I have a bit of a mental block when it comes to Not Tarot Cards in Divination. I have, in the past, tried using oracle decks, runes, spirit boards, Lenormand, oracle charms and playing cards. The only one that connected with me were the oracle charms, and that's because I spent time learning them instead of my usual routine with new tools.
"This is stupid. You know why it's stupid? Because I can't do it."
I'm getting married to this wonderful guy who happens to be Mexican. We're looking for wedding decoration ideas, and found all of these cool-ass Loteria decorations and then I get a lightbulb moment - I should learn to read Loteria cards! A very cool marriage of me and him. Plus, they're kind of funky and interesting, and I had a very cool personal experience with La Sirena that intrigued me, as well.
Me and my guy and his Mama go to a mercado on Cherokee in St. Louis and there is a plastic bag with Loteria boards and cards. I was so excited! I started flipping through them, La Sirena (mermaid!), El Borachio (drunk guy!) , El Gallo (Rooster!) and....El Negrito (black guy)? Hold up, what?
I had a big problem with the El Negrito card because it looks like a blackface picture. I didn't want it in my deck. I didn't want it in my house. My kids and I were playing the game of Loteria (like bingo) and I pulled it from the deck first. My daughter said, "Hey, if we were racist, I'd have Bingo." when she saw it on the game board. SO, that's a problem.
I talked about it with my tarot crew and we discussed if the integrity of the deck would be threatened if a card is missing. This versus MY integrity being damaged by using a card that I find personally offensive. We decided that since it wasn't an active deck for me, I could use the deck without the card. And because we're a bunch of drama lovers, we burned the card. It felt good.
I decided that I wanted to learn how to read the cards in earnest and reached out to Valentina Burton to give an assist. My friend Ryan referred her to me and sent a podcast that she did about Loteria that got me really excited about learning these cards. She made an excellent point that not all decks look like the one that I purchased, and that if I'm learning the cards, I need to learn all of them. The meaning of El Negrito is basically a dapper, cool guy. I can get behind that. SO, I got a new deck (Major Tom's La Loteria) and what do you know - the guy in this one looks like a classy dude and not like a leftover from an Amos and Andy advertisement. With that mini-crisis solved, I'm ready to go.
Valentina pointed me towards Major Tom Schick who agreed to teach me Loteria!
Here is a little about Major Tom:
- Taking a practical, commonsensical and irreverent approach to tarot, I try to inspire students to find their own answers. I was born in the holy city of San Antonio, Texas but in 2012 moved home after 20 years in England to Dallas, Texas where I live with my three beloved cats, three very lucky dogs, three doves, the fattest squirrels you’ve ever seen, and The Fortune Teller of Dallas, Valentina Burton.
- When I was 10 years old my family went down to the bus station to pick up a cousin who was coming to visit. Dressed in torn, faded jeans and a dirty mackintosh Tarot approached me and offered me a piece of candy. My father took Tarot aside and told it off in no uncertain terms. I didn’t get any candy.
- I didn’t really learn to read the cards until I started reading for drinks at titty bars surrounding the swamps of northern Louisiana in my early 20s. I was a lieutenant in the US Air Force at the time. In my teens, I attended a spiritualist Christian church where I learned psychometry and colour healing. I probably picked up some other stuff along the way and “what a long, strange trip it’s been”.
- From 2002 I decided to make tarot my profession. I have given tarot workshops in Dallas, Las Vegas, London, Melbourne, New York and San Francisco. I edit and publish the Tarot Lovers’ Calendars – now in their 13th year. In 2005, The Association for Tarot Studies printed a limited edition Major Tom’s Tarot of Marseilles to commemorate the Melbourne International Tarot Conference. Schiffer Publishing subsequently published a second edition in 2007, which is still widely available. I recently published Major Tom’s La Loteria through Gamecrafter https://www.thegamecrafter.com/games/la-loteria1 as print on demand. I’m working on a playing card deck for cartomancy and running two classes teaching people to read tarot.
I’m excited to learn a new system of divination, and hope you guys enjoy coming along for the ride.
Coming soon - Little Fox Learns Loteria - with Major Tom!