let me tell you all the story about how I decommissioned one of the very first tarot decks I ever owned.

This was a tarot deck, the Thoth Tarot deck, that I had used since about the time I graduated high school ( back in the 80s ). It had served me well through the years. This was the deck I used to meditate on the images of the Tarot after learning of the deeper meaning of the Tarot, through such sources as Aleister Crowley, Paul Foster Case, Robert Wang, Rachel Pollack, and other teachers… teachers who, essentially, viewed the tarot as a tool of enlightenment, as opposed to a tool of divination.

This was also the Tarot deck that I took with me on my magickal “walkabout” through the United States and Canada, and that I had also used to make a living doing Tarot readings In Jackson Sq., New Orleans.

Yes, this is a deck that had seen quite a bit of action. Hundreds (possibly upwards of a thousand) of readings. The readings it gave had a personality. And while the readings it gave were never “mean”, they could be “cruel”, if you understand my meaning. Perhaps that was more a reflection of myself than of the cards… but I digress.

The cards themselves, obviously, had seen better days. They were dirty from use on the streets, and from being handled by, perhaps hundreds, of strangers. I had restored the cards myself on several occasions; by touching up the images with paint, by using gentle detergent to clean the cards ( as an art preservationist would to a fine painting) by gilding the edges with gold leaf to further strengthen them… etc.

But the time had come, finally, to put these cards to rest.

I wonder for several weeks how I would do this. How I could do this dreadful task. None of the more traditional methods of disposing of a tarot deck seemed appropriate. And I did not want to cause any undue pain or suffering to the “spirit of the cards”, if indeed such a beast did exist!

The Winter Solstice was quickly approaching, and I thought that such time would be as appropriate as any to do the deed. A thought formulated in my head after witnessing a violent winter storm, well… violent for San Francisco, anyway.

I would give my cards a “burial at sea”, a return to the churning abyss that gave us all life.

So, before the solstice arrived I did several small rituals with the cards to prepare them for this final dissolution into the sea. I got a disposable aluminum pan and fill it with melted paraffin wax. After doing a lesser banishing ritual of the pentagram, and taking time to give proper consideration to each and every card in the deck, and how it had served me in the past, I began to dip the cards into the melted, sealing, paraffin wax. One By One. It took a while, but ultimately I had an entire deck of tarot cards individually hermetically sealed in wax. That, in itself, was an impressive thing. Truly, at least,  something I’d never seen before, anyway!

And on the morning of the Winter Solstice, on the very first High Tide of the Winter Season, I drove out to the western most point of San Francisco-Land’s End Park, The Presidio. I walked out to one of the most isolated rock outcroppings on the cliff face, and there I meditated quietly before doing a final goodbye ritual to my cards.

When I begin to sense the turning of the tide, when I could actually feel the San Francisco Bay breathing outward and back into the Pacific Ocean, I stood up, went to the edge of the rocks, and began looking at my cards one final time; giving due contemplation to each card before ceremoniously, and individually, throwing each card like a flying disc, into the sea.

Well that took about two hours. Because I must’ve lingered at each card for a minute or so, because each card still had a story to tell. And by the time I had thrown the last card into the sea, the very first cards that I had thrown were already fading into the distance; so slight, that I could barely see them even with the small pair of binoculars that I had brought with me for the occasion.

I often wonder, with some small amusement, the stories that those individual cards will now tell to other people perhaps all the way across the world, when they find them washed up on shore, or perhaps floating by their pleasure yachts, or possibly hauled up in vast commercial fishing nets… well anyway, you get the idea.

I hope you enjoyed this little tale of a small ritual performed last year, putting to rest a once great deck of cards.

( PS- the photo is of a 1000% charming little Tarot Reader’s kiosk on the boardwalk in Brighton, Brighton and Hove, England )


Catal Huyuk, Seated Mother Goddess

Catal Huyuk (Catal Hoyuk, Catalhuyuk) was an ancient Neolithic agricultural city in the Anatolia region of Turkey. It is the oldest settlement ever uncovered, dating from 7000—6000BC. She had numerous shrines, filled with small Goddess figurines, among them this seated Goddess. She sits in a throne, hands resting on her lioness or leopard companions, who were sacred to the Mother Goddess and popular protective images through Europe and the Middle East. She is apparently in the act of giving birth, radiating calm and a regal posture. This figurine was found in a grain bin, likely placed there to ensure harvests and protect the food supply. It has been argued that this Goddess began our understanding of the Great Mother Goddess.