Empowered or Disempowered?

September 27, 2017

Many people are afraid of Tarot card readings. They think it’s some dark omen that augurs the future. That belief always surprises me, especially when you realize that a Tarot card is just a piece of paper with picture on it. I liken it to a Rorschach test—pictures we’re asked to interpret.

I have been interpreting Tarot cards the last 12 years. If you were to come to me for a reading, here’s how I would see it:

1. You have a question. For example, Is this the right time for me to sell my house? Will I get a promotion before the end of the year?

2. You come to the reading with a certain energy around that question. You may or may not be aware of that energy. The cards have a mysterious way of tapping into your subconscious energy, which, by the way, holds a powerhouse of information. It may hold information your conscious self denies.

3. Next, you pick one or more cards with that question in mind. Each card has a certain energy and meaning. If more than one card is picked to answer the question, they may be put into a spread. Each position in a spread usually has a certain meaning. A simple spread could be Past, Present and Future.

4. You end up with a convergence of energy: the energy you bring to the reading about that question, the card’s meaning and the position’s meaning. Those three components comprise the interpretation and an answer to your specific question.

What?  You Don’t Like What the Cards Say?

Perhaps you don’t like the card that you pulled for the Future. You have choices in how to respond: You can stomp away in frustration (and say, “It’s all hogwash!”), or you can pull additional cards to explore what is meant by that Future card. Those additional cards can provide more information on how to best deal with a situation that initially looked unfavorable in your eyes at the moment of the reading.

When you pick Tarot cards in a reading, it reflects the energy of your behavior up to that moment. This is an important point many do not understand. The cards are giving you a head’s-up. If they are telling you not to sell your house even though you are hell-bent on selling it when you came to the reading, it’s worth your attention to stop and consider the issue more deeply. Perhaps there are issues you haven’t considered. What are the pitfalls? Could you get a higher return if you wait? Perhaps more repairs need to be done before putting it on the market. Or innumerable other variables you may not have considered or probed deeply enough.

We are so pummeled with bad news, hostile exchanges, and fear-mongering that when we come for a Tarot card reading or any other so-called fortune telling medium, we are quick to give our power away, especially if the reading isn’t to our liking or expectations. Laura Day, the author of several self-help books that focus on intuition, puts it this way:

“…people get really confused about precognition—telling the future. The way people use it is often damaging. If I hear I’m going to have a car accident, for example, I don’t wait in terror for it to happen. I ask, What are the circumstances? Who am I with at the time? What day is it? What color is the car? I look for those things and then I do my best to avoid the accident.”

You Are an Infinitely Powerful Being

A Tarot card reading may not be able to answer all those questions, but it gives us clues we can spot, especially if we listen to our intuition. Those clues can spur us to make different and more thoughtful choices. Those choices can then lead us to more propitious outcomes, significantly better outcomes than had we let things unfold on their own. When we take charge of our choices, we end up feeling empowered and confident for having taken good care of ourselves.

My meditation teacher keeps telling me, “You are so much more powerful than you can imagine.” Laura Day says, “…every one of us is an infinitely powerful being. So as you work with intuition, remember that you can also make choices that can change those predictions.”

So, when you choose to go for a Tarot card reading, know that the cards are simply a tool to give you information you may not be fully aware of. They reflect your energy at the moment of the reading, not necessarily your energy in the next week or next month, especially if you start making choices and taking action different from those before.

I believe the cards are meant to help you. You’ll know the next best steps to take when you let your intuition absorb what the cards have to say. Make Tarot cards your friend, not your foe. Use them to empower yourself, because you are an infinitely powerful being!

This is the second in a three-part series on seeking life purpose. The first was posted on April 7, 2017.

A friend of mine came to me asking about her life purpose. A favorite way for me to explore complex issues like this one is using Tarot cards. She picked seven cards for a spread called “My Blind Spot.” Three, in particular, caught my attention. In the first blog of this series we looked at the card she pulled for the position of “Blind Spot”—the Eight of Pentacles. Check out the first blog for a more thorough discussion of the card and how it relates to my friend’s quest for life purpose. You may find it relevant to your own search.

