Women’s March, London: VIII – Strength card

The High Priestess: a shrine to masks and veils

the-high-priestess-make-up

Unclutter your life, they say! What started as a simple, annual tidying up of my make-up shelves, ended up becoming a reflection on the power of masks and how we Londoners are all shape-shifters.

I haven’t met a single Londoner who hasn’t gone through a number incarnations, past lives, all in this one. We all used to be somebody else, often, many others across time. I am different people in different places myself.

the High Priestess presides over the veil that hides our many incarnations. You don’t have to die and reincarnate to become another person: we all have the talent to be many of our different selves, in different places. London favours the shape-shifters.

What about a shrine to the immense power of reinvention of women? As a shamelessly vain woman, I find profundity in these instruments that transform women and help us re-actualise ourselves, express ourselves. Fashion and self-presentation was the only tool that women had for centuries, to express ourselves and as Linda Grant writes in her book The Thoughtful Dresser, there is nothing frivolous about this weapon of survival. This power to shed skins and crate new ones.

So yes, I’ll give you the High Priestess today: I tidied up my makeup shelf last night, under the watchful eye of the White Goddess, the Great Sow of the Universe, who watches over me during my beauty rituals. And I shed another skin, another year, and felt much lighter and grounded as a result. It’s no wonder women are accused of witchcraft. Our depth works in mysterious ways – says the High Priestess.

QUEER TAROT

queer-tarot-cards

Queer theory and the Science Tarot -one of the queerest decks I know! The Court cards ignore the traditional gendering of their roles: Knights and pages are real historical scientists, and can be wither male or female. So are the King’s and Queens. I am going to write soon on how I practice queering the Tarot.

HOW I DO A PROFESSIONAL READING BY EMAIL

This is why I love technology! I find email readings Incredibly intuitive, because you are there all by yourself, just your mind, your intuition, and your cards. Then I send my reading and cross my fingers that it will make sense. As well as the reading, I have included my Querent’s feedback at the bottom of the post.

Querent’s question: “So, what will bring me closer to letting go of what no longer works?”

Dear C, I did your reading in three stages, because I found it complex and intriguing. I got a distinctive impression of an individual with two very distinctive sides to herself: one, the professional, family, real life commitments person, who is experienced, practical and dependable; the other, an inner, soft, creative C that you left behind in your late teens or early twenties, in order to be operate successfully in the real world. I think that, for a time now, this younger self has been stirring again and wanting to come out, because it’s a fundamental source of strength and inspiration for your more public self. But you fear the disruptive effect that this could have in the life that you have built. You acknowledge privately, but keep it away from others. Fear not, listen to this younger, playful voice.

Overview impression: hard work is not longer enough, it may have lost direction somewhat. An inner stirring, a need for something softer, more creative and less practical, a more artistic voice? You may be feeling constrained by your professional commitments, where you must be very focused, rational, methodical, bureaucratic… This is exhausting you and you have been feeling overwhelmed for a while.

Unfortunately, people around you demand this side of you and you feel trapped in an identity that feels limiting. You are very good at it and many depend on you, but it’s at the expense of another, more free flowing, creative side that has always existed, but that you have put on the back burner for years. Oddly, this “other” you is very strong and gives you enormous drive from behind the stage of life. It nurtures and reaffirms you by giving you a less conventional, more creative way of doing things in your everyday life. It has helped you solve problems like a semi secret source of strength and inspiration. If only you could bring it more to the fore! It has a lot to do with other aspirations that you have, maybe fiction writing or some other form of creative practice. Actually, I think that this artistic side of you is well established and known, but you need to give it more time and space. It’s as if you nurture it secretly, but it would be better, and would bring you much confidence, joy and a more rounded sense of a fulfilled life, if you brought it more to the fore. There’s even a hint that it might be beneficial for your more “serious” side. You think that they both don’t blend together, but they do, more than you give it credit for. Bringing out this other interests is not a short term project, or something I’d advise you to jump to immediately. It needs time, to find its place in the complexity of your life and the people around you.

Like so many of us, you are longing to let go of many of your real life commitments, work, family, mostly work and professional connections, to do something more personal. To explore a side of you that you relate to very strongly and gives you great strength and confidence, but that for some reason, maybe purely practical, you have chosen to keep on a second plane. The word here is CHOSEN. You can also choose to give it more relevance, but you are unsure about the effect this could have in your life, if it could be too disruptive or upsetting. And o wonder. I see opposition or blocks from people around you, that don’t want you to make risks. People who are equals to you, but that you are in some sort of competition or battle of wills with. This is because they need you to be responsible and organised, for their own good and benefit. You can’t take a break without being made to feel guilty or irresponsible. I think that you may have issues with delegating and may have created a certain environment of people who are codependent. this has been going on for a very long time, and how do you change that now? You need to address this issue of codependency or of old habits that don’t work anymore. It may be family related or, work related, or maybe both, if you have a tendency to codependency. You can’t help being the indispensable one, but it may have become a prison. You want to evolve and be free from these commitments.

