Art of the Tarot

The Tarot still has an aura of mystery and dodgy mysticism attached to it, but the reality is very different. Cilla Conway, who painted her first tarot more than 40 years ago, considers that the Tarot is a tool for self-awareness and initiation, similar to the mystery religions of ancient times. The inscription 'Know Thyself' was carved into the forecourt in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, and the mystery religions utilized archetypes (images that every human understands instinctively, such as the Mother, the Daughter, the Trickster, and so on), to encounter the mysteries of life and death. Working with the archetypes of the Tarot enables us to gain self-knowledge by opening up a doorway to the soul. Indeed, the Tarot is often called 'the Royal Road' to the unconscious - giving us access to our soul's deepest level.


Thus readings with the Tarot tend to reach through into a deeper level of consciousness, and are never fortune telling. Although the Tarot can and does gives glimpses into the future, it more often suggests solutions to intractable problems, or identifies new people or situations coming into our lives. We have a limited viewpoint, while the Tarot offers a clearer vision from a different (higher) perspective.


No good reader will tell you what will happen, future is not fixed: certain actions are likely to bring specific results, but a myriad new possibilities open up every second, so a reader can only offer possibilities, suggestions and alternative viewpoints. Our lives are always our own responsibility.


Cilla Conway has been working with the Tarot since 1981, when she finished painting her first deck. Since then she has designed two more sets of cards, all of which she uses in her readings. She is a professional reader at Atlantis and Watkins Bookshops in London, is a regular contributor to the annual Tarot Conference, and has done workshops and readings in England, Ireland, Scotland, Holland and Italy.


SOPHIE, London

I was amazed at how much you captured in the cards and the energy around. Not that I am not a believer but within the second card not even 5 minutes into the reading, you narrowed in one a very difficult situation that only happened days before seeing you. I came to see you for guidance and clarity and I got just that.'


PHIL, London

‘I just wanted to say a big thank you for a Tarot reading you did for me last July. It has made a big difference since, and started me on a road that is being enormously enriching.'


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