Talkin’ Tarot With Mary Greer

by Theresa Reed on May 1, 2013

Talkin’ Tarot With is a monthly feature designed to introduce my readers to different tarot readers from our wonderfully diverse community!  Each month, I’ll be asking various tarot readers 3 questions about their tarot philosophy and style, plus pointing you to their websites and blogs so that you can learn more about them!  I like to hand pick tarot readers that I feel are talented and interesting.

Mary Greer reading Lenormand cards

In my opinion, there is no one more influential to the tarot world than the legendary Mary Greer.  I remember first learning about her  through her book, Tarot for Your Self: A Workbook for Personal Transformation.   That book may have been written almost 30 years ago but it still continues to inspire and delight tarot readers of all ages to this day.

Over the years, Mary has contributed many important works to the tarot field (my personal fave is 21 Ways to Read A Tarot Card) and she continues to teach and lecture all over the world.  I’ve been fortunate to hear her speak on a few occasions and I’ve always walked away with a new spin on tarot.

What has impressed me the most about Mary is that she continues to be curious and open about tarot as well as other divination methods – and she eloquently (and excitedly) shares her discoveries with her peers and fans.  Recently, I attended her Lenormand class at SF BATS and was impressed with the information she shared.  I’m Lenormand curious but also very resistant – her lecture piqued my interest and helped to start crack open my (stubborn) mind.  I’m still skeptical about this method but am cautiously dipping my toes in.  If it weren’t for Mary’s introduction, I may have ignored it completely.

And that’s the magic of Mary – she has the ability to make you curious too.  That makes her not just a tarot reader and teacher – but  a true tarot master.

Mary K. Greer is an independent scholar, writer, teacher, and professional tarot consultant. A former college professor, she has an MA in English and has taught Tarot since 1974. She is the author of ten books on Tarot and on magic, including Who Are You in the Tarot? (2011), Mary K. Greer’s 21 Ways to Read A Tarot Card (2006), Understanding the Tarot Court with Tom Little (2004), and The Complete Book of Tarot Reversals (2002), as well as the groundbreaking Tarot for Your Self: A Workbook for Personal Transformation (1984, revised 2002). She won the 2007 International Tarot Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Tarot Studies and is a research partner in Le Tarot Associazione Culturale (Italy). Having lived in five countries and six states within the U.S., Mary continues to travel around the world teaching Tarot. She currently produces “Mary K. Greer’s Tarot Blog” at marygreer.wordpress.com.

New projects include a book on the Petit Lenormand deck and a book on Waite’s hidden intentions for the Rider-Waite-Smith deck.

Mary K. Greer on Facebook

Email her at: mkgreer@pacbell.net

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1. What is your philosophy about tarot reading?

My core statement of the purpose of tarot is “Tarot helps you meet whatever comes in the best possible way.” My philosophy is that tarot is a tool. It works more as a mirror  reflecting what we know, than as a predictive device. What predictions it does give are projections of who a person is now (with all that led up to that). The only explanation for tarot that makes logical sense is that we project our thoughts and opinions on the cards and their symbols. These projections, conscious and unconscious, are based on a combination of species, cultural, community, and personal experiences. However, I have to say that after 45+ years, I’ve also seen plenty of inexplicably amazing readings and results that I prefer to call magical—meaning they lie outside what science and reason can explain.

2. How do you feel a client might get the most out of a reading with you?

A client can get the most out of a reading with me by being willing to working interactively with me. I call myself a midwife of the soul, meaning I work with a person to help bring their own wisdom to birth. I prefer readings that last at least an hour. Generally we start with an “issue-oriented” question and let the cards define that further. For instance, the basic question is “What do I most need to look at in my life?” Most of the time we narrow that a bit by adding “. . . around my relationship with X,” or “. . . regarding finding my life purpose.” Also, in a full reading, the client usually ends up with a goal, some options for action, and an affirmation—all self-defined. Clients benefit the most when they work with their affirmation and remember how they chose in the reading to respond to typical trigger situations.

3. What is your best piece of advice for an aspiring tarot reader?

I have a couple of pieces of advice that have meant a lot to me. Learn the rules but feel free to break them (and evaluate what happens when you do so). Realize that Tarot is a life-long study. If you forget a card’s meaning or you are in doubt about it, simply describe the card. Better yet, ask the client to describe the card. Don’t try to fix your client. My personal mantra is, “You don’t have to fix it!” You can help a person gain awareness but the decisions are all theirs.

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Huge hugs to Mary for taking time out of her busy life to chat with me.  Learn more about Mary at Mary K. Greer’s Tarot Blog.

Blessings!

Theresa

© Theresa Reed | The Tarot Lady 2013

Daily Tarot Girl May 2, 2013 at 1:46 am

Thank you, Theresa, for this interview. Mary K. Greer has always been one of my favorite Tarot authors – her book Tarot for Your Self was one of those books that totally influenced how I learned Tarot. And I love how she encourages interactive readings!

Theresa Reed May 2, 2013 at 10:55 pm

Mary is a wonderful writer – and her works always make you think of tarot in a new way.

Val May 2, 2013 at 10:48 pm

Wow, I had no idea Mary was working on a book about Waite’s hidden intentions for the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. This excites me to no end as the RWS is my favorite reading deck of all time.

My favorite book is a toss-up between ‘Tarot Constellations’ (republished as ‘Who Are You in the Tarot?’) which got me to working with clients’ birth cards, and ‘Tarot Reversals’ for the alternate ways of reading reversed cards.

LOVE this legendary lady!

Theresa Reed May 2, 2013 at 10:54 pm

We all love and admire Mary. She has contributed so much to tarot – and still is!

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