Cards for Creative Living: The Tarot ~ My Core Four

There is something about creatives and tarot cards.

Maybe it’s simply that so many decks are wildly beautiful and speak to our imaginative souls. Maybe it’s because we creatives have a natural tendency to look for pattern, meaning and story, all of which tarot cards provide. The cards speak in an imaginative language of symbol, images and metaphor and the spreads provide a framework and underlying structure for exploration – familiar territory for the creative heart.

I’ve been fascinated by tarot cards since I was a teenager. I remember going with my sisters to The Omega Centre, the one and only store where you could buy tarot cards in Toronto.  Bathed in the smell of incense, listening to the tinkling sound of chimes over gentle music playing, we gazed at the decks in the glass case behind lock and key. We pored over the binder that held pictures from each of the decks, trying to discern which of these beauties was for us.

Once we’d chosen, we’d take our treasures over to the Second Cup, a coffee shop just on the fringe of Yorkville, sit by the window and one by one reveal each card to one another. We learned their magic together.

One of my fondest tarot memories is the three of us lounging around my first apartment chatting through each of the cards. This was especially helpful with the court cards. We had a blast coming up with who we thought was the the Queen of Swords or the King of Pentacles. From that day forward I have always thought of the King of Cups as Ed Harris’s character Virgil in The Abyss.

Since those early days, the tarot has been a part of my life and my adventures! A few of my favourites are my sister Shannon and I flying to Cape Cod so that I could do tarot coaching at a creative event run by a blogging friend, working for a brief time at the National Psychic Hotline and years of sharing Osho Zen cards every day on Twitter. Today I’m sharing with you the four core decks that have been a part of that journey. Be sure to watch for my upcoming flip-throughs of each of these decks so you can see if any of them are meant for you.

What has your experience been like with the tarot?

Do you have favourite decks? I’d love to hear!

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10 comments

  1. Judy Boardman Collier says:

    It tickled me that you visioned Ed Harris as the King of Hearts, me too!! I wrote that movie down so I can order it from Netflix. My favorite of his is Crazy, the story of Patsy Cline and he plays her husband. I enjoy your newsletters and your work so much and I thank you.

  2. Julie Kovac says:

    I just started getting interested in tarot cards about half a year ago. I bought my husband a deck a long time ago when he was in the hospital thinking it might be fun for him but he never opened them. This past spring I opened the deck and it was the same as you spoke about. I was enchanted with each card and started making up stories about each one. In the summer I went on a yoga retreat and found the Motherpeace round tarot deck in a gift shop. I love the pictures in that deck. I wish I knew more about reading tarot. Any suggestions on a good book for beginners?

  3. Rosemary says:

    Oh thanks so much for sharing these decks! I’ve never seen the Sacred Rose deck before. So beautiful. One of my very, very favorite decks is the “inner Child Cards” by Isha Lerner and Mark Lerner. The deck compares all the traditional tarot symbols to fairy tales and myths. They are so inspiring for creatives! The cards themselves are large and the paintings are so juicy. They really touch my child-heart every time I use them. Have you tried these?

    • Jamie says:

      The Sacred Rose is quite a favourite in my family! I turn to it all the time. I think my mom had those Inner Child Cards too! I hadn’t anticipated how much having this tarot conversation was going to make me want to invest in more cards ;)

  4. Anne in Virginia-USA says:

    I enjoyed seeing your favorite Tarot decks, Jamie. The only one I’d seen before was the Cosmic Tarot. I started with a Rider-Waite deck when I was learning the meanings of the cards. I then bought an Aquarian deck because I loved the art nouveau style, but I couldn’t read with it. The images seemed static and not evocative. I now use a Morgan-Greer deck, which I find easy to interpret, and whose images seem to grow in depth as I work with them.

    • Jamie says:

      Wow, Anne, I went through the same journey. I also went to the Rider-Waite and then the Aquarian and had the same reaction to the latter. I love the Morgan-Greer and found it to be such a good balance of holding the traditional meanings while being engaging. I think I’ll pull out that deck soon! Thanks so much for letting me know you enjoyed the video :)

  5. Sherri says:

    Love this video, Jamie! My very first tarot deck was the Unicorn Tarot because I loved unicorns and loved the artwork of that deck. I bought it myself and in fact had never heard that your first deck should be given to you. I guess it’s good I didn’t wait. I don’t use that deck much anymore, but I still have it and flip through from time-to-time. Mostly I stick with oracle cards (I hope you do a video on those, too!), but the tarot deck I have enjoyed using for the past year is The Wild Unknown. I love the artwork, the simplicity of design, and the short write-ups in their guidebook.

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