Today I’m thrilled to share an interview with you from Spike Tarot.
Spike holds a very special place in my heart, because he was one of my first blog readers when I “went pro” with the tarot back in January of this year. I clicked through to his blog and found that his style of reading the tarot really resonated with me; so much so that when I saw he was running limited time special pricing for a reading, I jumped for it and had him read for me. I was inspired by the sample readings he had posted, and I felt his style was innovative and personal at the same time. What struck me most about his way of reading was that it seemed as if he was composing an individual story for each person he read the cards for. Each reading seemed to me like a stand-alone work of art.
Needless to say, not only was I not disappointed by my reading with Spike, I got many insights from it that really hit home with me and frankly just made me smile, because reading his interpretation made me feel like he was an old friend who knew me quite well, and we were chatting over a relaxing cup of coffee and discussing how I could best use my strengths to my advantage. In fact, Spike was the first person I ever turned to for a professional tarot reading (since I’ve obviously been reading for myself for all these years) and I’m glad for it, because I found his reading very worthwhile. To this day I’ve only had a reading by Spike and James Wells, both of whom have different styles and both of whom have showed me different shades of meaning related to my inquiries.
So, without further ado, I offer you my interview with Spike of Spike Tarot, and I encourage you to follow his blog by clicking here. Enjoy!
1. Tell us about your tarot journey: how did you get involved with the cards, and how did you learn?
I’ve chosen to answer this question using the Tarot cards.
Four of Cups. Summer 2000. This was me, bored. I’d been working in the pub trade for many years. I’d learned all the aspects of the trade until I could do it in my sleep, and that is what I was, asleep. I had stability, I was making money, but I wasn’t happy (and I was drinking far too much).
The World. At the time, Vanessa, my wife, was on the other side of the world working in Australia. Having some holiday lined up, I flew out to spend a few weeks with her.
The Star. Through some friends, Vanessa had been introduced to Reiki, and she was quite keen for me to be attuned to Usui Reiki level 1 while I was there. Vanessa is quite intuitive, and I think she realised that being opened to Reiki may be the spiritual kick in the arse that I needed. After my attunement, my Reiki master said that Tarot might be a good tool for me to use.
The Fool. During my brief trip in Australia, I bought a Tarot deck, the Rider-Waite-Smith, and decided that enough was enough, I’d be selling the pub as soon as I got back to the UK. Vanessa would be finished in Australia in a few months, we decided to buy a camper van and travel around Europe for the summer of 2001.
Three of Pentacles. I learned the Tarot while we drove through France and Italy. I wish I could change this part of the story, but the truth is I learned three keywords per card and the Celtic Cross spread. I had one book, Terry Donaldson’s Step by Step Tarot. You have to bear in mind we were on the road, we had no internet, no address to send books to, no resources. I look back and cringe at what I thought I knew, but I was clueless.
The Magician. I set up a table in a Greek fishing village and read the Tarot for the tourists. I was so nervous for the first few readings, but I was upfront about the fact that I was learning. Then, after those first few readings, strange things started happening, I started to see a clients life mapped out on the cards in front of me. I don’t know if it was the Reiki, or the sudden change of lifestyle, going from the stress of running a pub to tranquillity, (almost overnight), but when those cards were in front of me, it really was like a picture book, with so many stories clamouring to be told.
The Hanged Man. I don’t mind admitting that it freaked me out a bit. I have a very male mind, I like to pick things apart to see how they work, but this was my mind, and I couldn’t explain how it was working, how I was reading so much fact from what I thought, was merely painted cardboard. So, I put my cards away. I often wonder if this was a mistake, but really, I think I was too young, I needed more life experience. In retrospect I also went too far too fast. The Tarot was always with me, running through my head, a card would flash across my mind’s eye that was relevant to something happening around me.
The Hermit. In 2009 I started using the Tarot again, I took my time, rather than learning each card parrot fashion (like before), I allowed each card to speak to me. Rather than trying to force a keyword or two to each card, I studied each card and let my intuition speak out what a card is saying. I accept now that during a reading, my intuition shows the story in the cards, you cannot pick it apart to see how it works, it just does.
2. Do you have a favorite tarot deck? Do you have a favorite spread?
The Rider-Waite-Smith. I have several decks but I mostly use that one, there is so much going on in those simple pictures. Having said that I recently bought the Wildwood Tarot, and I think we are going to become fast friends. There are some subtle differences that have really grabbed me. Normally I’m a bit of a traditionalist, (a nice way of saying I’m a bit stodgy) and like things to stay as they are, but when I saw The Archer in place of a Chariot card, it seemed to make a lot more sense. There’s more of a Zen quality to the whole idea behind what the card is saying.
Spreads? Traditional Celtic Cross. A lot of people mock it saying it’s a little staid, I say try reading it using pairing and elemental dignities. Then it rocks. Also, The Way of Nowhere Spread from Tarot Elements. I’ve only done a couple of readings with it, but it takes you deep, really deep.
3. What do you think is your greatest strength in your readings? and/or What is the greatest gift that you bring to your readings that your clients benefit from?
Well , I don’t do the “woo-woo”. When people are looking for a tarot reader, they judge the book by the cover. So if they want an “airy-fairy” reading then they can go to the websites that have the unicorns and fairies. My readings are there to empower people, just like my name, to the point and as practical and as streamlined as I can make them. Occasionally I’ll digress, but there is always a point to the story. I don’t bulk the readings out with a description of each card, why should I, there’s a photo of the cards at the top of the reading. When I ask a question, I want an answer; I don’t want to sift through banalities to find it. So with my readings it may not be the answer you expect to hear, but I am not here to judge, filter or edit what the cards are saying to me. Just the facts ma’am. I believe my readings empower people, by helping them to understand and take control of their situation.
4. Any life philosophies that you’d like to share that contribute to the way you read the cards?
If you don’t want to know the answer, don’t ask the question. That seems so obvious but you would be surprised at the amount of people that don’t think their questions through, and then shoot the messenger when they don’t like what the cards are saying to them.
Also, don’t do today what you can do tomorrow, that’s one of my favourites ha ha.
5. Your favorite books (can be about tarot or not) that have contributed to your style of reading?
I don’t know whether they contribute to the way I read, but I am reading a lot more biographies these days. I don’t know whether it is something to do with my reading Tarot, but fiction doesn’t seem to interest me anymore. I’ve recently finished Wild by Cheryl Strayed, that was a great read. I’ve just started David Roberts, Finding Everett Ruess, I’m looking forward to this. The best Tarot books I’ve read yet are The Watkins Tarot Handbook: Naomi Ozaniec, and Beyond the Celtic Cross: Catherine Chapman and Paul Hughes-Barlow, the latter was a tremendous read that will change the way you look at the most famous Tarot spread.
6. Where can people find you online?
My website is Spike Tarot. I’m on Facebook and Twitter as well.
I’ve just started an interactive journey through the Major Arcana on the website, it’s not really a course that will teach you how the read the Tarot, but hopefully you will find it enjoyable, and it will give you a deeper understanding of the cards. Instead of throwing keywords and interpretations at you, it’s more coloured pencils and meditation.
7. Anything else you’d like to share?
Yeah, I prefer the Rolling Stones to The Beatles.