Tarot Spotlight is a regular blog feature which is designed to give you the opportunity to meet and mingle with people who are making Tarot magic happen. I am delighted to give you the chance to get to know Áine from Heart Story. Make yourself a cup of your favourite beverage and enjoy this amazing interview - find out how archetypes unlock your infinite potential, how to connect with the mythology of your heart and why the Seven of Cups defines Áine's approach to Tarot..
One of the things I love most about your approach is that it combines human psychology with spirituality. I also love how open you are about your own journey with the cards and with your life. How would you say that your life has changed for the better since picking up a deck of Tarot cards?
Áine: Thanks, Kelly-Ann – marrying the two has always been important to me. The crafting of my spiritual practice was the first step in bridging my conscious mind and unconscious mind, and strengthening my intuition. Then Tarot stepped in and took this to a whole other level. It taught me firsthand about the intricacies of the human psyche, and the infinite possibilities in my spiritual practice.
So how has this changed my life for the better? Firstly, inviting Tarot into my life has changed and deepened my spiritual practice beyond anything I could have imagined. It opened up a world of potent symbolism with which to express myself, my experiences, and the world around me.
I’ve always been an introspective person, prone to self-analysis and a spot of navel-gazing. But Tarot has offered a more nurturing means of approaching this kind of inner work. It has given me the courage to follow my passion, give myself permission to be fully me. It has been healing and encouraging; challenging and inspiring.
Of course, my dalliances with Tarot eventually inspired me to start using it to help others, and so Heart Story was born. Tarot has helped me connect with my own heart story, and I reached a point where I was ready to help others do the same.
Which Tarot card best describes your approach to reading for clients and why?
Áine: There are so many cards I could talk about – but one that comes to mind is the Seven of Cups. This might sound like a strange choice, so bear with me!
I find that Tarot is amazingly helpful in clearing brain fog, clarifying how you really feel about situation, and helping you to make a decision when you’re at a crossroads. When you’re facing a Seven of Cups kind of situation, you already know the answer deep down, but you’re being distracted and confused by a feeling of overwhelm, and not knowing where to start.
My approach is to help the querent see their options clearly, and achieve greater focus. My primary aim is to open up a space in which they can start to find their own solution. I’m not shy about positing advice or guidance, but primarily I use the cards to probe and ask questions. Sometimes the key to a solution is in asking the right question, and I strive to offer this through my readings.
A lot of my Tarot work with clients focuses on developing their spiritual practice. This kind of guidance suits me well, because the developing of your own spiritual path can only come from yourself. The reading I give is the catalyst; it opens doors, and again, asks the right questions of the querent so that they can start to draw together something meaningful and coherent.
Your shop is called Heart Story and you often talk about how to identify and embrace your personal heart story. Can you explain the essence of this concept?
Áine: Your heart story is essentially you – the truest, deepest and most basic things that come together to create you, your identity, and your experience of the world. It is the combination of threads that weaves together your authentic core being.
You connect with your heart story every time you move into liminal awareness. By liminal awareness I mean that state of mind between consciousness and unconsciousness – which you inhabit when dreaming, meditating, praying, making art or doing magic.
So embracing your heart story happens every time you listen to your inner voice and connect with your Deep Self. I believe that making time for these kinds of practices is hugely important for your happiness and well-being. It plugs you into your Self, your surroundings, and ultimately to the All.
In today's society, it is too easy for our heart's story to be stifled. We remove ourselves from our connection to nature and the transpersonal. We become totally removed from the mythology of the heart. Connecting with your heart story remedies this.
You offer a reading called, 'Working with an Archetype', which I think is incredibly cool. How do you think that understanding and working with archetypes can enrich people's lives?
Áine: Thank you! I love working with archetypes because they open up so much personal potential. We don’t always feel connected to our inner mother, father, sage, trickster, or creatrix all the time. And we’re not always connected with feelings of rebirth, balance, or metamorphosis. But all of those archetypes – and an infinite number of others – are contained within us.
When you’re not tapped into a part your psyche that you currently need, working with an archetype can unlock it. For example, if you’re in need of transformative change or healing, working with the archetype of rebirth can trigger the right shifts and feelings deep within you. Alternatively, you might want to work with the archetype of the King, in order to tap into your deep reserves of authority, power, and agency.
Sometimes it’s hard to find that part of you that is strong, or creative, or forgiving. You can buy into the “you” that your ego has constructed, and forget that your potential is infinite! Working with an archetype – in this case through using the symbols of Tarot – can help unlock this potential.
What are your future plans for Heart Story this year and beyond?
Áine: I’m very excited about the ideas I’m working on!
I will be working more on new Tarot reading possibilities, like my new Joint Journaling – an interactive Tarot reading via email. But I’m also planning on getting a little more specific with my Tarot offerings. I want to focus more on helping people figure out and develop their own spiritual path.
To me, spiritual practice is primarily about achieving the liminal awareness I mentioned earlier. I’m currently exploring different ways that this can be done – from ritual, to meditation, to artistic creativity. Over the next few months, I will be honing my Tarot readings to help people with these practices.
I’ll also be offering a short eBook very soon – a Heart Story Workbook. To celebrate its launch, I’ll be offering it free for a limited period for my newsletter subscribers. I have lots of other ideas in the works too, and over the next twelve months I’m hoping to write a longer eBook on developing a spiritual practice.
Beyond this year – who knows! I’m hoping to start a PhD in religious studies in 2015, so that will inevitably take me in new directions. Ultimately I want to offer more spiritual guidance; one-on-one, and maybe in the form of online courses, too.
Which three key pieces of advice would you offer to those who are just starting to study Tarot?
Áine: Don’t be afraid to jump into the deep end. You don’t need to have definitions memorised for the 78 cards to give yourself a reading. Draw some cards; see what comes up for you. Learning standard definitions has its place. But when you’re starting out, I think the most important thing is to use your intuition.
Journal when you read for yourself. Write it down – if you can’t come up with anything specific, just start by brainstorming, and see where you go with that. When I started out, I wrote down every reading I did for myself – and maybe that’s why I love doing written readings for others! But it was so helpful in drawing out intuitive definitions, seeing connections between the cards, and tracking my progress.
Let Tarot be what it is to you. Let it unravel organically. There are so many ways to use Tarot, so many ways to invite its nurturing messages into your life. I don’t do formal readings for myself very often these days, but I’m always playing with the cards. I draw a card for the Sabbat, for the month, or for the week. I let their messages imbue themselves into my life. I use them in my devotionals to deity. The possibilities are endless.
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Thanks for stepping into the Tarot Spotlight, Áine!
Keep shuffling, treacle tarts!