Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tarot Demystified

Cold Reading and Warm Reading in Tarot (or Oracles)
Cold reading or warm reading of the cards are topics I had heard of but didn't really know what they were. I felt curious about them this month and well... the result is this article. :-)

Cold and warm reading involve different variations on taking into account the querent's (the person the reading is being done for) tone of voice, body language, facial expressions, reactions to what the reader says. It can also involve  taking their age, sex, personality...into account and making assumptions on that.  Or asking them direct questions about their situation during the course of the reading.  The reader is "reading" the querent as well, not reading the cards only.

These methods can be, and unfortunately sometimes are, used as methods to do false readings, to scam people.  But  I  have also know good honest readers who have learnt to use some of these techniques as part of their normal reading practice. And they say it works for them and they cannot imagine reading any other way. It feels natural to them to follow the querent's reactions where they lead. they would feel as though they were blindfolded without it. As human beings we are such wonderfully beautifully expressive beings. We communicate in all kinds of ways besides with words (image above). :-)

Although I have never read for others in person, I would imagine that in in person readings it would also be hard to be completely unaffected by the reactions of the person you are reading for. As so much of communication is non-verbal and readers often tend to be empathetic people by nature.

I guess so much depends on intension. As they say, Tarot is just a tool. Two different people can use the same tool in very different ways depending on their intensions.

These methods can only be used in situations where the reader and querent are in direct contact. An in person reading would be the most conducive to this, but other methods such as telephone readings would still allow the use of some of them.  Just to say here before going on, none of these techniques are possible in the way I read. I do e-mail readings only and all I usually have before me when I start is the question. I am never in direct contact with the querent during the course of the reading.   For me,  I tend to personally be the kind of reader who prefers to find my answers though the cards only.

In my research on cold and warm readings, I found a few other types as well that I will add in for you below. the info I found tends to focus on unethical Tarot practices.

Cold Reading
This is the type of reading where the reader takes the querent's reactions and what they know about them personally into account. These can include body language, facial expressions, tone of voice, even the age, sex, religion...etc of the querent.

Someone practiced in this this could be use it in a dishonest way, by starting with general questions and narrowing things down more and more judging by probabilities and the reactions given. Doing this could conceivably make it look like  a real reading was being done, even if that were not the case.

On the other hand, I am sure in in person readings some of this must be natural. EG if a reader sees something in the cards and tells the querent and the querent reacts with fear, I wouldn't think it is out of line to say "This scares you"  And then go on to tell what else they see in the cards.

Hot Reading
This is when the reader has some prior knowledge about the querent that the querent does not know they have. This can be the direct result of questioning others that the querent knows or research of some type. And then the reader seemingly miraculously comes up with an accurate reading. This is always a scam, and pretty well the most dishonest of the bunch.

Warm Reading
A warm reading is somewhere between a cold and hot reading. In a cold reading the "reader" starts with no information or knowledge about the person. In a hot reading they go into the situation with knowledge they have gained beforehand.

In a warm reading the reader will have a clear idea where to start and then will use cold reading techniques, then follow the querent's reactions to narrow things down.  They start each reading in the same way. This method uses certain known psychological effects. A warm reading starts with a general statement such as the reader sees a ring or watch of a loved one who has passed on. Someone whom the querent has a photograph of in their house house and that this loved one is trying to come through and speak to the querent.

Everyone, pretty much has a photograph of someone they love who passed on and who wore some kind of jewellery. And then the reader follows the querent's reactions. It starts with quite general statements, that can be narrowed down according to the querent's reactions. 

The Rainbow Ruse
This is an interesting one, as it uses 2 opposing statements at once. Examples of this would be "You are usually happy, but sometimes you are sad" , "You are doing well in some of your subjects at school, but not in all of them":, "You are usually pretty patient, but sometimes you feel quite impatient".

These are universal statements that can pretty much apply to anyone. Nothing and no one is all black and white in life. So the reader starts with these kinds of questions and then follows the querent's reactions where they lead.

This technique can only be used in a situation where an audience is involved. This is a form of cold reading technique. It starts with a series of quite general statements. The reader just fires them out into the audience. Naturally some of it will apply to some people and not to others.

The reader then focuses on the people it seems to apply to, whom he is getting positive reactions from. As he goes on, the next statements will again apply to some in that group and not others, narrowing it down even further.... Until he is left with only one person, who he claims the reading was about from the start.

For me personally, and not to be judgmental and this is only my personal viewpoint, I believe in a card reading being a card reading only. Yes intuition is involved in being a reader and is an important part. But trying to read the person can lead to errors. We can't be inside another person's mind. We don't know everything in their past. Even the querent themselves may not understand fully all that is going on inside them. If we say something and we see a reaction, we can be wrong in any assumption we make as to why they are feeling or reacting that way. Unless the reader knows they are truly psychic(some are) and can be sure of that.  Otherwise for me, I believe in keeping that out of it and just letting the cards talk and do their thing.

Coming next month: Tarot Myths and Superstitions

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