It Began with a Cartoon
When I was in middle school, my friends and I were huge anime fans. We fell in love with an anime series called Escaflowne. In that series, a teenager uses her tarot deck and pendulum to guide her and her friends on their quest.
I loved the idea of having that sort of guidance in my pocket. But I was raised Catholic and, without even asking my parents, presumed they wouldn't be okay with my bringing tarot into the house.
Out of flimsy spiral notebook paper, I created my first deck. It wasn't beautiful or durable, but it was mine, and it was enough to solidify my interest.
My first "gifted" deck
Time passed as it does, and my friends and I finished watching Escaflowne (mind, this was pre-streaming services and we had to get our parents to drive us 40 minutes to a used video store that imported subbed anime because we weren't going to watch dubbed). My flimsy tarot "deck" either disintegrated or I threw away the no-doubt torn cards. I don't recall.
Once I could drive though, trips to Barnes & Noble were a regular weekend occurrence (my bibliophile self couldn't have stayed away if they'd banned me).
I remember the day I found a tarot deck there I liked. The cards were narrow and long, a deep bluish-purple, and of a medium-weight card stock. Accompanied by a thick book to help decipher the meanings, this was a definite upgrade from my first deck.
"But don't you know they have to be a gift?" my friend asked.
At the time I believed they had to be. Of course, it's nice when they are and that augments a deck with a generous energy, but my younger self didn't know I could make the purchase myself without voiding the magick.
"What if you give me the cash and I buy them," my friend said.
The idea had merit. A little workaround suitable for teens who had budgets limited enough to necessitate such a circuitous ploy. I handed her the deck and fifteen dollars, the money a crumpled ball of paper from my pocket.
I watched from behind the New Age shelf as she purchased my cards. My friend wouldn't let me have them until we got back to my car, and then we sat in the parking lot for a while and thumbed through the cards.
Finding Tea & Tarot
Let's fast-forward many years. I'm talking about fifteen. I discovered Tea & Tarot because my mom told me the shop was in the newspaper. Intrigued, I made an appointment for a reading with Heather.
By this time, my collection of tarot and oracle decks had grown significantly (though I no longer had my first "gifted" deck, having sent it to a friend who needed a deck when I had more than one, turning it into a truly gifted deck).
Not only was impressed with Heather's insights (and delicious teas, oh my goodness my tea cupboard is full-to-bursting lately), but I instantly liked her as a person outside of the tarot nook, too.
Soon, I'd met other team members at the shop, since I couldn't stay away, and was visiting for hours on end.
My Second Gifted Deck
The day Heather invited me to become a tarot apprentice was the same day I'd emailed her with ideas about becoming a reader at the shop. We met to discuss her methods for giving tarot readings, and Heather was so generous and gifted me the Smith-Waite deck.
I started reading as a tarot apprentice at Tea & Tarot, and it wasn't long before I was spending as much time as possible in shop. Heather began to joke that I live there (and it's so charming, I always say I'd be happy to).
Though life and my own coaching business and authorship have required me to change my schedule so I'm not there every day from open to close (and sometimes after, especially if Heather & I or Victoria & I get up to something witchy... thought that can still happen), I'm still at Tea & Tarot every week as a reader (and sometimes other days too when I just stop in to have a quick (read: hours' long) chat.
I draw at least a card every day. Tarot has become an integral part of my life, and through working with my second gifted deck (or really, the first), I have a guide I can carry around in my pocket (or bag, because let's face it, 78 cards are challenging to stuff into a pocket).
Why I Love Giving Readings
Giving tarot readings to people is all about giving hope. Not that I sugar-coat the cards' messages. I don't. I can deliver hard truths when needs must. But what the cards offer is a shift in perspective to better navigate the present, the only time that actually exists and that we can affect.
When faced with problems or challenges, or learning opportunities, being able to act gives this Capricorn hope for the future. I enjoy helping folks unearth that sense of hope and possibility by seeing their present through new perspective.
Pop in for a cup of tasty tea and a reading sometime, and you'll see exactly what I mean.