Talkin’ Tarot With is a monthly feature designed to introduce my readers to different tarot readers from our wonderfully diverse community! Each month, I’ll be asking various tarot readers 3 questions about their tarot philosophy and style, plus pointing you to their websites and blogs so that you can learn more about them! I like to hand pick tarot readers that I feel are talented and interesting.
Tarot reader Jen Cintrón lives only a few blocks away and also happens to be friends with my son. They are fellow musicians and travel in the same circles so it was inevitable that, at some point, she would pull out her tarot cards and someone would say “Nick’s mom reads tarot too.” BOOM! That’s the short story of how we met a few years ago and we’ve been friends and colleagues ever since.
Jen has been reading tarot since she was a teen and has a style that is empowering and proactive. Her philosophy: “I believe in free will, and that the future is never set in stone, as we are all currently building it.” She’s wise beyond her years. When you get a reading from Jen, you walk away with insights that allow you to take control of your fate, rather than feeling like a victim of circumstance. I have mad respect for that. It’s why she is one of the go-to tarot readers that I direct people to all the time. (I don’t do parties any longer and she’s one of my favorite referrals – my clients always rave about their experience with her later.)
A true creative, Jen sings, plays the guitar (her current gig is with 4th Street Elevator, a local gypsy jazz band), and also makes custom gemstone malas (they are gorgeous). And get this: this she’s also a trained Biomedical Scientist! Brains + creativity + tarot = a triple threat (or treat)! My prediction: this gal is going to be a tarot force to be reckoned with in the coming years. Count on that.
Wanna get a reading from Jen? She offers tarot readings via email, Skype, in person or parties. You can find her and book a reading over at Intuitive Insights Tarot. She also reads at local metaphysical haven, Ascended Gifts, as well as various events around the city such as Bastille Days. Want to hear her sing? Keep up with her band over here: 4th Street Elevator (pictured below).
Check out her thoughtful answers to my questions below:
Q: What is your philosophy about tarot reading?
Jen: I approach Tarot both from a deeply spiritual place, as pulling info from the Universal Consciousness that permeates everything, and from a very practical perspective, like a free-association exercise. It’s a phenomenal tool for self reflection, to get down at our subconscious mind and help us unravel whatever knots of reasoning and emotion might be obscuring our way forward.
I believe in free will, but I also believe in the laws of cause and effect, which is why the tarot can also provide us with a forecast (not a prediction!) of how things might turn out if we continue on our current path. If we don’t like the outcome they’re showing us, we can always change the behaviors that may lead us to that outcome. Like Abraham Lincoln (allegedly) said: “The best way to predict your future is to create it”.
The Tarot works because there is an universality to the human experience, the so-called archetypes that pop up again and again across cultures, religions, and continents. Storytelling has been humanity’s way of documenting the diversity in this universality. But there’s 7 basic plots to every story ever told, the only thing that ever changes is the place, the names, and the particulars.
The Tarot wraps all these stories up oh-so-neatly in the Fool’s journey through the 21 Major Arcana: the stepping into one’s own power and making things happen drive of The Magician; the deep connection with our own wisdom and major epiphanies of The High Priestess; the struggle with our internal demons of The Devil; the catastrophic pulling of the rug from under our feet of The Tower… with the minor arcana providing the changing particulars of the story.
I’ve been an avid reader, searching for deeper meaning under the text and seeking understanding, since I discovered the wonder of words at an early age. To me, reading the tarot is like reading a scramble-your-own-story book, with the story elements being provided by the cards. Our psyches form the stories according to what’s lying deep in our minds.
What’s interesting is how often the cards that come up are the ones that bring EXACTLY the story elements that are relevant to our lives at the moment. And that’s where the numinous comes in, in my opinion.
One can choose to chalk it up to coincidence and dismiss the “woo” part of it altogether and still find great value in the introspective aspect. They’re the most wonderful brainstorming tool!
However, I choose to also believe in magic, and I believe this choice has made me a better Tarot reader, and a happier, more creative person, too. But that’s just me 😉
Q: How do you feel a client might get the most out of a reading with you?
Jen: Take a few moments before the reading to breathe deeply and ground themselves, as I believe a relaxed reading always works best. I know that we often seek readings when we are feeling anything BUT relaxed, there’s usually an issue gnawing at us, like “is this the right career move?” or “is So-and-so The One?” or “GOOD GOD, WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?!” in the most extreme cases. This is EXACTLY why taking deep breaths is absolutely necessary, that way we’ll be receptive enough for guidance from our higher selves.
I hope my clients are aware that a tarot reading can be serious or humorous, practical or highly spiritual. As it’s been said before, the cards are a tool for self reflection, so usually one gets out of a reading what one puts into it. Vague questions will probably yield vague answers. An open dialogue helps me help my client make better sense of the reading, since my ultimate goal is to bring them clarity.
Also, though I always try to gauge my audience and adjust my swearing accordingly, please don’t be alarmed or surprised if I say “shit” sometimes. Because sometimes shit happens, and the cards like to talk about it. We’re all adults here, I hope!
Q: What is your best piece of advice for an aspiring tarot reader?
Jen: Read! Read the cards, and read the books about the cards. Find a deck that you feel you really connect with, with illustrated minor arcana, and work with it often. Read for yourself. Read for your friends. Read for your business. Read for your cat. Read, Read, Read.
Don’t be afraid to look things up in the book when you’re first starting out: I looked EVERYTHING up in the LWB for the first 9 years I read the cards, but that’s because I didn’t read them that often. But when I finally decided to get serious about it, I started reading books: 78 Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack is a great starter book. Jodorowsky and Costa’s The Way of Tarot is another great one. And I can’t WAIT to get my hands on a copy of Benebell Wen’s Holistic Tarot! Just to name a few.
I know I’ll sound like a broken record, but seriously, keep a tarot journal. Once I started reading the books, and journaling, I was reading the cards without consulting the LWB within 3 months. You could say the 9 years of practice with “training wheels” on accelerated my off-book-ness, but writing about it really helped cement the learning. Writing, especially longhand, is a scientifically proven tactic to help us commit things to memory.
And if you have a smartphone, download a Tarot App or two, so you can read on the go! My favorites are Galaxy Tone’s Galaxy Tarot Pro (Such intuitive interface! So many great spreads! Such insightful card meanings!), and also her newest collaboration with Kim Krans, the Wild Unknown Tarot. If you have a smartphone, you know how much energy you devote to it, right? How can it NOT be a helpful tool for readings?!
And OF COURSE, check out all the amazing resources you can find online, starting right here at The Tarot Lady! Be sure to grab your copy of the Tarot Card By Card manual and sign up for the Rookie to Reader course, if you haven’t yet!
Massive shout out and love to Jen for making time to talk tarot with me! Get in touch with her and get your reading (or mala) at: Intuitive Insights Tarot.
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2015
images from Jen’s personal collection and 4th Street Elevator