YouChoose Interactive Tarot: Booking

Sorry about that. When I said this would post “Monday morning” I didn’t realize it would be Monday morning in some other interdimensional cross rip parallel universe Monday morning. Today has been an interesting week.

As for the cards, I’ll let the video interpretation stand. Since books stepped forward a tiny bit as the closest thing to cards-working-together theme for the week, here are some books and links that might go along with this week’s cards.

Leave a comment or send an email if you are interested in more reading suggestions – always happy to spout an opinion!

The Moon (psychic development)

  • The Healer’s Manual by Ted Andrews
  • How to Meet and Work With Spirit Guides by Ted Andrews
  • Psychic Witch by Matt Auryn

Knight of Pentacles (Career Related activity)

  • Secrets of a Buccaneer-Scholar by James Marcus Bach
  • Kahn Acadamy

Nine of Cups (celebrations, traditions)

  • Twoseven – watch video together online
  • Allrecipes – has recipes from various traditional cuisines, American comfort food

Q&A: Spirit Animals

Q: I’ve been going to (reputable websites) to learn about spirit animals. Two of them have told me that my spirit animal is a hare. Don’t tell me the good things about rabbits, it’s just not me. I just know that this isn’t right. Now what?

A: This is one of those long kind of answers, so thank you for hanging in with this. Double thank you for letting me use your topic for the blog. I think it’s true that “the veil thins” near to Halloween. This is a good time of year to begin (respectfully and carefully) working with spirit guides and animal totems. I’m guessing there are quite a few people who feel the way you do.

But don’t worry, I’m not going to extol the virtues of rabbits to you, although it is tempting to do that. We like our backyard bun-buns.

Animal medicine (in the shamanistic sense) is an important topic to me for a variety of personal reasons. My first card deck of any kind was David Carson and Jamie Sams Medicine Cards not long after they were first published. Still, I’m not an expert by any means and this is all just anecdotal experience. First and foremost, keep looking to people who are experts. I’m not familiar with the websites you mentioned, so I can’t really comment one way or the other. I can, however, wholeheartedly recommend the Medicine Cards companion book and Ted Andrews’ book How to Meet and Work With Spirit Guides as an excellent place to start.

Although it was/is an important thing to me as an individual to learn about animal totems, I really don’t think it is a necessary step in spiritual development for everyone. Especially now that we are more aware of cultural appropriation and growing in respect for the culture of indigenous people. That is why I think Mr. Andrews’ How to Meet and Work with Spirit Guides book is an important foundation. He points out that spirit realm interactions are a universal to every culture, animal totems nearly so, but only one chapter is dedicated to animal guides. They are one piece of the puzzle and not necessarily for eeryone. It might be worth asking yourself if your mis-match with rabbit is reflective of a mis-match with animal medicine as a whole. Culturally, personally, ancestrally speaking, is working with animal totems the right path for you? Is this something you deep in your bones feel as a personal relationship, or is it a broader intellectual interest? Both are perfectly fine, by the way. It is OK to learn about animal totems without one choosing you. Or it may just might not be time yet for animal totem work. Maybe human-form guide work needs to come first. Although the totem came first for me, I get the feeling that this is by no means true for everyone.

That being said, I feel you. When I did the quiz on the Harry Potter website that tells you your Patronus, my gut reaction to the result was along the line of “oh HELL no” Then I remembered the old maxim that when we immediately or innately dislike someone or something it is because it/they are some aspect of our own personality. They are mirrors showing us something that we don’t like about ourselves. Reflexive dislike or rejection can be an important teacher. Maybe the animal kingdom’s very first lesson for you is to point out issues that you need to come to terms with about yourself before moving further along the animal guide path. Once we think of the off-putting totem in those terms, suddenly they aren’t so bad after all. If that is why rabbit hopped into your life through those websites, then once you make friends with your rabbity side, then the totem may well fade away and your long term totem might then appear. When I looked at my web quiz patronus that way, it went from “oh hell no” to “oh, OK.”

Rowling’s patronus idea provides another good analogy for spirit animals. Sometimes they change (Tonk’s changed from a hare to a wolf when she married Lupin.) Like human-form spirit guides, animal guides can come and go. Not all of them are lifetime assignments. Hare may be a temporary or harbinger sort of energy. Animal totems seem to echo other guides in that way. I’ve read in a variety of sources that we have a master-guide or lifelong guardian angel sort of entity, but others can come and go. Some guides, be they animal or human, come to us for a particular time or a particular lesson or a phase of growth, then depart when they are no longer needed. Your primary guide is already with you and always has been. When you become aware of them, you’ll recognize them for who they are.

Based on personal experience, encountering a primary animal totem won’t happen through a website or by pulling cards. They are already with you so there is no need to go out and “get” or “find” your totem that way. It is a matter of making a conscious introduction, of wanting to deliberately say hello to that person who has been standing beside you in the elevator. The visual meditations that Ted Andrews gives are excellent for making that connection.

It also brings to mind a scene from The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TV series. It was time for Sabrina the teenage witch to “get her familiar.” Rather than ordering one out of a catalog like everyone else, she decides to do a “summoning” ritual instead. That is exactly the subtle difference that I think is important here. Instead of going and getting, she trusted and attracted. Instead of yang, she was yin. She let her desire and need be known, then waiting trusting the her familiar to come to her. Now, substitute “spirit animal” for “familiar”

Rather than repeatedly going outward to websites, it might help to try sending out your desire to work with an animal guide but then turn quietly inward, wait and watch. This is where Ted Andrew’s other book Animal Speak comes in handy. After reading the foundations in the how-to spirit guide book, read Animal Speak. After you send out your intentions (by whatever means you choose) pay attention to animals that cross your path in ordinary, mundane, organic ways. Of course, the most powerful way for a totem to introduce themselves to you is in a dream. If not a dream, then pay attentions to the little ways that animals present themselves in your ordinary day-to-day routine. Is there a particular bird sitting on your car and giving you the side eye, or were you dive-bombed by a dragonfly on your yard, or does a particular animal suddenly seem everywhere in random advertising or are you given a gift with that animal on it….things like that. When those kinds of coincidences catch your attention, research THAT animal and see how it feels. What is that kind of animal encounter trying to teach you? If it is your primary totem, you’ll know. No one can tell you the right animal is not your guide, any more than anyone can convince you that hare is your guide. You’ll know with the same amount of certainty about the right guide that you feel now for the seemingly wrong one.

Speaking of hare/rabbit: Mr. Andrews suggests looking at relationships among animals for better understanding. Sometimes, because we live in cities and ‘burbs and not out alone in the wilderness, animals that are used to living near humans or even pets can be a messenger for a wild counterpart. For example, a house cat presenting as a totem might be your cue to research wild felines like bobcats or mountain lions, etc.

He also suggests understanding predator/prey relationships. Who does your totem eat, or what eats your totem? There are energies and lessons there, too. Before you give up on rabbit, look at wild western jackrabbits or its usual predators like coyotes or wolves.

Objectivity is important, too.

Animal totems are guides, not personal avatars. JK Rowlings’ patronus characters may embody the characteristics of the witch or wizard in the fictional world of Harry Potter, but in my experience it isn’t like that with actual animal totems. They teach you, not represent you. They feel more like companions or colleagues to me. They help you grow, not tell the world who you are. Think of it this way: Would you reject college professors because they were different from you? You resonate with your life-guide, just like you may have resonated with a favorite academic adviser…but you don’t have to resonate with transient totems any more than you had to be totally sympatico with your math teacher in order to graduate.

I’d be totally interested to know if any of this helps or if you try any of it. Comments are back open on the blog if you want to drop a note there. Maybe other people will leave questions about animal totems or spirit guides too. If I don’t know the answer, I’ll try to find it or at least point you in the direction of someone who might know.

Thanks again for sharing your question!


Kitten Whiskers


One of the big perks of being a professional Tarot reader is you get to keep some of the ideas that drop into your head on the behalf of  other people. Or, some might say, you get to take your own advice.

One theme came through quite a lot early on in the lockdowns, say mid-March through Mid-April. Time and again I heard that it wasn’t the time to go into deep spiritual things. It was a time to take care of business on the physical side of things to get set up for the big stay-at-home and to take care of one’s self on the emotional side of things. It was OK to spend the day in your pajamas and randomly stare into the refrigerator. Still is, if that is what you need. Part of that overall self-care advice was to enjoy small familiar comforts as much as possible. Simple pleasures and little things are showing their importance these days.

I’m more than happy to take that little wisdom nugget to heart. On one hand, I’ve been wanting to share some of the really cool things I’ve found just out of pure fan-girling enthusiasm. On the other hand, I made a promise to myself to stay “on brand” and on topic with TaoCraft Tarot because it already includes my favorite stuff wrapped in an aesthetic that I love. But that’s the web and this, at the risk of sounding like a Julie Andrews song, are a few of my favorite real life things.

I am a Meatpuppet.

I like science fiction. I love a good sense of humor. Double extra bonus point is you reference one of my all time favorite cyberpunk novels, Neuromancer.

