As a child I was fascinated by playing cards and would often spend time poring over them, making up stories and deciding that some were “good” cards, and some were “bad” cards. Often this proved disturbing to my mother, who although she herself was most interested in anything spiritual or other worldly, seemed to be anxious when her only child showed clear signs of dabbling in divination! She did not actually forbid me to do so, open and believing as she was, to my insistence that I saw or heard things that others could not see; but she always attempted to distract me by teaching me new versions of card games that I could play alone, like solitaire or “patience” as it was called at home.
Moving on to my early twenties, I was introduced to Tarot through what proved to be a life changing tarot reading, from a remarkable man in Glasgow, in the late 1970’s. It was not so much the details of the reading, but what I experienced before and after, that was so profound, but that will be the subject for a subsequent blog.
I bought my first tarot deck shortly after this experience, from an occult shop in South Kensington. The deck I chose was not the best for a beginner, as it was the Pointner Tarot, Piatnik Wien, and the images were not as conducive to learning as the Rider Waite may have been. I did what many others mistakenly do. I tried to read from looking up the meanings of each card from the accompanying booklet, as well as the excellent “The Tarot” by Alfred Douglas, and remember feeling frustration and disappointment, that somehow, I was locked out of something I desperately wanted to be a part of. Why on earth I hadn’t bought the Alfred Douglas Tarot deck is a mystery to me, even today!
This all happened so long ago, so remember, there was no internet, no readily available resources, forums or online discussion groups from which to learn and practice. Add to that, I was alone with my interest, in a subject that many still deemed as the “dangerous occult”. Obviously, I realise that there were of course many groups around who could have taught me so much…. but not within my circle.
I dabbled on and off with my Pointner Tarot, still feeling as though I was banging on the door, desperate to get inside, but unable to find the lock let alone the key! I also married and had my two children, so Tarot was very much left on the back burner, whilst I put my energies into raising them.
Fast forward to 2001 and the start of a painful period in my life, as my marriage disintegrated, coinciding with my son getting ready to set off to university, with his sister due to do the same two years later. I remember feeling lost, and not knowing who I was anymore, or what purpose I had in life, as the household gradually changed from a family of four to me home alone! And that’s when the door burst open. I discovered a Tarot group locally, studied profusely, reading Rachel Pollack, Mary Greer, Robert Place to name but a few. Devouring Tarot books, buying tarot decks and absorbing so much information online, especially from the wonderful Aecletic Tarot forum, which sadly is no more.
A strange thing occurred when I was writing some biographical details for my online profile for Aeclectic Tarot. I remember posting that I was back on my spiritual path with Tarot “leading” the way. To my surprise what was written was Tarot is “lighting” the way. I was so confused; I was sure that I hadn’t written that, and quickly made to change it, but then I paused and realised that this was a far better description of what Tarot means to me. Being led along a path implies not being in control; being dependant on something or someone else to get you where you need to be. “Lighting” the way speaks of someone or something helping, of casting light on what is ahead, making visible the different possibilities; but the decision on where to go lies fairly and squarely with me.
So, what do I think happened? I was shocked to see what was written. I really had no intention of using the word “lighting”, though of course that was the perfect word. Where had it come from? My higher self, my soul coming to the fore and showing me what I needed to see? I believe it was, although most would blame a computer glitch or just a coincidence, but I know that I was meant to get that message and it encapsulates what Tarot represents in my life. The cards sing to me, they lift my spirits and soothe my soul, and always they light the way.