Back when I was an active member of American Mensa, I was what was known as an “Isolated M,” which meant that I lived so far out in “God’s Country” (aka “the Middle of Nowhere”) that I derived zero benefit from my paid membership (to add insult to injury, they refused to send me a free copy of the magazine for remote members even though I actually had mail delivery). Mensa had on-line bulletin boards in the ’80s, of course, but they were mainly social chat rooms and not very inspiring – being intelligent doesn’t automatically mean being interesting or engaging. I came here in 1979 from a vibrant esoteric community in Connecticut and, although I continued my study and practice of tarot, astrology and – eventually – geomancy, I was similarly cut off from face-to-face interaction, except for my single willing victim . . . er, sitter, my wife. There were various attempts at creating local interest along the way but none really jelled, even with the advent of Meet-up. A number of New Age shops came and went, all but a couple of which are long gone, and those that remain are more “witchy” than anything else (not a criticism, just an observation). I do travel 50 miles once a month to participate in a regional tarot group, but opportunities are scarce overall. I began to think we are a dying breed.
I finally discovered the forums in 2011, and forged many anonymous acquaintances and a few friendships while there, mainly through helping with interpretation, posting numerous spreads of my own design and haunting the esoteric boards. But all good things must end, and the demise of the Aeclectic Tarot Forum has thrown many of us into limbo. My solution is going to be relocating to a more populous area (which at my age is probably a good idea anyway) where I know there is already more going on, and an inquisitive population that may be eager to start something that is not yet active. My revived professional adventure has become hit-or-miss, so the time is right for a change. I can only get so much value out of creating spreads and reading them for myself.
As always, my first stop is going to be the New Age outlets where there may be opportunities to sign on as a reader, and bulletin-board postings to browse. Depending upon our accommodations, I may open my home to sitters and possibly for classes. Ultimately, I hope to connect with or foster an esoteric tarot study group; the last time I tried to do that in my current location I attracted interest from 100 miles away, and it was someone from where I now intend to move. It could be a sign. I’ve heard from many rural forum contacts that they feel similarly disconnected, so I know there is demand. On-line interaction is OK as far as it goes, but there is nothing like comparing notes with other knowledgeable and experienced practitioners in a live setting.