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In the Cards: Tarot for Connection, Reflection, and Inspiration

Mary McCoy, Senior Librarian, Art, Music, & Recreation Department,
Tarot cards
An assortment of cards from The New Palladini Tarot by David Palladini (1996)

I remember when tarot cards would come out at parties at my house, back when I had parties at my house.

At some point in the evening, a little group of people would peel off and you’d find us sitting in a corner, poring over cards. Someone would come over to watch, possibly to scoff, and then eventually to ask, “Will you do mine next?”

Whether you think of tarot cards as a silly game or a mystical ritual, they’re pretty great at bringing people together. There’s something irresistible about having someone focus their attention on you, and make an effort to tell your story through the images on a set of cards.

Tarot cards aren’t great because they tell us the future (they don’t do that). They’re great because they tell us about ourselves and each other. They encourage self-reflection, introspection, meditation, and thoughtfulness. I think of tarot reading as storytelling mixed with self-help, art history, and a healthy dose of compassion.

Tarot readings also translate well to video calls, texting, email, and other online correspondence and can be a creative and fun way to keep in touch with friends during the pandemic.

Here are some resources you can use to beef up your tarot reading skills, a quiz to help you decide what style of tarot deck might click with you (inspired by Los Angeles landmarks I’m missing), and a simple library-themed tarot spread to try out.

gold and white tarot spread

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