Thursday, August 29, 2013

4 of Wands, Peace and Home

This was my daily draw today, and it's just what I need (and am getting).  I've been working my tail off lately and am starting to feel a bit under the weather.  Not only am I a busy teacher and mother and wife, but I have been expending a lot of energy on readings lately, and today just feel worn out.  The 4 of Wands is that bit of time to rest and enjoy being home after spending a lot of time working away at projects.  I love the image on the DruidCraft card, because while the fire and flowers are inviting, there is no one around.  Perhaps everyone is in the house, or out in the forests picking herbs for a nice tea (apparently what I need!).  It gives the feeling of deep peace and the calm joy of caring for, and being cared for, by loved ones.  It's being in your core refuge, the center of it all, the home and hearth.  I'm extra thankful today for my couch, my husband who made me a lovely after-work snack, and my kids who make me laugh....

DruidCraft Tarot
S. and P. Carr-Gomm, Will Worthington

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

30-Day Tarot Challenge - Question 29

(29) Do you have a Tarot mentor?

I wanted to skip forward to this question because my mom has been on my mind today, and she was my first mentor.  I was looking at a website that talked about difficulties in coming out of the “Tarot closet” – friends and colleagues may look at you differently, think it’s crazy (or evil, or really cool), or feel like they never really knew you at all; your parents might fear for your future.  Anyway I felt really fortunate when I read that because my mom is a reader!  She is the person who introduced me to Tarot and Oracles simply by using them as I was growing up.  I always loved them, and in fact it was her Medicine Cards that I adopted when I was 13, the start of my path in divination.  So I feel very lucky that in one way, one of the most important ways, I never have to “come out of the closet.”  

Wildwood Tarot

In terms of other mentors, I have a wonderful, local mentor named Suzan who is a psychic-medium, and a pretty amazing lady.  I supposed I’d also have to say that Brigit from Biddy Tarot has been a great mentor.  I also value the Reader’s Circle I’m a part of, where we can go for feedback, support, questions, and opinions.  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Herbs and Cards

Tonight I'm attending a class on magical and medicinal herbs, primarily for use in teas and for incenses.  I'm pretty excited about it, and it got me thinking about combining herbs with Tarot and Oracle practice.  At this point the main card-herb interaction occurs when I cleanse new decks; I pass each card through sage smoke.  But that's where it ends.

As Tarot is a life-long study, herbs may also end up for me.  When I was a kid I used to roam the nearby forest trying to identify all the plant life I came across, and all the potential uses.  One year when I was 12 or 13 I tapped our Maple tree and boiled it down into (a very small amount of) syrup.  Another time I carefully selected Queen Anne's Lace to bring home to use as a root vegetable at dinner time.  The latter is also known as wild carrot, and I was pretty pleased with myself, although the carrots were not particularly appetizing (preteen cooking skills not really up to par, I guess ;-) ).  

In high school I decided to drink some Senna Leaf tea after dinner one evening.  I doubted its potency, and figured it would probably just be like any standard herbal tea.  I spent the entire next day at school running back and forth between class and the bathroom.  Not so cool when you're 16, but it was kinda funny and a very good lesson about the power of plants.  So herbs have always attracted and intrigued me, and I have been studying them more intentionally recently for healing purposes.

So I was thinking about new ways to combine Tarot and herbal study aaaaaand.....I came across this: 

Herbal Tarot

And I added it to my deck wish list straight away! :-D

It follows the Rider-Waite style but each card includes a strategically chosen herb that reflects in some way the meaning of the card.  I hear that some people who have an herb background find this a nice deck to use while initially getting acquainted with Tarot.  I will be using it from the opposite direction.... I think it'll be a great tool to learn about herbs, as I do readings.  I'm curious to see how the plant influence might add a new dimension to card meanings!

Herbal Tarot

Thursday, August 22, 2013

30-Day Tarot Challenge - Questions 19, 20, 21

19) Do you think/feel the cards "think" or have their own consciousness?  What do you believe makes the cards "tick?"

No, I don't believe that the cards operate of their own volition - that's creepy!!!  I do believe that cards are a tool through which we connect with certain energies.  That's why working with Tarot is a highly intuitive endeavor.

Druid Animal Oracle

20) Do you read for yourself and/or for others? Why or why not?

Both.  At this point  I  usually only do one-card daily draws for myself, and focus on more in depth readings for others.  When I first started of course I only read for myself and loved ones, but at some point that stops being a valuable learning tool, and to move to the next step of development it's necessary to read for strangers.  I've been loving it, and have found it to be a rewarding experience.

