Paul Jacek has been an empathic Tarot reader at Liberate for 5 years now. A mainstay at both locations, he’s accrued his fair share of wisdom over the years. We sat down to talk about his journey with the Tarot and what he’s learned so far. Dealing with issues of health, relationships and finance, a reading with Paul will (with humor!) show you ways that you might be holding yourself back and also offer you possibilities and techniques to move you toward your greater good.
How did you come to reading Tarot, and what’s your
journey been like on this path to becoming a
Well, I was raised in the Episcopal Church, so I had a
sense of the sacred. I liked being with a group of
people and I liked a lot of the stories. I got a little
confused, well, reprimanded actually, for asking in
Sunday School, “If God is everywhere present and
knows everything, and you’re telling me the story about the Garden of Eden, and God enters the Garden and goes, ‘Oh, Adam! Adam where are you?’ and he doesn’t know where he is? That’s not holding together very well!” And I was told not to ask questions any longer. And it was enough for me to know. And so, I think that’s what sparked my going, “Well, I don’t know if that’s true.”
In high school, a friend of mine Vicky, brought a pack of Tarot cards to study hall and we had a little book and I was probably about fourteen or fifteen. And we thought we were very, very goth and very exciting, and we did readings for each other and got all mystical about it. I was so drawn to the imagery and to the idea that there was information. That you didn’t just have to hurdle into the future without any guidance. And so, I did it off and on when I was in college. I spent an awful lot of time studying, and when wasn’t studying I would pull my cards. To this day I’m not really good about reading for myself. Somebody said that’s wise because dentists shouldn’t work on themselves either. As a Tarot reader, I do default to some of the wonderful practitioners I work with.
I remember going to a psychic fair and somebody was asking about Tarot, and I said “Well I can do that.” And they said “Well we had a reader that’s sick.” I’m thinking, “Am I making this up?” And what I found was there’s this interesting moment of sitting with someone, and I had some knowledge, but it was more interesting after someone else had arranged the cards. So then I started reading fairly professionally and doing it for friends. Then in the late-1980’s I started reading professionally and had clients, and then I worked on two psychic hotlines. I worked for Jackie Stallone, Sylvester Stallone’s mother on Jackie Stallone’s Psychic Circle.
Whoa! That’s so interesting.
Psychic hotlines have their place because there were people who, honest to goodness, needed help. I frequently say that people who come to us, they’ve worn out their best friend, their husband doesn’t want to talk about it anymore, their therapist is like, ugh. So we’re kind of the last house on the left. I take great respect and pride in the work that we do. Within that, then I started working professionally out of a wonderful bookstore in Boulder, Colorado called the Land of Laurean and I was their staff Tarot reader. And that just continued all the way, I’ve kept a private client list and I will be going into my fifth year with Liberate in February.
Do you feel like Tarot is predictive—because I know people always want to know what’s going to happen—or is it more a tool for what’s unfolding and what the issues are and what may happen?
Wow, okay. What I think is interesting about it is it’s so ancient. It’s SO old. And using the Celtic cross that I do, I think of it as an anciently current GPS. Mankind has been facing the same amount of issues, except for the 405 freeway, for millennia. These symbols and these positions bring clarity. Now people will say, speaking of predictive, “How do you think this is gonna work out?” And I say, “I don’t know, what would you like to do?” Remember, ultimately it’s your choice. I kind of smile inwardly about people who are skeptical because they so want it proved to them. And there will be that moment where this either works or it doesn’t. And this one woman asked, “If I come back tomorrow do I get the same cards?” And I said, “If you come back tomorrow do you eat the same food?” Life is this swim, this energy changing. What I have noticed in 30 years of reading, especially for some of my regular clients, I have people who see me twice a month. But what I think is interesting is that out of 78 cards, I shuffle, I give it to them, they shuffle, they cut it into three piles, they choose a pile. I have watched a card move through the different positions and then out of the ten that are chosen. And that makes me respectful.
How do you feel about asking yes or no questions?
Yes or no questions I think are excellent because there’s clarity with it. I wouldn’t take the Death card as an absolute no, it could be, “Change your idea about it. Rebirth the idea.” Maybe a re-cast. Now, the three of swords is an absolute no.
Do you find yourself channeling info or is it more intuitively reading the cards for what they have to say?
