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Melissa Portan LMSW, MEd

Writer & Sexologist

Melissa is a 5th generation spiritual guide who specializes in helping others find their own spiritual path. She is also a sex and relationship therapist practicing in NYC.


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Tarot: One of My Horrible Experiences and Its Lessons

Namaste, friends. I begin by telling you all this story that happened just yesterday. I am fascinated by the tarot and do readings for friends and referrals that they bring me. I don’t do it on a regular basis, just when someone comes along with questions. I usually start the reading by lighting a candle and setting it on the table, I like to keep the lights dim to allow me to focus more, and I ask the seeker or the querent what his or her question is. Usually the person stutters or doesn’t know what to ask. The initial reaction of the querent is one of surprise and being overwhelmed. In their minds, and I know that in my own when I used to go for readings, it is as if all of their questions are going to be answered and some great divine secret is going to come through. This can put a lot of pressure on the seeker but also on the tarot reader, or me. But this nervousness and anxiousness and fear is quickly dissolved by talking about the question and by me giving a very brief explanation of how I do my readings. And so, my mom has a friend who has also become my friend. She is a gentle person, religious (Christian or Catholic, I am unsure), married and a mother, and I have offered to do a reading for her without charging. She is always so kind and I’ve told her that if she ever needs anything, does not have to be spiritually related, that she can call on me. She still has not but instead brought me someone who wanted to be seen. Word is, that I can see people and know.

When she called and told me of her friend, not mentioning any of the questions or possible problem she wants advice on, I was a bit apprehensive, but I decided to accept to give her reading. The reading was to be for a mother and her teenage daughter, a young woman of sixteen years. As I understood it, I was going to do two separate readings, like I had done for another mother-daughter duo two days previous. I was excited and admittedly nervous to meet them. When they arrived, I was prepping the table for the reading, bringing out my little tea light candle and the cards along with the pendulum. I heard my mom opening the door downstairs and I heard her voice was a bit strained or concerned. I saw the young woman and then her mother came in to the room. I was surprised and unsure while I was looking at the girl because she did not look like she wanted to be here. I sensed that she was tense and even scared. I said, “Hey!” like I greet people of my age and younger and her response was very contrite. So I thought that surely the reading was not going to be for her. I go back into my room and gather the last of my tools, light an incense stick on my altar, and come back out. I see that at the table of the center of the room the young woman is sat across her mother.

Walking into that room was liking hitting or colliding into a heavy invisible wall of darkness and tension. I looked at both, took my seat and asked, “So, who’s going to go first?” The mother looked at me as if I were crazy and said that both would be present. I want to clarify that at this point I did not know this was a minor of sixteen years old, so I asked how old she was and was then told. I said okay because I understood why a mother would want to be present for this sort of thing, but I was very reluctant and the tension was horrendous. I decided to keep going and see if when we started talking they would open up and the reading could begin. I usually never ask for my querenet’s name or age or marital status, sexual orientation, and so on, I have never needed to; those things tend to come out in the reading or from the querent’s mouth. But I decided to ask their names and their responses were so so controlled that I stopped with that. I suggested that I do the reading alone with her daughter and afterwards with her to give a more in-depth reading. The mother declined. I suggested it again moments later and again she declined. The daughter the whole time was sitting proper, her hands in her lap, back straight, not a sign of emotion in her face, her glasses covering her eyes which held a steady, cold, and an empty stare. Both of them had the same look in their eyes, dark, profound, heavy, and in the mother’s eyes I saw something disturbing: frustration, anger, and hate towards her daughter. I asked the girl, since the mother said to do the reading for her, to pick which deck she wanted to use. She chose the brighter looking one, which told me she wanted or needed hope more than anything practical or mundane. And so, I asked her what her question was to which the mom responded, “Well, can’t you just tell us?” I looked over at her and saw she was frustrated, “Alright” I said and decided to just shuffle the cards, “Let’s see what comes up.” I took my time shuffling the tarot deck and without looking at her I felt that she was getting impatient, so I shuffled even longer. Why? Because the cards are not there to tell her what she wants to hear and nor am I and I choose whether I will or will not do the reading. Basically, I am in control and I am not here to please her or be a soothsayer.

