Throwback Tarot: Valentine Q&A

Romance Tarot Q&A: What do the Lovers card and the Ace of Cups mean in a romance reading?

Hello and welcome to TaoCraft Tarot blogcast. I’m glad you are here. This is the updated version of a post from Valentine season 2015:

Q: What does the combination of the Lovers Card and the Ace of Cups card mean in a tarot reading when the question is about romance?

A: It depends.

This where Tarot reading gets complicated. This is exactly why professionals charge for their services. It takes time, experience and deliberate effort to learn how to fit multiple cards together like this, especially when there is a specific context or question like romance. Good for you for taking it on and giving it such thoughtfulness! Thank you for sharing your question. I appreciate the opportunity to give everyone a behind the scenes peek at multiple card Tarot readings.

Even when you are only dealing with a one card meditation, context matters. What was the question you asked, specifically? What kind of general energy did you sense from the cards? Advice? Caution? Validation? Acknowledgement? Something else? Is there any purely intuitive impressions coming through beside the basic card meanings? Of all of the card meaning available in references and “little white books” did any of those meanings jump out at you?

Now take all of those one card considerations and raise them to the power of 2 or more cards. Understanding a full layout asks you to take all of the single card things into account than layer the card spread considerations on top. What layout were you using? What position were these cards within that layout? What meaning did those layout positions have? Professionals think about all those things as we do a reading. That’s why I always have my Tarot reading students start with a one card daily meditation practice before moving on to multiple cards.

The more cards, the more exponentially complicated the reading becomes. Which is why I don’t use large layouts like the Celtic Cross for myself or for my clients. In my experience after 7 cards or so a reading gets real gnarly, real fast. For me seven cards is the tipping point where the reading becomes more confusing than helpful.

Now take all of that technical stuff and multiply it again by ethical considerations. Romance readings are a special kind of difficult because of the other person involved. Unless you have the significant other person’s direct, real-world permission to read about them, then the reading has to focus only on the person getting the reading. Even when you are doing the reading for yourself and it seems internal and private, you still must respect the other person’s wishes on an energy level. If you don’t get a sense of the other person, then that’s it. The reading is about you and you alone. Other people have every right to keep their thoughts, feelings, intentions and energy to themselves. The key is to look for advice about how YOU can help the relationship to be the best it can be. Don’t try to know what the other person thinks or feels or will do. Try to know what is the highest and best for your part in the relationship. That focus on you applies to both the readings that you do for yourself and any relationship readings a professional does on your behalf.

All of that aside, we still haven’t tried to understand these particular two cards.

For example if the Ace of Cups is in a layout position that represents “a lesson from your past,” you might get a different overall message than if the Lovers was in that position. For example, if we interpret the Ace as “inner light” (as Diane Morgan does) then Ace of Cups as a “lesson from the past” layout position within a romance reading might be asking you to bring your inner wisdom to the question. It might ask if the relationship is making your inner light brighter or making it dimmer. How is the relationship’s effect on your inner light similar or different from past relationships?

Now switch things around. The Lovers card symbolizes your deepest desires. If the lessons from the past is to look at desires and what you’ve learned from them…the message may be more on the order of “be clear about what you desire for this romance.” In the lessons from the past position of a layout, that might change the Lovers’ advice. Or it may be asking you to think about how your romantic hopes and dreams have evolved over time. Do you still want the same thing from this romance as you used to?

So by extension…if you change the card’s layout positions and position meanings, you may not change the card’s basic meaning, but you do change the underlying message. The same card in a different layout position and in combination with different cards does changes the whole reading in some big ways. It’s a lot to think about but those layers upon layers of meanings are the difference between a good reading and truly masterful one.

So the real answer to your question is that I can’t tell what the two cards mean together without knowing more about the layout you used and the question you asked. It would be better to talk about those things in private. I never put private or identifying information in the blog.

I hope this helps a little. Let me know if you want to set up a private second opinion lesson or if you would rather have me do a new and more current reading for you.

Thank you everyone for reading and listing to this vintage post from my TarotBytes Blog on the old Modern Oracle Tarot website. I still do this kind of second opinion Tarot consulting. They are supportive, judgement free, and education oriented. The consults are available on the no appointment needed tab at the top of this page for blog readers. I’ll put a link in the episode description for podcast listeners.

See you next time in the TaoCraft Tarot blog cast for a Valentine’s Day You Choose Interactive Tarot reading.

