Checking Out The Tarot Café
I was wandering through the teen section of the West Palm Beach Public Library, looking for some manga to interest my niece in reading. I came across what seemed to me to be an unlikely discovery; a series entitled “The Tarot Café.”
Over the years, I have learned not to become overly excited when I see the word “tarot.” It doesn’t always refer to the actual tarot I know and love. It might, for instance, refer to an obscure heavy metal band. On closer inspection, however, I saw that each book in the series is numbered with a card from the Major Arcana. Book One is the Magician, Book Two the High Priestess, Book Three the Empress, and so forth.
I checked out the first three books and gave them to my niece, who loved them. I got through the middle of the second one before I remembered how much I don’t like manga. If you are, however, a collector of things tarot, or a person who likes manga and is interested in tarot, I offer this very positive recommendation.
The Tarot Café is Korean manhua by Sang-Sun Park. It is published in English by Tokyopop, and is classified teen-appropriate. Its central character is a tarot reader named Pamela, who owns the Tarot Café.
The Tarot Café is frequented by clients both human and non-human. Pamela reads for vampires, werewolves and other superhuman characters, each troubled by very human problems.
Pamela herself has a very interesting back-story that is revealed in the second book. Though young looking, Pamela is centuries old.
There are two things that cause me to recommend The Tarot Café series. The first is that Pamela is a very credible, very ethical tarot reader. Her problems and solutions resonate clearly with me. The second is that the books are filled with actual tarot images, and legitimate interpretations.
In a world where tarot is so often maligned and misrepresented, it is great to see tarot, and tarot reading, presented accurately. Aside from the werewolves and cat-people, the Tarot Café could easily be my reading room, or the reading room of any of my peers.