The cards came out and I did not like what I saw. Negativity, a torn relationship in the recent past, and the tower in the more recent past (previous days or weeks). The tower can mean many things and by looking at them both and seeing the tension and seeing the reluctance in the daughter and seeing the cards representing a young woman and an older woman opposite the tower, I saw that there might have been a very big and explosive fight recently. I asked the girl if she had been in a relationship, if she had a boyfriend. I nearly bit my tongue because I did not want to ask her, my back was burning from the discomfort and from staving off the overwhelming tension and negativity. I cringed even more when I saw a smirk come over the mother’s shadowed face.  The young woman denied having had any relationship. I sighed, because I began to become fully aware of her secretive nature and the intensely probing nature of the mother. I tried asking the girl what exactly she wanted to know and she shrugged her shoulders and looked to her mother. I am not exaggerating my descriptions of these two and I have not been at peace after that day. The mother bit her lip and looked over at me and down at the cards, she put her hands together and said, “Here’s the thing,” and I sighed, trying to relax thinking that finally they were going to ask me something and allow me to read them. “Here’s the thing,” she said, “I want to know about her. I want to know everything about her, what she is thinking, what she is doing, everything.” And I am sitting there, between these two, looking at this woman thinking, “What the fuck is wrong with you?” I am thinking of saying, “If you want to know everything about your daughter talk to your daughter, don’t come to me or someone else, don’t go to a psychic and ask that person to find out and tell you everything.” But I held my tongue while looking at her. I understood and heard with my intuition that she wanted to know whether her daughter was a virgin or not.

I repeated her words to her, “You want to know everything about her?” “Yes,” she said as if my question was the stupid one. I shook my head, “I cannot tell you what she does not want me to tell you or what she does  not want to tell you. Her thoughts are her own, they belong to her, they change, and they are private. She does not want me to give her a tarot reading, she does not want you to know whatever it is that it is. I won’t tell you her private things. If you don’t give me a way in, if you don’t ask a clear question, I cannot answer it.” She looked at me dumbfounded and said again, “Alright, alright, here’s the thing,” and I am still sitting there, ready to kick her out but still hoping that somehow I got through to her, “I want to know about her health. Can you tell me about her health?” “Sure,” and I looked down at the cards and saw a lot of water. Still, I saw things that were secret and hidden from her mother and I kept my lips tight. I asked the young woman and I spoke to both, “I am not a doctor, so whatever issue you are dealing with and are not telling me about I cannot recommend a solution for, but here is what I see. There are issues with blood and water. The most I can tell you is to drink more water.” Focusing on the young one I asked, looking into her eyes, “Do you have pain in your vagina, ovaries?” She shook her head. “Do you have trouble with controlling your bladder, going to the bathroom often?” “No,” she said. Leaned back in my seat and looked at her, in her eyes I saw surprise when I asked her about the pain in her vagina. But the moment was so quick and with her lips she denied it that I left it at that. I thought, I am not going to force my way into someone’s private world to reveal things that are wished to be kept secret. It just goes against my morals, were it so easy to me I would be working for the NSA. I kept silent and the mother took advantage of the moment, “Well, can’t you just tell us?” “You two do not get along. You want to know if she has had sex and she does not want to reveal anything to you, so I cannot do a reading when both of your energies are clashing.” She began to shake her head, “Well, if you cannot do it then…” I explained to her how the cards and a reading works, “You are not giving me anything and you are not saying anything.” “Can’t you just tell us without asking?” “Yes I can, but the reason I am asking is because the cards have different meanings and they vary. I can tell you many different things and they may not be what you are interested in knowing.” So, my voice had raised to lecture level volume. I decided to bring out my pendulum as a last effort and held it over the open hand of the young one, I asked it, loudly, to tell us if she did indeed want a tarot reading. Lo and Behold! it responded in the negative. Her eyes widened and she looked over at her mother quickly. The mother again gave a quiet smile. The mother said, “Ask it again.” And I did and I asked again and this time the pendulum answered yes. We even did a test question, what her favorite color is, she said blue. The pendulum said yes. Afterwards, moments later, the mother said, “That thing you did with that little thing, you move it don’t you? Because everything you said about her and the cards was not true.” So I looked over at the girl, who was pale and still sitting quite upright and confirmed her mother’s words. “Well, it’s your energy and her energy colliding. You are not admitting anything or participating in any form and you are denying everything even though I can clearly see the tension between both of you, so I cannot provide a clear reading.” My mom came in and I said, “These two are not working together, I cannot do it this way.” So the woman got nervous, “You know, I can’t explain it, but its my energy. I am not comfortable here. My energy does not like it here.” And I said, “Yeah, that was obvious when you walked in.” “Yeah, I think it is best that I go.” Thank God she decided to remove herself because I was about to slip the chair from underneath her and kick her ass out. I looked at the daughter, who while I had explained the privacy and sovereignty of her thoughts, had given a smile, and she sat there looking at her mom with wide eyes.

