Learn With Me: Oracle Dice part 1

Adam Savage (one of my favorite media personalities) once said on Mythbusters (one of my all time favorite TV shows) that the “… difference between screwing around and science is writing it down.”

So who says intuition isn’t science?

The “learn with me” posts are going to be just that….me writing down the screwing around as I learn to use the brand new Oracle Dice from Publishing Goblin (used with permission, of course). I’ll be throwing in tidbits of how I learned Tarot along the way so an astute student of the screwing around method can learn a great deal about Tarot reading if you follow along.

Screwing around and writing it down basically amounts to experimentation, observation and documentation…sound familiar, my fellow geeks?

In other words, this series is going to bust the myth that you can’t learn to listen to your own natural intuition or develop psychic skills.

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Tarot Turnover: Silver Lining

Whew – this card is quote-o-palooza.

Some Tarot cards are overwhelmingly positive. Some, like today’s three of swords card, are mostly ominous. All cards have a mix of everything. As was said in the movie The Craft “True magic is neither black, nor white – it’s both because nature is both. Loving and cruel, all at the same time.”…

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Tarot Turnover: The Nitty Gritty

Hello! I’m glad you are here.

I start my day with coffee and contemplation. It’s not as Zen spiritual as you might think. It definitely has more of a Sheriff Hopper (from the Stranger Things series) and doom scroll until the static from just waking up clears kind of vibe.

Was taking my morning scroll when I came across a Instagram post about some minor detail about the hand of the figure in the 10 of swords being in the same position as the Hierophant card and how that was the reference to the assassination of some historical pope or another or something. My response was bah…too pedantic…and kept rolling.

While the Pope seems like a nice enough little grampa guy these days, Papal history is not something that typically flies on my radar, but the post and the notion of hand detail sunk through the static enough to make a couple of points.

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Weekend Tarot Turnover: Wisdom and Balance

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Cosmic Gutter Bumpers

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Today: cosmic gutter bumpers

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

Today’s card is the Lovers from the Alleyman’s Tarot deck, art by Nate Hillyer.

Today’s energy is absolutely positively not in any way about Romance or romantic relationships. The card isn’t really about that anyway. The card is about what you want from life. Of course that includes romantic relationships, and the desire for love, romance, and companionship are vitally important and shouldn’t be trivialized. By the same token, that’s just not where the energy is going today. This is about your relationship with yourself, and desires related to your overall life path. As important as romantic, platonic and familial relationships are, this is important too. Relationships have the whole suit of cups to address them. This energy is closer to the inner fire, the suit of wands, but turned up to major arcana sized volume.

Today’s energy is begging a question to which Tarot doesn’t necessarily have an answer. As good as Tarot is, it is nevertheless only a tool in the hands of your intuition. Tarot, runes, astrology, pendulums, scrying mirrors; oracles can nudge your attention in the right direction. In the end, it is only your heart, your feelings, your instincts that can answer some things.

Today’s energy is asking us to consider when to persist and when to change.

Persistence can overcome the obstacles that life randomly throws at our feet. But what if those obstacles are a message in and of themselves? What if those obstacles are a cosmic safety net trying to get us to adapt to an ever changing situation. What if our obstacles are not meant to elicit persistence but rather to save us from ourselves?

In times of challenges, sometimes it is helpful to question why and to understand the root cause of our desires. Do you really want to get back together with your ex, or are you really wanting to heal the wounds of rejection and to know that you are desirable after all. Do you really want that one particular job, or do you really want the attention or creative outlet or steady income it would bring?

Motives change as circumstances change. What was top of the list one day can slip in importance over days, weeks, months or years.

Cue today’s music reference. I just intuitively heard a snippet of Reeling in the Years by Steely Dan. I was 7 when it was released, and early 70s music isn’t my favorite, so I’m calling this pure intuition. In a reading, it doesn’t matter when a clairaudient song was released. What matters is any association your have with a song that comes up like this. What memories does it bring to mind, no matter when that memory actually happened? What feeling does the song evoke for you? What was going on the last time you heard the song, if it is one you’ve heard before?

Life changes. I also clairaudiently hear the words “chord changes.” I’m not a musician so I don’t really understand what that means. I’m guessing that chord changes within a song make the song better. So I would guess that means that changes in desires and changes in goals, hopes and dreams would make life better too.

And now for something completely different. Now I get the image of a bowling alley and hear the phrase “gutter bumpers.”

