I don’t know about you, but the thought of Tarot reading can instill a sense of toe-curling mockery and eyeball rolling from deep within.
Memories of those fortune tellers ready and waiting for you to depart from your hard-earned dollar on the sea front in Blackpool; phone lines with X amount standard per minute charges to tell you something that you desperately want, nay need, to hear about the forlorn state of your love life; kooky, stuffy, moth-ball stinky new-age shops promising to tell all about the secrets of the caverns of your heart if you cross their palm with silver!*
Yep. I get it. I really do!
Many of you know that airy-fairy new-age thinking makes me want to vomit crystal chips all over your purple velvet walls! All love and light and healing makes me sigh in multi-coloured frustration and is the fastest way for me to bolt on my pastel “My Little Pony” rainbow unicorn out of there!
Am I being cruel here? Maybe. However, once I was a-thirsting for all this too. Looking for answers. Denying my darkness. Seeking the truth from incense-uous soft voices and angel pooping cliches wherever I could grasp!
Over the years, I was forced to my knees and found God in the dirt and mud. In the rawness of the real. And in the holy dirtiness that makes us whole-y divine. It wasn’t pretty. It never is darlings. A life that negates the shadow loses its grip. It’s unhealthy and is a one-way ticket to resentment, passive-aggressive behaviour, withheld and denied anger, and delusion-coated illusion.
Better to put your big girl brave pants on, wipe the faux tears away, and buckle-up buttercup. Better to dive straight into the sh*t and find your home here for a while. Better to embrace the cruel edges of your curled lip and your acid tongue that can revel in its cleverness, than to pretend that you’re holier than thou. You’re not. None of us are. That’s just the way it is. That is, you’re not alone in your messy, irrational, and unreasonable humanness. Now ain’t that a f*cking relief hey?!
So. Tarot. That’s where I started these musings isn’t it.
I’ve been a dabbler for a long time. I can’t even recall when Tarot lit me up in curiosity. Maybe it’s my gypsy Romanian nomadic roots. Maybe it’s the romantic sorceress within me. Or maybe it’s the love of all things Coney Island, tattoo artists, and that sweet, strange world that tilts over the edge. I like the edge. I seem to live here a lot these days.
Over this last year, I decided to say a mighty yes to learning this practice for real. I hired an amazing teacher and have been working one-to-one with her for most of this year gone. Encouraged to buy a new pack that resonated with the artist and storyteller within, I found the BoneFire Tarot and it makes my soul sing in delight.
Now, I’m not one for divining the future. F*ck that! The future is what we create as we choose and step over and over into the next moment. Endless options, fuelled by penny lust or hot sweated fear. We roll the dice and fate slips their arm into ours and skips us down a merry road. Again and again, moment by moment, we create the unfurling void before us. Love or fear. Leaning in or leaning out. Yes or No. We are the co-creators, and our destiny lies in our own alive awareness.
No, I won’t tell you your future. That would be stupid of me and highly arrogant to dispel the mystery of Spirit’s game of life!
However, Tarot can help you with what you already know.
What your intuition is burping its gutted gases at you.
What your fingers and toes itch to tell.
What your heart really holds true even if your mind wants a sword-fighting duel to the death!
We are all the storytellers of our lives.
We cast spells when we speak, write, and share the intricacies of our heart’s yearnings and desires. We are magic and wonder and all the mystery of life mixed in a semblance of cells and breath and flesh and dreaming and love and desire and human folly. We are being and becoming. We are learning and forgetting and remembering. Sometimes, often. Several times a minute!
When I pull a Tarot card, I’m pausing the turning of the world for a moment. In that exact point of time, with you here leaning over in anticipation, and me as the beholder of responsibility and respect for this strange storytelling practice, a card reveals something that is known. A Known amongst the Unknown. A Knowing within the Not-Knowing.
As with all things ritual, we create the space for a connecting into something deeper than the realm that we can see and make sense of. And yet, as we all know, so much of life does not make sense. To be honest, most of life is ridiculously perplexing, stubborn in its motive, and turning over its own cards in a trickster-led glee that often rocks and rolls us in its chaos. What a ride!
With the Tarot cards, they can act like a guide, a beacon of light, and a direction pointing in the way of wisdom. They reflect what is here, hiding in plain sight. What you don’t necessarily want to see. And what you have divined already for yourself but have been doubting your own witchcraft. Your own Authority. Your own Power!
The cards tell a story of a path, and where you are on this path. Just like the archetypes of Carl Jung or the stages along Joseph Campbell’s hero’s journey, each card represents a place for learning, reflection, growth, possibility, and truth. The symbols are universal and are no more esoteric than avoiding walking under a ladder on the high street or throwing salt over your shoulder. Counting magpies, avoiding cracks in the road, seeing white feathers as lucky, and answering the phone to a friend you literally were just thinking of.
You can call these coincidences, synchronicities, old wives’ tales, miracles, and superstitions, but we are all folded into these customs and lores, some ancient to our own religions and cultures, some gained over time from the stories we have told over and over again that create thick grooves that repeat like a record player-needle-dropping-created blueprint, old, known, worn, and trusted.
The cards won’t tell you the lottery numbers, but they can help you to clarify the step you need to take. They can support you and give you strength. They can point out the truth even if you’d rather live in denial. And they can be playful and fun, just like life itself, if we dare not to really take any of it seriously at all! Aaah the grand paradox of life. Take your life seriously as the gift that it is, and, at the same time, don’t take any of it seriously at all. Your choice darling, the decision is yours!
For me, the cards have been incredibly useful and inspiring. And using them as an aid in coaching has added a new layer to the work that I offer. As a guide to the themes of Creativity, Sexuality, and Life Force Energy, the Tarot can illuminate the way, and help to focus one’s intentions and efforts into where our story is now.
We are in the midst of our own creative process, that of our lives, and as a storyteller myself, I love to use the cards as a deeper ally to the signs, symbols, seasons, and source-ry available for the client. We can embody the archetypes shown. We can invite in the energy of the figure on the card. We can see where we are trapped in our mind or blinded by emotion. Where we are rushing ahead, or when we just need to take one step after another and keep building.
We are alchemists and potent co-creators. As we move forward in a world deigned so desperately to separate us into fear, suspicion, and disconnection, I feel so strongly that we need to come back together. To find our way to deeply and truly and madly, understand that we all have a place to play in the greater story. The one that connects us all. And Tarot, in my mind, can be a part of that if used carefully.
So, oh powerful one, why not step up, pull a chair, and turn a card over.
In raw truth, in holy wonder, in real voice, and in fierce love,
Let’s play out with the storyteller within. How about it my love?
*Who am I kidding. I absolutely love all of that sh*t!