How Others See Her—As a King!

The second card that caught my attention was the King of Pentacles. It landed in the position of “What I don’t know, but everyone else does.” Another pentacle card, but this time the figure is a king, not a worker! What does the notion of a king conjure up for you? Someone powerful, with authority, who rules? Someone with a kingdom?

Keywords often associated with this card are responsible, resolute and unshakeable, and competent, no-nonsense approach. Sarah Bartlett in her book The Tarot Bible describes this king as having “The Midas Touch.” To me this means able to resolve the problems that come up—the benevolent problem-solver. Let’s explore the details of this card.

Bogged Down with Responsibilities

In contrast with the Eight, her blind spot, this card spoke volumes. First, my friend doesn’t seem to be aware of how powerful she truly is. She is the person who commands not only her household but her life; this king is how others see her. Family members and most certainly friends come to her for advice and direction. She knows what to do and makes sure it gets done, if not by her, by someone else.

The challenge of being king may be that she is called on way more than she would like. Look at how bogged down this king is. Even though his robe is covered with grapes, a symbol of abundance, it looks heavy and cumbersome—an impediment to getting out of that throne. How spontaneous can this king be? He isn’t free to jump up and leave.

Could the responsibilities my friend has assumed prevent her from being spontaneous? Spontaneity carries energy, sudden creative urges and little to no planning. When we are fulfilling our life purpose, spontaneity sprinkles itself in between the plans and projects we embrace. Whimsical ideas, humor and fun get integrated into the process. Our King of Pentacles, however, feels the weight of his authority and may not be quick to inject humor into the mix. He is, above all else, at least in this context, responsible.

Making pentacles is like honoring commitments. Those commitments can blind us from seeing what’s best for our own spirit and well being. If we lighten our load, we can create the necessary space for finding and defining our life purpose. Like the Eight, the King is preoccupied with the pentacle he’s holding. He’s not free to go to the castle behind him. Instead he sits on this throne maintaining the authoritative, responsible role that a king assumes.

What’s Missing?

Pentacles represent things tangible and material like money, cars, houses and even relationships. If we are seeking our life purpose, where are our emotions, passions and plans? Life purpose without passion seems pretty dismal. How can you go after your life purpose if your emotions aren’t engaged?

The fact that my friend’s blind spot is the Eight of Pentacles, how she sees her situation, and others see her as the King of Pentacles seems limiting. An emphasis on being responsible can curtail the excitement and enthusiasm that a life purpose inspires. Other suits in the Tarot, like Wands, Cups and Swords, reflect these aspects.

Male versus Female

Once again the male figure as in the Eight shows up. Even though the Tarot has a Queen of Pentacles, my friend picked the King. Kings represent a dynamic force for change or choices to be made. Coupled with pentacles, this King has reached a level of maturation. He’s made his dynamic choices. No longer impatient to achieve his material goals, he can relax and enjoy them.

What a conundrum for my friend! The King of Pentacles is how others see her, yet on the inside she feels restless and seeks her life purpose. If the card she picked for this position were the Queen of Pentacles, others would see her peaceful and relaxed at where she finds herself in this world.

The masculine energy of the king is practical and pragmatic. Whatever the issue will be handled and resolved. Once handled, he will wait for the next one. In contrast, the feminine energy is typically more sensitive. Rather than quick to take action, the female is attuned to her feelings and those of others. It’s likely she’ll address those feelings before taking any action.

Let’s remember my friend is the one feminine voice in a family of men—her husband and three sons. Outnumbered. It makes sense that after years of being immersed in male energy, she might acquire some of it for herself. No surprise that others see her as the King of Pentacles.

In Short

The King of Pentacles is telling my friend to take off the kingly robe and get off the throne. Another way of saying this is “Just say No!” “No!” to taking on others’ issues. “No!” to believing it’s her responsibility to solve others’ problems. “No!” to always being available to others at the expense of her own peace of mind. She must be her Number One Priority. Her dreams, desires and urges need to see the light of day. Honoring them will open the door to life purpose.

