Metaphor as a Guide

Imagine chickens under a dove wing’s shadow and then a hawk wing’s shadow. How is their response different? How do humans respond similarly to symbols and how do they play on our instincts?

Through years of reading tarot, I have learned that stories and archetypes give us the objectivity to hear our own story with less anxiety and assumption. We can take a parable or a symbol on the chin easier than a direct communication. The art of adapting yourself into new patterns is easier to do through metaphor, since our subconscious reads beneath the obvious messages, to absorb and reflect on the subtle nudges that lead to true inner evolution.

The subconscious is where our actions derive from, and it is not a verbal communicator. If we want to stop eating the cupcakes, we must first dissolve the impulse to eat it. Telling yourself to stop has proven unhelpful to many. This urge sources from deep within our psyches, where language there is more mythic than logical. It seems that our subconscious shifts most easily via storytelling of dreams and visions.

Any essential life story can be told purely visually, as silent films and shadow plays and dance performances and animation show us. Story and symbols and parable and metaphor all relate to a pre-verbal place. While we use words for telling stories and explaining symbols, imaginative comprehension works on a non-verbal level.

By describing how a snake sheds it’s skin, we access self-growth and rejuvenation. This is far more powerful than discussing the abstract concept of growth, because there is a parallel that we automatically understand on a subconscious level. Our animal relates to an animal experience, and we can move forward with that totem in our periphery. It also allows for the divine to speak to the person after the cards are closed. When a snake crosses your path on a hike two weeks after your reading on shedding your skin, you might immediately reflect on how you are coming along in your own personal growth. You can access the sign as a message to go deeper into your current release.

Tarot cards offer the myriad of life experiences and possibilities in potential stories. The original 78 relate to keystones that we all can relate to, and the combinations of two or more cards formulate infinite more circumstances. As a reader, it is important to tap into the metaphors that are visually emerging from the cards. You find the overlap of symbols in the images, and the contrary meanings that spark friction of story dynamics. This alights in your own subconscious the magnet to pull in more irrational images, and these are the intuitive substance that will most likely surprise your querent with details that you could not know without channeling through this field.

Ethics of Reading Tarot

For both students of tarot and those who want to receive readings from me, I want to share a bit about the tenements I hold dear. I believe that any quality colleagues would as well.

Confidentiality – Anyone you read for should be allowed the automatic assumption that it is a private reading, and you will not share their life’s information with anyone once the cards are closed. I have the benefit of not remembering readings very well until I open the cards again for that person. I presume this is because I am using a different part of my brain while in these liminal spaces. Nonetheless, I do not share the details of what I learned in a reading with anyone afterward. If I have a mutual friend who shares something in relation to information I have learned, I make sure that I am extra cautious to respect their privacy.

Permission to Pull Cards – It is best to ask someone for an agreement to pull cards for them. I might pull cards to know how I can interrelate or help someone without asking first, but that is still a reading for myself. I feel that it is inappropriate to find out what is happening for someone without their request or knowledge. This is especially true if someone is afraid of the cards, has a religious rule about them, or have asked you not to.

Future prophecies – Be considerate that you state things in an open fashion that let’s the person feel in control of their life, and their response to their life circumstances. The movies do a terrible job of this, please don’t mimic the scary doomsayer style in most performances.

You do not have to say everything you see. I had a friend getting married who was going through hard times with her partner right before. I saw that it was not going to get better for a while, and was going to get worse before the wedding. I felt it was not helpful information to share, so I kept it to myself. Instead, I gave her advice as to how to work with him, as I saw this in the cards as well. She’s been happily married over ten years now. A few years I told her what I had not shared, and she was grateful that I didn’t tell her, since it might have made her give up on the struggle pre-nuptials.

Ego – It can be a lot when people approach you after a reading and share what it did for them. They say, “YOU were right when YOU gave me that incredible reading.” You can let it feel good, and be grateful, but remember that you were in service with the gift to support.You were a channel for messages to come through. They made their own best choices and heard the reading to their best outcomes. You did a good job being open to hearing and speaking messages that aligned with the great mystery. Fine work.

Remember that this is a humbling art form that you are honored to be graced with the experience of sharing. That is the best place to come from, in my righteous, yet reverential, opinion.


“My first Tarot reading with Jenna was exactly what I was looking for. She was on point with her sensitive intuition to guide me on the journey with the cards, which gave me a lot of insight to the questions I had. Jenna is…

Rebecca Nova Ballard

“Jenna’s reading was insightful and helped me lead to some conclusions I have been looking for. She was able to help me piece my plans together and put my mind at ease.”

Christopher Bonnichsen

Jenna has a way with the cards.  She has read my cards multiple times.  In those readings she has foreseen incoming relationships and the purpose they hold in my life, seen and directed things I needed to do to nurture current family and friend…

Talor Lee-Stiles

Sitting with Jenna for a Tarot reading was like meeting an old friend that knows me better than I know myself. She is a truly magical being with incredible intuitive powers. I left the reading with a lightness I hadn’t felt in so long and empowered…

Genevieve Mauro