I started reading tarot for myself and friends almost 20 years ago, but my relationship to it was often somewhat scattered and rocky. It didn’t feel enormously constructive, it could actually feel quite counterproductive, even frightening. I now understand that, for me, I was asking the wrong kinds of questions and looking for the wrong kinds of answers. Looking for predictions and advice about external matters. Not understanding that the solutions to all the riddles lie within.
I didn’t really know what questions to ask, what would be productive and supportive. I also didn’t understand enough of what was going on for me emotionally to know when my emotional state would produce confused and upside down readings.
I generally did better reading for friends, I would act as their support, and the cards would very often give clear insightful messages. But I wasn’t yet understanding what I could achieve. I felt the potential, but I didn’t actually enormously enjoy the process. I also didn’t see my own worth in the picture when giving readings to others, congruent with my not seeing my own worth in general. I would find a spread to use, have my friends lay the cards and then read them my preferred card meanings. Anyone could do that, right?
Did people just come to me because they couldn’t be bothered to buy a deck themselves, because I made them a nice cup of tea and did the work of reading for them? I didn’t notice that I was also giving them analysis and interpretation of what these card meanings meant for them. I didn’t notice that I was not just providing a cup of tea, but a safe space for self exploration. I gave myself no credit. I felt alone and unnourished on my journey.
Support of the Oracles
Three years ago, while I was living in Southern California, far far away from all the people I love, three of my super amazing soul sisters came to visit. We went on our first magical transformative road-trip into the Canyonlands of the South West. It was a particularly hot June and we were in our old van that had coolant issues. We couldn’t use the air conditioning for fear of the engine overheating on a dark desert highway. We opened the windows to get some air on the way through California’s Central Valley towards Arizona and it felt like we had our faces next to an exhaust pipe. This was an actual baptism of fire.
One friend had brought her trusty deck of Doreen Virtue’s Goddess Guidance Oracle Cards. At various points along our journey we sat together and drew cards for ourselves and for our journey. It was really powerful. The cards helped us see, honour and pay attention to the transformations working through us, what was being burned away and released on this fiery journey. We held and supported each other through all our ups and downs. Each one of us had at least one total meltdown, we all held each other and passed through them, let the intense heat and constant movement of the road release whatever came up.
We ended the road-trip on the Summer Solstice in Death Valley, arriving just in time to honour it in the furnace winds at sunset.
A while later I got my first oracle decks. The road trip had opened up my understanding of what the cards can achieve, how supportive they can be. I went looking for the Goddess deck, but was handed the Isis deck by Alana Fairchild and Natures Whispers instead. They were perfect. The Isis deck gave powerful messages and direction, uncovered what was hidden. Nature’s Whispers soothed and comforted. I started using them in combination with the Rider Waite Smith deck I had always used and that provided safety and direction in my readings for myself.
After our next road-trip two years later my friends ended up meeting one of the creators of The Moon Deck, Aarona Ganesan in LA. They gave me a signed copy as a parting gift. It is currently the only oracle deck I use and provides me with a lovely sisterly support. It is what I turn to when I want to meet my resistance to hard truths with kindness.
Finding my own way
As I read more and more for myself with the assistance and support of my oracle decks I started to understand what my tarot practice was all about. A friend introduced me to a spread simply laying a card for each chakra, a straight forward check in. I found this so helpful, to get clarity on what was going on internally.
Not asking anything about the future, not in relation to external matters, but very much focused on my internal state. I found that the awareness the cards gave me allowed shifts to start occurring fairly effortlessly.
After a while I felt drawn to getting a deck more specifically suited to my purpose. I found the Mary El Tarot by Mary White (credit for enormously increasing my understanding of the world of Tarot and its MANY decks goes to Tarot Nerds.) This image is my sketch of its High Priestess. This deck is perfect for deep internal work, and for the alchemical processes of self-transformation.
A few months after starting to work with the Mary-El I had a dream which made it very clear to me that I needed to work on clearing my emotional baggage. I knew I needed to be proactive and that it was time to make some big internal changes.
I knew I needed to dive deep with some shadow work.
I found Benebell Wen‘s incredible shadow work pack and worked my way through it. It took me 9 hours in three sessions and it was thoroughly transformative. I bow down to her deeply. It showed me how to combine free writing and tarot in a really effective way. To really get deep and honest with myself in a safe and grounded way and showed me how to structure and combine my intuitive and scholarly readings of the cards.
I have also been a part of the New Age Hipster‘s Circle which has helped me to push through my resistance to a bunch of really positive energies. I have issues with fluff and sparkle, and things without deep scholarly foundations, sorry, I had issues with fluff and sparkle… I am starting to see the true powers of allowing in glittery goodness without demanding sources and references.
With these foundations and the great vibes of my new home in Southern Italy, I then went on a roll. Journalling, seeing the issues, making relevant spreads and releasing.
I just kept opening up more and more. I really started to understand how to construct a spread that would help with this work.
I then had a visit from a friend and was able to try my method and spreads out on someone other than me for a full week. Both of us felt like we’d been reborn by the end of the week. Really though.
That was when I decided to start sharing these spreads and their uses. I couldn’t keep their transformative power to myself.
You will find my spreads and readings to support their use here.
Watch this space for ways of working with me!