My third blog in this series will address the third card that caught my attention, the insight my friend can glean from this reading. Read the rest of this entry »

We’re all supposed to know our life purpose, right? It turns out that pinpointing what that is eludes many of us. If we knew it, perhaps we would have the key to life. For those of us still wondering what that is, just asking the question can point us in the right direction. Many don’t ask the question, but when we do, answers can begin to emerge when we least expect it.

A friend came to me asking about her life purpose. She has three grown sons in their thirties and a loving husband. She heads a smooth-running household, has friends she gets together with often and meets regularly with a spiritual mentor. Something, however, is missing.

My favorite way to get answers to a question like this is to pull a few Tarot cards. She pulled seven, but three, in particular, stood out for me. This essay is the first of three in a series that looks at how the Tarot can be used to explore complex issues—in this case, finding one’s life purpose.

Eight of Pentacles

We agreed to use a spread called “Blind Spot,” which seemed appropriate for the issue she was exploring, her life purpose. The Eight of Pentacles, the first card she pulled, was in the position called “My Blind Spot.” The man in the card is making pentacles, those yellow discs you see in the card. Pentacles represent things tangible and material like money, cars, houses, even relationships.

How Many of These Pentacles Do I Have to Make?

He’s doing a good job with six of them lined up in front of him like diplomas on a wall.  Let’s look at some of the details in the picture that might shed a brighter light on my friend’s question.

Before we started the reading, she mentioned her family and her home are a large part of her daily life. The man in this card, however, is alone with no family in sight. He is busy working. He’s making pentacles, one pentacle right after another. Even though he’s pretty intent on doing the job and doesn’t seem unhappy, his work could be perceived as rote and monotonous. Does he have an option to create something different? Is this his choice to keep making pentacles? Certainly no one is looking over his shoulder telling him what to do.

Alone and Safe in Our Routine

His aloneness in the card might reflect my friend’s preference for being alone. The vital role she plays as mother and wife doesn’t preclude the pleasure she finds in being by herself. That’s an aspect to keep in mind when and if she decides to venture beyond the familiar to find her life purpose.

Sometimes we are so immersed in our own routine, we can’t see ourselves outside it. I remember a metaphor I heard long ago. A woman had to clean her fishbowl, so she filled her bathtub with water and put her fish in the tub temporarily while she cleaned the bowl. When she came back, the fish were swimming in a circle, the actual size of the bowl, when they had the whole tub to swim in.

Many of us stay in familiar situations because it’s safe, comfortable in its discomfort, and mostly risk-free. When we don’t quite know what to do next, we usually stay where we are and do the same thing we usually do. We keep our routine alive.

But I Want Something More!

The number eight in this card is worth noting. Eights represent mastery and accomplishments. It’s no surprise that my client is secure and confident in handling the needs of her family and the concerns of her household. She’s been married for 30-plus years. She has had the time and intention to master the responsibilities as wife and mother, but the unrest within her signals something more. Her quest for mastery is not yet complete.

In the Tarot, nine is the number of completion. It makes sense my friend picked the Eight of Pentacles when asking about her life purpose. Even though she has achieved mastery within her family and home, her search for mastery somewhere else is not over. With this first card, we can’t tell what endeavor that is, but we can deduce she may need to stop making pentacles or at least make fewer of them in order to engage in something new and outside her comfort zone.

Have I Sidelined My Feelings?

One last point: my friend is female, and the figure in the card is male. Typically males are doers, not that women aren’t, but the male prototype is all about getting things done. Males don’t usually consider emotions, something the female is known to excel at, when they have a job to do. Rather, they’re all about the nuts and bolts of getting the job done. The end result is their focus.

