As everyone involved in the world of divination knows, the ‘occult sciences’ have a bad name in the world that makes claims to knowledge, rationality, and objectivity. ‘Nope,’ the argument goes, ‘we, involved in the sciences other than the pseudo ones are not in the business of mumbo jumbo. We have the righteous obligation to denounce the frauds and the army of readers of signs. They don’t speak the truth.’ As a diviner myself, I can get sick and tired of having to listen to such denunciations, which are often fuelled by one-sidedness, presumptuousness, and a dangerous kind of righteousness. There are reasons why we read cards, the stars, tablets, runes, sticks and stones. So I want to make a few points on what the said righteous folks might also want to focus on when they get high on their redemptive horses or when they do the world a favor by saving it from being duped. As a general rule, I wish that all claims to redemption would be dropped. As Jung once pointed out, belief in redemption and in enlightening others about the obscure ways of the world comes from fear and generates nothing but hatred.
However, in the occult world you can easily come across many methods of reading all sorts of signs. As a professional tarot reader myself – whatever ‘professional’ means – I get to see many types on both sides of the table. As far as I’m concerned, I keep it simple. I’m interested in how the randomness of cards allows for the emergence of a narrative that many find empowering. As a window to alternative solutions – and often as a tool for uncovering blind spots – tarot is most fascinating. It turns the unreality of the reading situation into a real potential for change. I like it when people go: ‘now, why didn’t I think of that?’ when they see an embodied situation in the cards, and which they relate to, often even before I get to say anything or suggest anything. I find that the visual language and poetics of tarot supersede the established sciences of cognitive psychology and psychoanalysis when it comes to offering solutions to problems. Tarot is a much more efficient ‘language’ that helps articulate clearly a number of otherwise very complex and disturbed issues for any subject.
On a general scale, I find it deplorable that all those who bash divination fail to make a simple analogy. My favorite examples are these ones: we don’t buy Tarot because it doesn’t hold up to what it promises, but we buy marriage, as if that one hits the mark every time – I mean, with people staying married and in love until death does them in. We don’t buy Tarot, but we buy Wall Street. Insofar as everything is narrative, including the pain we think we have, why, then, not go with what we see in the stars? Subjects coming to diviners can sense that a reader will not ask them to play a cultural game and wear more masks. And this is exactly why divination has such a powerful effect on people. More righteous folks should be talking about that. And actually try it.
On a personal level, I have to say that what I appreciate even in the worst kind of reading is the reader’s ability to be and remain present for the duration of the reading – which is something that we rarely experience in a familial or work context. It takes skill and courage to read body language. It takes time and acuity to really know how to look at people. What the subjects respond to is not so much the general affirmations that are delivered, and which can refer to anything, nor the ‘cold’ manipulations of pseudo facts, but the reader’s presence. I wish more righteous people would talk about that, about how even the stupidest reader can still manage to touch others with the help of a few picture cards. We don’t get touched by generalizations. Subjects come to diviners because they are tired of culture. They are tired of ‘rational’ solutions provided by institutions and clever people. They are tired of other people telling them: ‘I told you so.’ Diviners are not in the business of turning people psychotic – culture does that all on its own without the diviners’ help. Indeed, if we want to talk about divination, let’s talk more about how it redefines for us all a world of magic against the background of what we all too easily participate in forgetting.
For all my fellow-diviners, here’s a three-card spread which answered beautifully today’s question: how can we relate to the righteous illuminati?
Temperance will give you the world. If not, there’s always justice. In other words, our task is to rise above the discourse that discredits us in the name of ‘my ‘science is better than your signs.’ We are called to inhabit the world of higher orders and let justice do its work: give people what they deserve.
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