Using Ritual to Centre & Empower Your Tarot Readings

For those of you who know me well, you will have seen the picture of me on Facebook reading tarot for a friend after dinner in our local carvery. We were chatting away while I shuffled the cards and a bunch of them flew out of the deck but held together as they landed on the table. We decided to use them. What became very quickly apparent was that these cards weren’t for my friend, but for me, and very definitively. So what happened?

Earth calling Catherine, come in Catherine..

I’ve always believed the tarot reader is the channel in a reading, that it’s all happening through the tarot reader, not by the client putting their energies into the cards. After that night at the carvery, it turned out I was right. And wrong.

I had a lot going on in my personal life at the time and while we were chatting away, no doubt my subconscious mind was focussed on those events and issues. I wasn’t concentrating on the reading. Ironically, I told my friend to concentrate and to tell me when to stop shuffling. I’d handed responsibility of the reading over to her.

And that’s what happened.

Why I was right, and how I was wrong

The Tarot reader certainly is the channel in the reading, but a refinement of language and perspective is required to see the whole picture – the client is also a channel, albeit a secondary one. They’re not directly putting their energy into anything – they’re meeting you in a moment of focussed intention, a meditation of two hearts and minds if you will, connecting and joining together, synergistically and spiritually becoming one for the reading.

I believe this is why some people are easier to work with than others, because they open themselves easily and naturally to their reader, and there are those who are cautious and remain as closed as possible, often for very good reasons. They may be skeptical of you because they don’t know you. This may be their first tarot reading and so they could be nervous. Whatever their reason, they will all be more difficult to read for.

Nice logic, it makes sense, but it’s still not very helpful

I agree. This is all well and good if you have a client who is open, all will go well. You will connect together and the reading will go smoothly. But what about those clients who deliberately remain closed, who put up resistance? How do we ensure we can give them the best experience and the best tarot reading at that time? It requires you, their tarot reader, to take charge of this spiritual union and lead the way in a little ritual, holding their hand, if you will.

Now while this works well for those who are nervous, I use this technique every time I read now, it has become my own personal ritual, though it should be thought of as universal technique to all and not exclusive to just one.

What is the technique?

I like to shuffle the cards, always have. I’ve always felt an exacting prompt of when to stop shuffling and so I go with that. While I’m shuffling I now say a few words in my head, though it can be said out loud if you know your client well and they’re used to having a tarot reading.

While shuffling I say the following:

“This tarot reading is for [client’s name] who seeks clarity in his/her life. I ask that mine & [client]’s spirit guides connect together and to the Universal Source, to assist me in providing the clearest, and most accurate divination I can; to assist me in understanding and interpreting the messages sent through this tarot reading to provide the help and clarity [client] seeks. Please accept our thanks for your help and assistance in this reading. [client] would like to know….”

I developed this ritual from that night at the carvery, and the nights that followed. It was apparent that I had to stay focussed but more importantly, I had to be responsible and take charge of the reading. Having used this technique since then, it has indeed helped me to focus and I feel I have been providing better tarot readings because of it.

Aren’t rituals used in magick?

Now don’t be worrying about the word ritual, there are no cloaks or daggers or altars involved. A ritual helps to focus your intent, your will and your attention on the thing you want to achieve or change. When I say ritual, I mean saying that sequence of sentences and requests in my head while I’m shuffling the cards. This does two things.

  1. It focusses my intent and stops my mind wondering and influencing the reading
  2. It means I’ve taken charge, and responsibility of the reading

By taking responsibility of the reading, I’m not talking about the wider ethics normally associated with reader and client responsibility, I’m talking about my conduct during the reading, particularly at the start. I’m talking about doing my best to ensure a successful reading, that I fulfill my own personal obligation to the seeker. Taking responsibility for the reading is another issue altogether and is a discussion for another day.

When I take charge of the reading, I am directing the flow and sequence of initial events. That simply means I’m acting as a conduit but I’m calling together all those who will be present at the reading to help and assist with it. It’s important to make the distinction because I’m not seeking to control the reading, just give it the best possible start.

In asking the seeker’s spirit guides to join with mine and the Universal Source, I am bypassing any tension from the client. By asking for the help and assistance from the Universal Source, I am removing my own ego and influence from the reading and allowing myself to be led and directed during the reading. Finally, by thanking those involved, I am being respectful to them, the seeker, myself and the reading.

As a side effect to that, and something I didn’t realise at first, is the centering and grounding this technique provides. If you feel nervous about conducting a reading for any reason, perhaps you’re late and have rushed to meet your client; you may be distracted or upset over a personal issue. For whatever reason you feel unsettled, incorporating a ritual such as this can help to settle those nerves and allow you a little time to gather yourself until you begin the reading proper.

Talking out loud

While this ritual works very well in silence, it can also be of terrific benefit if you wish to convey an atmosphere of mysticism in face to face readings. It would be very easy to get carried away with pomp and ceremony, but along with your regular nice reading cloth, crystals and incense, a few words like those above can serve to create an atmosphere of respect for the reading, which is important. Tarot shouldn’t scary, it should be relaxed and you should be able to have fun, but similarly, reading tarot is an art and a ritual all by itself and deserves to be approached and conducted with respect for that art, for the tarot, for yourself and for those who seek its wisdom.

There will be instances where It’s not always possible to say the full ritual, time will not always permit it. You may be a telephone psychic or tarot reader which is a fast paced environment; you may be doing speed readings or short readings for a function or event. In these circumstances, it is perfectly fine to adjust the words to cover the event, or whole evening, and if you have the time, you can jump straight to the meeting of the spirit guides in those individual readings.

Taking the time to form your own ritual can have quite an impact on your tarot readings. The client or seeker isn’t the only one who will benefit. You, the tarot reader, can benefit through an increase in confidence and assurance that you are conducting yourself appropriately, that you aren’t influencing the reading in any way, but are in fact allowing the Universal Source and its message for the seeker to flow through you, empowering you both in the process.

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