The Dangers of Deck Collecting

I recently bought a deck of tarot cards. What’s so unusual about that? Well, the deck I bought, The Jean Noblet Tarot de Marseille is the same as two other decks I have. It’s my “working deck,” the deck I use for all my readings. I bought my third copy so I would have a second backup should anything happen to the first then the second copies. It’s like being a craftsman and having a favorite tool. My cards are my tools, and I want to make sure I always have them available when I read for someone. A number of years ago, I discovered that this particular deck resonated with me, and I’ve used it exclusively ever since.

Tarot Decks

There are many decks of tarot cards available, and more are created all the time. There’s always a market for them because there is always someone who has to purchase the latest creation. Some people have many decks in their collection. Some of the images in these decks are wonderful, so I can understand loving the art on the cards and so wanting to collect them as beautiful objects. However, I believe that some people use the purchase of new decks almost as a substitute for learning to read the cards properly. I can certainly relate to wanting to find tarot cards that “speak to you,” but I fear that some people will never settle on one deck, but will constantly flit from one to another, looking for that mythical “perfect deck.” It’s a bit like someone who keeps buying new guitars, but who will never get beyond noodling a bit on them and learning to play properly.

If you want to collect decks of tarot cards because of the beautiful art, that’s great! But if you want to read the cards, my best advice is to pick a deck and stick with it until you get proficient with it. The “magic” is in you, not the cards.

A Bit of Decorating, and A Forthcoming Freebie

I wanted to give the site a little personal touch, so, prompted by the WordPress “Zero to Hero” series, I created the header image you’ll see at the top of each page. Simple and straightforward, in keeping with my tarot philosophy, the background is adapted from the pattern on the back of my tarot deck of choice, the Jean Noblet Tarot de Marseille. Let me know what you think in the comments section.

Header screenshot

I’m starting to write a little e-book that I’m planning to offer for free in exchange for signing up for my e-mail newsletter. It’s designed to simply show how tarot can be an powerful tool to change your life for the better and to help you get the most out of a tarot reading. In addition to offering it to new subscribers, I will share it with those who are already on the e-mail list, as my way of saying thank you for being my list pioneers.

 

What’s This “No-Nonsense” Stuff All About?

No NonsenseI was recently approached by someone inquiring about a tarot card reading who said “I saw your tarot link on [Facebook] and I became curious about your nonsense answer”.

At first I felt a bit insulted, because I thought they were implying that I didn’t take tarot reading seriously; it took me a while to realize that English was not this person’s first language, and that they were referring to the “No-Nonsense” byline I use when describing my readings. Fortunately, I was able to explain what I meant.

I thought, however, that it was worth explaining a little about why I use that term, and what it means in terms of my readings. To me, especially when considered together with the concept of empowering the person being read for, it really sums up my entire approach.

Firstly, I always endeavor to demystify tarot. I don’t believe it’s anything magical, although the results often make it seem like it is. I don’t couch my readings in any pseudo-mystical, airy-fairy terms. I don’t wear special robes, burn incense or do anything remotely new-agey…although I do like to read with new-agey ambient music playing, as it seems to enhance my concentration (but more about that in future post).

My tarot cards of choice are the Jean Noblet Tarot de Marseille, which was originally created in 1650, and recently restored. Without the layers of occultist symbolism that have been added to tarot decks over the years, I consider it especially “no-nonsense.” The deck is not magical. I consider it to be the equivalent of a tool-belt, purely functional. I have no need for many different decks, unlike some tarot readers. This one does the job, and it does it well.

Like many European tarot readers, but unlike many American readers, I read using only the major arcana, the tarot “trump” cards. This is because I believe that the major arcana is like a scalpel that gets to the heart of any matter very efficiently, and that’s what my approach is all about. Similarly, I basically use one type of spread or layout of cards, because the way I lay out the cards also helps me get to the essence of the question.

In conclusion, you know what you’re getting when you ask me for a reading: No BS. No smoke and mirrors. Just some advice on the best path to take for you to achieve your goals. No-nonsense!

I would like to think that people would find that approach to be refreshing. What do you think? Please let me know in the comments below.

(Photo Credit: J Mark Dodds)

My Tarot Story

As promised in an earlier post, I thought I would share a bit about my background in tarot.

Like many people, I became curious about tarot, along with other esoteric stuff, in my teens. I think I found my first deck in a junk shop back in the 1980s. It came with a very slim booklet listing so-called “meanings” of what are called the “Major Arcana,” the picture or trump cards. I did quite a few readings for friends and family, writing the results in a journal. I actually still have the journal, and it’s quite interesting reading it now.

I remember buying a book about the famous tarot deck created by A.E. Waite, often known as the “Rider-Waite” deck. I bought the Rider-Waite deck a little later. Like many people interested in tarot, I bought several different decks as well. My problem was always that I had difficulty memorizing someone else’s predefined “meanings” for the cards. That restricted me to consulting the books when I did readings. Those “meanings” didn’t always make sense to me when I looked at the images on the cards themselves, either. My frustration eventually led to me gradually drifting away from tarot.

Looking at the Marseilles TarotFast forward to 2007. I once again became interested in tarot, after digging out my old cards and books. This time, however, I found a tarot website with an online discussion forum. I started from scratch, trying to learn the card meanings again. Again, I had problems. Fortunately, I stumbled across a little e-book that had been recently written by Enrique Enriquez called Looking at the Marseilles Tarot. It talked about how memorizing someone else’s “meanings” could be counter-productive; its central theme was using the images on the cards themselves and the relationships between them. That was the key that would unlock the mysteries of the tarot for me. I found the language a bit academic and difficult to understand at times, but I knew that I had found what I was looking for, so I contacted Enrique to ask him for a little help. What followed was a wonderful journey of discovery. He taught me, bit by bit, how he read tarot. More than that, he encouraged me to adapt his methods to develop my own reading style.

What emerged was my “no-nonsense” approach to reading tarot cards. In a very short space of time, I was doing readings for others; readings that were getting a great reaction. I also discovered that I could give effective readings via e-mail. Soon, I set up a website to offer my services. At the time, I was also working as a teacher. As I was not using tarot as my sole means of support, I had a “pay what you will” policy that worked well at the time. A couple of years ago, however, I was laid-off from my job, and since then I’ve been a full-time stay-at-home Dad. I also took a hiatus from tarot reading.

My daughter is now quite independent, and so I recently started looking for my next challenge. I also felt it was about time to contribute financially to the family again. Finding the Fiverr platform was the final piece in the puzzle. And so, Tarot Readings by Graham was born.

Do you read tarot? Have you ever tried? Whether or not you’ve been successful, please share your tarot story in the comments section below.