Quick Personal Update / Well – Wishes
Before we dive into the world of tarot reading, I wanted to wish you guys a very happy December. I’m half Buddy-the-Elf, half neurotic mess when it comes to Christmas. I have all my presents purchased except one thing for my niece & all my presents wrapped except what is still en route to my house. I even made a trip to the post office to get my packages started on their holiday pilgrimage. Normally, I adore the post office. Weird, I know… but who doesn’t get the warm-fuzzies from sending or receiving happy mail? During the holidays, the post office makes me moderately homicidal. Jason gives me a ton of crap because I spend an unusual amount of time in post offices and library for someone my age.
The festive feelings are abundant in my tiny family because we did our first Christmas cards this year! Jason has no idea why we had to go to the forest and take turn taking family photos with my boss’ family but I think they turned out super cute and I love them so much. When I was picking up my photos from Walgreens (the holy land of 2-hour photos), I noticed there were templates for Halloween family photos, so now we’re going to do that EVERY YEAR.
Otherwise, we’re busy looking for houses or apartments! I’m one of those people who needs my own space to feel content. I don’t mind sharing with family but I want my name on lease and the power to make it mine. I’m also still in the process of switching my majors and I’m taking an even bigger academic leap and switching from the University to the local community college. There’s too many stipulations and surplus charges to going to a University and I’m getting too old to be dealing with people telling me what classes I can and cannot take, within reason. Jason was offered a position at his dream career which is very exciting for both of us. I hope everyone is experiencing some sort of holiday magic and is enjoying the love that comes with this time of year.
In other bookish news, it completely escaped my goldfish brain to tell you guys that I make biblio-playlists on my Spotify; if you don’t have Spotify, I strongly recommend getting one. I’m not sponsored to say that but I am the kind of person who gets very testy if I don’t have something to listen to and I have found Spotify to be the best platform to avoiding conversation with strangers. I have a ACOMAF / Wicked Lovely playlist that I’m decently proud of so here’s the link to that: aislinn / feyre playlist
Thank you for sticking with me through that word vomit – let’s get onto the topic of the day – tarot cards!
The History of Tarot
Contrary to what the uninitiated might think, the meaning of divination cards changes over time, shaped by each era’s culture and the needs of individual users. This is partly why these decks can be so puzzling to outsiders, as most of them reference allegories or events familiar to people many centuries ago. Caitlín Matthews, who teaches courses on cartomancy, or divination with cards, says that before the 18th century, the imagery on these cards was accessible to a much broader population. But in contrast to these historic decks, Matthews finds most modern decks harder to engage with. (Collector’s Weekly)
I learned recently on the Just A Story Podcast: Ouija Board Episode that tarot cards were actually one of the very first spin offs of the infamous spirit board. These cards are dated way back to early Christianity, as the first hand drawn cards had imagery that was strongly linked to biblical messages. Today, we most often see tarot cards being used by gypsies in movies and TV shows. Sometimes, its a scraggly old witch who says that her cards are telling the main character that he/she is about to encounter daaanngerrr… ohhh nooo!
Tarot cards have often been used to contact the other side – specifically, dead relatives or resident spirits. Cards are one of the earliest methods of divination and have been a multipurpose tool for occult members for centuries.
I don’t want to bore ya’ll with the schematic origins of tarot cards, so I’ll give a short little blurb about why tarot cards are important to me.
The Book Witch & her Tarot Cards
I was introduced to tarot cards shortly after my introduction to the occult, witchcraft, and astrology. I know almost as much about tarot cards as I do birth charts, so that’s quite a lot. I was given my first spell-book when I was five; if my memory serves correct, I started reading cards at six. My first deck was a Rider- Waite, which most of you have probably seen, whether you know it or not. It was a mini-deck and was actually pretty hard to read since the text was so small. My family, on my mom’s side, is Native American and Romany. Romany (often pronounced Rum-knee) is the politically saavy term for “gypsy”. My family is the side of Romany that deals with horse racing, rather than caravans. Yes, there is a side of gypsy culture that deals entirely with horse-racing. My great-aunt and great-uncle were actually Queen & King of the Gypsies during their lifetime. My mom and my Papa are Triple-Crown fanatics and I got the mysticism. To say superstition and strange hobbies run in my family is the understatement of the century. Long story short, if you’ve ever seen the show “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding”, you’ve probably seen one of my relatives.
