How I Got into Tarot

How did you, dear reader, get into Tarot? When was the first time you saw a Tarot deck in action? People see Tarot as vaguely illicit, bordering on sinister or even downright evil so usually it’s in a secret room somewhere, there may have been drawn curtains or even some candles, about on the same par as smoking dope in the naughty stakes.

When I was a child, my sister was my biggest hero. To me, she seemed to be the epitome of everything a person could hope to become: she  had a lot of silver rings and wore eye-liner, she had tons of friends, she was tall, beautiful, with the best grades in her year and frequent comments on how long her legs were. She was great at sport and she had a horse. Second to my sister in the hero stakes was my cousin, who used to come from Brittany and stay with us nearly every summer. To my 11-year-old mind, there was basically no-one to top those two icons, those pillars of cool, my sister and my cousin. And one year, my cousin bought a Tarot deck with her when she came to stay.

Looking on in awe – because I was never allowed to participate fully – and as I remember, I think they asked questions like: “When are you going to die?” “Is your future husband going to be rich?” And: “When and how are you going to lose your virginity?” After a few tries, they realised that the Tarot wasn’t going to give them the answers they were looking for, and they put the cards away. I then stole them.

Years later, I remember finding them and trying them out for myself and realised how incredibly accurate they were. It was about 5 years later, when I was in my late teens, we were having a dinner party at home. My parents had invited some posh friends, an Admiral in the French Navy and his incredibly well-dressed wife, and I asked if anyone would like a Tarot reading. They all said:

“Oh, what fun! Let’s do it!”

There may even have been some polite clapping.

So I laid the cards out on the bridge table for the Admiral, who had shuffled. I was looking in the little white book and saying: “2 of Disks, this one is you, you can see you are on the water, you are facing your responsibilities, but it’s tough going.” Everyone laughed. “Tell us something we don’t know!” they shouted.

“OK,” I went on, “now we see your wife, she’s, she’s, she’s…”

“She’s what?” Called out my parents in unison.

“Yes, what is she?” asked the Admiral.

“I can’t tell you.” I said.

“Tell us!” Everyone shouted.

“She’s having an affair.”

There was a silence then my mother said:

“I think it’s time for dinner, don’t you think? Come and help me, Elise.”

So I put the cards away and didn’t say another word all evening. The Admiral’s wife was having a very scandalous and public affair, and they were in London trying to patch up their marriage. A few months later, they were divorced.

It was at that moment I realised for the first time that the Tarot wasn’t just some parlour game, and it wasn’t just for over-imaginative, gullible little girls, as most people think. I bought some books and investigated a little more deeply. I found that the answers I was getting to my questions were about 80% consistent with what was actually happening in my life, and recording the readings showed that the predictions were just as accurate. Not only that, but the guidance was shockingly apt. The Tarot would say things like: “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.” “You’re totally out of control with your emotions.” or: “Sex magick is a false road for you. Develop what you’ve got going on now.”

I moved to Japan, my sister is now living in London, and my cousin is based in Thailand. Because she never regarded money or possessions as important, she lived on a beach for many years. She came to visit us a few years ago for Christmas and we all went up to Nagano and had a wonderful hot spring break. I reminded her of the Tarot cards, but she had no recollection of them whatever. I said: “Whatever, I learned the meanings of the cards, would you like a reading?”

The cards that came up for her were ALL about the money: Queen of Disks was her signifier, 4 of Disks, Knight of Disks, you name it, they were all there. I said: “Sorry, but I’m not sure this is a very good reading. It’s all about savings and investments and pensions.” She answered: “That’s my question: should I take out a pension and life insurance to protect my daughter, in case anything should happen to me?”

That’s when I knew that the Tarot is pretty much infallible, and it was during that holiday, while sitting in the outdoor bath one evening, with the Nagano snow piled up all around, and the Moon and Venus shining down upon me, that I made a vow to become a Tarot professional.

So, what about you? How were you introduced to the Tarot? What was your first deck? Do you give readings to other people? When did you realise just how insanely accurate the Tarot is? Comment in the box below.