Groot With Jingle Bells

Hello and welcome to Sage’s Short Sip: Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee.

Today’s card is the Seven of Bells, from a woodcut print for a deck of sixteenth century playing cards by German artist Peter Flotner. This particular card is part of the Alleyman’s Tarot Deck, used with permission of Publishing Goblin LLC

On seeing the card, my impression was a clear, urgent single word.


In all fairness, it is Wednesday morning as I write this and you could chalk this whole thing up to a rampaging case of the mid-week blahs. In fact that might be the whole point of it. A case of the midweek blahs might be a message to wait, to indulge in some stillness. If you ever feel hugely UNmotivated, listen to that feeling. Understand it and adjust accordingly.

This very much feels like a continuation of the energy from our week-ahead reading two days ago. It’s still an introvert’s energy paradise, but I’m getting a small sense of how an extrovert might be feeling a little restless today.

Still, I feel like the message is crisp, clear and succinct. It feels like a command to stop, be still, and wait. It feels almost like a being held still or caught in a science fiction tractor beam or force field. I hear the phrase “enforced stasis” Lots of science and science fiction words and images are coming through today.

Now I get the mental image of an old school mario video game. I don’t know if you have ever played a video game with those swinging or jumping obstacles. Running flat out at full speed will get you knocked down every time. The trick is to wait. You have to make your run in short bursts or to time the jumps just right.

Have you ever heard of psycho neuro immunology? Is that still a thing? It was in vogue back in the 80s during the early years of the AIDS epidemic. Basically it is modern scientific medicine finally taking a side eye look at the ancient mind body connection and who would have guessed – lo, and behold! Stress impacts your health and can legit affect immunity. Shocker, eh? By measuring T cells and cortisols and all sorts of technical stuff that I can’t remember , mainstream medicine figured out a thing that holistic wisdom has known all along: if you don’t get rest on your own when you need it, Mother Nature will step in and make you rest through a cold, or flu or something. Go down for a nap or be taken down for a week. Taking care of yourself mentally and physically isn’t going to 100% prevent or cure infectious diseases, especially not very serious illnesses like AIDS or Covid, but it can help your immune system do its thing when minor things come along.

So wait.


Be still.


I’m taking this one personally. It has been a busy couple of months here in the cyberspace as TaoCraft Tarot was renamed to Sage Words Tarot, I finished & uploaded TaoCraft Portfolio (the free behind the scenes ebook) and the Tarot Table subscription blog was changed, updated and changed again. It is seriously time to stop mucking around with all of this. I hope you’ll visit the links in the podcast episode description or browse the blog website or browse the ko-fi page. Comments are open on the blog and DMs are open to supporters on ko-fi. I really hope that you’ll take a look and tell me the features you like, don’t like and what you would like to see in the future. I’m listening.

I think that may be part of the “pause” or “wait” energy that is coming through this week. Listening is part of the stillness and quiet. You can’t listen to other people when you are chattering nonstop. I have things situated so that it suits my needs. It has come to the point of simply letting you know what I have to offer and if it resonates with you then great! Let’s get to work! But if it doesn’t, no worries. There are a lot of us sincere, trustworthy psychics out here – someone is bound to match your vibe. You keep looking for what you need. And as the seven of bells suggests, I’ll keep listening for what is needed.

The figure on the card seems to be made of wood, like Marvel’s Groot surrounded by jingle bells, or maybe Treebeard from Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings or the Tree people of Cheem from Doctor Who – only centuries before any of those characters were created. Actual trees that aren’t science fiction humanoids are living beings, after all.

Listen to the wind in the trees. They may be listening back.

Seven Dane Asmund, the Alleyman’s Tarot creator connected this card to change – both changing to meet the needs of others AND more importantly reminding us that we can change back to our true selves.

Here I am reminded of the Face Dancers from the original Dune book series by Frank Herbert. Face Dancers were shape shifting assassins who could take on any person’s appearance and never showed their true form while on assignment. Take out the assassin part and we all do a little bit of behavioral face dancing. To one extent or another we adapt our language and behavior to the situation. I think the connection to the card comes from the idea of a strong inner core. Like an oak tree or towering pine, our authentic self can remain still, quiet, and strong no matter how our branches sway in the wind. Still, quiet and strong, our true selves wait for us to return no matter how our outer social face dances.

Thank you so much for reading and listening. See you at the next sip!

If you enjoy this free Tarot content, please consider a private Tarot reading, subscribing to the members blog or gifting a virtual coffee on the Sage Words Tarot ko-fi page. Links are in the podcast episode description or click the white coffee mug on the blog page.

Introvert Paradise

In this Pathway through week Tarot reading, introverts and extroverts are two sides of the same important energy.

With an emphasis on individualism and alone time, this week’s energy is an introvert’s paradise. Extroverts might have a tougher time ahead and need to go out of their way to stay and feel connected.

Hello and welcome to the Sage Words Tarot blog and Sage’s Short Sip Podcast where you get Tarot contemplations for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee.

I’m Sage and I’m glad you are here. Thank you all for reading and listening. Personally, I’m thrilled for this kind of energy to come along. After changing the blog and podcast name and all of the re-arranging and updating that’s been going on since the new year began, I’m glad for a little low key time to recharge the batteries a little bit. I hope the respite is as welcome for you.