So in order to let go of what no longer works, I think that you need to identify the people and circumstances that have become codependent. Acknowledge that they can survive without you and that you can delegate on others. Also, to give up on what it’s taking too much mental energy and give yourself space. You may also been fearing a fall from grace from your status. Compromising what you ave worked long and hard for is no joke and you may have fears of “coming out” as an individual very different to the one people around you, colleagues and dependants, know. It’s hard to come out of the chrysalis, when you know there may be danger and threat awaiting. You would probably benefit from a period of time alone to reassess all this. Perhaps not being physically away, but away from your everyday commitments, some kind of sabbatical from work and family or both. You may have been considering this already. Allowing yourself for some time to indulge in more creative, less deadline-focused personal activities that you always put aside, could help you bring a sense of what and how to prioritise. Be more selfish and don’t fear the consequences. I think that you need more art and creativity in your life and pursuits. Practising something creative. You have wanted to do this, or maybe you already do it, but you need to give it more importance in your life. This tender, a bit dreamy other you (and I’m aware that I may be polarising is a bit too much), is an interesting mix of fresh amateurish and great potential to become a very rewarding force in you. It could, potentially, steer your pursuits into unchartered territories. This is both very appealing, but also daunting. You must let it out progressively, integrating into your more established life and interests.

You can’t, and shouldn’t change overnight. One of the problems of starting to express what may seem to others as anew side of you, is that you think that, you are going to antagonise others, who might feel abandoned or let down, and lose allies. The danger is in your own head: there may be a truth in there, but it’s not something that you can’t navigate successfully. You know when we fear doing something, but then we we finally do it, it’s not as bad as we feared. You may be over thinking things, even catastrophising. In a few words: the challenge I see at the moment, is of giving yourself a chance to explore your other needs and interests, without fear of letting others down or compromising your credibility. This need to actualise yourself won’t ease, in any case, it’s been there for a while, like a dull pain that we get used to. The only way to resolve it, is by gradually, slowly, giving yourself more time and space for less conventional or explored pursuits, on your own, away from other people’s approval. To integrate it into your life and current persona. You need only your own approval now, nobody else’s, because this is a major part of you that you have already defended or fought for. There will be more fighting for it, but it will make you feel more authentic and content, once you accept yourself.

Querent’s feedback:

tarot-testimonial-4

I DON’T PREDICT THE FUTURE: YOUR FUTURE IS YOURS TO MAKE.

Always remember that you, not the cards create your own future. The Tarot is merely a vehicle to show you a picture of your life at a given moment. You decide what to do with the information. Nothing is written in stone and there isn’t such a thing as “fate”. These are all thoughts that absolve us of responsibility and in my opinion, the Tarot is there to take responsibility for your actions, and to improve yourself and your life. If you choose to.

The cards have a habit of showing possible future outcomes, they show us how things may pan out, based on your past and present situation and life choices. After all, we can’t change our past, but we have a lot to say about our future. The Tarot represents life like a path, it comes from the past and develops into the future – but it does not predict it. You are in the path, knowing what you left behind, but incapable of knowing what lies ahead, until you arrive in it.

By showing you your past and present circumstances, the people around you and how you deal with them, a Tarot reading gives you choices to make better, informed decisions; to reflect on past actions and to reassess your habits, the many unconscious decisions that we make without even thinking; to understand why you do what you do and how to shape your own life, your own limitations permitting. I am aware that our lives are limited by family commitments; by our finances; by mental issues, by all the things that make us human.

I don’t believe in those who claim that we can achieve anything in life, if we put our mind to it: the real world affect all of us and it’s naive to think otherwise. We live within our circumstances, capabilities and limitations at any given moment. and this realisation can be overwhelming, but what I do believe, is that we can still do much more than we think and there are often people and untapped opportunities around us. A good Tarot reading might show you where help, support and choice is. It’s then up to you, to tap into it or not.

So a question along the lines of: “What’s going to happen to me in the future?” is not a great way to ask for advice. Such questions assume that the solution to your problems will come from the outside, without any input or effort on your part. They also assume, often, that you are solely responsible for your outcomes, and this may bring a sense of guilt, of not being good enough, deserving, etc. We all do all we can, within our limited circumstances.

A Tarot reading may help you choose better options and improve your own relationship with yourself and others.It’s so much more rewarding when you ask: “How can I make my future better? “ “What changes can I introduce?” What/who can help me? “Is there anything/anyone I can’t see, but who represent help or support?”

