Tarot Counseling and Compassionate Communication


Tarot Work is an art. Card reading can utilize a variety of modalities, from “fortune-telling” to “Tarot Counseling” and more. The styles of readers and decks are limitless. Yet, what they all have in common is a conversation between the cards and the reader. This discourse grows exponentially with each client added to the reading.

Many of us take the art of conversation for granted, not putting much thought into the words we choose or the impact our communication style may have upon others. Without going into a study of historical or community influences, suffice it to say our values, education, and cultural roots are apparent in our speaking styles.

In my study of Compassionate Communication, Marshall Rosenberg‘s Nonviolent Communication, I am reminded of the subtle violence in everyday language. After six years of study and conscious practice, I still struggle with improving my communication style. What has become more apparent to me is the prevalence of violent, dominating verbal expressions and tones of voice, in the media as well, in the community, inspiring a less wonderful experience for many.

Here are some of the major theories of Compassionate Communication, as taught by Rosenberg.

—  Every communication is a please, or a thank you.
—  Behind each feeling is a met or unmet need.

When we move away from viewing the world though the eyes and words of judgment, which spits reality into boxes of good and bad dualistic values, we may find the field Rumi invited us to discover.

Out beyond ideas of right doing and wrong doing there is a field. I’ll meet you there. — Rumi

In addition, true vulnerability is to open one’s heart, compassionately, to the feelings and needs of another, to hear with compassionate ears the communication of the other. This does not mean you agree with the other, but may allow their message to be truly heard. In this sense, compassion holds the other in one’s heart, without the requirement of solving perceived problems.

These are the very skills I weave into my work with counseling and Tarot clients. I see my role as the guide who assists clients in discovering more life-enhancing ways to relate to their lives. I hold them in my heart with no judgment. Rather than focused on naming and fixing problems, I open avenues of possibilities from which the client may reflect and notice what feels right.

I invite you to imagine applying these skills to your work, be it metaphysical consulting or other areas of life. How might this influence your approach to working with clients? Do you have a tendency to look for “answers” in your readings? Do your clients present their issues in dualistic right/wrong terms. Do you interpret the cards assigning good/bad values?

This can be a challenging exercise, yet the benefit is it reveals the subtle divisive undertone that can be the cause that effects our sense of disconnection with the world. My experience has shown me that most issues at their source stem from a feeling of disconnection from love and/or personal power. When we heal this split with compassion, respect, and deep honesty, the journey of life becomes so much more wonderful.

Nonviolent Communication – A Language of Life  by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D.
Center for Nonviolent Communication
Katrina Wynne’s “Compassionate Communication” workshop on YouTube

Albano-Waite Tarot card “XX Judgment” from the original Albano deck

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