune, celebrating their successes, and encouragingly dancing as they share in their abundance. Granted, this card might appear counterintuitive, especially as it regards a situation in which you express feeling anxiety, distrust, and uncertainty. So, in that sense, this card is showing you that you must create your own “family” with whom you can share your successes and celebrate the authenticity of yourself. This can be a support group, a class, or close friends whom you can trust. The message here is that in order to move forward, you have to surround yourself with people who will nurture you for who you are and what you have to offer, people who come from a similar place in their lives and who can understand you on multiple levels of meaning. You’re being called to create community for yourself, a safe place to express yourself and to nurture yourself together with others on the same path.
As for what you can expect in the next 1-3 months, we see The Chariot. This is a card of hard-charging action. You’re being called here to be aware of the fact that in some role, shape or form, this sort of action is coming up for you or you will be needing to take on this role in the very near future. The Chariot simply gets it done: he charges forward, he doesn’t stop to necessarily consider all points of view, he’s almost in this sense like the CEO of a company in that he makes the tough decisions that will take him to the victory that he desires. The interesting factor in this card is that in the two animals, the two sphinxes that we see before the chariot, we have two total opposites. So this is also a card about finding balance as you take strong and direct action to move forward. It also harkens back to the energy of the 5 of Wands, working at cross-purposes. You have to find a way in the near future to guide opposing forces and make them go where you want them to go. In short, you have to be willing and able to take charge and command your own future. This also goes along with the only other major arcana card in this reading, Judgement. We can see here that in order for the necessary personal transformation that you’re facing to take place in the real world, you must be ready and able to take up the reigns and move the chariot forward, not taking orders from anyone but rather giving the orders yourself.
So, in summary, we’ve seen that interestingly enough, this spread didn’t do so much as give you information or advice about your in-laws as it did seem to pinpoint and highlight important steps and issues that you’re being called to take on for you yourself, and to transform your way of addressing and handling this situation and quite possibly your overall approach to life itself, this divide that stands between a satisfying family/home life and the opposite pole of eternal non-productive conflict. It would appear that any sort of “doormat” behavior or personality that you’ve had with regards to your husband and/or his family, you must find a way to end in order to transform yourself and your life into something more harmonious and rewarding, especially given that your husband is standing still in this and can be counted on generally for keeping things as they already are. By setting up a support network for yourself of like-minded people, and being very determined about what you want to accomplish, then pushing forward almost in an overbearing way by charging hard to achieve the family and home life situation you have in your mind, you must transform personally and find ways to untangle conflict in situations that are no-win.
Wow, I honestly don’t know where to begin. I am almost at a loss for words. It was so on point on every level. The exact struggles I have with my husband, the struggles I have within, and not knowing how to move forward was answered. I have had to re-read it several times and still feel as if I am absorbing it all. Thank you. It was very beneficial to see it in writing and so clearly. I really appreciate what you and Sherry have done for me. I have prayed and sought answers for so long. It’s hard to see the path through the forest and you provided me with that sight.
Shelley’s closing thoughts:
In my view, tarot is a vehicle for self-empowerment and reflection. These two different reading styles reflect how different readers can communicate to their clients in different ways and with different details. You’ll notice, for example, how Sherry uses specific details she is passing on from “upstairs,” especially as regards the individual’s goals set by soul prior to incarnation, while my readings focus heavily on the story in the images themselves, which naturally leads my clients into searching those metaphors within their own situation for constructive planning and empowered decision-making.
In summary then, what I wanted to present here is that with tarot (as with most likely all divination methods used by ethical, caring professionals with experience), while different readers have different styles and methods of working with clients, just like counselors for example, in the end, the information and message and “work” that the client can do through these readings can still bring them to the ultimate end result. That end result for me as a professional reader is that my clients find any or all of the following through their readings: clarity, insight, comfort, reassurance, and above all, empowerment and feeling a sense of responsibility as well as control over their own decisions and lives.