21) How do you feel when you do readings?

It's kind of meditative, which would make sense, I guess.  When I "get in the zone" I can feel myself connecting and opening up to the energies of the querent, and whatever universal energy surrounds us all.  It's like a shift I sense in my mind.

Quality of Card Stock

I love all of my Tarot decks for various reasons: the artwork is lovely, I love the themes presented, etc.  All of my decks seem to mesh well with my energy, and the readings I do with them are solid.  But I'm feeling kind of frustrated when it comes to the issue of card stock.

I recently purchased the Wildwood Tarot, and I absolutely love it.  I really love it in every way.... I love the art and the theme (Will Worthington), I love the slightly non-traditional take on some of the meanings, and I even love the card back, which is a deep green with an intricate Celtic design.  I think it's probably my favorite card back out of all my decks.  And yet after using the deck 4 or 5 times there is at least one card that's started to peel along one of the edges!  I am so upset!  I am gentle with my cards, so it's not from rough handling, and my shuffle style is not at all aggressive either.  So I'm really troubled by it.  I've already started thinking I'll have to have a back-up deck at some point, which seems lame since I just bought this one!

I also adore my DruidCraft deck for similar reasons - the artwork (also done by Will Worthington) is rich, and I love the earthy theme which "speaks" to me.  When the deck first came and I opened it, I was a little disappointed that many of the cards seemed to have light scratch marks, which was really noticeable across the backs (which are a dull brown and not particularly attractive).  Also I've found this deck really hard to shuffle, because the cards are not very smooth and have a tendency to stick together.

Peeling Rider-Waite-Smith??

My Golden Tarot has held up pretty well.  It's easy to shuffle for the most part because it's slightly slippery, but not too slippery that they fall out of my hands.  Even so, after a couple of months of fairly light use, the edges of some of the cards had started showing clear wear.

But I've noticed that with my two remaining Tarot decks, the Morgan Greer and the Radiant Rider-Waite, they are the most durable and easiest to shuffle of all.  (And speaking of backs, they have my second-favorite backs: dark blue with stars - love it!) The Radiant Rider-Waite is almost bordering on being too slippery, but I still enjoy using it.  The Morgan Greer is just about perfect.  They  are both published by U.S. Games, whereas the other decks in my collection are published by several other publishing companies.

So while I'm sad that many of my decks seem to be showing more than their fair share of wear and tear (wow, say that three times fast), I'm contemplating sticking with decks published by U.S. Games in the future because I think I can count on them being really solid and long-lasting.  If anyone can recommend other great-quality publishers, let me know!!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

30-Day Tarot Challenge - Questions 16, 17, 18

16) Do you ever use the Major Arcana without the Minor Arcana, or vice versa?

No.  In fact once I was having trouble understanding a querent's question because it was extremely disorganized and "all over the place."  So I was trying to pick out the main elements as seemed appropriate.  Another reader suggested that I might separate the deck into Major/Minor Arcana and use only the Majors to pick a single card that might give the lady some insights.  I decided to take the advice, but I decided not to separate the deck. I figured that if this lady needed a Major card, it would appear... and it did!  I ended up with the Hanged Man, and it worked really well for the client.  That experience just helped confirm for me that the cards will tell you what you need to know, so separating them is not really necessary.  

Morgan Greer Tarot

17) Do you do readings using reversals? Why or why not?

Hah!  When I first started with Tarot, I didn't.  But I was also reading for myself and other people I knew really well.  When I started reading for strangers I realized immediately that the fine shades of meaning available with reversals would be extremely useful in giving detailed readings...especially readings via email.  At first I was a bit nervous, but now I really like using them.  

18) Do you feel a "connection" to your cards?

Yes, I do!  I actually feel like they're sort of friends :)  I feel a great connection to all of my decks, though the images in the Golden Tarot (Liz Dean) don't really pull me in.  But I still feel like they "speak" to me, in their own way.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

30-Day Tarot Challenge, Questions 14 and 15

14) For what purposes do you usually use to Tarot?

I don't do a lot of "self" readings, other than daily draws, which I use as a sort of 1-card-reading to give me some insights about my day.  Lately I've been reading for strangers, helping them gain insights into major life issues, which is really rewarding over all.  Sometimes I just sit with a particular deck and go through each card, considering the images and how they impact me.  So in a way I am ever studying and deepening my connection to and understanding of Tarot.

15) How much emphasis do you put on the textbook meanings for cards, and how much stress do you place on the "feeling" you get from cards through their artwork/symbolism, etc.?  Do you do both, or one or the other?

Um, I'd say I'm kind of in the middle at this point.  I always consider the textbook meanings, but sometimes I get a feeling from a card that doesn't necessarily match up closely to what the meaning is "supposed to be."  For instance I did a spread once where a woman was asking for insights about her relationship.  The Queen of Cups showed up as representative of the querent.  I was using DruidCraft, and on that card the moon is sort of hanging in front of the Queen's face, almost looking like it's about to drop into her cup.  For some reason on that day I really felt drawn to that moon, and I felt that the querent was very focused on the uncertainties and confusion she was experiencing in her relationship.  On the other hand, so far with Wildwood Tarot I go both ways... I first consider my own, more traditional interpretation, and then think about the keywords, or alternative interpretations on those cards to see if they offer something more.  Once the 5 of Arrows popped up in the spread, which shows a goat leaping down toward a man who is furiously trying to shoot it with an arrow, but repeatedly missing.  The keyword is "frustration."  I felt the goat was the querent, who was taking hits (or near-misses) from all angles but still forging ahead.  It was all about inner strength.

DruidCraft Tarot
Philip/Stephanie Carr-Gomm and Will Worthington

Sunday, August 18, 2013

First Reading (for a stranger) with Wildwood

So I bit the bullet and went for it.  Someone wanted to know about the potential for future romance and since I really want to feel the Wildwood out I decided to use that deck.  It was nice! Of course I decided to do a "double check" with Morgan Greer, and it was much the same message.  So I put Morgan Greer away and went with the Wildwood spread.  One of my concerns with Wildwood lies in the few cards with quite different meanings from the traditional.  If I get a 7 Vessels (Cups) should I read it as wishful thinking (etc) or the Wildwood meaning of "mourning," (which in fact is more fitting for the traditional meaning of 5 Cups)?   Perhaps I'll consider both meanings to see what feels right.  But it's definitely something I'm mulling over.  Also, I think I'll do reversals after all.


30-Day Tarot Challenge, question 13

(13) Is there a card that continuously stumps you when it is drawn? Why do you believe this to be so?

Seven of Swords is one.... First of all, it's often negative-ish, so I always want to be very careful with the way I interpret it.  Secondly, there are many meanings for this card, and there seem to be subtle but important differences between them, so determining which meaning or emphasis is more likely in a spread, along with the other cards, can sometimes be challenging.  I always need to take time to consider it and its potential underlying meanings, whereas there are many other cards whose meanings always seem pretty clear.

Morgan Greer Tarot                                             

Saturday, August 17, 2013

30-Day Tarot Challenge, questions 11 and 12

(11) What spread do you use most often/prefer and why?
I usually do 3-5 card spreads because they're pretty concise yet thorough enough for most situations.  

(12) Have you ever created your own spread? If so, how effective is it? (feel free to show spread)
Yes!  I won't detail it here since it's already the subject of a previous post (the first spread I created, anyway).  I put one together with the idea that it could be used to give couples in a thriving relationship some insights into what is working and how they can continue to improve it.  It worked really nicely, and I felt great about it!  Since beginning email readings I tend to make my own spreads...nothing formal or with a fancy name.  Basically I have a mental list of positions and meanings and I pick and choose the combination depending on the question/situation and how much detail I want.  A common one I use quite often is: Context, Her, Him, Obstacles, Immediate Future.  (Can you tell I get a lot of relationship questions??) :-). Sometimes I add on a "timing" card if the person would like to have a time frame in mind, though I am clear with them that the results depend on their own actions.  

A spread with Morgan Greer Tarot        

Into the Wildwood

Yesterday my Wildwood Tarot came (Mark Ryan/John Matthews).  I love it.  It's a pretty intense, and very beautiful deck, not only because of the artwork (Will Worthington) but because of the depth of meaning - the focus on archetypes and uncovering the core meaning of an issue. As I read through the book and held the cards, I was left with a feeling that my other decks were kind of fluffy in comparison.  That's not really fair or true, but it was how I was feeling.  I don't know if I want to use this deck for email readings - I wonder if it's too philosophical for that.  I am considering keeping the deck and using it for readings for myself and family members.  Also it will take some time to feel out some of the cards.  For instance, the 2 of Arrows (Swords) is meant to mean Injustice in the Wildwood Tarot, rather than the common meanings of denial, indecision, attempting to find harmony between two disparate things, etc.  I love the meaning of the 7 of Arrows - "Insecurity."  It's brilliant - isn't insecurity the root of most of the traditional meanings of the 7 of Swords?

