Gigi Santella is a 4th generation Tarot reader based in Portland, OR. Taught by his mother, reading Tarot was a staple part of his family's household, and continues to be an integrated part of Gi's day-to-day life. When not reading Tarot for himself, close friends, and family, he continues to work on his own illustrated deck of Tarot cards. Aside from his passion for Tarot, Gi is also an excellent chef and talented musician.
Tarot.com is excited to bring you the insight Tarot has to offer from Gi's perspective, as taught to him by his generations past.
Some common Tarot questions answered by Gi!
How did you learn Tarot?
I was taught by my mother and my grandmother. My mother does it for a living. It's kind of an Italian tradition. I grew up in a very strong Catholic household, it was tied in to Catholicism a lot with the imagery and play on words. (cut) I can remember so strongly just playing with the cards as a kid and my mother explaining what they were. We weren't supposed to touch them or play with them when we were kids. And because of that you get very obsessed with them and wanting to see them.
I remember playing with the cards and seeing the faces and not understanding what they were. Just certain images jump out at you. I remember looking at the moon card and later that night I woke up from my sleep it must have been 6 or 7 with a fever or something and I remember opening the door of my Mother's room and there was a moon so bright in the window. and the connection from the seeing the card in the day and making that connection with maternal love with the moon and the mother is nice.
What is your favorite Tarot Card?
My favorite one is the Lover card. The Lover card, if you do the proper translation, people like to say "The Lovers" a lot -- but it should just be "the Lover". It's so ambiguous who that lover is. There's four people in that card. You have a young kid torn between a young person and an old matronly looking person. You don't know WHO the lovers are. You can read so much into it -- if it was just "The Lovers" and you want to make it romantic -- this card is so complex things going on in it. This is so much more than a boy and a girl in love. Hands coming in from all places ripping in directions forcing you in one way this one seems to be pointing one way but he's pushing her towards it but he seems to be hesitant with celestial angels from the top. It's very nice.
What is your shuffling technique?
You don't want to do like a poker game shuffle, people love to see that, I'm terrible at it. I just throw them on the table, it's fun. And if you're doing this for another person, do it together. Because you're supposed to be, when you're doing a reading, helping that other person but as soon as they ask you to do the reading, you're already part of the experience, so there's no reason to take yourself out of it. Usually shuffle it then get it together, then once it's together I have the person cut it for themselves. Shuffling is the chance, and when you're cutting the deck it's your own free will on top of chance. It's your own action.
What is your process after the cards are pulled?
If you're doing a reading, draw some cards. Maybe you're doing 3 cards. Look at it, if something doesn't seem right, that one seems like it should be there for some reason, switch them around. There's no rules. You're going to be happy -- you're going to find out what you want to find out if you're open to it.
How do you store your Tarot cards?
Oh, I just keep the pouch. I keep mine in the cloth my fiancé that made for me. Just so when I want them they're there and they're in their own place. More aesthetic reasons than anything - nothing witchy about it.