10 Questions with Sasha Graham

1. What got you started in learning about tarot?

I was born on Halloween. My Iowa grandmother always called me her good witch of the east. I thought since I was a Halloween baby, reading tarot should be my automatic skill or some sort of birthright. Buying my first deck at age 12, I was completely overwhelmed. Part of the reason I wrote Tarot Diva was to hopefully make tarot more accessible to people. Easier for them to grasp.

2. Can you tell my readers what a Tarot Diva is? How is it different from being a tarot reader?

A tarot diva is anyone, male or female, who uses a deck of tarot to illuminate, inspire and empower his or her lives. A tarot diva knows that ultimate knowledge, be it self-knowledge, spiritual knowledge or creative knowledge ultimately resides inside herself. Knowing this lies within, she uses tarot to help her access this divine knowledge.

A tarot reader becomes a tarot diva when she uses tarot to empower herself. A tarot diva puts herself to the test by being as good a reader for herself as she is for her clients. There are loads of tarot diva’s walking around out there!

3. Can the philosophy and perspective of the Tarot Diva be followed by a man, or is being a Tarot Diva just for women?

Men can totally use Tarot Diva! I call them Tarot Devos. Every single sentence in my book can apply to a man. The simple fact of the matter is statically, more women than men read tarot. I attend an annual tarot conference of about 200 tarot practitioners. Something like 98 percent of attendees are women. Tarot is a field dominated by women!

I had no problem writing from a female perspective to a mostly female audience. I adore Hemmingway. Do I let the fact he’s writing from a macho, male point of view keep me from enjoying his work? No way. I trust my male audience enough to understand this as well. Any male reader who is curious enough will open my book and have fun with it.

4. In your book “Tarot Diva” you use images from many different tarot decks, and in the book you talk about exploring the variety of decks that are available. What are some of your favorite tarot decks?

I’m a book collector (tarot, fiction and cookbooks) but not much of a tarot deck collector.

My favorite all time deck is – no surprise – The Halloween Deck by Kippling West. Loves! J’adore! Bowing to it!

Usually, I read with the Rider Waite. Plus, I focused so much on Rider Waite while writing Tarot Diva, it is as if we’ve been glued/fused together.

I’ll examine deeper subconscious issues with Patrick Valenza’s genius Deviant Moon or sometimes when I’m feeling “moody.”

5. Being a Tarot Diva is definitely more than a hobby, it’s like a lifestyle. In your book you suggest recipes for foods that you feel reflect certain cards and aspects of the tarot. What’s your favorite recipe from the book?

Ohhhhh, that’s such a hard question because I really put in recipes I love and cook all the time!!!

In the fall, when I’m entertaining a small groups, I love to serve Strength’s Warm Garlic, Brie and Chutney. It works great for like 4 – 6 people.

I serve the Empress Goat Cheese and Cherry Salad for lunch for girlfriends all the time – any season it is purrrrrrfection!

My husband and I worked for years (we are still tinkering) to perfect our Lover’s French Onion Soup. We both love it so much and the smell of caramelized onions is soooooooo divine! We use chicken stock in the summer for a lighter version and beef stock in the winter for a heartier feel.

The Fool’s Croque Madame is my Sunday morning special when I really feel like indulging myself and pretending I’m at a café in Paris.

Gee, can you tell I love to eat??

6. Your book has all kinds of wonderful quotes from women in it. Who are some of your favorite divas, tarot or otherwise?

Madonna all the way! I think the moment my first teenage hormone popped was the second Borderline was released. I can mark every moment of my life by her songs.

Now that Madge is slowing down, I live for Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Beyonce. Give me a strong woman in a pair of stilettos, false eyelashes and a poppy song and she’ll have me dancing around the living room in no time.

I adore all the Broadway Diva’s like Pattie LuPone and Julie Andrews.

Fierce female writers like Toni Morrison and Jeanette Winterson.

My personal tarot diva’s include the phenomenal Rachel Pollack and the amazing Corrine Kenner. I idolize them both.

I searched for quotes from Madeline Albright cause I think she is one hell of a diva. Sadly, I couldn’t find any that would apply to the book.

Such an honor to quote these amazing women!!!

7. What are your thoughts on the rise in popularity of the “oracle deck” (decks designed for intuitive or psychic work that do not necessarily follow the traditional tarot template)?

Interesting question. Any device that increases psychic or intuitive work is a good thing. I just adore the history, occult and otherwise, attached to tarot decks. The Trumps who sprang to life in the Renaissance really float my boat.

8. What do you feel is the best advice you can offer to someone considering learning tarot?

Don’t be afraid to read the card. Trust yourself and your first instinct. Allow yourself to weave stories about what you see. Don’t be indecisive. Take risks.

Then take this exact same advice for cards and apply it to your life.

9. With your book “Tarot Diva” now out for public consumption, have you considered doing a “Tarot Diva” tarot deck?

You know, I’ve been asked this question. Unless a seriously gifted artist came knocking at my door, I don’t know this is something I’d pursue. There are so many amazing decks out there. What would I really have to add? The power of tarot comes when it takes shape in your subconscious. I have no idea how I could put that on a card. It would be like painting a dream . . .

10. Parting shot! Ask us here at The Magical Buffet any one question.

Okay, I’ve got a good one. Where do you think Tarot is going? What direction is it moving in?

It’s hard to say because my perspective is skewed. I get loads of emails from readers, authors, and publishers about tarot, so in my mind, tarot seems to be on an upward trend. However, I’m not sure outside of my warm, wonderful, Buffet bubble. If me and my blog achieved global domination (and it is on the “to do” list), I would definitely make certain that tarot had every opportunity to achieve “market saturation” (as the ad execs would say).

About Sasha Graham:
Sasha Graham was born in Saranac Lake, NY, to a free spirited hippie mother and moved 27 times during her childhood. Settling in Manhattan in the late 80’s, Sasha acted in B-horror films, received a BA in Literature at Hunter College and began working with Tarot. Sasha now organizes tarot events, teaches tarot classes and provides tarot outreach to young people all over NYC. You can learn more at www.sashagraham.com

Attention Albany, NY area readers! Sasha Graham will be at The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza on Saturday June 4, 2011 at 3pm signing books and doing one card tarot readings! For more information, visit The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza website!