A difficult period in her life sparked her interest in Tarot almost 30 years ago. Now she is a Tarot Practitioner and a Spiritual Consultant, she organizes workshops and helps people on their path of spiritual development. Cristina from Tarot Forge explains how she uses Tarot as a tool for self-development rather than fortune-telling, how mythology and archetypes play a significant role in her readings, and what clients can expect from her spiritual consultancy. She also offers insights into the workshops and courses she organizes to help people connect with their Guides and achieve a more positive outlook on life. MysticMag has the pleasure.
Please be kind enough to share a few details about your journey to becoming a Tarot Reader.
I became interested in Tarot almost 30 years ago when I was going through a very difficult stage in my life. I had just broken up with someone I deeply cared about, I had fallen out with my landlady who was also my friend and was forced to move out, and the flat purchase I was attempting had just fallen through. Every area of my life seemed to be falling apart. An acquaintance showed me her Tarot deck and talked to me about a specific card that she resonated with. The deck was the Mythic Tarot by Liz Greene, and the card was the Eight of Cups. The Mythic Tarot is based on Greek mythology, and the 8 of Cups depicts Psyche’s descent to the underworld, embracing her heartbreak and being empowered by accepting her loss, wearing her emotional pain like armour. This resonated with me so much, I went and purchased a Mythic Tarot deck and workbook. My own journey into the Underworld had started, with the Tarot as my guide. Since then I have gone through long periods of time without touching the Tarot but it has always been there for me, just like a guide, whenever I have needed counsel. For years, I would read for myself and close friends only.
More recently, in the last 10 years, I became more active in Pagan practice. As a consequence, I decided to go a step further and share my knowledge and gift from Goddess with others in a formal way. I started my own workshops and worked as a reader in esoteric shops for a while, I ran my own market stall, and currently, I offer bespoke readings and spiritual coaching as well as teaching the Tarot.
What can people learn and what information they can get from Tarot readings?
Tarot is best used for self-development in my opinion. This is my approach. I do not use Tarot for ‘fortune telling’, I use it as a tool to gain an insight into our present situation and a guide to how to navigate our existence on this plane. ‘Divination’ means essentially to gain insight into a situation by connecting with the divine, with the Gods, Goddesses, or whatever higher spiritual being we believe in. ‘Deus’ derives from the Indo-European Dyeus which means sky, bright, celestial, shining. I believe that we carry the Gods within, so when we Divine we gain clarity by connecting to our Higher Self, and the Tarot opens the portal to this connection. However, we have free will. Tarot might indicate what could be in store in the future, but we can change things at any time through our actions. Tarot enables us to make informed choices and ultimately empowers us spiritually.
Can you elaborate on the way you use mythology and archetypal imagery in your readings?
I use mythology and stories because they act like a mirror to our souls and our predicament. I follow Jungian teachings about the Hero’s Journey, and beautifully expanded upon by Joseph Campbell. Fairy tales and myths, use archetypes as characters, models, or blueprints of the human condition that we can identify with and guide us. I tell stories with the Tarot, and by listening to those stories we can gain enlightenment. Just like watching a film or reading a book and identifying with the characters, we can read the Tarot and see ourselves reflected in the story in front of us. The Tarot encapsules all the archetypes of the human condition through and we can gain immense wisdom from it. The Major Arcana depicts the Soul’s journey and we can be all the characters at any point in our lives, they all live within us.
What can people expect from your spiritual consultancy?
All readings are via Zoom, I allow recordings and I can send clients photos of the cards drawn.
The most important thing is that my sessions are a conversation, not a performance, and as it is a conversation with Spirit clients must be open to the message. Spirit doesn’t dictate, Spirit wants us to respond and engage. I use the cards as a story telling tool to illustrate the client’s life at that particular moment, and people can explore how this resonates for them. Some people end up telling the story themselves and recognizing the characters immediately, while others are intrigued: often they are those who get back to me and say, “Well, you never guessed what happened, you were totally right, the Knight of Cups did turn up after all., and things happened exactly as you said…”
I tailor my readings around my client’s needs, so I do not set a time limit to readings, and find that the natural duration is between half an hour to an hour. It really depends on what comes up. Clients can either focus on a particular area of their lives or ask a general “What do I need to know” and we take it from there. Often unexpected issues come up. I encourage clients to take part and ask questions, to comment. If specific issues show up, say the energy of a person or something particularly challenging I will do a different spread to gain clarification. On average I do three different spreads in a full reading and I use two different decks for clarification. I also use Oracle cards which are different from Tarot, and sometimes Runes. I do not tell people what they want to hear, or what to do, or how to live their lives, or which boyfriend they should choose.
People can expect to feel empowered, more positive, and connected to their Guides after a reading or a workshop. This is the feedback I usually have.
You also organize workshops and offer courses to your clients. Can you tell us a bit more about that part of your work?
Tarot workshops are in person, one in North London on Monday evening and the other at the Southbank on Thursday evenings. They are tailored to all levels, however, at the moment they are mainly for people who wish to practise in a free, open-minded, and supported environment.
I also run Zoom workshops that focus on teaching beginners and intermediate readers and go through the theory and practice of Tarot, and workshops about the Celtic Pagan Wheel of the Year celebrations, rituals, and related divinities.
I am open to exploring different topics and can offer workshops about most subjects relating to Paganism, Tarot, and Goddess esotericism. All my workshops are interactive, inclusive, and eclectic, and again I aim to make people feel better and happier spiritually; there are no rights or wrongs, only possibilities.
Can you share some success stories in terms of your clients’ spiritual development?
I have regular clients who return to me because they feel empowered each time we have a reading. The reading doesn’t solve the problems they might be facing, but it enables them to feel they can navigate them more positively. Happy stories include people meeting unexpected love interests that they had not been expecting, old lovers getting in touch, and others making up with a partner when all hope had been lost, but the cards said otherwise. I have a regular group who attend my workshops, who started with me as beginners, and now are advanced readers, and am always blown away at the insights they produce. Recently we ran a Tarot night at a pub in North London, my ‘students’ read to an open crowd for donations, and they were very successful!