Who - might you ask - am I?
Well… thanks for asking. My name is Douglas, and I have been reading tarot for over 15 years. Originally, I was taught by my grandmother. She was a tough woman - living in the unfathomably untamed Montana Rocky Mountains - but with a tender streak for her grandchildren.
After long days playing outside or working the horse ranch, I would come inside when the afternoon thunder rolled in and help prepare dinner for myself, my grandmother and my grandfather. When all the dishes had been cleared away and my grandfather had retired to his recliner in the next room, the cards always made their way out.
They weren’t tarot cards (those would come a bit later), just your regular set of 52 Bicycle playing cards. It started with Black Jack. Eventually, we got to Texas Hold’em and then Cribbage.
But late into the night, when the moths and gnats were frantically trying to wedge their way through the window and into the light of the kitchen - the only light for miles, as far as the eye could see - she would fan out the deck on the kitchen table and say: “pick a card.”
This is where it all began. From that moment, I learned all about the 2’s, with their uncanny depth of perception. Then there were the 3’s, like a father, mother and child. 4’s were best for building houses with; then again, 5 (the right way up) could help you if anything turned legal.
At the time, it was all fun and imagination. But over the years of summers and winters spent far from my family’s Seattle suburban life - hidden away as far from civilisation as I have ever known - my grandmother was forging my craft.
I must have been 15 years old when I saw the movie The Gift for the first time. As I watched the story unfold and saw Cate Blanchett’s character come to life with warmth at the kitchen table of her own cabin, it dawned on me.
“Grandma, why don’t you use cards like in the movie?”
“Because they’re easy and that’s like cheating.”
I rolled my eyes, partly because she always deflected questions and partly because nothing had ever stopped her cheating before, and was about to ask her if they actually made them…
“They make better ones, you know. Bigger, too, for big hands like yours.”
The curtain fell. The scene had been set… and I had to find myself those cards.
Returning to school for my sophomore year, I broke the silence of my grandmother’s and my little secret hobby to a friend. I had looked the cards up online and knew what they were and where to get them, but knew that my conservative, religious parents would burn them if I ever got a deck of my own. This friend of mine was witchy in that Seattle way and immediately invited me to her home.
When I walked in after school, there were candles burning and cards all ready on her family’s kitchen table.
We sat there for hours, asking questions and pulling cards with her mother… it was so much fun! But so very different from how I had learned. I started asking questions and - to my delight - was lent books on the subject, which I had to keep carefully hidden in my school locker.
It wasn’t long before a secret deck of cards was added to the little stash inside my locker: the Rider-Waite (Smith) Universal Tarot Deck. I was laying cards for my classmates and soon enough, even for teachers and my friends’ parents. I had read at my first event by the time I was 16 - old enough to drive but without a car of my own, so I went on bicycle.
From the Rocky Mountains of Montana, to the Puget Sound of Washington State; from my first European tour of the western alpine countries to slowly making my way home to London… the Tarot has never left my side.
It isn’t enough for me to pull cards and lay spreads, of course. Tarot was never just another party trick or illusion. From the get-go, it was clear to me that these cards and the philosophy therein were perfectly suited to help people. To give them something that they might use to better their recovery or healing. To mend a broken heart or give strength to one downtrodden.
Wellness Tarot took shape and is now the very foundation of my practice as a Tarot Reader. When I shuffle the deck and close my eyes to pray for assistance, it is the foothill wind of the Rockies filling my nose. I hear the sound of silver moonlight dancing on tepid Pacific waves and songs of myth echoing through the Black Forest.
Because it brings me joy. Because it heals the cracks in my urban existence. Because it makes me whole and well again… or, rather, to find the way to wellness in myself.
And so the Tarot is here for everyone - in that same way - to be well.
My name is Douglas, and I now reside in London, England, with my husband. We enjoy long walks in the countryside and nights out to the theatre. He still raises an eyebrow sometimes when I pull out the cards, but he’s learning.
Thanks for taking the time to get to know me.
If any of this felt familiar, friendly or even just “a little twee,” take that as a nudge to get in contact with me via the Contact Form.
Sincerely, yours, etc.,