Oracle’s Toolkit: Pendulums

Learn to use a pendulum in this new TaoCraft Tarot series “Oracle’s Toolkit”

Thank you for reading the TaoCraft Tarot blog and listening to the podcast. I’m glad you are here.

This behind the scenes style post originally appeared in my old Tarotbytes blog on the Modern Oracle website in January of 2018. Caught up in re-branding everything from Modern Oracle to TaoCraft Tarot, the Oracle’s Toolkit series fell by the wayside. The series is returning with this edited reprise, but brand new posts will follow. I’m keeping the “Oracle’s Toolkit” title as a nod to the Modern Oracle days.

Working with oracle tools like Tarot cards or pendulums turns up the volume on your own intuition. Working with an oracle tool plus a professional who is an expert at using that tool turns the volume up to 11. Still, your energy, your message, and your knowing lies at the center of it all.

A client once asked “I’m thinking about X, should I do X or not?” This is the perfect kind of question for a psychic reading. Like I’ve said dozens of times, “Tarot doesn’t predict what will happen in life, it helps you to figure out what to do when life happens.” The same is true of any type of psychic reading or divination method.

As a professional reader, I always feel I’ve done my job well when a client sits back, their shoulders relax down a bit and they say “that’s what I thought.”

The tricky part of this particular reading was that their “X” involved something that really needed concrete logic, not intuition. It involved a subject that I don’t know at all and that a non-expert really shouldn’t spout off about. Fortunately, the client had already talked to someone and had qualified advice in hand. They were looking for inspiration and validation for a decision they had to make based on that advice.

Some decisions can’t be made for you, by expert advisors or spiritual advisors either one. My instinct at the time was to teach this person how to use a pendulum so they could apply their own intuition to a potentially life altering decision. This situation needed deep inner connection, not more outside input.

One of the arguments against pendulums is that they are actually controlled by small, subconscious “ideomotor” muscle movements. Skeptics object to pendulums because they aren’t any sort of outside guidance at all. Skeptics say that the person is simply projecting their subconscious desire onto the pendulum through the minute muscle movements.

EXACTLY! That’s the WHOLE POINT of it!

Using a pendulum cuts through self doubt and second guessing to get at an honest preference. The end result is functionally no different from someone who flat out makes the decision they want from the start. Using a pendulum may not change the end decision, but it can make a qualitative difference in the decision making process. Using an oracle tool can lead to a decision that is less impulsive and more thoughtful, made while engaging both logical and creative thinking. If using a pendulum adds an element of confidence to a difficult decision, then the pendulum has served a good purpose.

The same is true whatever kind of oracle tool a person might use. By oracle tool, I mean any physical object or method that helps us to access our innate wisdom with greater ease and clarity. These tools simply amplify our connection to the natural intuition that we all posses.

Think of actual sound amplifiers and microphones. Using an amplifier doesn’t have an outside influence or give any special outside information to the musician who is using it. Equally, pendulums don’t don’t have any influence or offer any special outside information. Both actual amplifiers and pendulums help bring something inside you out into the world in a more definitive way.

Using a pendulum is astonishingly simple.

First, get a pendulum.

I’ve noticed a lot of online how-to videos show people using beautiful crystal and gemstone pendulums. Crystals and gems enhance and beautify the experience. They are a welcome addition to any reading, but they are not by any means necessary. There is no reason to invest in a high end fancy pendulum until you work with the technique for a little while and see if it really is right for you or not. Any weight will do. I did my first pendulum work with a an old necklace. Now I use a purpose made metal pendulum but you could use a hex nut tied to a piece of twine for all that it matters.

The actual pendulum matters much less than your clarity of mind.

Probably the most important step in all of this is putting your concern into a single, concise, yes-or-no format. Pendulums are not chatty. They give you yes. They give you no. That’s it. That’s all there is. You can build more complex guidance with a series of questions, but each individual questions must be in a clear, specific yes-or-no form.

After you have your question clear in your mind, you have to be equally clear about how the yesses and nos are represented. Swing the pendulum on purpose and say firmly “this means yes”. Most people pick backward and forward (toward you and away from you) for this answer. Swing the pendulum on purpose and say firmly “this means no” Most people choose a left and right, side to side motion for this.

Once you’ve done the deliberate swings, dangle the pendulum in a way that lets the weight swing freely. Stop the pendulums movement with your free hand. Then just ask your question, wait watch to see what happens. If it starts to swing, there’s your answer. If the pendulum doesn’t move or goes in circles that means the answer is unknown, or hasn’t been decided. Try again later, as the pool ball toy says.

