Accidental Brilliance

By Jeanne Fiorini

I still get a little nervous before doing a Tarot reading. Even after 20 years and who knows 
how many readings, the pesky voice in my head persists: “I wonder if it will work this time?” 
Maybe this edge of anxiety helps keep me honest, or humble, or maybe it’s simply a matter 
of some reactionary self-doubt rearing its head. Whatever the origin or function, I’ll have to continue dealing with the pangs because they don’t seem in any hurry to abandon me.

It’s true, though, that these pre-reading jitters are made worthwhile when something particularly interesting, funny, poignant, or super-wise comes out of my mouth during a session. If you do readings for others, you’re probably familiar with the experience of speaking words which, only after they’ve left you, do you hear them and understand how brilliant they are! It’s not as though you think brilliant thoughts and then express them, it’s more like a pile of Scrabble tiles come tumbling out of your mouth and all you can do is hope for the best.

In my experience, it is the pictures on the cards --and the popping of intuition that follows--- which instigates the “Scrabble phenomenon.” Doing a reading is like being onstage on opening night without ever having read the script. It often feels like jumping from a high diving board into unknown waters. We can talk about the levels of meaning within a reading, and make the point that even when we do a most excellent job of interpretation, there remain unfathomed (unfathomable?) layers of information for which we have not the time, knowledge, or energy to explore. Given all that, it’s no wonder the butterflies show up before a session!

But accidental brilliance does happen, and I try to make a point to write it down so that it doesn’t get lost in the flurry of the moment. A Tarot reading can be laden with puns-- a delightful surprise for anyone who appreciates the fluidity of language-- and also will present a spontaneous rhyme every once in a while. 

In this first example, a client was struggling in her relationship with her sister (perceiving her 
as selfish and overbearing) and had just about had enough. The client was vacillating between ignoring her sister, cutting her off, and/or verbally lambasting her once and for all.

I don’t have a sister, but apparently you can’t just rid yourself of one like you can a friend or a lover. (I’ve heard that sisters tend to stick around and continue to plague.) Anyway, the question posed to the cards was, “What is my best approach to my sister at this time?”  (…a query which encompasses the bigger question, “What is the best approach to my sister at this time, for the highest good of all concerned?”) The client drew the Justice card, along with the Knight of Cups.

Here’s a case where the order in which the cards appeared on the table is important. In this example, Justice leads and the Knight of Cups follows. A strong, assertive, objective-minded card is followed by a heart-on-the-sleeve card of sensitivity and kindness. Strength allows for compassion. The words that came out of my mouth were, “When you know your own mind you can be kind.”

The client got it. It wasn’t about letting the sister run all over her; rather to be witnessing her from an impersonal perspective and from that place of objectivity, being able to be gentle toward her sister. “Detached understanding” was shown to be the most beneficial approach given the current situation, not the “right” move but the most effective one given the personalities involved. The client was comfortable with the response, we were left to assume that this would be a favorable action from the sister’s point of view, and I was happy with the rhyme.

This next piece of accidental brilliance comes from the willingness to participate in an inexplicable series of connections. Step One: A father, during his reading, wonders if his eldest daughter who lives in another state will be moving home before the end of the summer. We get 
a resounding “Yes.” Step Two: This same daughter has a telephone reading where she conveys how miserably confused she is over whether to leave her job in the other state and move back to Maine where she feels at home. “What can help me with this decision?”

Confidentiality issues prevent me from sharing with her any information from her father’s reading, and the onus is on me to be honest and impartial in this reading regardless of any previous reply from the Tarot to this same question. Thankfully for me (someone who is always on the lookout for consistency) we get another clear “Yes.” It does appear to be in her best interest to set sights on moving back to Maine, although the job situation post-move is very uncertain.

Step Three: The father comes for a follow-up reading about a month after his last session. 
Not only was the daughter scheduled to be home by August 1st, but get this: At the end of June the daughter gave notice at her out-of-state job. On her final day of work a man approached her, gushing with compliments about her fine accomplishments and organizational abilities. It turns out that the man lives in Maine and upon learning that she was soon to be living in the same area, all but offered her a job in his company….interviews were to be held in late-July. 

Sometimes you don’t have to walk across the threshold, you just have to open the door. 
This particular client just needed a little nudge toward the door, whereupon Other Forces took the reins. To be a link in the unfolding of these particular events reminds me that:

[We all] spring from the essential web that intertwines all of reality, and therefore are automatically connected to everyone and everything. This is no longer a statement made confidently by mystics, spiritualists, and philosophers, it is the quantum reality of the 21st century.

…from the conclusion of “Tarot Spreads and Layouts/A User’s Manual”

Accidental brilliance. It happens quite often actually, as does intuition or an inadvertent pun 
or a 7-letter word that emerges from the random Scrabble tiles sitting silently in your tray. 
As students of the Tarot, we get to participate in that dynamic and creative reality more 
often than most other people. Allow me one more thought from my new book in conclusion:

… Since we are all part of a single system of interrelated connections, it is not a stretch of the imagination to realize that all knowledge, events, and circumstance is present and available within the unified field. As Tarot readers, we are, essentially, intentionally and consciously “fishing” in the unified field for our answers. Intention is the bait, intuition is the hook, and the Tarot cards are the fishing pole.

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Tarot Reflections is published by the American Tarot Association - © 2011
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