I wonder if my friend has sidelined her feelings about fulfilling her life purpose. Pentacles reflect the practical, hard-working side of us. How often do we sideline our feelings when it comes to issues that really matter? It’s easier to do the work at hand, which is usually tangible and finite rather than deal with the confusing, complex feelings entwined in the bigger issue. This may be the case with my friend. Perhaps we’ll get the answer when I share the subsequent blogs in this series.

In Short

The Eight of Pentacles reflects how my friend sees herself now—questioning the sameness of her routine, alone by choice and comfortable in her comfort zone. This is her blind spot. The warm and cozy cocoon of familiarity and mastery she has created for herself prevents her from seeing the different opportunities where her life purpose might flourish. She may need to drop the figurative pentacle she’s working on and head toward the village in the distance on the card to find that life purpose. If this holds relevance for you, is there a pentacle you need to drop?

Expecting something?  Expectations usually start as a thought.  Next comes an image followed by a full-blown fantasy.  Ah, yes, it feels exciting, even thrilling.  Your mind starts playing around with those fantasies and before you know it you find yourself in the spot where the real-life tape starts rolling.  Sometimes the fantasy works out just as you imagine in all its rich detail or better.  Other times you ask yourself, “What just happened?” 

I am afraid the “What just happened?” scenario is how a recent Saturday evening (10.29.11) played out for me.  I was invited to read Tarot cards at a private Halloween party at the White House.  A fellow Tarot card reader got the gig and asked me if I would join her.  Of course, I said, “Yes!”  The juicy carrot was that we would get our picture taken with the President and Mrs. Obama.  How off-the-charts cool is that?

The requirements were to dress up as gypsies and tell fortunes.  This was a party for military families and in the spirit of Halloween we were asked to dress the part.  Not a big sacrifice if it meant meeting the president and his wife, or so I thought.  After all it was a party, and fun, costumes and laughter were the leitmotif.

Playing By the Rules

Let me digress for a moment.  I have been reading Tarot cards for close to seven years.  I see the cards as a sacred tool to explore the subconscious through pictures.  Many liken it to a Rorschach test, where images trigger emotions and help people explore feelings about certain issues and concerns. 

When an individual picks a card, an uncanny synergy occurs.  Inevitably the card that appears confirms and/or uncovers the energy within and around that individual regarding his question.  Sometimes the individual is already aware of that energy, but other times it awakens him to a whole new perspective.  It can be startling.

This is how I view the Tarot.  When I agreed to dress up as a gypsy, I knew I wouldn’t be reading the cards in the way I am used to.  More importantly, I wouldn’t be reading the cards the way I believe they should be read—with the reverence they deserve.  I was entering a situation where my values conflicted with what was being asked of me.  Accepting this gig meant suspending judgment and playing by the party giver’s rules.

The Pivotal Moment—Meeting the President

As planned, my colleague and I had our picture taken with the Obamas before the party.  We were two out of a small group of 15-20 people having their photo taken.  What a privilege!  I had given thought about what I would say when I met them.  It would be something like “You’re doing a great job, Mr. President.” and “Thank you for inviting us, Mrs. Obama.”  When the time came, however, all I could do was give direct eye contact and say, “Mr. President” and “Mrs. Obama.” 

The presidential encounter took less than two minutes—much like going through the receiving line at a wedding.  One brief moment and it was over!  A few quips and then back to the party room where we had set up our stations to read fortunes for children ranging from ages five to 10 and their parents, if they felt game.  The piped-in music, costumes, decorations and food made it a festive, fun, well-orchestrated party.  The Obamas did not attend.

I did my best to play the fortune-telling gypsy.  It turned out to be hard work.  The piped-in music made it difficult to hear the soft voices of little children.  At their tender ages, most don’t understand what to ask or how to interpret the pictures on the cards.  More than likely, their parents had never had a reading either.  For them my colleague and I were the stereotypical tarot card readers—fortune-telling gypsies.    

The Aftermath—Expectations Exhumed

When I arrived home a few hours later, I was feeling slightly depressed and exhausted.  What just happened?  Why wasn’t I jubilant to have met the Obamas and read cards at the White House?  It’s taken me a few days to deconstruct my feelings, so I could make sense of the experience. 

