Aligning the Stars: A Tarot Reader’s Journey to Self-Acceptance
Sasha Ling speaks to Lin Yi Xinn to learn more about being a full-time spiritual practitioner in Singapore and the journey that she has taken to discover her life’s purpose.
The founder of 7una7avenda at 462 Crawford Lane, Yi Xinn, is an aura colour and tarot card reader. Photo by Sasha Ling.
Lifestyle Section Editor
Hype Issue #54
December 23, 2021
For much of her life, Lin Yi Xinn, 35, struggled with self-acceptance issues due to one small physical flaw: She was born with an extra toe.
Although Yi Xinn received surgery before attending kindergarten to remove her extra toe, she was still unable to accept that she was born ‘different’ for many years.
“To me, I felt like I had been damaged already; I didn’t feel perfect. So when I was younger I was very lost, very hidden…Inside me, I had all this darkness and [many] insecurities, and with this fear, I didn’t know how to live,” Yi Xinn said.
Photograph of Yi Xinn as a child before her extra toe was removed by surgery. Photo courtesy of Lin Yi Xinn.
Even harmless health checks became a source of stress and anxiety for Yi Xinn during her schooling days. Her worries continued to plague her in her adult life as her insecurities caused her to end healthy relationships.
She recalled: “I didn’t dare to find a boyfriend because I’d be afraid about what the other party would think, how their parents would think, like would I give birth to a baby who would also have an extra toe?”
As humans crave acceptance, validation and love from others, they may reject parts of their personality or appearance that do not fit into society’s norms instead of embracing and living out each of their quirks and individuality.
“A lot of people struggle to accept themselves. So through tarot, they can find themselves and start to accept themselves. As they grow older, they can start to find their own voice,” she said.
Yi Xinn believes that tarot reading is a tool that people can turn to for deeper self-reflection. Photo courtesy of Gabrielle Ang.
She hopes to provide comfort and a safe space through her tarot card readings, as it is also through this medium that she has been able to reflect on her perceived flaw and eventually come to accept herself.
The tarot is a deck of 78 cards: The 22 Major Arcana cards represent life’s karmic and spiritual lessons, and the 56 Minor Arcana cards reflect the trials and tribulations that humans experience on a daily basis. Photo by Sasha Ling.
Spirituality has been proven to have some concrete benefits, such as improving our mental well-being and outlook on life. Spiritual people generally have positive relationships, high self-esteem, are optimistic, and possess a sense of purpose in life.
Gabrielle Ang, 19, had been enduring a challenging period in her life earlier this year as she dealt with various unforeseen circumstances that have affected her personal life. It was then that she decided to book a tarot reading appointment with Yi Xinn.
Reflecting on how the session with Yi Xinn has since helped her, Gabrielle said: “Over the long-term, much of what was discussed in the readings came true. It made me feel like I was doing something right in my life, and I felt happier and healthier than I had ever been in a long time.”
Gabrielle holding up a polaroid of her aura colours. “[Yi Xinn] shot a polaroid with my energetic aura, which has been described as a flame aura, and told me more about it,” Gabrielle said. Photo by Sasha Ling.
New age spiritual practices in particular have gained much traction during the global pandemic, where there has been an increased emphasis on mental well-being.
With the rising popularity of tarot card readings, healing crystals and mindfulness practices on social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram, many were prompted to seek answers through these practices in order to find some form of peace and certainty during the pandemic.
A bag of crystals, an ‘aura colours’ polaroid and a tarot deck. These are common items used in new-age spiritual practices. Photo by Sasha Ling.
Yi Xinn believes that people have varying approaches to finding peace of mind and that it is a matter of personal choice.
She said: “We are all in different realms, so just go and find your own community! I feel that at the end of the day it’s about [having] mutual respect, and we can coexist.”
“The whole world is constantly changing, so not everybody will use the ‘normal’ way to seek mental peace. Drawing oracle cards and tarot cards just became another message or another way that some people draw strength from,” Yi Xinn added.
The whole world is constantly changing, so not everybody will use the ‘normal’ way to seek mental peace. Drawing oracle cards and tarot cards just became another message or another way that some people draw strength from.
Tarot readings that appear on your TikTok For You Page are believed to be messages intended for you and are not coincidental. Screenshot taken from TikTok.
However, people have not always been this receptive towards the New Age spiritual practice.
“Our industry [has not been] very recognised since I started 10 years ago. It’s only recently that people are becoming more open to it. Back then, I’d hear things like ‘you’re a witch’ or ‘you’re crazy’,” Yi Xinn said.
Often, sceptics would schedule appointments to visit Yi Xinn’s shop with the intention to belittle her and her work as a spiritual practitioner.
“Last time, I got scared and cried. I went through so much and did so many things to protect my craft. This is my livelihood, this is my tie fan wan (iron rice bowl), but then they come here and try to be funny,” she shared.
Yi Xinn reiterates that she is here to assist genuine clients: “What I want is to connect with people who are like me, broken but yet we are still breathing.”
In a typical appointment, clients would share their personal problems with Yi Xinn and reflect on them through tarot readings.
“People come here to seek answers and seek inner peace. They want another perspective regarding the decisions that they have to make ahead of them. If they choose choice A, what’s going to happen, and if they choose choice B, what will happen?”
People come here to seek answers and seek inner peace. They want another perspective regarding the decisions that they have to make ahead of them. If they choose choice A, what’s going to happen, and if they choose choice B, what will happen?
“We talked about my career, my college decisions, my friends, my relationships, what things would be like in five years, what would happen if I moved, et cetera. It was very easy to open up and I’ve never felt uncomfortable around her,” Gabrielle said.
Just like every other job, Yi Xinn initially struggled to maintain a work-life balance. The poor boundaries set between her work and personal life negatively affected her, causing her to fall into depression and alcoholism due to the emotional baggage obtained from her clients.
“I carried everybody’s story with me… I could just drink [alcohol] bottle to bottle but because of all the darkness that I previously carried in my system, I would just tear up. I felt very sad that in this world people go through all of this, then I’ll feel like, ‘Why I cannot help them?’”
After much practice, Yi Xinn has become more adept at separating herself from her clients outside of work. She also relies on activities such as running and journalling to unwind and recharge during her free time.
“Now I know how to shut down. It’s like whatever we do in these ninety minutes, I can help you, but ultimately you have to decide on your own,” she said.
Despite these challenges, Yi Xinn still has a strong resolve to provide a safe space for people to talk about their problems, something she found she had lacked as a child.
“I was having plenty of eureka moments [during the session], and it was a nice feeling knowing that somehow, someone knew how I felt and could actually give me advice on it,” Gabrielle said.
The dim-lit space where Yi Xinn talks to her clients has soothing smells of candles and tea, with mellow piano music playing in the background. Photo by Sasha Ling.
“There is a purpose here, for me to help people who are also going through the same thing [as I did]…I feel that I exist for this, so we can support each other, ” Yi Xinn said.
“I’m not doing it because of commercial value, which is why I’m still holding on to this passion. Because I’m usually the last line of support.”
I’m not doing it because of commercial value, which is why I’m still holding on to this passion. Because I’m usually the last line of support.
The road to self-acceptance can be a lifelong journey, but knowing that we each have an intrinsic value that cannot be compared with anyone else is an affirmation that will serve us for the rest of our lives.
“I hope I can use tarot readings to inspire other people and help them realise that a lot of our flaws are just in our head,” Yi Xinn said.
Our lives may be an entirely different experience compared to Yi Xinn’s, but as we learn to embrace our perceived flaws and uniqueness, it is certain that our most authentic selves will surely emerge.