That Card-Reading Gypsy Guy

ls-fool1.jpgIt was only a matter of time, of course, before someone at The Company Googled me and discovered MadeByMark.com.

As word spread about the site, I’ve seen a huge spike in traffic from The Company’s servers (yes, my dear co-workers, I can see when you visit me!) and a big increase in Google keyword searches on my name.

And that’s just fine. I’ve been writing about my life, right out here in the open, for eight years now. I’m proud of who I am. I’m proud of what I believe. And I’m proud of this web site, where I’ve been posting on a regular basis since the year 2000.

Especially if you’re a casual reader, you might expect that my fifteen-year marriage to another man is responsible for all the water-cooler talk about MadeByMark these days. Well, you’d be wrong. The Company, you see, values diversity, and my marriage has never, not even for a day, been a secret. Without wearing anything on my sleeve, I am who I am … and so I’ve never made any effort to cover up the relationship that means more to me than anything else on Earth.

What has ’em whispering, then?

Well … it’s that Tarot thing.

ls-fool1.jpgIt was only a matter of time, of course, before someone at The Company Googled me and discovered MadeByMark.com.

As word spread about the site, I’ve seen a huge spike in traffic from The Company’s servers (yes, my dear co-workers, I can see when you visit me!) and a big increase in Google keyword searches on my name.

And that’s just fine. I’ve been writing about my life, right out here in the open, for eight years now. I’m proud of who I am. I’m proud of what I believe. And I’m proud of this web site, where I’ve been posting on a regular basis since the year 2000.

Especially if you’re a casual reader, you might expect that my fifteen-year marriage to another man is responsible for all the water-cooler talk about MadeByMark these days. Well, you’d be wrong. The Company, you see, values diversity, and my marriage has never, not even for a day, been a secret. Without wearing anything on my sleeve, I am who I am … and so I’ve never made any effort to cover up the relationship that means more to me than anything else on Earth.

What has ’em whispering, then?

Well … it’s that Tarot thing.

I should note, right up front, that several people at The Company have been very cool about my work with Tarot. Some have approached me with compliments and questions, both of which I appreciate. It’s no surprise, though, that a very small group of co-workers are all aflutter over the fact that I “read cards.”

First things first: I do a lot more than read cards. I’ve been studying Tarot — its history, its evolution, its application, its structure, its origins, its future — for a dozen years or so. I’ve read dozens of books and manuscripts on the subject. I’ve written a half-dozen books on Tarot (the best one is The Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Tarot , if you’re interested!), and I’ve designed and scripted several Tarot decks. I travel the world teaching classes and speaking about Tarot. I’ve appeared on talk shows and news segments. When the folks writing questions for “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” want to be sure their Tarot-related questions are accurate, they call me.

In mentioning these things, I don’t mean to brag … but I do hope to communicate one simple idea: if you want to know something about Tarot — and, especially, my work with and my approach to Tarot —talk to me.

Please don’t rely on your crazy cousin Lucinda, who, at the ripe old age of thirteen, freaked out after handling the cards at a slumber party. Don’t rely on what you’ve seen in movies, on television, or on ads for Sister Doololly’s $5.95-per-minute Double-Wide Tarot Reading Emporium. Don’t rely on your preacher or pastor, who, despite never having studied the cards or their history, will undoubtedly seize upon your question as an opportunity to spout a bunch of second-hand nonsense in order to maintain the illusion that he or she is all-knowing and wise.

If you want to know something about Tarot, just ask me. I won’t be offended. I won’t be put off. I won’t be defensive. I’m a nice guy, and I’m a specialist in making Tarot more approachable and easier to understand. In fact, I’m eager to talk with you about the cards … because, in addition to knowing a great deal about them, I know a great deal about their potential to help everyday people think more clearly, make better choices, and plan for the future.

So: talk to me.

Or … don’t. But if you don’t, you have some questions to consider. How do you like it when people pre-judge you because of your skin color … or your religion … or your ethic background? How does it feel when, instead of getting to know you, people make assumptions about you based on their experience with other people people of your race, sexual orientation, or faith?

