By: Alyssa Curran
For the newly curious, the tarot conjures images of clairvoyant fortune tellers, crystal balls shrouded in smoke and secret ceremonies conducted by moonlight. The magic is seductive.
The history behind the practice and accompanying symbolism live up to this mystical narrative, but the realities of tarot readings today are more practical and healing in nature than bohemian folklore.
A novice to the practice, I wasn’t sure what to expect from my first tarot reading with Holly, but I was pleased to find the experience to be fulfilling. Holly guides a restorative conversation, much like a therapy session, letting the cards guide theme and dialogue. She is an empathetic listener and dynamic storyteller who facilitates natural connections between symbolism and reality. Maybe it’s the burnt sage or dimly lit space, but there’s something about the spellbinding energy that melts away walls and leads to meaningful discussion.
In this interview, I connected with Holly to talk about ways she utilizes the tarot deck as a therapeutic tool, her thoughts on the ever-growing healing community in Nashville, and why women, in particular, are drawn to these practices.
When did you first started practicing yoga, reiki and tarot and how did these practices lead to your substantial career shift?
In 2008, I was working in sales in New York. I began practicing and teaching yoga as a way to relieve stress, and that practice was the gateway into the other mystical things.
Through practicing and teaching restorative yoga, I found reiki. I noticed that I could feel my clients’ energy in my hands when I was adjusting them. At that time, I didn’t know much about reiki. In fact, if you would have told me what it was I would have been skeptical. I signed up for a reiki session, and I could tell that my body was sensitive to this type of work. It came quickly into my life because it was the most natural thing that I’ve ever done. Even the process of teaching yoga took many years – to find my voice and to feel skilled enough to stand in front of a group of people and tell them what to do. With reiki, it was something where all I had to do was get out of my own way and feel the energy grow through my hands.
I discovered tarot in a similar way to reiki. I went to a local shop in Brooklyn and booked a session with tarot reader. I felt connected to the practice and, for the purpose of personal exploration, signed up for an intensive tarot study. During that time, I was also in the process of opening a healing space in New York called Medicine Space. I started offering readings there. The more you read, the more the deck shows you. You start to see and recognize certain symbols and ways the deck speaks to you. I’ve come to learn that no one card ever has a hard and fast interpretation.
For those, like myself, who are still learning about these practices, can you briefly explain reiki?
Reiki is an energy healing treatment that works holistically on the whole body, mind and spirit. It is now being used in medical facilities throughout the US to relieve stress and pain, promote relaxation, release emotional blockages and balance our energy centers.
What about tarot? Give us the run-down.
Tarot shows you how to see situations in your life from a different perspective and can bring unprocessed emotions into light - therefore, helping you to move forward and often facilitating mental, emotional and spiritual release.
I love tarot because it is a more specific tool to work with people. When I give reiki, I do feel specific blockages in the chakras that we can talk about. When I give a tarot reading, though, it can uncover a full range of human experience and human emotion. I don’t predict the future, but through the deck, I can help you see your situation through another lens.
A growing number of women across the country are becoming drawn to healing practices like yoga, reiki, crystals and tarot. Why do you think these are resonating with women, in particular?
When I think of the time we’re in it right now, I recognize that there’s a real movement for change. There’s a universal shift happening where we’re leaving the patriarchy behind and returning to a matriarchal time. Women are standing in their personal power. These practices: yoga, reiki, even tarot, allow women to rely on natural elements, and the power within their bodies, to heal themselves rather than relying on the system.
These practices have existed for long before this and they’ll exist long after these practices are en vogue. Medicine women and witches have used basic energies, intuition, and elements found in nature to heal themselves and heal others for centuries.
How would you describe the healing movement in Nashville compared to Brooklyn, where you practiced for many years?
You can’t swing a bag in Brooklyn without hitting a witch. These practices have had a strong-hold in New York for many years now, but here in Nashville there is a budding community that is interested in the work and has a hunger to dive into it deeper. There aren’t as many resources here, but I think that’s going to change over the next few years. In fact, I’m actively trying to help foster this change.
How would you recommend that a first-timer approach a tarot reading?
Tarot can be very therapeutic. In one reading, for example, you may be able to see what is going in your love life, your career, and your relationship.Bring an open mind and don’t be afraid of it. Tarot has interesting connotations and has historically been associated with practices like fortune telling and even devil worship, but I truly believe the symbols and archetypes are familiar to everyone and they transcend religion and specific beliefs about spirituality. Bring a clear intention of what you want out of the reading. Then try to be receptive to hearing some guidance.
Holly Ramey is an intuitive healer, tarot reader and yoga instructor based in Nashville. Connect with Holly on Instagram: @HollyDRamey, and read about her service offerings by visiting her website: http://www.hollydramey.com/.