In bowling alleys, they usually have guide rails that pull up or some kind of bumpers that they can put in to keep the bowling ball out of the alley gutters and make the game more fun for small children or physically challenged players.

It has been said that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Sometimes challenges teach persistence and build strength of character.

It has also been said that “I don’t have ducks, I don’t have rows, I have squirrels and they are having a pagan rave.” I’ve enjoyed that meme of unknown origins a lot this past month. Sometimes challenges are a source of clarity and new directions.

The squirrel rave has been tiring, but it has also forced some clarity. It has been a validation for this text to speech format and a few other plans I have in mind for TaoCraft Tarot. This isn’t what I’d originally wanted for the podcast, but it is what life needs it to be right now. I hope you are enjoying it as much as I am.

Thank you so much for listening!

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Function & Finesse

Throwing a ball isn’t difficult to do.

Almost anyone can do it, one way or the other. Tossing something is a skill we all learn at such a young age, that we almost never give it a second thought. We can throw any little thing and have it land somewhere. If we are going to put the wadded up paper in the garbage can from 6 feet away, it takes a little more thought and focus but is the same basic body mechanics as any throw. Still, it isn’t major league baseball, either.

This is another way of saying one of the things I was rambling in circles about in “Growing Ogres.” Reading Tarot for yourself is easy to do. I can teach you in a 90 minute workshop, or in a short ebook. Doing a single card draw for yourself is the throwing equivalent of tossing your socks in the general direction of the clothes hamper.

Every card you add to a layout increases the level of difficulty. Not only are you dealing with the card’s assigned meaning combined with direct intuitive input, you add each card’s position meaning within the layout PLUS the way that the cards connect to each other to read the layout as a whole (not just a series of card + position meanings). With each added position, with each card increase in a layout’s the complexity increases. I don’t know if increasing exponentially is the right way to describe it, but it’s close. We are still talking about reading for yourself, so we are not talking about landing on Mars. Still, the food for thought from a multi-card layout can be a lot to digest. It’s moving up in difficulty from tossing socks to playing trashcan paperball, to little league, to a full on juggling act where the balls can fall down very easily.

Reading as an amateur at no charge IS an exponential increase in skill from the sock tossin’ DIY daily meditations. We are talking full-on March Madness, college playoff level ball handling. Not only do you have the multiple cards in multiple positions to knit together, you have the added layer of language that falls over the whole thing. It’s one thing to understand a card’s message and symbolism inside our own head for your own self, but it is a whole other enterprise to communicate those things to another person in a way that they can understand.

Reading professionally is playing hard ball with the big boys. When you do that, you are going to the show. Professional is professional whether you are throwing card or throwing balls. You not only have the basic card meaning, your intuitive impressions, they layout position meanings and the interconnection between the cards, when you go pro you have ethics and business practices to consider.

We all have perfectly good intuition. We are all “gifted” psychics. It is as much a matter of learning, practice and technique as throwing a baseball. We can all toss one. Not everyone wants to put in the work to get really good at it. Natural talent can play a part, but I’m not sure how much of a factor it really is. Not everyone has the drive, desire, natural ability, luck and opportunity to be a professional athlete. Or mechanic. Or doctor, or lawyer or therapist or grocery bagger or Tarot reader or professional anything-you-can-name.

If you can functionally do something, and you are happy with it, by all means do it for yourself. I think it is laudable. I like to make things. I could buy a sweater, but I have the ability to knit one for myself and I don’t mind the wait and less-than-professional result. But on the other hand, I like to listen to music. I probably could functionally learn to make amateur music for myself, but I don’t want to. I want to listen to music made by artists with talent and finesse as well as basic functional skill.

We all have intuition. It is, I believe, a natural function of the human psyche just like throwing a binkie on the floor is a natural function of being a human baby. Using Tarot cards to access that normal intuition is like learning to aim that binkie toss. Time, practice, technique, desire and sprinkle of luck and talent can give the intuitive function a good deal of finesse.

Learn to do DIY daily meditation single card Tarot readings with PeaceTarot, available in the TaoCraftTarotShop on Etsy.

copyright Ronda Snow, all rights reserved

Sit down!

Another way to understand reversed (upside down) cards in a Tarot reading.

I don’t know who enjoyed the cartoons more, my daughter or me.

Kids in the early 2000s had way better shows to watch than we did. But then, I’m old and decrepit and had to wait for Saturday to watch them. Still, Spongebob and Jimmy Neutron rocked.

One of the funnier bits in Jimmy Neutron was when Jimmy and Cindy used double negatives to get the teacher to give them permission to leave the classroom. When Carl tried to use some sort of complicated quadruple negative, all he got from Mrs. Fowl was a loud “Sit Down, Carl!”

Sometimes reversed Tarot cards are like Carl’s double negative attempt and they need to sit down.

Energy flows like a river. Tarot can point out where the current flows most freely…and where there are rocks in the way. Sometimes there are whirlpools and eddies and quiet pools. Reversed cards can make things go in circles if you get too tied up in them. There is a general notion that if a card turns over upside down (relative to the person doing the reading) its meaning is also reversed, presumably flipping the card from positive to negative connotations. Sometimes a reversed card is generally felt to be a negative omen, regardless of the specific card or meaning.

If the card points to the dark side of life in the first place?

If the reversed bad card is turned into a good card, why not just throw down a good card in the first place? Isn’t there more to it than that? Doesn’t that rob the reversal of any meaning? So what if it does?

Reversed cards can be difficult for beginner readers, exactly because of these swirls of energy (and questions) and the double negative style of communication. This is why I tend to tell reversed cards to sit down.

Double negative communication and any difficulty with reversed cards begins from a place of absolutes. The root mistake is to think a card has a fixed positive or negative connotation in the first place.

My method for dealing with reversed card is to view it as neutral regardless of orientation on the table. Take today’s card, the Hanged Man as an example. Let’s give it the ‘stagnation’ meaning today. For someone who has been harried and hurried and pushed, a time of being “stuck” might be a gift of enforced rest just when it is most needed. For someone who is rested and ready to move, “stuck” is a source of enormous frustration. To the first person, if the hanged man is read as meaning lots of new starts and forward momentum, which indeed could be negative and stressful for someone already too much on the move. For the second person, reversed hanged man and the connotation of forward movement is good news, not one bit negative in any way. The card and its message is neutral, not matter how it falls on the table or which side of its nature steps forward. The good or bad, positive or negative is assigned in context by the sitter (Sitter or seeker means the person getting the reading. When you read for yourself, reader and sitter are the same person.)

By beginning from a position of neutrality about the base card meaning, allowing the client to make any ‘positive’ or ‘negative’ judgement about how the card’s message applies to them. It makes it easier to read a reversal: take whatever meaning steps forward to you. If it is reversed, that simply means that the idea, life lesson or energy movement is blocked or challenged in some way, like a whirlpool outside of the river’s primary flow.

Or, it may mean nothing other than random chance in a deck that has been used and shuffled.

Let your intuition be your guide. If no intuition steps forward, then default to method. In this case, make the base card neutral in good vs bad, consider all the possible meanings for the card, and take the reversal to mean slowed or challenged energy surrounding whatever the card is addressing.

Class dismissed. You can stop sitting down now, Carl.

Today’s Tarot: A Coin Out of Your Ear

Today’s card reading is less about the card and more about the reading process itself. Today’s message shows how there is more to reading Tarot than just memorizing rote card “meanings.” It’s a skill anyone can learn, but it takes some actual time and effort to get the hang of it. It isn’t a personal shortfall if you leave it to professionals. You can learn, grow, and benefit from getting a reading just as much as doing one for yourself and vice versa. Just because I’m able to learn to change the oil in my car doesn’t mean that I want to learn it or in a million years ever would do it. So the professionals get that job. That is what they are there for, right? Same with Tarot. If you don’t want to be bothered learning how or if you need a hand with a reading you’ve done on your own, get a pro opinion. No big deal. That is exactly why I’m here; to help.

Intuition takes everything to the next level. 

Like it says in the video, the Four of Pentacles is one of those cards that seem to have two threads of meaning. Sometimes it is a bit menacing, and can indicate greed, stinginess, a need to protect your finances. Other times it has a lighter feel. That lighter side can be an indication that the need to be on guard is only temporary, or can hint a very minor money surprise, like finding forgotten a dollar bill from last winter when you put on your coat the first time next fall.

Every deck varies a little bit in how they represent the energy of the card. The artist might show more of the greedy, miserly, on-guard energy or more of the kindly, it’s temporary, little surprise, a sort of “be careful with your money now, and life will pull a coin out of your ear later” kind of vibe.

