Johnny Burke: Welcome to Closer to Venus, I’m Johnny Burke and today’s guest is Nicki Ojeda,@tarotwithtatiara also known as Tatiara. She’s a tarot and past life reader.
She has over 35 years of experience, and today we will talk about the use of Tarot in healing, personal growth, and the importance of myth, symbolism, and archetypal awareness in her work. Nikki, welcome to the show.
Nikki Ojeda: Thank you for having me.
Johnny Burke: How did you get started? As a tarot reader and then a past life reader, did they both happen at once, or did one come before the other?
Nikki Ojeda: Well, that’s interesting. I always had mystical experiences as a child, including past life memories. And those tamped down pretty early on because of my family’s, rather toxic Christian background. That’s more on the back burner. Then when I was 15 years old, I started working at a little witchy herb shop and one day I just told the owner who became my mentor, I just said, “I’m into Tarot cards” and, I don’t even know why I said that.
And my mentor gifted me with the herbal Tarot deck, which had all the herbs that would be correlated Be correlated with each card. And so I learned the symbolism of herbs and tarot and essential oils, which I incorporate. in my work I learned about it all at the same time, at a pretty young age.
And it wasn’t long after that I was working at Renaissance Festivals and I started doing professional tarot reading. It took a lot longer for me to own the past life readings. I really didn’t start doing that for another 10 years. It took that time to really learn how, because I had some like-minded friends and we were doing it together, having experiences together, including a communal past life memory with like five of us. So it took some time for me to really trust myself and own that. I’m definitely beyond all that now.
Johnny Burke: So the past life memories, you had them when you were pretty young then, right?
Nikki Ojeda: Yes. The first one was when King Tut was on the cover of National Geographic, and I was with my mother in the dentist’s office and we were looking through it and I was distraught and crying. I was saying,” it’s all broken now. and that used to be red.” And she was just like patting me on the head like, okay.
And then another really strong one was when she was my sister and there was a windmill and we had like little caps and I found out later that we have Dutch ancestry, so that’s kind of interesting. Which brings up the reincarnation on ancestral lines or not.
Johnny Burke: The first one you said you were in a dentist office, and you were looking at,National Geographic. What actually was the memory?
Nikki Ojeda: Of being in Egypt.
Johnny Burke: Oh, wow. Yeah, that’s, that’s what I thought. Okay. So it seems like you had some kind of predisposition to this world of the unseen world, as a lot of us like to describe it. So looking for the Tarot and gravitating to that type of thing, it didn’t seem like it was that much of a stretch.
Nikki Ojeda: No, I feel like I came into this world this way. I feel like the family that I was in the later generations, like my brothers’ kids, Iinfluenced them.
He told me in the best way because the other influences were like a toxic brand of Christianity. Then they were like a hundred years behind the times I would say. I went to Jesus camp and I was different. I didn’t try to be different, but I just couldn’t do that. I couldn’t fall for it. I did till I was like eight or nine, to tell you the truth. Then the time came where it was-
Johnny Burke: It’s an experience for sure. I didn’t have that type of Christian upbringing, but I was born in New Jersey. Pretty much everybody went to church and went to CCD after school. I just thought it was normal. Do you also have like mediumistic type abilities?
Nikki Ojeda: Yes. I’ve had definite experiences, one of them, a friend got murdered and another one committed suicide, and they visited me.
And with the second one, my friend was there, and she said that my face became his, and I got very cold and it’s like, I felt like I was behind myself and he was in front was like he was saying goodbye. Really, it was, really sad.
When I’m doing past life readings for people, they will have some sort of relative come forward or even Tarot readings occasionally, some dead relative that they know of will come forward. I don’t try to make that happen, and I never have, but I don’t say, oh, ‘I’m a medium. We’ll talk to your ancestors. ‘
But they do come sometimes when there’s a message,
Johnny Burke: I’ve heard that more than once. Definitely. Let’s talk about the Tarot. It’s been described- this is one of my recent guest speakers, A book of ancient wisdom hidden in plain sight. Would you agree?
Nikki Ojeda: Yes, that is a beautiful description. All these legends are fascinating. Of course, they’re not proven, but the earliest decks are from the 13 hundreds and one legend I really think is cool was that the minor arcana is akin to the standard playing cards, and it was used as a game. They say that the major arcana, which is almost like a pictorial initiation journey or even like the hero’s journey- like Joseph Campbell, it’s very much an archetypal journey. And the people who were the seer or the village witch or whoever that would be had their copy of the major arcana and they would mix them with the minor arcana, and keep the other set hidden.
That’s a legend anyway, makes sense in a way, because they were out to stamp out anyone who wasn’t the status quo when it comes to anything mystical was not tolerated. We all know that.
