“It would not be too much to say that myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation. Religion, philosphies, arts, the social forms of primitive and historic man, prime discoveries in science and technology, the very dreams that blister sleep, boil up from the basic, magic ring of myth.”
From a young age I had a strong interest in archetypes and myths. As a child I read every book on mythology that I could find in the library and constantly searched for more. There was something in me that was touched by these stories. I felt a connection to the beliefs that people had. As a teenager and young adult this expanded into studying every religion I could find as often as not from the inside. I was searching for large answers, perhaps even capital Truth (as opposed to the personal subjective small t truths we all have). More than anything I wanted to understand why people believe what they believe in and how it all matched up. When I started reading Carl Jung and his ideas on archetypes and the collective unconscious things started clicking for me. There was a reason why so many of the deities in each culture seemed to match up with one another. They were all aspects of the same universal forces. Thus almost every culture had a war god, a love goddess, brother gods who fought each other, solar gods who died and were reborn etc. Then at the age of eighteen I discovered the tarot.
At the time I was studying the works of Carlos Castaneda and using those books as a springboard into the study of Theosophy, Wiccan Lore, Qabalistic Lore, Parapsychology, Philosophy and about ten different phenomenon. A friend of mine (who was more knowledgeable than I and saw himself as my teacher) and I would read chapters and sit there with books strewn all over our apartment keeping ourselves going with over the counter caffein and diet pills and take out. It was a sublime time for me but then I have always been something of a geek.
When we discovered that there was a tarot class being held nearby we jumped at the chance to attend.
Sandy who taught the class was a woman in her late twenties who together with her husband ran an Astrological Research centre. They taught classes and did charts and readings for people. There were about eight or nine of us in the class and Sandy’s two chihuahuas. Week after week we would sit in a circle while she went over the cards and what they meant with her dogs jumping at her heels. My room mate Bill and I supplemented the class with our own outside reading which consisted of a few of Arthur E. Waite’s books, Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack, Crowley’s Book of Thoth and Eileen Connolly’s Tarot Handbook for the Apprentice. We also gave each other and anyone who would ask readings.
On the night before the last night of class, Sandy thought it would be a good idea for the class to attempt a reading together. Someone suggested that she be the subject and she giddily (as she did everything else) agree. She laid out the cards in a typical celtic cross spread and then abruptly switched gears and put the cards away and started another project. Bill and I who were sitting closest had to avoid laughing because we had seen the cards. There was quite a lot in there about Sandy’s marriage and other aspects of her life she did not particularly feel like sharing.
I don’t know whether Sandy was the best teacher or not but she did start me off on a subject that has held my interest for the last thirty years. It has helped me expand my understanding of human consciousness and spirituality and cosmology. It has also given me an amazing perspective on human nature and perception and how to open myself up to my own intuition and for that I owe a strong debt of gratitude.
Click on images to see full-sized: