My first ever tarot reading took place four months after I ended my marriage.
The separation was relatively amicable (I came out as a lesbian which meant there was no chance of reconciliation) but it was a separation nonetheless, which meant a swell of emotions as well as practical life changes which included moving from England to Scotland, moving in with my parents, and navigating the worlds of queerness and divorce simultaneously.
Forms of modern witchcraft have always fascinated me. I’d been tempted to seek advice from a psychic or tarot reader in the past but I was afraid of being laughed at, so I buried my curiosity with spirituality and sought help elsewhere.
But in the separation process, I reclaimed a huge part of myself that had been swallowed up in the identity of a relationship. I was free to explore all my eccentricities without needing to justify them to anyone. So I asked a trusted client and friend to give me a reading.
I had zero expectations going into that tarot reading. I had zero knowledge of what tarot was or how it worked. My friend commented that she had never given a reading to someone who didn’t know the four suits or the basics of the major and minor arcana meanings. Truly, I knew nothing.
We spoke on Zoom for several hours about my past, my present circumstances, my general outlook and options for the future. To say that the conversation we had was life-changing would be an understatement. I actually believe that reading was a life-defining moment for me. It split me off from the path I was on and re-routed me on a far more fulfilling one.
Almost a year later, I can say that I am fully obsessed with the power of tarot. I pull cards every day, I have a tarot mentor, spent months learning meanings and building my own intuitive process, giving tarot readings for friends and now, offering them as part of my business.
Here is how tarot helped me find myself:
1. Tarot gave me a reality check
People want tarot to predict the future, but sometimes the most helpful approach is to look at what is going on in your life now, in the present moment. At the time of my first tarot reading, I was bogged down in the difficult early days of divorce. It seemed like my days were an endless stream of solicitor meetings, emails and uncomfortable negotiations.
The cards pulled that day had a clear message: look at the bigger picture.
I wasn’t being invited to think “oh this will all be OK eventually”…. I was being invited to think….. “this is all OK right now because look at all the freedom, opportunities and abundance that already exists in my life.”
The reading took place on Zoom but I was staying at my friend’s house at the time, looking after her cat, in her beautiful flat in the heart of Glasgow’s West End. I had friends who offered me endless love and support. I had parents who took me in and accepted everything I told them. I had an ex who let me leave. I had the capacity for change.
I had already changed my life for the better.
The hard parts of my experience (the cost and stress of divorce, and living with my parents) were still there, but during that reading they began to fade into the background, allowing the positive parts to step forward and take centre stage.
My perception of reality flipped. Now I could see I had the freedom to travel, the support networks to boost my mood, the blank space to create a new life on my own terms.
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2. Tarot invited me to take control of my narrative
Being in a relationship was easy in the same way that it wasn’t. Because it involved another person making choices which, as someone suffering from deep-rooted sexual repression, it felt so safe and warm. Having someone else to make decisions about life lifted the mental load I had to carry.
So when I became single and the future we had planned together was no longer an option, I was scared of the empty canvas I was supposed to paint on. Terrified of making the wrong choices, yes, but also struggling to remember my own likes and dislikes.
What had I wanted to do with my life before I got into a relationship?
Who had I wanted to become when I was unattached?
That version of me had been long forgotten, but tarot reminded me that I have the power to rewrite myself every single day, whether that was booking a train to visit my queer friends up north, taking myself on a writer’s retreat, trying reiki for the first time or allowing myself to spend money on gig tickets to experience live music.
Before I used tarot I was following a script of what I thought my life should look like, but now I get to write a new one and change it whenever I like.
3. Tarot revealed my potential
I started to realise that the world was wide open to me when my first tarot reading showed me a picture of a cat in the Queen of Wands card. Catsitting was just something I did, one time, to help a friend and get a break from living with my parents. But with the self-reflection tarot offered, I connected the dots between wanting to travel and looking after pets as a way to get free accommodation.
In the months that followed, I looked after pets in Glasgow, Edinburgh, London, the Midlands and Paris. I can say for certain none of that would have been possible if I hadn’t taken the time to look at the cards and be honest with myself about what I want from life.
4. Tarot allowed me to make braver choices
It might not seem like it, but travelling and petsitting felt like a scary decision to make. Mostly because I’ve spent my entire life seeking validation from friends and family, by following the template of what life should look like.
So announcing that I would be breaking away from the traditional life plan and becoming a digital nomad for the year was, in my mind, a risk that could render me an outsider to the people I love. The people who made me feel like I was doing things the right way.
But tarot always reminds me that it’s my life.
Only I can know what’s right for me, and those external voices shouldn’t be louder than my internal voice. So I took the road less travelled, and I decided to take a chance on living a life that I knew other people would not understand.
5. Tarot encouraged me to face my shadow parts
Oooft yeah, she did! I’m quite a spontaneous person but often those hasty actions are based on fear, because often I fear abandonment or being emotionally pushed away. So as a newly single person, you can probably imagine that dating for the first time in 18 years has been quite the journey.
Through interactions with women, I’ve been confronted with my need to feel ‘safe’ in a relationship and the ways in which this need manifests in my actions. You know the drill, obsessively checking my phone, wondering what they’re up to, what they’re thinking, why they haven’t texted me back and if they’re constantly on the verge of rejecting me.
There was no magical card that allowed me to see all this. It was the daily repetition of pulling tarot cards and journaling that gave me the chance to think about my state of mind and analyse my corresponding behaviours. I haven’t banished this shadow part from my identity, but I’ve begun to look at it in detail and consider whether my actions are in alignment with the energy I want to bring to relationships.
6. Tarot gave me increased self-awareness
To sum it up, tarot has made me see who I was, who I am, and who I have the potential to become. I can step outside of the perception I have of myself and acknowledge that I have choices, I have power, and I can change the course of my life by replacing old patterns with bolder, authentic ones that allow me to thrive.
Instead of sleepwalking through life, blinded by false limitations, I am free.
Free to want, desire, play, dive deep and breathe calmly in the knowledge that everything is available to me when I’m ready to receive.