Blogging My Way Through Holistic Tarot
Inspirations come in many different forms… sometimes strange, strange forms. For me, this is definitely the case. I’ve wanted to start a tarot themed blog for a long time now, but every attempt just kind of lacked a certain finesse. And then, when I’d given up hope, I sat down to watch Julie & Julia. That’s when it finally occurred to me, I could do the same thing for tarot. What if I blogged my way through Holistic Tarot? The project seems crazy to me, but goals are supposed to be somewhat crazy aren’t they? Someone out there must be interested in listening to my crazy journey along the way, right? Right?
To begin, I think it is worth sharing how I got here in the first place. I’m the kind of girl that loves tarot, has always loved tarot, but didn’t know what to really do with it. Sure, I’ve been reading my cards for ten plus years, but did I really know how? Nope. This is a problem that eventually became quite obvious to me in that I wanted more. At some point, I think tarot readers desire more from their relationship to tarot. At least for me, this is what prompted a more study aspect to card reading. Suddenly, there were quite a few doors open to me, doors I didn’t know existed. For those of you wondering, it was entirely overwhelming!
After struggling a bit on my own, I eventually joined a really amazing group of tarot enthusiasts over on Facebook. I love this group immensely, and I cannot say enough about how kind and wonderful they are. To hear their opinions on tarot and see their personal journeys with the cards is truly a humbling experience for me. Suddenly, I know how much I don’t actually know about tarot. It’s a hard fact to admit, but I’m being really honest here. I don’t know as much as I thought I did, and deep down, I lack the confidence to read tarot for others. That’s one of the reasons I’m starting over, at the beginning, and I’m not looking back.
Holistic Tarot is a massive book. This is the kind of book I pass on reading because I know I can never get through it. But, thankfully, the author is a very generous person. Benebell Wen, over at her wonderful blog, which I highly recommend visiting, offers free study guides. These study guides are ideal for working through such a massive book in a more textbook-like format. To me, this couldn’t be better. Treating Holistic Tarot as a study course is ideal for giving me the incentive to work through the entire text. So, armed with a study group, binder, and tons of printouts, I’m ready to begin this journey. The thing is, I’ve already kind of started.
The study group I’m a part of has selected Holistic Tarot as one of the study options for the month. In an effort to get ready for it, I took a casual look through the Beginner’s Study Guide at Benebell Wen’s website. Besides being immediately blown away, I actually gave myself a headache eagerly diving into the material. Part of the study guide is what I would consider basic setup. Before getting into that though, there’s one area of discussion that demands comment. Holistic Tarot, admittedly, is not a history themed book, and as such, recommends other sources for a good understanding of tarot history. Interestingly, I happened to read Decker and Dummett’s book A History of the Occult Tarot prior to starting Holistic Tarot. I highly recommend reading this book, or a history themed book, at some point along your tarot study. Trust me, it adds immense value to your study of tarot reading as a whole.
Now, with a general overview of tarot history out of the way, I was free to begin my studies. There was just one problem… I needed to choose a deck. This should be an easier task for those of you truly starting fresh, but for me, I had quite a few Rider-Waite Smith decks to choose from. Some of my personal favorites are The Happy Tarot, The New Mythic Tarot, The Gilded Tarot, and The Hanson-Roberts Tarot. Ultimately though, I went with the Smith-Waite Centennial Tarot Deck In A Tin for a few reasons. First, the deck is traditional, and so, the symbols will be more traditional than other decks. Secondly, the deck is smaller than average and easier for me to shuffle. Lastly, I’ve always used this deck as my go-to Rider-Waite Smith deck. We have history.
To some, it might seem strange to talk about one deck being more favorable than any other. I understand this to a point. There are some people that allow their deck to take on strange personalities or characteristics. I don’t necessarily agree with that approach. However, for me at least, I do notice certain deck themes connect better than others. Benebell Wen discusses the role of the artist, or even the political climate in which a deck was made. These factors can play a role in how someone connects to the tarot cards given. To me, it is the same way that The Inklings are connected through their experiences of The Great War. If it is accepted for authors, why not tarot?
Do I like Arthur Edward Waite? Not really. However, that doesn’t mean I am quick to dismiss his contributions to both the occult and tarot. A.E. Waite does have some good points, and I understand his need for secrecy. Don’t get me wrong, I disagree with his decisions, but I respect his reasons. This is one of the first true opinions I’ve developed with tarot, and that’s okay. You don’t have to like A.E. Waite to enjoy tarot, but, unfortunately, you really do have understand his system. So, without rambling too long on the subject, why don’t we start getting into Holistic Tarot? Anyone else want to join me for the ride? It’ll be interesting!