I will say, now that I have been doing this nonstop for five years, my intuition and acceptance of information past the symbols I’m seeing certainly sharpened. So, I’m billed as an empathic Tarot reader, because of the energy that comes in with the room. I will start getting info, and how I know it’s not mine is I have no emotional attachment to it. It seems very woo-woo but I’ll be seeing visions of the Empire State Building and I’ll go, “Wait, were you in New York?” and they go “Yeah, we just got back last week.” It’s like lifting weights, because people go, “How did you know about your gift?” Well, I think everyone has this. If I worked out eight hours a day, I’d have an amazing body. But I do this eight hours a day, so my sensitivity is pretty keen.
What do you think of the more feared cards? Like the Tower which
no one ever wants to see; no one ever wants to see the Ten of
Swords, obviously the Three of Swords is the worst, etc, although it
is sort of a passing phase.
Well it means temporary because there’s a rainstorm behind it. This
is temporary, whatever it is. It’s for sure done, whatever’s
happening, that’s it—it’s done. The Tower is an interesting card and
it certainly means, “We are not going to be in the same place
shortly.” It is going to be taking it down. A visual image that was
given to me early on and it comes up most of the time when I get
the Tarot card, is angels with yellow hard hats going, “Oh honey. There are termites in this house. It’s bad. You’ve outgrown it. The foundation is good, so we’re gonna have to take this right on down to the bottom. Would you like a mid-century modern? Are we doing a Tudor mansion? What are we doing here?” But it really is quite a good sign in that you simply can’t live in this house. You can’t go backwards. It’s time to go forward. So, I like the clarity of the Tower. I like the clarity of Death. I like the clarity of the three of swords. The ten of swords, if you’ll notice in most card decks, is that seven of them are down the chakra system. It’s an interruption of energy, this is finished.
Should we do a mini example spread?
Let’s do it. I’m gonna have you pull three cards.
I got the Emperor, the King of Cups, and the five of swords.
This (the Emperor) can be father energy for sure, but this is also a very settled energy. So in these three cards, why I love that it started with the Emperor, is it’s also the energy of Capricorn. The curiosity of Capricorn is they have a deep need to know. So the knowledge the Emperor brings—he reminds you that nobody is making choices for you. The King of Cups—cups hold emotion, and you see all this water. Also he’s very beautiful. This is the softer aspect of desire. The King of Cups and the Emperor let me know that the emotion you’re experiencing is almost overseeing your thought. You do realize you are a creator, you do realize, as an Emperor or Empress, you are standing your ground. I love this (five of swords), this is that moment of “I’m gonna call you out at recess!” So these guys get together because they’re gonna have a sword fight, but these two are like, “This is stupid. I have to go home.” So, they drop their swords and he’s like, “I’ll see you in biology, I don’t care either.” What you thought was going to happen isn’t what happened. There’s been a change in thought. But we also see more water. So we’re seeing thought and feeling. So these three cards, if you were looking for a yes or no answer, this is a “think about it” as opposed to “feel about it.” So you can use your logic with feeling to bring back into balance. If it was about a money situation, you’re on top of it. What do you see?
Well, I’ve pulled the Emperor before to represent a guy who can be emotionally aloof because he’s trying to control everything. And then, this King of Cups could also be a person who is maybe coming in or maybe we’ve talked or who knows.
(Paul spat out another card and it’s the dreaded three of swords.)
So within this reading, let me tell you something. Quite simply, it’s not the people. You must shift your thoughts because you’re concentrating on lack of relationship as opposed to having one. “Where is he? Where is it? Why isn’t he here?” That needs to end. Because it’s there. It’s totally there (he pulls another card out and it’s the King of Wands.) It’s totally there, and the idea of making it magical. But get off “lack of.”
Yeah I’ve been trying to do that. I think I’m almost there. I’m excited about some new people. But I do wonder if people are ever gonna grow up and be direct about what they want from another person.
That’s none of your business. You can’t do anything about their constellation or their universe. Also, if you’ll notice, you defaulted to “Why can’t they do it my way?” So, in a very real instance, since we’re going to get off the idea of “lack of,” we concentrate on you just becoming the fabulous, marvelous, lovely woman that you are. And that just radiates. My grandmother used to say, “Those that look on all things with love, become lovely.” So as you become more lovely, we all become more attractive.
Very true. Any last words of wisdom about Tarot or reading for yourself or just anything you want people to know?
Well when I teach Tarot, I love to start the first class by saying, “What do you see?” And I will tell you, every time I’ve done it, they will point out something in a card that I’ve never seen. And so therefore I never come at my readings from a superior aspect, because in the Holy Instant that we’re spending this time, that the constellations have made sure we can spend time together, we both learn together. So it’s the ultimate balance of the Universe. And I love the flexibility of Tarot. It answers a lot of metaphysical questions in a very succinct way and I think it’s a wonderful tool.