The cards are less chatty this week and the intuition is back to the typical visuals. First thing that comes to mind is a map of the US with no state lines on it, just an outline with red and blue dots on it, like a new graphic of some sort. I’m not sure exactly what else the visual might be trying to say, but my hunch is that it is pointing to individuality, like the individual dots. It’s a strange way to think about it, but that meme that has been so popular with Nicolas Cage and Pedro Pascal seems to have planted a seed with the music. The lyrics “Make your own kind of music, sing your own special song” may have planted themselves deeper in our social media loving psyche than we realized.

Unless you accept and include the diversity of everyone else on the planet, in your individuality you will walk alone.

For some alone time is a treasure, that allows us to rest from the drains and demands of life.

For others it is suffocating, isolation from the collective energy on which they thrive.

The energy this week is asking two things of us.

First is to know our own source of strength. If you are the type to need a little down time away from other people in order to rechard, that quiet is essential this week. If you thrive on unplugging for a while, then by all means do that. This isn’t the week to push outside your comfort zone. This is the week to build and protect and strengthen your comfort zone. By the same token, if you thrive on connection, this is the week to ensure that connection for yourself, yes, but also as a kindness to others who might be feeling over-isolated.

Second is to protect your energy. If your energy comes from connection, focus on those in particular. Protect your connection to groups and other individuals. The quality of connection is the important thing. Heath is the emphasis in both directions of the connection. Make sure your relationships and connections are healthy and not dependent or narcissistic or draining.

For those who thrive on disconnecting, do that. Protect your energy in total. Shields up, let it go. My go to reading recommendation when this energy comes along is Psychic Protection by Ted Andrews. That, and his earlier book The Healer’s Manual are two of the most useful books I’ve ever read. Taking care to guard and protect your energy feels especially important for the introverts among us.

Whatever your energy style – no matter whether you thrive on making connections or disconnecting, no matter whether you thrive on a rave or listing to rave music alone, whatever your recharging style may be – honor that style. Protect that energy because that will help you have the clarity to see your way through the path ahead. There is so much potential, so many choices and options for you if you let yourself be true to yourself.

Imagine this. Imagine a hall of mirrors where the reflections in the reflections seem to go on forever. Now imagine a crowd of people all dressed alike in that hall of mirrors. How do you see your way forward if you force yourself to be like everyone else? With that image we go from introvert paradise to introvert hell. That’s why the be true to yourself part is important. It is one good way to find your way forward in a dizzying array of energies and possibilities.

Here I get a sense of this crowded mirror room requiring us to adopt an attitude of radical and fierce compassion for others, for diversity and inclusion. There is room and reflections and possible paths for us all.

That’s the purely intuitive read of these cards that are from The Alleyman’s Tarot by Seven Dane Asmund and Publishing Goblin LLC who graciously gave me permission to use the deck in my blog and social media.

The cards today are not traditional Tarot cards, which gives a sort of ‘time out of time’ or ‘time apart from the rest’ feeling.

The first card, the Hole is by Seven Dane Asmund, I’m guessing created for the Alleyman’s deck.

It speaks to the unspoken, the deduced and implicit. It highlights the missing. It is, as I see it, the arrow pointing to the things that are conspicuous in the absence.

There is a scene in one of the Star Wars movies where Qui Gon is was told of a planet, but can’t find it. So Yoda (and his class of younglings) pull up the star system where the mystery planet was supposed to be, but nothing was where the planet was supposed to be. What WAS there were aberrations and irregularities. The planets that were on the moving 3D map were moving as if a planet was there. They found the missing, or actually erased, planet by the evidence left behind where it was not. Qui gon proved the theory true by going there, to the place where the planet was calculated to be based on the movement of other things around the empty space.

As convoluted as that sounds, that is exactly the plane Neptune was discovered in our own star (solar) system.

Uranus was wobbling weird so scientists used Newton’s laws of gravity to calculate where another planet should be based on how Uranus was moving around space we thought was empty. We couldn’t go there yet, so they looked at the spot through a telescope instead and BOOM – hello Neptune. (source

And such is the power of the empty, the hole, the alone. Introverts thrive on it. Extroverts need a little sip of it every now and then.

The Hole and The Comforter are less fading and current energies so much as they are opposite sides of the same, equally strong current energy. I don’t get the sense either is going to fade either time soon. Again I get the feeling the major message is to know which side of things is best for you and do that. Do that big time.

The comforter is all about the power of connection, of comforting ourselves through connection and the comfort of helping others through our connection with them. This card is urging us to celebrate and cherish, protect and strengthen all of the healthy connections in life or forge new ones if needed. This card was originally created by Natasa Ilincic for the Compendium of Witches Tarot.

The creator of the Thing among Reflections card is supposedly unknown, although I suspect it is the deck creator’s work. He reads the card as a vaguely disconcerted feeling that something is wrong or off. This card hasn’t turned up very often for me so this being a new (to me) card gives it that exact feeling just from its unfamiliarity. It feels more than the embarrassment of riches feeling that the many choices we see in the seven of cups card. This is about so many potential outcomes that it is disorienting and overwhelming. If the seven of cups is a big restaurant menu level of many choices, this card is multiverse, hot dogs for fingers, Everything Everywhere All At Once level of many choices.

