Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Looking for Tarot in All the Wrong Places

As my loyal followers know (hi Mom! Just kidding, my mother doesn't read my blog. Yet.) in my Other Life (or Lives, as it is fast becoming), I am a children's book author, besides being a claims adjuster, Tarot reader, and co-founder of the Blessings and Breathing Center (busy much? Nah).

I tend to put a four-way divide in my Lives:

1. Family Me
2. Office Me
3. Author Me
4. Tarot Me

Naturally, there is some overlap (Psychic Tarot being a big one), but experience has made me careful about how I mix and match. I talk very little about Tarot at Christmas. I talk very little about claims adjusting in my Melanie A. Howard author blog. (I actually talk very little about claims adjusting period - I find it gets my logic brain very wound up and excited, but start going into detail about it and eyes start glazing within the first 30 seconds, unless you happen to be talking to another claims adjuster.)

I'm probably over-cautious. But the last thing I want is to be facing a firing squad of parents who have just found out that the woman who writes the source material for little Jimmy's research papers reads Tarot. Those parents who burn Harry Potter books. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind fighting the fight if it comes to my yard. But you're not going to see me in a Tarot pride parade. It's not because I'm not proud. It's that I don't see what the fuss is about. I read Tarot and believe more along the lines of Interfaith. You go to church on Sundays and believe in transsubstantiation. I don't see where we're so different that I need to shout at you to prove it, nor do I see what it has to do with the price of beans in Wisconsin. We live together, we work together, we respect each other (except for a few gun-toting yahoos who everyone agrees are crazy), and we believe whatever we wish. I don't seek to convert anyone. I simply want the freedom to follow my path, and I respect that you're following yours.

Yet, I can see myself falling into one of those very sticky situations where I have to defend myself because people are just plain ignorant. No, I did not place a hex on Jimmy's book. No, there is no spellwork woven into the pages secretly sucking his subconscious over to the "dark side." Why are the books about snakes? Because Capstone asked me if I'd write books about snakes. What's woven into the pages? Six or seven articles from herpetological journals, four or five herpetology and field guide books, two encyclopedias and more than twenty university articles and a splash of creativity and a bucket of elbow grease. Being Baptist does not make the mechanic's guide you just wrote shine with holy light any more than me being a Tarot reader makes the Stock Cars book I wrote hum with the transformative power of Astrology. They're books about cars, that talk about cars.

I hate having to worry about what happens when Tarot especially spills into other areas of my life. I love Tarot. I love what it teaches. I hate getting caught in its misconceptions. And I hate that I have to postulate what could happen to my children's book career because I participate in a loving practice that is anything but a "dark art." Will it ever cost me a promotion at work? Will it cause trouble for my family? I don't like having to worry about these things.

Of course, the fact that I am such a worry wart means I am most often pleasantly surprised by the world. Last night, I started teaching a Creative Writing Class through Hastings Community Education. I have three lovely students and was amazed they were all there because last night it snowed in true Minnesota style. It being the first class, and me working in Eden Prairie, it was clear to me that contact information was going to need to be exchanged in case snow prevented all or one of us from meeting. So, I opened up my purse to get the business cards...

... which are all Way-Ward (Tarot) business cards. I haven't had Author Me cards printed in a long, long time, and haven't carried them for maybe two years now. I looked at them a moment, took a deep breath, and decided to hand them out (they do have my contact info, after all, and it's a lot easier than trying to read my chicken scratch).

And wouldn't you know, two of my three students knew something about and one had even had positive contact with Tarot. The third did not seem terribly concerned at all. Those are the moments I am so relieved I could faint. They're also the moments I tell myself I'm worrying over nothing. The world has, and is changing. It's never fazed anyone at the office that I read cards. Just about anyone you talk to one-on-one will freely admit they saw a "reader," Tarot or psychic, at one time or another. My family has decided to roll with it and are truly happy and proud of Psychic Tarot's release.

These days, it seems like I'm the one with the problem. I feel like the kid from Sixth Sense: "I see closed-minded people all the time." Whether they really are closed-minded or not.

Another thing I really like about Tarot is that it invites you to work on the world - starting with yourself. I think some self-work is in order.

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