Tarot Unplugged: My Story


Tea, cookies, dog-eared decks of playing cards and the ubiquitous box of Kleenex. Those were my memories of my grandmother’s parlour in an old, drafty house filled with orbs, self-rocking chairs and other anomalous activity.

My two older cousins dabbled. My aunt read in a downtown tearoom. Yet undeniably, the most talented cartomancer in the family was my maternal grandmother, a high-spirited Sagittarian who lay out cards for all of the ladies in her High Park neighborhood. That is, until she got older. And more vulnerable. And her son, a celebrated killjoy, told her that she was going straight to hell if she didn’t stop.

While my grandfather, a Dr. of Philosophy, led the austere life of an academic buried in books and chess pieces, she’d spent heady days learning divination by cards from gypsies who’d camped on their land in the Carpathians. I never learned my grandmother’s system of telling fortunes with a reduced pack of cards, although I vaguely recall that the Ace of Hearts meant love, three noisy queens – gossip; and, the Ace of Spades promptly heralded a need for more tea and tissues.

Sadly, my grandmother died when I was still too young to study, and (more regrettably) defend the comforting and ultimately diverting effect her talents had on so many women. In time, I would develop my own role and relationship with cartomantic tarot.

While I love reading at events, and thrill at the whole Theatre of the Unknown, when you pull aside the crimson curtains and the dazzling beads, you’ll find that I’m very inspired by the practical possibilities and applications of tarot. I also work with my own cards, Oracle decks and Carrie Paris casting charms – all interactive and insightful ways that help find the eye of the hurricane.