This week I am writing on Divination and the Tarot
Since I was a little girl I have been fascinated with divination and the Tarot. I have always had dreams of things to come and when I discovered that not everyone dreamed of future events divination became very interesting to me.
A little history: my parents divorced when I was 4 and my mother was a 23 year old, divorced mom of 2 at a time when being a divorcee was strongly frowned upon. Mom did the best she could. She worked hard and where she went, my brother and I went too. We moved almost every year for the next 10 years, fortunately for me, being a gypsy was wonderful.
My mom’s friends were unusual, odd, creative and mysterious. They were artists, musicians and authors and we often traveled to craft fairs and art shows on the weekends when my mom wasn’t working. My first experience with Tarot cards was at one of these art fairs. There was a woman giving readings. She was dressed in vibrant colors of silk, she wore bells on her scarves which caused her to jingle musically whenever she moved, she had jeweled rings on her fingers and she was not only beautiful, she was the epitome of wise and mysterious.
I was just a little bit of a thing, maybe 5, and I was fascinated with her. She handed me a deck of cards to look at while she and my mom talked. The colors and pictures just sucked me in. I was totally absorbed by the images that my little 5 year old brain couldn’t quite process. I sat looking at those cards all afternoon while they talked. I went home and for weeks I made up stories about those cards and their beautiful pictures.
Rider Waite Deck
When I was twelve I got my first deck, the Rider-Waite Tarot, along with a how to book for reading them and my love of the Tarot blossomed. Since that time I have found many different Tarot decks to use though I will always love my Rider-Waite deck.
Believed to have originated in mid 15th century Europe as a card game, the Tarot’s use as a divination tool didn’t become widely recognized until later, however, divination using a standard deck of cards is documented as early as 1540 in the book The Oracles of Francesco Marcolino da Forli.
There are many popular Tarot layouts or “Spreads” the most familiar being the Celtic Cross Spread, a 10 card layout which gives the person a fairly good look at an issue.
A Celtic Cross Spread using the Fairy Tale Tarot Deck by Lisa Hunt.
In the Celtic Cross, as in all Tarot spreads, each position in the spread means something different. Each card also has a separate meaning depending on whether it is right side up or upside down so during a reading you look at what position the card is located in the spread and also its individual meaning.
The thing about the Tarot is that in order to read it properly you really need to pay attention to what the images mean to you. The guidebooks are great, they give you the traditional meanings and help you as you learn but if the traditional meaning of a card does not ring true to you, you need to follow your instinct.
Some books to help you along:
Learning the Tarot by Joan Bunning
Tarot made Easy by Nancy Garen
Tarot: A new Handbook for the Apprentice by Eileen Connolly – this is the one that I started with.
These books are all vastly different in styles and I recommend you read as much as you can, expose yourself to different styles until you find the one that clicks for you. I pick up a lot of books on Tarot at thrift stores and used book stores. While many of them are similar in their teachings, I have always found something interesting and unique, something that helps me grow, in every Tarot book I buy.
Next week I will be writing a personal essay on dreams and divination.
If you haven’t already, check out this post and enter to win one of the lace butterfly masks I am giving away!