TRA TV & Podcast #3 Bonding with Your Tarot Deck with Carrie Mallon

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Ethony: Thank you so much for joining us for another episode of the Tarot Readers Academy TV and podcast. Today, I have the lovely Carrie Mallon who is going to be sharing with us her tips and tricks, her experience and her journey with learning how to bond with a new deck. Carrie is also a tarot reader, an active card singer as many of our guests are and a tarot mentor. Welcome, Carrie to our podcast and TV.

Carrie: Yey! Hello to Ethony and to everyone who will be watching and listening to this. I am so excited to be here.

Ethony: Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule. As I know most of us, solopreneurs, are kind of running at 110%. My background with knowing of Carrie is through this pretty much the same with a lot of people that I have worked with and our colleagues in this field. It’s been through YouTube and through social media. One of the things that was really setting Carrie’s work apart was a few years ago, Carrie was delving really deeply into the wild unknown tarot which is an extremely popular deck and the wild unknown tarot is a bit more of an abstract deck in the way that there’s no people in the cards to pick it and Carrie was doing an entire series on deeply diving into the cards and this is sort of this huge project got underway. So Carrie, tell us a little bit about what light bulb went off in your gorgeous brain where you said I’m doing this?

Carrie: Yeah, So, it was an interesting thing because when I started blogging through the wild unknown. I actually didn’t really think anyone would be interested in it besides me. I’ve been doing my business for over four years now and this is probably one of the most popular things I’ve done in terms of people using it and emailing me about it and whatnot. So, that was interesting is that I kind of just thought well this deck is really interesting and it’s so different from the Rider-Waite-Smith which a lot of resources draw upon. So, I just decided I’m going to do this for myself and if anyone else is interested in that that’s really cool. I realized as I was doing it that writing those posts was bringing me so deep into those cards and that act of embarking on that project led me to connect with the deck in so much of a deeper way than I would have if I would have just bought the deck and you know, used it. Occasionally I noticed so many things in the cards and yeah, it was just really an interesting process and an ongoing process it took a long time. Sometimes people come to me now and they’re like, “Oh, my gosh. I can’t believe you did that.” I’m like, “Well, you know, what you see now is three years after I first started the project.”

Ethony: That’s a good point because there — as anyone who has written a book about Tarot or has created a deck  78 cards is quite the commitment. So, was there ever a time where you went, “What on earth have I signed up for?”

Carrie: I think honestly though what on earth have I signed up for a point did come in it but it didn’t come until I actually finished. I had all of 78 cards done and then I said, “Oh, I’m going to go back and edit them and update the pictures and just polish them up.” That’s the part of the project that I just did more recently and that part was a little more you know, like the initial enthusiasm has worn off which this is often how it goes in creative projects, right? At the beginning, you’re like, “Oh, my gosh. This is amazing.” Then eventually you have to just do the work behind it. So, it did get to be a lot but the nice thing was I didn’t have to put pressure on myself for it. So, anytime I started to feel like, oh I’m forcing it then that was a sign to me like just take a step back and take the breaks I never wanted it to come across when people were reading them that it was like I didn’t want that energy going into it of “Ugh, I just have to do this.”. I wanted to really be engaged with it while I was doing it. Does that make sense?

Ethony: Absolutely. I really think you can tell just in the language that you use and the way that you presented it that it was really this labour of love. I mean you weren’t being paid to create this work. I think that’s a really good takeaway from anyone who is undergoing a large creative project is to maybe release some of the pressure that you put on yourself and realize that things can take time.

Ethony: So, I want to talk about what benefits do you think that there are or you feel that there are for people, for readers even if they just read for themselves to take the time to bond with the deck? So why would you do something like bond with a tarot deck?