It’s hard to say what I expected.  At times, before the event, I denied I had any expectations.  That’s because whenever I do, I am disappointed.  I had never been to a White House event and had never shaken the hand of a U.S. president.  I had hoped to say more to the president when I shook his hand, but stunned in the actual moment, that didn’t happen.  Disappointed in myself for not making more of what appeared to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I had to come to terms with what transpired.

Something else didn’t set quite right—my meeting the president and his wife in a costume.  My ticket into the receiving line was my role as a Tarot-card-reading gypsy.  Some might say, “Hey, who cares?  You got to meet the president!”  Yep, I did.  But, guess what?  He’s a person just like you and me.  He’s playing a role, too.  Still I would have preferred to have gone as myself.  The Pennsylvania farmers in front of us in the photo line went as themselves.  They had donated 60 pumpkins.

Get the Facts

Caught up in the brouhaha of meeting the president before the event, I missed asking a few key questions in advance.  Details about the audience and aspects of the environment would have been helpful in preparing for it.  Had I known I would be reading for children ages five to 10, I could have brought a deck with images that would have spoken more directly to them.  Aware that I would be reading in the party room, I could have been more accepting of the environment and adjusted more easily to it.  

This was all part of my learning curve.  How fortunate for me to learn at the White House!  In this instance, I couldn’t avoid having expectations.  Next time, I’ll have them, too, but wherever the venue is, I must ask the necessary questions beforehand and get the facts.  Keeping my expectations in check is my responsibility and an important aspect of taking care of myself and being professional. 

Now that the dust has settled, and I’ve sorted through my feelings, I can say, “I read Tarot cards at the White House.  I had my picture taken with the President and First Lady.  It was an experience!”

Bev Hitchins © 2011

For the past six years I have been reading my clients’ Tarot cards to plum the deeper reasons for their clutter. The pictures on the cards allow us to peek into our subconscious. We hold a boatload of thoughts and feelings in that space. Not all of them are loving, supportive or useful for moving ahead in life. In fact, they can be downright subversive.

If we can catch a glimpse of what we are holding in our subconscious, we can begin to understand how we sabotage ourselves. All of us have dreams of one sort or another, and yet many of us can’t realize them. Nebulous fears, regrets, and resentments hold us back. We repress them so adeptly that we’ve convinced ourselves we’ve dealt with them completely. The cards let us know we haven’t and that more work needs to be done if we are going to free ourselves from our self-imposed shackles.

A Real Life Example

I have created a Tarot spread to explore the subconscious reasons for clutter. Below is a subset of that spread. Each position in the spread has a question or issue attached to it. After a client shuffles the entire deck, she chooses a card for each position. It’s important to note, all the cards are face down when the cards are picked.

Many believe it’s chance as to which cards are picked. I believe it’s the Law of Attraction at work. Otherwise, why would they be spot-on, as seen below? I recently read the cards for a woman who underwent back surgery more than 10 years ago. A couple of years ago something went wrong. Ever since she suffers chronic back pain and cannot sit for more than two hours at a time. We looked at her clutter issue through the cards using the Rider-Waite deck.

Position 1: Why Does She Have Clutter?

When we turned the first card over, my eyes shot open! She picked the Ten 0f Swords. The card shows a man lying on his stomach with ten swords in his back. It’s no coincidence that swords are piercing her back, rather than another part of her body.

A complex card, the Ten of Swords indicates the end of a cycle and the beginning of a new one. To step over the threshold into the new, my client needs to liberate herself from old patterns of behavior and drop her emotional baggage. She wouldn’t have picked this card if she wasn’t ready to do the necessary work to cross the threshold at this time.

Swords represent thoughts. After years of living with her pain those thoughts have etched a deep fissure into her self-image. Holding onto label clutter, she may see herself as a disabled victim unable to fulfill her life’s purpose. All the while this is happening, resentment may be building on the subconscious level. My client thought she had dealt with these issues, but the cards indicate more work needs to be done.