Knowing yourself, being yourself, and knowing the best way to protect and recharge your energy will help us through a hall of mirrors if and when we walk through one.

If you like what you hear on the podcast please visit the links in the episode description. Your memberships, purchases, and virtual coffees on the ko-fi page all help support this podcast, the free to access blog and social media Tarot content. Blog readers please click the coffee mug on the right hand side of the page to learn more.

Thank you so much for reading and listening! See you at the next sip!

Same Courage, Different Direction

Changing direction in the face of fear is not the same as being stopped by it.

Go prefrontal cortex! Go! You can do it!

Hello and welcome to TaoCraft Tarot blog and podcast. I’m glad you are here.

Today I picked up the Allyman’s Tarot Deck and drew the Undaunted card. This is the first time I’ve drawn it. Over six months into using this gorgeous deck, and I’m still discovering cards. I still haven’t gotten around to reading the guidebook. I haven’t finished that Chuck Wendig library book that is due next week either, so Mr. Wendig and Mr. Asmund are in good company together. I’ll read about the Undaunted card in a few minutes after I get this started. Who knows? This might even post before noon for a change. Let’s see.

I love this card.

Color on black is my favorite look and blue is my favorite color so this was an instant favorite on first glance aesthetics alone. To me, undaunted, connotes courage and level headed reactions to adversity. Go prefrontal cortex! That’s the area of the brain that lets us do that sort of thing. If I were to connect this card to a classic Waite Smith card, I’d be the knight of swords, but this has a different tone and direction. The knight is active, fast, now, self-confident. I associate the knight of swords with someone yelling “Geronimo” and diving right into a situation. Undaunted is strong and self confident, but undaunted is also less about galloping straight in and more about being inexorable at any speed and in any direction.

Confidence and action upside down reminds me of fear, anxiety and reticence. Fear and anxiety exist for a reason, however. Evolution drummed it up as a way to help keep us alive. I think we are meant to do something when we are afraid. It might be fight. It might be flight. Either one is still doing something.

Being undaunted isn’t about being an unstoppable juggernaut in one single direction. It is about moving and doing and trying regardless of circumstances, even when those circumstances require some finesse and change and adaptability. Changing what you plan and do because of fear is not the same as being stopped by it. Changing because of fear or anxiety isn’t failure. It’s adaptation. It’s survival.


I’ve had my say. Let’s see what the deck creator has to say. Where is that guidebook?

Here we go – this card was created by Shan Bennon, by the way. Undaunted in reverse, page 133 of the Alleyman’s Tarot guidebook “a hidden creature unwilling to show itself for fear of being known.”

Hiding. That’s doing something. Sometimes it is both tactical and strategic to lay low. Watching, waiting, analysing, planning, changing direction…all of those things are doing something, even if it doesn’t look like our stereotypical notion of full gallop ahead courage.

Even when that something is watch and wait and hide and feel and just survive, doing something in the face of fear or anxiety makes you undaunted.

Thank you for reading and listening. Please visit the TaoCraft Tarot page on ko-fi where purchases and memberships all support these free to access Tarot readings. Any likes, subs, shares, follows, questions or comments you can spare are always apprecieated.

Thanks again. See you at the next sip!

Alleyman’s Tarot by Seven Dane Asmund and Publishing Goblin LLC, used with permission.

Video music “Modern Crusaders” by Enigma via YouTube Shorts

Podcast intro and outro music “Daylight is not for Owls” by Owltree used under attribution non-commercial no-derivative creative commons 3.0 international license.

Heck if I know

You don’t have to know. All you need is to know how to know, you know?

Hello and welcome to TaoCraft Tarot blog and podcast. I’m glad you are here. Short Sip Tarot episodes like these are Tarot contemplation in the time it takes to sip from your coffee – or whatever you happen to be drinking at the time of day when you read or hear this.

I’m using the Alleyman’s Tarot today. This card is the nine of disks, used as the nine of pentacles, or coins. Pentacles, disks, coins: the name is up to the deck author, but they all symbolize the basic things. There may be other names for the suit, but these three are the ones that I’ve seen. The Nine of Disks in the Alleyman’s Deck is from the Sola Busca Tarot used via Wikimedia commons. This is a public domain deck from the 1400s.

When I first drew the card. I honest to goodness had no idea what it was or what it was about. The little dude getting squashed under a flaming barbeque grill filled with a bunch of pot lids in it could be anything. It is a world apart from that happy, truth-y, good conclusion, earned reward vibes we see from the 1909 Waite Smith Tarot and later decks based on the RWS structure.

Seven Dane Asmund’s interpretation in the Alleyman’s Guidebook is entirely on point for this striking, remarkable card. I can see why he chose to put it in the deck. In the guidebook he, in the guise of the Alleyman, he writes about the cost of success and the crushing emotional and mental burdons of striving for (and maintaining) success, particularly the material type of success and that defined by those outside oneself.

In other words, what price victory? What is true success and is it worth the toll it takes? In my experience, those questions and concepts attach to the five of swords in a typical deck. The Alleyman’s Deck, however, is different. The artwork here is perfectly aligned with the caution against pyrrhic victories. I’m glad he picked up on that. Totally blew by me.

