By World-Acclaimed Artist Ma Deva Padma
During a difficult period in my life, as I was transitioning from a carefree schoolgirl to a troubled teenager full of doubts, I had my first encounter with tarot cards. I was questioning everything, and that’’ when I turned to the mystical world of tarot for guidance. A girlfriend gifted me the Rider-Waite Tarot on my sixteenth birthday, which was supposed to celebrate “sweet sixteen and never been kissed.” However, at that time my real life couldn’t have been farther from that ideal. The year before, I had major surgery and fell madly in love with a boy my parents staunchly disapproved of. So, by the time I turned 16, I was already planning to leave home, become an artist, and find my way in a world that had to be very different from the pampered one I felt trapped in.
When my friend Janie gave me the deck, she told me that it was something her Italian grandmother used to assist her family with issues that needed guidance. These cards could support people to find solutions or heal broken, confusing, and falling apart situations, just like mine. I opened the pack and was immediately struck by the illustrations, the patterns, the colors, and even the shape of the cards; the way they felt in my hand inexplicably seemed familiar. The cards undoubtedly held significance that needed to be deciphered through careful study. However, I was terrible at studying anything! Despite what authorities, parents, and teachers said, I never listened and insisted on finding my own truth. Looking back, I recognize that my hunger to understand the mysterious and empowering cards coincided with my push to escape the confines of a stifling existence. This yearning led me to a lifelong spiritual quest.
Much of my senior year was spent skipping school and hiding out in the neighbor’s garden shed; there I spent hours with my tarot cards, illustrated my own variations of their art, and imagined them speaking to me. I gradually realized with certainty that the cards held meaning that I recognized. I sensed that tarot needed an intimate connection between the cards and the person reading them. To access the wisdom in a tarot reading, it is essential for the reader to approach it with respect and a clear intention.
If you want to try tarot, the first step is to take time to indulge in the beauty and uniqueness of the many decks on offer. Choose one that resonates with a heartfelt YES and a YES to their illustrations. Consider your new deck as a potential close friend that you can confide in. Tarot is there to help you by revealing your strengths, weaknesses, and a range of evolving possibilities, conditions, and relationships. The cards mirror what needs to be seen. And as with a mirror, there is no judgment, no opinion, pro, or con, just simply something to reflect upon.
Using tarot cards for personal development helps introspection by offering a look into subconscious tendencies and habitual practices. In this way, tarot enables us to respond out of awareness to life’s challenges. We can avoid falling into the same old patterns of behavior that created problems in the past. When we do find ourselves uncertain, a tarot session can point the way to clarity. With this newfound knowledge, we are freed from inner turmoil. We can make better choices that nurture our growth as individuals and ultimately further our soul’s purpose.
My newest and most personal creation The Sacred She Tarot deck is a precious tool that aims to empower the inner feminine voice that is ignored in many aspects of life. For eons, the yin principle has been marginalized by restrictive beliefs and conditioning. Therefore, using any means available to identify and weed out the oppressive opinions and attitudes that stifled the divine feminine voice is essential. With a clear intention in mind, The Sacred She Tarot was meticulously crafted to imbue each card with rich, meaningful symbolism, while the accompanying guidebook provides comprehensive explanations to help you interpret the cards with confidence. At the start of each day, drawing a single card provides a powerful “pearl of wisdom” that significantly enhances self-awareness, positively impacting the rest of your day.
I believe that by embracing The Sacred She Tarot as a trusted friend your intuitive inner voice will be empowered. This supports your unrealized potential to finally be tapped into. What we all need is to give ourselves the time and space to restore our connection with the source within that opens a pathway to the discovery of our inner truth. Tarot cards are not the ultimate truth, but they can certainly be a guiding force in our journey toward self-realization. The cards function like a finger pointing to the moon, enabling us to manifest positive changes in our body, mind, and spirit.
Padma, born Susan (Bernard) Morgan, was raised in Wellesley, Massachusetts, and attended the New England School of Art and the Boston Museum School of Fine Arts. While on her spiritual quest, she traveled to India and became interested in Buddhist, Tibetan, and Islamic art. She is the creator of The Osho Zen Tarot, Tao Oracle, and The Sacred She Tarot Deck and Guidebook. She lives and works with her stone-sculpting husband, Ashika, at their Embrace Art Studio in the bushland of Victoria, Australia.