Learning to read Tarot cards


In case it helps to understand any particular bias I have, here is my background in relation to learning to read Tarot cards.

My parents, their church and several of the schools they sent me to attempted to force their beliefs on me. Even now, after all this time, I can spot the ingrained reactions you can never quite get rid off being replaced by a violent rejection of this mental abuse, and then a more rational and calmer rejection.

As a youth, I believed strongly in many different paranormal possibilities, even trying out a few experiments (without, of course, any positive results).

These beliefs were eroded away as I learnt more about both magic (of the bunny in a hat, rather than goat on a slab variety) and psychology. Dawkins, Derren and Darwin made a lot more sense to me than Von Daniken did.

Time has mellowed my attitude. I now have a less evangelical, and more pragmatic approach.

Subject to the caveat of not hurting others, I believe that we all have the right to make our own choices, to search out our own path in finding both mental anchors and pressure valves. If we can help others along the way, then that is a good thing.

I do feel very strongly that we should extend to others the courtesy of letting them do the same. We can discuss viewpoints as equals, but any attempt to impose a creed from a position of dominance or authority is morally wrong.

Why I started learning to read Tarot cards

Although I had a pack as a youngster and read a bit about them, I didn't learn how to read them until a lot later.

Part of my work comes from providing entertainment at medieval banquets, as both musician and magician. It seemed to be a good 'fit' to add fortune telling to the show. After all, I already had a crystal ball for one of the routines.

So when we were asked to provide a seaside 'End of the pier show' for a client's garden party, it seemed to be the ideal opportunity to build up a Fortune Teller act.

I already knew the basics of 'cold reading' - the way to give any kind of quasi-mystical reading without needing to know anything about the client, so I bought a book by the expert and got started.

He recommended Tarot cards as the ideal prop, in particular the Scapini deck.

But the more I learned, the more that it just felt wrong to base the whole act round a series of tricks and deceptions. There is no problem with the magic - everyone knows that we are cheating, but with research it became apparent that a large number of people strongly believe in the effectiveness of Tarot readings.

So I worked a bit harder, learnt the subject in more depth and arrived at the gig ready to give 'proper' readings.

And was rather gob-smacked at their popularity!

Each new event confirmed that this popularity was not a fluke, so it was an easy decision as a performer to provide the service that clients want, developing more options.

Any views about personal beliefs?

Please feel free to add any personal views or comments, excluding those of the 'y'all-going-to-fry-in-hell-for-eternity-with-demons-poking-your-dangly-bits-with-toasting-forks' variety.

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