Tarot is the language of the soul. It describes a process
of life we all go through, no matter what culture, and mirrors
for us where we are on the path.
It addresses such questions as, where are we going and where
have we been? What lessons am I learning? What am I likely
to be confronted with today? How does a particular person feel
about me? What’s our past life connection? What’s
our future together? How is my business doing? What is my money
It provides guidance on the path, and a means of bringing
our unconscious life to light so that we may live it more consciously.
Carl Jung said “One does not become enlightened by imagining
figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.” Tarot
brings us into the realm of the unconscious, and to whatever
extent we can stand it, allows us to live there.
No one knows the exact origin of the Tarot. Is it from France,
Egypt, Italy, China? There’s indication that it may be
from any of these countries. Most documentation goes back to
the 14th century though it may actually be 1000 years older.
We can trace back a European card game called “Tarocchi” or “Tarock.”
Tarot is an ancient occult and philosophical system consisting
of 78 cards divided into Major and Minor Arcana (secrets).
The 22 cards of the major arcana represent the journey of a
soul that each of us takes. It’s the story of the soul
as it confronts life, develops consciousness and ultimately
finds enlightenment. It deals with archetypal forces.
The remaining 56 cards (forerunners of modern playing cards)
deal with the changing situations we encounter. It consists
of 16 court cards and 40 numbered cards divided into four suits:
Wands (clubs) represent the fire element/spirit (some decks
have it represent air), Cups (hearts) represent water/emotion,
Swords (spades) represent air/mind/thinking, Pentacles (diamonds)
represent earth/physical/sensation, money and business.
Classically, each suit has a King, Queen, Knight, Page (or
Princess). Cards are numbered Ace through 10.
Divination is the process of establishing communication with
the gods of the collective unconscious. It may be translated
to mean “divine power,” or “of the gods,” and
thus indicates the process is to “make divine.” Initially
it was a method by which one could communicate with the gods
and comprehend their will.
It’s a spiritual science that deals with discovering
the divine significance behind “chance” events.
FORTUNE TELLING AND THE MYSTICAL ART OF TAROT
Ongoing classes - email for more information
Tarot Workshop Review
The following is a review of Mary Greer and Rachel Pollack’s
tarot workshop on relationships. I hope you enjoy it. My
goal is to encourage people to attend these intimate programs.
Please contact me by email for more information.
Mary Greer and Rachel Pollack’s
Tarot and Relationships Workshop
Irvine, October 25-27, 2002
When I tell non-taroists (or is it taroites?) that I’m
going off to a weekend conference on tarot, many of them assume
I’ll be entering a world of fairies and elves where grownups
wear short pants and play all day. This is an alternate
world, more magical and colorful than our own.
They don’t suppose that tarot enthusiasts might be people
with strong intellects who pursue deep psychological insights.
In movies or on TV, psychics and card readers are carried away
by otherworldly forces. If they’re like the infamous
Miss Cleo, all they have to do is turn a card and they know
everything about you and who is cheating in your world. There’s
no discussion of ethics, art or the English language.
Often real taroists turn out to be an amalgam of intellect
and intuition. Many of us communicate with each other
via the internet, comparing decks, cards, descriptions, depictions,
but we’re not always located close enough to hang out.
Recently, however, I had the good fortune to attend a workshop
on Tarot and Relationships taught by master taroists, Mary
Greer and Rachel Pollack. The event, which was hosted
by Barbara Rapp, who also sponsors the Los Angeles Tarot Symposium,
was an entry into that alternate world where life is at least
slightly better, if not more. While there was no one
in short pants, and no Miss Cleo swept in by the wind and speaking
in a calypso dialect one might almost dance to, there was indeed
Most everyone in the Tarot community knows Mary Greer and
Rachel Pollack as two highly informed, and gifted authors. If
you don’t know their work, I encourage you to check out
any of their books. You won’t be disappointed. Two
of my favorite books of Mary’s are Women of the Golden
Dawn and Tarot Constellations, though every one of her books
or articles has made a difference for me. Her current
book, Tarot Reversals has been long awaited and well received.
Rachel Pollack’s 78 Degrees of Wisdom is a classic and
was one of my essential guides when I started teaching tarot. Many
of you are already working with her “Shining Tribe” deck,
which provides a stunning and integrative approach to tarot. Please
read the outstanding review of Rachel’s latest book,
The Forest of Souls: A Walk Through Tarot, located elsewhere
on this website.
