Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Omily Tarot: Haters Gonna Hate-Here's How to Handle It

Stop me if you've heard this one: you're home visiting your family, and someone happens to notice the tarot deck in your bag (or pocket).  Maybe it's a shit storm of accusations (and near exorcisms), maybe it's just a slant-eyed glance you have no trouble interpreting:

Your family is not a fan of the Tarot.  If you're lucky, it's just a couple old school die-hards who are giving you trouble.  It's not such a big deal to stick to less controversial topics when hanging out with Grannie, right?  I'm not above a white lie when necessary: "Oh, you know, I think it's sort of interesting.  I don't really do it anymore..."

But maybe you are.  Maybe you're tired of being ashamed of the things that hold meaning for you.  I don't blame you!  Or maybe it's not just Grannie who's ready to give you an earfull.  Maybe you find yourself facing multiple detractors.

Every situation is different, and how much explanation versus diplomatic downplaying you want to go into is completely up to you, but here are some concrete things you can say that will not only potentially get you out of hot water, but will spread information and dispel myths as well!

First off (assuming you don't believe this), make it clear that you aren't channeling spirits or powers through the cards to tell the future, and that you aren't telling the future much at all.  This isn't witch craft (if you're practicing witch craft you have a much harder battle than I'll ever fight! Good luck, and God speed!), it isn't voodoo, it isn't devil worship, or any of that other stuff people may think it is.

I explain that it's more like ink blots.  Everyone's familiar with those ink blot tests that used to be such a thing: how does your mind interpret an abstract shape?  The cards are less abstract, though.  They depict archetypes that are already familiar to us.  Depending on who I'm talking to, I'll just say that we've encountered them before, but if the person is a little open-minded, I'll talk about collective consciousness, and how we all contain all of these archetypes already.  It's easy to give examples from history or literature of a few, to show what I mean: the Empress is Mother Nature, Death and the Devil are self-explanatory (ironically enough...), Justice is the symbol we use for our court system.

I talk about archetypal psychology in general (which is beyond fascinating, and something you should totally research if you're into Tarot).  Name drop Carl Jung (wet your whistle on the subject here), and reference some texts on the subject.  Frame your tarot tastes as more academic (if this is true, or if you don't mind misleading the person hassling you), and you're likely to encounter less resistance.
I'll talk about how by defining an issue that you're concerned about and not sure how to handle, and then laying out the cards, we can explore how we react to these archetypes to help us figure out which ones are active in the situation, and how best we can handle them.

Again, if the person is more open-minded, I'll talk about synchronicity, about how my subconscious knows the order of the deck already and makes choices about which cards come out, and other fun things like that.  If the person is not, I'll keep my mouth shut.

I found this advice on a tarot forum, and I think it's pretty solid, too:

"When people are squirrely about tarot, I talk to them about their psychological benefits. They are an EXCELLENT tool for introspection, for working through issues, for finding out about our truest selves. I am also an artist. Depending on who I'm talking about, I'll explain that its an inexpensive way to collect 78 pieces of artwork. That they are simply works of art, printed on paper, often published by either the artists themselves or GAME companies."

Often when people disapprove, we assume we're dealing with Christians.  Actually, lots of people can take issues with the cards: atheists, Jews, Muslims, even Spiritualists.  If a believer in a benevolent divine force is giving me trouble, I assure him or her that I take the time to pray before readings that God[dess] protect me from any unfriendly spirits or energies, and that I not be given any knowledge or wisdom I, or the person I'm reading for, is not meant to have at this time (which is true; it helps me to center myself, and I also ask for God[dess]'s help to be a clear conduit for the wisdom this person needs).

If the person still gives you that ominous look and talks about slippery slopes, or going down the wrong path, resist the urge to roll your eyes.  Smile, thank him or her for his or her concern, let him or her know you welcome prayers for your well-being on all fronts, but you feel confident that you're on the correct path right now, so there's really nothing else to say on the subject.  At that point, it's your responsibility to not bring it up again, or provoke this person.  It's not unreasonable that you refrain from bringing the tarot, physically, or through conversation, where it is not wanted.  It can be frustrating when you're really excited about something and your family or friends don't want to hear it, but odds are the tarot isn't the only thing you're into.  Just focus on your other interests, be patient, and make a phone call to someone who's happy to talk tarot with you as soon as you can get away.

I hope this helps, if only by reminding you that you aren't alone when you struggle for understanding and acceptance from your loved ones.  We can't make anyone believe or be comfortable with anything.  But we can always choose to live and let live, even if they won't.  Doesn't the moral high ground make you feel better? ;-)

~em

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