I am branching off a bit to another area of the tarot; by doing this I started asking fellow editors from BellaOnline and friends to do interviews with me. The reason that I wanted to go this route was to show you how many ways people have learned the tarot.
I asked them all the same questions for the interview part as for the reading part I asked each one a different question. The first interview I did was with Ian our Pagan Editor. Here is the interview with Ian.
Me: When did you start to read the tarot?
Ian: I first tried when I was in Mexico using the Ryder Waite cards and some books. I didn’t have a lot of success at the time on the divination aspect, but became quite good at using them in magick.
I wasn’t until the 1980’s that I learned the art of divination with the cards from a Witch whose shop I used to help out at. She used them for divination and as a counselling tool and started to show me the symbology hidden within them. Before running a Pagan shop she had been the head of quality control for a credit card printing company. Her specialist area was 20+ hidden security features hidden in the back of the card to show it was authentic. This meant that she was attuned to noticing the subtle symbols in each card and how they related as a gestalt whole.
Me: In what way did you learn to read the tarot?
Ian: Later on she ran a couple of evening classes for people who were interested in halls rented from the Methodist Church. We started off with the Psycards (http://www.psycards.com/) as the Witches’ experience teaching on a one-to-one basis showed her that these cards symbology was easiest for people new to the art.
Then we moved on to the Mythic Tarot as the suits art based on Greek myths in addition to having symbols that stand out during different readings enabling you to see multiple levels in one reading.
Me: How was the way you learned to read the tarot cards beneficial to you?
Ian: This symbol/intuitive approach works well for me as it enables the use of all my intuitive faculties rather than just trying to remember stock meanings then try to string it together. This approach transfers effectively over to other divination media such as Runes and Tassomancy.
Also when I trained as a counsellor and hypnotherapist I was able to use the Mythic deck as part of the counselling process when appropriate. As the course progressed and, as we became adept at counselling each other, surface issues were dealt with as we became more adept at the skills of counselling. However at the same time deeper and more painful issues eluded counselling because people were more aware – at both the conscious and subconscious level- of the techniques being used. By using the Mythic Tarot as my Witch friend had done with her counselling I was able to bypass these defences and engage with the issue in a holistic way.
At first I did have some concern from the teaching staff that I was “fortune telling” but I explained it was a “Gestalt Technique”. It worked so well that I was invited to demonstrate this use of the Tarot in front of the whole school. Not only was I able to demonstrate the use of archetypes and the myths contained in the cards, but also how people could enter trance states without the use of formal hypnotic induction while being counselled in this way. The school Principle declared it to be “Therapy as an art form”
Me: Is there any regrets about the way you learned to read the tarot?
Ian: I just wish I’d learned the symbol approach first rather than trying to memorise static meanings from a book.
Me: Is there any particular ritual you perform before you read the tarot cards?
Ian: Whilst shuffling the cards I mentally cast a magick sphere with myself and the client in the middle. Then I flash purify all within it white energy and call upon an appropriate Deity such as Odin or Mercury depending on the deck or situation. I then reverse this at the end of the session.
Next; I had Ian do a reading for me. He picked the classic Celtic Cross spread. Let me tell you, he was dead on with it. He pulled things from the reading that was not part of the question but came through. I needed to hear this and it also gave Ian some insight to me and my past. I will tell you the outcome in minor details. Ian was very informative and gave me a new way to look at the issue of my question. He gave me some piece of mind that will help me to look past some of the things that are bothering me and focus on the things I need to do for me.
It was a pleasure to learn so much from Ian as he is a very fascinating man.
Karen Artino - Tarot Editor
The Mythic Tarot Deck: