Little known Jean fact — I read Tarot cards. I have for almost 20 years. I’m not psychic, I don’t have any secret knock that gets me into the hereafter party, but I’ve always been interested in many facets of spirituality, mysticism and the paranormal. However, when it comes to tarot cards, I think of them as a tool, a hands-on workbook of sorts that helps us work through our issues. When people are open to the tarot they “read” things into the card as truth, not because of some great all-knowing seer flipping the cards over, but rather because we allow the cards to act as a conduit to our innermost thoughts granting them a shape and outlet. In short, the cards just help us figure out how we’re feeling.
That said, I’m self-taught and those are my personal beliefs from years of practice. I occasionally use the cards on myself as I find they help give shape to the feelings, hurts, hopes, etc. that are too often buried, hidden and ignored, but I’ve never actually had my cards read professionally. Sure I’ve read cards for friends over the years who’ve then tried to reciprocate, but… I always wanted to get it done by a practitioner of the art.
SO, my very first, planned and official, Misadventure of Awkward Jean was to go see Gypsy Joan at the River Market Antique Mall and have my tarot cards read on a lovely fall afternoon.
Honestly I didn’t know what to expect, but I was pretty skeptical. Especially when I saw the draped wool cape, big beaded earrings and au naturel look… mostly because it all seemed to conflict with the very sparkly, trendy, princess cut platinum engagement ring she was sporting… Hmm…
I sat down and she made small talk while she shuffled the cards. She asked me if I had been read before, to which I replied no, then she asked if I knew much about the tarot or had any expectations for our reading… I nervously giggled and told her no. I was not about to make this easy for her. Plus, let’s face it, every ounce of my being oozes with the word “GULLIBLE” so I kind of wanted to see where she’d go with that.
She began by telling me that she was a third generation reader and had no psychic or clairvoyant ability. Then she went on to tell me her beliefs on tarot cards, which more or less mirrored mine. Hmm. Maybe this was going to be better than I thought, but she was still shuffling the cards… For those of you who don’t know a key with tarot is to have the person being read do the shuffling while concentrating and trying to imbue the cards with some of herself, how could this woman not know that most basic premise? When Gypsy Joan was done explaining her views and what I should expect she handed me the deck and told me basically what I just explained. That’s when I remembered she has to “clear the deck” from the person before, that’s why she was shuffling… It’s also when I realized I was being quite closed to this experience, fully expecting it to be a money grubbing stunt. Wow, 16 Year Old Jean would have been horrified at my prejudgments.
So, I took the cards, closed my eyes and really tried to open up to the reading.
Gypsy Joan reads a classic Celtic Cross spread, the same as me, so it was pretty familiar which was nice. The humor of it all would clearly be in the first two cards flipped: The Fool and The Lovers.
The first describes where I, as the questioner, am currently at in life with the latter being placed over that card to indicate the most consuming challenge I face.
The Fool is one of the most controversial in the deck and its meaning is very tied to its placement. In the first position, describing the questioner, it is the most powerful card in the tarot stating that the questioner’s free will can almost literally move mountains; that nothing is beyond reach if one is to simply seize the day. Google this and you will often find it associated to the Latin phrase “Carpe Diem”… yep, the same one I had tattooed on my left wrist earlier this year. Given the placement and surrounding cards, Gypsy Joan interpreted this to mean I am currently in a position of setting out on a journey of self-enlightenment and personal growth. That combined with the other cards this is a very exciting time in my life where the meaning I seek is within reach. (And suddenly 35 is looking up!)
In the second position, crossing over The Fool, was The Lovers, which symbolizes one’s soulmate. This was interpreted by Gypsy Joan as having two possible meanings — either I’d found my soulmate, but he was holding me back from fulfilling my growth potential… OR (and this one maybe stung a little) that it’s possible I’m so focused on finding this person, that I’m losing myself in the process.
(SIDEBAR — Two cards. That’s how long it took me before I started looking around thinking I was being punk’d.)
The other part of my reading that really struck me and stayed with me after we’d finished was the card in the seventh position. This is the position that represents how others view the questioner. For me that card was Strength, and while I can’t recall what cards were in the positions above and below it, Gypsy Joan interpreted the placement and surrounding cards to mean that I seek validation from others, that I desperately want to have their approval, but what I don’t see is that I already do and the real validation I need is from myself. She said if there was one gift she hoped my journey would find, it was to see myself the way others do and once I can do that it would be all the validation I would need.
The rest of the reading was really quite positive. I was pretty thrown by how some of the cards hit so close to home. I found myself a bit overwhelmed and couldn’t remember as many specifics as I’d like, but I do recall her telling me multiple times that overall the cards reflected a lot of light, positivity and happiness. It made me think of the words I have hanging in my bedroom, opposite my bed as the first thing I see every morning, “It’s never too late to live happily ever after.”
Suffice it to say… Gypsy Joan can wear whatever the hell she wants, I was impressed. If you ever get the chance, or if you ever want me to do it for you, I highly recommend opening yourself up to a tarot card reading… After so many years of reading other people, and finally experiencing it myself, I think the best surprise of all is that none of it was really all that surprising.
And with that, my first official challenge is in the books AND I’ve written about it. Whew! Alas, I still have soo many adventures to catch you all up on… Stay patient my friends, we’ll get there.
XOXO — Awkward Jean