About Willow Merrymoon

Well, where shall I begin?.......since January 2001 I have been living in a small town in the North of England, just 25 miles from the town in which I grew up. I have a grown-up son who works in computing. I retired from work a while ago due to health issues, but I worked as a counsellor/psychotherapist for 15 years in various settings, e.g. the NHS, voluntary sector, housing project for traumatised women, private practice, further and higher education.

I have various leisure interests. I love music, especially strong female singers, particularly Joan Baez and Maddy Prior, both of whom I have seen in live performance several times. I enjoy reading and some of my favourite authors are Alexander McCall Smith, Lucy M. Boston, Marion Zimmer Bradley, and Isabel Miller. I enjoy visiting garden centres - even though I don't have a garden - perhaps it's all that greenery, and the craft sections, not to mention the coffee shops! Speaking of coffee, I am on intimate terms with all the coffee-shops in the area and consider myself something of a connoisseur. My favourite coffee of all is Jamaican Blue Mountain, but unfortunately for me, it is the most expensive coffee in the world -honest, I'm not kidding- so it is a very rare treat indeed. Oh yes, I am a member of a local women's group which meets every week for coffee (inevitably so!), conversation and has a definite feel-good factor. My other main interest is in writing. I am a member of a local creative writing group which meets every other week, and if I have been somewhere or done something of particular note, I love to write about it in detail, for myself. Then there's loads of community events here, as the town is home to a brass band, a choral society, an orchestra, a theatre, a beautiful park, along with numerous clubs/societies/groups etc., so there's always something going on, and something for everyone.

As far as spiritual life goes, I have been a practising pagan for the past twenty-odd years, observing the new and full moons, and celebrating the eight pagan festivals throughout the year. I am also a member of a shamanic journey group, and meditation is a part of my everyday life. I feel a great connection with nature, and at the centre of it all is my relationship with the Goddess.

Well, that's about it, or should I say, About Willow, but the section below will tell you all about my history with the Tarot, so read on.

My history with the Tarot

My history with the Tarot goes back a long way, in fact, all the way back to 1970. I can't remember exactly when my interest began, but I do know that I bought my first Tarot deck, the Marseilles Tarot, from a joke-shop of all places. I was a practising christian at the time, and the Tarot, along with all other things 'occult' (it was a word that was in regular usage at the time and to the church it meant anything and everything to do with the devil) was anathema. I had terrible guilt feelings and eventually burned the cards and an accompanying book I had bought, and even repeated the whole process a year or so later. It took me a few years of soul-searching and inner torment to leave christianity behind before I found my true path of paganism.

Then in 1981, I started again with the Tarot and bought myself a second Marseilles Tarot deck, and the following year I started giving Tarot readings. My long-suffering colleagues at work very kindly allowed me to practice on them and it wasn't long before I was doing readings professionally. Soon after that I was asked if I would teach a group of people how to read the Tarot, and over the next few years I ran courses and workshops alongside the Tarot readings. By that stage I was also doing reflexology. After I had done my reflexology training I did an introduction to counselling course, for people would often talk whilst having their feet done, and it was recommended by my reflexology teacher to get some counselling skills.

Well, an introductory counselling course led to a counselling skills course, which in turn led to a diploma course, followed immediately by my working as a trainer, and supervisor to other counsellors. The more involved in that I became, the more the Tarot began to take a back seat, and before long, my only activity with the Tarot was personal, although I was regularly adding to my growing collection of Tarot decks.

It's about 5 or 6 years ago now that my passion for the Tarot was rekindled, although it took me quite some time to get back to my previous level of ease. In that time, I have studied many different decks, as well as continuing to add to my collection of decks. Right now, I have about 80 decks, some of which are 'oracle' rather than Tarot, and if you click on 'Tarot Decks' you will see that I have begun to create a Tarot archive. Over the coming months I will be adding to the archive until I have got all 80 decks in there - though who knows, by that time I may have acquired yet more.

A final word on this subject - when I first began buying Tarot decks it was very difficult to find them. Who'd have expected to find one in a joke-shop! By the time the early 1980's arrived, it was much easier to find them, and over the last few years with the arrival of the internet it couldn't be easier. Large mainstream bookstores have been selling Tarot decks for some considerable time, and there are new decks being released all the time. There are literally thousands of decks these days on every theme imaginable from Shakespeare to Absinthe, from Merlin to H.P. Lovecraft - a Tarot lover's ultimate dream!!