Talitha Kumi means, “little girl, arise” in Aramaic (Mark 5:41). In this Bible story, a little girl has died. Jesus simply tells her to arise. A miraculous healing act of God is immediately followed by a call to action. This name reminds me that God gives second chances and that I must respond.
It’s ironic that I come to this realization through the Tarot considering the fact that I grew up Catholic and had a born-again experience in a Protestant context. I went to an Evangelical college where playing cards used to be banned because of their association with the occult. My husband who also grew up Catholic didn’t want the cards in the house because he associated them with divination and calling on evil spirits. I held the same view. Both of us have discovered that Tarot is nothing like the stereotype we held on to because of cultural default.
I was drawn to the Tarot when I first learned of their Kabbalistic roots. Despite modern historiography and scholarship, no one knows the real origin of the Tarot. But some believe that they originated in the 12th century among persecuted Jews. Unable to write their body of knowledge in a holy book for fear of death or destruction, they hid their knowledge of the cosmos in the imagery of the Tarot.
With this seed planted in my mind, I discovered “Meditations on the Tarot” and was blown away when I saw the afterward was written by the famous Swiss Catholic Cardinal Hans Ur Von Balthasar. He is considered one of the most important Roman Catholic theologians of the 20th century and was friends with my all time favorite theologian, Karl Barth who was also Swiss but from a Reformed tradition. Reading Von Balthasar’s afterward reminded me that there is a rich esoteric Christian tradition and Tarot is a part of it. As I delve deeper into esoteric Christian mysticism, it feels like coming home.
In my early 30s, my father discovered that he’d been adopted. I learned that my biological grandfather was a Buddhist holy man, a shaman. Locally famous and trusted, he read faces, acted as a medium, and gave advice. This knowledge opened a new era of connecting the dots.
In cultures where this is more common, shamans are often identified when they are young by their severe and recurring bad dreams. These children are then mentored by the holy people of the community to understand and hone their gifts. This is not how things happen in the U.S.
As a child I had nightmares- I saw things and I could lucid dream. I remember being paralyzed with fear while things moved in the room. In my teens I had prophetic dreams and knew when to interpret. But my preconceived notions of what it meant to be a good Catholic and/or Christian along with a healthy dose of fear made me work hard to turn it off.
Talitha Kumi tells me that it’s okay to turn it on. So I choose to no longer fear the magic, miracles, or work required for real transformation in life. Whether it’s through a dream, a friend, a walk, or a therapist, a powerful God who cares deeply about us is at work.
I am not a fortuneteller, psychic or clairvoyant. I am strongly intuitive, I read cards (Tarot and Lenormand) and I speak what I see in situations, in people, and in cards. I have a code of ethics and a Christian ethos about card reading. Mostly, I believe there is a loving Spirit whose end goal is to deliver us from death, brings us to new life, and wants us to arise.
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