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Tarot Reflections

 May 15, 2003

Spread: Seven Card Sasha
A Way of Dealing with Maybe/Maybe Not Questions
Christopher delaMaison, CPTR

Christopher delaMaison works as a computer and networking technology instructor at Pioneer Pacific College in Wilsonville, Oregon. He was introduced to the Tarot through the Scottish Rite Masons over 10 years ago. He is active in the SCA and Sci-Fi communities in Portland, Oregon. His many-faceted skills include doumbek drumming for belly dancers, as well as learning how to sleep through long, dreary faculty meetings without snoring.

His web site: features a number of items which you simply have to see for yourself.


Earlier this month I had the opportunity to read for a young lady at one of my favorite after work haunts, Bodacious Classics, in Portland. During the two hours I had spent with her, I believe I had come away learning more from her than she did from me. Not only learning how to do a new tarot spread, but more importantly how to truly listen to someone without letting my own notions interfere with what I was hearing.

I teach computer courses at a private college in the Portland area, on a split-shift schedule Monday through Thursday. While the pay isn't the greatest, I do get to add Friday to my weekend, at least most of the time.

So with Friday off, I make tracks to Bodacious Classics, or BC's, as soon as my class is over with Thursday night. Now, BC's isn't your typical restaurant/bar establishment. Thursday night is Sci-Fi night, complete with regulars dressed up as their favorite character from whatever Sci-Fi show you can imagine. As I'm also a Sci-Fi buff, I don my Star Trek Maquis outfit and dash on in for my weekly dose of Commander Qaolin's "Klingon Karaoke," or whatever else is going on.

On this particular evening, one of the regulars was celebrating her birthday. Sasha, who was attired as Princess Leia of Star Wars fame, was the center of attention for the evening, celebrating her 20 something birthday with a large group of friends and admirers. She was strategically seated near the DJ, which limited access to her by other patrons. This is not unusual, as Sasha is also the 2003 Miss Nude Oregon. Now, what is interesting here is not that Sasha is an accomplished exotic dancer hanging out at a bar, but that she is an accomplished exotic dancer hanging out with a bunch of Sci-Fi geeks, at a bar that does not feature "exotic dancing."

Most of the Sci-Fi fans I have encountered, and I have to include myself in this category, have a rather loose grip on reality. We live from one Star Trek convention to the next, more concerned with improving our costumes than with pursuing job or career goals.

Commander Qaolin, for instance, is a cook at a Jewish retirement home, who makes great effort to don his Klingon costume every Thursday night immediately after work, and then races at warp speed to BC's to do his Klingon interpretation of "I did it my way" for a waiting audience. What we do have in common, is that, as a rule, we are usually 40+ years of age, having grown up watching Star Trek, and having seen the NASA program put astronauts on the moon. We may not all be pulling down six figure salaries, but we are not an unlettered crowd either.

With the idea in mind that it would be "fun" to do a reading for an exotic dancer, I asked Sasha if she would like a tarot reading for her birthday. She agreed.

Now, from a guy's perspective, exotic dancers hold a certain fascination. They are always very thin, agile, and very, very cute. Sasha is no exception. She has very alluring eyes, which can capture and hold a male's attention with very little effort. She also has the gift of giving a guy that certain look, a look that defies description, and yet can start bar fights, or empty a guy's wallet. She is, in short, a mistress of her art; capable of holder her own in an industry designed for and dominated by men.

As a "twenty-something," I didn't believe Sasha would have any real interest in the esoteric arts, particularly divination. This was based on my interaction with the students that I teach. Most of the younger students seem to have no real interest in the arcane arts, with their attention being diverted towards the latest music craze, drinking, drugs, skateboarding, or locating the nearest Rave party for the weekend. Those young adults who seem to be a little more "grounded," are more apt to be focused on maintaining a reasonable standard of living, with little time left over to spend delving into esoteric topics.

After she had finished chatting with her admirers, she motioned for me to pick a spot at a nearby table. I wanted to do the reading away from the stage speakers, as Command Qaolin was beginning to pick up steam with his rendition of "Klingon Nation," a take-off of "Cherokee Nation," made famous by Cher. Klingon, as a spoken language, is never easy to listen to, and is impossible to tolerate as background noise when trying to conduct a private conversation. Sasha, however, was undeterred. She was very straightforward, wanting to know about the probability of success of her career options she had planned.

I listened to her career plans: dancing, modeling and real estate. I chose the Celtic Cross for the divination spread. After Sasha had shuffled the cards, I dealt them out and took a few moments to read. What I was beginning to realize, is that her question was a bit more complicated than what I had anticipated. She wanted to know which two of these three career paths would be the best to follow. Sasha could see that I was having trouble, so she suggested that I let her reshuffle the deck, and that I try a different spread.

Sasha picked up the cards and began reshuffling them. She suggested that I look at her question from the standpoint of it being a series of "Yes or No" questions, and that we should address each question in turn. I noticed that her eyes where conveying a different message than before. She was serious about her career questions, and would not tolerate anything less than an exhaustive answer from someone who claimed to be a tarot reader.

I was also taken aback by her knowledge of working with the tarot, the symbolism of both the major and minor arcana, correspondences between the tarot and astrology, and how to focus on her question as she began laying out the cards. It was readily apparent that this young woman was not just another shallow "twenty-something," but a well-versed esotericist in her own right.

When she was done shuffling the cards, she laid out seven cards, from left to right. Sasha told me that the ones that were upright meant, "Yes," and the ones that were reversed meant "No". In addition to this, each card was to be interpreted for its own meaning, just as if it was a single card draw. The "No" cards were to be interpreted in the upright position, as they were already chosen as "No" cards by being reversed when drawn.

This process was conducted for each of her three career choices, with the "Yes" and "No" cards considered as a list of reasons to follow or not to follow a particular career path. Possible combinations or "maybe" paths were discussed. The pitfalls and problems of other combinations or "maybe not" paths were also identified.

We spent almost an hour and a half, going over her three career choices. We examined the upright "Yes" cards, assessing each reason to follow a given path, and then compared and weighed this against the "No" cards, and the reasons they gave as to why such a path should be avoided. With multiple reasons for and against a particular question, what would have been a tarot reading monologue turned into a shared discussion of tarot influences and inferences, and how these factored into day-to-day living. As we discussed each card, I began to realize just how powerful this spread could be.

In retrospect, I have to admit I did learn a lot from this reading, and this particular client. First, assuming a particular tarot spread to be the correct spread, simply because the reader is comfortable with it, is false. The Celtic Cross is an incredibly versatile tool, which can yield and incredible amount of information. However, there are times and situations that require different spreads, to help present information in a different, more meaningful manner. While the Celtic Cross may still be my favorite spread; to be a more effective reader, I need to not only add to my list of spreads, but also to learn how and when to use them.

Second, and perhaps more profound, is that a reader runs the risk of mis-reading a spread for a client, if he/she is influenced by some set of preconceived notions. The misconception I had about "twenty-something's" being uninterested in the esoteric arts almost caused me to miss out on learning a tarot spread, which I have since found to be a very useful and effective tool.

Tarot knowledge and insight are not just to be had from the well-heeled, experienced tarot reader. It can come from a variety of sources. Whether or not that source is wearing heels (or anything else for that matter) is of secondary importance.



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