Today’s Tarot

A new month means only one thing to me — a new tarot deck. Otherwise, one month is pretty much the same as another. Well, August is certainly not the same as December, but August is similar to the end of July and the beginning of September, so the months slide right on by without a lot of fanfare. Or at least they did until I started changing tarot cards at the beginning of every month.

This month, the deck I am using is one of the classic decks: the Rider Tarot. Also known as the Rider-Waite Tarot or the Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot, it is one of the most widely used tarot decks in the world, with over 100 million in print. The deck was created by Arthur Edward Waite, illustrated by Pamela Coleman Smith, and published in 1909 by the Rider Company. In 1971, US Games Systems purchased the publishing rights, and that is the deck that I have. The copyright on the original deck is in the public domain now, so the only rights US Games Systems owns are any changes made after 1971.

One of the decks in my collection is a color-it-yourself deck — the B.O.T.A. deck. I thought coloring the cards would be an interesting way to learn the tarot, and since I didn’t want to ruin what might be a collector’s item, and since the B.O.T.A. deck is still under copyright, I downloaded a black and white copy of the Rider deck to color. Although I printed the cards on cardstock, they are too flimsy to use, and anyway, I only got through the major arcana. Someday, maybe, I’ll finish coloring the cards. But for now, this month, I’m using an official deck.

I’m also continuing my two-card reading, though I changed the layout from “Need to know/need to let go” to “situation/major challenge.” The question I ask, as always, is “What do I need to know today?”

Although many people use the tarot to learn the future, I have a sure-fire method of discovering what the future holds — get up each day and live to the best of my ability. Because, of course, today is yesterday’s future. Learning the future by living the future is a better way of foretelling the future than the tarot, because the tarot is not meant to be a divinatory tool. It’s supposed to be a way to connect one’s inner and outer life, to find guidance and gain insights, and to help with personal growth. I haven’t noticed any difference in me or my life since I’ve been doing a daily reading. Either I already know me or I am too obtuse to see anything I don’t already know. I suppose I could ask the tarot which holds true, but I’m not sure it would help to know either of those things about myself.

In the final analysis, the tarot for me is more about the discipline of it, and the curiosity — seeing what cards show up with what frequency.

In today’s reading, the nine of pentacles tells me about my situation: a time of comfort and luxury, discernment and deep satisfaction. The hierophant tells me my challenge: to learn to embrace the conventional, at least some of the time; that it’s not necessary to always be unconventional.

Does that reading help me at all? Not particularly, though it does seem to have an element of truth. It did, however, give me a blog topic, which is a help. After 679 straight days of blogging (3,155 days total), a blog topic is not always easy to find.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator