The Tarot Chain: Interview #3 Carla Tate

It’s been a while since I’ve done this column and it’s totally my fault, I’ve been on a bit of a break and not updated it. However, that’s all being rectified now. My next lovely interviewee has been nominated by Alison Cross from my previous interview. It’s Carla Tate from over at Rowan Tarot (round of appluase) . Carla reads Tarot professionally as well as writes in a quirky, insightful and thought provoking way about Tarot. I was particularly drawn to her interest and work with the Marseille type decks. Her take on readings is refereshing, different from my own (she explains her work with the Marseille deck later in the interview; carry on reading) and therefore a pleasure to read and be introduced to. Carla’s deck and book reviews too struck me as extremely honest and very authentic. Here’s the interview with this fabulous lady:

1. What made you start a Tarot website/Blog?

I took up Tarot out of my own interest and quickly found that there are only so many readings you can do for yourself. I also learned that reading for others is where Tarot can really shine. I started the blog to explore Tarot and to offer readings to anyone who might like one.

2. From the your blog I learn that you work a lot with the Marseille Tarot deck. What drew you to work with that system? What do you think the Marseille Tarot has to offer in reading?

I wish I had started with the Marseille system. I don’t know why I was drawn to it, I can’t remember. But once I started working with it, using techniques taught by Enrique Enriquez, I realised that the Marseille Tarot was the best system I’d ever used. It makes so much sense to me. I personally don’t use spreads anymore. I don’t interpret card by card. I read the cards in lines and focus quite a bit on line of sight. The individual cards aren’t worth much. It’s how they interact with each other to create a story that counts.

Now, Rider Waite Tarot cards with all the illustrated minor arcana cards feel too limiting to me. Each card tells a very specific story (in my eyes) and when taken in groups, it’s hard for a generic story to emerge. With the Marseille Tarot Deck, there is much more freedom for interpretation. The majors and courts show action and the pips add detail. I use playing card meanings for tarot pips (pips=minor arcana)

3. What’s your approach to the Tarot when working with clients in readings (If you offer Tarot mentoring or coaching please talk about your approach with these)?

Without a question, a reading is without direction or meaning. So the client must have a question. I lay out cards and tell a generic version of the story seen there, then begin talking about how the story applies to the question asked.
4. What has working with the Tarot taught you?

Working with Tarot has changed my entire spiritual path. It’s also taught me that we all live out more or less the same stories. The patterns are there, though the details may change.

5.What frustrates you about being a Tarot reader?

Readers sometimes complain about what people ask them, in response to this kind of question. I used to be very persnickety about the types of questions I would answer, and spent a lot of time fretting about how to frame my answers to prevent making predictions, to protect the feelings of the client, etc, basically trying to wrap the reading in cotton wool. It was Camila Elias’s book Marseille Tarot: Towards the Art of Reading that led me to the conclusion that in doing so I was not allowing my clients agency over their own lives. I was making their agency my responsibility. I have found that now that I have begun reading what the cards say, without hedging my bets or wrapping it in cotton wool, clients understand and relate to the readings much better. Nothing really frustrates me about being a reader anymore, because I just read the cards. If someone asks me a question, I trust them to be able to handle the answer. In any case, their response to the reading is not my responsibility — they own their own feelings. Reading the cards to the best of my ability is my responsibility. I am grateful to Camila Elias for making it okay for me to work in this way, as it’s the way I always wanted to work but often felt that it wasn’t ‘acceptable’. It is. I used to be a frustrated Tarot reader. Now I’m not.

6. What does the Tarot have to teach/offer the world?

The world doesn’t need to be taught anything. Tarot offers us a way of seeing the bigger patterns that exist in the world and in our lives. And through seeing the patterns, we can get to the crux of the details that we fret over so much.

And that’s it for this time folks. Lots to reflect on and explore off leads from this interview (the Marseille system, the role of client agency in readings). Till next time keep reading (the cards and my blog, please)

Ava x