After everyone was seated again, Ginny picked up a deck of her own from the packs scattered on her desk. “All right, now I’d like each of you to locate the Fool in your deck. That’s the first trump, or Major Arcana card, numbered zero—in case you’ve forgotten the list from your Intro to Magic class. If your deck has never been opened before, it will be the first card, or the first after one or two explanation cards.”
Corrie looked down at her deck. She didn’t know whether her grandmother had put the cards in any order. She carefully slid them out of the box and looked at the first card. It was a familiar woman dressed in stars she’d seen so many times in her life—the Empress. She smiled and started flipping through until she found the Fool, a man staring at the sky with a stick over his shoulder. This card was relatively crisp and new.
Roe was holding her Fool card, a watercolor woman surrounded by birds. “Wow,” she whispered, looking at Corrie’s card. “That’s a really interesting deck. I’ve never seen one quite like it—are those photographs?”
Corrie nodded and smiled. “It was printed as a small batch in the seventies. This copy was my grandmother’s.”
“Now that you’ve all found your Fool card,” Ginny said, “I want you to study the image and see what impressions come up in your mind. Don’t try to map the symbolism you learned in your intro classes to the card in front of you; just see what comes to your mind.” She waited for a few beats of silence while everyone studied their cards, then said, “All right, tell me some of the things you’ve come up with. Roe?”
“Freedom,” Roe said.
“Good,” Ginny said. “Dale?”
Dale offered the concept of forging one’s own path, and Ginny continued to call on people to give their own impressions. When most of the class had said something, she nodded. “Those are all good. As you learn the tarot more thoroughly, the interpretations will have shades of meaning and character to them. We’ll be spending about half of the semester on tarot, to give you time to become comfortable with the way the cards seem to change in your mind. Now, I’d like you all to keep the Fool set aside and shuffle your decks. Pick a random card once you’ve shuffled a few times.”
Corrie slid down to sit on the floor—she was having trouble holding so many things at once. Ginny didn’t say anything, so she laid her Fool card carefully on the floor in front of her, then shuffled in her lap. The card she drew was the Moon, showing two dogs in front of a stone wall, with a full moon above them bearing a woman’s face.
“Place your new card next to the Fool and look at how the two cards interact. Do you come up with anything new?”
Corrie saw something as soon as she put down the Moon. She raised her hand and Ginny called on her. “It looks like the Fool’s dog has made a friend—another dog, not a human this time. And they’re both looking up at the woman in the Moon.”
“Very good,” Ginny said. “Creating a narrative like that can certainly help you interpret the meanings the cards are giving you.”
Ginny made sure everyone in the class had something to say about how their two tarot cards interacted. Since they had all picked different cards, and almost everyone had a different deck, there was a wide variety of descriptions.