So back to me staring at the card and thinking “heck if I know” I didn’t recognize the deck, I didn’t recognize it as a nine of disks or or nine of pentacles analog, and I sure as heck didn’t have any sense of a message from it.

I think that, in itself, is part of the day’s energy and message. Again it is something I typically get with or through another card, in this case The High Priestess. Mystery and the unknown is, to my way of thinking, under the priestess’ purview. The mysterious is the High Priestess’ expertise. Living with the abstract & unknown is very much a part of the lessons that this card teaches.

The message here is an important one. In my opinion,life’s mysterious, intangible, abstract, and perhaps unknowable aspects are more fitting to a major arcana card rather than the nine of disks. But that’s just me, and that is drawing from other decks, not the Sola Busca.

You know that adage where if you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day, but if you teach him how to fish, then you feed him for a lifetime?

The same is true of knowing things.

You can’t know everything, but if you learn how to learn, if you learn how to go out and find what you don’t know now, it’s the next best thing to knowing in the first place. Only an empty cup can be filled. You can only learn something when you know that you don’t know something.

Knowing that the unknown can be learned, takes the fear out of the dark corners of life’s uncertainty. Both Tarot and science shine this light. Neither offers absolute knowledge, but both offer a method of learning about the inner and outer cosmos respectively.

It’s ok to not know what you are seeing or what to do when a flaming grill full of pot lids falls from the sky like some sort of medieval Sputnik. Life is like that sometimes. It’s ok to not know stuff. The trick is being willing to learn what the space grill means to you.

Thank you for reading and listening. Your likes, subs, shares, questions and comments are always welcome and appreciated. The blog and podcast are not monetized, so if you enjoy these readings please support them on the TaoCraft Tarot ko-fi page.

The Octoberversary special continues. Click HERE to get a private one card meditation Tarot reading by email for only $1…no appointment needed.

See you at the next sip!

Skill to be Used

Use it or lose it with the obscure three of books card

Atrophy is a thing.

Hello and welcome to TaoCraft Tarot blog and podcast. I’m glad you are here.

The beautiful part of the Alleyman’s Tarot is the exposure it gives to unique or less well known Tarot cards. The downside to the Alleyman’s Tarot is the unique and lesser known cards. 99% of the time the cards read easily, no reference book required. Sometimes a card just doesn’t resonate on that intuitive level. That dissonance can happen even with the most well known and much used Tarot deck that you own. Maybe that is just a professional’s problem. You do a high enough volume of these things, fizzles and disconnects will happen.

Fortunately it is an easy fix. The Alleyman’s Tarot came with the Alleyman’s guidebook which was styled to look like a handwritten journal and is just as brilliant as the deck itself. So when I pull a card that I’m not familiar with and it doesn’t read intuitively, going to the guidebook usually shakes some message or another loose.

If the deck is standard Rider-Waite-Smith type then it gets even more fun. Then you have the option of turning to that deck’s guidebook, any guidebook from any deck that follows that format plus all the stand alone references that aren’t connected to any particular deck. With all of that material as inspiration, something somewhere is bound to ring a bell and resonate with the day’s energy.

Today neither of those things that generally apply helped much.

The Three of Books is from the Jost Amman deck, a 16th century game playing deck. While the artwork on the cards by German artist Jost Amman was originally presented in a booklet with inspirational sayings, the book is rare or lost from what I’ve seen in a brief internet search. So that leaves us with Dane Asmund’s excellent guide book.

Which, today, doesn’t quite capture the feel. He talks about teaching and taming baser instinct. I get mental images of honing a knife on an old fashioned whetstone. After seeing his read and going “nah” that and the mental image led me to the idea of use to avoid atrophy.

Here is another path to the same basic concept.

In Breaking Dawn, Stephanie Meyers writes of elder vampires from Hungary or somewhere in Middle Europe seeming to have physically deteriorated from lack of movement…or something like that. It’s been a while since I read the book, and I don’t think this detail was in the movie. Atrophy is a thing. Muscles that aren’t used, shrink. Couch potatoes and astronauts alike have proven that fact.

In other other words – use it or lose it.

That resonates with today’s energy a little better than taming instincts.

In the 1980s and ’90s there was an American study funded by the National Institute on ageing of over 900 nuns that looked at lifestyle, aging and the onset of dementia. The study showed that nuns who had higher education levels, higher verbal skills at a younger age, and who remained physically and mentally active had less and later onset of dementia.

The moral of the story and advice of today’s card is, essentially, read a book.

Meyer’s vampires became more decrepit the less they moved in spite of their immortality. The nuns aged well because they read more. The human animal is healthier when they are both physically and mentally active and agile.

So read a book. Or three. And I’ll see you at the next sip.

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Inner Peace Because That’s Where It Happens: A one card Tarot reading

Example of a private client email Short Sip Tarot readings. Private readings have a different focus from the broad topics we usually see on the blog

It’s called “inner” peace because that’s where it has to happen no matter what the outside is like.

