Today is the first really warm day we’ve had in Minnesota for about a month, which is very unusual since it’s early August. Such a day makes me want to set work aside and just play. At the 2009 Reader’s Studio, Rachel Pollack spoke about the importance of play. Anyone who has read Rachel’s books or heard her speak knows that she takes tarot seriously. But she also recognizes the wisdom in humor and light-heartedness. Playing frees the mind and relieves expectations. Rachel reminded us that great truths and wonderful gifts can be revealed during play. And after all, tarot cards were first used to play games. After chatting about the importance of playfulness, Rachel introduced us all to Dr. Apollo’s School of Cheap, Theatrical Fortune Telling.

I encourage you to get a fun-loving friend or, even better, a group of friends and try this for yourself. Using a list of prompts each person who wishes to do a reading creates a character—the more fantastic, the better. Once you create your character, you do a reading in character, adapting a particular voice or accent, mannerisms, and vocabulary that your character would use. Let yourself go and become that person. While doing the reading, be as extravagant and extreme as you can. Mostly when we do readings, we are careful and moderate, never predicting death or the future. Now is the chance to let go of all moderation—predict gruesome deaths, tragic accidents, and a plethora of tall, dark strangers. You may be surprised what truths or pearls of wisdom are found amongst the giggles.

Here are the easy steps to Dr. Apollo’s School of Cheap, Theatrical Fortune Telling:

First, pick a title for character such as Signora, Madame, The Honorable Doctor, or High Priestess of the People of the Third Moon of Marainus.

Next pick a name…as simple as Bob or ridiculously long or incongruous like Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore.

Create a family history. What does (or did) your family do? Perhaps they were bread makers from Italy or ice miners in Alaska or financiers on Marainus.

Tell the story of how your got your tarot deck. Was it handed down to every 6 daughter by your great great great great great grandmother or stolen by your brother from a store in Russia?

Describe some of the famous clients you’ve read for—world leaders, fashion icons, authors. Did any of your readings affect history or world events?

Once you have your character in mind, begin your reading by introducing yourself and including as much of the story as possible. The more you talk, the more you’ll get into your character and the more fun you and your sitter will have.

Go on! Let your hair down! Give it a try. If you do, tell me about it. Maybe next time, I’ll tell you about the characters I created. Would you like to meet Signora Magdelina Messina Mormino, whose great grandmother stole her tarot deck from the Pope’s office because he didn’t pay her for the biscotti he ordered? Or maybe you’d prefer Enchantress Fortuna Tatiana Sparklewing, a former butterfly herder from the prairies of Minnesota.

Written by Barbara Moore
The tarot has been a part of Barbara Moore’s personal and professional lives for over a decade. In college, the tarot intrigued her with its marvelous blending of mythology, psychology, art, and history. Later, she served as the tarot specialist for Llewellyn Publications. Over the years, she has ...