"Janet Boyer's reviews show insight and a keen understanding of the practice
of tarot. If you're looking for first impressions, you can do no wrong in
reading what she has to say."- Timothy Lantz of The Archeon Tarot
Janet Boyer is well known for her contributions in making divination more accessible to the masses. In this Tarot Tributary Interview with Janet Boyer we discuss the current highlights in her life and her exploration with Tarot...
Interview by Remi Daily of The Tarot Tributary
RD: This is my staple question: What originally brought you to the world of Tarot?
It was the strangest thing, really. One day, I just "felt" that I was supposed to begin learning Tarot. In fact, my husband remembers the day much better than I do. We were just sitting at the dining room table together talking and I come out with "I feel to learn Tarot". This wasn't the first time I had a sudden cosmic knowing about pursuing a new path, and I'm sure it won't be the last! The flash of claircognizance occurred about seven years ago. At that time, I tried researching Tarot on the web (I live in a rural area in the Northeastern U.S. and we have NO New Age bookstores anywhere near us, let alone regular bookstores!), but it was slow going, and very confusing. I couldn't figure out why certain keywords and phrases were ascribed to various images and it didn't help that I was trying to learn Tarot with Thoth images AND Rider Waite decks--two very different traditions.
RD: I bought many of my first decks based upon the recommendations from your website JanetBoyer.com- and gosh am I ever so grateful! What spurred your decision in creating a website of this type?
For several years, I was the New Age Editor at BellaOnline.com. The founder provided helpful suggestions to her Editors for increasing the scope of their work. One of those suggestions was to post reviews to Amazon.com As I began to do so, I found that reviewing was challenging but rewarding, fulfilling my desire to share great books and products with others. In terms of reviewing Tarot decks, I began doing that because I became interested in Tarot and wanted to share my experience with decks, too. Also, like many, I only have a certain amount money to spend on books and decks—and I was becoming increasingly frustrated that one major Tarot deck review site was only showing the prettiest cards from the deck. So I’d buy a deck based upon their card selection and the glowing reviews (you see, they only posted positive reviews—no doubt to increase sales commissions as affiliates), only to be disappointed that they cards they chose to put on their website were NOT representative of the deck as a whole. Tired of being misled by gushing reviews, I decided to become a crusader on behalf of the buying public by writing honest reviews—including large card scans, more cards (at least 12, sometimes up to 19), and a few cards that were the LEAST attractive to me (for balance).
RD: Each time I peruse JanetBoyer.com or one of your other sites, I am always amazed of your knowledge about Tarot. Where did you seek out your knowledge, and was it accumulated through a personal journey or through scholarly pursuit?
Although I own over 100 Tarot books, I’ve only read a handful. I feel like the Universe puts up roadblocks when I attempt to read other Tarot books so I can be a “clean slate” for innovative, fresh ways to see and use the cards. I was involved with several Tarot Yahoo Groups over the years, and I think I learned card basics by osmosis (I have an almost photographic memory). The rest of my knowledge came from directly working with the cards and recognizing the universal archetypes that are found in other disciplines that I had long studied—theology, personality systems, psychology, metaphysics, etc.
RD: For those who are coming to know Janet Boyer for the first time, and those who are long time fans, are probably not aware of the many hats Janet wears- and I mean many. But out of all the hats you don day-to-day, which hat(s) do you cherish the most?
Wow, what a great (and tough) question! *pauses to think for a while* I think the many hats I wear are outgrowths of certain archetypal patterns I embody and the values I hold dear. The main archetypes of my personality are Teacher, Rebel/Pioneer/Visionary, Creator and Judge. The values I hold dear are innovation, originality, gumption and fearlessness. Imagine them at the top of a symbolic tree, as it were. Every hat I don is a proverbial branch on that tree, and some overlap as they spread out. As a result, it’s difficult to isolate a particular “hat” as most cherished. Whatever hat I’m wearing at the time is the one I cherish the most—I give my all to whatever I choose to do. “Half-assed” isn’t part of my vocabulary.
RD: Before we go into some detail about the many hats of responsibility and talents that you have, I would like to comment on your writing. I LOVE your writing. It is a fusion between technical print writing and the robust stuff found in the Lifestyle section of the New York Times. Who/what inspired your writing prose?
Why thank you! That’s quite a compliment; in fact, probably the best compliment I’ve ever received on my writing! I suppose my style of writing is just an outgrowth of how I am in “real life”: intelligent, knowledgeable, insightful, enthusiastic, analytical, clear and pointed. My style evolved as I wrote (the only way to become a good writer is to write—a lot), but the traits that I embody as a person were always at core. I’ve always been a communicator; in fact, I used to be a practicing, ordained minister. So there’s a lot of Teacher in what I write; I want to inform, but if I can do it in an entertaining way, all the better. My High School English teachers and one of my college professors were my greatest inspirations; everything else was learned via trial, error and lots of writing!
RD: Okay, now onto your many hats:
Teacher: Of The Tarot Classroom
Reader: A professional Tarot reader
Editor: An editor for TheTarotChannel.com
Tarot Guild: Director of Communications and VP of Certification
Tarot Today: Talk show host
Reviewer: Amazon’s Top 10/Vine Reviewer
Author: The Back In Time Tarot/BIT Method
Deck Creator: Coming soon The Christmas Tarot
I am sure I’ve probably missed a few, but wow, just writing that list made me exhausted! So if you don’t mind, sharing with our audience a little more about each of the above?
And don’t forget homeschooling Mom and wife! To be honest, *those* are my favorite roles. I love my husband and son; they are such a joy to me. They support me in everything I do. And, quite frankly, I couldn’t do what I do vocation –wise if it wasn’t for my husband. He’s such a blessing.
