For Easter break we decided to visit New York City and Washington D.C. with another couple who are good friends. We each have 16 year old sons who are good friends and we all travel well together. NYC is such a vibrant and important city! We had just been there in July and looked forward to seeing the city in a different season. Experiencing seasons is a treat for us as we live in Santa Barbara where there is really only one season – an endless summer.
Just prior to our departure I remembered that noted author and film feature subject Enrique Enriquez lives in NYC. I decided to contact him and ask if he had any talks or exhibitions scheduled while we were in the city. I had read Enrique’s book Looking at the Marseille Tarot and it is a masterpiece! It is both complex and refreshingly simple. He responded that he did not have any public engagements, but had Sunday morning free if I wanted to have coffee with him. Really? I was shocked! I could have coffee with one of the most noted Tarot de Marseille proponents in the world today? It didn’t seem possible. I quickly agreed! I told our son and he was quite impressed!
Enrique has written half a dozen books on Tarot and other subjects concerning the ways we perceive and relate to the world. He was also featured in the films Tarology and Tarot Network News. He typically uses the Jean Noblet Tarot de Marseille in explaining the Tarot. This deck is the oldest example of the Tarot de Marseille style being produced in Paris circa 1650. However, he expressed a current fascination with the Tarot de Jacques Vieville a Flemish deck also produced in Paris around the same time.
We met at the La Bergamote café at 10 AM on Sunday. I arrived about 30 minutes early and took a walk around the block. The neighborhood is a nice area of the city with lots of churches and religious schools nearby. This was the week before Easter, Holy Week and groups of Christians were about walking the streets with ashes their faces and holding bits of palm.
It wasn’t hard to recognize Enrique when entered the café with his earmark dark clothes and black bowler hat. As we talked I noticed that he was wearing various pins on his coat. The one I remember most was of a bee – the symbol of so many things!
As expected, Enrique was vividly “present”. You would not overlook him in a crowd. After we sat down with coffee he described his background as an artist and said that he had lived in NYC for around 15 years. He said that he discovered that Tarot provided him a perfect opportunity to engage with the city. He views the Tarot is a wondrous lens to view the world.
In his book, Enrique suggests that, if we want to study Tarot, we should use Tarot in its purest original form – the Tarot de Marseille. The many subsequent variations of the Tarot developed over the next 500 years after the Tarot de Marseille reflect the occult interests and artistic direction of their producers, but not the purity and simplicity of the original.
He suggests that we simply lay out the cards and ask “What is happening?” and “How does it make you feel?” What a breath of fresh air!
I asked Enrique about some of his observations in Looking at the Marseille Tarot with respect to the process of receiving what I term inspired answers in readings. In his book, Enrique theorizes that the reading process seems to involve our mind following its natural inclination to organize the images into an orderly story. The inspired answers occur when we access our own experiences, memories and unconscious. To quote Enrique from his book “I am interested in Tarot as a magical tool. By “magical” I mean ‘the purposeful use of symbols to engage the mind in a process of transformation.’” 
I told him that, in my readings, this process feels like I am engaging with the Divine and delivering inspired answers rather than the more internal process he proposes. I confessed that my default, as a Christian, is to conceive that the process would involve this type of interaction. The header on my website is “Inspired Answers”.
Enrique said that he understood this. He said that he is always in a state where he is learning. He said that engaging with the world involves being open and listening. He went on to describe some of his current interests in pataphysics and his new interest in the Tarot de Jacques Vieville.
We talked about the differences between the symbolism in the Tarot de Marseille and the thousands of Waite-Smith variants. He showed me a picture he had on his phone of human figures involved in some kind of alchemical process within the background of two overlapping circles. I didn’t much notice the circles at first because of the images. He then showed me a second picture of two overlapping circles creating a central almond shape – a mandorla. This is used in Christian art as an aureole of light surrounding the figure of a holy person and is also found in the art of Buddhism.  This image was within both pictures, but I didn’t notice it at first in the first picture because my eye was immediately drawn to the human figures and the alchemical process. I assumed that this was of foremost importance. The picture with the simpler image allowed me to process the meaning immediately. My mind was free to engage the meaning of the image directly rather than attempt to decipher it through the more complex picture. This is one of the root differences between the Tarot de Marseille and later Waite-Smith and most other variants.
Enrique asked me about my background as well. He was pleased that I had a degree in English literature. He asked me about my experiences with Tarot. I confessed that I had been involved with Tarot for decades, but only in a more committed mode for the past few years. We talked about the events that had motivated my renewed commitment.
After about an hour we said our goodbyes. My mind is still engaged with some of the conversation and concepts we talked about! Enrique is a humble, friendly, artistic and extremely intelligent man. Are you looking for me to sum him up in a neat paragraph? Actually, I could do it in a word: awake.
I am Awake
A Brahman saw the Buddha resting under a tree in meditation. The Brahman was impressed with the Buddha’s disposition and demeanor.
He asked, “Are you a god?”
“No, Brahman, I am not a god.”
“Are you an angel?”
“No”, replied the Buddha.
“You must be a spirit then?”
“No, I am not a spirit,” said the Buddha.
“Then what are you?”
“I am awake.”
The above card L’Hermite is from the Tarot de Marseille by Yoav Ben-Dov www.cbdtarot.com
Enrique Enriquez’s book Looking at the Marseille Tarot is available at www.mindseyeview.com/marseilles-tarot.html
Many of Enrique Enriquez’s books and videos are available on Amazon.
 Looking at the Marseille Tarot, Enrique Enriquez, page 6