I've heard people say in reviews that this is a very powerful deck, and I definitely get that.  I did a "break-in" reading with just three cards, and it was painfully accurate.  I am looking forward to continuing to work with it!  The crux: do I use reversals with this deck or not?  It is technically possible... the deck backs allow for it, and most of the cards are similar to traditional meanings.  But the deck creators did not have this in mind when they made it.  If I use the Wildwood only for personal meditations, etc., it won't matter at all.  If at some point I choose to use this with "strangers" I might revisit the topic.  Something about this deck feels so deep and primal that I'm not sure I even want to use reversals at all, or that they'd even really be necessary!

Wildwood Tarot
Illustration: Will Worthington

One final note: I've noticed that some people trim these cards, like they often do with DruidCraft.  I also trimmed DruidCraft because they were truly so large that it was a turn-off to think of using them regularly.  I did it, it turned out great, and it's one of my favorite decks.  However Wildwood is a really normal size!  I would cringe to think of cutting it.  It's a great, average size, and shuffles just fine.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

The Lady of 9 Pentacles

She appeared as my daily draw today.  After some thought, I feel she is a good representation of my growing trust and confidence with Tarot.  I’ve learned a lot since jumping into free-reading (one week ago today!) and I’m working on refining my skills.  I’ve had so much good feedback which has been incredibly encouraging and affirming. 

I did a reading for a guy last night who asked about his career and love life.  When I did the spread I got nervous because it seemed to be telling me that there was a cross-over between his work and love life.  I wondered if the woman he was involved with was a colleague.  But I’ve learned that if I feel overwhelmed by a spread, to just state the card meanings and interpret them in a general way.  This isn’t bad practice with internet readings anyway, since as I’ve heard so often, “A vague question gets a vague answer.”  I also took note of an “extra” card which was Empress reversed, but didn’t see a clear fit with the story I was seeing, so I decided not to include it in the spread.  Anyway, I want so badly to offer something really substantial to these querents, it sometimes stressed me out trying to make really clear sense of someone’s story, even though I know the cards themselves are accurate.

Radiant Rider Waite Tarot

So anyway, he confirmed that what I was seeing was accurate, in terms of going through big change, having gone through disappointments in love, and being on the cusp of entering into a new work arrangement.  That was all good.  He said a lot of what I told him in my reading coincided with a past reading he’d had done, which was cool.  He offered to let me see that reading, and I agreed.  Turns out it was an audio recording of a live reading he had done in England.  One thing that made me a little envious was the give-and-take that is possible with an in-person reading.  While I love email readings as a way of developing as a reader, there is very little exchange that goes on.  I get a question and I throw some cards, and interpret them based on what I see and what little I may know about the person’s situation.  While it’s always been accurate, I always feel like I want to give more.  So it was really cool to hear how a live reading can be so much richer and conversation-based.

So.  During their conversations he mentions that in fact he works with his former love-interest, and they’re on the same project team.  Whahhhh!  My hunch was right!  Secondly, he mentioned that the woman had desperately wanted children but was having health problems that made conception difficult.  Hello, Empress reversed…

So these were areas I had felt nervous to touch on very explicitly because I wasn’t trusting in what I was seeing/feeling.  I’m not sorry I didn’t mention them, because the reading was accurate all the same.  But it was extremely validating to have the opportunity to hear that I was right.  This pushes me along the path of developing deeper trust in myself and the stories I am seeing in readings, as well as learning more about the cards and their meanings...and what card combinations can mean when read together.  I'm grateful for this experience, and so glad I listened to Wolf and the Hierophant and took the scary leap.

Whew.  So onward marching…….

Monday, August 12, 2013

Diving Head-On into Reversals

After all my whining and pondering and uncertainty I've gone gung-ho into use of reversals. I had been keeping only the DruidCraft for that, but now all my decks are mixed up.  It all came about when I settled in to do my first stranger-reading.  I shuffled and dealt a few cards and then stared, blankly.  I could see meaning in there sort of but I realized that in order to get a really clear picture of this person's situation I needed to use reversals.  Since then I've been slowly studying them as they come up in spreads, learning potential (book) meanings as well as what they mean to me.  Seeing how their presence brings issues into sharp relief.  People argue over the relevance of reversals, and I see both sides.  But at this point I feel they give so much more depth to readings.  Guess I've made that transition!

My readings have been going really well, and I just ordered the Radiant Rider Waite and the Wildwood.  And now I'm going to bed.

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

Saturday, August 10, 2013


Temperance was my daily draw this morning.  It is an encouraging card.  It speaks of balance and harmony, patience and steadfastness, higher-level learning, awareness of where you're headed, listening to your inner voice.  In fact it reminds me a lot of the Goat card I pulled several days ago.

In fact I've had to pay more attention to "balance" recently than I have in a very long time.  Not only do I have a 40-hour/week job, but I am working on development in Tarot, and I have a family.  So finding a comfortable way to balance out all of those things has been on my mind, and so far I feel I'm doing a pretty decent job of that.

Morgan Greer Tarot

When I had to choose my availability for free-reading several days ago I spent a lot of time thinking about it.  I didn't want to take on so many that I felt overwhelmed, or wasn't able to spend an appropriate amount of time focusing on each individual spread.  But at the same time I wanted to make sure I was receiving enough readings to create valuable and regular opportunities for practice and development.  I think I've done okay with that so far.  I feel that no more than two per day, and sometimes only one, is best.  That way I can give my attention to everything that needs it in my life - spending time with my kids and husband, cooking, doing errands, working, etc. - while still having enough time to devote energy to doing the best readings that I can.  

So, so far so good.  This is still a fairly new progression, however, so it's something I'll have to keep in mind as I go.  

I received feedback on the reading I did for the Tarot site owner, and it was really, really positive and affirming.  I felt so validated by it, and it just felt like another message that I am heading in the right direction.  I'll have to remember this when in the future I should find myself struggling again with self-doubt! <3

Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Knight of Cups Comes A Callin'

I pulled the Knight of Cups this morning for my daily draw..... moments after completing my first free reader spread.  Very fitting, and.....holy crap.... I have butterflies in my stomach.

Actually it was good.  Really good.  I mean, I haven't received any feedback from the querent, and I am kind of preparing myself for something horrible.  But I really think it was right on.  The question was rather vague, but not too vague to be able to work with.  I felt I was able to connect with the querent's energy... how is this possible?  I didn't know what to expect at first.  But I found that by thinking of the photo that accompanied the question, thinking of the person's name, and thinking of the client's card constellation (which I got from the birthdate), I did feel myself connecting.  And when I drew the cards I knew it was right, because not only did the suit and card numbers resonate with the main issue presented in the question, but the outcome card was the client's personality/soul card.  I like calculating that information so I can see if it pops up in a spread.  And there it was!  Also, the four cards I chose worked together... I could see the story.  Of course afterwards I found myself entrenched in a lot of self-doubt (but HOW can you know it will make any sense to this person at all??).

Morgan Greer Tarot

I also decided to select an extra card from the Druid Animal Oracle, and it supported the message from the spread.  So yeah, it was great.  But I'm not going to allow myself to believe it just yet... not until I hear back from the querent.  Crossing my fingers on that one.  At the same time, I've thought: "What if I do get terrible feedback about how off I was?  How would that make me feel?"  And in the end I realized that I'm confident in the reading I did.  I mean, the question was kinda vague, and my reading was thorough, but not terribly specific (how could it be?).  But I'm sure there were some valuable nuggets of truth in the reading, and I hope the client feels that way.  We shall see.....

P.S. I used my DruidCraft deck, which is the deck I'm using to practice reversals.  I feel that not knowing the person I'm reading for makes using reversals a better option... because the reversals give slightly clearer meanings.  Two of the four cards I picked in this spread were reversals.  I think it'll be a great way to become increasingly comfortable using them (doing email readings, that is, where I have the luxury of wading through meanings).

P.P.S. The client got back to me eventually, and his feedback "spot on."  *sigh*

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Healing and Learning

Yesterday I pulled the beautiful Frog card from Druid Animal Oracle.  It was deeply meaningful coming the morning after Jorge's bad news about a death in the family.  Frog teaches healing, sensitivity, the power of medicine, and finding the beautiful aspects of life when all else looks bleak.  I chose not to share it with him, as it seemed a bad time.  Later in the day he asked me what my daily draw was, so I told him anyway. He didn't say much.  I told him I hadn't felt it necessary to share it with him, and that I thought it was more important for me to receive that message, as I'm his principal support.  But I do hope that when all is said and done he will be able to gain some perspective on it all, and find the positive glimmers amidst the pain.

                                Druid Animal Oracle (Philip/Stephanie Carr-Gomm)                                      

This morning I pulled the Hierophant.  It was another (like the Page of Cups) that left me a bit curious, but I decided it must be right, and I'd just have to see what the day brought me. Well, I've been toying seriously with the idea of becoming a free reader to develop my experience reading for strangers.  But I've been nervous and not sure if I was ready.  Last night I came across someone's forum post where they asked others when they had known they were ready to start reading strangers....and most of the replies were some version of "if you're asking this question, you're ready - go for it!" Hm...okay.  

Today my visiting parents took one kid off on an adventure, leaving me home with the other two.  Jorge is on a plane to tend to his family's crisis far away.  And I didn't have to work today!  I also didn't have a car, so I was fairly stuck.

The cable guy came at 10am, and I'd totally forgotten that Jorge had called them to come check on our service.  Hmm....Hierophant?  Kinda....the guy was a representative of a large company....meh...kinda weak.

Later I found myself pondering (for the billionth time) being a free reader.  Suddenly I realized that that was pretty Hierophanty.  Relationship to spirituality....a formal organization which required a joining process.....the possibility of receiving feedback, which is a kind of guidance.....access to a network of other readers.....yeah, totally!

So after a lot more mulling and considering, and running ideas by my husband via phone...and asking my 6 year old which free-reader website looked prettier....I went for it!!!

Which sort of begs the much did my daily draw influence me to make a decision I might not otherwise have made today?  Honestly, I was already REALLY close to making this decision.  If anything, I think the Hierophant was saying "Just shut up and do it already!!!"  So I appreciate the shove.  I know this was the right's to a new adventure! :-)

Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot

P.S. Going to bed tonight I saw the Page of Swords on someone's blog which reminded me that as I was shuffling for my daily draw this morning, the Page of Swords popped out.  At the time I thought "honesty, fairness, intellect, truth, hmmmm......" And promptly forgot it and kept shuffling.  Now it seems so obvious, and I seem so obtuse.  The Page also represents having the strength to face obstacles squarely, learning or teaching, staying optimistic, etc.  It fits my own inner struggle with free reading perfectly, and also, being a Page, highlights the newness of my situation.  The Page represents air, thought, idea....and the Hierophant is the earthy embodiment of similar things.  

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Same Message, Twice in a Row

I did a spread this evening for someone using DruidCraft with reversals, in a 7 card Horseshoe.
Not gonna lie, it was a challenging read.  It took a lot of time to mentally sort through the reverse meanings, even though I ended up with a decent handle on the message.

But I wanted to cross-check it, "just to see." Just me testing my doubts, again.  Silly girl! Ha...
I did a 3 card spread, no reversals, using the Morgan Greer deck.  I got a succinct, clear message, very easy to read, and it was exactly the same message as the first spread.

Morgan Greer Tarot

It got me thinking.....the reversals were accurate, though cumbersome (at least partially due to the fact that I am not accustomed to using them).  But I got the same message, simple and clear and not at all cumbersome, with the short spread, all upright!  Both spreads even had a majority of the same suit, which was definitely significant to the question asked.  In the end it made me feel like the longer spread, and the reversals even, were just giving me more "noise" than was necessary.

I have one deck that I've decided to set aside for reversal practice, so I'll keep working on my comfort level with them.  I do see value there, especially for readings about complicated situations.  But it was nice to see how the same idea can be accurately conveyed using a different format and no reversals at all.  

I've been trying to incorporate the elemental dignities into my readings as much as possible, and to some extent numerology, which I feel has been successful, and does help highlight important areas in a spread.  

Only one way to go....keep on practicing :-)

My First Original Spread!

So I never considered making my own spread.  I figured that there are so many spreads out there for everything under the sun, why bother adding to it?  But yesterday I was contemplating love readings.  I decided to throw together a spread that could be used if two people are facing relationship challenges and need some clarity.  That is all well and good, but what about if a couple's relationship is going really well, and they just want some insights into it?  Some family members are celebrating their anniversary today, and they're one of the best couples I know.  I decided to create a spread with them in mind, and do a reading for them for their anniversary.  They were pleased with the outcome and happy to have me share the results with the world, though even so I will keep their identities somewhat obscure. I'll use the names Jack and Jill :-).

I don't have a name for this spread yet, but this is the layout:
1      4  5  6

I used Morgan Greer Tarot for the reading.

So as I flipped the cards over I was sure I'd done a poor job.  I saw a Swords, and some other things that were slightly unexpected.  After I stopped judging everything and actually started really looking at and thinking about the cards, I realized how meaningful and positive they were.  So here is my analysis:

Card 1, Current state of relationship: Empress - all is well at home!  There is a lot of love, mutual support, give and take.  There is sensuality, earthiness, and nourishment.

