Question One & Tarot Introductions
Do you remember the 30 Day Tarot Challenge? Well, I came across the challenge on another tarot blog, namely, the infamous, Tarot Thrones. It appears the original poster deleted the challenge question list, but the concept lives on. In fact, I even came across Benebell Wen’s A Tarot Meme: 30 Questions post series in my search for the complete list of questions. Her answers do not disappoint, so I highly recommend checking them out here. She also links to others who have done the same challenge, which I find a nice touch for a beginner like me to sort through. But, before you go, why not read my own answers to these challenge questions? Let’s take them one by one over occasional weekends.
Alright, here’s the first question:
What introduced you/got you involved in Tarot?
This question should be easy, but for me, it is extremely complicated. I can’t remember a specific time I was introduced to tarot. What I do remember was a love of playing cards. As a young teenager, I was fascinated by Cardistry, or card flourishing. Out of that love, I came to do a few card tricks using sleight of hand, but a career in it was certainly not in my future. However, using a lot of playing cards meant I started to receive playing cards as gifts. I went to Las Vegas as the age of sixteen, only to discover very cheap playing cards. When I went on vacation, or someone I knew went on vacation, I received a deck of playing cards from them. This is where I learned to appreciate the history of playing cards and the art of shuffling or even creating a good story.
One day though, my mom went to New Orleans. Now, I’d always wanted to go to New Orleans. A few years later, I would even get to go. But, at that point in time, my mom asked what I wanted from New Orleans. All I could think of was a tarot deck. I desperately wanted to see what tarot cards looked like. And, for some reason, I admit to thinking of tarot as a thing deeply connected to New Orleans at the time. Over the years, I’ve learned tarot has nothing to do with New Orleans, but I still like to think the deck I received has a certain energy about it. Receiving my first tarot deck changed everything for me, and yet, not much changed at the time.
To me, this is what makes the question above so difficult. They are actually two very separate questions. For years, I tried to learn tarot and failed miserably. All I knew was that something was missing in my experience. Others were just much better than I at discerning card meanings from memory. To help this, I tried to find the “perfect” deck. You know, the one that spoke to me and was just right for me. Well, I bought numerous decks and still didn’t find that special one. So, even though I continued to incorporate tarot into my meditation spaces, I didn’t yet get involved with tarot reading.
Flash forward a couple decks and years later, and I start to seek out why I believe what I do. Long story short, I have to reassess my philosophy on New Age thought. At the heart of it, somehow, was tarot. Occult Philosophy has a rich history in tarot, and so, I found myself actually studying both Occult Philosophy and Tarot. My tarot reading didn’t improve over night, but I started to notice better memory recall after studying numerical symbolism. I started to study the Kabbalah, and with it, came a new introduction of its own, Aleister Crowley. I bring up Crowley only because I have learned immensely with his Thoth Tarot. Turns out that perfect deck I was seeking was the Thoth.
Studying tarot, or truly getting involved with tarot was definitely a turning point for me. I began to see how various philosophies were connected, and thus, began to better articulate my position on issues. The study group I joined has also been great for expanding my exposure to tarot related blogs and books. I’ve learned the difference between tarot for prediction (divination) or Holistic Tarot (personal growth). That difference has helped me to actually discover what kind of tarot reader I am, or where I am more likely to get the most out of tarot. There’s certainly plenty to discover in just that area alone. I’m still discovering new things all the time about myself and tarot.
At times, I do wonder where I first heard about tarot. I know that I used to listen to Cher quite often, and some of her songs mention tarot. My dad and I used to have all kinds of paranormal related discussions, and perhaps that introduced tarot. I really don’t know anymore. I wish I did. But there will always be the realization I never thought tarot was evil or bad. People around me may have, but I felt instantly connected to the tarot. There’s just a certain symbolism to them, something that draws out aspects of yourself that encourages growth. Perhaps it’s simply that I only had myself to talk to regarding tarot. I lived in a small town, and tarot reading wasn’t really something that people talked about at all.
In any case, I’d say my involvement with tarot is quite unique. I haven’t met very many people who approach tarot from the angle of Occult Philosophy first, or to learn Occult Philosophy. If you know of an exception, leave me a link to their blog or site. I’d love to compare notes! But, I really do think that tarot intersects many aspects of our lives. I’ll never forget the time I ran into a tarot reader’s booth at a Renaissance festival, only to discover my first name on the sign! It was funny, and I’ve kept the picture all this time. Something about tarot just feels right, and I think it’ll be a long time before I’m able to put that feeling into the proper words. Until then, I’m determined to learn all I can in an effort to do so.