Tarot for the Modern Reader
Reading for Prediction vs. Reading for Empowerment
What kind of reader are you tarotista? Are you reading for prediction, or are you reading for empowerment? Or do you read for both?
***This is the first article in our Back to School Series, a collection of 6 posts all designed to help you with your practical reading skills! It presumes you already know how to choose, buy and care for a deck (if not you can visit this post So you want to be a Tarot Reader); and that you have at least a basic working knowledge of each card, even if it's just recognizing the card and knowing a few keywords for each. This series is all about the readings!***
Everyone has an Opinion When it Comes to Reading for Prediction vs. Empowerment
Some people will claim that Tarot is fortune-telling, and only fortune-telling. That reading Tarot is all about reading for predictions. Others will take a serious tone and tell you that the real gold lies in reading for empowerment, meaning, for advice, or self-development.
The truth is that you can read any way you like, in any situation and it can even change, either over time or just from reading to reading! I personally use both, but it wasn’t always that way for me. to be honest, I was wildly influenced by the "shoulds" and "should nots" around me in my early days of Tarot reading.
For example, in my very early days, I had a conversation with a guest contributor on a popular tarot blog. She told me that she *never* uses the cards to "tell her what to do"; that she is not dependent on an outside source and she alone makes her decision. I was new, and she was established and so I thought "oh my gosh I’ve been doing it wrong!" and changed the way I read (facepalm).
Then, there were the articles that talked all about how our destiny is not predetermined. That when we read for prediction, we are taking away our own power in the situation. Not too mention that reading for prediction was kind of like a dirty thing, I mean really, "fortune-telling" was a far less noble use of our cards, which had the ability to help us do deep spiritual and transformative work. Fortune telling was a party trick, a fun way to PLAY tarot reader as a newbie, but the SERIOUS folk were using their cards for much more respectable work.
How to Use Both Reading for Prediction and Empowerment in Your Practice
It took me a long time to realize that I didn’t have to choose. I didn’t have to listen to what everyone else said, or what everyone else was doing. I could do what I wanted and choose for myself and my readings how I would read.
Now I use both in my practice today and I deeply love and respect both. I'll share with you a little of what I have learned over the years that has helped me step into my own confidence as a reader. Even more so, in my confidence as a person, to do what I want to do. Not what everyone else around me thinks is "the right way to read Tarot cards"!
Today, my most popular go-to spread is my mini Celtic Cross. It’s a shortened 5 card variation of the Celtic Cross when either time or brevity is of the essence! The first three cards talk about their current situation and their obstacles. But the last two cards, now this is where the magic happens! The last two cards are always "advice" and "outcome". You can get a visual diagram of it as well as an example reading sent to your inbox below if you’d like to see it in action.
The Magic in the Combination of the Advice (Reading for Empowerment) and the Outcome (Reading for Prediction)
You see, I believe that we are currently on a certain path, where the actions, mindset, beliefs and other factors we are currently embodying are leading us. We are fairly predictable creatures. Based on how we have handled things before, how we typically handle things, how we usually think, and what we believe in general, for example, are all factors for the Universe to determine what our most likely outcome for a particular scenario is. Of course there are always things outside of us and outside of our control that influence the situation as well.
But this is where the advice card comes in. I also personally believe that we DO have the power to create our situations. That we have the ability to manifest the things that we truly want to have in our lives. Not always in each and every small scenario, but in general, this is one of my core beliefs. I believe that the Universe always has my highest good in mind, and I’d like to know what the Universe believes is the best action (or non-action) for me to take to gain the highest good in any situation!
Tell it to Me Straight Tarot
Sometimes, the outcome card is one we like, and sometimes the outcome card is one we DON’T like. But I believe the advice card applies to us to be followed regardless. The Universe will never steer us wrong! In times that the outcome is favorable to us, I believe we are already on the path with our current thoughts and actions that we are going to reach that outcome. The advice offered is to keep us on track, facilitate a smooth event or just remind us to keep going and stay the course.
When the outcome is one that is not favored, I believe the advice card is the Universe’s way of giving us a "course correction". It’s telling us that if we don’t care for the current outcome, then following the advice given is a way of changing that outcome. I believe that regardless of the outcome currently shown, the advice card is always what is for our highest good.
I don’t believe that things, for the most part, are static. When I think back to that reader that told me she *never* relies on the cards to tell her what to do, I think of how I would respond NOW to that. The cards don’t "tell" us what to do. We are choosing to use the cards to seek out guidance from INSIDE OF OURSELVES. The cards are just ink and paper. I trust that the Universe always has my highest good in mind, and that the answers I seek are already inside of me. The cards help me access that information. Why WOULDN’T I trust it? Trusting myself and the intuitive guidance I get from myself is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves. So in this case, we’re talking about reading for empowerment.
Reading for Prediction
Well this is just plain fun! First of all, it's a great way to flex out intuitive muscle. I mean how else can we get good at developing our intuition if we don't use it? Ask a question about something you will definitely know the answer to in a day or so, and then draw a card and make your prediction based on the information in the card!
