A wild card: South Whidbey resident ventures into tarot reading

Gerry Reed does not look like a stereotypical tarot card reader.

A grandfather, the Langley resident sports a cheery red tie and blue-and-tortoiseshell glasses. But while he doesn’t look like a man of mystery, he has worn many hats in his life, from engineer to scuba diver to pilot to bassist.

Reed is offering Whidbey residents the chance to take part in his latest venture as a “tarotologist.”

The self-described life-long “spiritual seeker” and Aquarius has been a tarot reader at East West Bookshop in Seattle and Phoenix Rising in Port Townsend. He credits his successful practice to a mentor in Chicago, someone Reed’s never met face-to-face in real life but who has been doing readings for 50 years.

For Reed, whose first exposure to tarot readings was in the 1970s, his desire to read cards has been built upon a foundation of decades of spiritual practices. From yoga to zen meditation to tai chi to aikido, he has explored many different paths.

Tarot reading has also brought him more in touch with his creative side, which he felt was lost when he couldn’t pursue the arts and make enough money to support his young family.

“I’ve transitioned over to being the entrepreneur that I always was,” Reed said. “This is like coming home to myself, and I’m very happy about it.”

Reed discourages the notion that tarot readings should be shrouded in darkness or mystery. The tarot reader instead recommends it as a means of empowerment, a journey on which someone embarks. He’s not here to promise a pot of gold or warn of impending doom; he’s not a fortune teller.

“If there’s one thing I’d like people to know, I’ve watched too many people get scared off by the idea of tarot, the name and all the mystery that puts people off,” Reed said. “It’s really friendly.”

The tarot cards, he said, open doorways and he is there to serve as the interpreter. At anytime, people can disagree with his interpretations. Reed likes to compare tarot reading with a mnemonic device: It gives information about a person’s strengths, weaknesses and who they are with the use of images on cards.

To his surprise, pairs of people have been drawn to his readings. Mothers and daughters, siblings, friends and romantic couples have all approached him for readings together. People are able to affirm qualities about each other that tarot readings may bring up, making sessions more interactive.

“It’s very exciting. Even though I didn’t ask for it, I’ve come to love it,” Reed said. “It’s my passion.”

If a tarot reading sounds like it may be in the cards for you, contact Reed at 801-759-8414 or binarystartarot@gmail.com. A 15-minute session starts at $25, and can be done in person, over the phone or webcam.

Photo by Kira Erickson                                Tarot cards from a reissued 1781 deck. The 13th card, the “death” card, made an appearance during a reading with Reed.

Photo by Kira Erickson Tarot cards from a reissued 1781 deck. The 13th card, the “death” card, made an appearance during a reading with Reed.