Like most tarot readers, I started out by reading for friends. Since then I’ve moved on to complete strangers. No two tarot readings are the same. Each session is a thought-provoking interplay between intuition, logic and empathy. My good friend Charmaine Yam shares her thoughts on her tarot sessions with me.
Dipa: You’re a doctor. Your background is in science. Why are you curious about tarot and astrology?
Charmaine: I don’t think the two things are at odds. Just because I believe in science doesn’t mean I can’t believe in spirituality. Astrology is still science-based. Tarot is a bit different – it has some basis in astrology but it’s still heavily based on the reader’s intuition.
I’m not interested in spirits and ghosts and all that. But I am interested in the metaphysical world. It’s interesting, exciting and adds another dimension to life. The logical world comes easily to me. But if it was just that, life would be very boring.
Dipa: Many people think that if you believe in science, you can’t believe in spirituality. What are your thoughts?
Charmaine: I think it’s bullshit. I don’t know – why does it have to be that way? Just because you believe in science and practise it doesn’t mean there isn’t a spiritual aspect to life. Knowing how the physical world works doesn’t explain everything.
You can experience a life crisis despite doing everything right by the book. There are things that happen that are outside of your control. You can make better sense of life if you think about things beyond just the facts.
There are things that happen to you to make you a more resilient person, teach you a lesson, or guide you to another path.
There is just no freakin’ equation that can explain fate.
Charmaine: The metaphysical world is energy – either something that people have or is transferred between people. It is how you form great relationships. For example, intuition can’t be explained via a textbook but for some reason it’s very accurate.
Karma’s another interesting one. It’s something that’s outside of your control. There’s a natural order in the world that is not based on science. It’s a cycle of energy and everything that people do changes the energy.
Charmaine: It’s accurate, first of all. And I like that it doesn’t predict the future. It makes you think about life as it is at the moment. It’s just a tool. If it was completely wrong – of course I wouldn’t believe in it. Tarot makes you think of an alternative explanation for things that you wouldn’t have come up with yourself.
It’s something I already knew in my subconscious but you brought out to my conscious mind and into my awareness.
I don’t believe in people who have mystical powers. However, I do believe that there are people who can tap into their intuition and spiritual side more easily. It’s not something that comes naturally to me – it’s work.
If I have an intuition about something, I always challenge it with rational thought. I believe there are people who trust intuition more than I do. There are people who can just voice their intuition. It’s not logical that you know as much as you do during our readings. But no, I don’t believe in mystical powers.
I don’t believe in mystical powers either. Having grown up Asian, I’ve spent a lot of time with astrologers, palm readers and mediums. I’m as cynical as the average person about soothsayers making predictions about the future. It’s why I don’t do them in my readings. That type of deterministic viewpoint prevents people from taking responsibility for themselves and their lives.
There is more to life than what we can see, understand or explain. Tarot is just another tool to figure out this life business. Why not use it?