People want to know things. While you may have some spiritual friends or clients who want to work on their self-development, you’ll mainly have people who just want to know stuff about their life. Will I get the new house? Will I find a better job this year? What will come of that promotion? People just want to KNOW what’s going to happen. They want to be wowed. Now to be fair, I DO include more than JUST reading for prediction here...for example I’ll include cards for empowerment, telling them what actions the universe recommends they take to actually move them closer to that desired outcome. But I also will predict the situation.
People often times just want help. They want you to tell them what is going to happen. As a reader, you can do that. There is NOTHING wrong with that. And you can also take it a step further by telling them what they can do to help themselves get the result they want.
Letting yourself off the fortune-teller stigma hook
You know what really let me off the guilt hook when it came to reading for prediction and fortune telling? Last year at a conference I had the pleasure of listening to the great Rachel Pollack teach. She talked about how, in her age and wisdom, she absolutely reads for prediction and -GASP- even some third party type stuff! She says when a woman came to her and wanted to know about her relationship and Rachel could clearly see that her husband was cheating, she delved into all the dirty details with her! Because that is what she wanted and needed, and to hell with it, what good is Tarot if we can’t use it as needed!
I’m paraphrasing, hopefully I haven’t butchered the story too much as my memory ages, but rather, hopefully I am at least conveying the point and the message correctly. What a refreshing moment for every reader in the room :). There was laughter, but honestly, I think there was also a collective sigh of relief. If one of the greatest tarot goddesses of our time shared this story, then I think it’s time to let go of the "should" and "shouldn’ts" for the rest of us too.
Using Your Intuition When Reading for Prediction
Reading for prediction can be scary. The truth is, you are putting a stake in the ground and deciding between multiple ways something can go (based on what you see in the cards). When you are still in your early days, that can be a bit intimidating because you aren’t completely sure you are reading everything *correctly* or that you aren’t missing anything. This is where you take a stand with YOURSELF and decide that you are going to trust yourself and whatever message you get.
I’m a believer in signs and messages. I believe that everything has a purpose. I also believe that if I get a thought about a card, I should trust it. Before I took this stand with myself, I second-guessed everything. Now however, I know that I took this position, and I know that the Universe knows it too! So I know that the Universe knows that I trust it and I trust myself and whatever messages I get, I’m gonna go with. It’s almost like a little cheat. I have already let the Universe and my inner guide know that I’m gonna go with and trust whatever comes to me. That takes the pressure off. I put my trust in the Universe and I trust that it will deliver in ways that I can understand.
A real life example of reading for prediction
Let me give you an example from a reading I just did. The outcome card was the 10 of Pentacles. I also practice astrology and know that this card relates to Mercury in Virgo. Mercury is currently in Leo and will be in Virgo fairly soon, within a month’s time.
My seeker was particularly asking about a situation that had an element of timing to it. The first thing that popped into my head when I saw that card was the timing of Mercury going into Virgo. Now, you don’t have to read astrology. That’s not the point here. The point is that I do, and the Universe knows it, and I know the Universe knows it! So if that is the thought I had, then I trust that it is the right one for me. I trust that the Universe, and my inner guidance, is going to use whatever information I would consider, to get the message to me.
So there was no message from me to my seeker about moving to a new house, or security, or family and tradition or anything else that falls under the meaning of the 10 of Pentacles. I trust that the Universe picked this card to convey the timing element to me, because the Universe knows it’s a message that I, as someone who practices astrology, would pick up.
Do what feels right in your heart
We all have that little voice inside, and hopefully the longer we read, the better we are at listening to it. The longer I read, the more I feel called to simple do what feels right to me in any given moment, and I’m learning to trust myself in those ways. Sure, I may want to know what the best approach is to take with a potential employer during an interview, or how to best prepare for the interview, or even whether or not the job is one that I am best suited for. But what fun is it not to ask if I’ll get the job?! What feels right to you? Do you, Tarotista. No matter HOW you read, the single most important skill in any reading, is to trust yourself 🙂
"Sell them what they want, but give them what they need". Meaning, people don’t always buy what you’re selling because it’s not what they are looking for, not what they think they need. You might know better. But you aren’t going to convince them of that. So as you speak to them, you are addressing the things they think they want (aka- a predictive reading), but you are also going to DELIVER what you know they need, the empowerment. A client might just want you to tell her what’s going to happen in her relationship, however, how much better can you serve her, if you take it a step further and share with her what things she can proactively do to take her relationship in the direction she wants it to go? Reading for prediction AND reading for empowerment.
What’s next in the Back to School Series
I hope you have enjoyed this first article in the Back to School Series, reading for prediction vs. reading for empowerment. I’d love to hear your thoughts and to know what YOUR reading style or preference is. It’s exciting to hear how we all do it differently, and when you are doing what feels right in your heart, there is no wrong way! Can’t wait to see you back here next week for our next post in the series, all about giving free readings. In the meantime, please share your thoughts about this over in our community on fb in our group Tarot for the Modern Reader.
I’m Liza, professional Tarot reader, writer and mentor, and this is Tarot Liza. Everyday we're working to bring our mission of delivering more value and Tarot education to the Modern Reader to life! Welcome! Read more...
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