As a child, I was convinced that I had my future on lock down. My friends and I spent many a giggle ridden sleep-over using the M.A.S.H. game to plot out our future home/car/husband, etc. We never imagined any other outcome for our lives than the ones we dreamed up, and we assumed we would have it all. Then we grew up.
These days, despite our “grown up” status, my friends and I are more like wandering two-year-olds when it comes to our futures. The majority of the things we were absolutely sure of flew out the window a long time ago. I’m still waiting on the purple convertible and mansion that the M.A.S.H. game promised me years ago!
Given the hurricane of uncertainty that surrounds me, and most of the people I know and love, everyday, I was excited to hear that noted tarot card reader, Julia Gordon-Bramer, would be paying a visit to my office last week. Ever the skeptic I decided to take the opportunity to ask Julia a few questions about what she does, and the following is what I found out.
Rachael W: What got you interested in tarot card reading?
Julia Gordon-Bramer: When I was about 16 I wandered into a magic shop and saw a deck. The woman took them out and let me hold the cards. I fell in love and bought them immediately, not knowing the first thing about how to use them.
RW: At what age did you know you had a gift? Do you consider it a gift or a developed skill?
JGB: It was around that same age that I began to have premonitions. They were usually quite random and didn’t seem to have any importance at all. I remember the first one was a daydream about a crow on the side of the road with a broken wing. About ten minutes later, I saw exactly what I had seen in my mind. I have always had very fascinating lucid dreams too. I pay attention to my dreams. There is almost always information there.
JGB: Only about things where I am not too biased about regarding the outcome. If I care too much, generally I can’t be of a clear enough mind. One must remain unattached to how you think it is supposed to go. The cards can play tricks and show you what you most want, or what you most dread. This is why I don’t read those kinds of life-changing decisions for my husband or children often either.
RW: How do you relate the cards to the person you are reading? Is it a vibe, or an aura, or do you see/hear things?
JGB: Feeling is certainly a big part of it. I learned that I am what they call an “Empath,” which basically means that I emotionally connect with the person and feel what they are feeling. It’s not unusual for me to get choked up or even to cry sometimes when I read someone. I have done a few tests with close friends and clients, and it seems I have some success reading them without cards, but I do still tend to rely on the cards overall to show me the signs and symbols. My intuition takes it from there. Recently, clients have been coming to me to get help with haunted houses and bad energy in certain locations. While I am not a medium, the tarot, along with my physical and emotional feelings, seem to help me figure out what is going on and help the people to bless and cleanse the locations.
RW: What do you say to people that relate what you do to “dark arts” or to being anti-religious?
JGB: Funny you should ask. At your event the other day, a woman hurriedly gave me a Bible verse printed out, and then she ran off. She probably doesn’t realize that I quote the Bible all the time, and that I believe in living in the light. The difference with my faith, which is more Qabalistic, is that I believe God is in all of us, and we must own it. To fundamentalists, that of course is blasphemy.
When I’m accused of working with dark arts, I point out that there is no conjuring. My readings are done in public places more often than not. I think it’d be pretty hard to summon spirits or do the work of demons in the middle of a busy Bread Company or Starbucks! No, usually I don’t even have a candle burning. Tarot is closer to dream analysis than anything else. I am showing you what you already know on a higher subconscious level. I am mirroring it back to you. If you don’t like the outcome, you can change what you’re doing. No faith is required and this should not conflict with most religious faiths. I tend to quote a lot from Jesus, Buddha, and Lao Tsu, by the way.
RW: You have several decks of cards, are they all the same? What makes them different?
JGB: What you saw was just the tip of the iceberg. I have hundreds of decks. Those six I brought to your event are my favorites for clients. They are my “Go-To” decks: the Universal Waite, the Alchemical Tarot, the Hermetic Tarot, the Thoth Deck, the Dreaming Way, and the Joie de Vivre.
RW: Are other people in your family gifted?
JGB: My little sister also reads tarot cards and I have been encouraging her to pursue this professionally. I also believe that my youngest son is very psychic.
RW: Have you ever met someone and instantly had to tell them something?
JGB: I don’t think so, but I’ve heard of others having this experience.
JGB: Oh, there are so many. It is always great to learn later that I said exactly the right thing at the right time for someone. I had a girl come up to me at a big event once, and I saw all this mother love around her. I didn’t understand it at the time, but knew she just needed to know. She wrote me later and told me that her mother had just died. She had asked God to give her a sign that her mother was still with her, and then she happened to see me. To get that message was incredibly powerful and healing for her.
I have so many long-term clients who tell me they stick with me because I am nearly always right, and/or I empower them to make the changes they need to get where they want to be. It is not unusual to see people cry during their readings. I think they need to be validated. When I see what they have been thinking, and perhaps what they have been afraid to say, the tears sometimes can’t be held back. This is often even more true for men, who don’t often allow themselves to express the personal things that can come out.
RW: Does the openness or negativity of the person you are reading ever have an effect on the reading?
JGB: Openness or negativity doesn’t usually affect the quality of my reading, although it does affect a person’s general outcome and how they move through life. Tarot doesn’t require any faith to get an accurate reading—but the person does have to be open enough to follow any advice I give if they want to see a positive outcome. I have had openly hostile people before, and reading for them is awful. They are likely to find me at a party or an event where someone else has paid and so it’s not their money they are wasting. Someone like that has no interest in learning anything about themselves, and I’ll usually just ask them to leave. Drunks or people on drugs are also very hard for me to read for. It is not because I struggle, but because they tend to get over-emotional, explosive, or they forget what they’ve just asked and ask me to constantly repeat. There is a reason they call alcohol ‘spirits.’ It possesses people in all the worst ways.
RW: How could someone learn more about developing their own gift(s) if they were interested?
JGB: I’ll be doing a free workshop on this with paid admission to the Working Women’s Survival Show this February. Intuition is a somewhat personal thing, however. One size does not always fit all. I think we all need a spiritual path, and that too depends on what is comfortable for you. I think a source of scripture is valuable to meditate upon. I read the Bible, A Course In Miracles, teachings of the Buddha, the Tao Te Ching, and even books on Greek mythology, which is a gold mine for understanding basic psychology. I also read writers steeped in mysticism such as Joseph Campbell, Carl Jung, etc. I think we all need others to connect with now and then, and study groups can be helpful, in addition to traditional churches or temples. There are many ways one may practice psychic gifts: prayer and meditation, yoga, Qabalah, crystals, tarot, automatic writing, bibliomancy, astrology, Ouija, crystal ball skrying, and more. Not every one is right, and we usually just have a sense of what’s right for us through a burning interest to practice and learn it. These are all just tools we use to teach ourselves to pay attention to what the higher self already knows. I do believe that we are all children of God, just by being alive. As children of God we have great power, and we create the worlds around us based on our individual and shared beliefs. Anyone who’s been in a downward spiral is the textbook case of negative energy and how it grows. We can spiral upward too. That’s my goal, and what I try to teach my clients.
These days, my older and “wiser” self knows that I may never get that purple convertible (as heartbreaking as that may be for my inner seven year old), and the Barbie mansion of my dreams will probably never come my way. However, after talking to Julia I am starting to realize that our futures are not static, and that trusting my own intuition is possibly the best way to navigate the hurricane we call life.
For more information on Julia, visit her website here.