Before there was a system to record the history of the land, there were storytellers. Tasked with the sacred oral tradition of preserving the history and shared identity of the tribe through the recounting of lessons, stories and great battles, these keepers of such information were an integral member of the community.
As time past, the emergence of the traveling bard became an important connection for small villages and hamlets as a reliable source of information and news of the outer world. Woven in poems, stories and even song, the storyteller offered a rare night of entertainment for the locals with the chance for some coin in his pocket, or at the very least, a roof over his head for the night and a meal in his belly. As late as the 1950’s and 60’s, storytellers still travelled the rural back roads offering up a story to anyone willing to listen and hopefully pay.
Storytelling is an art form honed from years of practice and human observation. A good raconteur will have his audience enthralled and living the tale. He will use his innate skill of reading the crowd (intuition really) to determine which story will be best to tell, while using his masterful command of voice and timing, to deliver a rich experience sure to entertain.
Today, storytelling is delivered digitally through the wonderful mediums of television, movies and internet. Even books now use this electronic format. We no longer need to use our minds eye to conjure up the images put before us from the words of the bard, the modern digital storytellers now do that for us.
But storytelling is still one of the most important components of our lives. As human beings this is how we relate to one another. Stories connects us to our humanity and link us to our past while offering us possibilities for our future. Without stories, we would not understand who we are as families, as a culture, and as a species. Humans use stories to teach, to instill moral lessons, and to entertain, and while the vehicle to tell a story may have altered, the reason we tell them will never change. Stories document who we are, where we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going.
Marketers today understand the importance of a good story. No longer can a brand thrive on just having decent products. Today, to be seen through the billions of gigabytes of data consumers are exposed to everyday, a company has to have an authentic story behind their brand. We want to connect to businesses that align with our personal lifestyles and beliefs, and a company with a story that illustrates a similar perspective, has the best chance of winning our loyalty.
Even social media has jumped on the story band wagon. Look at the top of your Instagram or Facebook feed, there you will see the story section. An option for you to offer your own little story in video or slideshow format, available for only 24 hours to your loyal followers. Social media understands that video is king on the internet. With so much information inundating us every day, folks are opting to watch videos over reading text because the average human processes images 60,000 times faster than text. Essentially, video allows us to get the story much faster so we can process more and get on with our day and on to other stuff, at a faster rate.
I wanted to talk in depth about storytelling because it is an important component of what I do in life. For most of my working life I have been in the sales and service industry. In the over 40 years dealing with customers, I have honed the skills of the storyteller by learning to use little anecdotes and analogies to help a client absorb the information I may have been trying to get across to them, about a product or service that they wish to buy. It is a way to offer up a different perspective, or use another example, that the client may relate better to, and by adjusting the tempo of the experience, I create human connection while building assurance and trust in my story.
The art of storytelling has many practical applications for many different careers and so, it is at this point that I segue into the art of tarot card reading, for this has also been a skill that I have been perfecting for over a decade.
A deck of tarot cards is a story vehicle of 78 different pictures on cardboard that represent an array of situations, life lessons and common human conditions. Arranged into an infinite amount of possible combinations, the cards create a narrative for the client on past, present or future situations. No two tarot stories will ever be exact, they are an original, intimate tale meant solely for the person the cards were dealt for. As with any great story, the information gleaned from the cards, and spoken by the reader, is meant to enlighten, inform, council and yes, even entertain the querent.
A good tarot card reader is at their core a good storyteller. They are able to quickly read the client using the skill of subtle observation and a deep connection to their own intuition. They are well versed in the interpretations of the signs and symbols depicted in the pictures on the tarot cards and can weave a story so that the client can connect to the information presented to them in a way that brings clarity, insight and hopefully if needed, resolution.
Like the storytellers of old, a good tarot card reader will also have a repertoire of anecdotes and analogies available to add an entertaining component to the reading. Little added stories designed to lighten up a emotional moment, or create an example for a solution to a confusing situation. Tarot card readers also help us to understand who we are, where we are, where we’ve been, and where we’re going and in doing so, help us connect to our humanity and the world around us.
Now if what I have just told you alters your magical perception of tarot, do not despair. The reading of the tarot is an art form and like any other art form, the artist must have some technical skill along with their innate gifts in order to become a success. Let me further explain this idea in the true tradition of storytelling with a little anecdotal imagery:
Yuja Wang at Carnegie Hall
Have you ever been to a musical concert such as a piano recital or with a classical guitarist and been swept away with the performance? For that moment in time there is nothing but the beautiful sound flowing out, and into the audience. It may evoke in you emotions so strong that tears flow. Your body may involuntarily sway and move to the vibration of the melody. You watch while the musician also gets lost in the song. They are trapped in it’s spell as well; their fingers moving of their own accord with eyes closed. They too become enraptured with the melody as if they are a part of the audience enjoying the performance, and they are! Because while the instrument is the tool that makes the sounds and the musician has the knowledge and can play it masterfully, the power and beauty of the music flows from an infinite source far greater than the musician, or the instrument.
What the musician knows, and has experienced before, is that true musical magic is created when they allow their energy and skill to connect with this infinite source and then allow the music to flow through them.
All genius art is created this way. It is a collaboration. So like the musician with her instrument and masterful knowledge of music, or the painter who has his paints, canvas and finely honed techniques, and the storyteller who has his repertoire of stories and practiced oration skills, the tarot card reader has her 78 cardboard pictures full of symbols and a collection of life situations in her memory to draw from. But for all artist to create genius, the one skill they all require is the ability to connect to that infinite source far greater than any one of us. That is when true magic is created.
In that moment in time, when the connection is made, the one true storyteller has the stage. Creative flow and clarity is achieved and the artist, whether they be a musician, painter, or a tarot card reader, has the ability to work magic. And the storyteller in all of us has been gifted another story to use to connect and share with others. How can that not be magic.
Whether a drama, comedy, tragedy or romance, your life is a story. A good tarot card reader can help you comprehend which chapter you are in right now. She can use the images on the cards, her practiced skills, and her connection to the infinite power to help you gain clarity, so you can make better choices going forward. By weaving her storytelling art of tarot magic, you will have the insight to write the next page of your own life story as epic or as mundane as you wish.