Reading Challenging Clients

gypsy storefront 2Nebulous standards, no accreditation, and a complete lack of counseling skills are endemic in metaphysics. Many practitioners of palmistry have read a couple of books, taken a few classes or workshops, and hung out their shingle: Professional Palmist. Self-appointed experts sell ‘answers’ to impressionable and vulnerable people who desperately search outside of themselves for fixes for their pain and suffering. Unqualified counselors advise gullible clients about what’s going to happen to them and what they have to do next – for a buck.

The value of palmistry is that anyone can be his own best friend and bullshit detector. Our hands reflect who we are. We don’t need a palmist to observe what we value, think, and feel. We can learn about our will power, health, and relationships from our hands. We can examine our creativity, philosophy, purpose, and explore our dreams and spirituality. Hands reflect our past and present and reveal future potentials and trends.

There are many types of readers and many styles of clients. My mission as a reader is to be honest and helpful and leave people feeling hopeful. It’s not always so much what I see, but what I say and how I say it that matters in the end. Most of my clients are well on their path to self-realization. I feel fortunate to be a part of their support system. They come once or twice a year for updates and refer other clients who I’m happy to work with because they have a good idea of what to expect.

Some clients come as a result of business cards, special events, writing, speaking, and media. They often arrive with unrealistic expectations. People have different ideas of what being a reader means. I list my services with companies like thumbtack who e-market me under categories like ‘spiritual counseling’. I end up turning away about thirty clients a week who are looking for psychics, mediums, exorcists, or spell casters, but the connection also generates some very positive and fruitful leads. Some palmists and astrologers are magnets for clients who are ‘disasters waiting to happen’. There’s no quick fix for tragedy or tragic thinking. I rarely attract tragic types, but when I do, it always turns out to be a huge responsibility and a very humbling experience.

When I schedule appointments with new clients, I ask, “What do you want and expect from me?” I link them to this five page online magazine interview, which gives them a realistic view of what I do. Last week, a client showed up because of a favorable article about me that she had read online.  When I asked what she wanted on the phone, she told me that she had read the article and was curious to see what I had to say about her. I set up a time to see her. I hadn’t a clue at that time that she had placed me on a pedestal and was expecting to be transformed by my reading. She made a special trip from out of town to see me, which would make her impending disappointment worse.

earth hand printAs I examined her very practical strong hard working hands, she was glowing with anticipation. She had a square palm, short straight fingers, and clear deep lines with very few flaws. I’ve posted a similar hand to illustrate her type. The biggest difference is that her head and life line were closely tied together at their beginning. It’s much easier to know what to say first when you see features that stick out such as very long, short, or crooked fingers, or unusual qualities like odd textures, patterns, inconsistencies, coloring, or lines that are abnormal in some way.

 

I stuck my toe in the water, “You’re a healthy person.  What do you want to talk about?” She replied, “What do my hands say I want?” She wanted me to answer my own question. “I’m not a mind reader. This consultation is as much about our dialogue as it is about your symbolism. Let’s see how our conversation fits with what’s in your hands.” She responded in a tone designed to make me feel foolish for asking. “I want the same as everyone else; good health, happiness, fulfilling work, and more money.”

“So what would you like to start with?” I inquired. “What does my astrology say I should start with?” I stared at her natal chart for a moment. She was dominant in the element of earth, which confirmed that she was a practical, pragmatic, methodical, responsible, and dependable person. Most of her planets were in adaptable mutable signs, however, the extreme stiffness in her hands and fingers revealed that she was actually very fixed. Her ideas and habits were deeply entrenched. Beginnings and endings were her two greatest challenges. Transiting Saturn was on her ascendant, soon to oppose her natal Saturn in her seventh house. Symbolically, she was at the end of a five year period of interior work – hopefully, she had decided what she wanted for her future and was in the process of letting go of behaviors, relationships, and circumstances in the way of that.

“What have you let go of lately?” I asked. “Nothing.”  I wasn’t surprised. “What do you need to let go of?” “You tell me.” I felt like a dentist trying to extract and impacted tooth without a pain killer. “Are there difficult family, friends, neighbors, or colleagues creating concern for you?”  “No.” “Is there a problem with your work?” “No.”

“How can I help you?” I asked.  “What do the cards say?” Feeling exasperated, I began shuffling the tarot cards. “Do you have a question?” I asked. “No. Let’s just see what the cards have to say.” I spread them and asked her to choose ten and make a pile of them. I use the Celtic cross spread which represents the current 6 months in time.

Two of Swords, Eight of Pentacles, Tower, Eight of Wands, Nine of Swords, Devil, Four of Pentacles, Moon, Seven of Cups, and Knight of Wands. This was a challenging spread for a cooperative client.  I felt like no matter what I said, she wouldn’t really listen or she’d be contrary for the sake of contrariness. “It appears that there’s a lot more conflict and confusion than you’re acknowledging. Have you ever tried psychotherapy?” I asked. “A long time ago…” “Well, it might be a good time to go back for more.”

I decided to be totally frank. “You came to me expecting answers, but I don’t have your answers and I don’t think anyone else has them either. You need some kind of catalyst in your life to help you initiate change. Perhaps an intimate relationship would help.”  “Yes, I’d like to find someone, although men my age are all looking for younger women.”  I advised that she try this and that, but she claimed to have tried everything already. I offered encouragement that this might be a good time to find someone. The Knight of Wands (final outcome) represents Sagittarius and we had recently entered the sign.

She spoke, “I’m disappointed”. I replied, “Yes, I know. So am I. I’m not going to charge you full price for this consultation, but I am going to charge something for the work I did and the time I’ve spent.”  “Do what you have to do.”, she replied. She had a sour look on her face. I couldn’t wait until the experience was over and felt relieved when she left.

2 thoughts on “Reading Challenging Clients

  1. I have had questions like that and am lead to say, “Do you go in asking the doctor to tell you your symptoms?” I find folks like these seek out readers because they want you to confirm that they will never find what they want out of life. Those who desperately want to help people, i.e., readers, will never provide, a “good” reading. In simpler terms, they enjoy their own misery…

    • Yes. It’s a great challenge to want to help, to be constructive, to leave people feeling hopeful, and then not be able to. I once had a female client approaching middle age who came in desperation because she so badly wanted an intimate relationship. But she was a truly miserable person with a lot of anger and bitterness and in my mind would never actually find anyone. I told her that I thought she could be more attractive if she’d change her attitude and be open to possibilities. Then I told her that I believed she was going to find someone. She left feeling a little better, but deep down I felt terrible. I had lied, but hoped that the seeds I planted would sprout and become self fulfilling prophecies.

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