If you are a reader, or have received readings of any kind — Tarot, astrology, Runes, auras, or what have you — you have almost certainly run into situations where one reading appears to be at odds with another one.
As a reader, you have maybe just finished offering the very best of your excellent skills, your heart’s own honesty and insight, and yet the querent across the table looks at you with disappointment and shakes their head.
“Oh no,” your client insists. “I can’t possibly stay in my current job! Lady Zippir at the psychic fair last month told me that I’ll soon be discovered by Oprah, and become nationally famous.”
Or, “No, I don’t need to take a class. I have been told many times that I am a profoundly gifted psychic medium with many lifetimes of experience.”
Similarly, if you are the recipient of readings, what do you do if one reader tells you the boyfriend who has been causing decades of anguish is a soul-mate and you must stay together no matter what; but another reader suggests you might want to dump him and move on?
Who’s right? Who’s wrong?
This sort of thing used to throw me when I was a novice, because it called into question (I thought!) my accuracy as a reader. But I have learned that even the most seemingly opposed views have many dynamics that must be taken into account.
In fact, the whole notion is rather suspect to me. What, exactly, does accuracy mean, anyway? Accurate, compared to … um … what?
If it’s in comparison to Reader A, B, or C, forget it.
As I wrote last time, I know there are some unscrupulous and even incompetent clunkers in our profession — same as every other business you can name.
But it is not uncommon that one reader might tell you something today that is totally different from another one only a week before. This is not necessarily a reflection on the reader’s abilities. So much depends on what you heard, what they actually said, the particular modality they use, and how, by receiving this new information, changes may have occurred.
Or by accuracy, are we talking about predicting the future?
As I explained in a WINGS article back in 2009, I try to discourage my clients from expecting that I can see their future all nailed down and done.
What a sad world it would be if life really worked that way!
Yes, I am blessed with a gift of intuitive guidance and it can show me with stunning clarity where things are most likely heading. And, yes, I do have some very dear colleagues who specialize in “predictive readings.”
But I myself avoid this perspective for a number of reasons.
First, I honestly don’t believe that “The Future” exists. I don’t believe there is some “X marks the spot” destination that we are obediently marching towards. Except, arguably, our departure from this incarnation.
Instead of being helplessly at the mercy of some conveyor belt of time, I believe that we are always creating an eternal Now. Other than the final fact of our mortality, we can change just about anything.
And the Tarot is an elegant, time-honored tool that can clear and sharpen our ability to create a life that reflects our highest callings.
So to me, accuracy in a reading is simply a candid clarity about where one is, and where one might like to go.
In other words — what road might this be, and is it going where I want to? If so, how can I best smooth the way? If not, what can I do differently?
The Pygmalion Effect
The other reason I don’t focus on predicting “the future,” is that as a long-ago sociology major, I became hyper-aware of the power of the self-fulfilling prophecy. Planting the seed of expectation, for good or for ill, can have profound results, just because of that expectation.
Pygmalion is best known as a play by George Bernard Shaw (which was later reworked to become the beloved Broadway musical My Fair Lady). Named for the ancient Greek sculptor Pygmalion, who fell in love with his carved creation, it is the phenomenon whereby the higher the expectation placed upon people, the better they perform.
And it works the other way, too. When there is lowered confidence in the people in question, the less well they perform.
Tested time and again in lab tests and group studies, the Pygmalion Effect is subtle and is almost always denied by those who have, by their own behaviors, proven it.
Thus, as readers, anything less than extremely scrupulous communication with our clients about possibilities and probabilities is reckless and can cause great harm.
Stretching Your Powers of Discernment
There are seekers who make the rounds, shopping at all the readers’ tables. I don’t mind if someone is comparing to see who seems like a compatible “fit” for their needs. That’s why I enjoy reading at the occasional psychic fair or public event.
But others are simply hoping to find someone that will give them the permissions and predictions they most dearly desire.
What would that seeker call “right” or “wrong?” And when, if ever, does personal responsibility or free will come into play?
So when I see testimonials that so-and-so was “incredibly accurate,” I take it with a grain of salt. If someone comes to me claiming that Madame Rue told them something entirely different, I don’t argue, but I focus on here and now.
After all, who knows how the session was set up, what the seeker communicated at the time, or what the reader really told them? And who can ever know what magic, coincidence, serendipity, or snarled communications happened to be blowing in the wind on that particular day?
So if you, as a seeker, receive conflicting information in your readings, take it as an opportunity to stretch your powers of discernment. What rings most true for you — even if it’s not what you’d hoped to hear?
The real test, in my view, is whether a reading will inspire better results in the seeker’s life. Did the reading guide the person towards wise choices? Help them examine new options or consider a change in direction? To see life with more courage and clarity? Has there been healing, growth, or heart-deep discovery, as a result of the interaction between reader and client?
Because that, ultimately, is what I am aiming for, and what counts the most in the final analysis.
Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I will meet you there.
Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi