Embracing The Hermit: The Story of Tell My Tarot
by guest Tarot Reader, Charmaine Frapp
Part I. The Hermit and Finding my Path
I was at the annual Health and Harmony festival with my friend walking through the courtyard of vendors when I was overcome by a feeling of worthlessness. “I feel out of touch – my work is rote. I’m jaded, and I’m becoming an old woman,” I told her. “Feeling like an old woman isn’t a bad thing. You don’t have to act like The Hermit,” she said. Then we realized, “Wait a minute – that’s exactly who I should be like!”
In the Rider Waite deck, The Hermit is a lone old man walking in snow with a staff and guided by his lantern representing the light of knowledge or flame of truth. What did it mean for me to be the Hermit, a woman living in a sunny climate with a bounty of friends? That is when it hit me – I need to keep learning, keep searching for the truth.
I started journalling on a nightly basis. Once everyone in my household was asleep, including pets, I would get up and go to the garage where my desk is. Shrouded in the smoke of pungent incense and aromatic candles, I got to work going through piles of library books on tarot and astrology. I read Resymbolization of the Self, Jung, and Cardano’s Cosmos, cataloguing my research in journals along with sketches and collages from dreams or visions. At night it was easy for me to be The Hermit, but what about during the day?
Part II. The Three of Pentacles and Building a Website
Like The Hermit, I was focusing on my work, but instead of just at night, I now put time in whenever I could. I was not feeling very hermit-y anymore. Instead, I was more like the Three of Pentacles, losing track of the hours and channeling ancient wisdom like a mystic. “You have to share these journals,” my friend said. “Make a website. Put it all up for people to see.” That is the origin of Tell My Tarot.
Instead of feeling jaded, I was suddenly engrossed in the website, with the idea of sharing what I had learned with others. Blasphemous though it may be, there is something alluring about the computer screen’s glow that even rivals the moon. I got a lot done quickly, chiseling away at this and that. Though I began as the Hermit, I felt younger. Putting energy into something, feeling a sense of purpose, it gave me a vital energy.
During this time, hunched at my desk, I kept thinking about Zoltar the Fortune Telling Machine, that antique fortune dispensing amusement found at penny arcades. Beyond a static representation of my learning, beyond my journalling, I wanted to offer readers something more. I wanted an interactive user experience that made visitors active rather than passive participants, like how I felt talking to my friend at Health and Harmony.
Part III. The Knight of Wands and Virtual Readings
At this point I became the Knight of Wands. I was not the Charioteer being pulled towards my goal in a moonlit vehicle, but the one sitting bareback on a horse, wand in hand and ready to make things happen. I mapped out the various readings I wanted to offer site visitors, re-interpreted cards to fit each reading, then teamed up with a technically savvy friend.
The first reading we came up with was the Past, Present, and Future spread. In the backend, a computer generated shuffler reaches into the cards and pulls out three based on where the user touches cards on the screen. Of course, I have not replicated the experience of sitting before a human tarot reader, and yet, I find the cards I draw are accurate portrayals of each life.
Part IV. Four of Cups and Plans for the Future
Right now, I am the Four of Cups. Though I still have a lot of work to do, I am sitting back, looking at all that has gone into the website and planning what is next. Many elements are in place, but there is still one cup in the air, and I am not quite ready to drink it.
I do have some ideas though: I want to add more readings like the Celtic Cross, for example. I would like to also incorporate daily and love horoscopes, and a glossary of helpful tarot and astrological terms. Of course, it is important to sit back and enjoy one’s work. I am by no means done, but I have come a long way and every day feel younger having found an outlet in Tell My Tarot.
Tell My Tarot is a new website for online tarot readings, horoscopes, and related scholarship.