Hello and welcome back to TaoCraft Tarot blog for what I’m calling season 4 of the audio blog a.k.a. the podcast. I’m glad you are here whatever you want to call it. The text to speech capability that wordpress, anchor fm and spotify offer is working out really well for me so I’m going to keep the blog and podcast as they are unless I hear differently from all of you. I’m a good writer, but not such a good media talent or voice actor. I’m happy to let technology compensate. In the end, you will get a better tasting sip of Tarot.

Happy belated equinox everyone! This is as good of a time as any to start a new season of the podcast. I’ve heard that it’s good practice to re-introduce yourself every now and then. October is the fourth anniversary of rebranding from Modern Oracle Tarot to TaoCraft Tarot. Halloween is often considered the witches’ new year so it all kind of fits. Look for some review and announcement content on the print blog over the next few weeks

Generally speaking, the blog and podcast will post late morning or early afternoon Monday through Friday, but it may skip some days unexpectedly. Social media is completely random. The members-only blog will still get a reliable “Pathway Through the Month” reading near the 1st of each month, a newsletter close to the 15th of each month and the “Tarot Turnover” intuition building exercise every weekend. Stay tuned to the free print blog to learn about other members-only benefits.

The most important message I want to get out to you today is that I am always, always grateful to you for reading, listening, liking, subscribing & sharing but most of all for your questions and comments. Thank you to each and every single one of you.

It happens sometimes.

Sometimes I will pull a card with every intention of doing a general audience blog reading but instead the Tarot message will land right in my own wheelhouse like the Hermit card did today.

The card resonated so well when I drew it that it gave me an idea. Instead of the usual “short sip” reading, I’m going to write this as if it was a one card reading for a client. That way all of you can see (or hear) how my email readings work. The information and detail you get in a private one card is different from the broad topics we usually talk about in a short sip post.

Because I’m a writer, email readings like this are my specialty. Think of an email reading as a written transcript of exactly what I would say to you if we were meeting face to face. Written intuition being exactly equal to spoken intuition is the introverted clairvoyant’s superpower. It’s a win-win for everyone. I get an enjoyable work flow while you get the convenience of 24/7 no-appointment ordering plus a photo of your cards plus a record of the session that you can read (and re-read) whenever you like, as many times as you like. Email readings are supremely private, utterly convenient, not to mention affordable. Here is a comparison for you. In my in-person one hour sessions I use a seven card Tarot layout. I give you that exact same reading by email for 65 cents a minute. Compare that 65 cents per minute to the current national average of 1 to 5 dollars per minute for a psychic reading. That’s already a heck of a bargain when you factor in my 30 years of Tarot reading experience. So no, I don’t do readings for free outside blog and podcast, and no, I’m not doing any more sales or giveaways other than those that are part of the ko-fi memberships. This isn’t a scam but I have legit expenses like web hosting, book keeping, food and so on.

But I digress. Back to the Hermit card.

Let’s roleplay this a little.

I’ll write today’s post as if it were a one card email reading for a private client, using the impressions that came through when I drew the Hermit card earlier. If you like, pretend this is a private reading, just for you. Kick the tires and take it out for a test-drive to see how you like the email format. Then if you ever order a private email reading with me, you can be confident it will meet or exceed your expectations because you’ll already know what to expect.

Question: Hi. My name is Tired Person who has had a super chaotic couple of weeks. I would like the left cut of the deck when you shuffle please. I don’t have a question or topic. I’m open to whatever message or guidance the card can give. Thank you.

A: Hello Sleepy. I hope the reading gives you a little boost. Tarot is all about that kind of encouragement and inspiration, not predictions, but you already know that. I know your circumstances from our conversation earlier, but I won’t publish any of those details. Protecting your privacy is a major priority. Thank you for giving permission to share your card reading. I never share a reading for a specific person without their permission, and even then I redact it more than the CIA to keep any identifying information out of it.

Had a hunch that the Alleyman’s Tarot was the right one to use today. Your card is the Hermit from the major arcana. This particular Hermit card was drawn by Aka Skyweb for the Ariadne’s Thread Tarot deck. (Side note to the blog and podcast: I use the Alleyman’s Tarot deck with permission from Publishing Goblin LLC. )

Major Arcana vs minor arcana isn’t quite as telling with one card as it is in a larger layout. Intuitively it doesn’t feel like the card is pointing to a major life lesson, big decision, or major turning point in life as major arcana cards sometimes can. Minor arcana cards outnumber the majors almost two to one. I don’t know the exact math, but chances are that any given single card draw will result in a minor arcana card. Given that, major arcana cards always earn a little extra consideration in any size of reading.

If the arcana reads into this at all, it is to say that this is a high energy time time for you, just as you described. For you it felt chaotic, but that level of energy can also be stressful or invigorating. Everyone feels it differently. Whatever this higher intensity energy makes you feel, usually you feel a lot of it. However you describe it, the card is acknowledging and validating the high wattage energy you’ve felt recently. In any reading, any card in any layout position can have different spin or different flavors of message. It can be an advice message giving you something to consider doing. It can be a caution message giving you something to consider avoiding. It can be recognition or validation, like a cosmic “I hear you.” Or, as in this case, it can be a reassurance message. The feeling around this card very much is letting you know that you are on the right path and doing the right thing for this moment in time.

