In the Cards

In my youth I was very intrigued by the idea of Tarot cards. Granted initially, it was their forbidden nature.  A very religious household: they were the sign of the devil, use of which encouraged demons to be released upon the world and even touching them might blacken my soul beyond redemption. Is it any wonder they were so intriguing?

But it was also the art work and the designs I would see in books at the library. Because let’s be honest in a conservative river town in the Midwest in the 70s, not a lot of street corner occult stores. Not to mention lack of internet. Today, if you search tarot cards and then images, it is amazing to see the different types, intricate detail and the stories in the pictures of the cards if you just look.

Fast forward and I found myself living in a town in the US where not only the occult is embraced but if you aren’t a witch (or at least declare yourself to be one), you are the odd ball. I would walk into the many stores featuring MANY different types of decks and even touch a few (my soul seems fine, tad grey on days but not pitch black) but lacked the courage to buy a deck.

A fan of John Sandford’s Prey series, I stumbled upon the Kidd books (the first was published under John Camp because he had released a Prey novel about the same time, Prey books did better and the world is a little more bleak IMO because there are only four Kidd books). Kidd is a painter, crook and uses Tarot cards to help him think outside the box. This concept fascinated me. He was not summoning six headed demons from another world but thinking about something, doing a spread and letting his mind thinking outside the edges. Maybe he was opening portals to another world… but it was worlds in his mind.

Shortly after I had read all four novels (in very short time, who needs to do laundry and cook?), I saw a small set of cards in… wait for it… Barnes and Noble. At this point I was pretty sure buying them would not invoke a one way ticket to a new, hot homeland, so I bought them. The tiny set came with a paper spread map (there are many different spreads you can do) and a lovely little explanation books of the cards (and what they mean if they are upright or inverse). It was and still is the perfect started pack.

And I do use them like Kidd. They help me think and focus and refocus. Tarot cards get a bad rap. I have given them as gifts to friends and you can tell some of them are Shocked (and may be praying for my black soul) and some are more than a little intrigued. But they do help you think outside the box if you let them.

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