On of my good internet buddies and energy healer extraordinaire (you know, Pip over at Hygge Energy Healing, speaking of favorite things) told me about a story that was posting a chapter at a time. I’ve been an avid fan aka meatpuppet of David Turner’s How To Be Dead series ever since. If you like humor and fantasy / sci fi blended together in the vein of Terry Pratchett, Dave Turner’s series has it all. Think Monty Python meets Doctor Who covered in Shaun of the Dead with a heaping helping of Douglas Adams. 

Take, for example, the Grim Reaper. Spooky and eternal, yes. But also prone to dancing around the office to Blue Oyster Cult and frequently searching for cookies. You find yourself caring about Death as a character, not to mention protagonist Dave Marwood, flat mate Gary, love interest Melanie, Death’s assistant Anne – all of them – feel like people you’d want to have a beer with. All except that executive who turns out to be….well, you’ll find out. Or at least I hope you will. What better way to spend a global pandemic than a good, satisfying read about ghosts, vampires, zombies that aren’t zombies, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, werewolves. The only word of caution I have is that reading it might make you want to put “Don’t Fear The Reaper”  on loop or eat a bunch of chocolate hob nobs. All five books in  the HTBD series are available on amazon in both Kindle and paperback formats. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to make sure my ringtone is still “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and rummage through the kitchen for some cookies.

I may be a meatpuppet but at least my hands aren’t dry anymore.

“Ghoulish Delights” was just that….a delight. Amanda has since rebranded her excellent skin care products and added teas to become Balefire Apothecary. One stop relaxation, that. Aromatherapy was always one of my favorite parts of the Natural Health program, but I’m not interested in making and selling blends or products. I use aromatherapy all the time both for my personal use and as part of the ‘psychic summary’ section of a reading…but that is another kitten whisker for another day. Let’s just say I really appreciate a good blend when I smell it. These are my absolute favorites. It is easy enough to find blends with florals and musks but base notes are another thing. Woody resins are far and away my favorites, and Amanda is an absolute genius with them. Rather than being heavy, they are perfectly balanced with smoke and sweetness, fresh and watery, herbs and outright magic. The blends evoke a sense of place and story. The “corpse cream” renamed to body cream in “Bridgewater Triangle” scent is, was and will be #1 on my list: the campfire smoke, marshmallow and autumn leaves is irresistible to a fall season lover like me. The stuff actually works, too. I hand wash all of our dishes, do all of the cooking and knit. All that yarn and hand washing is a recipe for dry skin any time of year, doubly so in the winter. The cream is protective and soothing, and when I’m not doing all that other stuff I’m walking around sniffing my hands because the stuff smells so darn good. Seasonal teas, wildcrafted ingredients, perfume oils, leaping bunny certification, and a range of skin care are all good reasons to check out the apothecary. The creative names and scent descriptions are still there too.

Whether it is raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, a dollop of hand cream or a good comedy horror book, I wish you a wonderful evening with a few of your favorite things.

P.S. just out of due diligence and all of that other responsible stuff, I think I’m supposed to tell you that these are unsolicited reviews. I’m not paid and received no free samples or anything. This is 100% unadulterated grade A fangirling. Thanks to Dave Turner and Amanda at Balefire Apothecary for allowing me to rave about their stuff.

Today’s Tarot w/ Zombie Cat: A meeting of the minds

Braaaaiiiiiiinnss – they aren’t just for zombies anymore

It’s true that humans are social creatures. There is something primal about it that probably goes back to wolly mammoth BBQs. In modern times there is some other thread that ties us together other than pure group effort survival (altough some of that is needed nowadays too)

Wherever there is a meeting, there is a meeting of the minds. At a concert, it is the shared enjoyment of music. At a movie itvis the shared experience of images and stories. Pictures and stories don’t have to be called art and literature brain and emotion feeding kinds of things.

“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you.” – Carl Sagan

Whether you are reading a book and communing with that unknown author, or chatting it up on facetime with grandma, it is still human interaction on a much needed mental and emotional level, if not the physical one.

During times when our physical beings are kept separate, it is all the more important to connect in a meeting of the minds.

Trust me on that one, because, you know, brains.

12 Second Tarot: King of Pentacles (27 Oct 19)

Protector, provider, maker, craftsman, successful…shout out to everyone out there relaxing on a sunday feeding minds with books, feeding maker fingers with you favorite hobbies, feeding families with special meals, or just setting yourself up for a productive week with some self care and all out rest

Click HERE to enter anniversary giveaway free inkmagick pen and paper handwritten tarot reading in celebration and gratitude for one year under the new name.

Drawing video will be posted October 31, 2019, and winner notified by email. No social media dms accepted. Entertainment only, no monetary value, void where prohibited, terms and conditions…you know the drill.

Zombie Cat yes-or-no readings are still half price…order on the home page