Tarot Tag: 15 Questions, via Arwen

This tarot tag is from 2017, started by Arwen, and I’m only getting around to it now. But it’s a fun one!

EDIT: Omg, no, I did do this tag before! Back in April of 2017! See here. That’s hilarious. I totally forgot!

1. What is your current favorite deck?

I’ll start by disqualifying my own deck.

I’m in love with the Majors only Pharos Tarot by M. M. Meleen. It’s Thoth-based and Meleen’s artwork is exquisite. You can learn more about it and order your copy from Meleen here. I’ll be posting an in-depth review of the deck and its guidebook in the near future.

Artistically and theosophically, I see the evolution from her Tabula Mundi Tarot. I love seeing the way Thoth influences this deck compared to the Thoth influences in the Tabula Mundi.

2. What Tarot card do you think stands for who you are now?

Key XVII, The Way, from the Pharos Tarot (traditionally The Star card). Meleen had deliberated between “The Way” and “The Window” for the title of this card. (from Spectrum Fari, the guidebook).

The Milky Way is personified here and syncretized with Nut. I love the saturation contrast she uses here and how dynamic this composition is just as a standalone work of art, before we even get to the tarot. That foreshortened angle is a very tough one to do, and this is pure mastery. It’s absolutely lovely.

I chose this card not so much to represent who I am, but to represent where I am. I’m walking The Way, following it wherever it leads, taking the risks, agreeing to the uncertainties. It’s a through-the-looking-glass kind of chapter in my life at the moment.

3. What Tarot card do you think stands for who you want to be?

I couldn’t decide and pick one for myself, so I consulted my Pharos Tarot deck and presented my question. I pulled Key XIV: The Arc, or the Temperance card.

See? I’m not the only one who thinks Temperance is two-headed! =) Also, Mel, I swear I didn’t copy you! My two-headed Holy Guardian Angel concept for SKT III’s Key 14 came from the Tarot Mantegna.

Anyway let’s see what’s written about Key 14 in Spectrum Fari. The essential message from this card is the achievement of a far-sighted goal. It’s also synthesis or union of opposites.

The Pharos key title here for Temperance comes from the “arc of visibility” from a lighthouse, which is the area in the horizon where a ship out in the seas at night can see the light from the lighthouse and thus find its way.

4. Draw a Tarot card and tell us how it answers the question, “What does the Universe want you to know right now?”

I pulled two, but not from a full 78-card tarot deck. This is from the 64 cards I have completed so far for SKT III. (Note: How the captions, font type, and font color look in the above image are not accurate to what the final SKT III layout will look like. I slapped all of that on 60 seconds ago just for this blog post.)

Both cards are echoing similar sentiments. So much fun when that happens.

What I love most about the SKT Hermit card (The Erudite) is its core message: be the light that shines through darkness. And then that secondary message, which you’ll find on the Hermit’s staff: shine, not burn. The Knight of Wands (The Shining Flame) is a signal to turn a light on in the attic, to enlighten yourself in an area of knowledge that was not known to you before. This is not just about me being in student mode right now, but I need to be actively applying, in real time, what I’ve been learning. Put the knowledge to practical use.

As for the I Ching trigram correspondences: Fire over Mountain (hexagrams are constructed bottom up), or Hexagram 56: The Fool (or The Wanderer).

Be knowledgeable, but cautious. Don’t unduly punish those who’ve hurt you. Forgive, but move on. They’re no longer your people. Travel to new lands and bring your light to shine there. That’s where you will find good fortune.

5. Do you have any cards that you MUST love in order to work with a Tarot deck?

No. I’ve grown out of that dogma. When I love a tarot deck, there are so many layers of factors that build up to my love for that deck, and once I have declared my love for that deck, I love it for what it is, for the artist’s interpretations and visions of every single card in that deck, and I do not compare it to my belief systems, but instead, I live in the universe of that creator’s belief systems while working with the deck.

6. Why Tarot and not some other divination system?

The artwork. I’m here for the art. The art for a tarot deck is sigil magic woven into cartomancy.