Card 2, What she brings to the relationship: 10 of Swords - change!  Jill doesn't mess around.  When she's done, she's done.  Once she identifies something that is old, no longer working, boring, annoying (etc) she cuts it out and makes room for something new and better.

Card 3, What he brings to the relationship: 8 of Cups - change....but slower!  Jack spends a lot of energy cultivating the world around him.  He may put a lot of time, energy and emotion into something that isn't really satisfying him.  The good thing is that once he realizes that it's not feeding his soul, he will move on.  He's able to take the journey to find what will satisfy him.

Card 4, Potential obstacles: 3 of Wands - future goals.  It may be hard getting past the initial planning stages of a creative idea.  One person might want one thing, while the other isn't convinced.  One might be full of ideas, and the other is fine where he/she is. Two people with diverging long-term goals makes for some struggles.

Card 5, The Key to success: Knight of Cups - they love each other.  But more than that! They share a lot of deep, core values that draw them together.  They appreciate beauty and the finer things in life.  They share a commitment to self-improvement.  Their ability to tune in to others' emotions makes them sensitive to each other, but also forms the foundation for their shared profession.  

Card 6, the Future: 4 of Cups - Jill's ideas clash with Jack's comfort with where he is and what he already has at his disposal (the saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" comes to mind).  This is a potential next step, moving forward from the 3 of Wands. Perhaps some compromise will occur, that honors both people's feelings/needs/desires.  Perhaps an offer or opportunity will come along to help solve this issue, and imbue movement into feelings of stagnancy.  

The foundations are very strong (Empress and Knight of Cups).  The Knight's position between a fire card (wands) and water card (cups) gives it enhanced importance: none of the obstacles faced will shake the core of the relationship. This is supported by their complementary Soul cards (Empress and Emperor).  Both people bring the capacity for change to the marriage, albeit in two very different styles.  This is further supported by their Personality/Shadow cards: Jill's as the World and the Hanged Man, and Jack's as the Fool and Death.  

Interestingly, the numerological sum of the spread (using the four, numbered Minor Arcana) is 7 = The Chariot. I feel this signifies that they work well as a team, and know themselves and each other well.  When they agree on a goal, they see it through together. They deal well with life's challenges because of their strong connection to each other.

So Jill told me she was really happy with the results, and impressed with the accuracy.  That made my day, especially because it was my first time trying out a spread I created.  I'm encouraged to work on other new spreads in the future!

Page of Cups, Newsbearer

Yesterday I pulled the Page of Cups as my daily draw.  To be honest, it didn't really speak to me.  I tend to think of it as representing an emotional healing, or the hint at a new love or other sort of relationship.  Love, forgiveness, intuition, sensitivity, etc etc. I did think of the the potential meaning that it could represent delivery of good news.  Nothing really made a lot of sense based on what I know of my life at present, or what I knew of my day ahead.

So, I drew my card from Morgan Greer Tarot, and I'm not using reversals with that deck.  I am still pondering whether or not I want to use them at all.... I already use reversed meanings to some extent (in "advice" or "obstacle" positions, usually, and in any other circumstances that seem to make sense).  I've had some times where I've experimented with reversals and pulled one which seemed to fit very well....and then pulled another on another day where it was clear that the upright meaning was the correct one.  So that has not helped sway me either way!

                                           Morgan Greer Tarot                                             

That said, I put the Page out of my mind all day, and even considered that it may not have been the "right" card for me, for whatever reason (we're on vacation, not in the usual environment, lots of distractions).  I considered that, even despite what I've come to repeat often, which is "the cards don't lie." You may misinterpret them,  you may not understand them, you may not want to hear the message...but the cards tell you what's up.

So nothing Pagey really happened all day.  We settled into bed.  Gabriel was a bit ill, but nothing serious.  Just as I was getting ready to close my eyes, Jorge says "oh my God..." several times. Turned out that he had just received news of a death in his extended family which is having a major emotional impact on him.  So.....there it was.  The Page came bearing news.  Emotional news...but not happy news.  

This is the kind of moment that makes me in awe of the beauty of the cards, but also makes me second guess the value of using reversals.  Though honestly, even if I'd have pulled the Page of Cups reversed, I probably would not have felt it fit my day any more appropriately.  We can't really foresee this kind of thing, much less with a daily draw.  Still, it's been a profound lesson for me.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Ram: Druid Animal Oracle

Today I decided to pick my daily card from the Druid Animal Oracle (Philip/Stephanie Carr-Gomm and Will Worthington).  I picked Ram, which is my astrological Moon sign, Aries.  It signifies steadfastness, advancement, and breakthrough.  With steady progress, and attention to both the duties of daily life and progress toward future goals, success will be achieved along with the feeling of "coming home." What a lovely message today :-)

Saturday, August 3, 2013

A New Language

I love it when I can relate things back to my professional specialty: language acquisition.

