As I was thinking of starting this post, I was thinking of a line something like “I’ve been interested in tarot since…”. But then I thought about it and I can’t remember exactly when I ‘got into’ tarot. In a way, it’s like a queer coming out story: they always used to start with ‘I always knew I was different ever since I was a child’. And, honestly, mine just doesn’t. Mine was more like ‘I never even realized that I could possibly be gay until I fell madly in love with this awesome girl’ :3.
It was sorta like that with Tarot. When I was a freshman, there was this girl a few rooms down who had tarot decks. She once offered to give me and a few of my friends readings. At that point I didn’t know pretty much anything about tarot and I was more interested in looking through the cards. She said that she didn’t like to let other people handle her cards, which at the time I thought was weird as heck, but now I kind of understand. Although, I think now, when I get ready to read for people, if they’ve never seen tarot, I’d like to have a deck on hand that they could page through and ask questions about. There are definitely decks that I have now that I wouldn’t let most people handle, maybe a select few. Those are decks that I use only for myself.
After this, my first encounter with tarot, I got interested, and like the data loving librarian that I am, I went straight to the internet and READ EVERYTHING I COULD FIND. I bought my first tarot deck, and I can’t remember if I bought it on Amazon or if I found it at the mall, maybe Barnes and Noble. I wish I could remember, and I wish I still had it. I’m pretty sure that I sold it somewhere along the way after that first blush of interest had faded.
My first deck was a Lord of the Rings themed deck. I must have tried reading those cards, but I have almost no memory of them. They weren’t all that pretty (and I’ve found that I really need my decks to be pleasing to the eye or else I haven’t connected with them) and I was kind of in over my head. I hadn’t read Lord of the Rings, and the movies didn’t even exist yet (I’m dating myself a bit here 😉 ) so I don’t know why I even picked them. I was into fantasy things; that might have been why. And funnily enough, this is how I spoiled myself for the movies and books. The death card is Gandalf, and now, looking back at that, he is SUCH an appropriate figure for that card.
I’m rambling about all of this now because I’m in an upswing of tarot interest again. My interest in the cards has waxed and waned over the years, I’ve collected a lot of decks and only recently started to use them again. It was Katie that I have to thank for reigniting my passion for them. She found an article on Autostraddle about tarot, and that article linked to some others, and was part of a series, and I HAD TO READ THEM ALL. RIGHT NOW. The article, The Fools Journey, was written by an awesome person named Beth who runs a site called Little Red Tarot. I went to her site and discovered that she offers something called the Alternative Tarot Course. She calls it “An eight-week course to develop your personal approach to tarot”. And she’s queer so it’s STUFFED full of inclusive queer tarot insights and it was absolutely exactly what I needed. Katie and I decided to work on this together, and while we’re definitely taking a LOT more than 8 weeks to do it, it’s been incredibly helpful and useful, and I love it. I recommend it to ANYONE interested in tarot even a little bit. It’s really helping me get comfortable with my decks and I’m learning to trust my intuition about them a lot more.
I’ve learned that I love love love to buy Tarot decks, and I especially love decks that aren’t relentlessly heteronormative. Beth at Little Red Tarot has had some good recommendations. At the moment here are some of my favorites: The Universal Goddess Tarot, The Wild Unknown Tarot, The Happy Tarot, and the Joie de Vivre Tarot.
Others that I have but haven’t really worked with: Tarot of the Silicone Dawn (which is QUEER as heck, but for me it’s a bit hard to read), Wildwood Tarot, Manga Tarot, Robin Wood Tarot (which used to be my go to, but over the years it’s just too white-washed and hetero for me), and the Universal Fantasy Tarot.
The only deck I’ve gotten that I REALLY don’t like is the Tarot Art Nouveau (by Antonella Castelli). I thought I’d love it because Art Nouveau usually means lots of pretty ladies and beautiful art. But it has some deeply creepy power dynamics with all of the Kings, and the Lovers card was so upsetting that I actually removed it and burned the card (it isn’t the one picture above that’s in Art Nouveau style, that one is actually the Tarot Mucha, which is okay). I felt like I needed to do it to get that energy out. I did contemplate selling the deck, but instead I opted to remove the offending cards and use the rest for art 🙂 You can see the lovely ladies of The Star up above on my tarot candle.
So here I am, halfway through the course (court cards is week four). Katie and I worked together assigning the court cards to people we knew and characters we write. I’m feeling like doing readings. I fell out of practice with my daily draws, because that’s what I’m really really good at, starting things and then not finishing them.
I hope this time around it sticks. I’m trying to make it stick!