In the mornings, when I meditate on two cards pulled randomly from my Tarot deck, it amuses me to think that some consider the Tarot to be nothing more than a toy. To me, it’s so much more …
This morning, I pulled a Seven of Cups. As I meditate on what this card means and where it fits into my present way of living, I remember when my Grandmother MacLeod taught me to read the Tarot. I was ten and my family and I were in Dunvegan during a holiday from school. My brothers and my father were off fox-hunting with my uncles and my mother was in the kitchen, making tea.
Granny MacLeod’s normally strong voice was hushed as she told me to shuffle the cards, making sure to concentrate on what I wanted them to show me. She and my mother had exchanged words about teaching me “those pagan ways”, as my very strict Anglican mother called them. But Granny MacLeod knew that I had ‘the Sight’, like she herself did, and she wanted to make sure I could control and use it. So, despite my mother’s wishes, she continued the sessions in her cottage in Dunvegan and on those rare occasions when she made the day-long trip by train to Edinburgh.
My small hands struggled to shuffle the handmade cards as my thoughts remained fixed on my question. When I felt I had shuffled the cards long enough for them to have picked up my thoughts, I cut the deck to the left and then Granny MacLeod showed me how to lay them in a Past/Present/Future spread. We studied those four cards as if they were the Oracle at Delphi. As I think back to that moment fifteen years ago, I struggle to remember the outcome of that first reading. The cards that showed themselves and indeed my question to the Tarot are forgotten, but the feelings I had that day are etched into my heart.
My father, brothers and uncles soon came home and during supper that night, I showed off my new knowledge of Tarot reading. They were all impressed, except for my mother, of course. That night, loud voices came from my parent’s bedroom after my brothers and I climbed into the loft above the kitchen area. My mother was screaming at my father about my Granny turning me into a “godless witch” and she demanded that my Granny no longer be left alone with me. My father told my mother that he had learned the same things that I was being taught and there was no harm in it. I think I was crying because my brother Alisdair came and lay down with me until I fell asleep.
We left Dunvegan the next day. The long car ride back to Edinburgh was filled with uncomfortable silence. I soon fell into my routine again – going to school, playing with my friends, my music and dance lessons – and eagerly looked forward to the next holiday in Dunvegan. My father announced that we would be spending it instead in London with my mother’s parents and my brothers and I could barely contain the groan that this announcement caused. A trip to the McTaggart’s in London would prove to be no fun whatsoever. There were no horses, no ocean, nor any mountains to climb. We would be stuck in a flat near Hyde Park and have to wear nice clothes and mind our manners for an entire weekend.
I begged my father to go to Dunvegan, but he was firm in his decision that we go to London. Years later, I learned that my mother had threatened to leave and take us children with her if we spent any more time with Granny MacLeod. So, my family and I spent a horrid long weekend in Lond