As the date of Psychic Tarot's debut approaches (February 8th!), I find myself both excited and terrified.
I am excited because I love this book, because I love what it teaches, and because I am excited to see it take flight in the big, wide world.
I am also terrified. I'm not afraid of the book not doing well. I'm not afraid, as one of its mommies, that people are going to call it names once it gets to school. It's a strong book built on strong ideals. I do not fear for it.
No, I'm a selfish parent. I fear for me. Psychic Tarot being "out" also means that I am "out." And while that might not mean a lot if I lived in, say, Minneapolis, I live in an isolated, south-metro, conservative, quiet, Catholic community. I say Catholic not because other religions aren't represented, but because if you were to do a cross section, it would look something like 50% Catholic - 49% every other (Christian) religion. I leave room for a 1% "other," and "other" might actually have a stronger following than that, but certainly not a public one. If you ask people now, they say most put themselves down as "spiritual" rather than "religious." This spirit is not exactly well-reflected in my community. You might privately say you are more spiritual, but you publicly say you are Catholic. Or Lutheran. Or Presbyterian.
Now, in my albeit somewhat limited experience, if you ask a room full of Taroists if they are or were at one time Catholic, at least half the room is going to raise their hands. So it's hardly surprising that I come from a Catholic heritage as well. Catholics teach people to believe in mystery, to have more faith than they have information, and then proceed to spend a lifetime telling you how you are doing it wrong. I think most jump ship out of pure frustration. You want me to believe in manifestations of saints whose hands bleed but then call me a heathen when I say I believe I can speak directly to God without an intermediary. The only thing that surprises me is that there hasn't been a mass exodus, especially in the current climate. As it is, I can't stop being Catholic any more than a non-practicing Jew can stop being Jewish. At this point, it's a heritage thing, as deep in me as being Irish or German. Am I Catholic? Yes. Do I read cards? Yes. Do I see a conflict? Not really. But you're also not going to see me in church anytime soon, either, because I know there are quite a few people who do see a conflict. Especially where I live.
I'll tell just about anyone who asks that I read Tarot cards. I've taught it at the Blessings and Breathings Center, our local baby and great hope for the future of non-denominational spirituality in my hometown. I've read at the local fair & for a charity walk. I'm on the web. It's not as though I'm cowering in the Tarot Closet by any stretch of the imagination.
But I'm also not "loud and proud." Depending on the situation, I've actually caught myself almost apologizing for being a reader. Which doesn't just make me angry at myself, it makes me angry at my environment. How can I continue to live in a climate where I feel people expect me to apologize for my way of life? Why do I cling to this place where if I am sitting at a table reading cards, at least a third of the people passing by are going to pass my booth on the other side of the walkway just to make sure what I'm doing doesn't taint them? I've had people I've known all my life turn tail and almost run when they saw I was reading cards.
Other members of the BBC (as we affectionately call it) have suffered a higher cost, though thank God none of us have been a victim of a hate crime - something we have worried over on occasion. I like to say we were "loosely excommunicated" by our local Ministerial Association. Yes, you saw it here first, my town is big enough and small enough that the local Christian churches have banded together to promote inter-Christian cooperation. Apparently, this includes the very Christian act of forbidding Suzi, BBC co-founder, and her dancers (one of which is me) from liturgical dance at the ecumenical services the Christian churches have. Suzi choreographed and danced at those services for somewhere in the neighborhood of fifteen years. The reason they gave for the sudden drop? "There might be witches dancing."
Let us just say we are not particularly well-liked, then. Privately, I still get a little giggle over the reasoning just because the 4 co-founders at the time were religiously affiliated something like this - 2 Catholic, 2 Interfaith. I'm not even sure we had one pagan or Wiccan member at the time, though I rarely ask. In any case, Suzi, one of the most spiritually connected people I know who does praise and worship dance that could make you cry, was suddenly persona non grata for being affiliated with the BBC.
It was a blow, but one Suzi recovered from beautifully. What I wish for most is her strength if and when Psychic Tarot gains enough notariety to put me under the sword. I love my community. I have been both surprised by the easy acceptance I have gotten from some unexpected people and shocked by the coldness I've met with from others I thought differently of. I continue to try to help those who need it, educate those who will listen, and ignore those who would throw stones. I tell myself it is enough if I make one lamp brighter because I stayed.
Still, I am afraid sometimes. Nancy says you can serve either Love or Fear, but you cannot serve both. Now if only my brain would get the memo...