My gut twisted and my heart beat faster because I wished that I could do something for the girl, I said to her quietly, do you want to stay. She did not answer and instead looked at her mom and said, “I’m going with my mom.” And she stood up like a soldier, quick, stiff, solid, and they walked out.

So, guys, that is what happened yesterday and I am writing about it today to share with you this experience. I’ve sat here and lied in bed awake, thinking about this situation. Here is why I have been thinking and replaying this situation over and over in my head: they wear both lying to me. How do I know? Am I some sort of super psychic? The answer is simple, mundane, and direct without anything spiritual or metaphysical. Remember the kind friend who introduced to me these two? She was still in the apartment while I was doing the reading and she left with them. She was embarrassed and upset as she left because she saw that they did not pay and decided to run out. Well, she sticked around asking what happened and I quickly explained the situation.

When my mom and I were alone we got talking and cleansing the place from all the shadows and negativity that had been dumped on us. “You know,” said my mom,  “I was talking to ____ while you were doing the reading and she was telling me that the girl was having some pains in her vagina or ovaries. They had gone to doctors and gotten check ups with no results. And, the mother suspects that she is having sex. I think she is pregnant or had a pregnancy but does not want the mother to know, which is why she is so scared.” I was furious when I heard what my mom was saying. So, the two denied what I was saying even though it was true. I knew they were lying but it just is not proper to tell someone, a customer or someone you are trying to help, that they are lying; they will only deny it more and more.

The Lessons:  

1. Don’t do tarot or any kind of readings in your place of residence. Why? It disharmonizes your home energy. You are inviting people you do not know into your home, people whose intentions are unknown, and you allow their energies to enter. All your cleansings and protections will strain against the intrusion and may or may not fail.

2.  Have the querent/customer/seeker pay before the consult. In the tarot or psychic reading business the reading or cleansing is usually done before payment. If the person lies or is unsatisfied with the work for whatever reason, he or she can walk out having spent your time and energy for free. Tarot readings, cleansings, psychic readings, spiritual advice, are all very intimate, subjective things, meaning they are not quantifiable, meaning it is impossible to measure and control them, these things. Not everyone is going to click with you, the tarot reader, and this does not mean they get to get a consult without payment. It is not fair, it is rude, it is thievery, and so on. Most, not all, but most tarot readers or psychics do this type of work based on a sincere desire to help others. Taking advantage of that goodness is just not a positive and beneficial thing to do.

4. As a tarot reader or a psychic you have your intuition finely tuned. The moment you see someone and you feel something is off, deny that person the reading. It is not worth the trouble and there are other people who you can really help and you are not the only one that provides these types of services, so they can take themselves somewhere else. Doing a reading for someone with whom you do not like and challenges your morals is not worth it. No amount of money or necessity should dictate your morality. Some tarot readers or psychics will tell you that I am wrong and that I am just not good at reading the cards. Your readings will always work with your internal compass, that is why it is important to clearly understand what you think is right and wrong and why. For people who believe that they can see or read and say things regardless of the person’s desires, they might be able to do so. But I live by a certain philosophy, I have my own set of beliefs that say that we are each on our independent roads, we will learn what we want to learn, and we have to strive to advance. I do not believe a person can come and give you the answers you seek and have you just sit there, not break a sweat and put zero effort into your enlightenment. So, figure out your rules, philosophy, beliefs, whatever you want to call it.

5. Stick to your inner rules. Follow your inner compass. Stick to them no matter what!

6. Trust in your spirit guides, your spiritual practice, and your God. Whatever you practice, believe in it and believe that it will guide you and support you, even if the ways do not always seem positive and are hurtful.

Remember, the darkness hates the light, flees from the light, denies the light, and seeks more darkness.


Photo Credit: Melissa Portan

Photo Credit: Melissa Portan


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