The Trouble with Tarot

Over the past 9 years that I have been studying various magical/Pagan based subjects, I kept being drawn over and over to the practice of Divination, first Tarot cards, then the Futhark Runes, Faeries Oracle cards, back to Tarot cards, and finally just throwing up my hands in resignation at the whole business. Why the jumping about and switching teams?

At first I had thought it was merely a lack of a “correct” Tarot deck, so I hunted every shelf in the book stores to find the right one. I have owned a total count of at least 10 decks, and none of them worked on an intuitive level. Some (but not all) found new homes with other Witches, one was chewed on and destroyed by my eldest daughter when she was a toddler, and the final 2 languish in my house in case I want to look at the pictures or play with the cards. But if I try to use either I have to flip through the book to grasp anything they say to me.

I then felt drawn to the Futhark Runes, their accompanying history and Gods, so I worked to create myself a set. That set began to wear out (it was made of scavenged wood chips, not the best material for a lasting magical item that is used frequently.) so I created a second set that I painstakingly cut by hand from a knobby willow branch, sanded, wood burned, and polished with homemade beeswax/herbal polish. I carried this set with me as often as I was able to, and used them daily, but had to refer to my notes (compiled from various internet sources) in order to understand them. I worried I was misunderstanding them, and even bought a crystal set, but still encountered the same lack of intuition.

Lastly I stumbled onto a faery deck created by Brian Froud called the Faeries Oracle, and began the same process of studying the book and cards to memorize them for magical use. But all the studying helped create a barrier between me and the Fae, making for very grumpy faeries hiding my keys, then the cards, and the journal I used to take notes.

You see, I have struggled mightily with my intuition, I spent many a day trusting it, but after my gut feelings landing me into an abusive relationship or two, I have felt it was too difficult to trust it further. So I felt rife with doubt whenever I try to use the Runes or Faeries Oracle cards, and confused about how to fix this issue in order to fully utilize this skill. Add into the mix the difficulty I have with understanding the symbolism of the various Tarot decks out there, un-diagnosed ADD, and my brain refusing to wrap around other methods of divining, it is a recipe for banging my head against a brick wall.

I have cycled through many different methods of trying to open myself up to trusting my intuition such as meditating, studying more, studying less, and just walking away for a break. I have found that my brain and intuition appreciate me not spending hours reading and memorizing Tarot definitions, card layouts, and compacting it into the wrinkly grey matter I lug around between my ears.

It seemed to go in circles around this problem, and I had a bit of a light bulb moment earlier this month. All the time I spent reading and memorizing was the opposite of what I wanted to accomplish, but it took many hours of studying and burning my neurons into cinders to realize this. I guess you could say I am a bit thick headed, and despite how much I learn or how intelligent I am, I still miss the answer right under my nose.

So I took a vacation from any real studying, and tried to start writing down the details I had already gleaned from all my time spent reading and applying to my beliefs. But taking everything I believe and committing it to words on a page caused for some uncomfortable moments staring at a blank word file, unable to actually type anything. It was then I realized it felt wrong to try and hammer out all the details and fit them into a pretty little box of glittery magical “uber speshulness” that I could then show off or brag about. Those outcomes are definitely NOT something I enjoy in others, so I want to do my best to avoid them as traits I exhibit.

I don’t want an easily defined path, so why do I keep trying to accomplish the very thing that squicks me out? I guess it comes down to my left brained side, who would enjoy labeling, analyzing and compartmentalizing everything it can catch. But to turn this off completely would mean that I take everything as canon and never question a word I encounter.


So somehow I need to take the symbols, materials, and objects that are special to me, and only use them instead of trying so hard to learn Tarot definitions that are as easily understood as Sanskrit. I guess you could say that I have finally reached this after enough headbutting the brick wall of frustration to cause a spiritual concussion. In the aftermath of my spiritual headache, I have found that others struggled with the same things I have, which reassures me that my spirit will recover from all the blunt force trauma I inflicted upon it.

I have begun to collect the objects to create my own system, inspired in part by a Canadian HedgeWitch named Juniper, who I offer my thanks and an internet hug. She has blogged extensively about her collection (link below) as well as numerous other topics that I have greatly enjoyed reading. You might ask why I want to try this idea, when all these others have been a difficult undertaking, and the best answer I can give is “this feels right”. It fits in ways I have never felt from a book or deck of cards, so I am willing to give it a try. If nothing else, the shiny trinkets I find will make my inner Crow happy.

Links: Juniper’s blog My Faeries Oracle deck My Tarot deck Futhark Rune study materials

About darkbookworm13

I am a proud mom to 3 beautiful girls, and married to the love of my life. I have been a practicing Witch since the summer of 2003, having studied many different paths over the years, ranging from Wicca, Goddess only worship (courtesy of StarHawk), Eclectic Paganism, Kitchen Witchcraft, Norse Paganism, Hearthcraft, Spiritual Luciferianism, and more. I have worked with the Futhark runes, Brian Froud's Faeries Oracle deck, Tarot decks, and I am currently working on a customized divination set based on collected items. I like to work with herbs, and gardening. I crochet and make handicrafts like wood burned items, paintings, drawings, toys, and hand sewn doll clothes for my daughters. The only title I call my spiritual path is Witchcraft, as using magic entwines deeply with the worship of the Gods who call me Their own. My Patron deity is Loki, who has chosen me as His kin.
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