1. Your new book, Tarot Interactions, focuses on becoming more intuitive when reading the tarot. What inspired you to write Tarot Interactions?
I never thought I was an expert on the tarot. I learned so much from authors I admire, like Rachel Pollack and Eden Grey; I didn't want to re-tread ground they'd already explored so brilliantly. I feel very strongly, as an author, that I have no business writing a book unless I have something unique to say.
But, my late ex-husband, Isaac Bonewits, always said I was an amazing tarot reader and I absolutely had to write a book on the subject. He was a terrific reader himself, so it was very flattering, but I always put him off. Still, it was in the back of my mind that if I could come up with something unique, something that really contributed to the existing library of books on Tarot, I would write it.
I knew that there were certain things that were unique about how I do readings. What I couldn't figure out was what tied those things together. I had a sit-down with the brilliant Elysia at Llewellyn, and together we came up with this idea of interactions. Once she said that the word "interaction" was what tied all my different ideas together, everything clicked. I wrote the book very quickly after that; in fact, it's the one I've written fastest.
2. You are a Pagan High Priestess, and your other books (including The Elements of Ritual, The Way of Four, and Merry Meet Again) are Pagan-oriented. How does the Tarot fit into your daily life, and as a Pagan?
A lot of the games in my "Experimentation and Play" chapter of Tarot Interactions are games we've played in my Pagan group.
To me, my Pagan theology includes the idea that humans have more abilities than are visible, that we are allowed and able to know the unknowable, and that nature and the universe are full of information that most of us in Western culture are taught isn't there. So all of that adds up to the idea that divination is something we can use.
I use tarot in Paganism when I'm making difficult decisions, like whether or not a certain magical act is appropriate. It's a way of getting answers from a higher source, if you will.
My day-to-day use of tarot is primarily reading for others. If something serious is going on with me, I reach out to other readers. There was a time not long ago when I had a series of strange omens, which included things actually falling on me from the sky. I was alarmed! When I did a reading for myself, the answer said something like, "Something serious is going on and you don't know what it is." Thanks a lot, tarot! So I reached out to a few people who I knew were talented readers, and I got some solid, helpful answers, and was able to respond to the forces moving through my life.
3. So, what exactly is a tarot interaction?
The idea of tarot interactions is to move beyond treating tarot like a bunch of individual and static cards that sit there, with one or more interpretations.
A single tarot card, interpreted "by the book," can be a very powerful conveyer of meaning. But when you interact with tarot, it comes alive.
Cards interact with each other—that's a chapter in the middle of the book, but it's where I started. They look at each other, or away from each other, or at the future, or at the past. So two cards aren't just two meanings, they're two meanings plus the little dance they do with each other. And they're more than two meanings because they also interact with where they lie in a spread, with patterns, and so on.
All of the interactions I talk about in the book are different and important—interacting with your own psyche, interacting with the querent (the person receiving the reading), etc. But the gist of it all is that tarot is a living, breathing experience. It's as infinitely complex and beautiful as life itself.
4. Why is it so helpful to read the cards with a more intuitive eye and recognizing patterns in the cards?
Learning to be intuitive is such a powerful thing that I hope my readers can take that chapter and use it for more than tarot! I think the first thing we need to make any life experience more powerful is self-trust, which means listening to your own intuition and attending to its message.
Intuition in the tarot helps you proceed when you might otherwise be overwhelmed, or stiff, or whatever your particular issue is. I mean, there are hundreds of thousands of potential meanings for each card in a reading—how do you know what to choose, where to start? Intuition!
As for pattern, well, there's a sample reading in the book in which I describe all kinds of details about a situation—what's wrong, what the issue is, how to fix it—just from pattern, before interpreting any card. It's that powerful.
By the way, sample readings in the book are almost entirely real readings. I either used a real-life example, or I sat at my writing desk and shuffled the cards and used whatever came up as a sample—no editing allowed! Trusting my intuition and trusting the cards was what allowed me to do that.
5. What do you hope your readers take away from Tarot Interactions?
I know there are thousands of people up there who like the tarot, and think it's cool, but don't really click with it. Maybe they're beginners, but maybe they've done a lot of readings, and they find there's something missing. They can't figure out how someone like me can reach so deeply with the cards and they cannot.
My hope is that everyone who reads Tarot Interactions, who does the homework and exercises, will be able to reach deeply with the cards.