Carrie: I think with most of us who have been reading tarot for any amount of time or I should say for the amount of time that we feel a little more comfortable, most of us can remember a time when we would pull out the cards and it felt really awkward. It felt like we’re trying to grasp for like what does this card mean or trying to turn to a book or trying to get it right and it feels like a very grasping kind of like it’s out there. I think when you take the time and intention to bond with a deck on a deep level, the main benefit is you’re able to give readings for yourself and for other people that feel like they’re just like naturally arising. It doesn’t feel like you’re trying to be like, “Oh, my gosh. What does this mean? Where is it coming from?” It’s not an outward thing. It’s something that you are so, connected with that deck and what it means to you that you can pull those cards and it feels like it just unlocks a message within you and that message comes forward with better clarity. So, I think having a good bond with your tarot deck is actually a huge part of giving really effective readings. I don’t know. What do you think?

Ethony: I absolutely agree. I feel like part of it is creating your own language with the deck. That’s something that I know for myself as I’ve got a number of decks I can sometimes struggle with. There are a lot of decks that I read with that are  Rider-Waite-Smith based and the fact that I love that is because I can pick up a lot of them and just read with them and sometimes there are symbols that pop out or a different depiction and I’m really interested in diving into that because that’s what’s popped out and really stood out in the reading but then there are other decks that come out that I’m like this is going to require a little bit of more of me than the others so decks like the numinous tarot, the next well tarot, the star tarot I found really asked me to spend some time, songs for the journey home, the spirit keepers tarot like I can name a bunch of them where I’ve gone. Oh, daughters of a moon tarot. Any of these ones are kind of pushed the boundaries or require a little bit of extra love. I find for me they are like excellent deck for my own work and I feel like those are a gift to me to say stretch your intuition and use these for yourself you do — I do so much work for other people. It’s nice to have something where it’s like a little discovery for me.

Carrie: Yeah. I love that and you brought up a point that I think is really important as well which is that the process of bonding with decks looks different for each of us individually and also for each of us with different decks. So, I don’t think there’s necessarily you know, like I have some ideas of how we can bond with decks but it’s not really a one-size-fits-all things. It kind of depends on you and the deck you’re working with and how you know, like my relationship with the wild unknown for example might be really different than someone else’s relationship with the wild unknown and that’s one of the great things about tarot like you were saying as well that it asks us to connect with ourselves and you know, do some of our own inner work as we’re connecting with the decks.

Ethony: We have to find a way that authentically works with us.

Carrie: Yeah.

Ethony: In saying that, can you walk us through a few tips on how to bond with a deck. When you first get it and then just working with it ongoing. It doesn’t need to be the whole thing because we have a little goodie for everyone who listens till the end.

Carrie: Yes. Okay, absolutely. So, one of the things that I like to keep in mind before I even purchase a deck is I like to think about what do I connect with in a deck because sometimes like actually just recently I had someone messaged me on Instagram and asked what is a really common question which is how can I pick my first tarot deck and the response that I always give to people when they ask that question is you need to pick a deck that you actually resonate with because if someone just tells you, “Oh, you know get the wild unknown. It’s great or get the Rider-Waite-Smith. It’s great for beginners.” Then you get that deck and for you those images just fall flat. You’re never going to want to work with that deck. So, that’s my first thing is before you even get a deck you know, maybe if it speaks to you look at some images online and don’t just think about what’s popular or what should I want to connect with what does someone else recommend and think about what immediately actually is already drawing me I think that’s the first thing and it seems. So, straightforward but even I have had the experience of thinking like, “Oh, I guess I’m going to buy this certain deck because other people seem to like it and it’s you know, it’s popular.” Then I get in I’m like oh this is not quite for me. So, that’s I think the first thing.

Ethony: I think that — to interject because I was getting so excited about that point and because I get that question a lot is that is the biggest debunker of the whole “you cannot purchase your own tarot deck”. It has to be gifted to you I think I’ve ever heard it’s because honestly I’ve been gifted decks before and I mean I love getting them but that I’ve would never have picked for myself and if someone had given me the wild unknown as my first deck, I would have struggled honestly the [inaudible] I’ve got both editions. I would have struggled. I really would have been like I can’t find a foothold here with the court. I can’t find like there’s not much in those dynamics for me maybe it’s because I’m more — I want to see the people but I also hated the original Rider-Waite-Smith for a long time. So, I had to find a good clone of that system but I had to find it because if you just force a framework of a style of art and because it is a language on to someone and just go here read this way then you’re really limiting a person’s ability to find their own thing and enjoy it which remind me one of the major things is to enjoy what we’re looking at and what we’re using as a tool.

