Are you just a good guesser?
I recently read a post on a friend’s blog that reminded me of an amusing story I once heard about someone who was skeptical about psychics. First let me tell you about the blog post. In it, the writer (Jesa Macbeth) wonders if the wisdom of her grandmother (and of herself) was actually just good guessing. She said:
I always thought she knew stuff. In that moment I saw that she probably did not always know, but she (like me) was a good guesser.
Jesa is being modest in discounting her own wisdom by calling it “good guessing,” but I believe that “good guessing” is in fact a type of wisdom. It is the result of our unconscious mind processing information, much of which resides deep in our unconscious, and then formulating an answer. That part is what we might call “unconscious wisdom.” But “good guessing” also presumes a bit of conscious wisdom too in that we have to listen to and trust in those answers that bubble up from our unconscious mind. Many people never develop that sort of wisdom.
To relate this to Tarot readings, there is a great deal of information bouncing around during a Tarot reading that is processed within our unconscious mind, such as the card images and their symbolism, the spread’s positional definitions, the depth of our own experience with and understanding of the cards, the seeker’s question and comments, etc. As for that last bit, some people say it’s “cheating” to use cues from the seeker in a reading, but is it? Heck no; it’s part of the process. Well, okay, yes it might be called “cheating” if you’re merely trying to impress the seeker with the spooky factor of your reading instead of trying to help him/her. But if the cues and clues you pick up from the seeker (consciously or not) help to answer the seeker’s question and solve his/her problems — which is what I try to do in my readings — then great!
It’s also realistic to suppose that some of the information that comes in at an unconscious level comes from another realm, whether you call that being psychic, having divine inspiration, or getting messages from your spirit guides. I’m not sure how we can tell if it comes from deep within or from that other realm, but I doubt that it really matters as long as the result is that our readings help people.
Besides making “good guesses,” a good Tarot reader also asks good questions. Quoting again from Jesa Macbeth’s blog, here is her “Macbeth Theory of Counseling”:
Everyone, on some level, knows exactly what their problem is.
Everyone, on some level, knows what they need to do with their issue. …
All the counselor needs to do is to listen so well that he can hear the right questions to ask so the client can hear his own answers.
This is pretty much my philosophy too, but I thought Jesa stated it so nicely that I wanted to share it here on my blog. It’s important to realize that “on some level” often means “on a totally unconscious level.” And the trick here is to listen well, both to the seeker and to your own “good guesses.”
Finally now: that amusing story I mentioned earlier.
Someone once told me about a friend who wanted to refute the abilities of a purported psychic. When told about that person’s insights and predictions, this skeptic scoffed, saying, “Oh, he’s not psychic, he’s just a good guesser.” As if the two were mutually exclusive, and as if that statement was an actual refutation. It reminded me of a joke from the old TV series, “Gilligan’s Island” –
Skipper: “Gilligan, you look pensive.”
Gilligan: “No, I’m just thinking about something.”
 In case you’re wondering, I asked for permission to use this quote.