|Marilyn D'Auria reading for a client|
Welcome to The Divination Nation blog!
We are Pleasant Gehman and Crystal Ravenwolf, a duo of divination divas, “spiritual sisters from another mister”. We’re life-long Tarotistas, obsessed with all things esoteric and paranormal. We’ve created this blog to share our knowledge and to connect with the vibrant worldwide metaphysical and paranormal community.
We hope this blog is as fun for you to read as it is for us to write…Enjoy!
Not that many Tarot readers can say they’re enjoying a career that spans four decades, but Marilyn D’Auria can- she’s been a professional cardslinger since 1976. Her insight is nothing short of profound, her readings straight ahead and on point. It’s no accident that she called her website Tarot Clarity…in her hands, the cards and their meanings are extremely clear and focused. In September, 2000 Marilyn became a Certified Professional Tarot Reader…though by that time, she’d already been reading professionally for twenty five years! In addition to her lifelong passion for Tarot, Marilyn is a devoted wife and mother, an artist, a silent film buff whose absolutely obsessed with Old Hollywood, and an avid world traveller.
We first discovered Marilyn on Instagram, where she posts daily one-card readings. We were so taken with her thoughtful posts – not to mention the many gorgeous decks she owns- we thought we’d “share” her with you!
Divination Nation: Please let our readers know how you embarked on your Tarot journey…
Marilyn D’Auria: I began reading Tarot when I was seventeen. I had just graduated high school and I was preparing to go away to college, a professional art school in Philadelphia. I was an art geek in high school, totally submerged in creating art and learning art history. One day that summer, a girlfriend showed me cards that somehow came into her possession. Her deck was the Rider Waite Smith, which had only fairly recently became available in the US market. I had never seen a tarot deck in person before but I knew what they were from watching the 1960s TV paranormal/occult soap serial, Dark Shadows as a kid.
The cards I remembered from Dark Shadows did not match these ‘new’ cards that my friend had, so I realized right off the bat that the art on tarot cards varied from deck to deck. Since they were visual and artistic, I was immediately drawn to and seduced by them and I had to get my own deck, ASAP! So yes, it was an immediate connection. Within no time I bought the only deck available in our local bookstore that was the same deck that I remembered from Dark Shadows, the 1JJ Swiss Tarot deck. I think I also picked up the only tarot book that I could find that day which was Eden Grey’s book for the RWS deck. Obviously, the book wasn’t written for the deck I had, but at least I had something to read to get an idea of how the cards worked.
I read that little Eden Grey book a few times before I left for college. There was no one in my world that read Tarot cards, not even my girlfriend who first showed them to me had any real interest. Anyway, naturally, I took my book and deck with me when I went off to art school.
In a wonderful case of synchronization, I made a visit to a museum and saw a few cards on display that I guessed to be a deck of Tarot. I asked the docent about them she told me all she knew about them and this is where I learned the name, Visconti-Sforza, which became the Holy Grail to add to my then one-deck tarot collection. As it turns out a commercial V-S deck would not be available for many more years. I mention all of this because the cards just naturally fell into my life and I was a willing and eager participant. But I was my own teacher, remember this was nearly forty years ago and Tarot reading was not a mainstreamed activity. Whenever I went to a bookstore or museum, I began buying and reading every tarot book or other books related to reading the cards like numerology and astrological symbolism that I could get my hands on. Most of the time the more serious esoteric Tarot books that were available were on the Major Arcana only, and almost exclusively based on the Tarot de Marseilles, which my 1JJ Swiss shared similarities with.
DN: Tell us about your first official gig.
MD: I immediately began reading from the cards as soon as I got them and at college I pulled them out during the down times in my studies. I kept it private because I did not want others to know I did it, until I felt ready. Like most newbie readers I only read for myself or ‘pretend’ querents until one of my college roommates caught me with them and insisted that I do a reading for her and her friends, so I guess that was my first official ‘gig.’ I shocked them by agreeing to do it - but only for payment. They expected a freebie. So right out of the gate I communicated that this was a skill like any other and I knew that if I started a precedent of free readings in the dorm I’d be harassed for free readings. So charging was the smartest thing I could have done. It restricted them to ask for readings only when they really felt they had a need. And it was good discipline for me too because aside from earning a little extra pocket money as a starving art student, it made me very aware of the responsibility of doing the best readings I was capable of since I was being paid.
DN: How do you prepare for your work?
MD: It’s evolved over the years and become remarkably simplified. In the beginning I kept the cards under my pillow, and went through all kinds of cleansing shenanigans preparing the cards before a reading. This is a natural process that I think every reader goes through in their relationship with the cards. There are so many rituals and I think the most important thing is to decide what makes sense to you.
It depends on circumstances too. When I’m trying to be discreet I don’t want to bring attention to myself by burning incense or sage especially if I’m traveling in hotels with smoke detectors. Nowadays, I have my own sacred space in my home dedicated exclusively to my cards and readings. My cards are housed in their own pieces of furniture, which are themselves filled with crystals and selenite and other wonderful natural rocks and minerals that they are always charged and cleansed and at the ready for use. I no longer go through any cleansing rituals before using them, except that I wash my own hands before handling them. I only handle the cards with freshly washed hands and there is no exception to this. My own little quirk I guess. I always mix the cards many, many times with intense focus on the question.
I never shuffle the cards casino style. I treat my cards with respect. They are never lying around the house, or anywhere need food, drink, or pets. They are my tools and even my oldest decks are in pristine condition considering their ages. After concentrating on the question that needs to be answered, for some unknown reason I knock the top of the deck twice before pulling the cards. I used to allow my querents to handle my cards, but now I see my cards as what they are, my tools. If I were painting a portrait of someone they do not have to handle my brushes or mix my paints for me to capture their essence and I have come to feel the same way about my cards. They are my tools, which allow me to tap into something that I seem to be a part of.
DN: What if any metaphysical disciplines do you practice aside from Tarot?
MD: As I mentioned, I see the cards as a tool to tap into the energy surrounding a situation. As a child, my parents referred to me as a ‘spooky kid’ because I had experiences at a very young age that they could not explain. I can walk into a space and sense the energies of what was there before. Once I refused to walk into a room because it gave me a very bad feeling. I didn’t say anything to anybody at the risk of sounding like a nut, but I later learned that a person was murdered in that room a hundred years earlier when he was hung from a beam in the ceiling. I have had many experiences like these but they are probably not relevant to this discussion other than to illustrate that I seem to be able to tap into something and tarot is the discipline that allows me to use it to an end that doesn’t freak me out. So as far as other disciplines go, I seem to have abilities that may or may not enhance my tarot skills.
I’m not sure if my success with Tarot is a psychic ability that I have learned to fine tune using the cards or if I’m just super observant and pick up on energies and impressions of a situation in an acutely perceptive unconscious way; I don’t know. I don’t know how I do it, I’m only glad that I can.
DN: What do you love most about your job?
MD: Tarot is a natural extension of who I am. It’s a natural fit for me and I’m good at it. It helps other people and that brings me great satisfaction. It calms me and focuses my attention, and after all these years I remain intrigued by the cards’ origins and still read every intelligently written book of research on the subject and related subjects that I can find. I have met lots of people and have had some wonderful and intense conversations.
I am still seduced by the beauty of the cards and now have many cards in my collection and I read from every one of them. I am very particular and only buy a deck if I am aesthetically attracted to it or think that it can bring something to my readings or tarot education so I probably don’t have as many cards as one would think, but enough to need furniture to house them!
DN: Tell us what you enjoy doing when you are not working.
MD: Lol, I’m always working! I’m always reading or writing or reading for clients or doing something Tarot related when I’m not working on my business and other passions. I even dream about Tarot. Tarot IS one of the primary ways that I enjoy my personal time.
I’m also an artist and still occasionally paint, make jewelry, and engrave glass. I also love to write. During my free time at home I am usually busy with one of these creative outlets.
My husband is now retired and since I own my own business, I have the luxury of scheduling my own time so we can be flexible for things like travel. We go lots of places every year, visiting friends or seeing new places, or even revisiting locations that are special to us. So travel is a fun thing we like to do together.
DN: Would you please share some tips and advice for our readers?
MD: My primary tip is to listen to instinct and follow your heart.
It sounds like a corny cliché but it’s true. It never would have occurred to me forty years ago that I’d still be doing Tarot all these years later or get any recognition for doing it. There were a dozen other ways I thought that I might have gotten noticed in the world. But Tarot was one of the special things that I have done consistently throughout my life because it was driven by passion. Obviously I’m not a household name, but enough people know about me to keep me busy and doing one of the things that I love to do.
So I guess I’d advise to keep doing things you really love doing even if you can’t immediately make them your primary vocation. Longevity in a field of interest means that eventually those passions will take deep root in your life and provide opportunities for great satisfaction and maybe even recognition.
And finally, for you Tarot readers out there, charge for your skills from the get-go! When we give away our skills (even as newbies) we communicate that there is no value to them, that they are frivolous pastimes not worthy of compensation. But if you do something well enough to do it for others, you have acquired a skill and in the same way you would not expect a friend to cut your hair for free or dole out free legal advice, it is important to communicate value for what you have to offer.
Follow Marilyn’s daily Tarot posts on Instagram:
Check out Marilyn’s website and book a session with her here: http://www.tarotclarity.com
Marilyn’s blog is insightful and amazing-read it here:
Visit our website to book metaphysical and occult workshops, Tarot readings, or have us come out for a paranormal investigation: www.thedivinationnation.com
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To find out more about Pleasant or request a reading or healing session, click here: http://www.pleasantgehman.com/
For more on Crystal’s background, or request a reading or healing session, click here: http://crystalravenwolf.com