Jan 312012

(If you’ve come here from Donnaleigh’s blog, welcome and thanks for playing along with the Tarot Blog Hop. If you have no idea what I’m talking about follow the links at the beginning and end of this post and you’ll catch on.)


“Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.” ~ The Buddha


The very first tarot reading I did for someone other than myself, wiped me out. I was surprised actually by how very fatigued I felt after just forty minutes with the cards and a cooperative friend. It seemed out of proportion with the effort I put forth and I didn’t make the connection between the reading and the tiredness until it happened the next time I read for someone else.  It was confusing and discouraging. I was eighteen years old and there was a lot I didn’t know about the way energy works. To say I poured myself into those readings would be spot on. In my eagerness to explore tarot, to share and hone my reading skills, I made a fundamental mistake. I used my own personal energy for fuel.

When a candle is lit the wick catches the flame and starts to burn. At the base of the wick, caused by the heat of the flame, a pool of wax forms from the candle itself. This wax travels up the wick and is used as fuel for the flame. If you were to take a piece of wicking that was not part of a candle and lit it on its own it would have only itself to use as fuel and would burn out much quicker than its candled counterpart. In not understanding the energy I was tapping into and how to use it I was that naked wick. One reading would kick my butt. I knew I was doing something wrong. I didn’t know what it was.

As stupid as it seems to me now, I powered through and kept reading for people and sapping my energy each time. I wanted to read tarot. It called to me. I didn’t want to be exhausted all the time. After a dozen or so readings that each required a recovery nap, I put the cards aside. I didn’t give up. I gave in. It was obvious to me that I was doing something wrong but I didn’t even have the language to understand what it might be. I didn’t know where to look for the answer to the question I couldn’t frame.

“Better to light a candle than curse the damn darkness… Fiat Lux!” ~ Willow Rosenberg

The answer came to me months later from a friend who was exploring alternative spirituality. She and I were discussing the most recent book she was reading when she mentioned energy. Something about what she said and how she said it lit me up. I don’t remember the specifics of the conversation but I do remember we were on the train on Staten Island heading home from work. In the time it took to go from the ferry to our train station she had given me the solution to my problem. In that fifteen minutes she taught me about grounding and centering. What it was, how to do it and why.

A wick on it’s own doesn’t give much light for long. It’s just a piece of cotton string. Sometimes it burns out shortly after it’s lit. Without the pool of wax to draw from the flame can’t sustain itself. A candle burns best when the wick is properly secured and goes all the way to the bottom of the candle. The pool of wax, the fuel, is more readily and steadily available if the wick is in the center of the candle. Before the candle is lit the wick gets trimmed so the flame will be right-sized.

To read tarot without burning out you need to be like the candle: grounded and centered. Connect your energy to the energy of the earth beneath your feet and the source energy of all. You become more than just a naked piece of string you become the wick. You are a channel for that energy instead of the source of it. Centering brings you into balance within yourself. Just as the wick that is centered in the candle burns best you will use the energy more effectively if you are centered in yourself and in the moment. Clearing away distractions and negative energy is like trimming the wick. It keeps the flame/energy usage in proportion with the flow.

Now, before each reading I take a moment. I connect to the energy of the Earth and invite the energy of the universe in from above. I focus on the flow of this energy within myself in the moment and at the same time take myself out of the equation. I become a conduit for the energy and not the source of it. There is now an actual moment when I feel lit. I can see the light and feel the energy at the same time. I can light a thousand other candles from that light and it still burns as brightly.

(The next blog in the Tarot Blog Hop is Hillary’s. Enjoy! and Thank you for stopping by. I hope to see you again.)

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