Position 2: The Current State of Her Clutter

She picked the Knight of Wands for this position. This Knight is full of energy and passion, and so is my client. She admitted a strong desire to move beyond her clutter, but how to do that is her challenge.

In this card, the handsome knight rides a cantering horse. Applying this image to my client, you would think she is ready at a moment’s notice to do her necessary de-cluttering work. But, wait a minute! The Knight is charging left and I interpret that as making a beeline to her past, not her future.

What if she were to slow down and get more comfortable with where she is? It sounds ironic knowing she wants to move beyond her clutter. Yet, getting peaceful, grounded and quiet right where she is will more likely allow her to turn right than rushing like the Knight of Wands to the left.

Position 3: What Blocks Her from Clearing Her Clutter?

Once again the swords have re-emerged. This time she picked the Nine of Swords. Not as physically brutal as the Ten, this card depicts mental and emotional agony. Key words often ascribed to it include “guilt,” “worry,” and “overwhelmed by feelings.” Clearly a lot of painful, burdensome thoughts, like blame, worry or doubts, have occupied my client’s thinking.

The good news is that the number Nine indicates action. Even though this card appears in the “blockage” position, my client is ready to explore why she has these thoughts. Doing that may then catapult her to dig out their root cause. She’s on the verge of making a change and wants to at least straddle the threshold.

Position 4: Her Strategy for Clearing Her Clutter

Wouldn’t you know—the Death card appeared. Don’t gasp or gulp. This is very good news because it means change and transformation. Death appears as a skeleton knight. Wow! Another knight on a horse, but this time the horse faces right and has one leg lifted to indicate stepping forward. For my client, this could mean stepping out of her clutter and into the future.

At first my client wasn’t happy when she saw the card. Granted, a skeleton isn’t cheery. I assured her that by letting go of the past (what the skeleton represents), she could begin to embrace the present. Her well-ingrained, but damaging thinking has her stuck, but if she sees it for what it is—an illusion, this will enable her to move forward, albeit reluctantly. Not knowing what lies ahead is scary, but taking one step and then another will gradually erase the fear and shift her focus to new and exciting enterprises.

Position 5: Her Next Step to Clear Her Clutter

The final card was the Nine of Pentacles. A beautifully dressed woman is surrounded by a grape vineyard and nine pentacles. In this case, pentacles represent her body and the foundation of her physical being. What a sharp contrast to the Ten of Swords in the first position. Here a self-confident woman is standing with a hooded falcon perched on her left hand. The hooded falcon represents her ability to control her feelings and demonstrate that she is not ruled by her unconscious doubts and fears.

The card’s message is for my client to start seeing herself as the Nine of Pentacles—healthy, enjoying life’s finer pleasures, and knowing she is in control of her life. This takes discipline. After years of thinking otherwise, it may take her awhile to embrace this new line of thought and self-perception. The good news is that her thinking is something she can control. What a great way to start this transformative process. It costs nothing but discipline and time.

My Concluding Remarks

Before we started, my client thought the cards wouldn’t reveal anything of great merit. She didn’t expect them to strike at her core issues like they did. By her picking the two nines (Swords and Pentacles), the one ten (Swords) and the Death card, she got confirmation that she is ready to change. Had she picked ones or twos in the same suits, the cards would have reflected a longer journey to get to where she wants to go.

Even though some of the cards aren’t happy, they hit the mark. She can see where she is in her de-cluttering process and readjust her compass. Of course, she doesn’t have to if she doesn’t want to, but that’s not likely in this case.

If you are feeling stuck in your clutter or any other issue for that matter, you might want to get reading with me.  I offer readings on the phone and in person, if you’re close to Northern Virginia.  On the phone you’ll need a deck because you’ll be the one picking your own cards.  Readings last an hour and cost $85.00.  Check out ALIGN’s website for more information.   The cards are a useful tool and can help you navigate the vicissitudes of life if you let them.