Two years ago on this day I made the decision to get serious about “going pro” as a tarot reader. I’ve been reading for years but it was not my main focus. Reader’s Studio was the impetus. Commiting to attend a conference with all the readers, writers and artists I admired was a huge step for me. Actually spending three days with them all was nearly mindblowing. It was a dive into the deep end and I came out the other side clear and energized.
My love affair with Tarot actually began many, many years before. It was during a highschool love affair that I came across my first deck. We were in a bookstore together, waiting on the checkout line when I saw the stack of Rider-Waite decks. I pointed them out to him and he suggested I buy one. I waffled. He laughed. We were in front of the cashier when I finally made up my mind and added a deck to my purchase. He smiled at me because he knew I would do it. It was thrilling.
I still have that deck. It came with me to Reader’s Studio though I didn’t read with it there. It’s become almost a talisman, a good luck charm. When I first brought it home from the bookstore and thumbed through the images it was a little frightening and it unnerved me. Now it’s comforting. A few weeks after my first Readers’ Studio I was reading with it for a friend and we concluded I needed to be doing this for real. She was right. I knew she was right. I waffled. She laughed and Coneflower Tarot was born.
I am sure he had no idea what he started by goading me into buying the tarot deck I wanted. I’ve had it for nearly thirty years. It amazes me that it was so long ago. I’ve done many, many other things with my life in that time, picking up the cards now and then to gain some insight or clarity. Tarot has slowly become a big part of my life and connected me with a larger something I can’t quite explain. I have learned a lot about myself and about life but the community of friends I’ve gained is the sweetest gift of Tarot.
On Facebook a friend posted that the card of the day was Death. No matter how many times it turns up, or that I know better than to do so, I recoil from that card; but only for a second.
This one is from the Shadowscapes Tarot, a visually stunning deck done by Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. Way back when I was first learning tarot I associated Death with the phrase “change from within”. I think that phrase still holds up but there is so much more to it. Death is part of the process. It’s sloughing off the old and moving onto the new. The phoenix in this card captures that idea so well and the image expresses it beautifully. Snakes outgrow their skin; chicks outgrow their shells; people outgrow aspects of their lives and themselves; the phoenix outgrows it’s feathers. It is a natural progression. Death precedes rebirth. So it is fitting that the card of the day is Death. Two years ago my life was different and I’ve let that go so my life can be what it is today.
I’ve noticed over the years that when cards come up they mean one thing at the time of the reading and frequently mean different things in different ways over the course of the day. Tarot has a sense of humor and irony. I was playing with my first deck today and wondering what he would think of where this has taken me. I can’t ask him because he died about ten years after I bought that deck. It occurred to me that the Death card referenced his passing and change that brought about too.
So, as an homage to him and the wonderful gift he didn’t realize he gave me I launched Coneflower Tarot on his birthday. Happy Birthday, Bern and thank you, wherever you are.