We will add details and expand on the whole process in the Oracle’s Toolkit ebook.

Thank you again for reading and listening. None of the TaoCraft Tarot online content is monetized, so your purchase of private email Tarot readings on the blog website combined with the “buy me a coffee” donations and Tarot Table memberships on ko-fi all support the creation of this free Tarot blog and podcast. Your support through likes, subs, shares and follows are greatly appreciated too.

See you next time on TaoCraft Tarot blog and podcast.

Throw Way Back Thursday

While life is at elfcon-1 and the holidays are what they are, thought it might be fun to do a throw back Thursday. I don’t do that often, since Tarot is a very present-moment kind of thing. You can’t step into the same energy flow twice to paraphrase that old saying about a river.

Here is a post I wrote on my old Modern Oracle Tarotbytes blog from 2010, just for the fun of it.

Parralax – May 27, 2010 (Tarotbytes blog,

“Camera 1, Camera 2, Camera 1, Camera 2” ~ Wayne’s World 2

Ever play with that trick of eyesight? Close one eye, and hold up a pencil so it lines up with an object in the distance. Then switch eyes and the pencil seems to jump to one side. Things don’t line up the same way.

In astronomy, this is called parallax. In biology, it’s called binocular vision where the brain combines the two slightly different views from our two eyesto give us depth perception. it’s the camera 1 / camera 2 slight difference in viewpoint allows us to perceive distance. Two eyes lets us visually live in three dimensions. It helps us to not walk into objects and learn our environment the hard way.

A similar idea is true in Tarot and psychic work. Getting a reading isn’t predicting the future…it is getting a second look, a separate viewpoint that lets us see with greater clarity, depth and understanding. It helps us be a bit more perceptive, and not have to do everything the hard way.

Two third-eyes are better than one.

Even those of us who do readings will sometimes GET a professional reading in order to improve our understanding and fill in any blind spots.

I like to think that psychics consulting psychics is a bit like binocular vision…two views that can be fused together into a higher quality, more useful vision. It is a bit like the very large array of radio telescopes made famous in the movie “Contact”…each person, psychic or not, has their own individual “radio telescope” except that we call it intuition. When we communicate with another antenna, it gives a result that is like having a dish as large as the distance between them.

If one eye is closed, then depth perception doesn’t work. If one telescope is down, the array doesn’t work as well. We each bring our part to a reading. You bring your insight too. Working together, we double our view. Depending on a psychic, or a reading to “predict” the future, or what will happen is third-eye-blind.

Work together, by combining your knowing and insight with the reading, taking responsibility for your actions and decisions…working with the psychic that way, you can see farther into the cosmos.

Wishing you open-eyed clarity

TaoCraft Tarot Credo

Wabi sabi is wonderful

Of course, the first time I heard the term, my first thought was the green paste that comes with sushi, which I also adore.

As I understand it, Wabi Sabi is a Japanese aesthetic style that embraces the rustic and imperfect. Kintsugi is an art form based in that style (and philosophy, really) where broken things are repaired but the joint are accented with precious metals.


I’ve admired Japanese and Chinese culture for ages. Time and time and time again Taoism and Zen (Ch’an) has proven true for me and added to the quality of my life. I’ve gone back to it so many times, Imma stay right here (hence the re-branding name change thing.)

To my mind, wabi sabi is very much akin to the smiling Lau Tzu in the classic print “The Vinegar Tasters.” Sure, vinegar tastes sour and bitter, but OK…that is exactly how vinegar is supposed to taste. Sure, things get broken, but OK…we can fix it as best as we can and maybe make it into something better. Sure, life has its bumps, lumps, asymmetries, cracks, hiccups and outright disasters, but OK….that is what life is. As @officialmadamadam said on Instagram, “Shit doesn’t happen to you, shit just happens” or as Ajahn Sumedho titled his book Don’t Take Your Life Personally or as Duane Toops and Jim Martin have said in The Unusual Buddha podcast and social media “embrace the suck.”

Big recommends for all three sources.

But, as always, it begs the question of what does THAT have to do with Tarot. This is a Tarot blog for goodness’ sake.