Another problematic question that I don’t deal with, is when a querent asks on behalf of other people (consensually or not). The Tarot tells you about you and of course, the people in your life that have an influence in it: they always crop up in a reading if you should know about. But you can’t ask for a reading to find out about others. Like: “Does Xyz love me?” – The answer will always be about your relationship with this person, not theirs with you. In this sense, seeing your own hopes and fears, your dynamic with other people may prove very useful when deciding how to engage with them in the future.

I hope this note doesn’t sound prescriptive, specially since I claim that the Tarot is not. So I hope that this guide to how to think of your questions and how to formulate them, is just a guideline to also, see your life as something evolving now, where your own agency and decisions are the thing that will really change or determine your future – not spooky oracles that claim to dictate your future – because the future isn’t written in stone, you are moulding it with the soft clay of your current and past actions!

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End of year tarot reading in a pub

Braved the icy London cold and went to Clapton, to read for a friend at the cosy Princess of Wales pub. This being London, nobody batted an eyelid at two women stooping over a table, doing a tarot reading. As it should be. meanwhile, in the next room, a large group were holding a wake in very happy terms. I thought it a very good omen: people celebrating death with a cheerful vibe. Nice.

 

HOW DO WE READ FOR THE UNCONVENTIONAL, THE ONES WHO RAN AWAY WITH THE CIRCUS?

HOW DO WE READ FOR THE UNCONVENTIONAL, THE ONES WHO RAN AWAY WITH THE CIRCUS?

How does a reader’s own preconceptions, often based on society’s expectations of family, marriage and home ownership, impact on a Tarot reading’s accuracy?

When I was in my early twenties, my older sister and I went to a Tarot reader who was famous for her uncanny future predictions. To this day, my sister still talks in wonder about that reading. I always shrug my shoulders and reply: “she got it completely wrong about me”. And this is something that’s happened to me several times.

Twenty odd years on, and a whole lifetime lived, I think I can see the issue: I think that some tarot readers have a mental blueprint of what people want to hear and of what most people’s lives are like. Chances are that you will end up in a relationship, move in together and having children. I’m not saying these tarot readers are lying, specially when I’ve seen their predictions becoming reality for others, but my theory is: that oftentimes, our own perception of what life is about, what querents want to hear about, or how the world works, is clouded by a propensity to choose the relationship escalator type of template, and describe other people’s lives along these lines.

My Tarot readers of readings past, were very accurate when dealing with people who follow the relationship/mortgage/family path. They described relationships, your future home, how many children you were likely to have: what most people do. But what about people who do not conform to this template? I’ve always wondered, because, well, I didn’t follow it. My life has followed a very different path, and no tarot reader in my past saw it. They did, however, describe the husband and children I’ve never wanted to have. Back then, I was aware that I was young, and that even if it didn’t really sound like me, I conceded that I could change my mind in a few years time. After all, more people get married and have a family than not.

These cartomancers of my youth, were following an age old, revered template that most people follow, often blindly and unquestioningly. Chances are that you won’t misfire if you stick to it. But what about the queer, the non-conformists, the disenfranchised, the rebellious and the misfits of this world? When I do a taro reading for a total stranger, now that I’m older and I don’t know if wiser, but certainly more pissed off, I’m daunted and excited at the prospect of jumping into the deep end, head first, into a stranger’s unsuspected life and dreams.

I feel, however, that some readers, specially those who do a lot of professional readings for a lot of different people, use stabilisers or inflatable armbands, to save themselves the embarrassment of misfiring. After all, you can always say to an unconvinced querent, no matter how old or how young: “you will change your mind when you meet the right person”. Being a cartomancer gives you, after all, a certain authority of infallibility. I know that from the way my own querents look at me: they want to believe.

I’m not calling these card readers charlatans so please, don’t rush to assume that they were that, or just crap tarot readers: as I mentioned earlier, they gave other people accurate visions of their future, often uncannily so. I was a witness of their talent – but only as long as their querents were fairly conventional in their life choices. Any straying from the norm went over their heads. What I think I’m trying to say, is that we are human. We have our own preconceived ideas and mental templates. Our prejudices. A tarot reading works when all this mind noise is put aside and we are channeling the message without any “filters” modifying the message we give our querents. Ultimately, it’s a life long learning thing, to conduct the unbiased information, intuitively, without leaving our human, rational mind get in the way. May we all master it one day.

I have been told on a handful of occasions, that my reading did not resonate with my querent. Some people are definitely hard to read, while others are like open books. But my musings are about something else: it’s about how conventions, assumptions, prejudices, get in the way of seeing and understanding a client’s individuality. If I go a bit further, it also makes me wonder, how do we condition others to follow the path of least resistance? We live in a society where people are expected to get in a relationship, move in together, have children. Even LGBTQ people do it, getting a huge sense of validation from following the norm.

