The Year of Magical Thinking

The first time I was introduced to tarot was through a reading done by a friend. As she pulled cards, she spoke to me in a soothing voice; I was transfixed. It wasn’t until last year that I started to bring tarot into my everyday life, though. It started with buying a deck. My first deck was The Wild Unknown: a whimsical, colorful choice that allows me to do readings based more on my intuition than anything else. I loved the feeling the cards had in my hand every time I went to shuffle them, but I also doubted that I would ever use them for anything but a few pulls for myself and a close friend every once in awhile. I was so very wrong.

In January I started a 6-month intensive tarot workshop called The Brooklyn Fools. Once a week several students and myself meet on Skype. Led by our instructor, Jeff, we meditate, build a group altar, learn about the card set for that week, and then finish by chanting and burning intention candles. I know it sounds totally witchy, but the fact is it is TOTALLY witchy. And I’m totally in love with it.

That being said, it took me a while to get there. I wasn’t a total believer the first time I sat down for a read. When I started reading my own cards, I got scared. I was relying on myself more than the cards. Maybe I had no idea what I was doing. Maybe I did have a good intuition, but not good enough to read anything into the seventy-eight cards further than what their pictures illustrated.

I’ve always had a good intuition when it came to my friends. I’m the one they call for advice, I listen to their relationship problems and tell them when to make the next move and when to wait.

“Some things I knew you would know because we’re friends, but some things you said and I was like, ‘Wow, you nailed that.’” My friend Michelle told me after I read her cards. She was the first reading I did outside of myself and my partner. I felt so relieved,  so uplifted, so grateful.

I was always familiar with predicting things. I usually got a gut feeling before something big happened. My dreams have always been particularly vivid. In the first few moments of being with someone, I usually know if they’ll play a role a bigger role in my life. With tarot, I didn’t expect anything.

It’s the night before a big test. I’m tired. I look at my deck sitting on my altar, surrounded by crystals. I go to hit, shuffle, draw. I’m okay. I draw The Lovers: two gorgeous doves flying into a rainbow. I am okay. Two parts of myself are reconciling. I can feel the internal shift while I look at the cards. This is what tarot has given me, the gift of being.

Illustration by Taylor Roberts