Hey Lovelies! Liz/Ivy here and for the next upcoming weeks I’m going to talk about one of my skill sets: divination through the Tarot. All of my amassed experience and knowledge in one post would be enormous, so I am going to break it off into more easily digestible chunks starting with this one. Expect new parts on Sundays.
What exactly is Tarot: A brief historical overview
And when I say brief, I do mean brief.
So the actual-facts first beginning of the use of Tarot as a divination source is murky and nebulous, like many things we modern-day pagans accept and use often. One of my very favorite and well-worn Tarot books: Rachel Pollacks’ Tarot Wisdom gives a much more detailed and meticulously researched history. I highly recommend picking up a copy of this book for readers of any skill level. Continuing education can only further hone and enhance the knowledge base we have.
Disclaimer: History usually isn’t my favorite subject, and it is difficult for me to stay focused when I do come across it. Consequentially I usually work harder at remembering it, and usually its the first bit of knowledge to slip through the cracks in my memory, but I will do my best to give you an accurate retelling. If I mess anything up, I apologize and Id love for you guys to correct me gently in the comments below.
Tarot started out as a card game and eventually was used by occultists as a means of divination, with individual card meanings and names fluidly changing with every iteration. Each deck maker placed their own personality, belief system and meanings in their cards creating a rich tapestry of contradicting experiences and individual flavor. This just further proves my theory that there is no wrong way to read or interpret, since the people who made the different iterations couldn’t even agree. But more on that later. The tarot went through many of histories greats, like Lévi, before eventually landing at the feet of the well known A.E White, a member of The Golden Dawn (which for those of you unaware is a Big Deal occult order). He paid artist Pamela Colman Smith to render the images of his deck. She was also a member of The Golden Dawn, and had a history of painting while in trance. The deck has many influences from the Marseilles deck, and pulls from other contemporaries of his time. I wont go into Crowley’s Thoth Deck, as its like a foreign language to me, but for anyone seeking that information our owner, Heron Michelle has used that deck for some time and would be able to help.
Whats with all of these different types of decks?
The Rider-Waite deck may be iconic but I absolutely hate the imagery. No offense, Pamela, but the stiff figures and bold colors do nothing for me. Many artists have since put their stamp on the imagery of this deck. Now-a-days you can find pretty much any kind of themed deck ranging from fairies to gothic decks, to renaissance art decks to every imaginable deck in between. There have been a few solely around cats that I have seen.
My personal preferred deck is the Shadowscapes deck by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. Her whimsical, impeccably detail approach really speaks to my aesthetic. I usually find that this deck is a bit softer in its messages as well, so it easily lends itself to readings for clients.
So How Do You Use This Mode of Divination?
What an excellent question, dear reader!
That’s what this series is gonna be about, hopefully. Ill walk you through my process, give tips about building your own relationship with the cards, and write a couple of anecdotes that I have gathered in several years of reading. I hope you will join me on this journey and retelling. Until Next time, Blessed Be!