Tarot card readings? I think of women in flowing robes. Heaps of bracelets on their arms and rings on every finger. Giving off touchy-feely vibes in candlelit rooms and making predictions about the future I’d rather not hear.
“Not necessarily so,” says Lauren Lowe. Many people believe tarot readers, with magical powers, peer into the great unknown and advise us what to do or not do. Their actual task is to connect us, using the cards’ visuals and symbols, with our own intuitions. According to Lauren, “A good reader will get us thinking and zero in on things we, most likely, already know.”
With degrees from Northwestern University and Vanderbilt Law School, Lauren clerked for a federal judge in West Virginia. Afterwards, this bright young woman with a passion for helping others, was awarded the coveted Skadden Fellowship. Practicing public interest law, the fellowship’s focus, for the next two years, Lauren concentrated on rights and accommodations for people with disabilities.
I am guessing Lauren’s experience and smarts may have commanded big money at a fancy law firm. But that’s not Lauren. Wanting to expand and develop her expertise in other areas of discrimination, besides disabilities, she began working for the U.S. Department of Education in 2013. In the Office of Student Rights, Lauren currently investigates disability, race, and sex discrimination complaints for Chicago area university, high school, middle school, and elementary students.
The articulate young woman – who is not sporting ultra-long nails, stacks of bracelets, or a bandana – laughs when she admits “tarot reading is a huge leap from practicing law.”
Over a glass of wine in Chicago’s trendy Lincoln Park neighborhood, Lauren quietly reveals her life took an unexpected twist a few years ago. Trying to figure things out, she experienced some tough days. She talked with therapists and friends and did all the healthy things one needs to do to work through a difficult time.
Lauren was familiar with the concept of tarot – the second “t” is silent. Donning her lawyer cap and attacking Google, Lauren located a reputable reader. “I didn’t just walk into a corner shop,” laughs the young woman who favors predictability and routine. “When my reader interpreted my cards,” Lauren reflects, “we touched on things I knew, but I didn’t see. Things I actually realized, deep down, but I hadn’t allowed to surface.”
Lauren with her mom – image courtesy of Lauren Lowe
Intrigued and interested, Lauren began taking tarot reading classes and studying the art. She contacted non-profits and practiced her skills voluntarily at fundraisers. Reading for paying clients at local markets, she says she often reads for people who have aging parent issues. “Readings can be uncomfortable, and they confirm your insight is correct,” she says.
“After the client decides on a topic and subject matter,” Lauren explains, “the tarot reader serves as a translator.” Helping people decipher the symbols on the cards, Lauren guides them “toward seeing a situation through a more objective set of eyes.” Lauren and I discuss how we’ve all gone through times in our lives where we look back and wonder, How did I not see this? Because we didn’t want to. We don’t see what we don’t want to see. Tarot reading is all about being present-oriented and in the moment. Although we all have strong intuitions, we become easily disconnected from them – phones, daily rhythms of life, distractions.
Displaying the colorful 78-card deck covered with crowns and horses and fantastical imagery, Lauren tells me her clients typically pull 5-8 cards during a reading. The ominous looking Death card, which I pulled first (!), simply refers to change. Lauren will use the card’s somewhat outlandish imagery to “navigate the client to the place where they may ask themselves, “What needs to change in my life, and how can I accept it?” The 8 of Cups is all about walking away from things, whether it be a romantic relationship or a hairdresser you really don’t love. After pulling the Emperor card, I learn this represents tightening boundaries, loosening up, or letting go of control.
Realizing her life sounds a little bit like a plot for a reality tv show – Lawyer By Day, Tarot Reader By Night – I wonder if she ever imagined she’d be learning about the world of tarot. Laughing heartily, her response is “an emphatic no!”
Although she won’t be giving up her attorney paychecks any time soon, Lauren “enjoys learning about tarot and connects with it.” “You can’t control other people or scenarios,” she continues, “but you can control yourself and how you react. Tarot is a good gut check for me.” And investing in herself is a very good thing to do.
Tags: change is good, Chicago, Lauren Lowe, relationships, Tarot
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