Well, that’s exactly how I feel when folks pre-judge me. If you’re drawing conclusions about me based on nothing more than misconceptions and water-cooler gossip … how are you any better than the people who have done the same to you with regard to your race, your faith, your sexual orientation, or your beliefs?

Mark McElroy

I'm a husband, mystic, writer, media producer, creative director, tinkerer, blogger, reader, gadget lover, and pizza fiend.

4 comments

  • Mark,I love the picture! I never knew you were a closet fashionista.Seriously, I want to post about your character here. For the record, first impressions of me by others would have you guessing I am a latte drinking, volvo driving, yuppy with a brietling. Heck I don’t even know how to spell the darn watches.I want people to know you are an amazing guy. I often think about my writing and indeed my life and wonder what your approach would be. Why? Because I would like to be as kind,studied and thoughtful as you. I don’t know much about tarot,(you did read them for me once so I could see what it was) but I know its not evil or trickery or even nonsense. Why do I think this? because your not the kind of dolt who falls into traps like that. For all those gossipers, go read the Four Agreements and try to do something productive.I live in the UK and it has opened my eyes to the homogenation of the US. I love my home country (usa), but the way alternative viewpoints are treated is a disgrace to the founding principles. It goes something like this, “if you aint one of us, your one of them!”Perhaps you should invite the gossipers to dinner for a reading?

  • mark, i’ve been perusing your book: ‘whats in the cards for you’. a great work, but…..i’m so disappointed with the reference to republicans. i also found other references which felt frankly, intolerant. many of my new age associates demonstrate a remarkable inability to stretch their tolerance to conservative folk. i’m conservative and a tarot enthusiast. surprisingly, i am meeting more and more such people. your book offers a great deal of merit, perhaps the tarot world might be better served without that generalized negativity, and with respect maintained for all of us out here. it has become perfectly fine these days to dis-respect conservatives and dare i say it–christians, while deferential treatment for every other group is a given. i really do like your book and would like to add it to my library. i’ll be interested to hear your response. sincerely,jo

  • Hi, Jo. Thanks for stopping by.

    As Jerry Seinfeld once said: “It’s comedy. Somebody’s gonna get hurt.”

    You’re right: I do make fun of Republicans. I also make fun of Democrats, Libertarians, Conservatives, Liberals, and Independents. I make light of the beliefs of Christians, Atheists, Buddhists, Rastafarians, New Agers, tarot readers, and Sister Doololly. I have it on with Creationists, Evolutionists, First Causers, Intelligent Designers, and Nihilists.

    You might say I’m an equal opportunity lampooner.

    Some readers like the fact that my books are, by turns, cranky, irreverent, crotchety, and cantankerous. Others don’t. But I learned long ago that if I purged everything from every book that anyone might find offensive … I’d soon have nothing in my books but definite articles and, perhaps, an adverb or two.

    So, my response, then, which might be both less interesting and less satisfying than one might imagine when requesting it, would be:

    1) Some people take nothing personally and can recognize humor when they see it, even if they’re the butt of the joke. Other people take everything personally and wouldn’t recognize humor it if walked up and bit them on the ass, because they are too busy taking every opportunity to paint themselves as victims.

    You are free to be either kind of person you choose to be, but in my experience, the former kind of person has a better life than the latter.

    2) Learn to differentiate between good-spirited, offhand, cheeky needling (all done in the spirit of fun) and mean-spirited, calculated, deliberate evil (which often disguises itself as self-righteous indignation). This skill will serve you well, and will make you much more popular at parties.

    In the end, if a single wacky reference to Republicans makes my entire book too saucy for your tastes, there are hundreds of Tarot books out there which are as sterile, flaccid, and flavorless as possible.

    Bon appetit!

    M.

Who Wrote This?

Mark McElroy

I'm a husband, mystic, writer, media producer, creative director, tinkerer, blogger, reader, gadget lover, and pizza fiend.

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