So how do know which thread applies to the reading at hand? If you have a choice, how do you know which deck to use in order to best capture the energy of the day?

You don’t know.

That’s where intuition comes in. Follow your hunch about which deck to use. Use the deck that feels right or ‘speaks’ to you that day. The message will find its way through.

Listen to you feelings, and the quiet whispers. If something on a card grabs your attention, follow it. If something feels wrong, trust that too.

For example, let’s say the energy for your day is the ‘mind the budget now, things will be better later on’ kind of message. Intuition may take you to a deck with a lighter-looking card, like the Heart of Stars Tarot on the right (featuring the resourceful but kind Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings.) What if your only deck was the gruffer looking Four of Pentacles from the Witches Tarot on the left? Would that necessarily lead you to the harsher, not-quite-right interpretation? Not necessarily. You may get a feeling of something being wrong. That something-is-wrong-here feeling might nudge you to another or lesser known interpretation of the card. Or intuition may nudge your perception of the card image away from gruff Scrooge toward a protective Grandfather feeling. Either way, giving credence to your imagination, accepting the subtle as valid and honoring your feelings helps the better message to find you.

In the beginning it may feel like you are just pulling made-up crap out of your a…..back pocket. After a time, as your skill and comfort with intuition grows, you find that you are really pulling gold coins out of thin air.



Tarot doesn’t tell you what is going to happen in life; Tarot helps you figure out what to do when life happens.

Today’s post is my philosophy about Tarot in a nutshell.  It’s still kind of a big read, but I hope you will stay with it. By the end you’ll know if I’m the right intuitive Tarot reader for you or not. The full version of TaoCraft Portfolio will cover all of this in detail. The free download version tells you about the practical side of readings (formats and such.) You can get the free download HERE and visit the other links on the “about” page for more details

Predicting The Future

It’s impossible.

I’m not going to hand you a platter of easy answers. I’m not going to blow a lot of feel-good smoke at you. This is advanced Tarot and spiritual work intended to inspire you, to empower you, to expand your horizons or best of all, to validate the things you already know.

If all you want is 100% accurate predictions, then you should find someone else. If you want razzle-dazzle mentalism and someone to fix everything then [Jedi hand wave] I’m not the psychic you are looking for.

BUT if you are ready for growth and self-discovery, if you are ready for imagination and exploration and possibilities, then this style of Tarot can help. I hope we can work together soon.

Related post: 100% accurate predictions and a big cube of jello

Relationship Questions

Your reading will focus on you, and you alone.

Why not? You are paying for it. A reading should be something special just for you.

Tarot can’t read minds or tell what other people will do. Tarot doesn’t know what other people think, feel or want. Out of respect for everyone’s privacy and personal dignity, I never read anyone’s energy without their direct knowledge and consent. So no, my readings can’t tell if you and your ex will get back together. Instead, a reading can explore how you can heal, if that is what you need. It can help you discover the path to being your best and happiest self. Loving life and feeling at ease right here, right now, is the most powerful way to the discover the right relationship for you.

In some very rare and very special times, the other person will lend a little energy to the reading and give us some vague sense of them. Again, it is very rare and a loving gift from them to you. It is a special experience that should always be respected but never expected. If it does happen for you in a reading, please be careful about talking about it with the person who sent the energy. Many times they are unaware of what happened on a conscious level. Finding out about the reading after the fact is a pretty big intrusion. It may make them feel uncomfortable or hurt. Discretion and kindness are always the best way to handle such things.

Medical or Pregnancy Questions

No. Nope. uh-uh. Not happening.

It isn’t about some fancy Tarot “ethics.” Taking medical questions is a big liability in a litigious society like ours, but that is only part of why I won’t touch medical or pregnancy questions. The main reason is that Tarot is wildly ineffective at dealing with medical concerns.

It. Just. Doesn’t. Work.

I’ve worked in mainstream medicine. I’ve worked with holistic and natural health. You have to have the right tool for the right job. You wouldn’t use your cell phone to hammer nails. You wouldn’t use a hammer to make a phone call. By that same token, you don’t use Tarot to deal with health and healing. There are lots of tools in the wellness toolkit: Diet, exercise, Reiki, meditation, aromatherapy, herbs, acupuncture, acupressure, ayervedic medicine, hypnotherapy, physical therapy, art therapy, music therapy, and yes, mainstream medicine too.