Carrie: Yeah. I totally agree. You’ve probably had this experience I know I haven’t a lot of other tarot readers have where you’re thinking about maybe getting a deck and maybe for a lot of us it seems like these days we come across the images online first and so, you come across an image and you think, “Oh, you know, that kind of looks cool.” Or then there’s other times you come across an image and you think, “Wait a minute. What is that deck? That looks amazing.” For me when I have that reaction that’s when I know I’m going to get a deck if it’s the more like, “Oh, that’s interesting.” Than it’s maybe like, “Maybe someday I’ll get that.” But if I’m super excited then that’s like my first sign.

Ethony: Yeah. If you’re like slamming the take my money button you know, you’re under a good thing.

Carrie: Yeah, exactly. Yeah. So, I guess that’s the first thing that I would think about with bonding with the deck and then this is something I don’t know I might have a slightly unpopular opinion with this next thing but the next thing that I like to think about is. So, you know, you should you buy the deck now you have the deck then what happens from there and for me most of the time when I first unbox a deck, I like to make it a sacred process. I like it to be something just for me. The reason I say it might be unpopular is because a lot of people in the tarot community we love to do like unboxing videos and I have done unboxing videos and I’ll probably continue to do that but if it’s a deck where I really feel like something is special between me and this deck. This is going to be one where I want to go deep then I like to set aside time maybe meditate first have quiet time being my little like sacred corner in my office and make sure that when I’m first going through that deck. It feels really special. It’s not just like you know, this is another thing I’m sure happens to not just me but a lot of tarot people. Sometimes the deck comes in the mail or you buy it at the store and you just want to like rip it open at the kitchen counter or like in your car and like go through it and I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with that but I think to really connect in a deep way make it a secret, make it like a special process.

Ethony: I love that. And even as someone who does unboxing videos and I do them for reasons of, yeah like before you invest in this deck maybe have a look at what goes on and I’m certainly not — I certainly don’t believe what you’re saying to be an unpopular opinion. I do lots of stuff ritualistically. I think there’s different strokes for different folks and we need like people to share other creator’s work but I absolutely love that and that’s something that maybe I could do more on my own practice the decks that I’m not necessarily going to be producing a video for but that’s beautiful because you’re not only creating a space to bond with a tool. You’re also creating space and time out and self-care for yourself. It’s like, “I’m just going to take a minute.” Actually enjoy and not be like a kid at Christmas. It’s just like, “wee!”. There’s like paper everywhere and it’s just like the hyping moment. It’s like I know I’m going to calm and center and really be present and that’s a beautiful gift.

Carrie: Yeah, exactly, absolutely. So, from there — well, actually

I’ll say a little more about that that initial unboxing I like to ask myself to record my initial impressions of a deck and by record I mean whatever you know, usually for me it’s writing because I’m a journaler big time but whatever works for individual people you know, if speaking works better for you. You could record it or you know, whatever but I think having some way to ask yourself to actually articulate your thoughts is really important because this is something that I find for myself and for people I work with that when we don’t actually challenge ourselves to articulate what we think about something our thoughts are not as clear to us. Does that make sense? When we ask ourself to actually say, “Okay. When I looked through in this deck what did I feel? What made me feel that way, why did I feel that way?” And ask ourselves to really dive into that. Even just a little bit deeper, it can make a huge difference besides just opening and looking through and just thinking, “Oh, I like that.” Or, “Oh, I didn’t like that.” You know what I mean?

Ethony: Absolutely and that’s one of the things that I get my students to do in my tarot course, my foundation course is to go through a deck and do some journaling and some exploration on it and it’s a big task you know, to go through those 78 cards but if this is the deck that you’re going to either be learning with or using a lot it’s so worth the investment especially if you are a person who likes to write in journal because I’ve got, I can’t grab it now but I’ve got books I’ve got thirty journals full of notes of images that I’ve had, channelings that I’ve had when I’ve received a deck or I’ve seen something different and it like triggers something in me and that is invaluable to go be able to go back and be like, “Wow!” Like, “That’s awesome. I write that 10 years ago? Like that’s crazy.”

Carrie: Yeah. For sure because sometimes we think we’ll remember but especially like you’re describing if it almost feels like it’s being channeled or it’s coming in a more metaphysical way to you. Sometimes that will like flow through you and then you won’t necessarily always retain it on a conscious level so but if you have it recorded then you can always reconnect with it. So, yeah. That’s awesome.

Ethony: So, we’ve got the deck home. We have spent some time in space. We’ve gone through the cards and we’ve done a bit of journaling. So, what do you suggest is next?

Carrie: Okay. So, my suggestion is from there that you set aside a certain amount of time whatever works for you. For me, it’s usually one month to do daily draws using just this particular deck that you’re working with at this time and I think this is a pretty common suggestion for connecting with a new deck but like you mentioned a moment ago, 78 cards is a lot of cards and it’s a big task to get to know each of them to get to know the deck as a whole. So, I think of the unboxing is kind of like the bird’s eye getting you know, getting that first impression of the whole deck and then when you start doing the daily draws you’re going more in at a micro level. So, I think there’s a lot of information already out there about how to do daily draws and a lot of people already do that. So, I would say whatever works for you but for me again, I like to challenge myself to articulate my thoughts on the daily draw. So, it’s not just pull the card look at it think, “Oh, maybe this means that and put it away.” I have a little journal where every day I usually write at least two or three sentences of what I thought about that card how it might apply if I had you know if it was a new deck and I was really getting to know the imagery and something in the imagery was particularly striking or confusing or whatever then I would definitely notate that. So, I think keeping it simple but just working with that deck for a period of time is a good way to go from there.

Ethony: What you can do for those of you who are like myself and probably like Carrie as well where we may have decks that we have set aside that we will work with our clients with you know, take the time to have this to something that you maybe put on your altar or put on your bedside table or have it you know, have your morning cup of tea and have your journal and pull the card and just have those moments with that deck yourself. There are plenty of us who have certain decks or we don’t put them into rotation for our clients if ever because we like to use them for ourselves but it doesn’t — you don’t need to have — I’ve just heard from students and from Instagram messages. People saying, “Can I can I use this for just this purpose.” Or, “Do I have to use a deck for readings of X Y Z kinds?” Like you choose how you apply that magic. So, I like that you can be doing multiple things with multiple decks but I’m a Gemini, so, that’s not surprising.

Carrie: Yeah. No, I really like that as well and I think that’s a another important point because and for me I find it’s different even with every deck like I have certain decks that I find they really respond well when I’m doing readings for myself but if I bring them in for a client reading it’s not so great and I have other ones that are kind of a mix like I had a situation with the wild unknown or actually have like I don’t even know how many copies of this deck now because I got the first edition and I was using that for everything for me for clients for quite a while and then it evolved where I started slowly realizing that that first audition, wanting to get messages to me more than other people. So then I bought the Mass Market, the second edition, and this one I can use for both. I can pull cards for me. I can pull cards for other people but yes, so it’s just interesting that it’s different for each of us and sometimes the deck, it’s almost like our relationship with it evolves over time.

Ethony: Oh absolutely. I’ve found that definitely decks evolve and I’ve — I just rotate a few decks out of my working pile for my clients and I always try to pick a few that it’s like, “This is a good overall one. I know this one’s really good for more grief work.” I’ve definitely got decks sort of are my go to for career and love. So yeah, it’s interesting that — because again and I — I always get back to this. When anyone ask, “Why do you have so many decks or why do you –would you want to work with certain ones?” and it’s all about the language. It’s all about the specific set of tones, images, color scheme, it’s the language that it speaks and the symbols that it gives us. So, that’s my justification anyway.

Carrie: Yeah. No, I think that’s so perfect because actually one of the next things I was going to say is exactly what you were just saying which is so, once you’ve been doing daily draws for a while, then start to ask yourself questions about what is the personality of this deck like, what — does it give me messages that are really nurturing and soothing or is it a little more hard line? Does it seem better equipped for maybe questions about work and purpose and career or does it seem better equipped for relationships? So, yeah, like you just said, a lot of us find that different decks, they have different kind of personalities and that’s part of bonding with your decks as well, is figuring out how does this personality of this deck come forward for me and doing those really draws is a good way to start observing that, kind of giving your head around that deck’s personality.