Since my first deck, I’ve had at least fifteen other decks. I have the Zombie tarot, Fairy tarot, Astrological tarot, Karma tarot, Mermaid tarot.. you get the idea. My current right-hand deck is the Starchild Tarot and it goes everywhere with me. Why do I carry a tarot deck with me at all times? Well, in addition to being the Harry Potter friend, the witch friend, the book worm friend, and the caffeine dependent friend – I am also, the Tarot friend. I cannot count how many times I’ve run into someone at a coffee shop and they’ve asked for a reading. There are not enough fingers and toes on my body to mark the occasions that I’ve gotten a text message from a friend who’s panicking about some circumstance and needs me to read their cards immediately. I carry them with me because I’m afraid that if I don’t have a deck on hand, the world might explode with uncertainty and mass confusion.
How to Learn Tarot
I’ve been reading cards from the time that most kids learned to ride a bike and I’ve taught quite a few people about tarot, as well. There are so many ways to read someone’s cards; essentially, there’s infinite possibilities and more are created every day. I use a traditional three-card spread that focuses on past, present, and future. However, I follow a lot of great blogs with very unique tarot spread ideas and of course, I have books. Most decks come with a small guide book that translates each card and gives some basic spread ideas for novices. Once you get familiar with the meanings of each individual card, reading mostly becomes about intuition. To get started, here are some books that I strongly recommend. Side-note: Most books go off of the traditional deck (ie Rider-Waite) so it’s best to get familiar with a deck that has the standard Cups, Swords, Pentacles, and Wands and the original Major Arcana (The Sun, Moon, Chariot etc). My precious Star Child deck deviates from the norm – I’m personally very happy that I learned on a traditional deck before trying to read something that is a stand-alone. For those interested in learning about tarot, check out Tarot for a New Generation, The Intuitive Tarot, and The Thinking Tarot. Once the basics have been covered and you’re familiar with the meanings, Tarot Spreads is my holy grail and I highly recommend it. There’s a plethora of other books that cover fortune-telling as a whole which can be really helpful for beginners to decide whether they prefer cartomancy or other forms of divination.
Tarot Themed YA
Hi, I’m Chandler and I take a lot of pictures with my books in baths. Why? Because I need more cute props for book photos, there’s no good lighting anywhere else in my house, and baths are fucking awesome, that’s why.
I couldn’t write a tarot-themed post without mentioning this series. Actually, the whole reason I wrote this post was to talk about Kresley Cole! So now that you’re here, let’s sit and chat for a minute about the beauty that is The Arcana Chronicles. Mama didn’t raise no Slytherin for nothin’!
Normally, I am not a fan of books written from the perspective of the stereotypical high school cheerleader because I identify more with the quirky-but-not-emo (think Cath from Fangirl or Rory from Gilmore Girls) character. Except Stephanie Meyer’s Bella Swan; fuck Bella Swan. I’m sorry, I’m sorry – I know there are fans who can argue the genius of Twilight but like, how do you do it? Anyway, at first I hated Evie (back to Arcana Chronicles, oops) but Cole starts the story off from the perspective of another character, who you can already tell is a deranged psychopath… which was great because the entire time I was thinking “Oh cool, is Evie gonna die?” I wanted desperately to finish the book so I can find out if she lives or not. Then… she evolved. She became this super interesting, powerful character who really should’ve been a quirky girl but happened to fall on higher on the social ladder. Even Jack, the stereotypical bad boy, had some good qualities to him.
For the record, I ship Evie and another very intricate character- who also has stolen a bit of my heart, its very problematic. You meet him in the second book so I’m not going to delve into him, it would be a very mean spoiler. In addition to me switching from “Oh boy, when does she get killed off?” to “YEAH BUDDY, GIRL POWER”, I have to say that the plot of the entire book is amazing. And its an apocalyptic wasteland and that is my shit. Kresley Cole embodies the tarot cards so well. Their traits and nuances are so unique and subtle that it’s hard to catch onto at first. Like the Judgement card, who happens to be an archangel who acts like a 1930’s gentleman.
I love this series, I have absolutely devoured it. I will even admit to loving Evie, she’s too much of a bad-ass to not appreciate. If you have any knowledge (or no knowledge) of tarot cards, I would tell you to go read this series. GO READ THIS SERIES. Then come back & tell me who your favorite card is.
Dead of Winter – Kresley Cole & Ghostland: An American History of Haunted Places – Colin Dickey
See you all very soon; best wishes,
The Book Witch