Five years ago, out of curiosity, Paul Weiss attended a class on tarot-card reading. Now he uses his deck daily.
“I look at a card before going to work, and it tells me the energy of the day,” says Weiss, a library technician at a DC law firm. “Or I use it when I write, like a brainstorming technique. It’s very subtle, but it changed how I see my life.”
Contrary to popular belief, the 78-card tarot deck isn’t used only for seeing into the future; many people use it to gain insight into their unconscious. DC resident Vicki Mattingly, who has studied tarot for ten years and given readings for three, considers tarot a good way to get to know yourself.
“I think of it like inkblot tests or dream images,” she says. “These types of symbols bring out a new way of looking at things.”
Through her business, Transcendent Voyage (transcendentvoyage.com) , Mattingly provides life coaching, workshops, and readings. Her Sunday Spiritual Salon Series is an informal two-hour lecture and brunch at her Dupont Circle home that ends with a tarot or astrology reading for each of the attendees.
Mattingly says that because tarot is open to various interpretations, the particular deck you use isn’t so important; you should pick one whose images you feel connected to. Themes such as sports or feminism are popular, as are cards with Celtic and Native American imagery. Amazon.com sells the classic Rider tarot deck, including instruction book, for $11.70.
Geraldine Amaral—who taught the class that Paul Weiss attended—is author of Tarot Celebrations: Honoring the Inner Voice. She teaches workshops at the Arlington Metaphysical Chapel (5618 Wilson Blvd., Arlington; 703-276-8738; arlingtonmeta.com) and gives personÂal “empowerment” readings, which are booked through her Web site, TarotCelebrations.com.
Amaral’s workshops ($30 to $90) give an introduction to what tarot can do besides fortunetelling. Every three months, she offers a $30 introduction at First Class (1726 20th St., NW; 202-797-5102; takeaclass.org) ; the next is September 9.
She suggests that those seeking more information on tarot look into professional sites, including the American Tarot Association’s (ata-tarot.com) or personal sites such as aeclectic.net.