I don’t know about you, but when I think of Tarot my mind immediately pictures a cozy caravan, incense, and a nomadic woman bending over her aged cards.
I knew from the very beginning that the matriarch of the Irish Traveller clan in Kathy’s world would be a Tarot reader, that this old gift would be one of the most cherished talents and an important part of every Midnight Circus. So when I stumbled across Kelli from the book of moons, whose Tarot practice also shared the name of my book, I couldn’t help but to reach out to her for an interview!
Kelli is a Gaelic-inspired pagan who specialises in card reading. She has over 30 years of experience working with Tarot and Lenormand and believes that Tarot can help connect with her client’s subconscious and guide their inner spiritual work.
I asked Kelli some questions about her work with Tarot and what makes this practice such a special gift.

How would you describe what you do?

First thing I tell my clients is that I am not a psychic or channeler; I am an interpreter (of the cards). I have a background in psychology, so I like to think of Tarot as a way of accessing what Carl Jung called the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious, which contains many universal archetypes (as reflected in the Tarot) transcends culture and geography and is part of the collective human experience. It is my role to decipher the cards in a way that is meaningful to a client and their situation.

What is Tarot? 

The history of Tarot is a bit nebulous, first appearing in the mid 15th century in Europe although other forms of card divination using universal archetypes had been used in many other parts of the world well before that. It was originally a simple card game, intended for amusement and entertainment, and later became associated with fortune telling.

How is Tarot connected to Gaelic/Celtic tradition?

Tarot would have come into Gaelic society well after the introduction of Christianity, when ancient spiritual practices were long gone. Nevertheless, as in many other parts of the world, would become a part of occult circles. Much of primitive Gaelic tradition is un- known because their history was passed down orally. Some historians believe they used ogham as a form of divination. So… not really very Gaelic or Celtic-y, but I still love using it as part of my practice. <grin>

What inspired you to take up the practice? What inspired you to make it a profession?

I’ve always been intrigued by the occult and got my first deck as a teenager. I loved learning about the cards and doing readings. It wasn’t until my late 20s or so that I started reading occasionally for people other than friends and family, and then decided a couple of years ago to pursue it professionally. My university degrees were in psychology and counselling and I worked for a number of years as a therapist before deciding to stay home raising my children. Tarot has always been a way for me to connect with and help people in a similar way, so I find it immensely gratifying.

How does Tarot help your clients?

Tarot is a wonderful tool for guidance and inner development; a way to gain insight into areas of imbalance or unproductive patterns we keep repeating—it helps us navigate through our spiritual journey.

Where did you learn Tarot?

I learned initially from the LWB (“little white book”) that came from my first deck, the Aquarian Tarot, when I was a teenager. It’s what got me started/hooked on the cards. But that was only the genesis. Tarot is so multi-layered and deep that I have spent almost a lifetime learning, and still find I don’t know everything there is to know about it. It’s one of the things that’s most intriguing about Tarot!

With so many resources and interpretations of the cards, how do you add your own unique telling of each one?

This is a great question, and is one of the reasons I am so drawn to tarot… the possible meanings are so vast and nuanced that I am always learning something new. Like most, I started with the traditional meanings, but then over the years the more you read, cards will pop up in unexpected places and challenge you to think about alternative interpretations, which then become part of your own personal lexicon of meanings. How cool is that?

Do you have a favourite card? 

The High Priestess is almost always my favorite card in any deck. If I like a deck and don’t resonate with this card, it’s a deal breaker for me!

What’s your favourite Tarot deck?

This is like asking which of my two children is my favorite. ;0) But I would say the deck I enjoy working with the most is the Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans. This deck just VIBES and gives great readings. I love the artwork, the feel of the cards… everything about it.

Do you have a favourite spread? What do you like about it?

My favorite spread is one I created myself that I call my Basic Advice Reading. I like a spread with a LOT of advice cards, and find that many only have one or two at most. Another one I really like, though, is the Crow Spread that came with the Crow Deck by M.J. Cullinane (another one of my favorite decks!).

Thank you again to Kelli from the book of moons for taking the time to speak to me about this very special talent! I hope this has given you all a greater understanding of Tarot and its fascinating history and practice.

If you’d like to find out more about Kelli or to book a reading with her, visit her Instagram page or website. And if you haven’t already, you can purchase your copy of The Book of Moons here

Photos courtesy of Kelli from the book of moons.