Tarot cards and crystal healing: Methods of self-reflection

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Essential oils and incense at House of Intuition on York Boulevard in Los Angeles on September 30, 2019. Gwen Berghof/The Occidental

Crystal healing and tarot cards have been used for centuries as methods of healing and self-reflection. In Highland Park and on Occidental’s campus, members of the community share their experiences with these methods of self-care.

“Spirituality can be in so many different forms,” Mary Craggs (junior) said. “There’s so many levels to it, and I think that any part of being more spiritual, being more mindful, you can embrace that. And I’m trying to do that.”

Mehwish Amir (first year), who practices tarot, conducts readings out of her dorm room, offering fellow residents the opportunity to find clarity or learn about their future. According to Amir, people use tarot cards to help see situations from a different perspective or find a direction to go in.

“A lot of people that come to me, they just leave happier because of the broader outlook on things,” Amir said. “All tarot really does is tell you a potential outcome of how things could happen, or your present state of mind. It’s not really anything that’s set in stone — you can always change your future.”

Nina Diaz, store manager at House of Intuition on York Boulevard, talked about her personal experience with reading the tarot for herself and friends. House of Intuition provides tools for spiritual practices, such as crystals, and also offers guidebooks on a variety of topics from tarot reading to astrology and magic candles.

“It [tarot] gives so much clarity,” Diaz said. “It helps you dig deeper into your subconscious, and the more you’re able to understand yourself, I think it’s easier to connect with others.”

Professional tarot readers, like Mike Hernandez, use tarot to offer guidance to others. Hernandez, a professional tarot reader of over 10 years who hosted readings at Dual Crossroads on Mission St., South Pasadena, discussed how he became a tarot reader. Hernandez said he heard an insistent voice of the Spirit in his ear, telling him that he needed to start practicing tarot, which led him to take a basic class and began his career as a tarot reader.

“Some people are afraid to get readings because the tarot doesn’t lie,” Hernandez said. “So they’re afraid they’re going to be faced with things they don’t want to talk about right now.”

According to Hernandez, his late grandmother possessed the gift of reading tarot, a gift he says he received many years after her passing.

“It [the gift] just came. It’s just one day, I got up, and boom, it was there. Nothing you can do about it,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez said that tarot is a language. He emphasized the importance of learning the basic meanings of the cards and said that interpretation happens in the moment of the reading.

A crystal display at House of Intuition on York Boulevard in Los Angeles on Sept. 30, 2019. Gwen Berghof/The Occidental

Many shops that sell crystals and tarot cards describe themselves as “metaphysical” because tarot and crystal tap into a broader, less physical experience of healing and clarity, with a focus on mindfulness and reflection. According to Miriam-Webster dictionary, metaphysics is the philosophical study of the “fundamental nature of reality.”

While tarot cards are useful for clarity, crystals are for healing. Craggs uses crystals as reminders of her goals, specifically goals to be positive and happy.

“I’m trying to insert little bits of more positivity in my life,” Craggs said. “Seeing my crystal and being like, ‘Oh, this is to remind me to be excited and remember the good things.’”

Craggs said her favorite crystal is rose quartz, which is associated with unconditional love, peace, and contentedness.

“I really love rose quartz because it’s just universal love, and I think that’s so powerful,” Craggs said.

Essential oils at House of Intuition on York Boulevard in Los Angeles on September 30, 2019. Gwen Berghof/The Occidental

Diaz has worked closely with crystals at House of Intuition for a year. She said when using crystal healing, meditation is a key element to unlocking the chakra and focus on expelling negative energy. Different colors of crystals correspond to the seven chakras, which are the main energy points in the body.

“Meditation can be as simple as just focusing on your breath for 30 seconds, and holding that crystal, focusing on that chakra,” Diaz said. “[It’s] believing that your energy plus what this crystal can bring will bring some sort of balance to you.”

Diaz said that anyone can start using crystals as a method of healing and centering. As crystal users get started, they may feel overwhelmed by the plethora of information available, according to Diaz.

“Don’t be so hard on yourself as you’re figuring it out,” Diaz says. “There’s always room for progress in it. Even people that say, ‘Oh, I reached this level,’ there’s still so much more to learn because the universe has so much in it.”