My earliest ‘adult’ memories are not of tarot but of the occult; thank you Mr Wheatley! This fascination led me to seek out the Atlantis Bookshop in London’s Bloomsbury district; I was 19 and the shop was dark, exciting and frightening in equal measure. I picked up book after book, caressing them as if they were lovers and not wanting to put them down; but not able to afford to buy them and all the time being strangely drawn to the very darkest recesses of the displays where I found some decks of cards laid out; not many but enough to sense the energy. I picked one up and it felt like coming home. If my memory serves it was £7.25; perhaps I remember the price because it represented almost a week’s rent, but I had to have it. It saddens me that I can’t even remember which deck it was; my peripatetic lifestyle in those days meant that I didn’t hold on to anything for long.
Over the next few years I read quite a lot about esoteric disciplines, got into astrology and numerology and kind of ignored the tarot. I had had a few really scary incidents with my deck and I was, with hindsight, fighting off the weird feeling of being ‘guided’.
The first deck I bought when I began to realise that the tarot wasn’t going to let me go without a fight was called The Prediction Tarot and it came as a set, with its book, from a company which brought books and things into offices and set up what is now called a pop-up shop. I absolutely love it; it is so simple. The minors are pip cards with no symbolism at all and the majors and courts are so beautifully drawn it just makes me want to touch them. The book is so straightforward but, by today’s standards, can give significantly different meanings to what we accept now. My deck is from the first imprint which was -gasp – 1985! I loved the majors in this deck so much that I designed a majors only reading which I touted all around the world; not until The Intuitive Tarot did I get similar feelings for a deck.
Of course, my decks are so much more sophisticated now; but if you’ve read my posts you can see that I do still use The Prediction Tarot for readings.
I remember sitting at the open plan kitchen of my flat reading for neighbours with the book open in front of me. It took a very long time for me to be confident enough not to have the printed interpretations from each deck in front of me; I was still refusing to accept guidance! One of my neighbours was being very sceptical of what I was telling him; it seemed to me that the cards were indicating some issues at work but, possibly more importantly, some issues around his neck and throat. Turned out a new manager didn’t like that my neighbour didn’t fasten the top button of his shirt under his tie; they ‘discussed’ this for a few weeks and then she fired him!
More recent decks have included the Ukioye Tarot which US Games gave me permission to use on my website, the Mibramig Magical Tarot, which I absolutely love, and The Intuitive Tarot with Cilla Conway’s unbelievably fantastic artwork. I bonded with The Intuitive Tarot immediately and it got me through my second FR application for TABI.
Am I really cut out for TABI? I’ve joined twice; the first time I caused such upset I felt that I had to leave but this time I’ve mainly (i.e. barely) managed to control my wilder flights of intolerance… Should I explain? Maybe not!!
I’ve been mentored twice; once by the lovely Mick Frankel and once by the fabulous Jenny. Both had strong ideas about how readings should be phrased; one liked verbal portraits of the cards and one told me that a particular reading I submitted seemed more astrological than tarot. I like them both very much and my style has benefited greatly from their input.
I couldn’t see my life without tarot but I’m kind of winding down now. I’ve worked so hard for so many people, for so long; I even once did ‘in the moment’ individual readings for more than 50 people in the intervals at a bingo hall while dressed in robes and a turban!!