I remember the days when carnivals wandered in and out of America’s small towns. Rickety roller coasters, acrobats, games of luck and skill, and icky-sweet sticky cotton candy in pastel shades of pink and blue were just a few of the offerings. My favorite ride was a toss-up between the Swings and the Ferris Wheel, but what carnival would be complete without its resident Fortune Teller?
Alternating strands of beads and bells frame the doorway of the tent. In the soft glow of flickering candlelight wisps of smoke curl up and around the decorative silks hanging from the ceiling. The pungent odor of incense makes your nose twitch. A heavy black iron cauldron rests on a stack of books bound in worn leather. A small group of tiny stoppered bottles catches your eye. Peering intently at the opaque glass, you wonder what magical ingredients they contain.
Heavily embroidered cloth covers the small round table in the center of the tent. An unadorned deck of cards rests next to a large round object covered in white silk. You imagine colors swirling mysteriously across the crystal ball’s smooth surface. To one side of the table is a stack of four or five tufted pillows bearing gold tassels at each corner. On the other side sits a plain wooden stool.
An attractive middle-aged woman of Eastern-European descent steps out of the shadows. Her clothing is of the same brightly colored material as the tent, explaining why you didn’t notice her before. Twisted and secured atop her head is an auburn braid intertwined with colorful ribbons and shimmering gemstones. Unnaturally long black lashes frame the bright blue eyes perched above a set of strong cheekbones.
Slowly the woman takes her place on the stool and in a thickly-accented voice, asks, “How may I help you, traveler?”
I have lived in this town all my life, you think to yourself, you are the traveler here. Without taking her gaze from yours, she reaches for the deck of cards. You watch her long delicate fingers covered in gold and silver rings deftly begin to shuffle. The cards seem to flow like water in her hands. As if in response to your unspoken thought, the Gypsy says, “We all travel different paths in this life, some with the feet, others with the mind. I can see that along either, you will go far.” The sudden sensation that your mind is an open book sends a shiver of trepidation down your spine.
“S-s-sorry, wrong tent!” you croak weakly. Without another word, you stagger outside, relieved to find yourself in the blinding sunlight once more. As your heartbeat returns to its normal rhythm, you cannot resist looking back through the dark opening. There you glimpse the Gypsy’s cobalt eyes dancing wildly in a flare of candlelight. What must it be like to cast spells, read minds and see the future? you wonder. Then you remind yourself that magic is impossible – a fairytale for children. Shaking off a vague feeling of loss, you slowly make your way to the merry-go-’round.
My path to the Tarot spanned some forty-plus years. As a young child I had often seen strange things in the night. These visions were followed by inexplicable coincidences that began in high school and continue to this day. You can read more about one such experience here. Most of my adult years were spent working in some form of Evangelical church leadership, teaching Bible studies and leading worship. The average church-goer’s life admits virtually nothing in terms of the supernatural – at least, not beyond whatever stories the Bible expounds. But something deep inside me has always hungered for more than the rationality of religion.
At length I came to realize that no organized faith could fill the empty space inside longing for spiritual connection. By the time I left Christianity behind, I understood that religious beliefs are not a prerequisite to knowing that there is much more to the world than what our eyes can see, our ears can hear, what we can touch or smell or study.
In the Spring of 2015 I began to meditate and my intuition reawakened. That summer I had several visions and I began to be drawn to the symbolism contained in the Tarot. In November I purchased my first deck of cards. I now understand that the primary strength of the Tarot is its ability to connect energetically to the subconscious mind. That intuitive part of us understands and relates to the world through symbols and archetypes (see Carl Jung). The symbols of Tarot speak to the spiritual nature within the heart and higher self.
Today I use the Tarot as a form of spiritual coaching that helps guide people past the places where they feel stuck. The powerful images and meanings of the cards often bring unexpected simplicity and clarity to complicated situations. I hope you will give me the chance to open up unexplored doors in your intuitive self that will lead to success on your life’s journey.
I wish you all many blessings on your journey into the light.