Between 1912 and 1922, the great German Romantic poet, Rainer Maria Rilke, wrote a series of ten poems dedicated to the one he loved. The Duino Elegiesis a romantic, 

evocative, heartfelt, and deeply inspiring collection. The poems are emotionally powerful and beautifully written.

And for six months, in the late 1990s, this book of poems was my oracle.

While I have been a tarot master for thirty-five years, I long ago decided I wanted to know as much as possible about the whole world of the arcane, the unknown. And so began my mission to become familiar with, if not understand, the major oracles in use 

today. And so I have studied the ancient science of astrology for forty years. I’ve been working with the ancient Norse runes for thirty years. I have more than a passing acquaintance with numerology at this point. And I’ve so far devoted over thirty years of study to the ancient Chinese oracle, the I Ching. I did all this because I saw early on that the seeds of the future were planted far back, in the long-ago past, and I wanted to learn how to connect the dots.

I began this life, as a professional psychic, from a strange place, I think. I viewed the world of oracles as a skeptic. Like the Biblical Thomas, if I couldn’t appreciate something with one of my senses, it just didn’t exist for me. All around me, in the 1960s, people were dabbling in tarot and astrology. I thought they were ridiculous and misguided. Science was what I knew. Proof. Evidence.

And then one fateful day in 1968 in North Hatfield, Massachusetts, I was walking on the root structure of an ancient maple when it  was struck by lightning – and my life changed forever. For the first time, my mind opened to the possibilities of things I can’t see, feel, hear, taste or touch. For the first time I was able to know things I hadn’t experienced or been taught. For the first time, I began to see that an oracle, in the right hands and with the right attitude and knowledge, can be a miraculous thing we can use to know what we do not know.

Over the years since, I’ve discovered that almost anything can be used as an oracle. When in the late 1980s I opened the Rilke Elegies, asked straightforward questions, and put my finger on a page “randomly,” every single time, for months the answers were accurate. What I was reading there wasreflecting the reality of what was, or what was to be. Did Rilke intend for his poems to be used like this? No. But the fact is that I did use them like this. And it worked.

Likewise, the Bible. At the risk of sounding like a heathen, I was going through a rough time at one point, and I asked my questions and opened the Bible and put my finger down “randomly” and, sure enough, what I read there conformed exactly to the situations. In this, though, the words and tone were far more inspirational than what one can get from a book of poems. Was the Bible intended to be an oracle? The jury is still out on that one.  But from my experiences, I would have to say that, in the right hands and coming from a place of acceptance, it can be exactly that.

Early on, though, among all the oracles, I found tarot. Or should I say, tarot found me.  All of a sudden, card readers were everywhere on Manhattan Neighborhood Network TV; one woman I know came into the pub where I was hanging out and showed me a tarot pack she’d just bought; and then another showed me her new cards the same week. I was intrigued. And scared. But not scared enough to run the other way.

So I decided to approach tarot the way a college student approaches calculus, or history or psychology. I started to study. I read every good book I could get my hands on about tarot. I started doing readings for people, without charging, and I did this for four years. For the first year I usually had a book open in front of me. 

(You just can’t learn in a day to work with tarot, no matter what they tell you. It took me maybe a year to master all the basic card meanings, upright and reversed.)  

Getting Real Help

What do you do, then, if you’re looking for a psychic? Here’s what I tell people: If you have good reason to trust somebody, consult that person.  Maybe the reader has written a really persuasive book. Maybe you’ve seen or heard the reader work on TV or radio and listened to positive feedback. Maybe one of your friends whose judgment you trust, recommends a reader. In these three cases, by all means you might take a chance on that reader.

But always listen with at least a tiny bit of skepticism. And never ever ask questions until the reader has been talking a while. Because in every question information is embedded, and the reader is the one who’s supposed to be telling you stuff, not vice versa!

Jeannie Reed

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