The Hermit symbolizes seeking isolation and finding inner peace and wisdom. It is about insight that becomes a light in the dark. Outer quiet clearly isn’t an option for you right now, so let’s look at the inner part of it.

In your case, it is letting you know that the self care you have already been doing is the right thing. It is perfectly ok to dial back a little on things that you have been focused on to shift your attention elsewhere. It’s better to do one thing at a time as best as you can than to half-ass a bunch of different things. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that “The greatest gift is a portion of thyself.” Your time and attention is a worthy gift. If you wanted to share a bottle of expensive wine with friends, you wouldn’t break the bottle into pieces to share it all at once. You would pour a little into each glass in turn one at a time. I don’t know the full details of the situation, but it feels like you are being told one thing at a time, not everything all at once. “One thing at a time in the right order, first things first” is good advice for adults too, not just small children.

I ‘hear’ “Red thread of continuity.” Of course, when I say ‘hear’ it means that the intuition comes as mental words, sounds or music instead of as mental images (that’s the difference between clairaudient and clairvoyant) which refers to the read thread on this particular version of the Hermit. I think what that all means is that whatever that thing you set aside or de-prioritized for a time CAN and SHOULD be picked up again once the current chaos has passed. You did the right thing putting one thing on the backburner for a time in order to give the best of yourself to something more important.

This card strongly reminds me of a live feed I was watching of a fellow Tarot reader (MadamAdam) Some of what he said very much applies with the energy here.

You’ve talked and written about self care. It’s important that you have led by example during this time. It’s important that you stepped back from work to take care of yourself and your family. People need to know your advice is real, and that you follow it for yourself and that it WORKS. Like “Madam Adam” said that it is important to “keep up your end of the bargain” your family, yourself and your professional clients by keeping yourself healthy and well and learning and growing and doing all of those things we professionals, in all of our wisdom, tell other people to do. He really made the point when he said “Why would I take dance lessons from someone who can’t dance?” Indeed. Why would any of us take advice from someone who doesn’t take care of their own spiritual and emotional wellness?

Stepping back from work did something important for yourself. Stepping back from work also kept up your end of the bargain to provide good service to your clients. Don’t beat yourself up for not sticking to some arbitrary schedule that you make up for yourself in the first place.

By stepping back from work, you gave a fuller measure of yourself to loved ones which is infinitely more important than ANY mundane task.

Plus the red thread thing shows that nothing was lost, you can pick right up where you left off.

The red thread of continuity shows that everything was gained by being true to your own insight and your own priorities.

A lot of times the Hermit card gives us advice to find quiet and carve out the quiet time we need. All the quiet and isolation in the world won’t help when you are churning on the inside. By the same token, all the outer chaos in the world can’t touch calm that comes from the inside. That’s why they call it “inner peace” because that is where it has to happen no matter what is or isn’t going on around you.

Intuitively I see a shiny black crystal…I think it is black tourmaline more than hematite which will protect your energy. In my mind’s eye, I see meditation beads so whatever meditation, yoga, tai chi or chi gong practice you might have, please do indulge in that as best as you can. For aromatherapy, I get sandalwood, copal, amber. Lavender, chamomile, bergamot are your standard issue aromatherapy recommendations for stressful, chaotic times. I think they might actually get on your nerves more than support them. Go for warm smokey woody scents for those times when the world is getting on your last nerve.

And get some sleep. Take a nap as much as things will let you. Sleep is an incredibly healing thing.

There the energy steps back. I hope that helps. As always if you have any questions about the reading or anything else, leave it in the blog comments or send an email. The contact is on the website.

Hang in there!

I hope the mock up reading helps you, too. Thanks again for reading and listening. See you at the next sip!

Embrace the Strange

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Deal with old demons when they come around. They might be more afraid of you than you are of them.

Hello and welcome to TaoCraft Tarot blog and podcast. I’m glad you are here.

Today we are back to the Alleyman’s Tarot deck. This is what Friday vibes look like. Fridays aren’t about re-capping the week, as much as it is a shift in energy from outward to productivity to inward self care, from work to rest or play, from yang to yin.

Today is the Boogeyman card. Of course I’m geeking out over it. But that’s no surprise to any of you who have heard my incessant fangirling over the Alleyman’s Tarot the past few months since it arrived on my doorstep. This particular card was created by the Alleyman’s deck creator Seven Dane Asmund for his upcoming Blood and Rust: The Misery Tarot. I can’t wait to see the Magician for it. He describe the new deck as quote Inspired by survival horror genre titan, Silent Hill, the Misery Tarot focuses on the traversal through grief, trauma, and suffering as a kindness to ourselves using imagery of the horror genre. End quote.

As the week closes and energies shift a bit toward self-care, the boogeyman isn’t as much of a paradox as it might seem at first glance. Weekends are a happy thing, usually. So is surviving a challenge.

Here I intuitively get the Madonna song “Survival.” to go along with the the survival-horror movie reference in the deck description. The suffering itself isn’t the kindness to oneself…but the acknowledgement of suffering, the acknowledgement of all you’ve done to emotionally survive, the acknowledgement of the things you feel now and the acknowledgement of old issues that bubble up every now and then … all of these conscious acknowledgements are the kindnesses that the boogeyman brings today.

