Every so often, this question comes up: is there such a thing as a tarot emergency? Most of the readers I know will tell you that there is no such thing, and that, in fact, you are better off doing a tarot reading after whatever crisis has arisen has passed, when you are calm and able to pay attention to your reading. Moreover, in a true emergency — such as a medical situation, or a legal or financial crisis, it’s very important to consult a professional who specializes in a form of service that is appropriate to the matter at hand. If you are bleeding, for example, a doctor will help you MUCH more than a tarot reader. If someone is threatening your physical safety, you may want to consider calling the police. If you are going to court, you need a lawyer. If you are anxious about your taxes, you need an accountant. Obviously. I think that’s common sense and that you all know this.
There are some occasions that are not technically emergencies, but that feel as if they are. And often a crisis that does require professional help can, later on, spiral into a series of non-emergency emotional meltdowns.
And that’s when some people start to think that maybe, they have a tarot emergency on their hands.
They don’t. What they have, actually, is an emotional crisis. And there are many things about emotional crises that are — oh, let’s say “not nice.” But, one of the things that IS nice about an emotional crisis is that emotional crises can be treated in a variety of different ways. For example, it’s possible to talk to people in one’s support network — family members, friends. It’s possible to get counseling. It’s possible to take Rescue Remedy or other flower essences. It’s possible to have a nice soothing cup of chamomile tea. It’s possible to take time for meditation. It’s possible to call a support hotline and talk to a volunteer listener. It’s possible to go to a support group.
Given that there are SO many options for handling emotional crisis, calling such a situation a “tarot emergency” is a little bit like saying that you have a pizza emergency. No, you don’t. You are just hungry and craving pizza. But you won’t starve without it! Even if you are in a hurry and don’t have the time or inclination to cook, you could still do something else. You could eat an apple, or a bowl of cereal, or make a sandwich. Unless there’s no food in the house, in which case you have a grocery emergency. But that is still not a pizza emergency!
On the other hand, though, if you are hungry, it is true that eating pizza offers a good probability of satisfying your hunger. Depending on the pizza, you might even stand a chance of getting some decent nutrients out of the deal.
Likewise, if you are in an emotional crisis, a tarot reading is an option that could help to ground and calm you so that you start to feel better. It’s not a tarot emergency, because there are SO many other things that you could also do to handle an emotional upset. But just as everyone has their favorite food, and some people’s favorite food is pizza, everyone has their favorite way to ground and come back to earth — and for some people, that favorite way is tarot. And if that’s you, that’s fine. Tarot is a perfectly acceptable go to option for times of emotional upheaval.
Unlike some readers, I am not one to think that you should never have a reading when you are upset. I actually feel that tarot readings can be a great comfort during times of emotional distress. I don’t think that you should expect the same results as you would of other readings, but then you’re not asking for the same results, are you? Hopefully not!
Here are some questions you MIGHT ask tarot during an emotional meltdown:
- What is the root of this situation?
- What do I need to know right now?
- Why am I having such a hard time with this?
- What role is this situation playing in my life at this moment?
- How can I best emotionally support myself through this difficult time?
- What other resources can I turn to for support during this time?
- How can I ground?
- How can I bring myself back into balance?
- What are some things that I need and don’t need to help me to be in balance?
- How can I best support my friend/lover/relative who is having a crisis?
- What can I learn from this situation?
Here are some questions you should NOT ask tarot during an emotional meltdown:
- Should I break up with my significant other? Is my significant other a selfish jerk? Am I a selfish jerk?
- Should I quit my job? Should I close my business?
- Should I move to Australia? (See also Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.)
- Should I loan a large sum of money to my friend or relative?
- Should I sign this contract?
- Should I do this business deal?
Do you see the difference? It’s better not to make major decisions when you are upset. It’s also better not to jump to drastic conclusions about your friends, family, and business partners when you are feeling emotionally fragile. At those times, the best focus is YOU: helping you to feel better, taking the edge off your panic, bringing you down to earth, bringing you back into a state of balance so that you begin to feel calm and grounded again. Once you’re feeling more like yourself again — that will be a better time for you to start considering any major life decisions that you may or may not feel are warranted. It’s okay to take time out first, and let the world deal with itself, while you attend to emotional first aid.