My Tarot Project: Year 9

9 years ago, right around my birthday, I launched my tarot practice. At that same time, I also began a project toward greater knowledge of the tarot through a variety of lenses. I committed to using a different deck in depth for all my public readings each year for ten years. I have to admit, coming up on the 9th year of the project, I don't know if I will be able to put it down next year.

The criteria for the project is as follows: each deck needs to follow a traditional 78-card system, each deck needs to have traditional suits rather than fanciful suits (I just couldn't possibly take myself seriously if I was referring to, say, the 7 of Martini Glasses about a major life decision), each deck needs to be bold and grave about cards like Death, the Tower, the Devil- no namby-pamby new age replacements that might soften the meaning, no creative interpretations that are so ephemeral they might turn into will 'o the wisps and float away...

I made the commitment to do a minimum of 1000 readings per deck, each year, for people other than myself (I rarely read my own cards), and I have held to that. That means that, as of May 6, 2012, I have performed over 9000 readings for others. That feels really good to report!

In the first year, I used a generic Marseilles-based deck by Barnes and Noble. Look at that beautiful Queen of Cups! I fell in love with her, which is why I used the deck. My deck is marked up with keywords, symbols and scribbles in my own hand- I wrote directly on the cards themselves. They are so witchy...I now keep this deck in a bag that I got from a deceased friend, and use them only under the most serious of circumstances.

In the second year, I used the Marseilles Tarot. Standard and straightforward. I liked that the pips, with their lack of pictures, made me really have to study the traditional meanings in greater depth. I overcame my fear of "not knowing the meaning in the moment" with this deck.

In the third year, I used the Mythic Tarot by Juliet Sharman-Burke, Liz Green, and Tricia Newell. I will always love this deck. I learned tarot on this deck many years ago, and it was great to get it into my practice. Funny story about this deck: my original was stolen with my purse, and three days later, a new one mysteriously arrived by mail at my day job. No note, nothing. I was convinced the Goddess had arranged this for me (which I still believe, now with more actual information.) I later discovered a co-worker had ordered it for me as a surprise, and it "just happened" to arrive right after my purse was stolen. Then, I lost that deck somehow (maybe gave it away?), and within a month another friend "just happened" to buy me another. Accident, Mahavira? I think not.

In the fourth year, I used the Animals Divine deck by Lisa Hunt. Well...Beautiful artwork, but honestly, the pictures never quite felt like they actually related to the card meanings. I was attracted to the mixture of deities and animals, but in the end, I felt the energy of this deck to be tepid. I was glad to retire it from my public readings, and I think I even retired it about a month early. Just not my deck. But Lisa Hunt is an amazing, amazing artist, and I respect her gifts immensely.

In the fifth year, I used the Medieval Scapini deck by Luigi Scapini. What a fun, wild ride! Tons of bizarre, hidden symbolism. I have to say, reading with this deck sometimes had an LSD quality to it...as if I was tripping out of my mind and wandering the halls of the Vatican. I noticed my clients were noticeably relieved when we moved on from this deck. It is a bit heavy, in its own way.

In the sixth year, I used the Morgan-Greer deck by Bill Greer and Lloyd Morgan. Beautiful, clean, approachable. A classic. Yet I was ready to move on from it when the time came. I still adore the Queen of Swords from this deck. She taught me a lot about love and power.

In the seventh year, I used the Pearls of Wisdom deck by Caeli Fullbrite and Roxi Sim. I was REALLY sorry to move on from this deck. It spoke to me so profoundly. Even the accompanying booklet (which, truth be known, I rarely really digest) was riveting to me. The symbolism is so delicious and real, the artwork vivid and evocative. I HIGHLY recommend this deck.

In the eighth year, I used the Alchemical Tarot Renewed. I am sad to retire this deck- I have loved using it and my clients find it illuminating as well. The images are approachable, but still densely symbolic. I appreciate that about it, as well as the style of artwork, slightly reminiscent of woodcuts. With great joy and gratitude, I give thanks to this deck! Today I completed my last reading with it before it retires. I read, ironically, unplanned, for a client I have been seeing for nearly a decade. It was a great last hurrah for this deck and I.

So, which deck will grace my table for this coming year? After a powerful connection with Marcia McCord, I purchased number 81 out of 100 of her Art Postcard Tarot. This deck is FUN, but it's also very, very profound. The images reveal shades of meaning that are nuanced, carefully-selected, and illuminating. I look forward to sharing their whispers with my clients over the coming year.

Once more into the breach, dear friends! May it be yet another wonderful year of growth and learning together, with clients, students and fellow tarot enthusiasts!