Ethony: Do you ever interview your decks like do an interview spread or an interview sort of like Q and A session with them?

Carrie: Yeah! Not every time but I started doing this more recently so I saw a lot of people doing it around online. So I actually have — let me find it. I have some notes here. I’ll scroll through it. I have a really simple four-card spread and I can just — I can go through the spread positions if you would like. Okay. So, the first position in the spread is, what do I need to know about you? So this would be you talking to the deck and asking the deck, “What do I need to know about you?” And, then the second position is, how might you challenge me? So, I think of this position as more maybe learning points you might have with the deck or maybe things that might be a bit more shadowy or difficult with the deck so this card is giving you a message about those kinds of things. And then the third position is, how you might assist me, so how the deck might provide growth, how the deck might help you tap into your strengths, those kinds of things. And then the fourth and final position is advice on how we can move forward in our relationship.

Ethony: That’s awesome. So what I would do for everyone who is watching and listening, I will make sure that that is in the blog description over ethony.com so you don’t have to keep pressing pause to get that information, so thank you for sharing that. There is no real one right or wrong way to interview a cut in your deck, but it is really lovely especially if you’ve been spending some time getting to know it to kind of like say, “Okay, cool. Now, do you have anything you want to tell me?” and giving that exchange opportunity back.

Carrie: Yeah. Yeah, like I said I only started doing that more recently but it’s been really interesting and that’s another interesting thing when you do — maybe you just got the deck and you’re still getting familiar with the cards so you drop down notes on that spread and then after you’ve been doing your daily draws or you know, working with the deck for a while, when you go back and look at that spread, it sometimes for me, I find, “Oh! That makes more sense now that I got this card in this position because now I see what that means more since I’ve been working with the deck.”

Ethony: Absolutely and it’s really interesting to see about those. As you said, when it clicks all the connections come in and you’re like, “Ah!”, the aha moments happen.

Carrie: Yeah.

Ethony: So I have a question for you. I’m sure you got more to share but I’ve been getting very inspired to ask you questions about bonding with your decks. Do you feel that there is any benefit to pushing through and doing some of these exercises with a deck that you may be immediately get a bit of a, “Hmm, I’m not quite sure about you” vibe. Or do you just go, “Shove it or don’t even touch it”, or, what do you feel about that?

Carrie: That’s such a good question. So, when I start working with the deck and I have that immediate reaction that like, “Ah, I’m not just clicking. I don’t know about this.” I like to go deeper into myself and try and discern, “Is this reaction because this is truly just not a deck that is meant for me, that it’s just not — we’re not on the same wavelengths for whatever reason,” which is fine like obviously that happens. Or, am I having this reaction because there’s something challenging in this deck and it’s going to require me to get out of my comfort zone, go into a bit of uncharted territory because for me, I’ll usually find it’s one or the other. And if it’s the first [garbled speech] it’s like, “Oh, this just isn’t for me.” Then, I will probably just not work with that deck. But, I’ve definitely had times where it’s the second option and it’s just like a bit of, I have resistance and I think this happens for other people that we have that resistance because we know that deck’s going to challenge us a bit more. If that’s the case, I think that it’s good for us to take up with the challenge and keep using into it a bit.

Ethony: Absolutely, and sometimes that changes, right? Sometimes it’s a deck that we haven’t really looked at in a while and something happens in our life. Well often for me, it’s like the wheel turns and the seasons change and then like, “Oh, now I’m getting called to work with a different sort of set of decks,” and as it makes sense for my way work through the world. So, there is certainly things that change in our lives and in our mundane, in our magical lives so we go, “Yup”, something is shifted and it’s okay for me. Maybe to push that a little bit more.

