Are you a fan of tarot cards?
Readers of my books tend to be a mixed bag. Some believe reading tarot cards is a violation of the first commandment. Others fear that only demons communicate through such methods. Still others don't put much stock into the cards and think we tend to see patterns and messages because we want to and for no other reason.
Still others believe that God, or angels, or spirits (sometimes more vaguely referred to as the Universe), use tarot cards to talk to us when we are looking for guidance.
To me, tarot is a form of prayer. Some people use rosaries. Other people use votive candles. People use music, incense, movement, dance, images of saints, rattles, bells, crystals, sacred relics, sacred texts, and incantations to connect with the spiritual realm. Why not cards?
When I first began using tarot, I did not believe in their power to provide me with spiritual messages. I found them to be fun and entertaining. I eventually created my own deck to use as a tool to teach others about the gods, goddesses, and heroes of ancient Greece--characters that people my young adult fantasy novels. The cards served as flashcards and tarot, depending on the context.
I used them at book events to attract the attention of browsers by saying, "Would you like to hear a message from the gods of ancient Greece?" Most people would stop and say yes.
The more I used them, the more I came to believe in their power. There were too many superbly meaningful moments for them to be a "coincidence." It's uncanny how the right message is delivered at the right moment to strangers I know nothing about. Let me give you some examples.
Just last weekend, where I was selling my books at the Super Hero Car Show and Comic Con in San Antonio, a young man in his twenties asked for a reading. He wanted to know if his current relationship was headed in the right direction. After I shuffled the cards, he chose Pontus, the embodiment of the sea, who represents the unknown. I told him the deck was refusing to answer about the relationship's outcome, but if he took a leap of faith and jumped into the sea, he would ride a thrilling wave that would eventually lead to land. The journey was more important than the outcome.
Intrigued, he asked to see the deck. A fan of Greek myth, he enjoyed looking over my cards. When I asked him if he had a favorite, he said, "Hephaestus, but he doesn't like me."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"He's the god of work, and I'm struggling with what to do about my career."
"Then ask the deck another question," I said. "Let's see what the cards have to say."
As I shuffled, he asked, "Should I stick with what I'm studying, or should I follow a new path that has stolen my heart?"
I cut the cards and fanned them out. I held two partial decks that together made nearly a hundred cards with no more than two alike in the deck. Out of all those cards guess which one he drew?
That's right. Hephaestus.
"I thought you said he didn't like you," I teased. "He's telling you to follow your heart. If you can make your passion your job, you'll never work a day in your life."
"Wow," he said as goosebumps crawled across his arms. "That's incredible."
I had chills, too.
And that's just one of dozens of similar stories I've experienced.
Like the woman who chose Chiron, the centaur, who represents healing. To her, I said, "You will soon be facilitating someone's healing, and it may be part of your own healing process."
Tears filled her eyes. "I'm on my way to give a talk on living with PTSD."
Then there was the man in his fifties who asked if the woman he'd been talking to online for three years was right for him. They still hadn't met in person, and he hoped he hadn't been wasting his time on something that would never be. After I shuffled, he drew Psyche, who represents sacred unions.
Of all the cards he could have chosen? Really?
"According to this deck, she's your soulmate," I said.
He broke into tears. "No one has ever understood me, the real me, like she does. I don't care what she looks like. I love her and want to meet her."
Then there was the police officer who saw my Medusa banner at another signing, and he came up to show me his Medusa tattoo.
"That's my daughter's face," he said of the tattoo.
"It's beautiful," I said. "Would you like a reading?"
Guess which card he drew?
This was a single deck of 70 cards with only one of each card in the deck. Out of all those cards he drew Medusa.
He couldn't believe it. I couldn't believe it.
"Medusa usually has something to do with forgiveness," I said. "Usually it means you have to let go of something, or your heart will turn to stone. But in this case, I think it has something to do with your daughter."
Tears filled his eyes. "I know exactly what it means, and my mind is blown."
"Mine, too," I said. And it was.
What do you think? Coincidence or spiritual messages?