While I was living in the Keys four years ago, I met one of my dearest friends, Lisa. She drew Angel cards each day, and when I was having a rough time, which was frequent back then, she would draw one for me. Each card she pulled was eerily accurate. Sometimes, the cards would bring up something I hadn’t realized was bothering me. Other times, they would get to the heart of an issue I couldn’t figure out. I loved the drawings. I’ve never been big on surprises; I prefer to prepare myself for whatever is coming. The readings she gave me felt like an insight I might’ve otherwise missed. They were preparing me in a way nothing had before.
After leaving the Keys, I spent several years in transition. I moved, changed jobs, lost the love of my life, made new connections. I drew tarot cards for friends as a sort of party trick, and I was good at it. But I didn’t have a regular practice and I usually didn’t draw for myself.
During the pandemic, I listened to a podcast by Radleigh Valentine and decided to try tarot for myself. Now, isolated in a new apartment off Mirror Lake, I needed to learn something new. Running and writing would continue to be my die-hard hobbies, but my brain was hungry for new knowledge. In a world that felt completely unpredictable, I thought learning tarot would help me feel agency in my life again.
I wanted to start with a deck that really spoke to me, so I ordered Deborah Blakes’s Everyday Witch tarot deck. It has the same basic cards as the original Rider-Waite tarot deck, but each has a different illustration and slightly different meaning. My goal was simple: draw one card a day to learn the deck. In the beginning, I had to use the book each time I drew. I had many repeat drawings – the Star, many Pentacles cards, ten of Wands, seven of Cups. The cards became like old friends each time I drew them anew.
Eventually, I started to remember the illustrations and knew innately what they held for me. After some time, I bought an original Rider-Waite deck, and since then, I have been practicing each day with both.
The pandemic has made a lot of things seem out of my control. I can’t predict when this will end, when I will be able to see my friends again, or when any of us can meet up with others without fear. I can’t give readings in front of groups. I can’t predict how the publishing industry will change or if there will still be a place for my voice after all this is over.
My tarot practice has provided me with a feeling of safety and stability. It’s also a way to connect. Like Lisa did for me, I now sometimes draw for others. During a particularly intense reading, my crush turned to look at me with her eyes wide and pointed to her skin. “Goosebumps,” she said. “I just got goosebumps.”
I love my tarot decks. I have two of them and two Angel card decks. I draw every single day at least once. More than once if I’m feeling down. Sometimes the message I get is exactly what I needed to hear. It helps guide me during a time in which I have access to fewer of my friends and encourages me to access my own intuition. Drawing tarot, I am powerful and connected, even if everything around me feels uncertain.