Why Even Get Into Tarot?
I have a handful of friends who have been into tarot for as long as I have (hello, '90s), but as ubiquitous as it is to us, I know that this practice isn't exactly widespread or mainstream. When you spot the random deck in pop culture, it's usually associated with the occult… where some gypsy-psychic hybrid is dealing cards and talking about morbid death stuff. While I'm sure these fortune tellers do exist in real life, they're not exactly part of the zeitgeist as I know it. Sure, the occult can add exciting plot twists to a movie or a novel, but it's not exactly part what makes up my my everyday life—nor do I really want it to be part of it at the moment!
I'm into these cards for a number of reasons that I think would resonate with people who aren't into supernatural spirit questing. If you've ever been curious about this practice but would like to get as far away from the "scary" Penny Dreadful themes as possible, read up on why I think they're worth a try.
The ART! Carrying a tarot deck with you is like bringing along an entire gallery's worth of paintings, collage work, or artful doodles. I have always loved visiting museums, ogling contemporary art, and finding out the stories behind artists. I first started collecting tarot decks simply because I loved the imagery. Finding out the logic and rationality behind each drawing came second. It feels good to be able to purchase a $40 deck of cards because it's way more accessible and portable than, say, a $1000 painting.
My favorite artwork: The Wild Unknown Tarot, The Wild Unknown Animal Spirit Deck
The COMMUNITY! It's kind of embarrassing, how much time I spend, scouring the depths of the Internet for independently produced decks. I self-published a children's book last year so I know just how much effort, time, and care it takes to put yourself and your message out into the world. I like how tarot enables me to connect to artistic and entrepreneurial folks. Backing a Kickstarter deck or looking at Indiegogo for someone with a project I can get behind is quite exhilarating. And in the tarot community, there's a ton of talent that I believe deserves the extra support—even if it just means doling out a dollar to help spread the love.
My favorite independently produced decks: Spirit Speak Tarot, Vessel Oracle, Circo Tarot
The SELF-REFLECTION and CREATIVITY! I've been following writer, photographer, and teacher Susannah Conway online for a while now (check out her workshops, they are SO GREAT!) and I love how she emphasizes her use of the cards to expand her creativity and dig into self-awareness. I belong to the same camp. Tarot reminds me of yoga and meditation—it's a tool that can help you tap into your subconscious so you can knock off all the blocks that you feel inhibit your creativity and imagination and become self-aware (need a writing prompt? pull a card!). It's a humbling, sometimes ego-crushing way to discover more about yourself.
My favorite courses on tarot and self-reflection: Daily Guidance, 78 Mirrors
The INSIGHT and SELF-CARE! There's nothing quite like spending time by yourself (no surprise that The Hermit is my favorite card). I feel like time alone, whether a 60-minute yoga class, 10 minutes writing in your journal, or a daily card pull from a tarot deck is a great way to nurture yourself. The time you spend studying a card and relating it to yourself can give you endless insights into what you can do to show yourself kindness and compassion—and everyone has a right to that.
My favorite times to draw cards: First thing in the morning (goes well with a cup of coffee), during the Full or New Moons to help you manifest new intentions or release what no longer serves you
And if all that isn't enough… on a totally practical note, you'll never be bored when you've got a deck to keep you company.