'Step by Step Tarot' by Terry Donaldson as my chosen guidebook to help me get back into the subject. He chose to use images of the Rider Waite Tarot in the book and this led me to automatically pick up a deck of my own the next day. So, I guess my passion collided with the Rider Waite quite by accident and I couldn't be more grateful for that. It was a gentle guide in many ways. It helped me to connect the dots. It dropped sacred clues everywhere for me to pick up and lose myself to..
But I knew that 2014 would be the year to branch out. After some months working through the resistance I was experiencing, I finally fell in love again, first with Gypsy Palace Tarot and then with others which seemed to click neatly into my personality. I recently read that a deck collector owns an average of forty four! That's a heck of a number. Whilst I believe it's possible that I will end up accumulating far more than that during my life, I like to spend a lot of time acquainting myself with a new deck and giving it my undivided attention. For this reason, I'm moving at a snail's pace.
Before purchasing a deck, I make a conscious effort to establish my potential to connect with it. Do I just want to own it on a whim? Does the imagery seem too 'dark' or conversely too 'whimsical' to provide a profound reading? Will I pick it up time after time or is it likely to gather dust after only a week or two? Once I settle on a purchase and click 'Add to Cart', I feel that I've committed to entering some kind of maze which was birthed inside someone else's mind and given to me in trust. It feels big.
When I receive a new deck, I usually perform a quick cleansing and 'welcoming' ritual before leaving it on my altar for the night. Then I instigate several weeks of quality time. This time involves making a pot of Earl Grey and settling down on the bed, spreading the cards out in front of me or thumbing through them. Each time, I notice sections of a card's imagery which were overlooked before. The layers of meaning become clearer and less tangled. I begin to come up with key words which reflect the way the deck makes me feel overall. I change my mind about different cards, updating my consciousness with various interpretations, throwing out anything narrow and bringing in more expansive definitions. I troubleshoot problem cards through utilising the principles of shadow work.
I take to journalling quite often. I select a card, or two or three, and just go into a stream of consciousness flow. There's no plan - I just let the deck take me on a wondrous journey. This quality Tarot time is precious indeed. I sincerely hope that all deck collectors are factoring such time into their schedules, even with the much loved decks they've owned for years. I still adore spending time with Rider Waite, channeling its energies and asking its archetypes to speak to me. As I evolve, my relationship to the deck evolves accordingly. This evolution is something I like to observe with great interest.
When I feel that I've enjoyed enough quality time with a relatively new deck, I start to perform 'dummy readings' on different themes. I imagine a querent's focus area and do test runs to ensure that the deck can really 'speak' in a useful way. If these readings are dry the first few times, I don't fret over it. I know that there's a reason for the deck to end up in my possession; there is something to learn and something to teach. I stick with it. The first time I actually use a deck for a client is another big moment. That's the point at which I feel it's been 'accepted' into my collection. I just smiled as I typed that last sentence.
Opening myself up to new imagery has been a truly wild ride. Some may venture to ask why the hell I left it so long. Who knows? In a way, I think I just got comfortable and began to dig my heels in. But there's another side of me, the higher mind perhaps, which wonders if Rider Waite just wasn't finished with me yet. It needed to hold me in its sole possession for a little while longer so that I could recognise my own ability to graduate into the company of other decks with my third eye wide open. And of course, Rider Waite will always be around. It's like a friendly shadow.
This blog post wouldn't be complete without a little mention of my love of oracle decks and angel decks. They are finding their ways to me and I adore them. Different format, exact same potential for wild wisdom and majestic insight. How fantastic! I've owned one or two for a while but they always stayed firmly packed away. It's wonderful to open them up like Christmas presents and add to them when I feel called to do so. Oracle decks are my new favourite thing.
Enjoy your travels. I'm certainly enjoying mine!