It is about the pop culture perception of a fortune teller’s predictions vs the true spiritual nature and practical use of our native intuition (and the tools like Tarot that helps us to access that intuition)

Tarot can’t make the sour taste sweet, but it can help us to appreciate a good pickle every now and then. Tarot can’t tell you what is going to break or when, but it can help you put it all back together in time.

In-person readings and party Tarot readings are closed due to substantial delta covid community transmission. In-person services will re-open when community transmission returns to low as reported in CDC data. Because science.

Meanwhile, email no appointment needed distance Tarot is available to order 24/7 and LIVE online/phone readings are available by appointment

Cartomancy is back

Tarot is cartomancy.

Cartomancy is just a fancy name for an intuitive reading with cards. Any cards. RWS Tarot, Lenormand Tarot, gaming cards, oracle decks, anything. I suppose you could use baseball trading cards or greeting cards if you want. The key part of it all is intuition. The important part is you, your heart, your mind, your imagination and your spirit. Cards in any style are just a tool to help us access our intuition more easily and communicate it better. As Tarot and oracle cards have become more popular and well known, the term cartomancy has become a more specific term. Cartomancy has come to mean a reading with the modern game playing deck in particular.

Tarot and the gaming deck have a long history together, albeit a fuzzy one. Some sources say the modern gaming deck is a pared down poor man’s Tarot that used only the minor arcana ostensibly to make it affordable and portable, especially for soldiers. Other sources say that the gaming deck is far older, and Tarot is an expanded gaming deck embellished to appeal to the wealthy who could afford the more intricate printing, the extra paper and had the leisure time to use it. Over time, it seems both stories carry equal weight, but personally I don’t think either story really matters.

Either way, the real upgrade in Tarot came with the Waite Smith Tarot deck in 1909. Waite Smith is the first, it seems, to put detailed unique images on the numbered cards of minor arcana.

The well-known Tarot de Marseille, dating to the 17th century, didn’t have intricate artwork on the numbered 1 – 10 cards. Instead they only showed the given number of suit symbols. The two of coins had two coins drawn on it and so on. The minor arcana of the Marseille deck is styled just like the pips of the gaming deck. Or vice versa. The “face” cards of the game deck are very akin to the “court” cards of Tarot’s minor arcana.

A modern game playing deck is, basically, an old-style Tarot deck without the major arcana or the knight cards. Do you need the major arcana to do a good reading? Not really. People do major arcana only readings all of the time. In the early days of computers and the webbernet, computerized Tarot programs would often give major-only versions for free or low cost with full price full decks – kind of like in-app purchases.

Major arcana only, minor arcana only, classic Tarot or dollar store playing cards, all cards serve the same purpose. They are just the springboard and projection screen for our innate intuition.

So why do do game-deck cartomancy at all?

Kindness, gentleness, and a light touch.

As silly as it may seem to those of us used to Tarot, the occult, and pagan aesthetic, some people are genuinely nervous about Tarot cards. Usually it stems from some old, long held religious indoctrination. Those are not easy things to overcome. Cartomancy is a kinder gentler way to explore intuition and spiritual exploration and personal growth for those who are nervous about Tarot for whatever reason.

Cartomancy is like intuition training wheels. Gaming decks have been used as a beginner deck, just like the ‘student’ line in musical instrument. Once you’ve learned your art, you can upgrade.

Personally, I think it is the exact opposite. Teaching someone to do readings with playing cards is kind of like teaching someone to swim by throwing them in the deep end of the pool. Having primaily only pips to work from, you have no choice but to rely on pure intuition.

Luckily the deep end is a good way to train in Tarot and intuition even if it isn’t so much for swimming. It’s a little like swinging a weighted bat. To mix sports metaphors, throwing a student in the deep end of the card-reading pool makes reading image laden Tarot cards seem like a breeze by comparison.

If you take Tarot lessons with me, we will learn cartomancy first. Bring your snorkle.

And yes, that is a big tease for the Autumnal Equinox roll-out announcements.


I’m bringing cartomancy readings back. If you would like a taste (or if you know someone who is interested in exploring card readings but is worried about Tarot’s oogie boogie reputation) they are available for purchase HERE . Get a three card cartomancy pathway for $10 (instead of $15 for the Tarot three card pathway reading)

An no, it isn’t a cutesy pants promotion. That’s the permanent price.

Something Completely Different

Dammit Jim, I’m a writer not a…..

At this point, low production value sucky YouTube videos and awkward podcasts are practically my BRAND in the social media Tarot world. This is no different.

But it IS different in base content. This shows you how I do my yes-or-no readings. The layout came up in conversation with a client and ever since it has been niggling at my attention.


After all these years (30 of them, remember?) I’ve learned to listen to the niggles when the capricious muses hit me over the head with a cosmic shillelagh if you’ll pardon the mixed metaphor.

I think Zombie Cat wants a summer shamble. The paws are itching to do some yes or no layouts for you good folks. No, this isn’t a cutesy pants special offer, this is something straight up NEW.

I’ve added a yes/no Tarot THREE QUESTION bundle in the special layouts section of email distance Tarot that is available to you to order 24/7/365.

Individual results and delivery times may vary, all policies and disclaimers apply, no lifeguard on duty, swim at your own risk, wash your hands, eat your vegetables and ffs consult with your doctor and get your friggin’ vaccine.

Today’s Tarot: Raise Your Chalice

This is one of those times where the card feels, to me, to be way out of synch with today’s energy. It just doesn’t capture the momentum of the moment. Something’s off.

Sometimes when this happens I’ll just re-draw the card and take the “off” feeling as my cue that some other message is more urgent or pressing than the first card can convey.

Other times I’ll just let it stand in the hope that it helps some unknown someone somewhere out there in cyberspace. This is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about the other day in the podcast:

BUT, as I go along, today’s card is turning out to be less about the card, less about a somebody-somewhere message and more about the Tarot reading process. This is a message for folks on my side of the reading table. Any card could potentially carry this energy thread, not just the three of cups.

The “I don’t know who needs to hear this but….” trope has always made me feel a little annoyed and agitated, but I never understood why until now. Not only is it overused and cliche, but strikes me as a little arrogant self-serving. It is as if the person writing it thinks they have some special, secret, better knowledge than everyone else. Maybe they do, but why not just say what’s on your mind without the “I don’t know who needs to hear this” part? It sounds like a power play over that unknown someone that you think you know better than. You were going to post the idea anyway. It serves no purpose to amp it up like you are some hero messenger from on high going out of your way to drop some wisdom on some poor wretch who doesn’t even know they need helped.

Of COURSE we don’t know who needs to hear it. We are pushing our ideas out into a public forum, not responding to a specific person. If we publish a reading about a particular person, then that flirts with violating their privacy (unless they give conscious consent for the reading to be used that way, which some people have…for which I am very grateful.)

OF COURSE we don’t know who “needs to hear this.” They never ASKED to hear it. That unknown someone out there might not WANT our almighty opinion. Who are we to say what anybody NEEDS to hear whether we know who they are or not? We are interpreters, neither judges of need nor arbiters of truth.

It’s a roundabout way to get there, but this mis-matched energy today is a good reminder of why I want to bring Reiki and medical ethics and professionalism to my Tarot work. In Reiki we don’t do energy work with someone without some level of consent. One of my Reiki teachers once told a story about a time where they saw breaking news on TV. Out of kindness and an impulse to help they sent energy to a person in the live news feed. The energy bounced back hard because it wasn’t requested or wanted. Since then, they use and teach the intent of sending energy unconditionally and without expectation, so the energy can be accepted OR rejected as the recipient sees fit – even in planned distance sessions. I’ve tried to adopt that same stance in Tarot blogging and social media. The Reiki in our teacher’s example was sent out of sincere compassion and a desire to help, not at all intended to be arrogant. The same is true of those “I don’t know who needs to hear this” posts online. But as the adage goes, the road to hell is paved with good intentions – and tired social media tropes. There is such a thing as unintended consequences. We may not intend to be egoistic, but our work can still drift in that direction if we aren’t careful. I’m as guilty of that as anyone, maybe more than most.

Sometimes the lines between simple enthusiasm, a sincere desire to help, passionate evangelism and outright arrogance are very narrow. It is up to us to keep our ego in check. It is up to us to respect the universal life energy we read and the ones we read it for, both known and unknown.

That is exponentially true for those of us who have been raised in the American evangelical subculture. Our lives were so saturated with arrogant holier-than-thou pronouncements that it seems normal…but it’s not. Making holier-than-thou arrogant pronouncements is one of those things that a recovering fundamentalist has to be constantly on guard against. It really does have a certain kinship with the way that chemical dependency requires lifelong vigilance against triggers and relapses.