We’ve been talking about some tough stuff lately. Tarot, like life, doesn’t have any easy answers. It helps us ask the right questions. It helps us to acknowledge the right things we need to face to live vibrantly.

I think this same message would come through in the classic RWS deck in the form of our friend the Page of Cups, or maybe Page of Cups with a little Devil thrown in. Sometimes life is weird. Sometimes life is chaotic. Sometimes life is devilish. But you can stare a fish full on in the eyes and get through it.

It has been said that religion is for those who want to stay out of hell and spirituality is for people that have already been there. If that’s the case, then Tarot in general and today’s energy in particular is all about spirituality. It’s about admitting the suck, embracing the chaos, and feeling the feels with unabashed gusto.

It’s funny how some old demons and boogeymen just vanish when you give them a big old hug hello. That is where I think the boogeyman as described by the artist is going. Being real about how bad (or good) things might (or might not) be is a kindness to oneself.

Cue “The Sound of Silence” by Simon and Garfunkle (although I’m not usually a metal fan, I definitely prefer the Disturbed cover. Wow.)

Hello Darkness, my old friend.

I hope you have a good weekend, evening, day or whenever you happen to see this. Thank you for reading and listening. I always appreciate any likes, subs, follows, shares, questions or comments that you can spare.

If you are enjoying the blog, podcast or the companion YouTube videos, please visit the TaoCraft Tarot page on ko-fi. The shop, memberships with their exclusive content and special offers, and the virtual coffees all support the creation of these Tarot readings.

Want more than a sip? Full size readings with the blog author are available on the blog website.

For podcast listeners, links to all of this is in the show description.

Thanks again, and I’ll see you at the next sip

The Makings of Magic

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day (or evening) in the time it takes to sip from your coffee (or tea). Today: The Alleyman’s Tarot Lightning in a bottle and the makings of magic

Welcome to TaoCraft Tarot blog and podcast. I’m glad you are here.

Today we are drawing from the Alleyman’s Tarot by Seven Dane Asmund of Publishing Goblin LLC, used with permission. It’s a big deck, with one booster pack already in it and yes, you bet I’m planning on getting the other booster packs if possible.

I’m not a collector by nature, but I’ve been around collectors and I understand the passion. It’s not a greed thing or a materialistic thing. It’s a surround yourself with symbols of something you love thing. As a professional Tarot reader and Tarot writer slash blogger decks appeals to the maker part of me. It’s a “right tool for the right job” kind of vibe. On one hand they are a collection of specialized precision tools, yet on the other hand “every tool is a hammer” as the Adam Savage book puts it.

I know some Tarot readers who have dozens of decks. The Alleyman’s Tarot is my eleventh. I’m enjoying it even more than expected. It is a virtuoso deck, that pushes your comfort zone just by the vast array of tones, images and artwork. It’s also challenging by virtue of the cards like this one that are absolutely gorgeous, but not traditional RWS or lenormand symbolism. I can’t imagine anyone with the wherewithal to collect well over one hundred decks, but the vast array of different cards all beautifully curated by the creator gives you a taste of exactly that. Seven Dane Asmund has pushed all of our Tarot reading envelopes. Now it is up to us to haul it back in.

I’ve been watching the new season of the Witcher, so the Mages of Artuza came quickly to mind when I saw the lightning in a bottle card – specifically the scene where initiates were in a cave with a hole in the roof during a thunderstorm and were required to capture lightning in a bottle in order to become fully fledged Mages.

The phrase “lightning in a bottle” has been around much longer than TV shows. Generally, it means sudden, unexpected, unconventional but huge success at something rare, at something once thought nearly impossible. Lighting in a bottle is a get rich from YouTube, put a ding in the universe type of luck-meets-skill achievement.

Reliable origins of idioms like this one are just as hard to find. A quick search of the google machine gives you the idea that it refers to eighteenth century experiments with electricity like Benjamin Franklin’s kite and Leyden jars. Leyden jars are conductive material on either side of non-conductive glass in such a way that it will hold a small electrical charge. It used to be party entertainment to get a little spark from them, kind of like scuffing your sock feet across the carpet and touching a door knob on purpose. In the poetic language of the day, those little sparks were literally lightning in a bottle.

The Alleyman’s Notebook that accompanies the deck connects this card with a situation that can’t be forced. That interpretation fits in with the pop culture analogy. You can’t MAKE lightning strike. You can’t MAKE opportunities happen but you can position yourself in such a way as to be in the conditions that more favorable for the right opportunity to happen. You can put yourself in a mental and physical space to take full advantage of it if it does.

You can’t make lightning strike any given place at any given time. Putting real world electrocution aside for a moment, if you stand on an iron rich rock near salt water ocean with your arm up in the air during a thunderstorm, there is a better chance that you, the lightning and a bottle will all wind up in the same place at the same time.

There is a practical, mundane, banal side of catching lightning in a bottle. It may seem lucky or miraculous, but the most unlikely success still has elements of practical intellect and persistent effort. As Thomas Edison famously said “genius is one percent inspiration and ninety nine percent perspiration. Lightning in a bottle is random luck plus the courage and cleverness to take advantage of unexpected opportunity with a healthy dose of effort to follow it all through to fruition. These are the elements of mundane magic available to anyone.

