Tarot Tales with owner of Watkins Books Etan Ilfeld

As publisher and owner of Watkins Books, Etan Ilfeld knows a thing or two about producing a winning tarot deck or book. Here, he reveals his own experience with the cards.

By: The College of Psychic Studies.   Posted

Editor-in-chief of Mind Body Spirit magazine and owner of Watkins Books, Etan Ilfeld has reflected upon a good many tarot decks, guides and books in his time. He'll opened our 2022 Tarot Weekend with an anecdotal history of Watkins Bookshop's infamous visitors (spoiler alert: Aleister Crowley was one!), as well as revealing how to create a tarot deck or book that stands out from the crowd for a publishing deal. Here, Etan offers a glimpse of his own relationship with tarot.

What's your favourite tarot deck?

"I love the artwork in the Rider–Waite–Smith deck. Pamela Colman Smith did a phenomenal job creating stunning images that resonate with our collective unconscious."

When did you get your first deck?

"My mother is an astrologer and one of her best friends was a tarot reader. I'd often see various tarot decks lying around but only got my first deck after buying Watkins Bookshop in 2010."

Which tarot card most represents you?

"That's a great question. I'm going to cheat and pick three cards: The Fool (because of my constant desire to explore new grounds, in the last couple of years, I've learned to juggle, taken circus classes and also a standup comedy class), Justice (as a Libra I have a very strong sense of justice), and the Emperor (I like to be much in control - possibly too much so)."

Quickfire round:

Dominant colour in your wardrobe? Can't stick to one colour. Black, white and blue.
Dog or cat person? 
What's on your bedside table? 
A blank notepad to write ideas, tasks or dreams.
Last movie you watched?
Last Night in Soho. Spooky but well-acted and with an excellent soundtrack.
Your breakfast of champions? 
Water as I usually skip breakfast and have a large lunch later.
Favourite time of day? 
Nighttime because I can easily focus without distractions. It also feels like a more enchanted time.
Where did you grow up? 
Between the USA and Israel.
Have you ever seen a ghost? 
Not sure. I have a strong visual memory of seeing something that looked like a ghost in the middle of the night when I was about 4 years old. I ran to my parents' bedroom to wake them up. After which the apparition was gone.

Etan Ilfeld spoke on Tarot Tales from Watkins: Publishers and Owners of London's Oldest Esoteric Bookstore at our Tarot Weekend in November 2022.

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