Oracular sass

If you’ve been reading tarot, runes, ogham, etc. for any period of time, you’re likely to have noticed the tendency for said oracles to get a bit snarky or sassy with you. 

Sometimes it comes out in the form of repeating the question, giving you obvious information that you already know, or extremely unhelpful advice. Sometimes it comes out in the form of repeated refusals to answer, gibberish, or extremely silly statements. Sometimes the oracle just says ‘you know the answer already.’ Sometimes the oracle will reply with clearly unrelated statements about questions the oracle would prefer to be answering (and in that case, it’s worth considering why the oracle thinks that answer is more important to you than the answer to the question at hand).

I find that this kind of sass usually comes out in response to questions that (whatever you believe to be behind the oracle1) doesn’t like. You can pretty frequently guess the questions that are going to get rejected, because they usually fall into some fairly clear categories. Here are a few, though this is by no means a definitive list:

  • Questions you already know the answer to, or can easily answer yourself
  • Questions that the oracle thinks aren’t worth answering
  • Questions that are none of your business
  • Questions you’ve asked before, but nothing has changed since then, and you’re just doing the reading again because you didn’t like the first answer and are fishing for a better result
  • Questions asked without sincerity
  • Questions asked in order to help the querent avoid responsibility for their actions
  • Questions that are worded in a way the oracle doesn’t like

Of course, there are exceptions to every one of these categories. You might be asking the oracle a ‘silly’ question that it wouldn’t normally deign to answer (Which pair of shoes should I wear?), but it’s a special occasion (like your wedding), and the oracle is flattered that you’d ask it for advice.

You might ask a question you know the answer to, but your motivation behind asking the question is acceptable to the oracle. For example: you might be helping a friend who needs practice reading runes, so you ask something you know the answer to in order to give immediate feedback on how the friend’s skills are developing.

Or perhaps you know you should do something, but you lack the courage to do so, and you’re seeking a bit of friendly encouragement. I wouldn’t rely on oracles for friendly encouragement though – they don’t always sugar-coat their responses, especially when they’re getting frustrated with your refusal to act on really obvious information.

Of course, it’s a two way street. We readers can become frustrated with our oracles. If you’re pretty certain you don’t know the answer to a question, and you’re just getting ‘you already know,’ it can be extremely disheartening. What is this thing that I already know, but don’t know I know? What have I missed? Why won’t you give me a hint? Time for some serious introspection. It’s important that you do the introspection here – if your oracle is refusing the question by telling you you already know the answer, it’s for a reason. It’s tempting to be lazy, but the best things in life are often things we work hard to get.

Before you ask your questions, it’s worth stopping to think whether you need to ask them at all. It might be tempting to ask your tarot cards for study tips because your grades are slipping, but it’s probably better for you to think about what you’re doing wrong yourself. You don’t need tarot cards to tell you that you’re spending too much time partying, and not enough time hitting the books. You don’t need runes to tell you that you should stop leaving assignments to the last minute. You don’t need tea leaves to tell you that you should really attend class.

If you’re pretty sure the question was worth asking, but you’re still getting rubbish answers from your oracle, I strongly recommend trying to work out why, rather than continuing to ask the same question over and over. Think about whether you’re missing something important – something that would change the way you asked the question, or that would remove the need to ask at all. If your friend asked you the question in conversation, would you pull out your ogham staves, or just give them advice based on your own experience? Is it a question that your oracle would object to? Is there a reason that your oracle wouldn’t want to answer? Can you change the question so that it’s no-longer objectionable? How badly do you need an answer to this question? Would you be unaffected if you dropped the issue and went on with your life?

Hopefully this has been helpful to you, though it has been a pretty general post. Until next time:

May the cards fall in your favour,

  1. I’m being deliberately coy here – different people have different ideas about what is giving them the messages that oracles show them. Some people I know believe their tarot cards bring them messages from their guardian angels. Some people believe it’s messages from ancestors. Some believe it’s the currents of the universe aligning to send us messages. Some believe that the cards are just a way to tap into the subconscious mind, and that there’s no divine intervention of any kind. I’m not going to tell you what to believe – you do you.

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