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(c) Copyright 2010 Marcia McCord
Oh, and if you’re one of those people and you read my blog just because you like me even if you think I’m a bit odd, huge HUGS for you. I love you guys. And it’s totally OK if you never want a tarot reading. I love talking to you anyway and hearing your thoughts. The idea here is that my life in tarot is really a lot less different and occasionally a lot funnier than you might expect. It’s just life. And so is tarot. People sometimes mistake it for religion; it isn’t. So if you don’t feel converted, it’s OK. That wasn’t where I was going either.
But, if you would like to try something different like I decided to, you don’t have to get dressed up and bring money. You can connect with me through ShindigTarot.com. If you put Marcia in the search box (that’s the one with the little magnifying glass), you’ll get the short list of Marcia readers and I am of course Marcia McCord Tarot Reader. It should look something like this:
If you go for a reading, we will be in a private chat room where we can both see the cards. It will be my experiment and free to you.
Shindig was met with interest and curiosity at Readers Studio. I asked so many questions during the demo that I was pretty sure the Shindig man thought I was a heckler. The left side of my brain momentarily took charge and I had assumed analytic mode. I’m used to asking a lot of questions about software and systems. I’m used to thinking outside the box and digging deeper than usual.
One of my questions may have seemed crazy to them at the time, but it stemmed from my own experience. A long, long time ago when I bought my first computer, back before there were hard drives and full color monitors generally available (no, I did not date Barney Rubble), I wrote a program. You guessed it: It was a tarot card program which dealt the cards out into the well-known Celtic Cross spread. I was so pleased with my little self, my glowing green screen blinking with 10 cards and their “book” interpretations. I fiddled with it for a while and realized that the tricky part, considering the limitations of printing and display technology at the time, was creating the shuffling part. The simplest random number generator I knew of in my “baby programmer” days was based off the computer’s clock. It proved too simple because, as it turns out, computers just hate being random.
OK, OK, while there are some fascinating advances in artificial intelligence coming on the scene, computers don’t hate or love. What they do really well though is compute mathematical formulas and repeat themselves. And that’s the problem. Random means not repeating, at least against great odds.
When we shuffle a paper deck of cards, there are a lot of ways to shuffle. After the shuffling and reading, hardly anyone I know puts their cards back in the order they originally came in: Fool, Magician, etc. So the next time I take my deck out, it is actually already shuffled as a starting point. I start from that unknown order and shuffle some more.
All that shuffling I do with real cards, sideways, riffling, stirring them up on the table, and the reversal flip-flop thing I do ends up being, well, fairly random. If I come up with the same card or couple of cards we had last time, I am sure I haven’t stacked the deck, knowingly or unknowingly. If you get the Ace of Swords over and over after shuffling this way, it’s clear that it’s some kind of message.
My own little program written so long ago had a flaw. My shuffler wasn’t random enough and I would get the same sets of cards repeated a lot more frequently than doing it by hand. So I asked some squirrely questions at RS11 about the random number generator that, well, glazed just about everyone’s eyes over. After a fascinating sidebar conversation with the effervescent Mike Hernandez who also has a long background in technology, I figured, wottheheck, go for it. I really want to see how it goes.
It feels right somehow that on this year’s World Tarot Day, a website will debut that was the topic of my first programming efforts. It’s a lot like The World in tarot, both an ending and a beginning, a culmination of what we have been through at the end of the Fool’s journey through the Major Arcana, tarot on the world wide web. What a great way to connect! Will it work? Absolutely.
What’s that you ask? Oh, no. Absolutely nothing will replace the feel of the cards in my hands as all the possibilities of the universe unfold. If we get the chance, I’d much prefer to read for you in person. In the same way that a website isn’t a deck of cards, electronic communication can never replace real human interaction. I’d rather be with you. But if distance separates us, give this one a try!
Want to find out more about World Tarot Day? Check this out! http://www.worldtarotday.org/