Ask Amelia


Dear Amelia,
I found your site online and I’m curious. How (on earth) did you start reading tarot cards?

– Earthbound


Dear Earthbound,
Good to hear from you. Often, people ask me this question and I never tire of answering it. When my sister was in college, she was doing her senior thesis on the History of Magic at Tufts University. In the course of her research she brought home a deck of tarot cards, the Waite deck with illustrations by the set designer, Pamela Coleman Smith.

My sister and I would sit on my parents’ porch in the dead of summer and do tarot card readings. She, ever the erudite Capricorn, had a comprehensive, historically documented volume on the history of magic, to which she would refer in an attempt to divine the meaning of our questions. It was during the course of one of those readings, a general forecast of what lay ahead for me, that she foresaw the birth of my first child. “News of a child,” she said when she saw the Page of Cups. It surprised me as readings sometimes do, for I was not anticipating starting a family.

It was during those summer days on the porch that I found my own way to do readings. My forte, or so people often remarked, was the ability to blend the meanings of the cards together in a way that many traditional readers do not. I’ve always thought that reading cards or doing an astrology chart is like cooking. You need the right balance of ingredients.

My sister proceeded on to a career in managing her rock and roll husband’s business.

I, however, fell in love with a man who would shortly become my husband. As a wedding present, a friend sent us a poem which I wish I still had, but unfortunately, I live out the vagabond side of being a tarot card reader and, well, when the gypsy wagon rolls through town and you have little notice, things get lost. In any event, our friend the author doesn’t have a copy of the poem, either, but it started out:

“It was not quite an earthly wedding…”

and proceeded on to say that Stephen Stills played the wedding march and that my partner was the King of Cups, with twinkling and sparkling eyes, and that I was the Queen of Cups and that we lived in a magical kingdom which the world couldn’t touch and which was all of our own making and that we were happily awaiting the birth of our first child, the Page of Cups.

That porch on my parents’ house had jalousie windows. You know, the kind that open all at once when you turn the knob. I think they’re kind of like enlightenment or a good tarot card or astrology reading – when everything opens and connects all at the same time.

Occasionally, I think that I’ll get off the gypsy wagon and have a house of my own. But so far none of them have seemed right. Maybe it’s a house with a porch with jalousie windows I’m waiting for.