God it’s different being on the other side of the Tarot table! As a reader, you kind of forget how nervous you can get beforehand. I don’t even know why, but when i sat down opposite Louise (who had worked for Spellbox for 11 years until now) last week i felt like a vulnerable little girl, excited and scared at the same time. As Louise looked at me/into me with her deep brown eyes, i truly felt as though i was opposite a high priestess, an oracle. I wondered what she saw, what secrets were going to be found, what treasures discovered. Could she tell how nervous i was; is that why she kept offering me chocolates? Now, was i getting paranoid? Was she reading my thoughts?
I love feeling cast out of my normal role and into someplacee totally different. It’s like going for a ride at the fair or something. A good reader will not disappoint, and you’ll get off at the end a little dazed and dizzy, but satisfied. I sucked on the chocolates while Louise gotÂ me to shuffle the cards and told me that she’d be “rattling around in my energy” while i was in there, and not to be alarmed. She told me i should go away feeling a lot clearer about things and with a real sense of what was coming up for me in the next few months.Â Cool. There’s something very comforting in having someone take control like that for a while. Letting them do the reading, the puzzle-solving and searching, while you just sit there and eat sweet things.
I watched in fascination at how she worked. Every reader is so different! Some talk a lot and some carefully select their words, leaving lots of silences and space for contemplation. Sometimes there are only a few cards with which the reader works, going into depth and channeling information with a skeleton wardrobe. Other times the table is covered in a mass of mysterious patterns and pictures and you sit there in wonder as the story of your life emerges. Louise used lots of cards in succession and talked pretty much the whole time, only once or twice asking what this or that meant to me, before swiftly moving on. Whilst it gave me a lot to contemplate (and what she said was pretty spot-on),Â I also had lots of questions i didn’t get time to ask. I could have easily spent the afternoon with her and a pot of tea. Easily.
Louise’s cards were so old and worn there’s no way i could tell what she was seeing, nor what deck she was using. Some of them were so tattered there was just a ghost of a picture left – i loved them.Your cards become a part of you when you use them regularly, no doubt, but this was truly something special. Just looking at them i felt like i was up in dusty old attic and had come across ancient treasure buried at the bottom of auntie’s dowary chest. I thought of my own new deck of Rider-Waite cards, so slick and shiny and super-slippery and i felt somehow as though i’d traded in my first child for an upgrade. It’ll take me years to get that kind of street cred on the tarot scene!
Half an hour is just not long enough sometimes. My favorite parts were when Louise was picking up visions from me. There was a tulip swaying in the breeze and an umbrella closing shut. Oh, and an arrow pointing upwards. I like working with the visual in my own readings, so it was interesting to see how effective they were. Pictures stay with you and different meanings emerge in time, in a way that doesn’t happen with words.Â Each picture is symbolic and has layers of meaning, many of which are unique to the individual- giving the reading much more depth than words alone ever could.
I guess some people might find visual images too ‘airy fairy’ and prefer the ‘facts’ and direct information. I think a bit of both is good. Much of what Louise went on to say was in regard to information, and her manner as a reader was very matter-of-fact and highly professional. I enjoyed that, even though i’ve also had readings which I’ve loved purely FOR their theatricality and old-world gypsy charm.
At the end of the day, everyone has their own preferences when it comes to readers. It just depends on who you click with, and what you’re looking for in a reader. I absolutely love going to different readers just because i’m fascinated with it all. It made me laugh when i was telling Ruari i’d been to see Louise, and he seemed surprised, asking me why i would want to go get a reading when i read the Tarot myself. Well, it’s kind of like asking a musician why they would ever want to go see another band, when they could just listen to their own music as they play it.
Besides, it’s SO hard to read for yourself. And so much more interesting to see what other people pick up. So thank you Louise, for a fantastic reading. You are a real witch and high priestess. Sorry to see you leave Spellbox after all these years, we’ll miss you.