When I started this blog in July of 2017, I was looking for an alternative to my ongoing participation in on-line tarot forums and occasional publication in various tarot newsletters and journals, mainly as a personal outlet for the ideas I’ve been honing over more than four decades of studying and working with the cards. My forum friends had been encouraging me to write a book, but the time and effort involved in doing so were more than I wanted to take on, so I opted for a more condensed format. (Besides, there are plenty of competent “how-to” tarot guides on the market already, so I would probably be tempted to write “A Curmudgeon’s Dim View of Modern Tarot Practice.”) Along the way, although it certainly wasn’t my intention when I began, I seem to have become something of a minor master of the three-paragraph, 500-word mini-essay (which is in fact the minimum article length for the professional publications that indulge my creative-writing forays). I have now posted over 270 of these snippets of “wisdom” and opinion, and site traffic has been slowly increasing over the last month.
The advantage of joining tarot forums is ideally to engage in enlightening dialogue on all matters of tarot knowledge and practice, but I’ve found that they can become merely a social-media alternative to Facebook, with far more interest in “tarot games” and free readings (which, to their credit, most of the forum administrators disallow) than in meaningful discussion. With the demise of the Aeclectic Tarot forum, which had a fairly vibrant and learned esoteric community, this tendency has accelerated due to the scattering of the population across several upstart forums. The esoteric contingent has never fully recovered. I have been drifting away from the forums because they no longer fulfill my needs and expectations for constructive interaction. I don’t believe in the effectiveness of remote (as in on-line or e-mail) reading, so the reading circles and exchanges hold no appeal for me, and helping novice readers with card interpretation is a one-way proposition. Quite often when I post something a little more imaginative or intricate (like one of my complex spread designs), all I hear in reply is the “sound of crickets.” Not to be unfair to the numerous aspiring newbies who make up the majority of forum membership, but I’m strongly reminded of something said to an appreciative audience by singer-songwriter Tom Rapp at a mid-70s concert: “You guys are great! Last night the audience was so dumb you could put your ear up to their mouths and hear the ocean.”
Somebody on one of the forums recently said that starting a blog is “a way to say anything you want, secure in the knowledge that no-one will ever read it.” The almost complete lack of commentary on my posts is indicative of the truth of this observation. But the many more well-established bloggers whose sites I frequent (which you will see listed in the “Links” sidebar) suffer the same fate, so it must be an unfortunate cultural phenomenon. I’m not offended, just resigned to howling into the wilderness. So I will keep right on doing it until I run out of ideas. (Then watch out for the “compilation” book!)