7. What’s the first book you can remember reading about Tarot (other than the LWB [Little White Book]?

Eden Gray’s Mastering the Tarot. I first encountered a frayed copy of it at the public library, and then had to go out and get my own copy. I was very young and this was pre-Internet, so the only other tarot books the public library gave me access to were the late 18th century and early 19th century occult authors, which was going right over my pre-pubescent head.

Then I believe it was in high school that our little town finally got a Barnes & Noble and thus I got access to Mary Greer’s books.

8. What Tarot person would you like to sit down with for a chat about Tarot

Are we talking about someone now deceased that I can bring back to life for this chat or does it have to be someone now living?

If the former, Crowley. Because color me intrigued and curious.

If the latter, I’ve been super, duper lucky that everyone I’ve wanted such an opportunity with, I’ve had an incredible real-life interaction with. And if I haven’t yet had the opportunity to sit in person with them, I’m fairly confident I will be getting that opportunity some time in this life, in the near future. =) So yeah. I’m good on this end. =)

9. Tell me about one YouTube Tarot channel that you watch (and why.)

Jack Chanek’s channel, linked here.

He doesn’t have a whole ton of videos there just yet, but each and every single one is quality content. These days I’m looking for topics in tarot and witchcraft that dig a little further than “look at the pretty cards.” His videos, every one of them, hits the spot for me. I love the thoughtfulness, the casual, friendly, accessible tone, and also the fearlessness. I’m so excited to be following the trajectory of his channel, and I hope you’ll subscribe, too.

By the way, his blog has some stellar deck reviews as well.

10. How many Tarot decks do you have?

Please don’t ask that. =)

11. Do you mix oracles and Tarot when you read?

I don’t just have one set, confined way that I read the cards.

I read the space, the energy of the circumstances at hand, and from there, decide how I want to approach divination. So it’s not like I have this one fixed standardized approach to the tarot and no matter what comes my way, I make it fit into my standardized approach. I don’t have a standardized approach. Sure, I have go-to preferences and I’m more likely to slide into those preferences when it suits me, but I’ll always read the energy of the circumstances first.

Yes, sometimes that means I mix oracles and tarot. Other times, no, I don’t.

12. Have you ever created your own Tarot card or deck?

=) How’s this for an interesting comparison–

The first five cards in the top row, left to right, were the first five Spirit Keeper’s Tarot cards I drew over the summer of 2018. The below five cards in the bottom row, left to right, were the most recent five SKT cards I drew these past few weeks (autumn, 2020).

13. Do you read for yourself?

Yes. But I caveat that with the point that my practices have also evolved over time. These days I don’t read tarot for myself to find out what will happen next, or to try and see the future. I don’t use tarot to predict the outcome of events. I try very hard to rely on my own independent reasoning abilities, critical thinking, and intuition.

These days I use tarot to “read for myself” in the sense that I cogitate on the forms and figures, the symbolism, and the histories the cards have absorbed to better understand myself and what makes me tick. I read the tarot to reach an understanding of my nature, and also to reach an understanding of our collective nature as a species.

14. What are your favorite questions to be asked when you do a reading for someone else?

I don’t have favorites. For me, it’s more about the person and less about the question(s) asked. If it’s someone I have good rapport with, that person can ask just about anything and I’ll be happily down.

For friends and family, I don’t have any limitations. I’ll read about anything for them. How far into the future do you want to see, my dear? How far into the past? I’ll explore any region of the Akashic Records for my loved ones. =)

15. What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you during a reading?

An earthquake minutes after pulling The Tower card. True story. Didn’t touch the cards for months after that experience. It was early in the morning, J was still asleep, I had mug of coffee in hand, and I walked past my reading table. My deck of cards was still out on that table. I fanned it across the spread cloth casually, no question in mind, and just pulled a card. The Tower. I shrugged, and was like, eh, well, it’s a matter of perspective and interpretation. Tower card doesn’t mean anything baaaad.

I walk to my computer desk to start my day’s work and a few minutes after setting down my coffee, the entire house booms and shakes. For anyone freaking out reading this, don’t worry. All was well. This kind of things happens in California every few years. =) The first time you experience it, you think the sky is falling. By the seventh time, you just find a spot to sit and calmly ride it out.

3 thoughts on “Tarot Tag: 15 Questions, via Arwen

  1. Pingback: Tarot Tag: 15 Questions | Jack Chanek

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