Photos provided by Jacalyn Meyvis
Kiva Wyandotte started her professional life as a consultant, but after years of logically-minded work, she began to harness her intuition and pursue her creative passions. So what is reading tarot cards really like? Do you need to be psychic to do it?
Tell me about yourself, and how you became interested in tarot reading.
The early part of my life, until I was about 30, I was a very left-brained kind of person: very into logic. At some point, I started reading more and more about right-brained psychology and I realized I had this whole other brain that I wasn’t using. I thought, “What a waste! Let me see what I can do with this!” I had little hints of being intuitive, but I never really developed it until I was in my 30s. I sold my consulting firm, and started a rock and bead store in Louisville, Kentucky. I started designing jewelry and selling metaphysical stones and other kinds of new age products. As I would order these to sell them, I would teach myself how to use them. That’s kind of how it got started.
That sounds like a really big change, going from consulting to making jewelry!
It was a big change, but it was a lot more fun! The number of people who wanted to come in and the people who wanted to learn, it surprised me. It was like they came out of the woodwork! Like I said, I had these little hints of intuition all my life, but I really didn’t pay a lot of attention to them. Mostly, I think that all of this-pendulums, tarot cards, runes- they just help us tune into the intuition that we already have.
How are pendulums or dowsing used?
Here’s the most basic example of dowsing: I used to live out in the country in Kentucky, and at one point my septic tank needed to be dug up. This old man came with a willow branch and walked around the property until he found the willow branch bending in a certain direction. He knew that’s where the water was, that’s where the septic tank was. That’s kind of the original form of dousing; somebody can find water that way.
Pendulums and other types of dowsing tools that people use do exactly the same thing- they physically guide you around. If you can’t find your keys in your house, you can use a pendulum or a set of dowsing rods to go look for it. They will give you an indication of when you’re hot or when you’re cold.
Pendula - other types of tools can do this too, but I use a pendulum - can also be used to answer questions. But it isn’t the pendulum that’s answering the question, it’s my own intuition expressed through the pendulum.
So it’s up to you to read what the instruments are telling you?
They’ll just give a very strong indication of what it is you want to know. When I use a pendulum, it will start swinging a little bit, but it can also swing pretty wildly. I’m not making it do that, I’m simply reading what’s coming out of my brain, into my body, and into the pendulum.
How can tarot readings be useful? When you have people come in to have their cards read, what are they usually looking for?
I do a different kind of tarot practice. I don’t do parties, I don’t do quickie readings. I do hour long readings with people about in depth situations. Let’s say that you came to me and said, “I’m thinking about buying a house.” Rather than saying you should buy one or your shouldn’t, we would look at the cards in depth and see what elements might cause problems, what might give us a sense of timing. If you said, “Well, I have a particular house in mind,” we might take a look at whether that’s a good situation or not a good situation to get involved in.
Those readings are fairly deep: they’ll take an hour, an hour and fifteen minutes. When I teach at the Brainery, that’s how I teach people. I don’t teach people how to be psychic, I teach people how to use cards intuitively to examine facets of situations that they may not have even considered.
What do you think the biggest misconceptions about tarot readings are?
First of all, that the cards are evil. That, to me, is just ridiculous, but I’ve had people say that to me. People think that they have some kind of satanic energy. I certainly don’t believe they do.
Second thing is that you have to be psychic to read the cards; you definitely do not.
The third one is that you have to memorize all the meanings of the cards. You don’t. That’s not even a good way to learn tarot. You don’t memorize all 78 cards. You learn to look at the symbols and read them and make sense of them in different situations. If you haven’t seen your cards in a while, it’s okay. You just look at them closely, and there will be elements revealed to you anyway.
People tend to be skeptical of tarot readings. Do you think it’s possible for those who are skeptical to still find meaning in a tarot reading?
