I used to be a skeptic but reading tarot cards changed my life – Metro.co.uk | WHs Answers

The most important thing I have learned during this time is that there is no right or wrong way to read tarot (Credits: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

When my friend Kat asked if she could practice reading tarot cards on me a little over two years ago, I hesitated.

My previous experiences with Divination were not good – a handheld reader once followed me at a Christmas party ranting about my eczema, and recently I had a colleague read my runestones, only for her to explain out loud: in a crowded pub, that I was short was before having a sexual dysfunction problem. Needless to say, I wasn’t looking for another Divination experience.

But I love Kat and I had never tried tarot before so I said yes.

A colleague, Kat, suggested that we draw cards to understand the novel I was writing at the time. It felt like a safe option—one that would either help me muster the motivation I needed to keep writing, give me permission to give up the thing, or maybe even offer a whole new idea.

I doubt any horoscope, palmist, runecaster, or even tarot reader could have predicted what would happen if Kat dealt three cards in front of me: The Six of Coins, The Hanged Man, and The Queen of Cups. As we poured over Kat’s tarot books and crafted a narrative that brought the cards together to guide my writing, something just clicked.

Kat reads

I was standing still on my book just as the hanged man found himself suspended (Image: Delivered)

The story of the cards felt right. Yes I was I struggle to balance my energy between my job, personal life, and creative pursuits as indicated by the six of coins.

And me was in a standstill on my book just as the hanged man found himself suspended.

And me did I need to focus my creative energies on what I love, rather than what I think I should be doing—Queen of Cups advice that I still carry in my heart today.

But it was more than that. I was electrified by the experience of finding a true story based on the images in front of me. It felt fun, it felt natural, it gave me space to think, imagine and problem solve in a way I had never done before. It felt stretched.

That same evening I bought my first tarot deck online. Some people will tell you you can’t do this, buy your own deck, but some people are obnoxious gatekeepers, and I say add to cart.

Chelsea's deck

The most important thing I have learned in this time is that there is no right or wrong way to read tarot (Image: Included)

I chose the Rider Waite Smith (RWS) deck – a beautifully illustrated edition created in 1909. The RWS is the most used and most recommended tarot deck for beginners.

When COVID-19 lockdowns went into effect shortly thereafter, I was beyond grateful for Tarot – a tool that allowed me to better understand myself when I really only had time to spend time with myself.

Whilst stuck at home I enrolled in a virtual tarot class offered by the Zen Shop in Birmingham – those Wednesday nights have been life rafts amid the loneliness of lockdown, helping me develop the habit of daily drawing cards and obsessing over everyone possible things to inform approaches to tarot.

Chelsey Pippin Mizzi

I regularly sit down with my own maps whenever I need a bit of perspective or feel a little lost (Image: Chelsey Pippin Mizzi)

The most important thing I learned during this time is that there is no right or wrong way to read the tarot. Each reader has their own approach. Some draw heavily on occult traditions, some swear by the accuracy of the charts in predicting the future, and some readers, like myself, see charts as a stimulus for thought.

All that really stays the same from one reader to the next is the deck itself, which consists of 78 cards and is based on a medieval parlor game popular with French and Italian nobles.

But even that can vary — hundreds of different artists, from Salvador Dali to comic artist Tillie Walden, have created their own versions of the tarot.

You can read the tarot yourself or see a reader. I like to do a bit of both – I regularly sit down with my own maps when I need some perspective or feel a little lost.

I can draw a card and meditate on what it means to me in the moment, or I can draw several in a tarot – which is a sequence of cards laid out for corresponding prompts such as past, present and future.

Chelsey reading cards

Reading for my loved ones is a way to explore new territory that we might not otherwise talk about (Image: Included)

I usually meet up with a reader on special occasions, like my birthday, or when I feel like I could really use some fresh eyes on a problem.

For example, I recently watched a reader because I felt overwhelmed by my many tasks – the cards she drew and the brainstorming we did together helped me take an actionable step towards solving my problem find: I needed to hire a virtual assistant.

Over time, I began to combine my lifelong love of stories with a unique interpretation of tarot cards that felt very much like mine. I drew cards to inspire short stories and poems and used them to improve my understanding of the characters and themes in my novel.

Recently while developing a new project I connected each of my four heroines to a Tarot Queen – this really helped me ensure that they have different personalities and journeys and gave me a lot of new ideas about how they think, act, move, and speak.

Chelsea phone background

It opened up new friendships and unlocked new levels of old ones (Picture: Included)

All my life I have turned to painting and photography for inspiration, so the tarot fitted naturally into my creative practice and provided perfect inspiration for writing. The images are just the right mix of rich detail and dreamy, abstract images that are open to interpretation.

The combination of my Tarot and creative practices eventually led me to start a business in 2021: Pip Cards Tarot, through which I host workshops and 1:1 sessions to help writers, artists and entrepreneurs come up with ideas and blocks with to edit the tarot for inspiration. Tarot will be the subject of my first published book, coming out next year.

Reading tarot for myself has changed the game for my creative and spiritual well-being. Meanwhile, reading tarot for others has enriched my relationships.

It has opened up new friendships and opened up new layers of old friendships. Reading for loved ones is a way of exploring uncharted territory that we might not otherwise talk about.

In the beginning I practiced on my partner. While he was and still is skeptical of tarot, our time spent poring over the cards together opened up conversations about his working life and his own creative pursuits that he’d kept to himself.

The author is holding a map

The truth is, no one was more surprised by this turn in my life than I was (Image: provided)

My interest in the cards also created opportunities for challenging but meaningful conversations with my family – my mother has recovered from an understandable initial uneasiness, and so has my grandpa, although initially shocked to see “tarot reader” on my business card.

‘Since when are you a witch?’ he asked in a slightly accusatory tone. But the conversation that followed, smoothed over with the help of a cousin who owns her own tarot deck, led to a really sweet moment of connection that allowed my grandpa to better understand my personal creative process.

The truth is, no one was more surprised by this turn in my life than I was. Looking back on that first night in Kat’s apartment two and a half years ago, I envy myself a little.

I was on the verge of something truly magical and I didn’t even know it. The rush to find resonance in the cards is always a pleasure, but nothing tops that first “aha” moment.

But then again, I know that earlier version of me would be amazed and proud of what the Tarot has helped me today: a small business owner, an author about to be published, a better friend, and a kinder, more thoughtful person to myself.

Do you have a story you would like to share? Contact us by email at jess.austin@metro.co.uk.

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