Johnny Burke: The explanation that I got from this particular speaker was, that it was transferred into symbolism- wisdom because they didn’t want some maniacal ruler or despot to burn the books, as it were. With the tarot. There’s no main book to burn, is there? It’s a deck of cards. So I thought that was really interesting. So how old is the Tarot? I’ve heard different things about this.
I’ve heard some people say it goes back to the 17th century, but others tell me that it goes back much, much farther.
Nikki Ojeda: Well first in real life, the earliest cards are from the 13 hundreds, but there is every reason to believe that they are older. Though we can’t prove it, my intuition tells me they go back as early as the earliest mystery schools and people writing things down, but the ideas are even yet old. These are just the archetypal ideas of, initiation and learning and growing and spiritual development really for the major arcana. And then you add the might arcana, and that’s, that’s how it affects your everyday. I believe they’re just as old as they can be for us to have those ideas when someone finally puts them together.
Johnny Burke: So mediumship, past life, and Tarot readings, how are they different and how are they similar?
Nikki Ojeda: Okay, I do want to point out that, past life readings are not the same thing as past life regressions. That gets mixed up a lot with people. A past life regression, you are being put in a trance and ideally, you’ll have a reading afterward, but you’re guided in. Now I’m the one who goes in, I give the Tarot readings, I go in, I view everything, and I, have my certain consciousness keys that the life that is relevant will come up because it’s all about empowering especially with past lives. It’s all about taking a look at these unconscious patterns that are in the way. And sometimes there are things that you can’t logically connect with your life events, almost like you came in with this challenge or that difficulty or something. Sometimes it’s that clear, but either way, I have it to where the life that is relevant will show itself. that’s the difference. I’m kind of going in to look at what has caused the thing in question. And now with Tarot reading, I call it a look at your current trajectory. I don’t believe that things are set in stone. I believe there are certain things that are sort of contracted to happen, like soul contracts and stuff.
But how that happens is like a mandala of possibility. so by having this extra awareness, then the querent can have a little more insight and empowerment to make these shifts and balances, to sort of call in the right outcomes where possible, there are certain things we have to go through, but even just having the insight is empowerment. So I’m definitely all about that. And, like I said, with the mediumship, that sort of just comes with certain readings and with certain people, it doesn’t always happen,
Johnny Burke: Doesn’t always. Okay.
Nikki Ojeda: As far as talking to spirits of the dead, mediumship is concerned they come, but they aren’t always there.
Johnny Burke: Question about spirits; I’ve had this question for quite some time. Do you think that spirits, that, not the ones that just come through during a mediumship reading or Tarot reading or anything else, but spirits in general? I’ve heard people say there isn’t such thing as earthbound spirits, whereas other people, other intuitives say, yes, there definitely is. What is your take?
Nikki Ojeda: The most honest thing that I can say is that it really doesn’t matter. Because everything’s all in our brains. Yes, you can say that, but there are also forces outside of us. Two, and it’s all about dancing with this unseen realm and having a good relationship with this unseen realm. But sometimes as humans, we’ll personify certain energies and archetypes because we can’t relate to the infinite as easily. It’s like a way of filtering down the infinite sometimes, so as we work with larger energies and sometimes, it is just so obviously, a spirit because I’ll say a certain thing that lets the person know that it is them. There’s, there’s a strange example that I’ll cite.
There’s an interesting incident where I was doing a reading for someone and a person came forth and she had the message for him of ‘Periwinkle peace’ and other descriptors, he knew that it was his grandmother because she would talk about this periwinkle wallpaper or something and how peaceful it was, and he immediately knew. So there’s often little things like that. They’re not just universal. That’s one way that we get clues. And then when you’re attuned to intuition in the unseen realm, you’ll really start to be able to tell what those feel like as opposed to archetypal energy.
Johnny Burke: The archetypal energy; that’s yet another question. I think what a lot of us are trying to figure out is what is the difference between residual energy, which is like a repeating tape loop, and a spirit being that has an intelligence that actually recognizes you and takes you in and it seems like it’s living.
Nikki Ojeda: Well first some things are just always going to be a mystery, but the residual energy, it kind of always acts the same. It kind of always feels the same for the most part. it’s not as personal. It’s more just like feelings, energies, and then sometimes I think that’s what happens when you have a ghost or, or something like that it’s just like an energy signature, it’s, it’s not as personal from what I know, but I know it varies and some things will just always be a mystery, like with what the difference is. But I think that the main difference is that these other spirits that are coming to you are here to guide you.
Johnny Burke: So you do believe that we can contact spirits, we can make contact with the dead then?
Nikki Ojeda: If they’re available, yes, but I think they’re not all going to be available.
Johnny Burke: Here’s another question about the tarot. Um, I heard this actually very recently.
