Cold Readings are something every diviner should have done at least a good dozen time before saying they’re certain divination works. Although occasionally nerve wracking, they’re necessary. What cold readings are is exactly that, reading a person on practically zero information, forcing the reading to work on its own merits instead of analyzing the person somehow and using whatever gathered as an aid.

I did them when I first started out in divination through Mystick Wicks and even the message board Fort Minor. On Mystick Wicks, there’s a subforum where you could read for others (as long as it was a free service) and on Fort Minor, I had a dream interpretation thread. Being this is the internet, it made for plenty thoroughly cold readings because all I had was a screen name to really go off of and even that can be misleading so I basically did my readings pretty blind and let the divination speak for itself. It was great because it shut out possible distractions and I had a super high success rate. Very rarely I was wrong and usually it was when I was second guessing myself or trying to scratch for clues that weren’t there.

Cold readings in person were something different because there, there are some clues and they can be super distracting. A lot can be said about a person based on their dress, mannerisms, colloquialisms, accents, race, gender and age. With a little psychology and sociology and a couple readers on intersectionality, you can pretty much guess someone’s life views and the decisions they’ll make in individual situations. Thing is, not everyone is their supposed science and culture stats and that can be a total throw off. To be honest, this is how readings are supposed to be done. Granted, it isn’t easy because everyone carries biases and those can definitely get in the way.

When I do use what info I gather, it’s to gauge how frank I’ll be. Young yuppie? Outstandingly brutally honest. Elderly and blue collar? Much nicer and don’t sugarcoat but be polite. Those are my own biases because I personally don’t care to be sensitive to overly sheltered and privileged folks but for those who had a hard but earnest life, I take it easy on them. However, this is only if nothing else gets in the way.

I remember doing a cold reading on one person at my university’s Pagan Student Union event when we paired up with House of Ruth and with this one person, I couldn’t help but get a psychic ping on a rape. This person was young and kinda scared but if I didn’t get that ping, I would have just brushed it off as another person who thinks divination is scary or condemning. The cards were definitely referring to a troubling incident that was trying to be covered up and thus filled with a lot of distracting opinions from those with ulterior motives. I do remember I did not just come out with “So, apparently you were raped real recently,” because I have more tact and kindness than that, especially for something so harrowing an ordeal. Besides we had our event out in the open where there was tons of people milling about, not the best place to talk about something so private. Instead I just read the cards as is and added that she should seek out a counselor and even a place that could give her legal and other help as well. She left and I talked to one of my friends who was already running the event, Jess, and brought up my ping. Jess told me that I was right and very glad that I handled it with kid gloves because she was apparently a little shaken since it really was recent and it was even her first time learning about the House of Ruth. I didn’t know that the person was a victim but I picked up on it though she said nothing about it – I wouldn’t be surprised if she was still at the denial/self-blaming stage, which is a tough one to get through – and despite it being a partnership event with House of Ruth, I didn’t get a ping on anything that big any other time of the day.

Not all cold readings hit the mark. Oh no, I’ve misinterpreted my divination before – everyone who has done divination long enough has. That’s what makes cold readings risky: if you’re good, you’ll be right most of the time but when you’re wrong, it really hits you. And depending on the person you’re reading for and how averse they are to divination, you could be risking your rep. Divination is not to be done simply to prove to someone it exists, it isn’t a party trick, but when you’re wrong and the person on the other side of the screen or table already sees it as one, it can be hard to deal with the response afterward because they’re full on, “I knew it was fake! Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaake! Faker.” And, boom, you look no different or no better than Miss Cleo and her fake accent. Wrong cold readings can be from a variety of reasons from being simply too tired or hungry (I actually really do not like to do divination if I haven’t eaten first for this reason. Plus, I’m really cranky when hungry) or being stressed or simply, this reading was read wrong or wrong all along. It happens.

Here, I was on Mystick Wicks doing divination for people and I remember for one reading, I used the Celtic Cross for the very first time instead of my usual spreads. I heard that it was a massively easy spread and make for simpler readings so ‘ey, why not? Welp, it was hard for me to connect with the spread because it was so different from anything that I ever used and thus I picked up absolutely nothing from it. I still had the cards in front of me so I still tried to amble together something through the cards and present them to the inquirer. I got a PM back in about a couple days later – maybe less than that – from them and man, they were not happy with what they got. There was not a single thing I was right about at all. It’s Mystick Wicks so the person isn’t a douche about it but they didn’t mask their displeasure either, which did jab me a little but did teach me that I sucked at Celtic Cross and to not ever test a new spread blind on a reading for someone else.

Cold readings, as mentioned before, can be frustrating. The first part to learning how to do them well is to unlearn looking for clues and identifying biases but the second and hardest part is learning to trust yourself and your intuition. Occasionally, some are gonna get screwed up and be flat out, wrong. That’s totally okay, no need to worry about having a perfect batting average. Instead, just focus on honing your intuition that will be needed for the readings.

Now that’s done for this week. Time to hock mah wares!

The BWshoppe has added a new marimo phone charm! This one has one of my favorite stones, rutilated quartz. For those who don’t know what a marimo is, click here. For those who would like to buy a marimo phone charm with either amethyst or rutilated quartz at the bottom, click here.