WRITTEN BY: CLARA.Z
Clara would describe herself as an “aspiring” tarot reader who is passionate about helping people unearth answers to their life questions. In a good life position, Clara is devoting herself entirely to her quest to gain more tarot wisdom. Here, Clara tells us about her Tarot Beginnings.
Manchester, 1974. I was going to be 13 and having seen actress Jane Seymour reading Tarot cards in the James Bond film “Live and Let Die” I decided I must have a deck of my own for my birthday.
With my approaching teens, I was experiencing more than just the start of the physical transit from childhood. I felt the stirrings of a deep inner well of spirituality that seemed somehow greater than just me. Naturally I wanted to access that elusive stuff and had an inkling Tarot might just show me the way.
Not that it was so easy to get cards in North-West England in those days: there were no esoteric shops that I knew of and the only options were the sparse, almost apologetic offerings squirrelled away in the dark corners of joke shops and bookshops. I think my French-language Swiss IJJ deck came from one of the former, on Bridge Street in the city centre
I can’t even recall there being a much of a choice… it was more or less either the IJJ or The High-way-way. But at least a detailed book was included in the set.
Then a few weeks later in Stockport, in a dusty little bookshop on Wellington Road, I was thrilled to spot a box specifically for my new deck. It was gilded wood with a copper-hinged lid, the legend “Tarot Cards” inscribed on the top and a picture of the King of Wands “Roi des Batons” on one side, and the Queen of Wands “Reine des Batons” on the other. There was only that box in the shop and the bookseller said he didn’t know if he would ever have another. I, for one, have never seen its like to this day.
Anyway, I begged and begged my mother for it until she finally caved in and bought it for me!
I had many fumbling attempts reading for members of my family, most of whom were just indulging me. My scientist father thought it all bunkum and wouldn’t have anything to do with it. But although I didn’t have the experience or wisdom to get the best out of the cards, I loved them nevertheless and felt they were pure magic.
Little did my unsuspecting family realise at the time, that hurtling toward us out of nowhere was what I’ll call a double-plus “Tower” disaster, which shattered our lives later that year. It truly devastated us, particularly me, and I spent many chaotic and difficult years staggering from crisis to crisis in its wake. I was too caught up in my emotional turmoil and how to survive it to think about continuing serious Tarot studies.
As an adult in the 1980s I moved 18 times in four years and lost most of my stuff — left it behind, binned it or gave it away. I lost all my treasures: jewellery, books and other items of great sentimental value.
But somehow during this awful period — goodness knows how — the Swiss IJJ and the precious box survived, with the only damage worth mentioning a small crease on the corner of one of the cards.
Life is much calmer these days, now I have managed to lay my demons to rest. Tarot is always with me and I have eight decks in total. My greatest wish is to begin reading professionally. Yes, I’d like to earn a little money for my time but mainly I would dearly love to impart the perspectives Tarot can bring to those who will benefit most.
The decks I am using mostly at present are The Fountain Tarot (my review of this deck can be found here) and one that was recently gifted me, The Cosmic Tarot. I try not to be acquisitive, but must admit to having a fairly long wish-list which I have managed to narrow down by aiming for diversity of culture — at least in modern decks, and of course those which depict humans! Textured Tarot, Tarot of The Cat People and The Spirit Within are currently at the top of my must-buys.
I don’t use my Swiss IJJ much anymore as it still holds the power to transport me all the way back to those apocalyptic days of the 1970s and ‘80s in an almost tangible way. I have to be careful I am very centred and grounded to deal with that energy, which is still almost indelibly imprinted in the cards.
Plus, it can be a bit of a curmudgeonly character at times: sometimes the venerable sage and at others a grumpy old man. Woe betide anyone who expects a sugar-coated reading from this deck.
Despite all that, I very much appreciate that this loyal soul has chosen to travel with me for 45 years, through good times and bad and I have written this piece as a kind of tribute.
Take a bow, old friend!