Sunday, February 27, 2022

The Deck That Made Me Brave

Before I bought my first physical deck, I only used phone apps. It was easier to hide the Tarot you see, because good Mormon girls don't use the Tarot. 

The first Tarot deck I ever wanted was a novelty deck from the Escaflowne anime. I was so excited to see a DVD offer to get one for free while supplies last! Unfortunately, I told my mother about it first who basically told me in no uncertain terms, that I was not allowed to have. If I got the deck I would start using it and relying on the deck instead of Jesus Christ, and being a bad influence on my younger siblings (I'm the third out of eight children). 

Years later, married with my own singular spawn, I found myself in an FB group about developing your spiritual gifts from a Mormon perspective. Some people there talked about how much they loved oracle cards. Some mentioned that they will use oracle, but never Tarot because they thought the Devil card and the Death card were evil. A couple said that they didn't have a problem with those but understood the view. While I got into oracle, Tarot was still in my mind. 

Because you see, I would still look for Hitomi's Tarot Cards from Escaflowne. I could always find them for sale but they would cost about three hundred dollars or so. I knew I only wanted them because they came from the anime, and that I wasn't going to misuse them as my mother predicted I would. 

And well, these other Mormon women, developing their spiritual gifts made some interesting points, so I decided to download free Tarot apps onto my then-android phone. Some of those apps were so badly designed, but yet, I would open them up, randomly pull a card and feel like I got what I needed. I discovered the Galaxy Tarot app (my favorite Tarot app of all time, on Android phones/tablets only). I started to learn the cards a little more and found that the Death card and the Devil card and other "scary" "negative" cards had been misunderstood by some of those ladies in the FB group. 

Yet still, I never intended to buy a physical deck.  This was my little secret. I didn't even think I would ever get that Escaflowne deck because dang, who has that kind of money laying around? Not me! 

Then, Memorial weekend, in 2015, I went to BayCon, a Bay Area general science fiction and fantasy. I started going every year for my birthday. That year, I went with ZERO spending money. I spent my time going to the different writing panels. However, my big sister was attending as well and I went to the dealer's room with her (she gave me twenty to spend for my birthday out of her own very limited budget). Therein, I saw the artist guest of honor's table. Stephanie Pui-Mun Law. She had all sorts of things, but also a Tarot deck, and two big ol' special Tarot art books, one for the major arcana, one for the minor. 

Let me tell you, her art was breathtaking. I liked the cover of the big convention book with her work on it, but that Tarot. Her Tarot art had me spinning in stunned delight and joy. The Death card had me reeling and I wanted to cry for the beauty of it, and for the beauty of the rest of the cards. 

Except, I could not afford to buy her deck. I got Stephanie's business card and she reassured me that yes, I would be able to buy the deck later after the convention. I felt so worried that this was going to end up being an unintended lie, as sometimes happens. But, there was nothing I could do but take it up on faith. 

This deck was so powerful to me, that I started telling my sister about how I have been using Tarot apps as the Spirit guided me. While she was dubious, there was no dispute that Stephanie's art was simply that stunning. 

As time passed, I kept looking up the cards on Stephanie's Shadowscapes website, taking them in, while still using the smart phone apps. Waiting to be able to afford the cost of the deck, which was only $33. But at that time, that was a lot of money. About 17 months later (oh hey, look 17, the Star!), on Oct. 5, 2016, I was able to buy the Shadowscapes Tarot. A few months after in 2017 I was able to buy her big Shadowscapes Tarot art books.  

The Shadowscapes Tarot is still my favorite deck of all time. 

Here is the link to her website where you can see all the cards!

Bonus note: I now have the Escaflowne novelty deck. Robert, my spouse, bought it for me when he found it for about a hundred dollars!
I rarely use it, but it's a joy to have. 

Another bonus, my mom is now hella chill with me and Tarot!

Monday, February 21, 2022

My Unexpected "Initiation" Into Professional Tarot Reading

Back in June 2018 I finally decided to actually listen to the spiritual promptings to take a break on FB for  a year and a day. Yeah, it took me quite a long time to listen to my spirit guides on that. I swear they know I behave like an idiot sometimes and so start poking me early. 

I set the start and spent the time up to that letting people know what I was up to, and I got few laughs for my, "year and a day" length, but hey, that wasn't my idea. 

In a few FB groups I wanted to say goodbye to people, and in one part  Tarot group that I really like I said:

"All right peeps. I'm leaving FB for a year and a day. My guides say it's time to stop putting that call on voicemail. It starts on Friday. If you wanna stay in touch please PM me! I will give you my email and such so we can stay in contact. "HOWEVER, before I leave, I wanna give some peeps a 3 card reading. THESE ARE WHAT THE PLACEMENTS MEAN: 1: What your Guides want you to know 2: What the Earth wants you to know. 3: What your Heart wants you to know.

