Sunday, 15 July 2012

10 unexpected places to break open the deck

Where is a usual place to do Tarot? Well, in private, mostly. Whether that's with clients or alone in deep contemplation, it usually takes place only in a setting where the medium is accepted and expected. You might throw a Tarot dinner party with like-minded friends or get together with fellow enthusiasts you met online. As a rule though, Tarot comes into play around others who favour its presence. Readers don't tend to take a shot in the dark by pulling a deck out of their bag without being sure of the response it will elicit. Tarot is at that funny cultural stage at the moment where naysayers are happy to pipe up and the devoutly religious may think on it as a particularly tasteless kind of blasphemy. It is sometimes rather an awkward passion, but I feel I've done more for its battered reputation by speaking up about it and explaining to people why I'm so in love with it than I ever would have by hiding it away. So, I was recently thinking of some key moments in life where a dose of Tarot might be just the thing.. Here are some ideas I came up with.

1. Funerals are times when the living get together to remember the dead and that often creates a breeding ground for reassessment of life's rich tapestry. The tears and the embraces open up a floodgate of profound consideration and, often, also laughter and the exchange of fond memories later on in the evening. Tarot can provide a platform from which to jump in terms of discussing the life and times of the deceased as well as making peace with the idea of continuing to live without a loved one. Remember, an overtly religious funeral is not the place for Tarot. When sensitivities are running high, it's not quite the time to explain to a group of Bible-wielding mourners that Tarot is not synonymous with devil worship. (Not that I'm saying that Christians are intolerant as a rule, just that dramas and funerals do not make good bedfellows.)

2. Train stations are that strange breed of place where leaving and arriving marry up to create an atmosphere of excitement, sadness, nostalgia and the moving power of the in-between. Take out your deck to contemplate your journey. Offer a reading to someone you strike up a conversation with on the train.

3. Picnics - the al fresco goodness of interaction and food. A perfect place for the Tarot deck to make a light-hearted appearance. Conversations could spin off into any number off subjects, and it's not fine dining so you can feel at liberty to talk with your mouth full. Metaphorically speaking, Tarot nurtures us in the same way as food. A picnic could make a perfect setting.

4. Lunch breaks at work or at your place of study don't ever really feel like a long enough stretch of down time. But they should be used for their intended purpose - to relax, reflect, get yourself fed and clear your mind of the morning's activities so that you can approach the afternoon with somewhat of a clean slate. Tarot can provide a welcome adventure into the mind or help you to grapple with a work-based issue. Offering readings to willing peers and colleagues could generate a nice atmosphere of giving and mutual exchange, as well as helping you to get to know the people you spend your days with.

5. Art galleries provoke reactions - that is their business. Try focusing on a piece of art and addressing how it makes you feel before drawing a card to further your contemplations. How does the artwork relate to the meaning of the card? Does an element of synchronicity factor in to the proceedings. Also, in my opinion art is what you want it to be. Why not give a free reading or two outside the gallery in the spirit of performance art?

6. Protests are often places where big ideas are thrown around. Sit-ins and demonstrations provoke conversations about how human beings can affect change. Debates are rife. People get together and form plans of action. A lot of protests and demos attract forward thinking types who are looking at the world in innovate new ways or seeking to uncover the truth. Tarot could be a good move at those quiet times at the end of the more lively action.

7. Therapy sessions give you a chance to work through whatever is proving to be an obstacle for you. The techniques and theories utilised in therapy can be life-changing. They can also prove to be decidedly moot or unhelpful. It really depends on the individual and the therapist, the connection, the timing and the willingness to enter into the spirit of things at any given moment. If you use Tarot as a tool for healing and self-exploration, why not discuss the possibility of show and tell with your therapist as a new way to address the sessions?

8. Libraries can create an inspiring place to invent new readings and grapple with fresh subject matter. Select a section and focus on a specific subject using passages from books. Ask Tarot to unlock the doors of your perception on the subject. Enjoy the messages that are brought forth.

9. The Post Office is a good place to say goodbye to an old deck. Send letters to loved ones based around an individual Tarot card and send the chosen card in a letter. Send anonymous letters if the fancy takes you, spreading the Tarot love to strangers who may then go on a Tarot journey of their own.. I have been sending anonymous postcards on and off for years and I've been considering a Tarot project of this nature which I may record on the blog.

10. Hospital visits can be difficult, eventful, memorable or saddening. Whether it's just a short stay or it's the result of a debilitating illness, the company and conversation you offer to someone in hospital can mean the world. Tarot can offer a welcome distraction from the monotony of life in hospital. It can also be deeply therapeutic and can encourage a patient to talk candidly about their fears, hopes and feelings.

So, take Tarot on a few more outings. I've decided to carry my deck everywhere for a couple of weeks and see what I can hustle up by way of fresh Tarot experiences.