A week or so ago, I was on the phone with my friend Scott, talking about life updates–my big life updates, his last year of internal medicine residency, how covid is in our regions, his recent engagement and plans to have a wedding at an EDM festival next summer if such gatherings can happen then, he and his fiance watching Breaking Bad (him for the first time), my plans to start recapping Better Call Saul for this site–and somewhere in there, he mentioned that he’d recently gotten into tarot.
Ooooh, I thought. I love tarot, and I love talking tarot with people, and it’s always a jolt when someone in the science or medical world is also into tarot, because I don’t think there are many of us. I got a similar jolt when a classmate posted that they were doing an astrology workshop for an enrichment week activity, and some of the ensuing comments, and not just mine, were about tarot.
It’s a weird tension for me to contain inside myself, the hardcore science and rational side and the metaphysical side. That’s a topic I could write a lot about but for the sake of not going off on too many tangents, I’m going to shelve that idea for another day. Suffice to say, it’s a tension that’s at the core of who I am and I’m a little obsessed with science, with wanting to protect people from bad science or pseudoscience scams, and also with tarot and other such mystical systems, and maybe most of all with the concept of belief itself. But let’s set all that aside for now.
With all that aside, whenever someone first mentions tarot to me, the first thing I want to talk about is decks. There are so, so, so many. Different artwork, different books of interpretations, different aesthetics to both.