Thursday, October 27, 2011

Masking and Unmasking

Costumes at Halloween are always intriguing. Of course, people have costume parties throughout the year, but Halloween is probably the biggest holiday across the board for people to host or participate in costume parties.

Masks and costumes can reveal part of a person's personality and secrets that usually stay hidden. A costume bestows an opportunity to live out a fantasy, even if only for a little while one evening. For that brief event, a person can be someone they have always wanted to be, and that can be an exciting experience.

Wearing a costume or a mask can encourage a person to expand their ambitions in life to become more of who they want to be.

Of course, masks and costumes will not affect everyone that way. Some will simply put it away in a closet and regard it as an aberration, something they did at a party for fun.

How does the process of selecting a costume start? By entertaining ideas of what you would like to be? Interesting, isn't it?

What might that suggest about future directions for you? Or, for that matter, about our present state of mind?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Why So Many Kinds of Decks?

The most obvious reason whey there are so many kinds of decks is that there are many tastes in art and there are many artists who enjoy the challenge of creating a set of 78 images that convey a range of emotions, ideas and situations.

Whether you prefer art from the Renaissance period, or something more modern, there are decks to satisfy your taste. Some artists have totally changed the traditional suits and the familiar images. Some decks are created according to a theme. For example, you can find decks built around the Greek myths, Norse Myths, Arthurian Legend, Egyptian myths, Native American stories, dreams, vampires, romance, UFOs, fairies, angels, animals, birds, fairy tales, astrology, manga, impressionistic art, abstract art and cave paintings to name just a few.

A brief definition may be in order here. There are tarot decks and oracle decks. A tarot deck, by definition, has 78 cards, featuring the 22 major arcana, 56 minor arcana, the court cards, the cards in 4 suits numbered from 1-10. An oracle deck does not conform to any of these formats. An oracle deck can have any number of cards, from a dozen to 30, 40, 50, 60 or more. They may not have any suits or numbers or be divided into major or minor arcana. There are some that are simply a variety of images and you are free to make of them what you will. Some are just geared to positive thinking and affirmations and offer you thoughts or ideas to meditate on each day to reinforce good habits and changes in our lives. Of course, you can do these with a regular tarot deck as well.

Plus, you can regard any of these decks the same way you would a coffee table art book, and decks have the advantages of being less expensive and more portable than art books. Picture yourself coming home from work and just wanting to relax for a little while. So you sit down and start looking through a deck of cards. You are intrigued by the images and they stir creative thinking and introspection. And there are some decks available for as little as 10, 15 or 20 dollars. Most come with some kind of book or booklet that offer explanations or ideas to meditate on with these images. Quite a bargain for a useful tool. In this way, they become a tool for self teaching rather than fortune telling.

How do you pick from among all this amazing variety? I would suggest one very simple way. Simply choose according to the art you like. What is best for you? What is best for you is whichever one you think you will like working with.

These are some of the reasons I enjoy working with a number and variety of decks, and why I offer people who come to me a choice of decks that they want to use for their reading. For many years, people who were interested in cards only had a few designs available to choose from, but today we have many beautiful options.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Rare and the Funky

I have made a modest change to my tarot reading technique. My tarot collection includes several rare and hard to find decks as well as a number that are unusual designs. I enjoy using a variety of them for reading at home, but like many other professional readers, I got into the habit of simply using one for all my readings when I set up at fairs. Many collectors would never take out a rare deck to read with in a public setting, and I used to think of my decks that way. Then one day I decided that they really were created to be used and sharing the pleasure of reading for clients with them would add a little sparkle to the usual approach, and I am happy that I am doing it now.

So I recently decided to take a number of them with me each time I go out and let the clients choose one to have their reading with. It is interesting to observe their choices.

For example, one of the more rare and beautiful ones is the Victorian Romantic and one of the more funky, grotesque designs is the Deviant Moon and one of the most unusual the hippieish, humorous, black and white Morgan's Tarot. It didn't surprise me at all that the Morgan only got picked once in a while but it did surprise me how frequently the Deviant Moon was chosen.

Another reminder that you cannot always tell what people will go for. Like any other field, there are decks that collectors have really embraced, but they never caught on that big with the general public.

Bringing different decks to read adds a fresh twist to the readings when I keep changing decks according to requests. Artists and authors often make changes for philosophical and artistic reasons which also color the readings. I keep on rotating the decks that I take out just to give more of them a chance to play.

There is a difference between trying to keep a collection in pristine condition for possible future resale and going ahead and putting them to regular use with whoever wants a reading.

When people ask me what the difference is between decks, I advise them to simply choose the art that appeals to them most. Some days it is very surprising what that is. This simple change has added an extra bit of fun to the process, and I am glad that I am doing it.