March 20, 2022
(NEW YORK) — Tarot-reader Aaron Banes (pronounced bahness) was offered two distinct paths as a child: one to heaven, the other to hell. The path to heaven led to bliss, but was narrow and filled with restraint. The path to hell had a horrible outcome but was wider and less invasive in his daily life.
When Banes realized he was gay, the path to heaven seemed to narrow drastically. He struggled with religion constricting his identity in the grips of that evermore narrowing path. As an adult, he has found spirituality in a source that’s intrinsically more accepting: tarot.
Tarot reading, an art form where a reader pulls from a deck of 78 cards to answer questions about the past, present and future, allowed Banes to feel more at peace with his sexuality and spirituality together.
Banes now offers readings through his Instagram account @misterwitchboy.
He spoke with The Click about tarot and how he draws strength from it.
This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.
The Click: What got you into tarot? And what got you into reading for others?
Aaron Banes: The first actual sit-down reading that I did was at an opening for this yoga studio. They had free different events. One of them was a tarot reading. So I had that done, and this happened a couple months after a big breakup that I went through. It mirrored back a lot for me about where I was at that time.
How I became a tarot reader was reading for myself, and figuring out this is the “library” of people that I’ve met, of emotions that I’ve had, of memories, of archetypes that are all showing up in cards. It being a library of experience is important.
The Click: How do you format your tarot readings on Instagram?
Banes: I’ve experimented with a bunch of different forms. I used to make tarot infographics that people can use. The thing that I have found to be most effective or popular are the reel videos where I pull one or two cards for the day and try to distill a message for people in 30 seconds in the cards. I have been trying to use astrology more. It’s a pretty easy formula, actually.
The Click: How do you relate tarot now to your childhood in a religious home?
Banes: I grew up Christian and praying for people a lot. There’s a sort of eloquence that has to come with that. When I did it, I thought it was a conversation with God. I do feel like I attribute a lot of my eloquence in a tarot reading to that skill.
I grew up with a lot of pressure to be a certain way, and that mainly centered around my sexuality. The reason I went back to church was because I wanted to” pray the gay away.” I felt like there were a lot of structures put on me to live and maneuver through. Creating my own library helped me free my own faith, philosophy and beliefs because it came just from me.
The Click: What do you want people to take away from your readings?
Banes: I want you to remember yourself in the present. A lot of people come to tarot reading confused about their future, confused about what to do, and confused about other people. The thing I like to do in a tarot reading is bring someone back to the present. Where are you now? That’s where you have the most control.