Sure! I think I was skeptical when I started working with them. I don’t see being skeptical as really a problem. You should just try it, see how you like it, and what parts of it resonate with you. If you do a reading and nothing in it makes sense, well, I can understand that, but many readings will have valuable information in them. If somebody is open to any of that, they’ll get what they can get. I think that you grow as you use tarot cards. You don’t read them or have them read to you once and that’s it. I think you evolve with tarot cards, and your own abilities to look inside and see what the cards are saying to you.
So you have to practice?
Yeah, I think you do have to practice. There are people who go to Lilydale, and they have psychic readings, or tarot readings, and the first time they go somebody reads them and they’re like, “Oh wow! That was spot on!” Well, that does happen, yes, it happens many times, but it’s important to be able to relax when the reading is done. If you’re too nervous you can’t tune into what’s being read to you and sometimes being skeptical will make you nervous. You have to calm down and work with your reader and see what is being said to you.
If you feel comfortable sharing, what is the most exciting or meaningful reading you’ve ever done, either for yourself or for someone else?
Well, for several years I was dating. I would go on first dates and before I’d go I would do a reading for myself. Then, I’d do a reading afterwards. Normally, it’s not a good idea to do readings for yourself but I didn’t have anybody at the time to do so. So, I would do a reading before, because I didn’t want to talk myself out of anything, but I would definitely do it afterwards to get a little more clarity about what that experience was about. I dated a lot of people that, after I met them, I had no interest in after one date. Even so, I would do a reading to find out what I thought might have been the mismatch between us. When I met my partner and I did that and it was just such a positive reading. I also felt that way! I felt like, “Oh, this was nice!” but then the reading was like, “No. This is it. This is good.”
Why is it better to not do readings for yourself?
You’re going to tend to be subjective about it. If I want a new car and I want to know if the universe is going to give me one, of course I think I’m going to get one. I’m going to do that kind of reading. It’s better to have someone else read for you. I’m not going to say I never do it, but mostly no.
What would you say to someone who is nervous about getting their cards read?
Come and try it! Try it with somebody who is an experienced reader. There’s nothing wrong with asking someone how long they’ve been reading and what their philosophy is about tarot reading. I think you should ask all the questions you want to ask! I mean, you’re paying money for this. See if you feel comfortable and if you don’t, if you’re getting an odd feeling, thank the reader and say, “I don’t think I want to do this.” If you do, sit down and ask a question.
I think the hardest people to read for are the people who float in and you say, “Do you have question for me today, something we could look at together?” and they’re like “No, I just want a general reading.” Maybe if you’re psychic that will work, but I would like something specific that we could look at in depth. At least a situation: “I’m thinking about getting a puppy, what do you think of the timing of that, other factors.” That’s more the kind of thing that I’d like to answer as a tarot reader, but not all tarot readers are like that. Some of them are psychic and they’ll guess anything.
It depends from reader to reader.
Yeah, people have philosophies about their readings and how they do it. I think the way I do it is very helpful in teaching people because it doesn’t require some special esoteric talent. It means that almost anyone can learn to read tarot. A lot of the people in my classes at Rochester Brainery have had a tarot deck stuck in their top dresser drawer for 20 years! They’ve never done anything with it, but they’re thinking “Gee, maybe I’ll go to her class and see if I can learn anything.” After they’ve had the class, they’ve had such a good time. They really do, people enjoy the class a lot. They learn enough to have confidence, and to go home and begin to study. The one thing I tell them is to look at the cards everyday. Just take a couple of cards and look at them. If you’re at a stop light in your car, or in the bathroom, you only got five minutes, just look carefully at your cards - don’t memorize them, but look at them, learn some things about them, that’s all.
Kiva teaches classes regularly at Rochester Brainery. Her next class, Looking at Your Life Through the Tarot is Tuesday, September 6th from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM. After that, join us for Pendulum and Dowsing on Thursday, September 15th from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM or Understanding Yourself With The Enneagram on Tuesday, October 4th from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM.