Believed to be akin to black magic and performed by a mysterious lady dressed head-to-toe in colorful garb, complete with a turban, heavy mascara, polished cat-like nails, and a shiny crystal ball, Tarot reading has always been shrouded by stereotypes. The media’s dramatic representation of Tarot reading has raised a great deal of questions, assumptions, and countless misconceptions from believers and skeptics alike. Hoping to pull back the curtains on what Tarot reading is really all about, The LaSallian sits down with Eisel, a Tarot reader, to disperse the fog straight and properly shuffle the cards back into the deck.
The truth in the Tarot
A web and graphic designer who moonlights as a Tarot reader in her spare time, Eisel shares that her interest in Tarot reading stemmed from her love for books and the comfort she finds in them. Her affinity for the practice also stems from her “innate ability to see and communicate with beings from other dimensions”. Growing up, Eisel would find solace in the library, or at the bookstore. As she was glancing through the bookshelves one day, she happened upon a Tarot book. “There was no internet for me to research my ability back then. I felt like an outcast because nobody could understand me. I saw a Tarot book in the bookstore, and I bought it and hid it because I was scared my mom would find it,” she shares. Since then, Tarot has helped Eisel understand herself, and her ability better.
Years later, Eisel is now a professional and certified Tarot reader, and has expressed her desire to help others through the use of Tarot cards. In a country as religiously devout as ours, however, doing so has proven to be quite the challenge due to the many misconceptions and false beliefs being fed to the public by mainstream media. Various movies and TV shows have inaccurately depicted Tarot cards and Tarot readers, often exaggerating the association of Tarot reading with the occult and otherworldly; a good example being the fact that most people believe that drawing the ‘Death’ card means that their death (or a loved one’s death) is near, where in fact it merely means that the client will soon be facing the end of a major aspect in their life that will pave the way for them to move on to new and better circumstances. “I view it (Tarot reading) as a tool to help you out of a rut; my goal is really just to help people out.” While there are indeed a number of Tarot readers who specialize in readings more closely linked to the supernatural, Eisel identifies as the type of reader who specializes in the enlightenment and empowerment of one’s self.
Eisel explains that to have a successful reading one must have an open mind to what the cards say. “The cards are not used for fortune-telling purposes, but are there to help the client gain an insight to the happenings and events in their life,” she explains. The process merely guides her clients to answers already living deep inside them; she uses the cards to point them in the right direction.
It’s all in the cards
When asked about any interesting card reading sessions, Eisel does her best to stifle back a laugh as she discloses the usual types of readings she has for her foreign and local clients. Since clients usually book readings with her through her website, The Whimsical Arcane, most of her readings are actually done online. ”I had an online reading with a client who wouldn’t accept the answers about his love life; he wanted to try different kinds of cards, but the messages were all the same. Usually, international readings (readings done abroad) are more on empowerment, enlightenment, and career. But here, it’s mostly love readings.” She also went on to explain that there are certain questions that the cards cannot help you find answers to; questions such as ‘Who will be my soul mate?’, or ‘What are the winning lotto numbers?’ will never be answerable by tarot cards. Eisel then jokes, saying that, “If I were able to answer that, I would have won the lotto a long time ago!”
While most clients are enthusiastically curious, several skeptics have scheduled readings with Eisel as well. “He was a skeptic, he had that wall of doubt,” she shares, adding that, “He told me my reading was all wrong, and that maybe it was for a different person. I told him those were the cards that turned up, I just interpreted.” Weeks passed, the same skeptic emailed her apologizing for his words and actions, and admitted that the cards were actually right. Other than that encounter, Eisel discloses, “So far in my professional career, I haven’t had a dissatisfied customer.”
However, being a Tarot reader is not as easy as it seems. They too have their own set of responsibilities, just like any other profession. “You have to tell the truth, no matter how bad or dark the message is, since your credibility is also at stake,” says Eisel, adding that a reader should not tell half-baked truths, such as things they know that their client would want to hear. By obscuring the real message of the cards, the client would then be unable to properly seek out what the universe is trying to tell them.
As Eisel has shared, Tarot readers cannot be put into one mold or stereotype. Not all Tarot readers are eccentric or participants of the occult—in fact, Eisel reflects the practice nurtured her empathy. “It made me more understanding of people and their battles. When you begin to understand, you become more patient,” she shares firmly.
If there’s one thing Eisel would like the public to know about Tarot, it is that Tarot reading is all about you: the reader, the client, the general public. Ultimately, it is about acceptance and having the courage to hear things one might not be ready