019 intro to tarot

Friday, July 10, 2020

I have avoided the subject long enough. It's time to talk about one of my most favorite activities ever.

When I was little I used to play with my father's playing card dice set. It had a shaker with the same felt from casino tables in red or black. A toddler handling everyday objects will run with their imagination. I had a passion for divination long before I ever picked up the practice. It was always in the background as I was growing up. Upon arrival to my grandparents house I would be greeted by carved wooden statues. Elaborate incense holders, large bibles, saint statues, rosaries, foreign objects on the shelves I could not identify still today. Séance, espiritismo, centro de espiritista, la virgen María, etc. were all words my family members exchanged quite frequently; casually. To me, those weird and taboo subjects were not threatening or scary. They were part of my life.

To me it made sense to learn, and I did so alone. I had my family's consent to dabble, and to me that was all I needed. I got into it before it blew up on the Internet. Back then there were no helpful blogs or Youtube tutorials. All we had were books. My heart thumped violently in my chest before I freed the cards from their box for the very first time. I was overcome with emotion the first time I held them. The learning process started with Rachel Pollack's written collaboration with Dave McKean for the Vertigo Tarot booklet. The first tarot deck I ever read for somebody else with was the Voyager Tarot by Dr. James Wanless. In 2003 I had my first tarot reading done professionally, and it was carried out by La Gitana Patricia. She used a first edition of the Rohrig Tarot, a deck I came back to find had worn out so greatly that it no longer bore illustrations. They faded out beyond recognition the last time I held them. She read for thousands of people with them.

I have been reading cards for 21 years now. Whenever I say that people assume that's how old I am, or that I am in my 20s. While it is true that I picked the practice up at a very young age, I was still a precise and objective reader despite not having experienced life fully yet. The readings woven on my table made sense in feeling and in mindset, and I could often tell if the pictures were neutral or negative, and how much that negativity would influence the situation I was facing. Reading tarot from a very early age made me more observant, and I'd often look to body language or into eyes to derive meaning from my interactions much like I would from the characters in the cards I shuffle.

It has been a very long journey, and one I still hold dear as I continue to traverse. I have had enough time with my super valuable decks by now that I've rotated through all the core decks, the must-haves, the artistic out of print decks that everybody covets or even knows me from. I've used them all, regardless of rarity or price. I have worn the edges of decks that will be impossible to buy ever again. That is what they are meant for. I enjoy every moment of reading for others or myself. More on that later.

I have a moderately large collection of card decks. As of July 2020 the collection is just 14 shy of hitting 400. I'm impressed I have had the privilege of owning this many decks. There are some true gems in my collection that I am very proud of. Since this blog is a fresh start for me I have decided to blog through my old favorites as well, to pass the torch of the decks that helped define my online persona as a tarot reader all throughout the early 2Ks. Even though I have shed that name and brand, many of the people reading these posts will be some of the very same people that learned about me through my tarot reviews or through finding my collection being displayed on the internet.

Some of you won't see me the same way after I make this statement, but I confess that I don't always take my cards with me when I'm on the go! I don't have a pocket or mini deck stashed away in a tin at all times, much less one of every kind: Lenormand, playing cards, tarot cards, and a loose oracle... I respect and admire all my tarot reading friends who keep up with the practice, but when I step out into the world I make decisions without my cards. I don't have what I consider to be the upper hand to getting insight into a situation. I always wondered if I should pressure myself to do it, but I have forgotten to pack a deck so many times. It's just not intuitive for me. After working with tarot for as long as I have, it is a very sacred tool for self reflection, but it is also work. When I go out I want to distract myself from being there to hold space for others because it is a time to take life in.

A curious practice of mine is to reserve certain decks only for personal use, which I won't stain with the energy of other people. Decks I use to read just for myself. And that has given an extra layer of respect to what I do, because even though my love for tarot is something I share with everybody, I still reserve pieces of the experience for my own enjoyment and growth.

I have grown rather independent of my tarot practice as I grow older. Ten years ago I'd take a look into pretty much every social interaction of value that I had. If it was a friend, an instructor or a transaction of some kind I'd take a look and compare what was on the table with what had happened. I loved looking into peoples' impressions of how it had gone too, just to get that extra perspective... as well as to learn.

Now that I have all this experience under my belt I think I can really flex my muscle reviewing decks for specific purposes and in how to get the most out of them. And that is what I am going to do in this blog. I hope that those of you left who have enjoyed these reviews before will find new ways to look at our trusty old work tools. It's all part of the journey...

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