We started the weekend by choosing cards from our decks that
spoke to us of relationships, and moved on from there to the
discussion of relationships at large. Indeed, we created
an expansive list of some of the relationships in our lives: Our
relationship with food, with our decks, each other, families,
The group questioned the nature of relationships and allowed
our cards to answer. We asked our decks to discuss their
relationships with other decks. We talked about elemental
dignities and they’re relationship to each other and
our relationship to them. In other words, how do the
different suits feel about each other? Do they always
feel that way? How do my different decks prefer to be
We created spreads. Relationships being the topic, we
looked at different ways to read about a relationship, from
where it’s been to where it will likely be. We
talked ethics. What should we say when asked certain
questions? What are the limits? Are the limits
for you the same as those I practice?
We asked questions of the decks and ourselves, such as, “What
is my truth?” What might one deck want to teach
another? We discussed God, sex and death, but not necessarily
in that order. If a querent is looking for love, why
aren’t they finding it? We used a spread from Thyrsse
at tarotmoon.com for that.
How do I connect with my body? We drew cards from the
Shining Tribe deck and laid them out across a willing volunteer. How
many of us think of laying a spread out on ourselves and feeling
the cards from that angle? What changes when you put
one card next to another, or me next to you, or Mary beside
Rachel? What new synergy is created?
On another tangible level, the room was comfortable, the setting
was lovely, we were well fed, and we were also given complimentary
gift bags from Llewellyn. (Barbara Rapp must have made
the arrangement for these.)
Our bags were filled with wonderful tarot products. Tarot
Calendar, post cards, tarot decks…. Each bag contained
a new tarot deck (Everyone’s was different. Mine
was the Nigel Jackson deck, which I would never have thought
to buy for myself and yet I love.) It opened my eyes
to other decks I might previously have overlooked. However,
since Barbara recreated her store, The Crystal Cave, in the
back of the room, we had access to a multitude of decks, which
we could genuinely experience before buying.
As to gift bag’s inclusion of the Llewellyn calendar,
I don’t know if they’ve begun adding more information
and beauty to their calendars, or if I’ve changed (or
both) but I’ve totally enjoyed reading the information
listed for each month, along with an authors’ choice
of spreads. I’ve then been able to go to the authors’ web
sites and learn even more about them and their approaches to
tarot. This is something I don’t usually say about
It was refreshing to come together for a few days and be in
the presence of new friends, invigorating ideas and novel spreads. Were
we intellectual daemons in the realm of fairies and elves? Perhaps
sometimes. I bought The Wild Spirit Tarot by Poppy Papin,
certainly a new adventure for me.
(Barbara is planning the next Mary and Rachel event. You can
email your preference date and suggestions for topics to Barbara
Rapp at email@example.com, or simply ask her to add you
to the mailing list for upcoming events.)
I look forward to meeting you there!
Shortly after the weekend I emailed the participants that
I would be writing an article. The following two emails
sum up the many glowing responses I received:
This was a powerful workshop. As I often do short relationship
spreads for patrons of the fairs, there were several presented
which I will adopt for use. While I wonder at the amount
(15 hours) of time we spent on aspects of one topic: relationships,
I am equally amazed that the time spent felt just right. There
was great energy in the group and I walked away that night,
slept wonderfully, probably because we'd all been in a light
trance through out the 2-1/2 days.
To tell the truth, I would have gone to the workshop no matter
what the topic. In my experience, Mary and Rachel always
have something exciting to share and I wasn't disappointed. I
came back home after workshop on a complete high. Armed with
five new books, new cards, new spreads, new ideas, I've been
reading cards non-stop including for Samhain. I flip back and
forth between the books comparing opinions and advice with
my own until I'm dizzy.
I got more out of these three days than I have with all the
other ten classes that I have attended this year and it was
just so much fun! The sense of community is strong, Lorrie,
I agree and I was impressed with the willingness to share knowledge
and insight. I came away with a validation that I am
developing good intuitive skills as a reader. I am also pleasantly
amazed to learn all the different ways this group uses Tarot
as development tools. Barbara Rapp, thank you for putting it
together again and Lorrie, I'm glad you are getting
the word out.