Hello, can you tell us about yourself? How did tarot find you?
I'm a tarot reader and bookseller from Sydney, Australia. I'm also a Capricorn, which I suppose explains why I introduce myself with my jobs, with an Aquarius moon and a Pisces ascendant. I own and run Two Sides Tarot, where I offer a rich and well-stocked selection of independently published tarot and oracle decks, and other divinatory supplies, as well as tarot readings.
It's funny to think about my life before tarot - once it arrived, it felt like it had always been there! In fact, it showed up in my mid-20s, and then both collapsed and saved my life during my Saturn return. Being an English lit nerd, analyzing stories and symbols for fun, I found myself right in my element with the cards, and I knew from the first shuffle that this was my jam! During that period of my life, tarot gave me a priceless vocabulary for the spiritual awakening I was having that I would've been otherwise unable to understand or describe. It gave me a way to map a very profound and tumultuous experience, a true Hermit’s lamp in the dark, and I knew that was an invaluable tool that I could share with others who had also found themselves a little lost on the path.
If you could remove any card in the deck, which card would it be and why?
I’m such a completist that even considering this question makes my eye twitch! I’m definitely a believer that all cards have their place, and that one of the most useful things about working with tarot is developing a relationship with the cards we find unwelcome, as a means to develop a relationship with the experiences that they represent. Which is not to say I’m always thrilled when I draw The Tower, but I do think that by turning towards challenging or bittersweet or boring cards instead of away, we can come to understand the medicine they have to offer – bitter or blah though it may sometimes be!
What's in your tarot toolbox?
Although I am a bit of a packrat, my tarot toolkit is surprisingly light and fuss-free. I do sometimes light some incense to get myself into the ritual frame of mind, and it’s nice to be able to refer to a book or two for ideas and fresh perspectives, but really, the only essential is a deck of cards.
What do you think the Empress would say to the Emperor?
“Lighten up, man!”
What or who inspires you the most?
There’s so much to be inspired by these days! Our community is so packed with readers who bring so many different perspectives and so much daring to their work. It’s a privilege to be part of a community that is challenging the norms of their art form, and producing and distributing and using tools that are radical and inclusive and restorative. The tarot community, particularly on Instagram and in places like Little Red Tarot and Siobhan’s Radical Tarot Scopes, is so multifaceted and filled with people who have such expansive visions for what tarot and tarot reading can be, and all of that collective work is proof that there’s no limit to the stories we can tell. It’s really exciting!
I’ve also been taking a lot of inspiration from a few different interview podcasts lately, in particular Public Intellectual, Ideal Futures, the Serpent Cast and The Witchwave. Some of these podcasts have episodes about tarot, but in general, they’re just really interesting conversations with really interesting people. I love – and often need – to be reminded that there are so many different ways to live a life!
If you could be any court card, which would you choose and why?
I used to joke that most tarot readers wish we were cool enough to be the Queen of Wands when we grew up, so that card’s vibrant charisma is definitely something to aspire to! If I really think about it though, the answer to this question changes from week to week. Right now, I’m working on being like the King of Cups, gentle and steady and full of feelings. Next week, I might need a little more Knight of Swords in my life in order to get the job done. Perhaps my ideal self is a fully integrated version of all of the court cards, perfectly balanced. A gal can dream!
Which deck could you absolutely not live without?
I’m definitely non-monogamous when it comes to tarot decks – I think I have close to a hundred, if not more, in my collection! I do have very intense love affairs, though, and at the moment, my OTP is the Pagan Otherworlds Tarot. I was late to the party with this deck, and only got a copy for myself when a whole lot of people requested that I start stocking it in my shop. I was surprised to find that we immediately just “got” each other. It reads so clearly, and has been firm but gentle with me and my bullshit, which is just what I need right now!
If you could go back to day one of your tarot journey, what would you do differently?
You know, I’ve chewed on this question for a while now, and I don’t think I’d change a thing. There’s no such thing as a perfect path, and mine has unfolded the way it has, for better or worse, and that’s a-ok. Hashtag no regrets, am I right?!
What tarot habits or quirks do you have?
My most sticky tarot habit has been doing the daily tarot Weather Report on Instagram. I’ve taken days off here and there, but my daily draw has been posted there nine days out of ten since December 2013. I’d say that’s a habit now!
As for quirks, I’m quite light on. I’m very unsuperstitious when it comes to my cards and my set up. The only little tic I have is that after I complete a reading for someone else, I’ll reshuffle the deck and knock it with my knuckles twice on each side to shake out any residual vibes.
If the Hierophant had a favorite curse word, what would it be?
I have to thank you for this question because it gave me the glorious pleasure of googling old-fashioned curse words. The Hierophant’s an old fuddy duddy (it’s my birth card, so I say that with love), so I think their choice would be decidedly vintage. The best one I came up with was “Sard,” a close substitute for “fuck” allegedly originating in a 10th Century bible, as in, “don’t sard another man’s wife.” I suppose you can’t believe everything you read on the internet, but I do hope that’s true!
Do you think the Hermit prefers decaf or regular coffee?
I feel like The Hermit is definitely one of those annoying people who drinks mushroom coffee and tries to convince everyone that it tastes just as good as espresso.
Lastly, do you have anything you would like to share? News? Event?
No news, just ongoing juicy tarot goodness! Come follow me on instagram, peruse my blog, and while you’re at it hop on my email list, and check out all the tarot supplies and goodies in my shop. I ship worldwide!