Carrie: Yeah, and sometimes with certain decks, it’s just individual cards. So actually, it is a relevant story if you would like to gather around and I would tell you the tale.   Okay, so, I started working with the Japaridze Tarot card four of the Major Arcana which is usually the Emperor in that deck is titled ‘War’, and I had an immediate reaction to the Emperor being changed to war, an immediate negative reaction, and that was one of the times where I know, “Okay. I need to dig into this and find out what that’s bringing up for me.” It brought up a lot for me but one of the big realizations I had from digging into that initial negative reaction, is I realized that as a tarot reader, sometimes I have the tendency to — I wouldn’t say that I sugar coat things but I would say that I am always trying to look on the bright side of cards. And, so for me, seeing the Emperor depicted in a way that actually it’s just flat out showing you the shadow side because war and destruction, it can be a shadow side of the Emperor. So for me, getting confronted with a card that’s like, “Hey you have to look at the shadow side of this card.” It was challenging but it ended up helping me grow with my relationship with the Emperor, not just in that deck but in other decks but my initial reaction was like, “Oh, I don’t like that this is titled ‘war’. I don’t want to work with that.” You know what I mean?

Ethony: Absolutely and that has happened to me too. I have that deck and they’ve changed quite a bit in that for sure, but it’s interesting when you do get that knee jerk reaction of like, “Oh, why — what?” And you’re almost like, “Why would you do that?” But then, it’s like less why would it create to do that and more why am I having this reaction? It’s a deck, it’s a Marseilles deck and I actually gave it away I think or I sold it and it has — it’s quite a morbid Marseilles deck. I have to try and find it. But basically, a lot of the images have intestines all the way through the deck like they’re wrapped around the swords, they’re coming a lot there in people’s hair and I was born with gastroschisis so my intestines and everything was on the outside of my body. And so for me, when I first got it, because I was like, “I want to try and work with the Marseilles a little bit more,” and I looked at different decks so I was like, “Okay. Nope, I don’t –” like this part of — just like seeing it, it was more — I don’t feel it so I can connect with this deck and I tried and I was like very pretty at work that went guts but that was like the extreme kind of reaction of like, “Yup, don’t need that!”

Carrie: Yeah totally, which is totally okay and I think it’s important for everyone to know that, like we don’t always have to force ourselves to connect with the deck if there’s actual reasons that its not, it’s not for us.

Ethony: Yeah, but then in other times, I’ve — not that deck but there had been other times where I’ve gone like, “Okay, I’m going to actually station and work through that a little bit more,” like the Daniloff tarot which is really beautiful. I’ve got both of — two editions of that deck. But the Court, I love the Court in that deck but there is some design things that maybe I’m just kind of go, “Oh, I question that.” Or you got a deck with this like really ugly bodies and you’re like, “Why would you do that?” But it’s like, “Okay, can I just like move past the fact that I’m having an aesthetic issue here and try not to work with this.” So, that’s some funny things that gets triggered when I work with the deck.

Carrie: Yeah, for sure. I’m relating to all of that. In my head, you’re like talking about borders or whatever and I’m thinking, “Oh that’s for me, that’s this deck. For me, that’s this deck.” So, absolutely yeah and one of my favorite things about tarot as an art form I guess is that it does ask us to really connect with ourselves and question, you know, what our reactions are and why we’re having those reactions, and all of this is part of that process.

Ethony: Absolutely, absolutely and so, we’re coming down the journey. We’ve been working with this deck for, say about a moon cycle or a month we’ve been doing our daily draws. We’ve interviewed the deck, now do you do anything to kind of transition it into like, “Tada! You have graduated!” or, how do you feel as though you know that you’ve bonded very well with the deck?

Carrie: I think it’s quite of a gut feeling but — because you mentioned my project with the wild unknown, if you want to take it to the next level from what we’ve already talked about — because I think what we’ve talked about so far is sort of bonding with your deck 101, kind of the basic things to do. There’s a lot of things you can do if you want to take it to the next level. As I was thinking about this topic, I actually have this book next to me so I’ll just hold it up really quick and tell everyone but if you want to really bond with the deck on a deep level, I don’t know if this is — if there’s a glare but this is 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card by Mary K. Greer. Do you know this one, Ethony?

