Madame Irma and Assistant

By Allan Ritchie

For those who are part of the Aeclectic Tarot Forum, you may have stumbled upon Madame Irma’s advertisement in a thread a couple of years ago. (Here is the link to it:

Madame Irma is the reading alias for a twelve-year-old boy who took up Universal Goddess Tarot and a Victorian Flower Oracle to practice giving readings. Soon the practice was over and Madame Irma is now a professional. A proud Auntie shared the news of the advertisements put up by Madame Irma. Serving as Madame Irma's assistant she received nonstop requests for readings. These readings were done while sitting in a tent hidden from view and with a Bulgarian accent.

The story was a bright light. Since reading this story I have been captivated by it. At first, I loved the light-hearted nature of youth. Youth that is full of promise and confidence that enables and encourages a sense of self that can promise “Ask anything and you will hear everything.” As the minutes have turned into a few sleepless hours I have became jealous of Madame Irma.

This jealousy arose from a couple of things coming together at once. An author I was reading asked “Why do your read tarot for others?” and “Why do they come to us for readings?” He continued on to describe in eloquent terms the disconnection of the modern age. This is how we are the keepers of the mystery and are thought of by outsiders as being able to pierce the invisible reality of our experience. I could never have summed up so accurately the reasons that clients come to us as Madame Irma did in her poster. “Know everything about everything!”

They come to us because they need and want answers. They want answers to problems that they think that they can’t solve. They want answers for loveless relationships, lost jobs, disobedient children, sudden medical news, unsure times and foggy futures. Fighting the urge to speak for everyone, I read tarot for others because I get a thrill every time I turn a card over that holds the promise of answers. I want to be a help to others and in some way give them insight that they needed to be empowered about their own lives. Madame Irma has already figured out what her clients want and with full confidence tells them what they come to hear. Everything about Everything!

I am jealous because I want to boldly make these promises and deliver on them. The unspoken promise of Tarot is that if I spend enough time, read all the right books, get the right deck then the mystery of the universe will open up to me. Either Tarot can do this or it can't. My self-doubts only get in the way. My desire to be safe may be prudent but it also holds me back and limits me too. Madame Irma doesn't promise "100% Accurate Predictions" but "100% True Predictions." There is a refreshing idea, lay out the cards and say what you see.

Madame Irma and her Assistant have thrown down the challenge to the rest of us. I am done with doubting myself. I am through with playing it safe and holding back on what I want to say! From now on, when they come to me for a reading, I will work with Madame Irma’s promise in my ears, “Ask anything and you will hear everything!”

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