There is no, there are no bad cards in the tarot. Unlike some TV shows and movies depict the hangman or the fool, that seems to have a negative connotation. Is that accurate that there are no bad cards in the Tarot?
Nikki Ojeda: Well, it just depends on what you mean by that. They’re all information and opportunities. I don’t consider them as negative, in the sense sometimes it does mean that you’re going to have a challenge or going through something. probably the tower and the Ten of Swords or the two that I would consider like, okay, this is going to be something of an ordeal. But does a death card mean someone’s going to die or something like that? No. it’s like something has to come to an end. Something’s going to come to an end, and if we can find a way to let go of what needs to go, we are thus empowered. But it’s always an opportunity.
Johnny Burke: Okay, so when you’re shuffling the cards, and a lot of us are thinking, how can you really overcome the randomness of how the cards are dealt? Do you believe the cards that are shown are exactly what that person needs at that moment?
Nikki Ojeda: I think they are because, there’s a big ritual that I go through before I’m doing these, even if it’s a group of readings in a row now, will the message always be what they need? We’re all fallible and humans, and so it’s up to me to try to interpret in the most empowering way and offer practices, not just like, ‘oh yes, you do have this challenge and you’re messed up here. Good luck. Bye-bye.’ No, it’s all about offering checks and balances for the energies, and lots of times they’ll feel it, and every now and then you just get a bad reading or they’re, they’re not into it or they try to control the reading or that’s always going to happen. But it’s kind of rare.
Johnny Burke: Okay. When you draw the cards for this particular person as a psychic, are you making the interpretation based on the energy from that person, or is it coming from something else? Perhaps a spirit guide, something like that?
Nikki Ojeda: So when I do Tarot readings, I don’t call on particular spirits.
I just put things in place to where I allow myself to be that channel. There’s like a protective thing so that when one does communicate, like I tell people, just because a spirit said it doesn’t mean it’s true, but you can feel when it’s aligned and when it’s not. But I don’t even focus on spirits at all when I’m doing that.
I tune in and I’ve learned to just get out of the way and just start talking. I’m very intuitive and being able to trust that was a process too, even when I was already doing it professionally. I’m just much better now, which makes sense. And a lot of that just has to do with getting out of the way and allowing that energy to come through as purely as possible. So I don’t think I will just start talking.
Johnny Burke: Okay. Now symbolism, myth and, and archetypes are obviously very important with your work. Does that relate mostly to the Tarot, the past life readings or perhaps both?
Nikki Ojeda: It definitely relates to both and they’re everywhere. They relate to how I do personalized essential oils for people so that they can work with archetypal energies. I give them hows, and we even do personalized archetypal, one-on-one, embodiment workshops. It’s to get in there because lots of times things are in the body. By learning how to work with that, that’s a whole nother conversation. But the point is that symbolism and archetype and myth is woven into everything that I do because there’s like opening your third eye, but also you touch into your heart and the space below your belly button is where a lot of energy is too.
The archetypes are the whole gamut of human experiences and consciousness, and there’s the collective unconscious, and we use them in filmmaking and when a movie is really good, there is archetypal and mythological stuff going on.
There’s deep symbolism beyond just what you see when it’s a really good moving experience, and when that’s not there, it’s not a very good movie unless it’s just a silly little thing you enjoy. But generally speaking as humans, the more we tap into that purposefully and there’s lots of different ways to do it. I don’t believe one way is for everybody. I don’t think the Tarot will resonate with everybody.I respect how different we all are, but utilizing our own personal symbolism it’s a path. It’s exploration. It’s all about knowing thyself.
Johnny Burke: Okay for the person that doesn’t know anything about this, what exactly is an archetype? In other words, how would you explain this to a high school kid?
Nikki Ojeda: It’s like a primordial energy pattern. It’s like the first of its kind on one level, or it’s a universal cluster of meaning that we all automatically know, like mother or hero or healer or criminal, you it’s just part of our collective human experience, and then they get increasingly more complex. And then it depends on where you’re coming from. You have the psychological, I read Carl Jung at 11, and didn’t quite understand it, but it was putting me in touch with the numinous and I just kept with it. Then it came back full circle, and now I really utilized the best of his ideas and more so, the people who moved on and developed those.
Those archetypes are like the self and the inner child. And then we have saboteur and shadow, anima animus. So that’s one way. And then like back to like film tropes, those are a form of archetypes too. So, Plato called them forms. So they’re like first forms, primordial energy patterns. That’s the best way to describe it.
Johnny Burke: Okay. Speaking of primordial energy patterns, ancestral DNA, plays a part in your work as well. So what exactly is that and how do you work with it?
