The last time I told someone I had my tarot cards read, they replied, “You believe in that crap?” The answer is yes I do—I am a sucker for tarot card readings. And when I say sucker, I don’t necessarily mean it in the way most people say it to me after I confess that I pay for tarot card readings. I am sucker because I understand how silly it may seem for someone to invite a psychic stranger into their personal life, yet I have no problem doing so. In fact, it’s become a “thing to do” when traveling, like watching a sunset on the beach or touring the Empire State Building. I am comfortable with the idea that I gravitate towards neon signs that say PSYCHIC READINGS HERE, even though most people may not be.
So it should come as no surprise that I sought out Judith at the Downtown Orlando Farmer’s Market. The sign Psychic Tarot Reading was all it took for me to rummage through my purse for some cash. Luckily, I had some on me because Judith’s card reading, more than any other I have had before, brought some good insight into my life. No, she did not predict my future but instead confirmed ideas and thoughts that had been already floating around in my head. Because I say, “Yes, I believe in that crap,” when I’m questioned about tarot card reading, I asked Judith to do an interview with me with hopes she could explain tarot cards better than I can.
What was most interesting about Judith’s interview was our conversation after the recorder was turned off. I sat with her in the booth for an hour, only after she called me out for having a rose and pink aura. I would like to tell you more about what that means but that’s personal … and I only tell strangers those sorts of things.
Jana: What are tarot cards? And what can a reading provide someone?
Judith: What are tarot cards? Tarot cards are a means of guidance. They’re a tool that dates back to Egypt. What can they tell somebody? They’re not fortune-telling or predicting kinds of tools. They give verification of what you are already know. There are some things that you may be struggling with—that you kind of know in your heart—and when somebody you don’t know tells you … you really need to look at those things. So I think they are a guidance tool more than anything else but sometimes there are messages that aren’t about guidance. If those messages want to be received, they’ll come out.
When was your first tarot card experience?
When I was a young teenager, like 14 or 15.
Can you describe what happened?
I bought some tarot cards at a university book store. I don’t even know why I was there at that age, but I was.
Do you remember what university?
Syracuse. I bought the cards and had a bunch of friends come over, opened them up and went, “This is pretty cool.” [Laughs]
At one point did you start giving readings?
I pretty much didn’t do a whole lot with them [the cards] after that. I was using other tools. About 15 years ago, I took a tarot class from a woman that is here locally. Her name is Kim Way. I did it mostly because—I think—I was a little skeptic. Also, a friend of mine wanted to go [to the class] but she didn’t want to go alone. The first time I went, I was like, “Hmmm … I don’t know about this.” But I kept going back; my friend didn’t. Then Kim and I became very good friends and the rest is history.
So Kim is like a mentor for you?
She is absolutely a mentor.
How did you know that reading tarot cards was something that you had a gift for?
I suspected it, but Kim kind of clarified that for me. She made me read other people’s cards that I didn’t know, but that had known her or taken her class. Based on that feedback, I thought, “Maybe this is something I do need to do.”
Can anyone give readings?
So it’s just a matter of learning the cards and what they mean?
No. I mean, actually you can do that and probably give a really good reading. If you read a book, you could say, “This means this and that means that.” Everyone is intuitive and I think everyone is a psychic; it’s just a matter of closing everything out and getting in touch with it.
I think anyone can read tarot cards. The problem is that most people are so preoccupied with outside stuff that they don’t listen. It’s kind of like, you know, what your gut tells you. It says, “Don’t go there or don’t do that,” and then you go there or do that. Then you’re like, “Why did I do that when I knew I shouldn’t have?”
How many years have you been giving readings?
Um … tarot card readings? Probably for 12 years. But photograph readings, [I’ve given them] for as long as I can remember.
What is a photograph reading?
Looking at a photograph and picking up on energy.
OK. Yeah, I wanted to talk about sensing energy. Do you see colorful auras around people?
