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"Fortune-Teller" Description Reclaimed

Feminine Journey to Magical Tarot Readership

For more than half my life, I've been passionately seeking the answer to the question, "Why is it that 95% of Tarot readers, teachers and clients are women? What is it about the Tarot reading process that speaks so deeply to women? What do they expect to find, and does the Tarot satisfy their quest?"

I've asked at least two hundred people that question, both men and women. The answer I'm given is typically a variation of, "It's because women are intuitive and feeling-based. They are more non-rational, non-linear, and don’t mind seeking direction from unconventional sources of knowing. Women are just more open-minded to these things than men." I want to know what is in the feminine psyche that is so ignited when it comes into tune with the Tarot.

In this article, I'll share a small slice of my discoveries, and hopefully stimulate an interest in you, the reader, to join me in this rich exploration of the feminine way of knowing.

Certainly Tarot reading isn't the only field that is dominated by women. Psychotherapy, nursing, and childcare remain also high on the list for career choices for women. What all these fields share in common is a focus on the relational. Women need to relate to grow and understand their world.

Women's Developmental Theory

Leading the field in feminine developmental theory, Carol Gilligan in her '80's book titled, In a Different Voice, broke psycho/social development ground when her research revealed that women don't follow the same developmental path to maturity, as men. Up until her research was published, it was touted as fact, that the male path to maturity was THE path. Women, it was asserted, suffered their whole lives, in a mire of perpetual childishness. Sadly, women were forced to live their lives as immature males. Women, it was noted, got snagged at certain stages of development related to achieving objectivity, which justified why women weren't permitted to the hallow halls of Justice. For example, women were not permitted to be judges in our court systems based upon this singular, sexist assessment of women’s psychology. Women were too "emotional, sympathetic, and biologically determined" to be objective in matters where "truth, objectivity, and logic" to judge.

Women's Journey to Enlightenment is the Path of Relating

Unfortunately, this is not all behind us. Just observe women's discouragingly unequal representation in parliament, Supreme Court justice, and the executive board room. Evidence suggests that this sexist opinion remains deeply rooted in the collective psyche, and the esteemed halls of academia, and rulership. Women say to me, "I don't care! As long as my family is happy and healthy, that's all that matters to me. I don't want to be like men. I like being a woman!" The problem is that their daughters might not share these priorities.

Indeed, it cannot be argued that women must relate, and a woman's path to enlightenment (returning to developmental theory) must be centred on relating.

That's why women come to a Tarot reader, why they study, shuffle and lay out this intriguing deck of card images. Tarot reading is fundamentally a relational experience for women. The Tarot's sacred teachings guides initiates through a challenging gauntlet of inner work, intuition, and mindful randomness. The Tarot speaks the universal language of images, in a non-linear pattern comprised of sacred cards. The Tarot is a sacred text presented not in a bound book, within a prescribed, inherently designed structure, but rather in a set of 78 picture cards that fall randomly into a unique pattern every time it is shuffled.

Seeking the Cronelike, Eccentric Fortune-Teller

The image of the cronelike, eccentric fortune-teller situated at her reading table, surrounded by mystical objects, carefully laying out these mysterious, colourful cards on the table before her is a universally, fascinating enigma. This image crosses all cultures the world over, and has for millenia. Rulers, royalty and military elites have been seeking the counsel of fortune-tellers, readers and diviners since the beginning of time. And ordinary women have too.

Why is the Fortune-Teller Ridiculed?

Yet this highly valued, intensely sought after fortune-teller, is also denigrated, ridiculed, and marginalized by established social institutions. In fact, in 2005, fortune-telling remains on the criminal code books in Canada! What is it about that fortune-telling Crone, which ignites such passion, attraction and repulsion at the same time? What does her station constellate in our collective psyche?

Suspiciously, fearfully, she is suspected of knowing just too darn much. Apparently with great aplomb, she traverses the mystery of birth, death and rebirth. She intuits magically, the fortunes of individuals, and collective humanity, and blithely bestows her wisdom at the humble table that also sets out food for her family. She is the manifestation of an archetype that resonates deeply in the collective unconscious of humanity.

The fortune-teller is a resonating symbol of the sacred feminine; where the waters of intuition are the guide, where life and death are meted out with an objectivity that is terrifying, and where chaotic random rules. There is no order, planning, and predictable, statistical outcomes in this realm! It is what is.

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Length of Reading

Fortune-Teller Reclaimed

In speaking at a Tarot convention this summer, I declared that the time is nigh for Tarotists to reclaim this denigrated title, fortune-teller. It is now incumbent upon us to bring her out of the darkness, the secretive, and the hidden. The fortune-teller is the psyche-healer before psychotherapy was even a word, who listened to the suffering, fears, and deceit of thousands, in the distant past to the distant future, for as long as humanity manifests on this planet. She will tell of our patterns, secrets and passions and give us a glimpse into a future. A future explicitly designed, in a conjoined character-making dance we have engaged with destiny and fate.

The fortune-telling Crone is the magi women consult when they need an objective guide. One who simply "reads the cards". "What’s in the cards", asks the woman of the fortune-teller. She waits, expectantly, breathlessly, intuitively for what she knows is the objective, non-judgemental, simple truth.

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