Skryclad: Clothed In Visions

Observations of the light and the dark of what is, was, and might be in the Pagan community's expansion and evolution.

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The Habit Of Truth

This particular blog is focused on divination, and on giving readings, but the idea of developing habits that support good practice can be generalized to many other situations.


I've been doing tarot readings and astrological consultations for a few decades now, and one of the first and most repeated lessons that I learned from my teachers was the importance of telling the truth, especially when it was difficult to do so. Of course, this is difficult to do at first. In part because of uncertainty in one's skills as a novice reader, and in part because very few enjoy being the bearers of bad news. Over time, it becomes a matter of habit to speak what you see with less and less concern for the reaction that it may produce. Through experience and insights, often won through painful or embarrassing errors, it becomes possible to frame the bad news in ways that are more likely to be heard. It also becomes clearer that there will be times that the information cannot be heard no matter how it is reframed. I am grateful that I developed this habit. I'm grateful that it was ingrained into me by my teachers. I was told again and again to be grateful for all the information that I received whether it be something that I categorized as good, bad, or neutral.


The habit of telling what you see when doing a reading is more than simply a matter of being an ethical reader. It also has a long-term impact upon the quality and the accuracy of the material that comes through in your readings. The intuition, images, and words that well up from deep within ourselves are mediated and synthesized by the sum of all our different parts, not just by our conscious waking selves. When you develop the habit of censoring yourself, you are also, slowly but surely, creating filters against the truth that will eventually lie outside of your conscious awareness. These filters become harder to remove. Then you have less choice over how and what you tell the querant, the person receiving the reading.


About three years ago, a woman who'd come to my shop for a number of years, for whom I had done a couple of readings, came in for an important and difficult reading. She appeared ill, and indeed she was. She reported that she had been to several doctors and that there was little doubt that she had terminal cancer. Her question was which of the treatment protocols that she had been offered would gain her the longest stretch of life. We had a brief conversation to clarify what it was that she truly wanted from the reading. She made it very clear that she was less concerned about the quality of her life as she was about its length. It was her desire to live long enough so that her daughter would be legally an adult. I'll leave out the details, but it was important that her daughter not end up in the hands of her biological father or the remaining family members for a variety of reasons.


I cleansed us and the room with saltwater and incense. I had both of us do breath work, and grounding and centering. Silently in my mind, I sang the chant that I use before doing difficult readings, and then I did my best. I did a separate reading for each of the treatment protocols, and we found the one that seemed to have the best chance for longer life. She thanked me, and we cried together. I canceled my other appointments for the day, and I took a break from doing readings for about two months. I was also taught not to give readings unless I assessed myself as being ready to be clear and balanced. I gave thanks for having adhered to the teachings that I had been given, and for having developed the habit of telling the truth. She did pass away, but she did live long enough for her daughter to legally become an adult and have control of her own affairs.


Blessedly most readings are not as momentous and emotionally difficult as the one I just described. In fact, without any statistical methodology, speaking from my gut I would say that three quarters of the readings that I've done aren't all that important in the grand scheme of things. Though I will admit, from the perspective of the querant who is emotionally invested in the questions, they are a big deal. I and others I know who do readings with some regularity, will often complain about how many readings are about money, love life concerns, and matters that could of been puzzled out with just a bit of clear thinking. Although I did not believe it when I began my training in various types of divination, the rule about treating each reading and each question the same has served me well. All the practice that came through the giving of readings of lesser consequence, developed the solidity and the habits to do well when the stakes truly are high.


What I hope you take away from this story, is that there is value in following some of the time proven guidelines that you might be taught. Also that you become what you do, and the things that you repeat the most become ingrained within you. I hope that over time you strengthen those internal structures that uphold you when the need is greatest.

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Ivo Domínguez, Jr. is a visionary, and a practitioner of a variety of esoteric disciplines who has been active in Wicca and the Pagan community since 1978. He serves as one of the Elders of the Assembly of the Sacred Wheel, a Wiccan syncretic tradition that draws inspiration from Astrology, Qabala, the Western Magickal Tradition and the folk religions of Europe. He is the author of Keys to Perception: A Practical Guide to Psychic Development, Practical Astrology for Witches and Pagans, Casting Sacred Space: The Core Of All Magickal Work; Spirit Speak: Knowing and Understanding Spirit Guides, Ancestors, Ghosts, Angels, and the Divine; Beneath the Skins with other books in the pipeline as well.


  • Linette
    Linette Wednesday, 28 January 2015

    Great article! This habit of truth is true in all areas of life, and as you say it IS a habit/practice.

    In addiction recovery the subject of dishonesty came up. In early stages of addiction we often find ourselves bending or "reframing" the truth, telling ourselves that we are doing those around us a favor by not hurting them etc. This bending moves on to become cutting, sorting, embellishing and finally doing away with truth.

    At some point in recovery many of us admit that we had reached a point where we didn't even know what truth was, or we found ourselves lying simply out of habit, when there was no need, when we didn't know why we were lying...we just were. We had lost all concept of and relationship with truth.

    Slowly and intentionally we rebuild that relationship. We open ourselves to truth, we recognize it and speak it and build a habit of truth.

    It was via that experience that I became aware of the issues of truth and honesty in other areas of my life.

    Sometimes it matters more than we it's good to assume it's pretty darn important all of the time.

  • Ivo Dominguez Jr
    Ivo Dominguez Jr Wednesday, 28 January 2015

    I am in full agreement with your observations!

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