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 three 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.
One of my goals for the upcoming weekend in Los Angeles: meet Pleasant Gehman. In fact, this goal has been on my list for some time but it seems that every time I end up on the West Coast, something comes up and it never happens. I’m not letting that chance pass me by this time.
You might be wondering why this is a goal. Well, for one, Pleasant is a fellow tarot reader and I’m always down for hanging with my crew. But also: she may just be the coolest damn tarot reader on the planet! Check her out:
Her roots began as a music journalist in the 70’s LA punk rock scene. She documented the music of that era through the fanzine she helped created, Lobotomy, as well as various mainstream publications such as LA Weekly, Los Angeles Magazine, Variety, and Rolling Stone. She also wrote about other topics such as sex work and teenage runaways. In addition to journalism, Pleasant wrote books such as The Underground Guide To Los Angeles – which was a bestseller.
She’s also been a lifelong performing artist. Stints with The Screaming Sirens and The Ringling Sisters led to movie deals and world tours. Belly-dancing is another arena where she has been an absolute star. Using the stage name Princess Farhana, Pleasant has shaken her hips on many belly dance and burlesque stages around the world since the ’90s. This lead to starring in instructional DVDs and writing The Belly Dance Handbook, which is a popular resource for wanna-be and seasoned pros.
While doing all of this, tarot has always been running in the background. She received her first deck as a teenager and has had one in her hands ever since. Pleasant has been involved with metaphysics as long as she has been on the music scene. Her reputation as a reader is top notch and she’s well known for her classes, paranomal investigations, and other metaphysical services.
This sounds like a lot, right? There’s more. This woman has been creating cool musical, theatrical, and mystical experiences in Los Angeles and around the globe for decades. Perhaps now you understand why I want to catch some time with this legend. If you’re looking for a tarot reading, you might want to catch up with her too.
Pleasant Gehman has had a life-long love affair with metaphysics and the occult. At the age of thirteen, she got her first Tarot deck, immediately started reading for her junior high friends, and never looked back. Her intuitive readings have been called “astonishing” and “amazingly accurate.” Her intuitive gifts, gentle demeanor, broad life experience, and clear counsel have made her a sought after psychic reader with clients all over the globe.
A naturally gifted energy healer, Pleasant was born with the ability to sense and soothe physical injuries, emotional trauma and bodily discomfort in humans and animals, as well as to calm and release her clients’ stress.
Pleasant is a spirit magnet and has been a serious paranormal investigator since 2009, hunting ghosts in locations ranging from private homes, theaters, hotels and churches to amusement parks and abandoned buildings all over North America. She’s lead three private ghost tour/investigations with groups of 45-60 people on board the RMS Queen Mary, reputedly one of America’s most haunted locations.
Pleasant and sister witch Crystal Ravenwolf founded The Divination Nation in 2015 to teach metaphysical workshops, conduct paranormal investigations, house cleansings, and to launch their popular self-titled blog. Their first book, Walking the Tarot Path will be published in 2019.
Since 2017, Pleasant and Shana Leilani have co-produced the acclaimed Belle, Book, and Candle, an occult-themed burlesque show running on the third Wednesday of each month in the historic-and very haunted- El Cid Theater in Los Angeles.
Pleasant offers Tarot readings and energy healings at The Green Man Store in LA’s San Fernando Valley, where she also regularly teaches metaphysical classes.
She lives in the Hollywood Hills with four extremely naughty cats.
Check out Pleasant’s answers to my questions below:
Q: What is your philosophy about tarot reading?
Pleasant: For me, tarot isn’t just something I do, it’s a life style. I believe that tarot is an incredible, multi-layered gift that connects all of us to ancient knowledge, higher guidance, the collective unconscious and profound illumination. It provides a bond to each other and to the divine. Like many of the other age-old practices that have spread around the globe – think yoga, witchcraft, martial arts, belly dancing – there’s a reason tarot has stuck around for centuries! Simply put, it’s valuable… and it works. Tarot is mystical, magickal and mundane all at the same time, and with patience, study, and dedicated application, anyone can use this phenomenal tool.
I love tarot for the insight and clarity it provides; for the intricate web of metaphysical knowledge woven together into a seamless whole, and for the way it’s opened up my third eye… the only eye of mine that doesn’t need glasses, by the way!
