Around the same time that I began working with the mindfulness program, I developed a renewed interest in tarot. I’d had a deck in my early tween years, but that had primarily functioned more as a sleepover game than a divination tool. As a young devotee of stories of King Arthur and Morgan La Fey, I used a deck inspired by the Arthurian legends. Unfortunately, its attempts to align the mythology with the archetypes of the cards were rigid and fumbling, giving an awkward first impression of tarot. As a result, I didn’t return to the cards for almost 20 years…
Then my Saturn Return came through like a whirlwind, bringing a sea change in my work, life, and spirit. Not long after changing career paths and moving to a new area, I began to attend regular group meditation sessions and was gifted the Pamela Colman Smith centennial tarot deck. As a queer feminist art historian, I was naturally drawn to the story of a queer woman who’d had her art appropriated by a man. Having a natural interest in both symbolism and Jungian archetypal theory, I began working with her deck regularly.
Early readings were… awkward. (A side note to any nascent tarot enthusiasts– throw. out. the. guidebook. Seriously, unless you’re working with a woke, independent artist’s deck, throw out the guidebook your cards come with.) Over time, though, through studying different schools of thought and building a close familiarity with my deck, I began to develop a regular practice, broadening my understanding of the meanings behind the cards, exploring the archetypes and symbolism, and their applications in my daily life.
Now, as I approach my 32nd solar return, I’m naturally reflective. Though I have dabbled for a couple of years, 31 was definitely the year that deepened my relationship with the tarot. As I do “wheel of the year” spreads based on a calendar year, the two cards for my 31st year were the King of Wands (2018) followed the Hermit (2019)– and talk about an energetic sea change!
My relationship with the King of Wands was profoundly shifted mid-way through 2018 by Lindsay Mack’s Tarot for the Wild Soul discussion of the court cards, enriching my understanding of the medicine these cards provide. Prior to her podcast, I had fallen into the trap of seeing this card as an external force– an individual with whom I was in an unhealthy relationship. I had once again moved to a new place and started Hedge Witch Botanicals, both of which required big King of Wands energy, but I was too caught up in that unhealthy relationship. When I heard Lindsay’s words, calling us to embody the court cards within ourselves and to stop giving away our power, I experienced a profound shift. Not only had I been giving away my power, in small and insidious ways, but I had deprived myself of a better understanding of the medicine of King of Wands. It was only when I fully “dove into” the King of Wands that I began to understand the magic required to lead and “govern” our lives with our creative fire as our compass.
As we move through 2019, my relationship with the Hermit is still unfolding, but thus far it’s medicine has been profound. Having experienced the ending of an unhealthy relationship, I was left reeling and in doubt of my internal compass. The call of the Hermit, then, was clear from the start: go within. To nurture and cultivate my intuition, after such a long period of neglect, was exactly the medicine that was needed. I am learning, re-learning how to trust myself again, to listen to my intuition and to center it in my decision-making, and tarot serves as a wonderful tool for this exploration.
And it certainly is an exploration– one I am thrilled to undertake, with only my internal north star to guide me…