Tarot is like learning a language.  When you learn the basics of a new language you feel proud at your new skill, feel excited to try your new skill out (or conversely, feel scared to look like an idiot).  You flex your wings, practice forming new sounds with your mouth.  

Inevitably at some point in your studies you come to the realization that the more you learn, the less you feel you know.  Those moments of excitement and pride become a distant memory, as the deep reality of true learning sets in.  This often serves as the dividing line between serious students and those simply caught up in the fleeting fun of being able to order a coffee in French.  The latter become overwhelmed, realize that it takes a lot of time, a lot of practice, and a lot of investment - on many levels of being - to truly be fluent in another language, and quickly fade away.  The former stand back in awe of their "smallness" in the grand scheme of the acquisition process.  But they are moved by that awe, appreciate it, learn from it, are humbled by it, and continue on their way with even-keeled determination.  Once they learn their first new language they are wise enough to know that they will always be a student; learning never ceases to occur or be necessary.  And when they start to learn their next languages, they start to anticipate the awe, the precipice, and they begin to savor that feeling.  It serves as a marker of how far they've come, and while they have so much more before them, they now know that they can, and will, reach their goals.


I had a great afternoon with my mom today.  In a way she was my first Tarot teacher, and will always be a role model for me in terms of cultivating honor and trust in our intuition.  She is in town visiting for a week (my daily draw today was 6 of Cups) and she asked me for a reading.  I was admittedly a bit nervous, though happy to comply.  She knows what she's seeing in the cards, and I haven't had much practice with 1) verbalizing my story weaving, and 2) feeling the need to figure a spread out quickly and begin to relay the messages.  So I wasn't sure how it would go, or how I would feel.  It turned out well, in the end.  I had my first real-life experience of reading something that wasn't at least partially based on prior knowledge....and being correct despite my anxiety and self-doubt.  I also had my first experience of being nearly entirely stumped by a card, and having to simply describe it.  Turns out it did speak to her, but it related to aspects of her life I had no awareness of.  I was sitting there trying to figure out what the card could possibly mean, offering a possibility (based on what I do know about her circumstances, though it didn't feel right).  When she thought about it for a few moments, she realized exactly what the card was referring to, and we chatted about it.  I realized that I don't have to know or have a strong idea about a particular card in order for it to speak to a client loud and clear.  Or maybe not even loud and clear - it could be that, like my mom, after some time thinking about it, it suddenly clicks into place.  

She asked me about my path with Tarot and I said that I had kind of accidentally fell into this as a calling.  We talked about how I worked with Medicine Cards as a kid, and how her Tarot storytelling always captivated me.  I said "remember how I always wanted to be a doctor, except for that unfortunate issue of advanced math and chemistry?  Well, I'm following that deep desire to help heal people.  Instead of modern medicine, I think I can do it through herbal study and Tarot." She nodded her head in acceptance and understanding.  She's a counselor, and highly intuitive, and still an active card reader, and she knows what I'm talking about.  She told me a story so I would understand how intuition doesn't always make sense, but how important it is to go with it, no matter what your brain is telling you:

When she was attending a workshop many years ago the attendees were doing an exercise where they were attempting to tune into a partner's emotions.  My mom was struggling, and finally asked if it was okay if she could touch her partner's arm, and was given permission.  She suddenly saw an image in her mind of a stuffed rocking chair in the form of an old woman.  It was the same kind of chair she'd seen before in a children's museum.  She was totally confused by the image, but decided to report it anyway.  Her partner broke down crying because he'd recently lost his grandmother with whom he'd been very close.  I'd heard that story before, but I never tire of hearing it.  It's an important reminder that Tarot doesn't always involve puzzle pieces that fit together seamlessly.  Sometimes the story doesn't seem to make sense, or there's a piece that seems awkward with the others.  Sometimes you see a clear message that seems odd or not perfectly in line with textbook card meanings.  It's okay.  Report what you see and feel, trusting in your intuition.

I'm loving how I feel this night as I peer out over the precipice of Tarot acquisition.  I'm moved by it, humbled by it, grateful for it, and deeply drawn to what lies before me.