Awaking Me Loudly: Seduced By the Tarot

Transformation is a slow process, and challenging to describe. Best to be on the lookout for that initial spark of change, and then follow it wherever it leads you.

The Chariot: The pursuit of the Divine is a series of sublimations; a refinement of the base; lead to gold.

– March 29th, 2009

The tarot has been an initiator of change for me on many occasion. In the early months of 2009, at a moment of transition for the public voice of Weiser Books, known on Facebook and Twitter as “Ankhie,” I took over a Twitter tradition which was first called #1card, and which grew under my watch into #amtarot and #pmtarot.

The work involved tweeting a single tarot card in the morning and evening which included the hashtag, and encouraging people to respond with their own tarot interpretation. I held on to the responsibility for months before handing it over to the amazing Theresa Reed, and the tradition continues to this very day. Being the steward of #amtarot and #pmtarot allowed me to build community on the internet for the first time. I began to understand the tarot as a key to unlocking our own skills of inner knowing.

And, I fell in love with the cards.

The tweets have long since been lost in the annals of Twitter, and I’m not sure how to retrieve them. But I was smart enough to print out several pages of my interpretations, and I’ve kept them on a bookshelf alongside my decks and tarot books. Looking back on them now, I’m amazed the succinctness of the language. Tweeting a tarot interpretation is very different from the long-form explanation one might give in a face-to-face reading. You’re seeking to reduce the card down to its essence; at least, whatever essence might look like to you in that moment.

Seven of Cups: When there is no map, when no device can discern the direction in which to walk, look inward.

March 22nd, 2009

I learned something about myself through these daily interpretations, and I began to develop a deeper relationship with my spirit again. The tarot encouraged me to look inward, as well as at the world around me, with the eyes of a mystic. Rational thinking, practicality and good sense, while useful in business, had become barriers to my own sense of wonder. The tarot allowed me to return to a state of mystery.

I’m saddened that people fear the tarot. I feel like they’re missing out on something truly great. I’m not a prognosticator, nor do I believe that I have the answers to all questions. I do believe, however, that there is beauty in reaching for the answers. There is poetry in the act of interpretation; in the seeking of meaning in the abstract.

The Hanged Man (XII): That which appears to bind you may turn out to be the instrument of your freedom.

March 12th, 2009

There is no need to fear the symbolism of the tarot, any more than there is to fear the symbolism inherent in language itself. Symbols are tools, and the tarot is but a tool to open one’s self to broader thinking. Reading the cards can be an experience of deep inhalation; an expansion of the mind and the soul.

This is all on my mind right now because tomorrow I begin a new adventure: giving tarot readings at my local metaphysical bookstore. This is the first time I’ve ever opened myself up to giving readings for the public, outside of my Twitter interpretations. As with my claimed name, this endeavor is an outward expression of an ongoing inner change.

Ten of Wands: Reinvention is to the artist what tilling the soil is to the farmer; rich darkness brought into light.

March 21st, 2009

I approach my reading table with a humble heart, and look forward to the first person who walks through my door. I don’t promise answers to every question, or solutions to every problem. But, as with this blog, I will seek to engage whoever comes for a reading in a deep dialogue about the substance of our lives. I will encourage her to look inward, and to seek out the hidden narratives of her heart. I will allow the tarot to continue to be a tool for transformation, hopefully for the both of us.

I’m curious – what is your relationship to divination? Do you incorporate it into your daily practice? Are you a professional reader? Have you had positive or negative experiences with the tarot? If you’ve found your life enriched or changed by a divinatory practice, please share that in the comment section.

(And, if you’re in Englewood, Colorado on Monday afternoons, feel free to come by Isis Books and pay me a visit!)





8 responses to “Awaking Me Loudly: Seduced By the Tarot”

  1. Ian Phanes Avatar

    I am a big fan of divination–and of individuals developing real competence in divination.  I can’t count how many times I’ve responded to a post (blog, email list, etc.) with “Have you consulted a competent diviner.”

    My primary divinatory tool is a bag of about 80 stones.  Each of them have meanings to me.  You can see an outdated list of them at:
    That’s the only tool I consider myself competent enough with to read professionally.  I read at psychic fairs at a local store several times a year.

    While my primary practice is a form of Modern Pagan Witchcraft–albeit a rather non-Wiccan form–one of the things that shapes our approach to the Craft is mindful looking at ancient forms of paganism for inspiration.  This has resulted in us emphasizing sacrifice and divination, and honoring a wide range of holy powers, not just gods.  Thus, the oracle is one of our 8 tools, and we require anyone working toward 2* to master a form of divination at a substantially deeper level than knowing a set of meanings.  For us, we require that it truly be *divination*, consulting with the divine, not just “reading” a symbol-set.

