I was skeptical, but my tarot spreads turned out to be spookily accurate
In a rare quarantine journey outside of my apartment, I ventured to the Unlimited Though Life Enrichment Center on the North Side of San Antonio.
Greeted by a Tibetan singing bowl, bowls of yoni eggs a la Gwyneth Paltrow, and Marianne Williamson books, I arrived for my first ever professional tarot card reading, something I’ve desperately wanted to do during the pandemic.
Millennials locked down at home have been buying up tarot decks with sites like Etsy offering decks to suit your fancy, and created a social media demand for online pages and readings relating to the practice — so it was comforting knowing I wasn’t the only 20-something devoted to it.
RELATED: I moved to San Antonio during the pandemic. Here's what I've learned so far.
But I was initially still slightly skeptical of major in-person readings. Besides the social media worthy appeal of the practice, I still somewhat saw it and alternative spirituality as huge industries that sometimes exploited desperate souls. Then again, we're in a pandemic that's turned most of our world upside down so who isn't feeling a little lost these days?
My biggest question remained: Will this really be worth it?
When I arrived, my reader, Genny Barrios Llamas, greeted me and wasted no time ushering me into her reading space that was located behind the book section at the store. I was met by tapestry-filled, colorful walls and seated at an intimate, round table filled with a dozen different tarot decks. Curious to know what most clients ask her, Genny replied with “mostly love, money and the future.”
HEALING READING Genny recommended I do a healing spread. The most standout card was the hanged man, representing ego death, sacrifice and trials. This card was mildly spooky to me. Like horoscopes, every tarot card in a reading can somewhat apply to anyone's life. But seeing it come from the reading truly caused my stomach to churn when I reflected on it. To get past the way I was feeling during lock down, I had to take the new opportunity that arose from loss (i.e. moving to a new city after a big breakup), just as the hanged man experiences an awakening of knowledge as he hangs from the tree.
LOVE READING Although I remained even more skeptical of the love reading, I decided to try it. Appearing before me was the Queen of Cups card. Genny described this overly emotional card as my current situation and partner. I felt awkward laughing very loudly during the intense reading after she described the guy I had been seeing for much of the pandemic as a "sociable" but "immature drama queen," who "wasn't good for romance." Without me mentioning one single thing about my love life, she absolutely — and shockingly — hit the nail on the head.
GENERAL READING Making an appearance in my general reading was the nine of swords, also known as the lord of cruelty card. The card represents insomnia, nightmares and anxiety. Again, without disclosing much about my personal life or sleep patterns, she began explaining the insomnia I have struggled with on and off for over two years. Again, I was shocked by the accuracy.
VERDICT Like any spiritual practice, each client's willingness to be open to reflection will ultimately determine their own experience. I found that Genny’s help allowed me to reflect on the trials and successes I’ve had during COVID-19.
What made the experience so special FOR ME is that I was able to blend my takeaways from the reading with other personal beliefs I hold, be it religious beliefs or knowledge of modern psychology. It helped me rationalize and manage feelings once I was more attuned to them.
Practices like this or your mindfulness of choice, allow us to say to ourselves "OK, I'm ready to see my emotions and inner feelings laid out in front of me." By taking a moment to sit with these feelings in a tangible form, like through cards, instead of wishing then away quickly or over-analyzing them, we can truly become more in tune with how we carry them, and how we react to them.
And in a pandemic that has is impacted our mental health at alarming rates and lead to Zoloft shortages , that should take precedence in people's lives.