My Tarot Story – Part 1

First of all, welcome to my blog! My name is Matthew Martin and I have been reading tarot on and off now for around 12 years. This blog will be a personal record of my tarot journey, as well as an information hub on how to read and use tarot to improve our lives.

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This post is a quick introduction to how I found the tarot and how it changed my life!

The earliest memory I have of tarot is when I first came across a Visconti Deck which belonged to my mother. I’m not entirely sure why she had it, she didn’t really use it and as far as I know she has never learned to read the tarot. Even though the deck did belong to her, she did let me take out the cards and feel them, run my hands over the interesting images.

The Visconti Deck is a gold-plated deck which is quite different from more modern versions of the tarot. The cards are lush and vibrant with images inspired and based on various 15th-Century tarot decks known as the Visconti-Sforza, believed to be the oldest existing tarot cards. These cards were used as playing cards, rather than fortune telling and so it is interesting to note that the minor arcana lack images, only symbols. Although this deck is beautiful, it’s incredibly difficult to read for a beginner! However, it was enough to pique my interest in the world of tarot!

A typical teenager of the early 00’s, I was obsessed with dragons and the fantastical. I became interested in new-age religions such as Wicca, and through the internet I found the Dragon Tarot which I instantly fell in love with. In fact, I still own the same copy of the deck today and still perform readings with it! I practiced tarot on my friends and family and got very positive feedback and so I felt that I wanted to pursue it further.

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The beautifully illustrated Dragon Tarot

The Dragon Tarot really spoke to me in a lot of ways. For a start it has a Gothic feel with each card illustrated in a dark fantasy style. The characters in the cards are entirely dragons which are complimented by various pagan and occult symbols. The cards are intuitive to read and follow much of the ‘traditional’ pattern of images set mainly by the Rider-Waite tarot.

I found that reading the cards intuitively worked a lot better for me than using the guidebook supplied with the deck. I am a strong believer that our intuition is our most powerful tool when reading tarot and that our own interpretations can be stronger and more accurate than what is said in books.

The main spread I used at this point was the well known ‘Celtic cross’ spread. This spread is generally only used for more detailed questions or finding the root of problems, but it was the first spread I really learned. I definately leaned more towards the technical ‘by the book’ style of reading at this point. Over time, I learned to trust my intuition more and started to read the cards more accurately, even though my logical mind often tried to butt in!

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The Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot in the Celtic Cross spread

Just after turning 20 I attended a Psychic development course with the Angelight School of Spiritual and Psychic Advancement (A.S.S.P.A) which increased my intuition and reading skills immensely. My teacher Elaine got me a more traditional deck, the Rider-Waite Tarot, specifically the Radiant Rider-Waite – a ‘remastered’ and more colourful version of the classic deck. This is probably the most well known tarot deck today and is a lot easier for beginners to read due to the vibrant colours and symbolic images on each card. Most ‘how to read tarot’ books reference this deck as well so it’s an excellent one to start with.

After starting to read the Rider-Waite my tarot reading skills improved rapidly. I feel this was largely due to the more visual aspects of this deck – the symbolism is deep and can bring all sorts of messages and indights into our minds.

I started to use the tarot to improve parts of my life: using them in Wiccan rituals, using them for self-therapy, meditation and of course reading for friends and family. I did my first readings for other people around 2003, mainly exchanges on forums. These were always free readings for practice but every time I received overwhelmingly positive feedback. I realized that I didn’t just love the tarot, I had a passion for it!

Since then, I have been steadily taking on free and paid readings and I have never had bad feedback. (You can grab yourself a reading here if you are interested!) I’ve also gained quite a few more decks and I have even more on my wishlist!

I’m in a place in my life where I want to take my tarot reading off the ground and start reading as a business, and so this blog will act as my companion, my personal record and I hope that the information posed here will help others too!

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My 11 Tarot and Oracle decks as of February 2017

I hope this post has been interesting to you! If you have any questions or comments, please let me know below!

Thank you for reading!

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