Beginning Tarot – Identity Story

Rider Waite Knight of Wands card


Anyone who has heard me tell stories knows there are always a collection of elements that seem unrelated but all come together at the end. Same thing here.

Element 1

In my younger days, I thought Tarot was in the same category as ouija (demonic) or Magic 8-ball (absurd). Fear won out with me in those days, and I steered quite clear of anything psychic or mystical. Sadly, my ignorance reigned for a long time. Then life happened, and now I embrace learning about lots of mystical things and taking them for what they are and using my experience, intuition and rationality together, to determine their worthiness to become part of my life. I hold a posture of curiosity. It has lead me to some very odd, entertaining, powerful, a bit anxiety-provoking, challenging, wonderful things. I’m still exploring many of them. The psychic senses are a big part of that exploration right now. I believe I have some underdeveloped gifts.

Element 2

A significant part of my spiritual work (in myself and with others) involves art meditation. That is, creating art through intuition and then sitting with it to see what it has to say about whatever situation I’m focusing on. There’s a process for that: Centering, making art, deep thinking/writing about it, gratitude, articulating the experience to another person. I love collage – I collect magazine pictures in shoeboxes for just such the occasion as I want to pull out the pictures that pull me – they choose me, really – and create something I can sit with for clarity, insight, etc. Images can say so many more things than words can – creative intuition is powerful.

Element 3

For my doctoral project, I used the work of Jospeh Campbell, Carl Jung and many others on the hero’s journey structure and its usefulness in personal spiritual development – finding the Self, writing one’s narratives, recognizing thresholds, guardians, etc. That was a few years ago, but I am still learning more and more about it (I am rather insatiable with learning – new ideas, concepts, and perspectives excite me)

Element 4

A handful of months ago (who can keep track??), I stumbled across an online article about Tarot that piqued my interest – it said Tarot isn’t for fortune-telling or divination so much as for telling a picture story as a response to a question I intentionally ask. I thought to myself “How is that any different from the collage I do?” (hint: it’s not). Eureka moment! Tarot can be a vehicle for deep personal reflection – with cards I use repeatedly so their meanings become both flexible and standardized through my own intuition. I’m IN! I want to learn more!!!

Element 5

Another article – Apparently, Carl Jung used Tarot in his practice. Why? Because the Major Arcana tell the archetypal story of the Hero’s Journey. My jaw dropped open.

And then I thought: What if I learn to read Tarot myself? Ooh, scary and exciting. I got tingles – and I always listen to the tingles. I bought the standard Rider Waite deck and the Complete Tarot Reader book and dug in. Fascinating!! I love her style – learning as we go and applying that knowledge and insight right away, piece by piece in manageable chunks. Well done! SO exciting!

Element 6

In the section on court cards, she suggested getting to know the personalities of all the characters in the court cards and determining which one would be my own signifier – the one that when it turns up, I know it’s me. I feel it’s energy very naturally in my personality; it’s my card. For me, that card is the Knight of Wands (see above photo). Ambitious, energetic, pursuing goals, forthright, energized by ideas rather than logic or domination, leading the way, aflame with passion. YES! me!

Element 7

I do readings for myself for practice, which is really helpful, both as a reader and for my own spiritual development (I also do readings for other people). And I’ve begun to see patterns emerging – certain cards that I never turn up, certain cards I turn up all the time, certain cards that almost always come out upside down, and so on. Any card can give wisdom or insight to any situation. But I am beginning to place more value on trusting that the cards that actually turn up are the right/best ones, in that mystical, inexplicable way.

Main point of the story:

I was feeling anxious about an upcoming event where I knew I would be spending a lot of time with a group of people with whom I have a long and somewhat tumultuous history. I decided to do a reading for myself with the question, “How do I need to show up for this event?” You know what card turned up? Out of 78 possible cards? Yeah, you know it – the Knight of Wands. What did it say to me? Show up as YOURSELF.

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