I think there is too much focus on the cards and what they are supposedly trying to tell us, and not enough on the reader as an individual and how they read. It is our job to decipher. And it is difficult, if it wasn't then there would be no need for us because everyone would read their own cards.
Recently, I came across a topic a little different from what I’ve been writing about lately. (If you read my recent blog about how I write, you’ll understand how I can switch from nudism/naturism and BDSM to a totally unrelated subject. You have to admit my coverage is diverse!)
Now that I’ve built the suspense, let me introduce this week’s topic. I write about a Tarot card reader in Second Life (SL). Recently, I had the opportunity to make the acquaintance of Ivy Paderborn who is a Tarot card reader in both SL and Real Life (RL). We agreed to meet and arranged an interview.
At the scheduled time, we meet in Ivy’s offices where she does her appointments. I begin by asking Ivy how she came to be a reader. She replies that she had always had visions and premonitions while growing up. Her mother taught her how to use the Tarot cards when she was a teenager. She has been doing them for many years now. Ivy explains that doing readings is really no different in SL than it is in RL. Although of course people want to know about SL things too, like relationships.
My next question has to do with whether the ability to read Tarot is an innate ability or can it be developed? Ivy thinks it can be developed. While it helps if there is natural aptitude to being open to messages from the universe, Ivy thinks that anyone can be taught how to read the cards if they are interested in doing it.
I then ask about how she actually does a reading. Ivy responds that for her, it mostly entails making a connection with the universal divine, and then channeling that energy into the cards as she pulls them. She thinks about the person's question, seeks a sincere answer, and then reads what comes up. Once the cards are pulled, the understanding is based on the meaning of the individual cards and their significance in a combination. Ivy says that sometimes she will pull a card and know its meaning, and can clearly see how it applies to the question. Other times if a card seems like it is not a fit, she then has to look deeper and share any other messages that she sees or hear sin the process, in hopes that the information will help the querant.
The mentioning of the universal divine makes me think this is key and I inquire about this.
Ivy affirms that to her that, yes, it is. She believes that this would be an essential element for any reader. I ask if it can be defined or described? Ivy says that for some people, they would call it God or Spirit. Others just call it Universal energy. Ivy is not religious, so she chooses a non-religious term for it.
We’ve been talking mostly about querants. I ask if when she does a reading is a querant necessary or could she do a reading to forecast the future and what it could bring? Ivy says that she can do either. What she tells her clients is that the more specific they can be with her in what they want to know, the more specific her answers can be, as she can interpret the cards more adeptly to their needs. But she do general readings as well as very specific ones. It all depends on what the person wishes to know.
I have to ask how can she measure the success or accuracy of her readings? Ivy receives a lot of feedback from her clients that is positive. She says, based on what she hears back, that her readings are generally successful in providing accurate information. But there have been times where she has been wrong as well. No reader is ever right 100% of the time she tells me. Ivy smiles and says that, thankfully, the number of times she has been told about an error in her readings is very few.
I move onto how does an actual reading work? Ivy pulls the cards in RL and reads them to the querant. When someone comes to Ivy for a reading, she asks them to tell her their question or the situation that they want to know about. Ivy then takes a moment to take several deep breaths to center herself and asks that they do the same. She draws the cards from her own deck in RL and lays them out for the answer, and then tells the person what she is seeing, what each card means, and her overall interpretation of the answer as it pertains to their question.
Ivy typically does a straight timeline card layout. A spread of five to six cards, from left to right, or a yes/no spread of seven cards. This is a matter of personal preference for Ivy. She finds that format works well for her in answering the questions that she receives. Occasionally she will do other spreads, such as the classic Celtic Cross, which is the one that most people think of, the one with the big T spread in the middle.
Moving on to time and fees, Ivy says that most readings last about half an hour. Her fee is $500L for each fifteen minutes. The fee is based on time used, not per question, so if someone wants to pay for fifteen minutes, they can ask as many varied questions as they like during that time.
I ask Ivy if she has many customers and how many are regulars? She says that on average, she does at least a few readings per week, and most are regulars. She does get new people from time to time, either from her classified ads, or as referrals.
When I inquire about whether Ivy considers herself a full time reader, she surprises me by saying no. Neither in SL nor RL. In SL, Ivy has many other interests and feels she would miss out on a lot if she read full time. Her other interests inworld include going to live music events, exploring new and strange sims (no shortage there), participating in hunts, and Ivy also does medieval/fantasy role play. In a word, Ivy’s a very busy woman inworld.
Then I turn to asking about Ivy’s customers. How many of her customers are believers or are they just experimenting? Ivy believes she has made believers of the ones who were just experimenting when they first came to her. She takes it as a real compliment, to have people come back to her again and again, because they trust her answers. Ivy adds there are plenty who come just to try it, and find it's not really for them, and that's fine with her too. It takes all kinds she adds.
I ask Ivy who are her typical customers. She says that's a tough question since SL provides such a wide variety of self-expression, she’s had all kinds of avatars walk through her door. But, she says as far as what the average person wants to know, it is generally related to love, job, or money. Which is pretty much as it is in RL. Ivy rejoins with since SL is really just an extension of who we are in RL that seems natural to her.
Does the SL medium change the experience for Ivy, I ask. She replies not anymore. At first, it was a little strange for her she admits. But having been doing it for several years now it seems very natural to her.
Are the querants any different between SL and RL I probe. Ivy had before only done in-person readings, where the other person shuffles the cards while they think of their question. Now she just connects to the person by talking to them electronically. So for Ivy, it’s not really different. She supposes visual appearance is the only major difference. (How many furries go for readings in RL?)
I ask if there are any challenges for Tarot reading inworld? Ivy Paderborn replies that it is the same for SL as RL. At first, it was a challenge for her to connect to the person she was reading for, but as she previously mentioned, Ivy is now used to doing in-person readings from RL to SL. But with practice in tuning into the other person's energy while talking with them, it became a lot easier for her. Now it just comes naturally to her.
We move onto if there are there any dangers or risks associated with Tarot readings? Ivy only cautions that people should feel that they got a good reading before taking any action on it. Sadly, Ivy says not everyone who reads is genuine. If someone gets bad advice about something really important, and then takes action based on that advice, it can be a mistake.
So reputation is important I ask. Ivy replies that usually a reading will either feel like it "clicked" or it didn't, just like when people meet. If a querant feels that connection, then it is likely to be a good reading.
Coming to the end of my questions, I ask how is business? Does it pay the bills inworld? Ivy replies that she has several businesses, reading Tarot is only one. But yes, she does pretty well. Thankfully, she laughs and says she considers herself lucky to be able to support her shoe habit!
We come to the conclusion of our interview, I thank Ivy and take my leave. I keep an open mind about paranormal activities, card reading, and other psychic phenomena. In meeting with Ivy, I met someone who has a passion for what she does and has been doing it for a while. Ivy portrays for me, yet again, how people have migrated practices and beliefs from RL to SL. Time will tell how the transition goes.
I would like to thank Ivy Paderborn for her time and openness with me.
As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.
I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life please click here.
If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life please click here.
Photo No. 1 Ivy Paderborn
Photo No. 2 Ivy Paderborn with Tarot Deck