It’s All in the Cards / #Occult30


Day Twenty-Five of #Occult30 — a month long celebration of
True Tales of the Strange & Unusual.

It’s All in the Cards

LenormandToday, the 25th of June, marks the 177th anniversary of the death of one of the most influential cartomancers of all time, Madame Marie Anne Lenormand. She read the fortunes of the likes of Empress Josephine and Tsar Alexander I, as well as many notable French revolutionaries. Her professional career spanned more than 40 years.

When she died in 1843, her only living heir, a nephew, took her fortune, more than 500,000 francs, and, being a devout Catholic, burned her considerable occult library and destroyed all of her esoteric paraphernalia.

What a tremendous legacy we were robbed of.

I’ve had a near lifelong passion for cartomancy since I was a kid. I bought my first Tarot deck, the Rider-Waite deck illustrated by Pixie, in 1979 at Cole’s Bookstore in the Marion Mall. I’ve had dozens of decks since, and have even designed a few. I published my Occult Detective Tarot for a very limited time a few years back, and individual card designs have been licensed for t-shirts, posters, and even book covers.


I read Tarot as a part time job while in college, mostly in the mid-80s, and I’ve been “entertainment” at various parties over the years, and I used to read for several friends and clients on a regular basis, but I mostly look to the cards on personal matters these days.

I’ve always found that most people don’t really want to know what the cards can teach them. It’s either a novelty, or they’re looking for some kind of validation. The truth is often far too messy. for them.

The cards are far more than some sort of parlor game.

tarot spread

In recent years, meaning the past twenty, I have been developing a method for using Tarot as a means to aid paranormal investigations, something I hope to share in a publication in the near future.

I hold that the Tarot is an invaluable tool and resource and highly recommend its counsel.

MagicianI have, in recent months, returned to using my old Robin Wood deck that I picked up from Marilene Isaacs Kauffman back in 1991, the last time I put her sensory deprivation tank to use. That was my deck of choice in the early 90s and it’s been nice to put my hands on them again.

The beautiful thing about the Tarot is that, in addition to being instruments of divination, they are works of art. I have loved so many, from Lady Harris’ Thoth deck for Crowley to Miranda Grey’s Merlin deck. On of my favorites was David Palladini’s Aquarian Tarot, but alas that deck was stolen from me in the late 80s and I’ve never got around to replacing it. I may have to rectify that as it really was a beautiful, art nouveau-inspired collection.


Regardless of your preference the Tarot is an inspiring tool of divination and self-reflection, and a valued part of my occult detective bag of tricks.

How about you? Do you have a favorite deck? If so, I’d love to hear about them.

2 Responses to “It’s All in the Cards / #Occult30”

  1. Ever since I took the Rune Soup Premium Members Tarot course and studied with Camelia Elias, I have been a Tarot de Marseille hound. I have a few of them, including a pocket deck, but I like my CBD Tarot de Marseille best.

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