New Year, Back to the Basics

By Allan Ritchie

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Image from The Hanson Roberts Tarot by Mary Hanson-Roberts published by U.S. Games Systems, Inc.

With the New Year, there is a sense of expectation. I love the New Year. It is one of my favorite holidays as it is a chance to watch the present meet the future. Last year for the January issue of Tarot Reflections, I wrote about the potential resolutions that you can make in Tarot. This month I am going to share with what my plan is for the next year. This year I will not be looking forward as much as I plan to look back.

A frequent issue for me is burning out. As the winter months grow darker and colder I need a bit of jolt to the system. I have decided to do something intentionally that I have never attempted. I am going to go back to the basics. It has been a delight over the past couple of years to explore and use new decks and methods of reading. I have expanded my oracle usage and feel that paid off great results. Tarot is my first love and it is time to get back to it. I have waded through my deck collection and book collection and reached the back parts and pulled out a few things that are going to be dusted off. Over the next couple of months, I am going to work through some of the Tarot community classics that shaped my initial development in Tarot.

The Hanson-Roberts Tarot was my first reading deck. I have had other decks that have caught my attention but this was my first working deck. I started reading the Waite-Smith system. I will be working with the deck and reading through the books that shaped my understanding of the system. The Complete Guide to the Tarot by Eden Gray is first on the list. Iconic in its own right this book speaks for the instruction of Tarot for a generation. Next, I will be rereading Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom. I remember being enraptured by this book and what it taught me as a novice, a decade ago. This is one book that I am anxious to see how I see it now after my own experience with the cards. Deciding on which Mary Greer book to reread was tough. I love Tarot for Myself, Tarot Reversals (very underappreciated in my estimation), but have decided to revisit 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card. This book shaped how I worked on the Free Tarot Network and one-card readings which provided a solid basis for my entire Tarot craft. Last and by no means least I am looking forward to getting back into Joan Bunning's Learning the Tarot. Her book and online class were valuable resources back when I was all alone and isolated in my studies.

Then next, I will be rediscovering the Thoth system and the Liber T Tarot of Stars Eternal. The Liber T is my most personal reading deck and while not for everyone, is very effective. Now I am going to just be blunt and say that the reading list of the Thoth material is more demanding and slow going for me. I am looking forward to rereading Milo Duquette's Understanding Aleister Crowely's Thoth Tarot. Also, I will be taking up my copy of Keywords for the Crowley Tarot by the Hajo Banzhaf and Brigite Theler. 

Through all of this, I am going to mix in my collection of books on the history of Tarot. They have been read unevenly but now want to look at them with an attempt grasp the history of our tool, craft, and community. These three books are Mystical Origins of the Tarot, History of the Occult Tarot and The Tarot: History, Symbolism, and Divination. 

This will be a year of reading and exploring what pulled me to the craft in the beginning. I am quite excited to find a new fresh and renewed understanding of what is great about this whole endeavor that we love. I would encourage you to look take a glance over your shoulder and see if there is anything in your past that you might need to revisit. 

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