Brian Dooley from Amateur Tarot Podcast | Interview

I met Brian at one of our tarot meetups. And again at another. And then another. I am terrible with names (and also faces).  Brian is a really cool guy who has turned his tarot path into a goodhearted and funny adventure for us to follow.

I’m excited just by the excitement that Brian and Ben bring to tarot. It’s fun to listen to folks discover something that I’ve known for so long – I ALWAYS learn something new. You can find the podcast here.

Brian and his co-host Ben are taking the podcast on the road. If you’re in St. Louis, you should check it out here.

Tell us about yourself!

Amateur Tarot Podcast is a comedy podcast wherein two decidedly non-mystical non-trained skeptics use the power of the tarot to answer listeners’ life questions, from universal truths all the way down to office etiquette.

The show is me, Brian Dooley, and my co-host Ben Noble. We’re both creative-types in our professional lives, and we’re both improvisers.

We’ve been doing the podcast since October of 2016, and when we started, neither one of us had any skill besides an easy banter between us. When we began, we would check every card against the LWB, write down all the answers, and then record the show. Over the course of almost two years, we’ve become passing acquainted with most of the cards, and we no longer require the books (for our advice readings).

What’s your idea of happiness?

It’s difficult to think of happiness in terms of something sustainable, and I prefer to look at is as peak emotional notes in a longer composition. Snuggling with someone I care about, petting cats and dogs, eating a food that I love, ordering new tarot decks, and recording our show are a very short list of things that play those notes for me.

What’s your idea of misery?

Oh boy… At the risk of turning this into a political forum, I would say that there is misery inherent in the lives of people who work to stifle the lives and well-being of other people…and they create misery in the lives of those that are stifled. My heart aches for people who are less fortunate than I have been, and my blood boils at the small-minded bigots and cowards who strive to keep those people down. Misery is also often something that comes from within ourselves, due to faulty wiring or bad chemistry or something like that. That kind of insidious misery can strike anyone. Am I answering this question correctly?  *YES*

What do you appreciate most in your friends?

I need my friends to be kind and funny. Everything else is just window dressing.

Where would you like to live?

Besides the weather most of the time, I love living here in St. Louis. There are times when I think I’d rather live in a bigger city nearer to an ocean, but my city has everything I want, and I’ve grown to love it quite a bit.

Your favorite colors and flowers?

Blue is my favorite color, in all of its many iterations. Typically I have a new favorite shade of blue every time I get my hair colored and my stylist creates something new. One of my best friends’ favorite flowers is the hyacinth, and I think that’s just about one of the best words in existence…but my favorite plant is called a Lamb’s Ear, and it’s soft and furry and I can’t help but touch it every time I see it in someone’s front yard.

Your favorite poets or authors?

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. has held the highest spot in my pantheon for a long time. I also fell in love with beat poetry when I was in college, so Kerouac and Ginsberg and the rest of those boho hobos are in there. The best series of books I’ve ever read is the Dark Tower series by Stephen King. Argh! It’s difficult to narrow down once I get started, so I’ll just stop there.
Honorable Mention to J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter Series), Jomny Sun (everyones an aliebn when you’re an aliebn too), and Bryan K. Vaughan (Saga)

Your heroes/heroines in fiction?

Number one would have to be Chewbacca. He’s a loyal friend with an intense amount of love and humor. I named my cats Han and Lando so that I could be the Chewie of our group.
Your heroes/heroines in real life?
I admire people who speak truth to power. Anyone who organizes and participates in protests against injustice and inhumanity. Voters. Comedians and other artists who use their platform to create change. These folx do the day-to-day work that will help create a world worth living in.

What is your present state of mind?

I’m coming off of a lengthy depressive downswing and starting to enjoy my day-to-day life more and more. I just read Tarot at Tower Grove Pride Festival this past weekend, and as a byproduct I got to spend a lot of time with a lot of my best friends, so that was really nice. I’m still kind of riding that high.

What role does divination play in your life?

I love reading the cards. It’s one of my favorite things to be doing. But I don’t read them for myself, and I don’t believe in mystical woo woo things. It could be argued that I’m 100% more mystical and woo woo than I was before we started this podcast, and I wouldn’t push back too hard. I’ve seen quite a few coincidences in the cards that have chipped away at my cold Scully to find the Mulder underneath.

As far as the podcast goes, Tarot is a huge part of my life. I’m always recording, editing, planning, scheduling, writing, or purchasing something Amateur Tarot Pod related. And out of the two of us, I’m definitely the one who has been shifted the furthest from our skeptical bedrock.

Selfishly, as a socially anxious person, the cards are a great way for me to connect with other humans in social situations. 🙂 What is your favorite deck or divination tool?
The Numinous Tarot is by far my favorite deck. Over the past few years, I’ve built up a small collection of 100+ decks, and we use two different decks for each episode, so I’m forever getting new decks. But from the first moment I started flipping through the Numinous deck, it was Love. I’ve been using no other decks for the past month or so (but recording starts up again soon, so I’ll have to go back to my old deck-slut ways).

Your favorite songs?

Oh boy, this is as hard as that author question…
Anything by Cake or Ben Folds is going to get my attention. I listen to a lot of 90’s pop rock (reliving my youth, I suppose). I love Pink Floyd. Billy Joel has been my favorite musical artist for the past 30 years.

Your favorite word?

“Autumnal” is a nice word. It feels so pliant and willowy.

Your least favorite word?

“Clot” is a nasty word. There are many political names that I would place here as well.

What about your favorite curse word?

“Fuck” is likely my favorite.

What sound or noise do you love?

I love when a piano is being played so hard that it sounds like it might break.

What sound or noise do you hate?

Young children crying and/or screaming.

What turns you on?

Kindness, humor, talent. In that order.

What turns you off?

Lack of empathy. Cruelty.

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear god say when you arrive?

“You were right. Kindness is all that counts.”