Endings + Beginnings: How Tarot Found Me

In 2003, I lost my Mom to breast cancer. Soon after, I moved from Little Rock, Arkansas to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where I lived in solitude for the next two years.  During this time, I experienced grief not as a cruelly destructive force, but as a profoundly generous teacher. To say I had an epiphany is an understatement. Paradigm shifts rippled in every direction from the core of my being. Everything I had believed about human existence seemed one dimensional and incomplete. I knew I was experiencing something transformational, but I had no frame of reference for it. 

At age 24,  I had a deeply cherished spiritual life and for years had started each morning with candlelit prayers, meditation, and dream journaling. God had always been easily accessible to me.  Despite my loss, I didn’t feel abandoned. Rather, I felt enfolded and comforted. I say this to emphasize that I was not looking for some unnameable, missing component in my relationship with the Divine.  I felt quite spiritually fulfilled.

Nevertheless, in 2005, a good friend gave me a copy of Sue Monk Kidd’s The Secret Life of Bees. Not just a gorgeous tale of a young girl searching for her lost Mother; this book is layered with meaning. It also carries an undercurrent of the call of the Divine Mother, a powerful yearning to reconnect with her children. After I finished the novel, it almost fell from my hand. I stared out the window at the Sangre de Cristo mountains, suddenly aware of Her gaping absence in every moment of my upbringing. And for the first time, I saw Her.  

Over the next few years I read everything I could find on the Sacred Feminine. Further works of Kidd introduced me to the artist Meinrad Craighead, a solitary, former nun who has spent her life painting images of God the Mother in her adobe house outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico.  I was stunned that this way of life even existed and, being from the same home state of Arkansas, I felt compelled to reach out to her. I sent her a letter of gratitude for her work and also a request for further direction. 

At this point, I was having vivid dreams in which I was visited by the Crone, the dark and ancient aspect of the Goddess. In these dreams, she offered me food and ferried me across vast rivers. I needed guidance from someone experienced. Meinrad kindly responded to my letter. Aware that I had, by this time, moved back to Little Rock, she put me in touch with a woman who could help me locally. Through a series of further connections, I eventually met a Jungian analyst named Pat Bradley in nearby Conway, with whom I could share my dreams. Pat became my mentor for the next six years. One day, during a particularly challenging session, she reached in her bottom drawer and pulled out her Motherpeace Tarot deck. “Let’s try this,” she said. 

And the rest is Her-story. 

For centuries, Tarot has been used as a means of illuminating the subconscious and revealing deeper truths of our life’s path. For me, the power of Tarot is two-fold: On one hand it is a means of divination, powered by a partnership between intuition and Spirit. On the other hand, the visual imagery of the Tarot deck speaks directly to the feminine/receptive part of the human mind. This visual and symbolic language creates a shift in consciousness from intellect to intuition, from masculine to feminine. With it, we can learn to cast our nets to the other side, so to speak. 

In order to effectively read Tarot, one must understand and embrace that a reading is a conversation between the reader and the Divine. By centering and opening oneself up to receiving the messages of Spirit, the reader creates an energetic release that allows Spirit to illustrate these unseen realities. 

Tarot doesn’t predict future events, per se. Instead, it reveals the reader’s current path and direction, as well as possible outcomes that will result if any or no action is taken. The reader often has  the option of changing her course and arriving at a different conclusion. In a single card reading, the querent may ask for a card to illustrate her current position or soul lesson. Simply saying a prayer and opening to Spirit is all that is needed in order to receive these messages.  

While it’s true that the workings of Tarot are wonderfully mysterious, it’s important to not underestimate one’s own powerful subconscious mind. The cards simply reflect what the reader is already aware of on a hidden level. When we find ourselves stuck in destructive and stagnant patterns, when we have recurring and confusing dreams, when we simply want to become aware of our higher purpose-- these are the times that Tarot can shed light. 

Over time and use, your deck will gather energy and become “seasoned” with the particular flavor that you (the reader) and Spirit create when working together. In short, the deck becomes a living entity and a reliable companion. 

Now is the time to release any fears and preconceived notions about the right and wrong ways to approach our Divine Source. Welcome to this method of accessing Her and know that you are fully loved just as you are, just as She created you.

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