Because I’m a hyper visual person, the symbolism in tarot particularly appeals to me. When I first started reading in the early 70’s as a young teenager in a small New England town, I didn’t have access to tarot books – and there weren’t that many around back then, anyway. The symbols were what taught me, it was like they sent a bolt of understanding to my subconscious. I didn’t have any previous knowledge or training; I just “went for it.” After I finally read some literature, my mind was kind of blown because much of the way I’d interpreted the pictures on the cards was very close to their actual meanings. A little later on, when I first noticed that the RWS Wheel of Fortune had T-A-R-O-T spelled out on it in an endless circle and that ROTA meant “wheel” in Italian, I almost exploded. It was 4:00 am and I wanted to call someone to tell them about my marvelous discovery… but at that point, I didn’t know many other readers and if I’d called a “civilian” they probably would’ve thought I was high! Decades later, I still see new things on the card all the time, it’s never ending and always a wonderful surprise.
When I’m reading for clients, I want them to feel comfortable, safe, understood and heard. I also let them know that anything they say will be kept in strictest confidence. Some come out of curiosity or for woo-woo entertainment, but many are there because they’re feeling lost and need guidance. Maybe they’re recovering from loss of a loved one, abuse or trauma, or they’re in some sort of untenable situation that they can’t navigate on their own. My tarot table is a safe space for them; there is no judgement. Often, they’re quite emotional, and once in a while, they’ll get embarrassed that they’re letting their feelings out. If that happens, I always assure them that when you’re deep-diving this way, it’s perfectly normal and that emotional vulnerability is merely a sign that they’re a healthy, genuine human being. I’ll often go “off the cards” – meaning I’ll discuss similar personal experiences of mine with them, so they’ll feel more comfortable. More than anything, I always want them to know that we are working together and that tarot can give them considerable insight on their concerns, motivations, fears and worries…as well as their wonderful qualities and fantastic things to look forward to.
To me, it’s a huge responsibility to be let into my clients’ private lives, hear their stories and be trusted to counsel… and I take it very seriously. My goal is to have my clients leave feeling empowered, strong, and ready to move forward.
Q: How do you feel a client might get the most out of a reading with you?
Pleasant: Over the years I’ve come to believe that when someone seeks me out for a reading, it’s not random or accidental, but some sort of synchronicity. We are all intuitive and drawn to certain people or situations through this instinctual inner knowing. I’ve had so many deep connections and truly profound moments with clients, I really feel there’s a reason we are doing this work together.
Probably the most important ways a client can benefit from reading from me – or anyone – is by keeping an open mind, staying present, allowing themselves to receive the messages and ultimately, being willing to do the work. Much of what comes through in sessions demands action and/or follow through.
Often clients ask if they can record the reading, and I’m all for it – that way they can refer back to the session and really have a chance to fully digest everything.
Q: What is your best piece of advice for an aspiring Tarot reader?
Pleasant: First and foremost, trust your intuition. Every human is highly intuitive, but those gifts have pretty much been discredited or even negated by modern society. Re-awaken your inner voice by letting the symbols on the cards guide you. Usually, the first thoughts that come to your mind will be spot on.
Read everything you can get your hands on and then toss the books aside…at least temporarily.
Learn through daily practice – you’ll get to know your cards much more intimately and it’ll get you to the next level much faster. Do single card pulls and full readings for yourself, your family and friends. Ask for feedback. Keep a tarot journal to chart your progress.
Learn various spreads and then experiment with reading cards that aren’t designated in specific positions- read them as sentences and paragraphs.
If you’re thinking of going pro, really consider getting a mentor. There’s a lot to be learned metaphysically, but there’s just as much to learn business-wise. Hang out with as many professional readers as you can and don’t be afraid to ask questions about the cards themselves, but also about conducting business in your area. Find out the going rate for services and don’t undercut other readers.
You should also get as many readings as you can from professionals. It’s a worthwhile investment not just because it’s interesting, but as a learning experience. Pay attention to the layouts they use, their interpretations, the way they give counsel or offer guidance, the tone of voice and their demeanor in general. Listen to the way they frame certain points and concepts, watch their facial expressions and body language. Decide what you like (or dislike ) about their style…but don’t copy. Keep reading, and soon you’ll develop your own unique style.
Immerse yourself fully in tarot, and watch yourself grow. Remember, a no baby never thought to itself “Oh, maybe I’m not ready to walk yet… I should probably just wait a few months until I’m at the right stage of development!”
Nope, babies just start pulling themselves up repeatedly until they’re standing…and then walking. They don’t care if they land on their diapered asses repeatedly, they keep trying, without fear of failure…same should go for baby readers: just start reading!
I am delighted that Pleasant made time to chat with me today (and cannot wait for our in-person chit-chat). Learn more about her and get a reading right here.
© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2019