When people hear the word tarot, they often think of the horror movies where the main character is cursed or haunted by spirits and is seeking answers. Generally, he or she will find an old gypsy woman with one milky-white eye in the middle of a stormy night, where she/he will receive a grave reading with cards such as Death and The Tower popping up. This has led to people associating the decks with evil or darkness, but that is far from the truth.
Nobody knows how old tarot cards really are. Some accounts have them dating back to Ancient Egypt.
Though the images have changed and evolved over the years, one thing that has remained true is that they are a passageway between the human spirit and the Divine. When using the tarot, the reader is a counselor of the spirit, a guide on the spiritual path.
The tarot plays an interesting role in my debut young adult novel, Espirited Beginning, the first book inthe Confessions of a Teenage Medium series. Not only does my main character, Heress Espirit and her mother use the tarot for clients in her mother’s shop, but each book has a corresponding tarot card used as the theme of the book.
The card used for Espirited Beginning is Death (XIII). Death rarely, if ever, stands for literal death. Instead, the card stands for transformation and change within the cycles of our lives. When one stage (relationship, job, friendship, etc.) ends, another begins.
Heress goes through a transformation from non-psychic teenager to teenage medium when she had a near-death experience. Suddenly, able to see and speak with the dead, she figuratively becomes the “reaper” represented in the Death card, guiding lost souls to their destination.
The cover of Espirited Beginning is meant to mimic the Death card, most specifically the one in the Robin Wood tarot. The female figure in the cloak represents Heress in her “reaper” aspect. The white rose, usually emblazoned on a flag or wrapped around the staff of the scythe, is a symbol of peace. The sparse forest is the path that leads to your next destination. There is no getting lost in a forest like this one as you travel along peacefully with the reaper as your companion and guide, and if you falter, she will point you in the right direction once more, ever patient with you along your journey.
That doesn’t sound quite as evil as Hollywood makes it sound, now does it?
Samantha Buttrick is the author of Espirited Beginning, the first book in the Confessions of a Teenage Medium series. Her flash fiction story The Barrel of Wine will be featured in a PWP Halloween anthology this October. She lives in southern Ohio and is currently working on book two in her series as well as editing other writer’s works for practice. She has used the tarot for twelve years. To find out more about her and her book, you can visit her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/sdbuttrick or look for Espirited