Bunny Slippers and Buckets of Water

Filed Under Spreads and Reading Techniques | 4 Comments

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” ~ Gloria Steinem

“I read Tarot. Tarot is about Truth. If you want to feel warm and fuzzy, buy some bunny slippers.” ~ Me

Sometimes the Truth is warm and fuzzy – someone learns self-love and self-respect, discovers their real talents and gifts, or realizes that Life is Good, and makes changes in their life to embody these realizations.

However, when we refuse to learn lessons through Love, the Universe obliges our stubbornness, and uses more direct methods to make its point. This is what I call the “Bucket of Cold Water” reading.  The Universe says, “You know what you need to do; why aren’t you doing it?” and we can make no good answer.  We either slink away in guilt and blame the reader for being a bad reader, or we can say “yes, I need to take action”, and walk out the door and do something about it.

I approach Tarot as a combination of informal therapy and coaching.  People are generally looking for someone to listen while they think out loud, someone to validate what they already know, and/or someone to act as a sounding board for potential action.  My job as a reader is to hold safe and sacred space for them to work their process, and to use my skills with compassion and honesty.

It’s the honesty part that people don’t always want to hear. They like the compassion – “Oh, yes, it’s dreadful that you are stuck in a boring, soul-crushing job that pays poorly and you work for a jerk” – but the question of “So what are you going to do about it?” – that’s not so well-received by some clients.

Many people come for readings because they want to make a change, and are looking for firm answers, guidance, suggestions, or even just a vague clue about how to proceed.  We use the reading to sift away the irrelevant and confusing, and focus on what the change could be, and how to bring it into being.

Invariably, a client comes along who wants the change to happen so good things will take place, but doesn’t want to have to actually *do* anything to create the change. They don’t want to take responsibility for their goals, their dreams, their desires – they want the Universe to give them exactly what they want, without any effort or discomfort on their part. “If I burn a green candle and think good thoughts, I’ll get a new job”.  That’s a start, but you also have to network, send out your resume, and take real world actions to manifest your intentions.  Thinking about it is not enough.  Burning candles is not enough. You have to DO something.

I had a client who had three semi-annual readings.  Our first reading was great – she decided on her Truth, declared her path, and walked out the door with a plan of action.

Six months later, she returned for a check in. Not only had she not followed her path, she had made the exact opposite of every decision from the first reading. And she wondered why nothing was working. So we explored ideas and actions to re-affirm her Truth and get her on the path she had declared.

Six months later, at reading #3, guess what?  She had again made every decision contrary to her Truth, opposite her path, and was even more miserable – and she didn’t understand why nothing was changing.

The cards in the third reading were very sharp – one of the coldest buckets of water I’ve seen – reversed Magician, reversed Aces, and the Wheel of Fortune reversed. All messages about willful refusal to act, lack of clarity, lack of focus, continuing to trust those who had proven themselves untrustworthy, and reliance on passive expectation in place of actual effort.

The cards were very clear — unless and until she takes responsibility for her choices and takes action, not only will things not improve, they will continue to decline as long as she does not live her Truth.  A year of magical thinking, wishing, and counter-intentional actions had left her a year older, a year poorer materially and emotionally, and even more miserable than she had been. And she was still asking the same questions – should I leave my job? should I leave my hopeless relationship? – that the cards had responded to twice before.

I have read that various tribes, such as the Masai and Zulu, have a custom where someone is allowed to bring a problem or concern to their council of friends, and receive consolation and advice.  They can bring the problem twice, but if they raise it a third time without having taken any action to address the problem, their friends will not give them a third hearing. The idea is that the individual must take responsibility for changing the situation; if they take action, and the result is not as hoped, they can receive further support because they are at least making effort to improve things. However, refusal to take action is met with rejection.  Constructive social pressure in a basic form.

This is a powerful tool, well aligned with how the cards work, and we as readers can learn from it.  Yes, it is important to treat our clients with respect, to listen with kindness and compassion – but as workers of an Oracle, our job is to speak Truth.  When the cards turn up with “Why are you asking this question again?”, we need to express that constructively.  We can present the message of the cards clearly and with heart. The client can choose to hear and to act; the client can choose to hear and not act; the client can choose to do neither.

We cannot make choices for our clients, but we can choose how we work, and we must choose Truth.

4 Responses to “Bunny Slippers and Buckets of Water”

  1. Well said. I also believe that as readers we are there to remind clients to be accountable to themselves and their truth.

  2. Indeed so, Jo! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  3. I have struggled with the matter of how to respond with clients such as these, who either want a certain version of the Truth, or who want the Universe to make the changes while they sit back comfortably. Should I, like the Masai or Zulu, place a limit on how many times I will answer the same question? The funny thing is, the ones not willing to hear their difficult Truth will confront this within two readings, and not come back for a third. The few who stick with it I know are committed to opening the door, even if it takes a while for them to work up their courage. The answer that comes through for me when I ask this question is: as long as they genuinely seek the Truth, I can keep holding the light up for them to see more clearly, no matter how many times we look at the same landscape.

  4. […] When we seek a tarot reading, we are seeking the truth (no matter how hard that truth might be to hear). […]