"I know for sure I can do 10 people, I might be able to squeeze more but no promises.

"Note: I will be using Shadowscapes Tarot. Images available here: From Shadowscapes Tarot. Images available here:

"Unless I'm guided to use a different deck for you, then I will tell you different. 🙂 "Love this group! ❤"

Okay, well, there were several responses, and I got it in my head to DO THEM ALL. Okay, when I say several I mean about 50! So in less than 24 hours, between the hours of 3:17pm on June 13th to 9:40am June 14th (with eight hours sleep in between and, I assume, making family dinner) I did 51 readings (I counted, and I looked back on the thread to see all the dates and times). 

Y'all, that was exhausting. So exhausting I don't even remember sleeping. I remember it as one big mass of time doing reading after reading after reading in short order. And there were times I was inspired to use a different deck for someone which meant it took MORE time to get the reading done because I had to take pictures of hte spread when I went to a different deck. 

I was tired y'all. So. Tired. And I received SO MANY positive responses to the readings! Like no one said it was a dud for them. It was a helluva experience. 

Soon after I realized, wait, if I can do a bunch of readings like that all at once, then hot damn, I'm actually ready to be a professional Tarot reader!  That same year, I participated in my first faire as a Tarot reader. And after that I started my Tarot Energy Healing meetup group, which is a story all on its own.

Anyway, I had never considered this experience as an "initiation", but as simply me goin' wild. It wasn't until one of my students in the meetup called it one that I went, oh, oh yes, I suppose it is. 

Sunday, February 6, 2022

Why Tarot?

This is a question that I frequently hear from people. Why use Tarot?  What's the point of Tarot? How is it helpful? 

Fundamentally Tarot is a tool of psychological, emotional, and spiritual empowerment.

Tarot is a way to get out of one's own head, whether reading for myself to get out of my own head, or reading for someone else to help them get out of their own head. Tarot is a great way to get out of your head because you can see images on the cards, using archetypes and symbols to help you see what you need to see; perhaps that things aren't as bad as you think they are, or perhaps uncovering toxic positivity. 

Tarot is a way of grounding and calming the mind. Shuffling the cards with deep calming belly breaths, thinking about the question and all the moving parts of that question, and thus thinking about how to lay it all out in a spread or choosing a premade spread that would fit. It's like cranking the music box of your soul to get the song started. Maybe that's too poetic, but you can think of it as getting into a car, checking that your mirrors, seat, and steering wheel are all in place, then putting on that seat belt; all before turning the key in the ignition, all before you start your drive.

Tarot has a structure similar to a deck of cards, and uses archetypes, so that once you begin to remember them then that knowledge is easily transferred to a different Tarot deck. I love that I can pick up a new Tarot deck with beautiful art and already have an idea of what it all means. I love the different artistic expressions of the same meanings and symbols. 

Tarot is a way of organizing your thoughts and feelings, to help you see what you are having a hard time seeing, to think of things in a different way, understanding different perspectives, that sort of thing.

If you believe in God/Goddess/Source, Mother-Father-Parent God, or what not, it's a wonderful way to help you communicate with the Divine, with your angels, guides, your ancestors. It's a wonderful way to help you go within, and to help with shadow work, and mental health issues. While Tarot does NOT replace the need for mental health professionals, Tarot can help. Personally, I have used both mental health care professionals and Tarot readings in tandem and found it to be a great benefit. However, if you can't afford therapy, well, Tarot can still help you quite a bit. 

Does Tarot tell your fortune? Well. Not exactly. For me, it's a wonderful way to look at what is the most probable thing that is going to come up and how one can rise to meet it (Yes, that's a Princess Mononoke reference). In this way, Tarot empowers you to change how you handle things so that whatever difficulties that are coming up can be met with more grace and ease, more zen and finesse; and sometimes, you can avoid a messy situation altogether. This is why I love forewarnings. 

Tarot is also a fabulous way to help with decision making, especially when you are choosing between two good things and you can't do both; looking at the energies of each choice and the most likely outcomes. This kind of comparative reading has been so helpful for me as someone who gets anxiety-induced choice paralysis. Which brings us back full circle to being empowered, to getting out of your head, out of  that spinning cycle of anxiety, into grounding and calming the mind to invite in clarity. 

I hope this helps, and feel free to ask questions in the comments!

Much love!

Ruth :)

Note: Image above is the Czech version of the Shadowscapes Tarot (my fav), featuring Queen of Wands, Temperance, and the Hierophant; respectively.