Tarot Classroom – When several people email to ask if I’d teach them Tarot, I had the idea to start an online Tarot Classroom to teach people as a group. It’s proving so popular (my students are from all over the world—France, America, Australia, the U.K. etc.) that I’m opening up Tarot Classroom 3 on March 15, 2010.
Reader – I read for a worldwide clientele, most via email. They tell me I’m extremely accurate, as well as compassionate. :o)
Editor – A few years back, author and deck creator Mark McElroy started the Tarot Channel blog. I enjoy posting Tarot related-news, exercises and reviews there.
Tarot Guild – This is a new venture (and adventure!) for me. Co-founder Dax Carlisle asked me to be the VP of Certification. When he convinced me as to why some people might want certification, I agreed. My duties have increased in the last few months; I’m also their Director of Communications (in charge of publicity, publishing and media relations), and am heading up the debut Tarot Guild Anthology Volume 1.
Reviewer – This is in my blood! I’ve always blabbed about books, decks and products I like and I can’t see myself ever stopping.
Author – Back in Time Tarot pretty much fell into my lap while taking a bath. When I asked my author friend Judika Illes to contribute a BIT Snapshot to my book, she liked the book premise and BIT Method so much, she asked to show it to “a friend in publishing”. That friend happened to be Greg Brandenburgh, Marketing Director for Hampton Roads publishing. I had a book contract within a month’s time. I’m currently working on a Tarot Classroom book using my Tarot Detective 7 Clue Method, and have an outline of several other books.
Deck Creator – My husband and I both love Christmas! For years, I Googled “Christmas Tarot”, hoping someone somewhere had created one. When it never materialized in searches, I decided to script my own in 2008. I think I had the entire deck scripted within a few weeks time. My husband has completed the Moon card so far. We don’t have a publisher yet. We also have to other decks we’re working on; because someone stole the idea of the Christmas Tarot a few months after I announced this creation of ours, I’m keeping the other ideas top secret.
RD: Two things I really want to talk about would be the creating of Boyer House and The Christmas Tarot. I’m so excited about Boyer House! So excited. I think its because I have valued your opinion about divination decks for a long time and I feel if anyone would be good at producing divination products it would be you. With that said, what has been the biggest joy and discomfort of the birthing process of the Boyer House? What will Boyer House bring to the table that Lo Scarabeo, Lewellyn, US Games, and other publishing houses may not bring?
My intent for Boyer House was to self-publish an annual Tarot anthology and my own Tarot books (the market isn’t exactly clamoring for Tarot books right now). However, when I joined forces with Dax and the Tarot Guild, we found that we shared the same intent and vision for a Tarot Anthology. So I suggested we call it the Tarot Guild Anthology and I’ll be the Acquisitions Director and Editor for that project. Originally, Boyer House was going to be through CreateSpace. I may bring my own books to the world in that venue, since starting an actual press takes time and money. With CreateSpace (owned by Amazon), start-up costs aren’t an issue.
The Tarot Guild plans on becoming an actual publisher of Tarot books and decks, so Boyer House will be an “imprint” of theirs I think.
RD: With The Christmas Tarot, what is the significance of a Christmas theme? After this deck, will you and your husband Ron plan to create more of your own decks?
Simply put, the significance of the Christmas theme arose because 1. We love all things Christmas and 2. No one had done it before. Yes, we’re doing more decks! I’m actually even more excited about our second deck because it’s original, hilarious and adorable. Ron plans on painting the Fool and one or two other cards for the second deck; I plan on sending the proposal to U.S. Games once he’s done with a few sample cards. (He’s been busy painting a large commissioned “Tarot card”—a vampire-themed Lovers. Once that’s done, then he’ll concentrate on our deck projects.)
RD: I have nothing but praise for The Back in Time Tarot Book, and I will keep that contained and confined to the book review. However, which deck is your all time favorite deck (for both Tarot and Oracle)?
Why thank you! That is so kind. I’m thrilled you love my book. Gosh, it’s virtually impossible to pick an all time favorite, because life is made up of “seasons”—and some decks are more utilized and beloved depending on a particular time. Right now, if someone said “I’m sorry. We’re taking all your decks away—except one. What will it be?”, I’d have to answer the Universal Waite.
RD: As Tarot continues to evolve, what do you see as the next of things to come in the Tarot deck creating process (symbols, colors, maybe even holograms, etc.)?
I see a group of visionaries not beholden to a publisher, public opinion or the “old guard” taking Tarot into their own hands via blogs, self-publishing, art and innovative methodologies. They will introduce new ways of seeing, experiencing and using Tarot—fresh ideas not connected to stuffy history, complex esoteric “brotherhoods” or arcane rituals intended to make the user feel “superior” or “special”. Tarot for the people, and by the people.
RD: What is your favorite deck spread, especially for beginners and why?
You can’t beat a 3-card spread, whether it’s a Past-Present-Future, Pro-Con-Advice, Robert Place’s fascinating 3-card method where the images “talk” according to how they’re facing, elemental dignity readings, etc. You can glean tons of insightful, helpful and useful information from a 3-card reading if you know what you’re doing.
RD: This is the final question. Why is it that you chose to do the things you do?
I was born to create, teach and innovate, so those traits and patterns touch everything I do. However, I only choose to do those things that make me feel alive, curious and engaged. If I feel a sense of dread, boredom or flatness when an opportunity comes up, I simply won’t do it. Promises of money and fame won’t budge me (and I’ve passed up several opportunities for both). I can’t be bought. I am, therefore I create—but only if it enlivens me and aligns with what I value in life.
The Tarot Tributary thanks Janet Boyer for a wonderful interview and wishes her the best in all of her endeavors!
This interview is copyrighted by Remi Daily of The Tarot Tributary. Any use of this material requires permission by Remi Daily and The Tarot Tributary.