How can we be useful to the ones who ran away with the circus? Because I did run away with the circus, in a big, big way. I was already pointing in that direction, even then. Yet no Tarot reader saw this coming. All they described, was the woman they thought I’d become: with the same goals and dreams as most women around me, in that time and place.

Actually, it was when I heard the very wonderful Becky Walsh, Intuitive Coach, telling me during a consultation: “you aren’t a relationship type of person”, that I thought I’d found somebody who could understand people like me. But maybe it’s because we are Londoners and we are so used to the weird and wonderful in every day life…

HOW DO WE READ FOR THE UNCONVENTIONAL, THE ONES WHO RAN AWAY WITH THE CIRCUS?

How does a reader’s own preconceptions, often based on society’s expectations of family, marriage and home ownership, impact on a Tarot reading’s accuracy?

When I was in my early twenties, my older sister and I went to a Tarot reader who was famous for her uncanny future predictions. To this day, my sister still talks in wonder about that reading. I always shrug my shoulders and reply: “she got it completely wrong about me”. And this is something that’s happened to me several times.

Twenty odd years on, and a whole lifetime lived, I think I can see the issue: I think that some tarot readers have a mental blueprint of what people want to hear and of what most people’s lives are like. Chances are that you will end up in a relationship, move in together and having children. I’m not saying these tarot readers are lying, specially when I’ve seen their predictions becoming reality for others, but my theory is: that oftentimes, our own perception of what life is about, what querents want to hear about, or how the world works, is clouded by a propensity to choose the relationship escalator type of template, and describe other people’s lives along these lines.

My Tarot readers of readings past, were very accurate when dealing with people who follow the relationship/mortgage/family path. They described relationships, your future home, how many children you were likely to have: what most people do. But what about people who do not conform to this template? I’ve always wondered, because, well, I didn’t follow it. My life has followed a very different path, and no tarot reader in my past saw it. They did, however, describe the husband and children I’ve never wanted to have. Back then, I was aware that I was young, and that even if it didn’t really sound like me, I conceded that I could change my mind in a few years time. After all, more people get married and have a family than not.

These cartomancers of my youth, were following an age old, revered template that most people follow, often blindly and unquestioningly. Chances are that you won’t misfire if you stick to it. But what about the queer, the non-conformists, the disenfranchised, the rebellious and the misfits of this world? When I do a taro reading for a total stranger, now that I’m older and I don’t know if wiser, but certainly more pissed off, I’m daunted and excited at the prospect of jumping into the deep end, head first, into a stranger’s unsuspected life and dreams.

I feel, however, that some readers, specially those who do a lot of professional readings for a lot of different people, use stabilisers or inflatable armbands, to save themselves the embarrassment of misfiring. After all, you can always say to an unconvinced querent, no matter how old or how young: “you will change your mind when you meet the right person”. Being a cartomancer gives you, after all, a certain authority of infallibility. I know that from the way my own querents look at me: they want to believe.

I’m not calling these card readers charlatans so please, don’t rush to assume that they were that, or just crap tarot readers: as I mentioned earlier, they gave other people accurate visions of their future, often uncannily so. I was a witness of their talent – but only as long as their querents were fairly conventional in their life choices. Any straying from the norm went over their heads. What I think I’m trying to say, is that we are human. We have our own preconceived ideas and mental templates. Our prejudices. A tarot reading works when all this mind noise is put aside and we are channeling the message without any “filters” modifying the message we give our querents. Ultimately, it’s a life long learning thing, to conduct the unbiased information, intuitively, without leaving our human, rational mind get in the way. May we all master it one day.

I have been told on a handful of occasions, that my reading did not resonate with my querent. Some people are definitely hard to read, while others are like open books. But my musings are about something else: it’s about how conventions, assumptions, prejudices, get in the way of seeing and understanding a client’s individuality. If I go a bit further, it also makes me wonder, how do we condition others to follow the path of least resistance? We live in a society where people are expected to get in a relationship, move in together, have children. Even LGBTQ people do it, getting a huge sense of validation from following the norm.

How can we be useful to the ones who ran away with the circus? Because I did run away with the circus, in a big, big way. I was already pointing in that direction, even then. Yet no Tarot reader saw this coming. All they described, was the woman they thought I’d become: with the same goals and dreams as most women around me, in that time and place.

Actually, it was when I heard the very wonderful Becky Walsh, Intuitive Coach, telling me during a consultation: “you aren’t a relationship type of person”, that I thought I’d found somebody who could understand people like me. But maybe it’s because we are Londoners and we are so used to the weird and wonderful in every day life…