Ethony: Oh yes and it’s been mentioned before on this podcast and TV series. I mean, Mary K. Greer is like living tarot royalty so —

Carrie: Yeah, for sure. She’s probably my number one tarot icon and this book is awesome, and a lot of my ideas about bonding with the deck I — all inspired by this book so I definitely recommend that. But, those are bit of a sidetrack but what I was going to say is if you want to go deeper, what I did with the wild unknown, I started with an exercise that Mary gives in this book, 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card, and this is a tip I give to people all the time. Most people have probably heard it somewhere but it’s actually surprising to me how people have heard this but a lot of people haven’t actually done it. Which is, you pick — you start with a card from your deck and then you just describe it literally, not imposing definitions or meanings on to it but you start by just saying, “Okay, there’s a blue sky at the top of the card.”, “There is a person standing, holding X, Y, and Z object.”. You’re just laying it out factually. Just that process alone, I think first of all, it slows down your brain because sometimes when you look at a card and you’re not forcing yourself to be so intentional about it, it’s just things just kind of get jumbled. You miss certain details, you don’t think that deeply about it. So that exercise alone of going through and describing in as much detail as you can, everything you see, it is so powerful. You will notice so many things that you’re skipping right over.

Ethony: Absolutely, and I remember the day, to give you this example of how amazing that exercise is, of like literally doing like the scan from head to toe of a card. When I found this snail at the bottom of Nine of Pentacles which is one of my favorite cards in the tarot and there’s a little snail at the bottom, and then Rider-Waite-Smith versions of that and I was like, “It’s clean as the snail!” because it’s like, what a beautiful — we’ve got the bird of prey and this beautiful woman in a lot of depictions but the snail for me which is like the magic of like, it takes time and allow things to go slowly. Enjoy the moment. You carry everything you need with you, which happens back to the fool in the sack. I was just like mind blowing by a snail and I would have totally missed it.

Carrie: Yeah, that’s awesome you see because I’ve never noticed the snail and now you’re inquiring me because I’ve obviously done this exercise with the wild unknown. I’ve done it with some cards in the Waite-Smith but not all of them. I’m thinking, “Oh man, I need to up my game with going deeper with the Waite-Smith because yeah, that’s a great example of how powerful it can be just to do this, and this is all in the worksheet that people can be provided through this episode. There’s that walks you through these steps so people again, don’t have to feel like you have to memorize it because you can do a worksheet if you want. But then from there, how I like to do is so you’ve gone through, you’ve just literally described everything and then the next card is of course going through your literal description and highlighting the imagery that you have an idea for what maybe that means to you. So this would be where we go from, “Oh there’s a snail in the picture too.” “Oh for me, the snail is talking about slowing down,” and then all these beautiful things that you just mentioned. So, doing that, I think is really powerful. Oh and the other thing I want to back up a bit is I — my recommendation is when you’re doing these exercises, start by not referencing other material right off the bat and just seeing what comes up for you because later in the exercise, I give people to option on worksheet. If you want to look up your card in books or on blogs or whatever, sure, go ahead but give yourself the chance to see where you can get on your own first. Don’t just rely on that other kind of stuff.

Ethony: That’s gold. I want to underline that, bold that, blow it up, put lights on it. Give yourself permission to try. There’s no such thing as fail or succeed. I see it all the time when people ask for interpretation help. Give yourself the space to actually connect and try because that’s the only way you’re going to really start to bond and start to really learn the meanings for sure.

Carrie: Yeah, absolutely. So, then I kind of recommend, so you have those two steps. You write everything in detail literally then you go through and think about what does this mean to you, what might this mean to you? Then from there, and this is exactly how I did this whole blog series with the wild unknown, then you just basically go through and synthesize it and write, “Okay, here’s my interpretation of this card,” and you’re kind of just taking bits and pieces from what you wrote in the first two parts in coming to some way of saying, “For me, this card means X, Y, and Z because of this color or this image or this animal, or whatever it is.  And then you have your own little resource and I also want to mention, I think we’ve head on this a few in various ways but be open to that evolving. I don’t think you have to say, “Okay, I did this exercise to bond with this card. I came to this sort of integration and that’s that.” You might look back on that exercise a year from now and think, “Oh, now that I’ve been working with this deck longer, I noticed this and that and maybe I want to re-frame this, or this no longer resonates with me.” So, I think our — it can’t be said enough that our relationship with our decks are like living entities and they evolve and they change over time.

