My first real exposure to anything occult was Tarot. I remember so clearly sitting on the floor of my much older boyfriend’s attic room watching him place cards from a very well-worn Thoth deck, feeling a new flavor of fascination. This was something so strange, so ancient, so spooky good, that I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days. I bought a deck of my own, a Rider-Waite, his recommendation. A “starter deck.” Training wheels, yes, but still, spooky-accurate at times. I started to do readings for friends, and discovered I was damn good. I began to check out other decks, enjoying the way each one had a totally unique vibe and personality.

Eventually, it became clear to me that the Tarot was a better tool for helping people get perspective on situations or events in their lives than it was an oracle. A reading, for me, became an opportunity to guide someone to their own answers. It became a conduit for helping people discover their soul contracts or life purpose; it could help a person view a situation from an archetypal point of view, as though they and all the other real people involved were simply acting out a story. “Possible future? Well, how do you want the story to end?”

When we step outside ordinary reality and look at life from a higher, bigger-picture perspective, the details we may be obsessing about can fade away, and new patterns can emerge. Sometimes we can even see what the difficult people came to our lives to teach us, and graduate from their classes, hopefully with honors. And genuinely thank them for the lesson, even if we never, ever want to see them or have anything to do with them ever, ever, ever again. Hey, forgiveness doesn’t mean, “Hit me again, please,” but it sure can mean, “Done with you now.”

The Court Cards have incredible stories to tell if you let them speak to you. Each one is a remarkable character, whether they are naughty or nice. Each one is a wealth of symbolism and poetry. When we step out of the way and let the cards tell their stories, we can learn so much. They are all people we have known, our friends, our families. Us. I’ve never met a person who didn’t have aspects of one or more of the Court Cards as part of their personality. I’m part Knight of Cups, part Princess of Wands, and just a smidgen Queen of Disks. Look ’em up. Yes, I did say Knight of Cups, because gender is a continuum, not an absolute.

This post seems like it should go on a long time, but . . . much like during a Tarot reading, I feel inclined to let you explore for yourself, because no one knows you better than you, and no one has the right to tell you how to think or feel about something. So grab a deck, light some candles, get settled and throw down some cards. If it lights you up, do it again. And let me know how it goes.

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