Nikki Ojeda: So that brings up a big thing I really have had to learn to do, and that is to be a trauma-informed counselor. Because lots of times the things that we keep coming up against in repeat readings and any healing journey is the patterns from our family and even from our society. And it creates a sort of proclivity to be a certain way no matter how much healing we’ve done. It’s like having a good relationship with, okay, I have a proclivity to get triggered by ‘x’, and working with that ancestral DNA, we can transform what we can, but we often have to have this radical self-acceptance and compassion that is an important part of the healing journey and figuring out a way, that’s another conversation of getting in there and keeping the good guidance. The ancestral and generational energy and seeing where they had trauma that they embodied. We all have these horrific backgrounds somewhere. Whether you were family was burned at the stake or whether you had holocaust or slavery or fill in the blank. So it’s just different personalized proclivities that are something that we can’t just brush aside for deep healing and deep transformation and spiritual growth. It’s just something that has to be looked at and shifted with that non-judgment of oneself.
Johnny Burke: If someone were to come to you and said, well, I’m interested in the tarot, but I’m interested in past life readings. Is that the same thing? I know you just answered this question a few moments ago, but is that the same thing as past life regression? What type of person is going to be better off having a past life reading as opposed to doing a past life regression session with a hypnotherapist??
Nikki Ojeda: If it’s not moving and if it’s causing you more pain to even look, it takes a little bit of bravery to want to look within and do that. Like I tell people, this is not a parlor trick for me. I’m really seeking to empower and help people shift these energy blocks. There are certain situations where maybe, after a couple of past life readings, it only feels worse, I would say that if someone is only being further traumatized, that perhaps they should do a regression and definitely have all the mental health support that they feel they can use for that to support themselves. Lots of times I’ll do Tarot and past life readings for people. It depends on the nature of the knowledge they’re seeking.
Johnny Burke: Would it be beneficial, speaking of which, to do the past life reading first to get some insight and then draw the cards? Or does it not necessarily matter?
Nikki Ojeda: it doesn’t necessarily matter. I will tell you though, when I do past life readings, I draw three Tarot cards. It’s my doorway in. And then I go from there. It’s just something to my initial filtering down of the infinite, and that’s how I go in. I draw three cards for them. It’s just a personal thing that I do to hone my vision, I guess you could say, and get something else out of the way -it always works.
Johnny Burke: When you draw those three cards right before the past life reading, are you working off the energy of that person? Okay, so you’re not really sending a query to the unseen world yet at that point.
Nikki Ojeda: Well, I sort of am in the beginning as I really set my intention, I really set a protective circle and an intention that everything will be in our highest good. So in that sense, I’ve already got my tendrils out there. Even if I do video readings and if I do it over the phone, energy is non-physical, but yes, I am definitely tapped into that person.
Johnny Burke: So when you do readings over the phone, I know a lot of these readings are done remotely. You do or do not have to see the person you’re talking to.
Nikki Ojeda: I rarely do it over the phone since the advent of Zoom, but I really don’t have to see them. It’s like I hear their voice and that’s just another way of getting their energy. Just the fact that we’re talking, just the fact that we are connecting.
Johnny Burke: Let’s talk a little bit about protection. You mentioned a few moments ago that before you actually engage, it sounds almost like a prayer for the highest good. Tell us a little bit about that.
Nikki Ojeda: Well, first I clear the miasma off of my consciousness. If I’ve got things going on, I leave them over there. I call my soul back from whatever’s going on, and I leave that over there, so I am here now. I am attuned with my true north highest self, and I call in my divine guides and guardians to be there even if I don’t know who they are, I just have them guard the channel. The rest is beyond words where I just sort of tap in and allow almost like the old casting of a magic circle, though I don’t necessarily do that. Like when I’m at an event and I’m doing readings, after readings, I just have my own protective energy and that strong intent.
Johnny Burke: Because not all energy is good. At least that’s what I’ve told.
Nikki Ojeda: Right, and even if it’s not malicious, it might not be beneficial or it’s also like clearing away clutter. It isn’t always like an evil spirit or something like that. In fact, that seems to be rather rare, but still happens.
Johnny Burke: It still happens. Okay. Anything else that our listeners should know about the Tarot and past life readings for that matter?
Nikki Ojeda: be willing to do the work and know that it’s always a path. And once you step on the path of self-discovery, self-inquiry, I would advise don’t step off of it, because it often looks harrowing, like one step, back two steps forward, but it’s worth it. And it’s all about learning how to accept that we are here to climb that mountain of challenges that life gives us and to retain your power. Do not become dependent on a reader. Any reader that you’re with should have testimonials and should be empowering for you to be on your own self-healing journey.
Johnny Burke: All right, good sound advice. So Nicki, thanks so much for joining us today. How do our listeners find you?
Nikki Ojeda: My website’s www tarot with tatiara.com. I have a linktree tarot with Tatiara with if you want to see everything I’m on, and that’s pretty much my handle on my socials. Just Tarot with Tatiara.