Wednesday, February 7, 2018

21 Questions for a 21st Century Divinatory Artist

I had the pleasure of meeting Yerevan Yacoubian during the Venus Transit of 2012 when I was in California. (I almost never leave Canada, so it was a very out-of-the-ordinary Venus Transit-y trip!) The Venus Transit was a Venus retrograde through Gemini in May/June 2012 when Venus was very tightly aligned with the Sun and Earth, making it visible as it traveled across the face of the Sun. 

Astrological details aside, it was a powerful time for social connections and networking, and I'm glad my colleague-friendship with Yerevan has continued. 

Yerevan and I did a readings exchange in 2016, and I received a terrific reading from her. It was wonderfully insightful and thorough. She skillfully drew together many pertinent points, and the reading helped me considerably with perspective. 

I listened to the reading again at the beginning of this year, and it was even better this time around. Good readings generally improve with age, and the reading she did for me is certainly doing that!

Yerevan's style is very interesting because she uses multiple tools to create her insightful and detailed readings. She's a multi-disciplinary reader, skilled with astrology, tarot, Kaballah, numerology, playing cards, and others. The combination of multiple modalities makes for an interesting and refreshing reading. 

You can find Yerevan's website here: Readings By Yerevan

She has also agreed to do my little 21 Questions questionnaire! What a good sport. 

21 Questions for a 21st Century Divinatory Artist 

1. How  and when did the divinatory arts first come into your life? 

I was 14 when I received a palm reading from my great-aunt Florence who lived in Hollywood and did readings for a lot of famous people. She was also an astrologer who wrote a regular column in the National Enquirer *snicker*. I had only met her once before as a young child. This time she saw my interest in the occult and greatly encouraged me to continue my studies and research. Despite her suggestion that I stick to only using playing cards for card divination, at age 15 I bought my first Tarot deck. 

2. How did you first start doing readings for people? 

I did a few little Tarot readings for school mates during high school years and then stopped. I picked up the cards again around age 20, and began an in depth study of astrology which I had actually been quite skeptical about previously. I had a lot of time on my hands, being bed-ridden due to autoimmune illness. Doing distance readings (over the phone or internet) in my early twenties eventually led to me getting a position as a reader at a metaphysical gift shop. 

3. How would you describe your particular style as a professional reader? 

Some of what I do can be likened to life coaching and counseling. A lot of what comes through in my readings is "beyond me".  When people ask "How did you know all that?" I laugh and say, "hell if I know!" I also tend to become somewhat of a comedian during readings with those who are particularly comfortable in my presence. Things get pretty animated at times because I know how tough life can be and how important laughter can be.

4. How do you think your background and the physical location in which you live colour your practice or your outlook as a professional reader?

Doing readings was never something my church-going parents encouraged me to do as a child. I never dreamt this is how I'd wind up...but I did have a scary premonition about my life at age 5. A couple of relatives and religious people had their eyes on me in a worried way in those days. They tried to warn my parents of the dangers of what I might become. They knew that my great-grandmothers on my father's side were into astrology and the occult and that such proclivities often skip a generation. Well, they were right.

Both of my parents accept and support what I do and who I am now. They got divorced when I was 7 and by the time I was a teenager, the church was becoming less of an influence in their own lives.

As for physical location, the Bay Area is a huge melting pot which has its pros and cons. It has allowed me to easily be and express who I am and what I do as a professional reader. I've gained the respect of many interesting, supportive and wonderful people, for which I am thankful. I've also been criticized, curtailed and marginalized in general ever since kindergarten. That has definitely played a part in shaping my character and stimulating my abilities.  

5. Were family members into similar practices?

My great-grandmother (great-aunt Florence's mother) who was an astrologer passed on before I was born. I've heard lots of stories about her - she was a force to be reckoned with.  As a teenager she escaped the Armenian genocide. The horrors she witnessed haunted her for the rest of her life but she was a lively character nonetheless. She practiced alternative healing before it was popular. Seems like I have a lot of her traits. Also, my great-grandmother on my mother's side did all her gardening by the moon's phases.

6. What is your favourite tarot deck? 

I go through phases of preferring certain decks over others, so it's hard to choose an absolute favourite. For the sake of simplicity I like the Rider Waite deck or slight variations thereof. So many decks are really cool to look at and fun to use but the imagery has nothing to do with the original symbolism of the cards. 

7. What is it about this deck that you like?

The Waite deck is pretty clear and to the point. It's probably the best one to use when first learning what the cards mean.

8. If you had to choose one tarot card that best represents your life, what would it be and why?

I'd have to say the Priestess.  The reason would be that my life has been devoted to occult and spiritual pursuits, often at the expense of my ego which has often isolated me to some bed, place or situation away from the crowd. In some ways I have been overly "yin" (feminine) most of my life, acutely aware of and receptive to the nuances and vibrations of things. I've been changing that overly yin thing by pumping iron at the gym several times a week.

The Priestess sits between the forces of Light and Darkness represented by the two pillars of Solomon's temple. I've often found myself slammed into situations that forced me to mediate between diametrically opposed energies . She holds a book on her lap which represents esoteric knowledge. Books have often been my best of friends.