  2.  Avatar

    Teo – I’m slow to respond, had a long weekend and was sick during it (boo) but this is a timely post for me because I’m renewing my interest in tarot also. As far as my experiences, I don’t know whether I believe my divinations are literal revelations of some sort or if they’re just a conscious analysis of what’s already clear to me subconsciously, but something does at times seem to move through the cards to speak to me. I see the same patterns of cards apply to the same people over and over (since I typically only read for myself, it’s usually pertaining to a small circle of friends or family) and sometimes they even seem to hold out on me or play games with me. I stupidly phrased a (should have been nuanced) question as a plain yes or no recently and pulled the six of pentacles…. which, jeez, didn’t that feel like my deck was laughing at me and saying “yes, no, maybe so.”

  3.  Avatar

    I read regular playing cards, as well as Tarot, and as you say, certain cards tend to show up for certain people, and certain patterns of cards show up as well.  I used to do it fairly regularly, but after doing readings for a couple of friends, in which the Jack of Cups and Ten of Swords came up repeatedly, and always in relation to the same person, it made me rather uncomfortable.   I decided to leave it alone for a while, and I’ve only done divination since then when my daughters were born (to see their wyrd).

  4. Cmayers930 Avatar

    I started working with Tarot about 2 months ago……initially as a way to help open up my inner self again.  30 some years of Christian doctrine and dogma had left me closed and quite frankly, sad and afraid.  Tarot has opened up a whole new perspective for me.  I read for myself at least once a day….it doesn’t have to be complicated, sometimes just one card, sometimes three.  And yes I do have cards that repeatedly show up in each reading, until I get it that is.  I think the cards are learning from me as much as I am learning from them.  And I enjoy every minute of it….I can’t tell you how much of a sense of peace I get sitting in front of my altar, completely relaxed, just me and the cards.  I’m working on reading for other people.   I find Tarot to be a wonderful way to help people  look at a question or problem from another perspective. 

  5. Dave Schneider Avatar

    Tarot cards were really made for games and not for divination. It would be a good thing if the media would tell the whole truth about them. 

  6. Sunweaver Avatar

    I just had to pop in and say that the first reading of the title got scrambled into “Seduced by the Trout.”
    I’ve long considered divination a gift. My great grandmother, a Christian woman, read playing cards and I read tarot (but haven’t in a long time). You’re reading the people as much as the cards or runes or what have you, which tells me that the gift has more to do with the reader’s ability to see than the object they use. As with any craft, the right tools in the right hands can really help the art to blossom.

  7. Themon the Bard Avatar

    Tarot was the first divination tool I ever used, and remains my favorite.

    Part of it was facing the fear you mention. Growing up Evangelical, the Tarot was of one piece with Ouija boards, Satanic black masses, and voting for a Democrat (though back in those days, it wasn’t so politically polarized.) I deliberately went out and bought a Tarot deck, intending to bust that fear.

    My very first observation of a full spread was how MANY stories the spread told. The divination consisted of spotting the ONE story that wanted to be told. That turned out to be pretty easy — it just jumped out at me. And it was uncannily on-target.

    I’ve very rarely read the cards for anyone else, but on the few occasions that I have, I’ve noticed another peculiarity. You’d think that with a random shuffle, you’d work your way through all of the cards in pretty short order. That doesn’t seem to happen: there are cards that keep turning up in my own readings, over and over. When I read for someone else, a whole new cluster of cards turns up: I invariably have to go back to the books to figure out the meanings of these cards I’ve rarely or never seen in my own readings.

    I’m personally inclined toward Jung’s observation about dreams: the only proper interpreter of a dream is the dreamer. Whether that’s literally true, it’s certainly true that the only person to whom a reading is fully relevant is the person receiving the reading. Even if you see the “true” meaning of the cards, if they aren’t ready to hear that, they won’t.

    Best of luck with your practice, and perhaps I’ll come down some day for a reading…. 🙂

    1. Teo Bishop Avatar

      Thanks for the comment, Themon, and I do hope to see you someday for a reading! 🙂

      I’ve noticed the same thing about the regularity of certain cards in my personal readings, especially if I’ve hesitated to deal with a certain issue. Once the matter is addressed, the cards tend to move along, or show up again in a different order. I’m still dumbfounded when that happens. It amazes me.