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Amy, here. I've been reading tarot and using different decks since I was 12. I first learned of tarot cards from an episode of The X-Files, and my dad went to a local costume and occult store and bought me The Unicorn Tarot after I expressed interest. But I was hooked from then on.
I never do readings for others because don't feel comfortable using tarot cards that way, and I'm sure that's wildly absurd to hear, but I've always used them for myself, or for places or concepts. Only in the last two years have both Ryan and I started using our cards publicly on our adventures into the weird, and we're always inspired by other readers, practitioners and creators. From tarot, to Lenormand to oracle decks, we love cartomancy and we hope you'll enjoy these haunted location readings!
Ryan's interpretation from the three card tarot pull in West Virginia Penitentiary:
1. The Moon - moving through change and transformations with grace and calm rather than fear. Maybe it's the way this prison transformed and altered lives as it took them in, and showing that the best way through such a dire situation was with serenity, not more negativity.
2. 8 of Cups - a time for change or walking away from something. Is it the building, perhaps changing in its function and how it changed those inside as they spent days locked away from society? Different energies now walk the prison grounds.
3. King of Cups (reversed) - a shadow side, emotionally unavailable, immature and acting on impulse. Could this pertain to the energy that's left in this building? Those strongest emotions of prisoners arriving to WVP to spend years and years, if not life?
If this pertains to Ryan specifically, perhaps it has to do with changes in investigation styles after several years and moving into a new sphere of communication attempts with the Other out there, and the best way of approaching or leaving something else behind. Having to get a handle on these changes and find the best practices to go forward with might be the last card's intention.
Ryan uses the traditional and timeless Rider Waite Smith deck, the OG of tarot decks.
The three prompts for this tarot reading at Seaside Sanatorium were:
1: What can this place tell us? 2. How can we interact with it? 3. What can we learn from it?
1. The 8 of Cups says "All the strength you need comes from within." This says the sanatorium was built and intended to help and heal, and stood firm in that resolve as long as it was needed. There were likely many folks who worked there with real compassion for the people who needed them.
2. The Heart (Queen) of Cups says "Highly intuitive and aware of life's synchronicities." Being aware of our place as observers and creatives who wanted to experience this location, we interacted through tarot, film and photography to do so first-hand. The moods we feel from it are valid, intentional.
3. The 6 of Cups reversed says, "I ask myself, are my memories remembered in truth?" This tells us to remain actively focused on what we know historically of this place, and never allow the stories we tell of this location to stray away from the truth. Don't force the folklore, let it speak for itself.
I use The Naked Heart Tarot by Jillian C. Wilde. This reading was inspired by Karly, @thevillagetarotwitch on Instagram.
Eerie New England Seaside Sanatorium Spread, 5/22
This is the Six of Pentacles, it has an Earth element association and is represented by two fish swimming through the eternity of cycles; the things that come and go. Giving, receiving, sharing, taking in.
To me, this feels like it speaks most to the intent of the tunnel and the ambition of the engineers to create a path for the physical things that needed to be moved. Supplies, food, materials and other goods all passed through this tunnel, and the work to build it took men into the very depths of the earth.
Freight trains run this route to this day, perpetually recreating the cycle by entering and exiting a mountain.
The Tower card is represented here by a tree trunk being destroyed by lighting, blown apart and washed away by flood waters. It represents the utter destruction of something in order to create something new. Pulled on a tree stump no less, sometimes, the cards aren't subtle.
This Major Arcana card, pulled in the reverse, to me speaks to the act Elizabeth Naramore prepared to take to end her dire situation, and her plan to end the lives and the suffering of those she loved most, including herself. She was the lightning that struck apart her family due to the crisis of their existence looming over her for so many years.
This family was swept from existence, but not in vain. Families in situations like hers are now protected by laws to prevent such incredible suffering.
The Naramore Grave
The Six of Swords is seen here with the Element of Air, and a sea turtle swimming past the swords, from darkness to light.
In the reverse, this card can be seen as a stubbornness to movement, and a resistance to change.
To me, this feels like the prison camp itself was a model that couldn't be sustained as progress and technology kept moving forward, and leaving the place and its purpose behind.
The prison itself became surrounded by a flow of unstoppable water, and it had to be abandoned, going from light to darkness, almost like swimming backward in futility.
Rutland Prison Camp
The Spirit of Wands, in this deck, is the "King" card of the suit, with an elemental association of fire.
I see this for the man behind the homestead that eventually became this inn - Mr. Valentine Hill. He had the ambition, finances, and spirit of independence that took him to this plot of land to build his life and keep it running far beyond his mortal existence.
This card can be seen as infinite possibilities, and the capability to put one's ideas into action through delegation and direction of others.
This is exactly what Mr. Hill did in creating a massive and sprawling estate. It was not his own hands, but those of many, that built and ran this homestead.
Three Chimneys Inn
The Two of Pentacles is another Earth Element card, and speaks to the balance of time, adaptation, and personal priorities.
In this way, the red and green around the infinity symbol can be seen as the stop and start. To me, this speaks to the start and stop of seasons on specific dates, and star and planetary alignments which this site is used for.
This earth-based card speaks to the thousands of stones placed with utmost priority into the places they are. It says there's a lot going on here, but it's carefully plotted, and grounded in a placement meant for exact balance throughout the calendar year.
Once again freakily accurate, at least to me.
The Two of Wands, associated with Fire, (although that is mutable with Air to me), is seen here as wands leaning against a crystal ball, indicating a need to hear the Higher Self to make the right choices for a desired future.
The higher self that needs to be listened to in order to make the most instinctual and correct choices, seems like it's implying Madame Sherri herself. Her desire to create a magical, beautiful dwelling and bring exactly what and who she wanted to it, speak the loudest for me here.
Her ideas for this location were her own, as was how she spent her time and money, and not listening closely to the deepest warnings of excess, however, may have contributed to the downfall of her castle.
Madame Sherri's Castle
My intent in each pull was in the individual locations, and how a single card can speak to the most basic and fundamental aspect of each of these fascinating places. I think if I did a multiple card pull at the end of our entire trip, I'd have seen a more personal picture emerge that pertained to myself and Ryan. This was a first for our travels, and for the way we conduct our filming and what we include for a final video. We decided to let a far more personal side of ourselves and our work shine through here. We are believers, critical thinkers, curious and open to possibilities - and that includes the occult in many iterations like cartomancy.
This deck is the Naked Heart Tarot by Jillian C. Wilde. Thank you for being here.
Individual card interpretations are only available when viewed in desktop mode.
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