It was December 31, and my 15-year old daughter, Mercedes, and I arrived at 12-noon sharp for her tarot card reading at the Cosmic Corral in Hanford. Far from being in a spiritual crisis, Mercedes wanted to get a reading because she thought it would be cool. She also had a burning question and hoped that Crystal Ravenwolf, in her capacity as a medium, could give her the answer.
Ravenwolf hails from eight generations of tarot card readers and has always been in touch with the spirit world. Her mother was a witch who read cigar ashes and her father is Native American. In addition to doing tarot card readings at the Cosmic Corral, she does guided meditations, psychic readings and teaches belly dancing every Tuesday.
Most clients get readings not just to be entertained, but because they have come to a crossroads in their lives. It can help give clarity to clients who have hit a wall or who can’t seem to get on the right track. It can also help people heal from old wounds.
Despite urban legend, tarot card readings can’t predict the future, because the future is subjective and can change moment by moment due to free will. But it can shed light on the path you need to take and help you understand who you are.
“Everyone can use a little guidance and that is what a reading can give you,” said Ravenwolf. But she also added, “It is very important to remember that a reading is not the ultimate fix all. You are still responsible for your own choices.”
Ravenwolf removed a well-used, but not terribly old, set of tarot cards from her purse. Experienced readers own several sets of cards, but each reader has their favorite. Ravenwolf has been given decks of tarot cards passed down through her family for generations, but her favorite to her came while she was attending a Renaissance Faire 20 years ago. It is her favorite deck because the cards “speak” to her. She keeps them wrapped in a cloth she acquired at the faire.
Before giving the deck to Mercedes to shuffle, Ravenwolf removed about 10 cards that would not be appropriate because of her age. She then placed the deck on the table.
“As you shuffle think about what you want the cards to tell you. Don’t ask me, ask the cards. The cards will tell you everything you need to know.”
Mercedes awkwardly shuffled the cards and handed them back. Ravenwolf warned her that the cards will tell her everything so if there was something she did not want to talk about (i.e. in front of Mom) she better let her know now. As far as Mercedes was concerned, everything was on the table.
Ravenwolf said that the cards will tell a story, so as to not interrupt the flow Mercedes should save any questions for after the reading. She then placed about 13 cards in an open box layout with one in the middle and another to the left side. The number of cards and layout can vary according to the kind of reading she is doing.
Overall, she said this was a strong reading and that Mercedes has the strength to pursue in life what she wants. She then put her focus on the left row of cards, picking up each one and describing what it meant. The left row is the feminine side and is what pushes the reading. The row of cards on the feminine side showed that, even though Mercedes was a shy person, she had a voice and wasn’t afraid to use it. She said that activism will be a really big thing for her.
“You see a lot of injustices in the world and they touch you. As you grow older you will want to stand up and do something about it.”
Further down the left row she could see that “you are very close to your mom and sister and you look to them for guidance. You have strong women in your family so this is a good thing. They have a strong voice and they use their voice.”
She said that the Prince of Swords card was really pushing the reading and that family was very important to Mercedes. Although her family is her foundation one of the cards said that she will not always be with her mother. Ravenwolf said that could just mean that she will be leaving home for college. When Mercedes does leave home she told her that “every experience is a building block, bringing one more feather to create your wings and then you will fly away.”
The King of the Sacred Circles card showed that one of Mercedes’ greatest fears is being left alone. Ravenwolf said that she should enjoy her own company and become her own best friend. “Then you won’t be afraid of being alone,” she said, adding that Mercedes will never be alone because she has a strong family that will always be with her.
Ravenwolf told Mercedes never to let anyone tell her to keep both feet on the ground. “It’s definitely OK to fly. Just keep on flying and following your dreams, express yourself, dream big.” She said that Mercedes had a very strong creative aura about her. She should never fear expressing her creativity and feel that she won’t be accepted.
“Do it all, write, draw, paint, sing, dance, act. You will be good at a lot of them and will know when you find your niche. There is absolutely nothing in this world that you cannot do.”
The Nine of Cups on the far left indicated that, “expectations are going to be a hard one for you.” Ravenwolf explained to Mercedes that expectations are not real. They are what we set up in our head. Then, when we don’t reach our expectations we view our lives as a failure. It’s the journey that counts, and part of that journey is to write down your dreams and expectations. Then your expectations become goals. And when you put the work behind your goals they become real.
“You can’t just have expectations, you have to put in the work. “
But to realize these dreams takes a lot of work. “Dreams do not come for free,” she said. Mercedes’ eyes grew wide and she slumped in her chair as Ravenwolf told her that she practiced belly dancing five hours a day. At first, Mercedes thought Ravenwolf was paid to dance five hours a day and was shocked to hear that was the amount of work she had to put into staying in shape to get the paid performances. “I’m a 47-year old competing with 20-year olds for the same jobs. I have to work twice as hard.”
She encouraged Mercedes to enjoy whatever work she chooses because she will be doing it for the rest of her life. “If you enjoy the work, then you know that you are following your dream. If you don’t enjoy the work, you are following someone else’s, or have chosen the wrong dream.”
In fact, Ravenwolf was squeezing in three gigs on New Year’s Eve, and expressed her profound gratitude for having so much work. She said that gratitude and working hard is the key. “I get to do this forever, it’s not that I have to.”
Toward the end of the reading, Ravenwolf lifted up the Temperance card sitting on the bottom row. “One of your biggest life lessons is going to be learning patience.” Mercedes’ lesson will be to learn how to handle this characteristic.
The reading took about 40 minutes, and Ravenwolf wanted to know if Mercedes had any questions–and because Ravenwolf is also a psychic medium, Mercedes had questions that went beyond the tarot cards. She had been bothered by the fact that an aunt had not treated her well and didn’t seem to love her. Ravenwolf said that the aunt was carrying around a lot of secrets from herself and from those around her.
“When you carry around secrets they hold a lot of power over you and it leaves the person walking in shame.” Ravenwolf said, that the aunt was walking in shame and cannot recognize the sparkle Mercedes brings into her life. As a result she pushes Mercedes away and sabotages all of her good relationships. “She feels that she doesn’t deserve you. She loves you. She just doesn’t love herself.”
Ravenwolf added that the aunt’s nuclear family had profited from this individual’s low self esteem. For someone who walks in shame “bad attention is better than no attention” and a family member close to her had knowingly used this aunt’s unfortunate situation to their own advantage.
There was a time in her own life when Ravenwolf had secrets and walked in shame. “But,” she said, “once you share your feelings and your secrets they hold no power over you.” Now she is an open book and her world “sparkles all the time.” “Anyone who comes into my space that doesn’t add sparkle to my world,” she explained, “they don’t get to come in.”
We ended our session with a discussion about spirit guides and guardian angels, a common theme on which Ravenwolf lectures at the Cosmic Corral. She said that Mercedes has had a gentleman with her since she was born. He is in his 40’s and is her spirit guide. She may have more guides but he is the only one who presented himself that day. He was present during the reading to make sure that Ravenwolf told Mercedes everything she needed to know. We talked about the way in which she “saw” spirit guides and the differences between guides and guardian angles.
Ravenwolf began seeing spirits when she was 16-years old, and has spent her entire life honing her skills and working to achieve peace for both the living and dead. She is known internationally for her psychic abilities and has been working with Raksalot Entertainment on a DVD series that will be released in 2015. This will consist of a series of lectures about Soul Retrieval, animal totems, spirit guides and tarot, among other topics. To find out when her DVDs will be released check her website www.crystalravenwolf.com.
As for Mercedes, her questions were answered and she was ready to start a new year.