There is one more element. A subtle one, the one that makes you into a lighting rod and gives you the power to contain it in the bottle. This is the part that makes the apprentice into the sorcerer. It’s the part that takes us back to the rainy rocks at the witch school of Artuza.

Harmonize with nature.

Lau Tzu gave us this advice in the Tao Te Ching a long, long, long time ago. If you are a grower by nature and you are in a sunny field, plant as you wish. If you are by the sea, step out onto the rainy rock and lift your bottle to the sky with confidence.

Thank you for reading and listening. The blog and podcast are not monetized and depend on audience support. Please visit the TaoCraft Tarot ko-fi page to become a Patron of the Tarot Arts which gives you access to exclusive content, private email readings and members-only special offers. Proceeds support the production of these free to access posts and episodes. Of course your likes, subs, shares, follows, reading orders, questions and comments are always, always appreciated.

See you at the next sip.

The Infinite and The Empty

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Today, the infinite and the empty.

Hello and welcome to TaoCraft Short Sip, Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your morning coffee, or evening tea, whatever happens to be the case. The blogcast is posting much later than usual today because of adulting and schedules and the like. Whatever day or time of day that you are reading or listening to this, I’m glad you are here.

Today’s card is The Empty, which as best as I can tell was created by Seven Dane Asmund specifically for the Alleyman’s Tarot Deck. In the guide book he makes it very clear it was not intended as an “anything is possible” sort of card.


For all of its zen simplicity and stark beauty, conceptually this card is Schrodinger’s cat meets the Bene Gesserit box test from Dune. For those of you listening on the podcast, there is a link to the blog in the episode description if you’d like to see the real world card draw for today. Seriously, I hope you’ll google the deck and the card. This thing is seriously gorgeous.

This card also reminds us that the observed and the observer leave their mark on each other.

As Seven writes, quote … it doesn’t mean that anything is possible, only that you will irrevocably stain and paint this thing as you begin to interact with it. Be mindful what imprint you leave on its surface. End quote

Be mindful, too, of what you are drawing out of the infinite void of possibility. Anything may be possible, but you leave your mark on that process. When you contemplate the infinite, it leaves its mark on you. You are an active participant in what is attracted and manifested from the infinite, even when that activity is on the subconscious level.

Or, in the words of Carl Jung, quote Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will all it fate. End quote.

Empty is powerful. But empty is not pristine. Empty observed is different from empty ignored. Empty is where all things can become potentially possible. Only the empty cup can be filled. There has to be a deficiency of electrons in one part of a circuit for electricity to flow. Thinking positive with outward flowing desires and expectations and efforts often doesn’t serve as well as being open and empty and in some sense surrendering to the larger and emptier universe. What will you draw from infinity into your empty.

Empty is where infinity hides.

Thank you for listening.

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See you at the next sip!

Have a plan

The Battle Card from the Alleyman’s Tarot reminds us to have a plan when it comes to stress. TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee.

Hi and welcome to Tao Craft Short Sip: Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. I’m glad you are here.

I’m continuing to explore the Alleyman’s Tarot deck with thanks to its creator Seven Dane Asmund for giving permission to use the deck way back in the early days of the kickstarter. The Battle card is from the strange arcana and was originally created for the Strange and Eternal Tarot by Cosmic Butcher.

This deck is definitely resonating with the part of me that was an art minor in college lurking around the studio soaking up the artist vibes. These guys have it by the bucket.

This is also pushing my martial arts buttons, big time.

The distinction of warrior vs soldier comes to mind. With that comes the idea of not only discipline but preparation. It is said that you fight like you train. The implication is that you train 100% focus and effort, as if your life depends on it because someday it might.

I shouldn’t have to say this, but I am in no way talking about actual physical violence or conflict.

I’m talking about stress management.

Life gets contentious sometimes. Life gets stressful in both real and anticipated or imagined ways. What are you going to do when it does?

That’s why people talk about a daily meditation practice. If you practice staying chill on a regular basis, then when things heat up, the chill kicks in reflexively. You almost don’t have to give it a second thought, like muscle memory only for your emotions and for your brain.

Raw life experience gives you that practice the hard way. Daily practice -or at least some level of forethought and advance preparation – makes you more resilient and stronger when the stressful times come. And they always do.

Author Carlos Casteneda is credited with saying “We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.”

If this card resonates with you today, take a minute. Think about what calms you. What makes you emotionally and mentally strong and resilient. Then do it. Practice it. Train it. Have it at the ready in your pocket. Have a plan. Such is the way of the warrior, both literal and spiritual, who is ready when the battle comes.

Thank you so much for listening! Your likes, subs, shares, follows, reading purchases and support through ko-fi memberships are always appreciated. There are clickable links for more information in the blog and in the podcast episode description.

To learn how to do daily DIY Tarot one card meditation readings as a way to introduce some low stress peaceful moments into your day, my how-to ebook Peace Tarot is available as an instant pdf download. All proceeds from Peace Tarot sales in the ko-fi shop during 2022 will be donated to Doctors Without Borders.

To learn more about Reiki as a relaxation technique, Reiki and Relaxation is also a downloadable pdf ebook on that same page or visit the Reiki page on the website for more information.

See you at the next sip!