9. What is one thing you wish more people understood about the divinatory arts or people who practice them professionally?

It's not just about "fortune telling". Divination doesn't depend upon a belief system - it's a matter of interpretation.  Many readers  have the capacity to help people work through some very serious shit and that deserves a lot more respect and credibility than readers are generally given or shown.

10. What advice would you give people who are just starting out in this field?

Have respect for the tools and the knowledge. Playing with the divinatory arts haphazardly can be like playing with fire. The more sincerity one brings to these arts the more that will be gained in the long run. Don't get obsessed by asking the same questions over and over again - that is probably the #1 self-defeating action many of us have taken in the beginning , as Tarot readers in particular: "Uh, I don't like the looks of that.  So let me pick another card..." and so on. Don't jump to conclusions, good or bad, but sit with an image awhile. The answers will become more and more clear over time as you recognize patterns and learn how to interpret them, and more importantly, how to deal with them.

11. What is your favourite meal?

I love a hearty, steaming bowl of soup with lots of medicinal herbs and flavorful spices in it. 

12. What are three of your favourite books?

Behaving As If The God In All Life Mattered by Machaelle Small Wright, The Rainbow Book by Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly P. Hall

13. What are three of your favourite films?
Fearless, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Lord of the Rings

14. What are your favourite TV shows?

I Love Lucy was my favourite sit-com as a kid and still makes me laugh. For awhile I was really into Ancient Aliens.

15. Who are three of your favourite musical artists?

Hard to answer because I love so much music and the list of favourite artists keeps growing! For now I'll say Loreena McKennit, Gary Numan, and Tool (the band). My ipod on shuffle would probably be confounding for most people...mellow grooves followed randomly by math metal or opera.

 16. What do you like to do in your spare time?

Hike in the woods or beach, play guitar, read books, listen to educational podcasts, chant, bellydance, kick-boxing, putter around in the kitchen,  gardening, arts & crafts, meditate.

17. What is one thing that you find nearly intolerable about life on Planet Earth?

There's so much that is intolerable about life on this planet, but the limitations and lack imposed upon humanity and all sentient beings by the monetary system is something that I have long found nearly intolerable.

By hidden design, we are paying for our own poison and demise. Things are set up so that we spend a lot of our hard earned money on things we don't even need or want, worse yet things that are harmful to us, then get taxed for it. The food's poisoned, the air's poisoned, the clothing is poisoned, with plastic and robots now replacing craftsmanship and people - and we are paying for all of it. Animals are imprisoned and tortured and so many of us unwittingly pay for that too. We're given medicine that will make us even sicker than before it was taken.  And we pay for it. Burial space for dead bodies is paid for royally. Unbeknownst to them, millions of people are funding their own miserable premature deaths. 

Money itself may not be the problem but how it's being used is. That being said, I won't turn money down. As long as it's necessary I will work for it, with it and let it work for me. It's part of the game here.

18. Where is your favourite place on Earth that you’ve been to so far?

Ireland! Going there in 2017 was a long-held wish come true. I intend to return someday. 

19. Where is one place you hope to travel to in the future?

Armenia to explore my heritage and some of the ancient sites in that land.

20. If you could have dinner with three other people in the divinatory arts, living or dead, whom would they be? 

My great-grandmother Anahid, Edgar Cayce (though he was more of spiritual reader), Olney Richmond.
21. What is one thing people may be surprised to learn about you?

It seems like the older I get, the more I shock people because they tend to see me as physically small and soft-spoken. Then I open my mouth or start typing out my contrary thoughts on social media (generally on my own pages). How dare I! I'm not the delicate flower I used to be which irks a few folks. At this point, some may be surprised to know that I actually care deeply about sentient beings. I have a lot of love to share with the world, but it doesn't come across that way to people who prefer political correctness over honesty.

Thank-you for your time!

Thank You, Willow, for inviting me here! You rock!


Anonymous said...

“By hidden design, We are paying for our own demise…etc...”
… Absolutely brilliant, and absolutely the bottom line truth of our western capitalistic culture. The very great majority of us are living a sleeping life. This mass somnambulism is certainly the benchmark of our 20th/21st century culture as it stands. I am always shocked that people do not question the mechanism of our culture… Therefore your statement is a proverbial breath of fresh air! To see that somebody else can so simply and eloquently reveal the mass dysfunction of our culture, this is ‘hope for the flowers’ .... I must say.
The recently late Pete Seeger sang it so beautifully… “Ticky-tacky boxes” .... we all live in Ticky-tacky boxes, competing for a few inches of land at a time. Hey! Are you aware that somehow people have actually been purchasing plots of land on the moon!?? I could have sworn that I heard this factoid a year or two ago as actual fact! - Yep, Nothing odd or broken about our western capitalistic culture... ‘Everything’s fine here, nothing to see, nothing to see’.

Willow said...

Oh, most people who read here understand what's up. But yes, it's great that Yerevan does, as well!