Friday, April 27, 2007


Over at 78 Notes to Self, Ginny Hunt has posted a delightful sharing of her experiences at the recent Tarot School’s Readers Studio here in New York city. In this post of April 23, among much else, she says:

“I guess it kinda tweaks me that there's this distancing going on in the tarot world from divination and fortune telling. I get it, cranks and charlatans have given tarot a bad rap, but the tradition of fortune telling tarot is valid as well. Rather than distance myself from it, I embrace it as part and parcel of the whole thing. Because I do want to know what might happen next week and if tarot can give me a glimpse into that, I'm all for it. It is a tremendous tool for personal growth, so it is certainly proper to focus on that, write, teach, and talk about that. But please. While there may be a few of you who seriously do not use the tarot for divination, most of us do and we shouldn't have to feel like we're scumming up the cards to do it. It's not immature tarot reading. It's just another facet of tarot reading.”

To be sure, her overall experiences at The Tarot Studio were apparently extremely positive. I’m just picking out this particular paragraph because it points to an issue that has been bothering me for many years. That is, the differences of opinion among Tarot lovers as to it’s “best” or “highest” or even sometimes “only real” use. And not really so much the differences – I find those very embraceable – but how some folk will put forth their position as the right or correct or only one. In years past, I have found this certainty all too often in the group of users one would think least likely to be “hard nosed,” those who believe its best or most evolved use is for spiritual growth only.

I guess I would fall in the “camp” of using Tarot for personal growth. I stopped doing readings for others many years ago (long story). So my preferred way of using The Tarot (at present) is for personal psychological and emotional growth and healing, and spiritual development. The operative word in that last sentence being “preferred.” For me, The Tarot is a tool: powerful, subtle, flexible, and far and deep ranging, but a tool nevertheless. And we creative humans, therefore, have and will continue to find various uses to which we can put this ancient and at the same time ever more modern tool. Among which uses individuals will and do find strong preferences for a particular use. More simply put, I do not believe The Tarot has an inherent or best or more evolved use to which it is meant to be put. As with any tool, the use is up to the user.

This is not to say I do not respect those who believe it is meant to be a spiritual tool. (In fact, I can readily understand why they believe so.) That is their path with The Tarot and I learn from them. Also, even though I sometimes feel marginalized in the larger Tarot community of professional readers and writers, I also enjoy and learn a great deal from them. I have to admit, though, that I wince when I hear of games, plain ordinary card games, that some folk play with The Tarot. But I would never suggest that this is wrong or a mis-use of The Tarot. It simply is (most definitely :-D) not my way.

So what this ramble is attempting to address is my opinion that each person develops her own unique relationship with The Tarot. In my case, it has evolved into a personal psychological and emotional guide with spiritual underpinnings. However, I’d never suggest that my way is the only or correct way, or the way it is meant to be, or a more evolved way than someone else’s. Nor would I even say the relationship I have now with The Tarot is how it will always be for me. Who knows? I may have an epiphany tomorrow and feel my path is now to read for others again! (That would be exceedingly strange but odder things have happened in my life. :-D)

The upshot is, I’m suggesting we remember we are individuals, with different needs, talents, shortcomings, goals, histories, spiritual paths, skills, etc. Therefore, what we each look to The Tarot for will vary. How could it not help but vary when The Tarot is such a rich and endlessly flexible tool? One that tickles and entices our – also endless – imaginations?

P.S. I also recommend reading the post “Our Tiny Community” on The Tarot Channel (under Archives/Personal Experience), by Mark McElroy, and the comments thereto for a related discussion.

P.P.S. I just realized I posted my design for The Lovers in my Taiga Tarot just yesterday. I tend to relate to The Lovers as being about major choice(s). And that is certainly in keeping with my opinion in this post: we choose our way of using/relating to The Tarot.

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‘til next time, keep enjoying The Tarot,


[aka: Patricia Kelly]

****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)**** SEE ALSO: Roswila’s Dream & Poetry Realm for Tarot poetry and Roswila’s Taiga Tarot for taiga (illustrated tanka).****

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


The Hermit (IX) from Gioseppe Maria Mitelli Tarot,
commissioned in Bologna, 1664

I've been fascinated by this version of The Hermit ever since I first came across it in The Art of Tarot. I can't say I understand its symbolism, only that it speaks to me very deeply the way my dreams sometimes do, stirring some wordless depth and coaxing a puzzled recognition.

I've been thinking a lot about this particular Hermit recently as I feel I've been stumbling along in my life, both literally (knee osteoarthritis acting up) and figuratively (you don't want the details :-D). At the same time I know there have been times when I have flown, balanced and energized. How is it one finds one's self in either state at any given time? That's just some personal projection on to this version of IX that I think of from time to time.

At another time when I sat with this version of The Hermit I had thought, so, we are able to fly, why is it we do not? And at yet another time I thought "in this world we stumble, in others we fly..." We are creatures of both flesh and spirit.

As to how these musings might fit in with the more traditional sense of IX? Maybe: the road to wisdom is long; sometimes we fly, sometimes we crawl or stumble. Also, maybe that aspect of The Hermit that represents the "wounded healer" (those who are wounded sometimes become healers themselves) can be seen in this rendition.

P.S. added hours after posting: A friend just emailed me a link to a article on poetry and animals. In it is this paragraph:

"In other cases, the animal becomes a metaphor to venerate humanity, or more specifically, the poet, as in "The Albatross" by Charles Baudelaire. The poem follows a majestic bird after it is captured for fun by the crew of a ship, and describes its awkward appearance on board and its humiliation by the deck hands. The final stanza, here translated by Richard Howard, declares:

The Poet is like this monarch of the clouds
Riding the storm above the marksman's range;
Exiled on the ground, hooted and jeered,
He cannot walk because of his great wings."

Wow! How's that for a more painful take on this version of The Hermit? (See also the comments to this post, made before I received this link.)

To view two other versions of The Hermit card and read some of the other sorts of meanings I've seen for IX over the years, click here.

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‘til next time, keep enjoying The Tarot,


[aka: Patricia Kelly]

****If you wish to copy or use any of my writing, please email me for permission (under “View my complete profile”)**** SEE ALSO: Roswila’s Dream & Poetry Realm for Tarot poetry and Roswila’s Taiga Tarot for taiga (illustrated tanka).****

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