I had a novel experience yesterday. I was bounced from a Facebook group for being too forthcoming with my knowledge. I won’t name it, but it’s a very popular tarot students’ site. The convenient excuse was that I was promoting my divination business, but I never did. The real reason was that I didn’t fit the definition of a “student” and wasn’t supposed to be contaminating the other members with my “august wisdom.” I was basically told “We have our own teachers, thank you, and they follow OUR rules.” Apparently it’s not an informal “teaching” site but a co-learning environment – kind of like the blind leading the blind to who-knows-where. I can take a hint when I’m being urged to shove off, so I did. Too bad, there are a lot of people there who told me they appreciated my presence (some wanted to take me to lunch to chat or have me over for tea and pick my brain). During my time there I saw quite a few crackpot ideas being floated as questions, apparently due to misinformation being foisted on innocent minds by teachers of questionable pedigree. I didn’t challenge them strenuously, just gently offered my own observations.
Oh, well, it’s their loss. I have a lot to give after almost 50 years of esoteric study and practice, and – as can be seen from this blog – I give it freely. Another suspicion is that I may have been silenced for my unpopular opinions, some of which are contrary to group-think. Censorship has been happening all over social media lately, so why should the tarot community be immune? Recently, I might have offended the “manifestation” crowd, most of whom I think are deluded. My research into that took me all the way back to Franz Mesmer and the disastrous “self-hypnosis” methods of Norman Vincent Peale. It’s “old wine in new bottles” and mainly an attempt by opportunists to cash in on the instant-gratification and entitlement assumptions that are indelibly stamped on modern culture.
But enough of that, I also wanted to talk about tarot forums. After the demise of the highly energetic and often stimulating Aeclectic Tarot site in 2017, the various reconstituted versions have paled in comparison as far as site traffic and level of engagement; they have a stable population of intelligent and experienced members but the overall community dynamic seems rather anemic compared to the “Mother Ship.” I’ve been going there on a daily basis lately and I find topics that haven’t been refreshed with new posts for weeks. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming but I can hardly call it invigorating; to be frank, it feels stale. I took a hiatus from them for over a year, and I think I feel another one coming on.
At the moment I’m most connected to the Facebook group of tarot professionals I joined around the same time. As long as I toe the line on self-promotion, I’m pretty much free to bring up any topic of interest to fellow professionals, and I’m not subject to admin pre-approval either; it’s a thoroughly “adult” organization. It has been suggested to me that I start my own Facebook group, but after moderating on a number of forums, I’m not so sure I want admin responsibility. I might have to kick off people like me! My heart really lies in joining or forming a face-to-face group of local tarot enthusiasts (or it was before the pandemic hit). All of the regional groups that emerged via Meet-up during the last year have gone belly-up, but they were too far away to entice me anyway. It’s an itch that no amount of internet hobnobbing will scratch.