My grandmother Elizza (1869 to 1956)Was a Manoush Gypsy and used to read Tarot with her original Soprafino deck. Remembering seeing this deck when I was a little girl and looking at the old worn out frayed cards together with my mother and her cousin, my “Aunty”is ultimately, what later brought me to Tarot.
Read more about that part here:
However, I grew up in the shamanic worldview of my father’s Siberian ancestry where divination was an integral part of working with clients, but divination cards were not used. One had Sheep’s knuckles and Horse hairs of different length and colours and a bag with small divinatory items, each having a specific meaning and being a tangible mnemonic of a shamanic teaching or tribal lore.
So that is, what I had. Then I went to university and became a member of a Peyote lodge of the Native American Church and divination was set into relation with things and events on “saw” in visions and trance journeys and of course meaningful coincidences in and with Nature, especially Animals Birds, Plants, clouds and rocks.
Then there was a time of travelling, where my then boyfriend – now hubby of 30 years – travelled in our VW bus around North America visiting sights and our Native friends, made jewellery on the road and sold it on markets and fairs….
I still vividly remembering the Tarot reader “Solaya” in Key West’s Mallory Square reading with , what i then assumed were the “wrong” cards. It was a standard RWS deck – but I did not know, that I did not know that….:(
Then there was “die GrÄfin” = the Countess, a lady, who was very snub-nosed and knew everything much better than everyone else… She read with a Thoth deck…
This is, how I learned, that there are different “modern” decks!
When we settled in Canada and our log home was all ready, I wanted a Tarot deck to honor my Grandma Elizza’s memory and heritage and to create a bit more balance in my life. I had in all these years always followed the shamanic path of my Father’s clan, and not paid much heed to my maternal Ancestors and their teachings.
And there was the conundrum: All the old decks, Marseille and what else I saw were, in terms of their imagery with the characters and the attire they wore, soooo very alien and removed from my inner life and my world view. I had felt that as a teen and it was the same now. I had a few Oracle decks and stuck to those for readings for self and others. They were all Nature and Animal related.
But then for Solstice, my hubby gave me the Native American Tarot from Maria Gonzales. OUPS!! :bugeyed:
I connected with the images, but there also were quite a few, that were stereotypical and “politically problematic”.
But for me the search was on. That was also made so much more fun, when Peter got a Computer! 🙂
Over the next few years I drifted through quite a few decks, working with each for about a year, always on the look out for the “right one”, but when it came to just reading I could use any deck and the “soul of the querent opened” .
I also made the observation, that some people, liked to come for a consultation and “input”, but were a bit scarrrred of my drums, Owl feathers and shamanic chants and found me reading “the Cards” for them less “strange” and it helped them to get to know me a little. And then, eventually they asked, if I could drum and chant for them and call my Animal Spirits and try to “see” …. whatever was wrong…..
Then I read the cards for a friend and subsequently taught her to read. She went on line, found AT and signed herself up and a year later signed me up too.
In spite of being on dial up my world exploded with Tarot decks 🙂
I think, that is so for most of us. Since then I have the habit of picking a new deck and working with it for a month or 2 and seeing, what it can teach me, what I can absorb form it that deepens my Tarot understanding.
I also gave teachings – about shamanism here in AT and then someone from here gave me a Geenwood deck as a Solstice present 🙂
That was The deck I had wanted to get, since first finding out about it.
It now is my main reading deck for clients and for personal readings.
See the Greenwood images and book here on this site:
Then of course there is my hand painted Ironwing deck.
It combines shamanism, art, Nature and metal smithing, the 4 mainstays of my life in 78 images 🙂