Tarot is not one of these health tools. It is true that some physical ailments heal quicker once you discover their emotional or spiritual roots of the disease IF there are any. Tarot might help that process to a limited extent. Sometimes there is no deep spiritual connection. Some health issues are random and out of our control. Medical issues might be a product of injury, environment or genetics. Tarot can help manage the stress these kinds of problems cause, BUT AGAIN, Tarot is not the best option. Reiki and meditation are more effective tools for discovering the spiritual roots of illness and managing the stress health concerns can cause. As for Tarot….

None of the books, blog posts or services offered on TaoCraftTarot.com can diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or illness whatsoever. Nothing offered here can take the place of professional health or mental health care. I accept no liability of any kind real or implied. Use these books and services entirely at your own risk. Scheduling any session with me indicates that you have read, understood and accept these terms and the policies listed HERE.

All Are Welcome

I want my readings to be comfortable and welcoming for everyone.

To do that, I avoid divisive topics like politics and religion. If anything like that comes up in a reading, I will give the message as I get it. Beyond a few references to religious rituals and practices, I have never had religious or political ideology come up as a message in a reading. I will not allow antagonistic or inappropriate conversation to mar a session. I reserve the right to terminate a reading at any time at my sole discretion with no refund  in order to maintain a safe and respectful reading environment.

I shouldn’t have to say these things, but I want to be very clear about a few things: I am a LGBTQIA+ ally, and all are absolutely welcome with me – as are secular people and those of non-mainstream religions. Like I said, I don’t do religion and politics. I believe humans are wonderfully complex, like a faceted diamond. Many facets coexist just fine, in all of us. I’m atheist, spiritual, Taoist, Buddhist, witchy, and Reiki-y all at the same time. All the parts of you are welcome here too.

Interested? Please visit the home page to order a distance reading or please contact me at TaoCraftTarot@gmail.com to schedule a live phone or skype reading.

Q&A: Ace of Cups and the Lovers, combining two cards

How-to post from the Modern Oracle / Tarotbytes archives (2015 reprise of an older post)

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

A: It depends.

This where Tarot reading gets a little complicated…this is exactly why professionals charge for their services. It takes some time and effort to get your head around this kind of thing. Good for you for getting help to understand instead of just dismissing it all. Well done! You question is a perfect example of why there is more to reading Tarot cards than just memorizing card meanings.

Even if you are only dealing with a one card meditation, you have to consider the context. Full layouts raise even more questions. What layout are you using? What position was the card in within that layout? What meaning does the position have? What type of message was being given for the particular card? Advice? Caution? Validation? Acknowledgement? Something else?

Now raise all of that to the power of 2 cards. Or to the power of however many cards are in the layout. You have to consider all that stuff for each card, plus how each card relates to all the other cards, the question being asked, and the patterns within the layout as a whole. The more cards, the more exponentially complicated the reading becomes. Which in turn is why I don’t like enormous layouts. In my experience, after 7 cards or so, a reading gets real gnarly, real fast. It seems there is a crossover point, a critical mass where the reading becomes more confusing than clarifying. That’s also why I use single card daily meditation readings to teach beginber Tarot reading in my e-book PeaceTarot . That’s the best place to start when you are learning.

Now take all of that and multiply it again by magnitudes of ethical considerations. Romance readings are a special kind of difficult because of the other person involved. Unless you have their significant other’s direct permission read about them, then the reading has to focus only on the person getting the reading. If you are reading for yourself, then you must respect the other person’s privacy and dignity. The key is to look for advice about how YOU can do whatever is best for the relationship.
Putting the special relationship ethics aside, we still haven’t looked at understanding these two cards.

For example if the Ace of Cups represents the lessons from the 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) and that is a lesson from the past, then the overall meaning might be to use your inner wisdom to help guide the relationship. It could be a hint to ket the heart rule the head, and make emotions a prime consideration.

Now switch things around. Lovers 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 like what are your desires are doing to your spiritual development? Are your desires feeding your inner light or hampering it?

The difference between the two messages is a bit subtle, but it could mean the difference between giving a good reading, and giving a really masterful one.
So the real answer to your question is that I can’t tell the meaning without knowing the context in which the two cards appeared.

If you were reading for yourself, jot down your questions, all of cards and their layout positions, then we can look at the layout together and figure it all out in a private Tarot how-to-read lesson instead of the typical private session if you like.

Hope this helps a little. Let me know if you want to set up that lesson.