Thursday, March 17, 2005

My tarot decks

Two years ago, my friend John gave me my first tarot deck, the Zerner-Farber deck. I tucked the deck away in my altar, which is a small chest that holds my magical tools. Six months later, for no good reason, I took the deck from the altar and started to play with it. To my surprise, I had powerful readings right from the start. Since that time, I've commenced a leisurely and haphazard study of the tarot. I bought myself a Universal Waite deck, a good teaching deck. Then I advance-ordered a special set of the majors from Joanna Powell Colbert's gorgeous Gaian Tarot. My fourth and final deck was a gift from my sister, who brought it back from her honeymoon in Italy.

I find that I don't use the Waite deck very often. I've developed a special bond with my Z-F deck, and I continue to use it for most of my readings. I adore the Gaian tarot; I think most of the art, the symbols, and the interpretations are first-rate. (For example, the Hierophant has become the Teacher, a wizened man learning from Coyote and the green allies: garlic, dandelion, nettle, yarrow, comfrey, and Western Red Cedar.) Mostly, I read for myself, and Adonis uses the cards, too. Occasionally I'll read for a friend, but I'm really a beginner.

I've also started collecting a tarot library; I find that library book sales and used book stores are good places to find older books. Tonight at St. Marks bookstore - they have an occult section; who knew? - I picked up a new book, The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination by Robert M. Place. It looks like a good, scholarly text on the tarot, and I look forward to delving further.

I'm pretty picky about the art and symbolism of my decks. I've had my eye on this deck for a while, because I've spent a fair bit of time in Prague and feel a strong spiritual and ancestral connection to that city. The Hermit haunts the street where Kafka lived. I also think the new Druid Craft Tarot is very handsome, and I look forward to getting a deck.

My favorite on-line interpretive site is the trinity doughnuts tarot - edgy, novel, and spot-on. I also rely heavily on Joan Bunning's site, where she offers an excellent free course in learning the tarot.