( Reading and photograph under the cut. )
( Reading and photograph under the cut. )
I had a lot of fun pairing up my decks, and tonight, I paired my one of my softest, most ethereal decks, my Mystic Dreamer Tarot, with one of my most "dark and spooky" decks, the Royo Labyrinth Tarot. These are both great decks that give me solid readings on their own, so I was anxious to see what happened when I put them together.
( Reading and photograph under the cut. )
Several weeks ago, my friend M. asked me if I would like to bring my cards and act as a fortuneteller at her birthday party, which falls a few days before Halloween. I told her I'd be glad to do it, and the party was this past Saturday.
She had it in one of her friend's backyards, and the whole place was decorated with cobwebs and fake spiders and skeletons. I had my own special little pavillion off to one side of the yard with a table and some cherry scented candles and a convinient place to hang the camping lantern I'd brought for light. I took the three decks out of their boxes (Gilded, Day of the Dead, and Universal Waite), put my protective stones on the left and on the right, and told people I was open for business.
I was dressed like a gypsy, in a long, flowing burgandy skirt with bells on the end of the drawstrings, my long white ren faire chemise, and a blue and burgady bodice. I had my hair down and kept back from my face by a sarong that I folded up many times and tied around my head. I even had big silver hoop earings. It looked pretty good, (J. said I looked like a gypsy from the mist... heh.) and the flickering candles and the curtain of plastic spiders dancing in the air around me at my little station made me feel the part.
I read for a lot of people. Probably upwards of twenty in a four or five hour period. It was incredibly intense, but amazing at the same time. I have learned from the last time I read for a lot of people in quick succession, and I made sure to eat and drink and to take breaks when I needed them. I had a declicious bowl of chilli, and I must have eaten at least two each of the carrot cake and chocolate cupcakes that were sitting out.
I read for quite a few people who had never had readings before. Some of them were excited, some of them were scared. A lot of the told me "I don't usually do things like this," and seemed to be waiting for me to tell them about their impending doom. I feel proud that I was able to read for them and make it a positive experience. More than once, after I was done, I had people tell me, "I know exactly what that means..." and proceed to confirm what I'd just said in really specific personal detail. I... was kind of amazed my own self. I read for myself all the time, so I trust that something special is happening when I lay out the cards, but being able to make that happen for other people is really humbling and lovely at the same time.
I read for a lot of other people who knew exactly what was going on and what to expect, and that was really nice too. I like already having that common ground when I start to read.
Again, I found that lots of people like the Gilded Tarot. Usually, I would start out by putting the three decks in front of the person and telling them to choose the one whose art they liked most. I'd say about three fourths of the people I read for chose the Gilded. Other people went traditional and chose the Waite, and only two people chose the Day of the Dead, but I'm still glad I brought that last one because the people who chose it were really excited that such a deck even existed.
In the end, it was such an amazing night. I got to hang out with friends, I got to do a reading for the birthday girl, and I got to practice trusting myself and my intuition. I need that, because as much as I read the cards and try to open myself, I've got an extremely rational left brain working overtime and a very insecure part of me worrying about making mistakes. Well... I think Satruday gave me a much-needed boost of confidence and got my left brain to tone it down just a little bit. Intuition happens. Speaking what I see in the cards works.
So, this year, I decided we were having a Mabon party. After some wavering by both my partner and me about the wisdom of having a big cooking extravaganza on a weekend well into our teaching semesters, we decided that celebrating the equinox with friends was worth the trouble and the lost time prepping for class. I'm glad we did.
( Further Description and Pictures Under the Cut )
The first two decks I tried this with are my Fantastical Creatures Tarot and my Rumi Tarot.
( Continue on for reading and photo of spread. )
And so, for times like these, I came up with my "Eye of the Storm" spread.
( Directions and Layout )
Reading for her made me think about my reading "ceremony." Unless I've already lit incense for some other ritual purpose that accompanies my reading, I don't usually use it, and though I like to have a candle lit, I don't really need it. I do, however, like to have my two stones that I keep wrapped up in my reading cloth on either side of the spreads I lay out. One is a black tourmaline, and the other is a bit of clear quartz shaped like a kite with rounded corners. It's not as if I feel like I can't read without them, but they have acquired various meanings and associations since I picked them out, and I find that I'm more centered if I take a moment to carefully place them and think about their qualities before I begin to read. I suppose I'm flexible. I've read in coffee shops with my stones sitting on a shelf at home, and I've read in the center of a circle I've set up with symbols of the elements all around me. Both "work" for me, just for different purposes. I like the simplicity of just me and my deck and the person across from me, and I like the sacredness and the out-of-time quality that reading tarot in a more ritualized context brings.
On a completely unrelated note, I got a new deck yesterday. It's my first majors only deck, and it's absolutely stunning. It's called Affirmations for the Everyday Goddess, and the artist was at the Goddess Temple in O.C. when R. and I went yesterday. The artist was a lovely woman, and I was happy to be able to support her directly. The cards are a little bigger than normal tarot cards, but I'm glad to be able to see so much detail in the pictures. I am looking forward to using this deck more, and from what I can tell, the small book that came along with it is also quite nice. It's packed with a lot of information for such a small volume.
I ended up reading for between seven and ten people (I lost count) before the night was through. It was an eye-opening experience, to say the least. I read for some people who had never had a tarot reading before, but I also read for a girl who pulls a card for herself every day (that last one made me nervous, but it ended up going very well). I read for very rational people and very emotional people, and I think that I was able to do a good job for every single one of them. I even had someone tell me something along the lines of, "It's easy to be skeptical, but I see how that could be really useful," and another person told me, "That was more helpful than the psychic I went to once, and I paid her..." I read about pets and boyfriends and romance and family problems... and even when I wasn't sure I was being terribly helpful or specific, people were telling me that what I was saying was pretty accurate. I just... said what I saw in the cards as it related to what they'd already told me, and went with the flow. I even ended up "making up" a short three-card spread at the end of one of the readings to get at a specific issue that the person I was reading for wanted to know about... and it seemed to really help her see some possibilities that were already available to her in the situation. (For the record, it was one card for what she needed in a conflict, one card for what the person she had a conflict with needed, and one card for something she could do to difuse the conflict so that both of them could get along. The results of that little spread were... extremely on-point.)
( Things to do next time: )
When I had been reading tarot for less than a year, I went to a tarot gathering at a restaurant near my house. While I was there, someone asked my how many decks I had. I said, "Two." The woman I was talking to laughed a little and said, "That will change." She was right. What follows is my master list of decks, with links to images where available. This list will be updated as I add to my collection.
So, in an attempt to clear up this problem, I've decided to do some study. For each similar pair, I'll choose a few decks and pull the cards in question from each of them. After examining the images on the cards as a group, I'll look up definitions and insights in various books, including the deck-specific books for the decks I'm using, if I have them. Finally, I'll try and post anything I've learned or realized while doing the exercise. (I know I'm not the be-all, end-all of tarot interpretation, so when I make lofty sounding statements like "X card means..." I'm doing so because otherwise I'd be using "for me, this means..." and "I think" every other line.)
( In short, the Two of Wands is about soveriegnty. The Three of Wands is about perspective. )