Sometimes. There is atmospheric energy and there is imprinted energy, stuff that is so powerful that it is an imprint and it is not coming from spirit.
Do different colors mean different things?
Yes, different colors have different meanings.
Has there ever been a time when someone has gone mad by what you have told them?
No, and that is because I’ve been lucky. I don’t give gloom and doom for one thing. If somebody wants to know something and they are supposed to receive the message they will. Shoving something negative down somebody’s throat that is negative … I think some people do that, I mean, I’ve heard about people giving those kinds of readings. I can’t imagine why … it just blows me away. It’s not about gloom and doom.
What condolences can you offer skeptics or people who may think you make these readings up? I mean, you mentioned you were once a skeptic. What moment changed that for you?
I think personal experience; it was my up bringing, coming from a very devout religious … there’s not that much of a difference in thinking tarot cards or mediumship works and believing in a “there after.” You still believe there is something more. It’s an easy line to blur.
So if someone isn’t open to a reading, it probably isn’t even worth taking the time to read their cards.
No, it’s not. I’ve read people that are skeptics, and during the reading they’re like, “That’s not true. I’ve never done that. Nope, that’s not me. You’re wrong.” It’s like, OK then. Why are you even here? Why did you come here to get a reading? That happens a lot. But then, their wife or husband is standing there saying, “That’s them. That’s them.” So I think it’s all part of the road to not being a skeptic. People get their feet wet and then they grumble about it. But they are there and they are getting there feet wet. So they’re looking.
What is the most common life element people want to know about?
There’s a couple—love, money and job. It’s all about the material world; it’s all about security. Very few people want to know about where they’re going spiritually or if they’re on the right road with their spiritual beliefs, whether it is traditional or not. They want to know about love and is he cheating on me? Is he seeing somebody else? Is he lying? Am I going to get a promotion? Am I going to get a job with more money? It’s mundane stuff.
Do you ever become emotionally attached to your clients?
No, because I don’t remember the readings. And a lot of the time if someone comes back I don’t remember because at that particular moment, I am translating what is on the cards. And when it’s done I don’t keep that. If I carried that around with me, with as many people as I read, I would be a total nut. So after I read the cards, I put them away and it’s done. Now, if they want to talk to me when I’m not looking at cards, then maybe I might remember something.
Do you dream differently than others?
I think I pay more attention than a lot of people. You know, I’m big on … I pay attention. If I keep dreaming about the same animal, that animal is going to mean something to me. I’m going to figure out why it keeps coming into my dreams.
What are your expectations from someone who wants a reading done?
That they walk away with something that they needed to know, and it might not be the thing they thought they needed to know. The person might want a reading because of love or money [questions] and it might not come up in the reading. But instead I hope they can walk away with what does come up and embrace that little bit of information.
Is it hard to make a living reading tarot cards?
Yes. [Laughs] Yes!
Do you pay taxes?
Yeah. It’s hard to make a living because it’s never a set thing. Like, today it’s raining and [the market] is done. With a conventional job, you can earn a certain amount per hour, minus taxes, plus health benefits. When you’re self employed, you have to pay taxes and insurance with no guarantees.
On average, how many will you do during the Sunday Farmer’s market?
That’s a difficult question. We’re in Florida, it’s seasonal. In October and November, I may read 40-50 people in a day. In July and August, I may read 5.
When was the last time you read your own tarot cards?
I don’t read my own tarot cards.
When was the last time you had them read?
Actually, I get them read quite often. I’d say three weeks ago. Most of my friends read tarot cards; they work at Avalon, the Dandelion and Café Tu Tu Tango. So when we get together, we read each others cards.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
Reading tarot cards. I enjoy mediumship, that’s where I’m headed.
Interview Date: August 31, 2008
* If you’d like to have your cards read by Judith, visit her at the Downtown Orlando Farmer’s Market every Sunday from 9-4p.m. You can also book her for private readings and parties at 407-314-1891 .