Tarot Tales with The Atlantis Bookshop's Geraldine Beskin

Owner of London's Atlantis Bookshop Geraldine Beskin reveals her favourite decks, her tarot reading rituals, and the contents of her bedside table!

By: The College of Psychic Studies.   Posted

If you're curious about all things otherworldly, and have ever visited London, you'll be well-acquainted with The Atlantis Bookshop, a mere hop from the British Museum. London's oldest occult book store has been in Geraldine Beskin's family for more than half a century, which means many a tarot deck has passed through her hands. Here, she shares what makes tarot tick for her...

Bali and Geraldine Beskin at The Atlantis Bookshop

What's your favourite tarot deck?

"Undoubtedly my favourite Tarot deck is a bootleg version of the Thoth tarot produced by my Mother! Other than that, I use a regular Thoth, the moodily coloured Waite-Smith pack or something new to get a feel for it."

What first sparked your interest in the tarot?

"We would visit The Atlantis Bookshop during the school holidays and we were given packs to look through to keep us quiet! They were weird but looked like people from myths and legends so I enjoyed them."

When did you get your first deck?

"I got my first tarot pack at least a million years ago it seems, and simply loved the Aquarian for a long time. I still like it but it is a good marker to see how we have changed as people to work with a 'discarded' pack again."

Geraldine Beskin's favourite deck is the Thoth tarot

What do you remember about your first ever tarot reading?

"I remember nothing of my first tarot reading, other than it felt very 'other' to be doing it. I was used to playing cards and the Tarot was far more mysterious."

Which tarot card most represents you?

"I don't identify with any particular card as the reasons for consulting the pack changes."

What are your tarot rituals?

"I respect the cards and so I am scrupulous about how I wok with them. A super clean surface is vital or I have a few cloths that I like. I can't work with a busy background as they clash with the cards and distract me."

Bali and Geraldine Beskin at The College of Psychic Studies

What do you love most about the tarot?

"If I have an idea on repeat, I pull a card to move me on and give another aspect to the situation. I am not above trying and trying and trying again to get the tarot to give me the answer I want, but it is incredibly resistant to such bullying! The endless variety of possibilities can be too much but I sometimes/often don't see the story they have laid out before me as I just interpret each card the way I always do."

Quickfire round

Dominant colour in your wardrobe? Black of course!
Dog or cat person? Both equally.
What's on your bedside table? Books and a diary and a cat or two and all the usual clutter.
Last movie you watched? I'm never interested in the title so don't know but I did enjoy it.
Guilty pleasure? Showing people too many photos of my granddaughter.
Breakfast of champions? Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on sourdough bread.
Favourite time of day? At the moment, 4.30ish as I get up and look at my suburban world before anyone else is up and about. Sometimes I have a tea and read for a while and then sleep again. Decadent!
Where did you grow up? London.
Last thing that made you laugh?  We went to see the drone metal group Sunn, as we know them. Their music is famously only ever turned up to 11 and we all had to wear earplugs. The sensations came into us through the walls and the floor but also my handbag, which vibrated violently all evening. That was a first for the musicians when I told them.
Other than that, it was with a customer at a shared silliness.
Have you ever seen a ghost? I haven't seen as many ghosts as I'd like but have lived with a few and seen a couple.

Geraldine Beskin spoke on Lady Frieda Harris: Designer of The Thoth Tarot Deck at our Tarot Weekend in November 2022.

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