… And Why They had to appear in My Novel.
Have you ever had your tarot cards read?
I have, several times, and yet never did a reading come as close to feeling as magical, as spot on, as goosebump inducing, as it did with the Glastonbury Tarot Cards. Perhaps that’s because I once lived in the town, and so their messages resonated on a deeper level, and perhaps it’s because they really are laced with divinity?
Kate Clothier, the protagonist of my debut novel, ‘Oh! What a Pavlova’ is obsessed with ‘signs’.
Signs that she should leave her abusive partner. She’ll switch the radio on and ‘just happen’ to stumble across a debate about domestic violence, a newspaper will have an article on the rise of gaslighting, a soap on TV will reach its crescendo… a wife being attacked in the kitchen by the man who is supposed to cherish her. One day, having bought and read her animal cards, having collated enough ‘scientific evidence’ from the 22 international cities she visits (and the men she meets), that actually, she can break free, she decides it’s time for a tarot card reading. Like just in case she has got all of these previous signs terribly wrong.
Here’s a little snippet of dialogue from her reading with Jenny, who lives in a rabbit warren of a cottage next to the town’s infamous Chalice Well:
“One day I booked myself in for a tarot card reading. To be honest, it was about time. How can anybody living in Glastonbury not take advantage of the myriad mystics on their doorstep?
Except this wasn’t any old set of tarot cards; these were Glastonbury Tarot cards (I mean I hadn’t known they would be, but I suppose it made their message all the more relevant, right?)
I was nervous as hell, until Jenny greeted me at the front door of her home near The Chalice Well, reassuring in plain clothes.
‘This isn’t ouija boarding or clairvoyancy or anything like that, relax love. I could sense the foresty dark green of your aura even before you rang the bell,’ she smiled before leaning in to kiss me on the cheek as if we’d known one another all our lives, then led me in to her tiny mid-terraced house. ‘Take a seat… I’ll fix you a tea – you drink normal builders’ I presume? I’ll bring the cards through in a jiffy and cut them up. All we’ll be using is your intuition and that’s it.’
She disappeared down the rabbit’s warren which joined sitting room to kitchen. ‘You’ll choose the cards that speak to you most right now, but whether you follow their path or take a new one is entirely up to you, so nothing’s set in stone,’ she raised her voice above the clinking of the china I could see her laying out on the draining board.
‘Okay, yeah that sounds good,’ I said, picking at my nails as I scanned the books lining her walls which catalogued everything from Pranic Healing, to Tales from the Ancient Isle of Avalon, and Rune Stones to Macrobiotic for Life.
It turned out Jenny was right. I opted for the three card reading and the images it brought forth were as relevant as any that could have been randomly picked. I knew that all the more so after she let me study the others which made up the pack.
‘Interesting, very interesting,’ she turned the cards I’d selected one by one and concentrated on their message.
The first card was the Seven of Swords: boundaries.
‘So this is where you are at the moment,’ said Jenny. ‘The goalposts of your current relationship are stifling you, to the point that it’s impinging upon your own sacred space. It’s time to go within, follow the messages from your higher self and make your perimeters very clear to significant others…’
The second card was The Chariot. It depicted a woman with a flowing mane of brown hair and a green cape sailing away from Glastonbury Tor in a boat. It was my situation captured with the strokes of a brush. And there wasn’t the slightest hint of trepidation to be detected in this woman’s face. In fact she was radiant, smiling. She knew where she was going, and yet she didn’t know where she was going. All she felt was freedom and that was the only signpost she needed.
And the final card was the Five of Staffs: empowerment; a thunderbolt of lightning zigzagging to the ground and a shaman standing against a very dark sky.
‘Wowzers,’ said Jenny. ‘Just look at the pattern here. Everything’s flowing wonderfully… Okay so the Five of Staffs is truly one of the most powerful cards in the Minor Arcana. It’s telling you that you’ve grown in awareness of your inner power and now the only thing you need in order to turn your life around, is sheer self-belief. If you believe it, you will see it come to pass…’
Will Kate follow the wisdom of Glastonbury’s ley lines, or will procrastination reign supreme?
You’ll just have to read the book!
Many thanks to Lisa Tenzin-Dolma for her kind permission to feature the Glastonbury Tarot Cards, not only in this article, but also in the novel.
If you would like to purchase the cards, click here for more information.
If you would like to try a free online reading of Lisa’s cards first, click here to see how wonderful they are…