The tarot, in my opinion, can be a fantastic tool to self-activate, motivate, and produce a deeper understanding of what’s going on in the now. In a good reading, you will find out the reality of your situation in a way that feels clear and true, because it’ll hit something in your core. And while that might be uncomfortable, it won’t leave you feeling scared shitless because you’ll walk away with some kind of direction.
People who truly want to facilitate this generally don’t actively advertise their services in a public way. So when someone comes up to you and says, “I see good things ahead for you, step over here and let me give you a reading,” most likely this person is a gypsy culturally sensitive word for ripoff artist who you should avoid and ignore. Of course, always listen to your instincts, and take recommendations from trusted friends seriously.
Through mutual friends I’d known about Eliza Swann for quite a while before we’d met. By trade she’s an ecologically responsible florist who knows how to coax the wilderness out of even the most uppity flowers, and her arrangements have this joyful, tumbling quality that look high on Ecstasy. She co-runs a gallery and project space called Heliopolis in a small storefront in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, dedicated to "sonic literary life art experiment," including her own output—which is mystical, funny, disturbing, lush, and beautiful. This is exactly the kind of person you want reading your tarot—someone whose work is interdisciplinary and full of symbolism and humor, who appreciates and works in nature, who has a good reputation, and can overall be a bit eccentric. Awesomely, Eliza does know the cards; she reads every Sunday and you can find more info about that here.
A few days ago I visited Heliopolis for a reading. Sitting on an embroidered pillow on the floor, drinking tea Eliza had made fresh for the occasion, I shuffled the cards without having to talk about anything or ask a question. I like these readings the best—where stuff just comes up naturally, without having to push it in some kind of direction—though it takes a pretty skilled reader to do this. (Other signs you’re probably dealing with a skilled and sincere person: there is more than one deck, the cards are a little weathered, there’s very little mention of “the future,” and there’s some kind of structured spread punctuated with the confidence to just pull cards throughout for further clarity.)
I think it’s fine to share the specific cards or outcome of a reading with others, if you want to, though I don’t think it’s cool to interrupt the flow with photos of it, so I didn’t. Basically, Eliza told me that there’s some gross old stuff stuck in my energy body associated with my second chakra, and it has hardened in a way that’s unnecessarily informing my day-to-day life. I would definitely agree with that statement. The second chakra sits in your pelvis and is the energy center associated with fluidity, emotion, sexuality, pleasure, and nurturance. After the reading, she gave me homework, and generously sent me home with her copy of Anodea Judith’s Wheels of Life: A User’s Guide to the Chakra System.
Immediately afterward I went to the xoJane office for our weekly meeting and, looking around at all the stuff piled in corners, asked Emily if there was anything I could just have. (I’m an equal opportunity scrounger.) She said here, what about this vibrator from Babeland? “As long as it’s not penis-y,” I told her, “I’ll try it.”
When I got home I realized this was a concrete answer to my second chakra’s cry for help. I decided the book Eliza gave me was all well and good and made me feel very special and cared for, though I really wanted to go be a human with a body and simply get off. That’s the fun thing about all this energy or “new agey” stuff: exercising it as part of your real life. We’re here, as humans, to touch and experience and live… it makes a lot more sense to actually do those things instead of, say, lighting a bunch of candles and reading aloud mystical sayings, or going through other rituals that might seem “deep” and have no real relevance to what life actually feels like.
So I decided to start to open my second chakra the fun way. First off, I went home and watched some porn. (I’m into Georgia Jones, who I'm pretty sure is a real lesbian and is a new find for me; I like some of her scenes with April O’Neil. For extra emphasis on this exercise, I started following both of them on Twitter.) That night, right before I fell asleep, I asked for my Kundalini (the energy that runs through and connects all the chakras) to awaken in my dreams, and I had crazy-ass visions involving a parade of friends dressed like psychedelic cavemen, dancing wildly at a major sleepover with bonfires, squirming babies, lots of animals, breathing exercises and ritualistic touching, campgrounds in the middle of the street, and cops busting our “witch party.”
The next evening I sent a straight-up booty call, and it was answered.
Then I figured I’d explore some of this admitted uptightness I aired last week about gay pride, so Saturday I went to a huge freaky queer party and behaved in an uncharacteristically frisky manner that I won’t elaborate on so I don’t get busted for anything, and I stayed out so late the sun was coming up by the time I got home.
Also, Emily told me I had to review the vibrator if she was going to give it to me. I admittedly have very little experience with toys, and talking about them (especially publicly) makes me feel weird and uncomfortable, both of which are certainly second chakra issues, so here I present to you possibly the first-ever tarot card reading/vibrator review….
The Yooo by Fun Factory is three silicone spheres shaped like a Mickey Mouse head. One “ear” slightly smaller than the other, which doesn’t evoke any mental images of penetration, like most other toys. Total plus, as I’m not that into the phallic design or ambition, and yet it’s not so close to the Disney character that it brings up any images associated with childhood. Another plus.
The two spheres comprising the “ears” vibrate in slightly different ways, so you’ve got two sensations going at once, which is nice if you need that. I feel like this toy is probably good for the jaded, as not only does it look different from the rest and multitask, it also gets up to breakneck speeds and comes with a turbo button that operates like the “pulse” feature on your blender. I wasn’t a fan of anything above the second level, as they made me go instantly numb, both in my vagina and in my hand. Plus, getting to the higher speeds means pressing the little “+” button pretty damn hard, which is a bit interruptive. I can’t compare it to much on the market because I simply don’t know, though I can say I liked that I got to do different things, like stick it in just a little bit, or hold it so just one of the spheres was zazzing my bits, or lie on my belly and not have to use my hands at all.
It’s waterproof, and has this cool magnetic charging apparatus—you just hold the connective part to the Yooo and it latches on and powers up. (Emily seemed impressed/mystified by this, and she’s a pro, so I think it’s a big deal.) And interestingly, as I learned in Wheels of Life, the “ooo” sound, which is basically this toy’s whole name, is the exact vowel sound associated with the second chakra. There are SIGNS everywhere, people!
All of this was great for instant gratification, and it helped get me amped up for the real work. There is no shortcut to personal growth; you’ve got to also put in real time. Eliza’s homework for me was to meditate on my second chakra and write down all of the icky stuff that comes up. From there, I was to light the paper on fire and throw it into a body of water.
I spent many hours doing this. Lots of tears were shed. So long to the Big Stuff—my biggest stuff, actually—that I no longer have to carry around.
Have you had an amazing tarot card reading before? What about a bad one? Any of them give you homework?