I have read tarot cards for many years now. My first deck, bought impulsively as I was just stepping onto the Pagan path (about 20 years ago now), was the Tarot of the Witches. It sounded impressively mysterious and magical, and I couldn't wait to start working with it. Unfortunately, I hated it from the minute I got the cards out of the box. I hated the artwork for a start, and then found they were hard for a beginner to learn as the Minor Arcana cards were just 'pip' cards rather than the type which have pictorial representations of the meanings (so much easier to learn!). The final straw came when I discovered the deck had been designed for use in a James Bond film - I loathe James Bond films! I quickly gave them away. Good lesson in buying any magical tool: shop around and check how it 'feels' before taking the plunge.
Luckily, I had a friend who read tarot cards so I was aware that there were pictorial decks out there. Next time around I was more picky, and looked at lots and lots of decks before I chose again. This time it was the 'Morgan Greer', based on the classic 'Rider Waite' (which I believe was the original pictorial tarot). The 'Morgan Greer' is clear, and I find it easy to use. It gives me great readings for others, though I've never been able to read well for myself.
I've also had other decks over the years, the 'Rider Waite Tarot', 'The Tarot of the Old Path', Kris Waldherr's 'Goddess Tarot', and non-tarot decks like 'The Druid Animal Oracle' and 'The Green Man Tree Oracle', to name a few (yes, I'm a bit of a card junkie!). Some of them I still have, and some I've passed on to new homes.
This last week at the Summer Gathering I attended two tarot workshops and had my tarot read by the wonderfully talented Diego. I think it's true to say I'm feeling more enthused than ever by tarot right now, and there's another reason too.
These are my new tarot cards. It's a deck called 'Songs for the Journey Home' that T bought for my birthday in July. And I am just in love with them! (if you click on the photo you should get a bigger image to study)
I love the artwork for a start. The arrangement I've laid out here is a selection of my favourite images from the deck. I actually had a hard time choosing! I find the artwork deceptively naive in style. The images look fairly simple, but the more I study them, the more I see. I also like that they're round - having never been a fan of reverse meanings for cards (too complicated!), it's great to have some that can't really be reversed.
The deck seems to be pretty earth-centred too, which of course appeals to me! And the little booklet that comes with the cards, whilst not shying away from the fact that Shit Happens, does somehow manage to mostly find a constructive message within the Shit. As a glass-half-full kinda gal, this echoes my preferred world-view.
And these cards seem to really know what is going on with me - leading up to the Summer Gathering I often pulled a card, asking 'What do I need to know about this situation?'. Though I shuffled the cards well each time, still I pulled the same card over and over - the 'Sixth Wind Song'. Look at the photo - it really expresses how I felt! Yet notice that as well as the clear image of feeling distinctly pressured, it also has a flock of birds flying freely above. The booklet says, '[this card] depicts the experience of being under a tremendous amount of pressure. If you are able to focus on trust, rather than on fear, you will rise above the turmoil of the mind. This is a time to rise above the gentle winds of change.' How on the nail is that?! Even more amazingly, since returning home I haven't pulled the card once, and actually had to look quite hard for it in order to take a photo.
Having never been able to read the cards accurately for myself before, I am very happy with the way these seem to work with me. I used to think there was something wanting in my card-reading skills, perhaps a lack of objectivity that stopped me being able to read my own cards. Now I think perhaps I just hadn't met the right deck yet!
It's still early days in our relationship, but I feel like these cards and I are currently having a great conversation, getting to know each other. I think we will be good friends.