At 12, I got ahold of my first tarot deck. I would do readings for my friends by laying the cards out and thumbing through a tattered copy of Eden Gray's book for the meanings. My step mother gave me a book called 'Astrology and other Occult Games' when I was about 14. It was signed by the author, a friend of hers. It covered astrology, I Ching, tarot and palm reading.
In my teens, I branched into Wicca for awhile. I got a bunch of books on witchcraft from the local bookstore and had a journal I claimed was a grimoire. My parents reacted by not reacting. I think they thought it was a phase and that to get upset would be to reinforce my desire to do it. Which was probably true. After a couple of years I got bored and moved on.
As I was born in the 60's, my parents were basically hippies, very liberal socially and politically. Open minded. Non-religious.
We used to joke that when I became a banker, I was a grave disappointment to my father. He would have been far happier if I became a poet or artist or political activist.
As an adult, my spirituality was steeped in the 'Age of Aquarius' stuff. It was a mish mash of Buddhism, New Thought, Theosophy and classical occultism. I read a lot. When people would say things like "this world is an illusion", I would nod knowingly and pretend I had half a clue what they were talking about.
Something of a spiritual dilettante, I never delved into anything very deeply. I knew a little about a lot, but not a lot about much. The only thing with any staying power was tarot, and that was only because I joined a couple of online communities devoted to it. I learned about the history of it. I learned how to read the cards. I learned how to do it professionally. And I did.
My tarot practice took me to a metaphysical bookstore to read for strangers. There I met all manner of people who would come in in various states of desperation wanting to know the secrets of their future. It was a tough gig. My style of reading was always God-centered. In other words, I would use the cards to try and create a line of communication between the client and God. But they just wanted to know if they were going to get back together with their ex-lover. Or whether to fly to California for a job. Or if they should cheat on their husband. With the married guy at work.
What I kept seeing in the bookstore was that people were desperately longing for meaning in their lives. They kept hoping that the next crystal, the next book or candle or deck of cards or palm reading or resin dragon or cd or incense was going to open the mysterious door to joy that eluded them. I recognized it because I, too, had walked that path. I knew the yearning for meaning. I watched as customers would spend more and more money on classes and techniques and seminars. Essential oils and pictures for their walls. Fake buddhas and Tibetan prayer flags.
For me, none of it worked. There was only one way to heal the hole in my soul, and that was to entrust it to God. God who created me. God who made the universe and all that is in it. God who is not, thankfully, me.
I am not God.
To me, that is one of the worst traps of the New Age. So many metaphysical books try to tell us that we are God... that we just have to recognize our own divinity to find peace, happiness, enlightenment, whatever. For me, at least, this is not true. Trying to be my own god was the road to perdition. I was not capable of creating my own happiness. Believe me, I tried. If my salvation was in my own hands, I was destined to a lifetime of frustration and misery. I could not be the architect of my own redemption. It was only when I gratefully offered myself to God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, that I could be healed. God is healing my soul. He has accepted me. He has forgiven me. He alone offers the salvation for which I yearn.
If I could not be my own god, I sure as hell could not be yours. So I quit reading tarot cards. I decided that instead of thinking I had all the answers, I had to learn to be a student for awhile. Or, more accurately, a disciple.
I am a disciple.
Beloved, I pray for all the people who do not yet know you. I pray they find peace in your love.