Saturday, 25 February 2017

Tarot Times

The Rider-Waite deck. First issued 1910.

Tarot Lady by Celia Turner. Oil on canvas.
The 78 cards of the Tarot deck are made up of the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana, which basically mean 'big secrets' and 'little secrets' respectively. Nobody really knows where the tarot originated but it is known that decks of mystical numbered cards existed in India and the Far East in ancient times and were probably brought to Europe by the Knights Templar during and after the  crusades to the Holy Land. There have also been suggestions that travelling gypsies from the Far East brought the tarot to Europe during the Middle Ages.
I was introduced to the tarot at a visit to Dreamland in Margate in Kent when I was about fifteen. My friends and I giggled as we queued outside the red velvet curtain which was haphazardly attached to some wonky wooden hooks around a makeshift tent. I entered to find an old lady (she probably wasn't that old but at fifteen anyone over the age of thirty looks pretty ancient) sitting at a round table which was covered in a green velvet cloth. The lady herself had an abundance of black curly hair and wore huge hooped golden earrings. An absolute stereotype and so perfectly fitting. I loved the theatre of it all.
She gestured for me to sit down, I obediently sat on a creaky stool.
I remember looking into her face and being confronted by astonishingly green, green eyes.She didn't actually say anything to me before shuffling her pack  and laying some cards on the table.
She pointed to a card that had  a picture of the moon on it and told me that I was a little lost. Then another card that had a picture of a knight on a horse riding into battle clutching a huge sword, as she pointed at this she told me that I had been insensitive to a friend and needed to sort it out. There were more cards but I cannot remember the others, except the last one which depicted two children surrounded by cups full of flowers. She smiled at me as she explained that I had a strong inner child and needed to nurture her, to beware of becoming cynical or to grow up too soon. She told me never to lose my 'gift' of childlike delight.
It wasn't at all what I had expected it to be. I thought she was going to tell me I would fall in love and live happily ever after.
Thank goodness she didn't.

I have been reading tarot cards for a long time,, this skill has helped me through some dark times.

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