I think something people want to ask me, but are afraid to, is this:
Melanie, if you're a Tarot reader and a writer, how do you know you're not just making up what you "see"?
I can hear it in the little pause after I tell people what I do.
Most writers will tell you they're not quite sure where their ideas come from. Others will talk about their Muse or the Divine or a dream they had. Something they won't tell you is that ideas come from almost exactly the same place that energy comes from. I say almost because when you're a writer getting an idea, the idea is yours. It's like that moment in Clash of the Titans when Perseus discovers all the gifts from the gods laid out against the statues. You get to use the idea however you want, alter it whatever way seems necessary, drop it if and when it doesn't serve you anymore. The act of writing is very much like channeling, especially in the first draft stage when you're writing just as fast as the sentences will come to you. The craft part has very little to do with channeling and more to do with experience. This is the part where you go in with a needle, a thread, and a pair of scissors and make your rough idea ready to go out visiting.
Reading for others, or even for myself, requires the same quiet of mind that writing does. But it's very much like walking into Physics class instead of English. Both are subjects I am meant to absorb with my brain, but they have a much different feel. Also, to a certain extent, when I am reading, information doesn't necessarily come to me. I go to it. I do not own it. I cannot call it. And when the reading is over, I do not get to keep it. How do I know a reading was real? Well, one, because they've come true. Two, because the energy flow feels different. But mostly because I can remember plot lines from stories that came to me twenty years ago as clearly as if they'd arrived today - they are a gift. But if a month, or sometimes even just a week passes from the time I did a reading to the time I see a person again, I usually don't remember it, or remember it very fuzzy. Often, if more than a month passes, and I do not know a person outside my reading table... I won't recognize the person. I'm sure that has something to do with grounding or what intention I'm setting and may or may not get better with time, but it has led to some awkwardness, believe me.
How do I know when the voices in my head are characters and when the voices in my head are entities? Characters live in my head. They are little pieces of me, of imagination, and of the Divine. They pay rent, so to speak. Or are at the very least still living in their mother's basement. Entities, guides, the Other, even my own, don't live in my head. Mine hover pretty close, everyone's own "peeps" stay pretty close, but they feed me, I don't feed them. If I had to "locate" them, I'd say the angel was at my back, the Sleeping Goddess was around or in my heart chakra, and Kali was hanging out around my solar plexus. And they don't "talk" so much as "indicate," something like the Ghost of Christmas Future, except I'm not so sure they point. If I have "visitors," and unless I am doing a reading, I don't entertain guests, they usually feel like a tingle against my right cheek or a whisper in my left ear. I think entities have figured out that I'm not so much about the being approached from behind, so usually they face me at one side or the other, though one notable couple did hover behind me like they were trying to look over my shoulder to see what I was doing. (They had a lot invested in the reading - it was their daughter, after all.) I can't direct entities, like I can my characters. I do not choose their form. I can't summon them any more than I can summon information - I can ask politely, but they'll come or they won't. My characters, like my plot lines, are mine. If they're not being cooperative, I can just go in their room and drag them out by their ear. I'm the landlord.
I guess the most notable difference is control. When I am writing, I am god of the microverse. My will be done. When I am reading, I am a servant of the Universe. Thy will be done.
Though, as with information from the Divine, you should always be thankful for the gift of a good plot. Gratitude is good for any situation.