It was the spring of my 17th year that I discovered my first Tarot Deck. I thought it was beautiful. Having no idea what it meant, I bought it for that reason alone. I had played card games all my life, so I felt familiar with 52 or 53 cards. I didn’t understand why there were no Jacks, but I assumed that the Joker must be the same as the Fool. The deck was The Aquarian Deck and reflected the style of my childhood somehow. Both clean lines of my father’s architecture and curves of my mother’s paintings and sculptures, and her color palette, as well. The pictures of the cards I didn’t recognize reminded me of my favorite series of children’s books, The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis.
On the surface, I had everything going for me by normal standards. I had friends. I was the Head Girl of my school. I had just traveled to Australia with my father’s new family. I had a lead in the school musical, I was a winning speech team member, and was in a top jazz choir. However, as with many of us when some terrible things happen, there was an inexplicable undercurrent. I felt suicidal.
I was raped by some boys in my choir on a field trip that January. In those days the term “date rape” was just beginning to surface. I hardly knew it was a thing. All I knew was that boys I assumed I knew had crossed my boundaries with no hesitation at all, held me down in a room full of six people and fucked me. Somehow one of them coerced me into a late night endless one-sided discussion in the hotel hallway so as not to tell anyone in charge. He convinced me no one would believe me, and if they did his life would be ruined whereas nothing was asked how I was or how I was affected beyond the idea that it was my fault for entering their room with a “friend”. To be frank, I was simply in shock and in a process of complete disassociation that would last for decades.
How could a Tarot Deck possibly help? At the time, the most it could possibly do was to distract me. Sincerely, I needed a distraction. I was happy to reach into my less acceptable side in those months that followed. I perceived Tarot to somehow be a part of that. I was not one to pierce my skin or get a tattoo, but I could definitely shuffle a deck of cards impressively, I could interpret works of art, having been taken to the art museum with my artist mother a million times growing up, and I liked the idea of somehow never walking into the wrong room or making a mistake again. I was a natural intuitive investigator.
What I could not predict is how nine times out of ten, I managed to really get very close to what my friends were going through when I “read” their cards through a combination of using the pamphlet included with the deck I bought and my intuition about symbology. That is how I began trusting Tarot. From that point on, I was hooked on finding out more. I had all sorts of internal taboos for a decade about what I was allowed to do with them, and what a reading was supposed to look like and feel like. And, reading the cards did not stop me from making many more mistakes. This did not frustrate my curiosity thankfully.