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How long have you been reading Tarot?

People often ask "how long have you been reading the tarot?"

I can pinpoint the exact place I first encountered the tarot.

In my early 20's I decided to spend three months traveling around America. I had three big dreams; visit Laura Ingall's home, Gracelands & New Orleans ( I was a big fan of Anne Rice at the time!).

After my first week in New York I felt overwhelmed at everything, and found myself on a train in tears. Someone came up to me, sat next to me and gently talked me through my fears. He then invited me back to his house at the end of my three months to share my stories.

That's me, first day in America, top the the world trade centre.

At the end of my journey, having had an amazing time I did contact him, and found myself in a student house, not a dime to my name and one week left until my plane out.

They fed me for the week ( I really did have no money left!) and whilst they were out at college all day I read their books.

Turned out they were all pagans (not a term I had really come across much before) and I felt as if my eyes had been opened, I returned home with a burning desire to learn everything I could about the strange world of tarot, astrology, knights Templar's and grail quests.

I became very interested in both astrology and tarot, in the end it came down to simplicity. Astrology really needs either a computer or a mathematical brain- at the time I had neither. Tarot needs just a pack of tarot and books for research. I still carry my astrology with me, Liz Greene's psychological approach remains a great influence on how I understand the tarot.

Tarot remained a big influence in my life, but when I fell pregnant with my first child I began to see the great simplicity of tarot; you can leave a spread, either half done, or finished and come back to it!

Having spent most of my adult life as a nursery teacher, I knew what life with a baby would be like, and appreciated how wonderful it would be to have something spiritual in my life that could be put down, left, and returned to as needed.

And that is when I really became a tarot geek. raising my baby on a remote Scottish island, off-grid, I needed something to keep my mind challenged. Something that I could read about, but that was more than a book.

Once started, I couldn't stop. I learn something new about tarot almost everyday, and I am passionate about sharing how great tarot is, and how it is so much more than a fair-ground attraction.

As for the knights Templar, in time through bus and train and hitch hiking I found my way to Renne Le Chateux. I was so inspired and overwhelmed by my experience that in time I changed my name to Madelaine in recognition of that journey. I had little space for souvenirs, but I have always kept my Cathars cross to remind me that I made it to Montsegur & Renne Le Chateux.

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