Holli Emore is the Executive Director of Cherry Hill Seminary.
Isaac Bonewits is a Druid, priest, writer, teacher and the Headmaster of the Real Magic School, psychic, ne'er-do-well and trouble-maker.
Seldiy Bate is a Pagan Priestess and a dangerous old lady.
CS: Hello All, I'm writing a piece about the boundaries between psychotherapy, chaplaincy and divinatory work. Personally I avoid divination on wards like the plague, it feels as wrong as it can get. But you may feel differently. Thoughts?
IB: I don't do health readings much and probably wouldn't in a hospital setting.
I've never been asked to do a reading during a prison visit (have only done a few). It would seem somewhat pointless except for strictly spiritual questions, since the futures of people in prison are pretty frozen until they get out.
HE: I don't always see divination as telling the future or advising a decision. Most of the people I read with gain clarity on their lives, see themselves reflected in the cards, and thus receive value.
SB: I would agree with that.
When I do a "real" Tarot reading, it is exactly that. When I do a commercial Tarot reading (in which we would never discuss health issues anyway, on a regulated service), people just want to know "What's going to happen?" I try my best to explain about Free Will and that the Tarot can point out options, give guidance and show possible outcomes - and that decisions and actions people take affects A future (as opposed to THE future), but most times they will still revert to "What's going to happen?"
CS: Seldiy, you describe perfectly what I've experienced, that despite the theoretical understanding of divination a great many people expect to be told what to do. In these interactions I've found it impossible to get the subtleties of divination across.
SB: It can be a wonderful tool but I think it is best used when the person has some kind of insight themselves. The sort of punters I have on the regulated service are mostly people who don't care what tools you use as long as they can be told "What's going to happen" and because they are paying, they think they own you. They would rather ask ME what someone else feels, thinks or intends to do rather than interact with the person and find out.
But the people who come to it from a different angle - and who possibly have some understanding of divinatory systems, because it is their path, or because they are interested etc - tend to work with me. They don't want to read for themselves, quite rightly, but they need the reader as the catalyst to unlock what's already there. Then it's a good process for both people.
I disagree with Isaac about prisoners being "frozen" though (or their future being frozen). I know what you mean, but their spirit isn't frozen, nor is what they are capable of doing frozen, although of course it is very restricted. I've had a bit of experience with the Jail Guitar Doors project and if anything can bring out motivation, spirit, creativity and ambition, that can. Wow! If the brief had been to do a reading for any of those gals, it would have sparkled.
CS: Seldiy, what's a regulated service? Is this the Fraudulent Medium thing?(!!!)
SB: It's just a phone line thing. All premium rate phone lines (chat, psychic readings etc) in UK are regulated by ICSTIS (now known as PhonePayPlus) and they have a whole stack of rules as to what can or cannot be discussed, as well as regulating the financial implications of such a service. (Which is why these hoaxes about your being unknowingly connected to a twenty six million pounds a minute premium line are a load of rubbish!) All the rules are for everybody's protection and on such a line, I am not allowed to make predictions regarding health, pregnancy and of course, death.
IB: I'm reading a novel called "Houston, We Have a Problema." It's what Phae calls "chick-lit" romance, but I'm reading it because the main character has a psychic she goes to regularly. 2/3 through the story, the psychic, Madam Hortensia, explains to the protagonist that the major thing readers do is give people permission to go with their true feelings.
Naturally, it's when the protagonist stops looking for signs (and stops ignoring the ones she doesn't like) that she makes progress.
Very amusing book and perfect to read between customers. :)
So there it is, some more clarity and understanding. Thanks Holli, Isaac and Seldiy for your help and for permission to share your insights.