Word on a Whim

The energy of a Tarot deck – the Leeds Tarot

I was born in Leeds and grew up there. I grew up hating the place. I have a lovely, loving family in Leeds, and lived there for my first twenty-three years, so it seemed odd that the place always depressed me, and I couldn’t accept it as ‘home’. I had a dream of a country cottage, out in the sticks, that I somehow managed to meet half way with a small house in a semi-rural location where commuting is as easy as it can be on England’s congested roads.

It was when I got to know and love the small market town where my dad was born, and the remote scenic hamlet where his ancestors came from that the penny dropped that my abhorrence of the large town and craving for the countryside might be genetic. I feel at home in dad’s homeland.

I still visit family in Leeds regularly, but always with a feeling of unease, with ‘pre-Leeds tension’ in the lead-up. The claustrophobia of the massive network of roads – all with either potholes or speed bumps. Looking at it on google maps, you zoom in to a spider’s web.

Things don’t flow for me in Leeds.

For example, I had to deliver something to a place near a shopping centre, so I followed a signpost to the nearest car park. The entrance barrier was down, and there was a car in front of me waiting. I sat and waited too, but didn’t know what we were waiting for. All became clear when the exit barrier lifted and a car came out, then the guy in front of me took a ticket from a machine, the barrier went up and he drove in. I got it. The carpark was full, so we had to wait for someone to come out before we could go in. Thankfully, this happened quite soon, as there was no way of turning round. There was another car behind me and I was trapped. So, I pressed the button for a ticket, and drove in. Next problem, the only space available, presumably vacated by the car that just left, was a disabled space, so I had to wait for a normal space. Meanwhile, I was looking for the payment meter, but could only see numerous signs threatening a large fine for non-payment of parking charges.

Eventually, I parked the car and had a quick wander round but still could find no meter or any indication of where it was. I had to ask someone in the designated smoking area if they knew, and they told me it was inside the shopping centre. I found the meter and dithered over the various tariff options. I only wanted to drop something off, but had already been in the carpark ages … I selected the button for the ‘pre-payment’ option and it told me how much to put in. I paid, and went off puzzled as to why I didn’t have a choice of how much time to pay for.

Later, my brother laughed and said I should have paid on the way out. Maybe I’m a wally and should have worked it out, without needing instructions. In Leeds, I feel like Crocodile Dundee in New York, but without his charm!

Anyway, when I saw the “Leeds Tarot” on a pre-loved Tarot Facebook page, I was reluctantly compelled to buy it. I don’t collect Tarot cards, but do have a few decks that I cherish. This one is described as “a community focused art project unifying both established and aspiring artists through the intriguing imagery of tarot”. I bought it with the similar sense of duty with which I buy a poppy each year, then didn’t give it much thought, until the guy selling it messaged me apologising for the delay in posting it. I assured him there was no hurry, and we exchanged jokey messages about my love-hate relationship with Leeds.

Judging by the time it took to get here, I think me and the “Leeds Tarot” must have had similar reservations about connecting with each other! Julz, in the front room, saw one of our neighbours coming up the drive doing that awkward looking down at feet demeanour that indicates they are about to shove something through your letter box. Luckily, we have a porch, so he was able to chuck it in there and make a swift exit, without having to knock the door.

The “Leeds Tarot” had finally arrived, but had been wrongly delivered. It had taken a bumpy ride to get here … as if I wasn’t meant to have it. Until now, I hadn’t realised that the ‘connection’ with a Tarot deck worked both ways. Me and the deck were acting as negative magnets. No wonder its journey here wasn’t great.

 As I opened the package, I reflected that if I could nurture my bond with my home town, instead of dreading the journey, then maybe my visits might flow a bit more smoothly.

I took in the colours of the box and the emblem with a pang of nostalgia, as they are so reminiscent of a Leeds United emblem, but instead of a football in the centre, there’s an eye dropping a tear. Leeds United was always there at home … the radio on in the background if Leeds were playing.

I love that the inset card lists the names of all the artists against the card they created.

Looking through the cards, each style is so different. Some artists have thought hard about the meaning of the card and created an image that suits the meaning. Others appear to have supplied an image they like, and let the caption do the talking.

Most of all, I love that the deck is the result of the collective energy of everyone who collaborated in its creation. No wonder it feels powerful. Nice one Leeds!

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