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Melissa Portan MSW, MEd

Writer & Sexologist

Melissa is a 5th generation spiritual guide and healer 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-de