1 hour online session, Tuesday & Wednesday evenings - £40
Using a spread of tarot cards as a reflective springboard, we'll have a conversation about your current life situations. Each card will indicate an issue at stake, with an overall picture developing.
We'll establish together the situation that's on your mind, how it's evolved, what's at the root of the issue, how you see it, and how it fits into your hopes and fears. Between you, me, and the cards, we'll assess the trajectories that are indicated, and establish some resolves and actions to take. I'll ask you towards the end of the hour, for 5 minutes or so to write in the chat what you're taking from the reading, to consolidate your thoughts and feelings.
What's most useful about reading is the space to vocalize what's on your mind, and to have an attentive sounding board. What happens next is mostly in your hands, it doesn't help to be fatalistic. Your world is always offering you suggestions, with or without a tarot reading. The session will give you material to consider.
A lot of things changed for me over the course of 2015. I lost another job and hopped on the back of my friend's Easter trip to a borrowed villa in Nice. My "plan" was to head on to Tunisia. What was already firmly established was an attention to signs as a means of decision-making over rational means to making a choice - especially at those moments where junctures are open. If you're walking with no destination or browsing a bookshop, or walking in the general expectation of finding a bookshop, you follow your nose. The "decision" to go to Tunisia was based primarily on my antennae picking up on a Tunisian cafe in Kilburn in the days before we left for Nice. I realised I could go head along the coast from Nice in either direction to Naples or to Marseille and take a boat across the Mediterranean.
I opted for a cheap AirBnB in Marseille offered by a reggae aficionado, expecting to find weed. I re-found Walter Benjamin and his essay Hashish in Marseille, and simply stayed on. It was another seemingly perfect perch, with a library where, one morning sweeping its floor, my eye alighted on a book on the Tarot de Marseille. It was dazzling sunshine in the courtyard reading the first pages, recognising the power of the symbols of the major arcana. It was an astonishing synchronicity that in its opening pages it gave instructions to work out the five cards that constituted your personal Life Line, and it gave the example of JF Kennedy as someone whose numerology translated into an extremely rare patterning: Moon, Moon, Hermit, Hermit, Hermit. It's not so remarkable to have one recurrence of a card (among the 22) in the 5-card sequence, though most of the people whose cards I worked out had a suite of unique cards. Mine, from the numerology of my name, surname and date of birth delivered an even more elegant cycle than JFK's - Hermit, Moon, Hermit, Moon, Hermit. A statistician could work out the odds of having such a sequence, but what could account for the book that hailed me to have cited that example. I even substituted my first name for my Tamil middle name and came up with the same.
And so it began, reading for other guests at the house after dinner. We'd play ordinary card games replete with stunning reversals, ironies and humour. And tarot readings that enriched ordinary conversation. I've always had encounters, conversations that took on a sudden depth; learning to read the symbolic communications of these cards, to channel the synchronicity of their appearance at a moment where I appeared on someone's path, was the gift of that year. I did try and make it to Tunisia but was turned back on the same boat I'd arrived in, not to Marseille but to Naples on its circuit. There was an amazing Tarot shop there where I bought my Italian Thoth deck which survived a theft of my bag back home in London, while leafleting at a tube station, and was returned to me a couple of weeks later. I was obsessed with the cards all that summer, sojourning in Ischia and Capri, coming back to Marseille for another stint, to Portbou where Benjamin died, onto Malaga where it all darkened. It was the cards - with their reversed Chariot, and others that built up a puzzling picture, that drove me back to Marseille very briefly only to end these peregrinations along the coast heading north to Calais.
For a couple of months - the Autumn - I re-entered my political life, spending time in the Jungle camp, and in Paris at a refugee squatted college. In Calais, beside the library was the Sudanese part of the camp, and a tent was pitched for me there. I made a friend who crossed the channel and two years later ended up in my little corner of London, precipitating my involvement with ESOL teaching a mode of political organising. In those intervening tow years -idyllic looking back - I earnt money from a part time job at the garden centre a short walk from me, and turned my family's lawn in to a garden. I also hooked-up with a couple of hundred guys offering tarot readings and massage, more often than not for money. The tarot obsession, was accompanied by a foray into the world (and language) of flowers and essential oils. That first tarot book also provided some Kabbalistic correspondences between the cards and plants, so my massages were lubricated by oils informed by the readings which preceded them.
The magic didn't totally disappear the last five years of teaching - I still use symbols and images as a means of eliciting stories which are at the centre of my classrooms. I take an amateur psychological and literary approach to my teaching - and it's one of the reasons for an ongoing attachment to France, with it's more literary heritage of psychoanalysis. A tarot reading simply gives rise to a narrative to scaffold a conversation. The cards have never failed to deliver a message, though I've never been diligent enough to keep a decent record. The last reading I did in Paris, I was sitting outside a bar, and a woman came over to use my lighter. She was curious about the book I was reading. I'd chosen it simply because it had a magpie on the cover, and I've long obsessed over them. She told me that the author's mother was a psychoanalyst, and she accepted my offer of a reading readily in the window she had waiting for a friend.
She was open and curious but didn't give anything away for a while, and I wasn't sure my interpretations were landing. And then it came together - she was now the same age that her mother died (my age) - and she lived in fear both of how long she would still have, and whether she was doing anything so special with the extra time she was being granted. At the base of her reading was the Chariot reversed, and following the memorable interpretation in '78° of Wisdom' by Rachel Pollack (who passed this year), I ventured to say that she was - like me - at that age where it no longer sufficed simply to desire something keenly for it to come about with a little effort. It's a striking loss of material power that accompanies middle age. She recognised this. My characterisation of her environment, described by the reversed Hermit, she likewise assented to - there was no sense of research: she was a French teacher and ran a comic shop - and wanted to study. The prognosis of the reading wasn't great - not because of the appearance of the Death arcana - but it felt a significant enough juncture due to the relative preponderance of the major cards. Neither happy nor deterred, she said I'd laugh when I found out her name - we'd got that far without exchanging ours - and pointed at the reversed Chariot. I hope she doesn't mind me saying, she was Victoire.