Inspired by some wonderful discussions pertaining to my post on card readers yesterday – both within and outside of the virtual public space – it occurred to me that some did not immediately see that what we may commonly perceive as the truth of the situation – and hence the ‘say it like it is’ – is not necessarily devoid of what others also perceive as love.
So, let’s make this very clear. As far as I’m concerned, truth and love are not mutually exclusive. In fact, as I’ve remarked in my previous post, in the context of reading cards, truth for me is the highest manifestation of love and respect. How else would I be able to do what I do?
Now, however, and as we all know, truth, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder. No one holds any monopoly over ‘truth’. So when I talk about being truthful, I refer to what I can find evidence for in the cards. That’s why I always insist that what I do is read the cards, before I offer the other the possibility to inhabit any of that space that some identify with love and community. There’s beauty in truth. And a beautiful truth is filled with compassion.
My first, and hence best teacher of cards in the Marseille tarot and the Lenormand cards tradition is a professor of psychiatry from Argentina. He himself is a former student of famed Colette Silvestre. I’ll never forget my first lesson with him, in the form of a reading for me. He delivered a message that was so stark and powerful that it literally blew me away. My head fell on the table. He gave me no chance to say a word. His message (based on the French Cross spread + 2 additional cards for elaboration) was comprised of exactly 3 short sentences. He spoke with authority, and I saw no reason to question it, be suspicious, and hence show disrespect.
What I remember so vividly is the experience of that lesson. He asked me, ‘so, how is this?’, and all I could say, while squirming in pain, was ‘this is the naked truth and nothing but’. ‘Good then, he said.’ ‘Heed attention and don’t even think about deviating from the advice’. I didn’t, and it all turned out as he said. Since then, all I’ve ever done in my card reading was to emulate that experience. The truth first, and then the relishing of love that truth discloses. That to me is the highest art. I don’t like to talk about love, because love is imprecise. I don’t like to talk about pain, because pain is imprecise. But what I like to talk about is strategies through which I can make the other love herself, and heal herself. This, in my experience, is the most transformative. So, sure, I never start on a premise of ‘love’, because I don’t find love more necessary than clarity, at least not at that very stage. Rather, what I’m interested in is locating where in the cards a person’s deepest truth is, and then let that speak about the experience of self-love and healing.
Here’s a fun spread with a Lenormand deck I rather like, Giancarlo Carloni’s design for Rizzoli in 1980.
The question that I asked this morning was this:
What is truth fundamentally for me?
The cards say:
The truth is always a new journey towards what we can talk about (Child, Ship, Birds).
What presents itself as truth is the key to also what you make of it (Rider, Key, Woman).
Truth is shooting to the target, and hitting powerfully (Heart, Anchor, Bear).
Truth enables the understanding of love (Birds to Heart modified by Rider), and turns you into a innovative and strong communicator (Child to Bear modified by Woman)
In these cards here, I don’t see anything about the cards instructing the reader to find a compromise. The cards don’t suggest anything about finding something that will make the sitter feel better, even if that will be only for 5 minutes, for indeed, when the enchantment wears off, what will the sitter do, once she leaves the gypsy’s tent after having listened to her telling her of wondrous fortunes, and assuring her that all will be well? How will the sitter deal with the truth of her situation when she’s at home craving for money, or hating her husband, if the truth was what was missing from the session?
So it goes. We all have our methods. If I believe in anything, then it’s this: find your voice, and speak loudly. And steer away from clichés. While clichés can move us for a moment, they are not the ones that change our lives. Clichés and generalizations don’t change the world either. Try a little truth, and don’t think that being truthful means being hateful of all the things out there that disturb our comfort.
LE CARTE DELLA FORTUNA, Serie d’arte.
Giancarlo Carloni, Rizzoli, Anna Bella
Corrierre della Serra, 1980.