When The Cards Shut Down

“What do you see in the cards?” “I… I don’t know! I suddenly can’t understand them!”

For whatever reason, you have lost the ability to read the cards. Sure, you can look up the meanings in a book, pamphlet, or website, and string together a bunch of words that sound barely tolerable even in a carnival setting. But you know that you have just lost your game. That at this moment, you can not read the cards on the table like you have been. The cards have shut down on you and they become unreadable.

First thing. Don’t panic. Cartomancy is a skill that requires more mental processing than most physical tasks. It is not just throwing cards with bravado and dramatic sighing when the more spooky cards are revealed. Sometimes, those mental wires get crossed, and you temporarily forget how to read. It is much like forgetting a friend’s name, or forgetting to turn on the coffeepot in the morning. “Brainfarts.”

If this is a long-distance reading, walk away from the table for a while. Leave the cards in situ, but leave the room. Get a beverage. Look out the window. Remind yourself this is just like when you forgot how to add one plus one on that complex calculus final that one time. Find something else to think on until the moment has passed.

If this is a face-to-face, or a live stream of a reading, acknowledge that you are having a “moment”, and need a bit of time to pull yourself together. Remind yourself that you are not a hack, that everyone has these moments. How your Querent responds has no bearing on your skill as a reader. (To be honest, if your Querent becomes hostile, you have the right to fire them as a client.) Take a sip of water, center yourself, then come back to the cards as if you had just thrown them and this is an entirely different reading. Starting over with the interpretation of the cards sometimes tricks your mind into getting past the block of “this” reading.

Once the reading is over, do whatever little rituals or traditions you have that resets your cards, and/or reaffirms your connection to your deck. Take a break from reading if you can. Everyone has off days now and then, and suddenly blanking out during a reading is not a sign of impending doom, spiritual malpheasance, or displeasure from one’s divinities.

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