So no, I don’t know who needs to hear this unusual, convoluted energy message today. I won’t presume to think anyone does. I give it without expectation, for you to accept or reject as you see fit. Which is a very freeing, comforting thing on my side of the Tarot reading table. Being right all the time and the inerrant source of higher knowledge must be exhausting.

So let me raise a virtual chalice of thanks to all the many unknown someones out there. We mean well, but we also rely on your discretion and discernment. If we tell you something you needed to hear, great. We are happy to have helped. If not, then thank you for ignoring the BS and hanging in there with this until a useful message does come along. Here is to you, dear reader, for silently, energetically helping us online types to respect our audience.

Best Evidence of Gravity

“And then, for fun, he pretended that he was climbing down the wall. He did it almost instantly in his mind, convinced himself against the best evidence of gravity.” – Ender’s Game by Orsen Scott Card

I read Ender’s Game several years ago. It reminded me of the movie version of Heinlien’s Starship Troopers, but with a completely unnecessary, gratuitous final chapter. The final chapter blew it in my opinion, but like everyone else, my favorite parts where the zero gravity games and Ender’s first person descriptions of spatial orientation in that environment.

Apply that thinking to Tarot.

When Ender was floating around in zero gravity, did it change him as a person when his feet pointed in a different direction? Does the meaning of card change if you sit facing north instead of south? The Earth moves roughly what? 20 miles per second around the sun. If a card’s position in physical space really made that much difference in a card’s meaning, the meaning would change second by second wouldn’t it?

Maybe it does, but that’s for another day.

If a client is sitting directly across from me, every card that is upright from my point of view is reversed from theirs, and vice versa. A sideways card to both of us would be perfectly upright to someone sitting to the side. Early in the book, as he first travels from Earth to space, Ender realized that the names of surfaces and their function is determined by gravity. Gravity is what made any given flat surface the name of floor vs wall or ceiling. Gravity is what defined the subjective experience of down vs up or sideways. The same applies to a Tarot layout. Before you can consider reversals, you have to have some defining anchor point, some relative reference point (yeah, that kind of relative, as in Einstein’s theory of Relativity.)

The obvious reference point is the person doing the reading. But even when you have that clear definition of what a reversal IS, does really MEAN anything? Classically, a card reversal changes the meaning of the card somehow.

We’ve come to a time in human technology and civilization where we can (an in my opinion should) think larger. It’s time to take Tarot big picture. An obscenely rich guy just went to space on a lark yesterday. It’s time to connect Tarot and intuition to energy rather than physicality, to a cosmic perspective rather than an earth-bound surface one.

Even without considering upright vs reversed card position, there are lots of meanings and keywords bundled into any given card. It takes practiced intuition to draw out the right meaning for the moment and the message.

Your own good internal intuition is the way to understand reversals the same as any other meaning for a card. Reversals don’t change the meaning, they enhance it.

The reversal is about the energy flow around the card, not the card meaning itself. All the good/bad, positive/negative, advising/cautioning aspects of a card’s meaning should be considered normally, regardless of upright vs reversed presentation. In this case, think of the energy flow like water flow. In an upright card, the flow is like a river, generally moving in one direction. The flow might be fast or slow, deep or shallow. Sometime, in some places, under some conditions, the flow swirls in circles, even flows backwards or sideways. Usually that happens when large rocks or bridge pilings that block the natural flow. Reversed Tarot cards hint at a block in the natural flow. Reversed Tarot cards hint at swirls, blockage and back flow connected to all of a card’s potential meanings.

The reversal of a card in a readings isn’t a definite reversal from good to bad. It could just as easily be a reversal from bad to good. Stagnation could be sweeping into a new lane of progress. A reversed card is a hint to look at energy flow and larger context.

It isn’t about the rote direction of your feet. It is about the best evidence of gravity.

Pedantic Pointer Fingers

NEW! This post is now a Clairvoyant Confessional podcast episode!

“It is like a finger pointing away to the moon. Don’t concentrate on the finger or you will miss all the heavenly glory.”

Bruce Lee
public domain

I’m not a collector by nature, but I’m convinced that professional Tarot readers should have multiple Tarot decks and plenty of books about them. Sure it is a good excuse to indulge in something we already love but decks are, after all, the tools of our trade. Mechanics use more than one size of wrench and your phone has more than one app, doesn’t it? Owning multiple decks isn’t only fun, it has practical application.

It’s said that two heads are better than one. More decks are like having more heads. Different decks mean different artwork and different insights from the guide book that typically comes with them. You can draw from all the different decks you’ve used over time to give your client deeper insights regardless of the deck you are using at the time.

Let’s consider the High Priestess card that I drew a few days ago. To paraphrase Edward Waite, the Justice card is a “spiritual mother” who interprets rules and dogma in a more spiritual way. In keeping with Tarot’s roots in the deeply Catholic culture of medieval France and Italy, Waite’s interpretation calls to mind a Saint-like or Mary-like spiritual role for the card.

Contrast that with the Steampunk Tarot by Barbara Moore and Aly Fell. It is one of the decks in my small collection and this is a photo I took of the Justice card used here under the ‘tarot education’ permissions granted on

Moore interprets the card as symbolizing something that can only be understood by direct experience. This in turn reminds me of an Instagram post by author Mat Auryn that talks about witchcraft is considered a mystery tradition not because it is a highly guarded secret, but rather because it can only understood through direct wordless experience. Both versions of the card together reminded me of the Bruce Lee quote. Anyone can point to the sky, but only you can experience the beauty of the moon for yourself.

The different cards combined with the quotes that they brought to mind all point toward an important core idea: spirituality is a direct, individual experience rather than external dogma or the product of didactic training. Among many other things, the Justice card reminds us of great mysteries and the way to experience them is directly, for ourselves. Look to the moon, not to pedantic pointer fingers.

This episode is based on the TaoCraft Tarot Blog post by the same name. There is a link to the source post in the episode description. If you have any questions about Tarot, intuition or, well, just about anything please let me know. Questions will be chosen at random or by the Clairvoyant’s caprice to be answered on air, maybe with a tarot reading. Contact information is in the episode description too.

Thank you so much for listening! See you on the print side and see you next time in the Clairvoyant’s Confessional.

That Breeze You Feel

Collaborating with Stevie Nicks on the 1991 song “Sometimes It’s a Bitch,” Jon Bon Jovi tells us exactly that…”sometimes it’s a bitch, sometimes it’s a breeze.”

And sometimes that breeze you feel is life sucking.

Like all Tarot cards, the Ten of Swords has different threads of feeling, different threads of meaning. Like life, Tarot cards are not all rainbows and unicorns. The Ten of Swords is one of the best cards in the deck at showcasing that little fact.

From my side of the Tarot table, part of reading for other people is dealing with the suckage as well as the sparkles. It’s kind of a weird juxtaposition when, as the reader, you are perfectly fine but then along comes a card like this one. When that happens, it is time for a little re-framing of the situation for the client and nice beefy boundaries between your personal feelings and the external energies. Humor helps on both sides of that strong boundary.

When you feel the breeze of suckatude for yourself or for a client, there are two main roads to take. First you have the standard issue platitudes and pep talks. Sometimes that is the legit energy coming from the card. When that is the vibe, it’s your cue to take the card down the cheerleader path: “Fall down seven times, get up eight…when life hands you lemons, make lemonade… when life hands you limes, make margaritas.” That sort of thing. There are times when that approach puts things into better perspective. Sometimes people will be receptive to the idea that the mountain is really just a speedbump and let themselves be cheered up by a colorful verbal bandage, as a toddler with a bump on the knee might be.

Other times, the mountain really is a mountain. Unicorn poop and platitudes won’t help. You can’t re-frame real problems away. That’s a recipe for so called toxic positivity (or at least an extra helping of denial, minimization and other perhaps less than healthy coping mechanisms.)

Maybe, just maybe, misery loves company because miserable people hurt a little less when they don’t feel alone at the same time. That isn’t to say you should let yourself be made miserable. Reflection, rather than re-framing comes in handy. Try acknowledging the situation while holding on to your own strength. Think of it as a head shake and “Duuuuuude” as you stick out your hand to help them up. Even if there isn’t much anyone can substantially DO for the situation, it might help a little to embrace the suck. THAT is the advice the Ten of Swords is offering today.

That breeze you feel? That’s life sucking…as it does sometimes.

“Going with the flow” is often assumed to be all peaceful, zen and pretty. Not always. Sometimes the flow you have to go with is from the wastewater treatment plant. If that is your situation – duuuuude.

That sucks. I hear you. You have every right to feel pissed/depressed/terrified. Who wouldn’t feel that way in a situation like that? Feel it. Spend a minute embracing the suck and feeling the breeze of the suckatude – but then let’s figure out what you can DO to maybe help things suck a little less.

Wishing you all clear water and quiet breezes.

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