Tarot by Arwen Interview

Arwen Lynch; Image used with permission from Stephanie Arwen Lynch.
Arwen Lynch

Tarot by Arwen is operated by Stephanie "Arwen" Lynch, President of the American Tarot Association (ATA). Arwen became interested in tarot while attending college in Louisiana. Get her take on tarot and learn more about the purpose of the ATA.

Tarot by Arwen Interview

First Experience With Tarot

LTK: What was your first experience with tarot? Arwen: One of my good friends did a reading for me that really intrigued me. She gave me my first set of cards (which I did not connect with) and that got me started. That was in the fall of 1980.

President: American Tarot Association

LTK: You're the incumbent President of the American Tarot Association. What is the ATA and its purpose?

Arwen: The American Tarot Association began in early 1995 when two other organizations (The Association of Tarot Readers and the Professional Readers Guild) merged. At that time, the ATA was doing certification but is no longer. Dr. John Gilbert was one of those who helped found and is most often referred to as the man who started the ATA.

The purpose has remained very much the same since the inception of the organization. To provide education and resources to Tarot readers of all levels has always been a part of our mission. The initial thrust was also to certify readers but the ATA pulled away from that. There are now several boards who provide certification to those that want it.

Tarot Reading Tips

LTK: Many read tarot and some may even contemplate reading for the general public. Do you have any tips you can offer to help them get started?

Arwen: Yes, I do. Here is my list of "Dos and Don'ts".

  • The first Do would be do trust yourself.
  • Do make sure you are comfortable reading the cards and not second guessing yourself.
  • Do have your professional ethics printed out and available to be read by the public.
  • Do not simply tell clients what they want to hear. Just read the cards and deliver the message.
  • Do not be anyone but yourself. If you are a business suit type, wear a business suit!
  • And for goodness sake, do not refer to the Little White Book (LWB) or any instruction book that came with the deck. If you have not made the leap away from the book, you are not, in my opinion, ready to be a professional reader.

Tarot By Arwen: What To Expect

LTK: People who have never had a tarot reading might wonder what to expect during that first visit and reading. Can you shed a little light on the process?

Arwen: With me, visitors can expect my standard spiel that includes a brief introduction of who I am and my background in Tarot. I also always tell them that the cards are not set in stone and neither is the future. We seek the wisdom of the cards so we can guide ourselves away from trouble, right? My last bit of advice is how to avoid the con artist/criminal who tries to rope people in with fear. This is something I actually harp on, but it's very inportant.

LTK: Tell us about your personalized spreads.

Arwen: I design spreads that are meant to be deep introspective looks within. For example, I have a specific writer's career spread called Paper and Pen that examines which tools we are using but also which tools we are not. I want to see what is blocking us and how we can best get out of our own way.

ATA is a great resource for tarot readers.

LTK: What kind of information can a visitor expect to learn from a reading?

Arwen: You can expect to learn things you may have already known about yourself, but you'll gain new information about how to better leverage that knowledge. I want you to walk away from a reading with me with a new way of seeing yourself plus a little homework. I generally assign homework in the form of "Sally, you need to research grizzly bears and see what speaks to you".

Avoiding Scams

LTK: How can people avoid the various cons and scams that unfortunately exist in this industry?

Arwen: Gut instinct is my best answer. Here is a litmus test:

  • Does the reader try to upsell you into more readings or products? (not legit)
  • Do you feel better after the reading and empowered to make changes? (legit)
  • Do you feel as if you need to consult your reader any time you have a big decision?
    • They're not legit if they feed into that and make you more dependent.
    • They're legit if they tell you to listen to your gut and come back in a week if you really can't make that decision.

Those are some really broad statements, but it comes down to trusting your gut.

Resources For Beginning and Advanced Readers

LTK: What resources are available for understanding and learning the Tarot?

Arwen: Well, the American Tarot Association has some great programs that include mentors and downloadable lessons you can work through with a mentor who will answer your questions. There is also Joan Bunning's online site Learn The Tarot. Her companion book is very good for beginners. I would also haunt places like Aeclectic Tarot and some of the fabulous Tarot bloggers out there like Mary K. Greer or Joanna Powell Colbert who are two of my favorites. I also love Lisa Hunt's blog for the insightful look into how she creates her beautiful Tarot art.

And there are podcasts! If you aren't listening to The Tarot Connection with Leisa ReFalo, why not? Bonnie Cehovet's pieces on this are also marvelous.

Arwen's Books and Workshops

LTK: You're also a writer; have you written any books about Tarot that readers would find interesting?

Arwen: Strangely enough, I have only written fiction as Marilu Mann which features shapeshifters set in an alternative modern world. I teach workshops, and I'm thinking about translating them both into books. One is my basic Tarot for Writers workshop while the other is the Hero's Journey which is a month long intensive that routinely fills up when I announce it.

Where You Can Find Arwen

You can find out more about Tarot By Arwen by visiting her website. The following resources should also prove helpful:

LoveToKnow would like to thank Arwen for sharing her time and expertise with everyone.

Tarot by Arwen Interview