Ethony: Absolutely, absolutely. And so, as Carrie has provided us with a wonderful downloadable worksheet and there’s also some notes from the episode as well. So I highly recommend jumping over and downloading it. So Carrie, before we get into how we can work with you, are there any closing thoughts or anything else you would like to share with us about bonding with your deck and, can you do this with Oracle decks?

Carrie: Oh, I think you could absolutely do it with Oracle decks. In fact, it might even be — well I don’t want to  say more powerful but what’s interesting about Oracle is — and tarot has sort of a system behind it and every deck takes that system in a different direction but there’s this general idea that you know you’re getting the Major Arcana and Court cards and certain suits right? Whereas with Oracle, it’s like, “Oh, that’s a draw. They’re — two oracle decks might have completely different structure or no structure or whatever.” So I think it would be really powerful doing this with an Oracle deck and it might be a way for you to get more grounding with that system because that’s for me, personally, weirdly enough, I think that I struggle with Oracle decks more than I do with tarot because they don’t have that underlying structure. But I think if you went through and did some of these exercises to bond with an Oracle deck, you might find some type of your personal view of it, like the overall structure of that deck taking shape if that — I don’t know if that makes sense.

Ethony: Absolutely, yeah. I totally agree. Any system and deck of cards can always benefit from some reflection and some critical thinking and some intuitive space for sure.

Carrie: Yeah. I guess the only other thing that I would say as we’re closing and I might — maybe I already said this but I can’t remember if this was before we — because Ethony and I chatted for a minute before we started recording. But, I want to let people know that the feeling that you’re really deeply bonded with the deck, it usually takes some time and that’s different for all of us. You might work with a deck for a couple of months and feel like you got it on lock but it really is a process like people look at those wild unknown, post that I wrote at my blog series, and I have people tell me like, “Oh my gosh. I can’t believe you did this,” and I have to tell people, “Well that took me three years to do. What you see now on the website, took three years to get to that point.” So, it’s a process and especially of you decide to go through every card individually, that is a big commitment and it’s probably going to take a while so don’t put pressure on yourself, you know. Ethony, I think you mentioned this earlier but the most important thing is that you feel like you’re enjoying it and you’re having fun and you’re learning about yourself and you’re learning about your deck, and if all of those things are true, then you’re doing something right so keep doing it.

Ethony: Totally, absolutely and I do want to recommend for those of you especially if you’re working with the wild unknown tarot, to head over to Carrie’s website, so it’s carriemallon.com. Now, Carrie has generously given this resource to the tarot world but there is a tip chart there and I highly recommended if you’re going to download it and use this resource, to give back to this lovely lady for all of her time and effort because it is a — it’s like a hundred and seventy eight page document like I was like, “That’s huge!”. So, that is something that can do to help support a fellow tarot colleague and someone who gives back to our community through all of her channels. How else can we work with you Carrie, if we want to — we wanted it more. If we want to work one moment with you, how can we do so?

Carrie: So you mentioned my website which is www.carriemallon.com I offer tarot readings over Skype right now. In the past day, I’ve done audio readings. I might be bringing back audio readings soon so keep an eye out for that. I also am for mentoring sessions which are done via Skype as well and I have a blog which is fairly active, that’s where the wild unknown post started and I have all kinds of other resources on the blog as well, so pretty much everything is on my website. I’m also decently active on Instagram and my username is just my full name @carriemallon so you can find me there as well.

Ethony: And I’ll make sure that we pop all of those links in the podcast episode as well over ethony.com. So I would like to say thank you so much. Don’t forget to go get your worksheet. It’s completely free from this episode and enjoy working with your deck, and thank you so much from myself and everyone who’s watching always. Thanks you, Carrie, for joining us today.

Carrie: You’re welcome. Thank you. It’s my pleasure to be here.

Ethony: I will see you all next time.

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