I started reading tarot cards maybe 15 years ago. The cards provided excitement for many long nights with my friend or my mum, when over a glass of red wine we’d be discussing the joys and worries of our lives.
My mum had bought a deck and the accompanying book by a visual artist Maritta Liulia. The words on the cards are in Finnish and the images are created in the style of collages. Eventually the cards spent more time at my house than hers, and I still have them.
I bought my very own deck only recently. I wanted a deck that was a bit darker, more gothic in feel. As I was searching for my new deck of cards, I was astonished by the sheer number of different decks out there as well as the beauty of them all. I chose the Fournier XIII Nekro deck.
Inspired by my deck, I felt that I really wanted to learn the meaning of the cards, so that I could use them without constantly referring to a book. I heard a suggestion to pick one card and study it’s meaning for a week at a time. That felt like a nice idea and something quite doable.
As part of this study, I started drawing the cards. Spending the time drawing the card made me really immerse myself with the card, and coming up with the imagery made me memorise it much better.
Drawing the cards has been a great joy. It helps me to dive into the cards on a whole different level, and I reflect the different aspects of the card with my own life. Drawing is deeply relaxing and meditative. It is a moment to take a break from the little worries of my day and think about life on a deeper level.
I’ve allowed myself to draw without much self-criticism. I do it for joy, to relax, to learn the cards, not to create Great Art. I don’t plan what I’m going to draw, I just put pen on paper and start. The reason why the cards have ornate frames, is because the paint pens need to get warmed up before the paint flows well. They also help me to get in the flow. Working in this way has been so much fun. Free flowing, and joyful. No pressure, no contemplation, just enjoying the process and seeing what unfolds.
The magic of Tarot cards is their ability to touch upon the universal themes of being a human. Each card has a theme like sorrow, achievement, vanity, pleasure, withdrawal, challenge, confusion. They are linked with the bigger themes of love, money and happiness. Those big themes that you can see dominating most discussions around personal development, and pursuit of a better life.
Now here’s an important point I want to make. I don’t believe that the Tarot cards hold special powers or tell me my fate, my future or any nonsense like that. The reason why tarot cards “work” is because I, we who read them inject that meaning ourselves. The themes are universal, and it’s easy to find something in our own lives that we can find fits the aspect of the card. We humans are great at creating narratives, and making things relevant to our own lives.
I briefly joined a Tarot group in Facebook, (which was great for drooling over the most gorgeous tarot designs) but I soon left because I really don’t subscribe to the superstition that so many people attach to the cards. I also found it quite disturbing how people were outsourcing their decisions to the cards, and handling some pretty serious situations by just pulling cards.
I deeply object to handing over my personal power to “something greater out there" and believe that something, anything else is able to tell me what to do instead of taking full responsibility of my own actions. I can understand how this can feel comforting. Life can get complex and it feels good when answers can simply be received from the outside.
Instead I use the cards as prompts to ponder different aspects in my life. The cards provide prompts of universal themes, but it is us, that create the meaning, the stories and the relevance to our own lives.
The cards or the universe or whatever is not telling me what is going on in my life, I am doing it myself. Me and my friends could’ve been just talking about life over that glass of wine without the cards just as well, but the cards provided a beautiful framework to do that.
I draw the cards on my lunch break. I take creative nights out and sit in cozy bars sipping red wine, listening to lounge music. I ponder and reflect. I enjoy the act of drawing on paper. I take a break from the clutter of my life.
That’s why I draw tarot cards. You can check all my drawings here.