Hello and welcome to TaoCraft Short Sip: Tarot contemplation in the time it takes to sip your coffee. I’m glad you are here.

Today’s card is the King of Cups

The energy of the card today isn’t quite typical for a King card. It fits a minor arcana court card, just not the usual boilerplate interpretation of the Kings per se. Often court cards, or the face cards as they are called in the modern game playing deck, are an in-between energy. They have more zing than the number cards in the minor arcana, but not quite the wattage of the major arcana cards. Kings represent the yang side of leadership. They are outward facing energy, very proactive and protective. This card is still connected to leadership, but in a quieter, more castle and keep sort of way. Cups are tied to closeness and emotion. The King of Cups is but in an intimate one to one sort of way. The King of Cups is an leader within the emotional and intuitive realm. The King of Cups is a mentor.

Here I am reminded of that old TV show Kung Fu. My Grandfather loved it because it was essentially a western and anything with cowboys and horses was high on his list of things to watch. We used to watch it together all the time, but my favorite parts were the flashbacks to the Shaolin Temple with “grasshopper.” I guess my affinity for Taoism and Chan Buddhism started at a pretty young age, come to think of it. That is so not a typical thing for 1970s evangelical appalachia, believe me. I think that memory comes to mind just now because of the mentoring relationship between Master Po and Kwai Chang. Yoda, Luke and Obiwan also come to mind if you prefer the Star Wars mythology.

Mentoring is an interesting relationship somewhere in between friendship and detached mass education. It is far more than just a one to one tutor. It is a friendship with a little airspace, allowing for correction and redirection.

Chingliang Al Huang, who collaborated with Alan Watts on Watts’ masterwork The Watercourse Way, wrote an excellent book on the topic The Tao of Mentoring. I’m guessing none of you will be surprised to learn I read both of those ages ago. But I highly recommend the Tao of Mentoring for anyone who is considering a career that involves one to one guidance like, for example, holistic health consulting or Tarot readings.

There aren’t many Yodas or Master Pos around these days, but guidance and mentoring is available to anyone willing to listen.

I don’t remember it exactly, but I once read a quote about how it is ok, even good to spend time alone. Sometimes we have to be alone to realize just how deeply connected everything really is. It has also been said by Robin Williams, Maya Angelo and others that it is far worse to be in the middle of people and life and things….but still feel alone.

Whether we are literally alone or feeling alone in the middle of other people, the King of Cups reminds us that we are never cut off from guidance and mentoring. The volume gets very very low sometimes, but never quite goes away. I’ve said it many times. Spirit speaks in whispers. Intuition is our ability listen to those whispers.

You would think I’d like the ASMR thing on social media. But honestly, I hate it. I must be wired differently from most people. Those whispery, breathy vocals especially make me want to yeet something at the TV or chuck my headphones across the room. But it comes to mind as an example for that process of listening to the whispers of guidance that comes from the collective unconscious, spirit guides, angels or however you name such things.

The King of Cups is quieter today than a typical king card reading. That indirectly reminds us to listen to real world mentors. The King of Cups, being a leader, reminds us that the best mentors listen too.

And thank you for listening to this blogcast now. See you at the next sip!

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Throw Down Roots

TaoCraft Short Sip: Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Today: deep roots and the 2 of pentacles

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. The blog, podcast and YouTube channel are not monetized or sponsored in any way, so I super appreciate any support you can give with likes, subs, shares, follows, reading orders, memberships or coffee mug donations.

Today’s card is the Two of Pentacles.

Theoretically, any of the number two minor arcana cards can point to some aspect of balance. Out of the entire Tarot deck however, the two of pentacles seems to be the most focused on the idea of balance in and of itself.

It seems to me that balance is important to a healthy human psyche. When we get out of balance, when we get out over our skis as the saying goes, that’s when falling down happens. That’s stressful. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a terrible skier. It’s an apt analogy for dynamic equilibrium, just like the unicycle image that has come to mind so much lately. Whether you are riding a unicycle or sliding down a mountain, that kind of moving, changing balance requires constant adaptation and lots of little adjustments to stay upright and get to where you want to go.

Today the card brings to mind a different aspect of balance. This time, the energy is continuing in the theme for January that has emerged over the past several days. The Hermit, the four of cups, the five of cups – they’ve all been showing up in year ahead and month ahead readings and they all keep banging on the notion of laying low and “playing your cards close to the vest” for a time.

Which brings us to today’s version of the Two of Pentacles.

Throwing down roots is essential to balance too.

It’s not something that comes up much in the Tarot part of things, but I’ve studied Taijiquan (Tai Chi) since the early ’90s. Tarot, Taoism and Tai Chi all came into my life in my twenties and we all sort of grew up together. (She said gesturing to the TaoCraft name splashed all over everything.) At one point back in the day the hubster and I had a part time martial arts school where I taught Tai Chi and a little kung fu. Physical balance and strong footing are essential to Tai Chi practice. We call it rooting.

When strong winds come, a supple willow tree keeps its balance. It will bend instead of break. But even the most supple, bendable willow will still fall down if it has no roots.

That is exactly the kind of balance the Two of Pentacles is bringing to mind today. It’s like martial arts where you plant your feet, use your feet and leg position and drop your weight to stay solid when you need to.

It’s the same in life. There is dynamic equilibrium always, but there are moments within the big picture of that equilibrium that call for deep roots and solid strength.

The past two years have been weird. If the year-ahead Tarot readings I’ve been doing so far are to be believed, 2022 isn’t going to be all that different at the start. It’s going to take a while for the changes to kick in if we allow them to happen and if we can somehow throw down our roots and stay solid in the meantime.

I think the advice in the midst of continuing weirdness, is that it’s more than ok to self-soothe just a little while longer. In a circular sort of way this is our permission slip to throw down our roots, reach for the things that anchor us and nourish us like roots anchor and nourish tall trees. So what if you’ve watched that movie 50 times? Watch it 50 more if it helps. Hungry for comfort food? Why not? Eat your vegetables, wash your hands, wear those comfy pants and fuzzy socks. Being down to earth helps in lots of ways. Down to earth is a good place to grow roots and find some much needed balance.

Thanks for reading, watching and listening! See you at the next sip.

More Kitten Whiskers

Time for some Friday fangirling over a few favorites.

  • Get yourself an uncontrollable jaunt – you’ll be glad you did. Actually, get yourself to yourself to Spotify, iTunes, google play or Stitcher and follow Ninth World Journal written, directed, and produced by David S. Dear who also voices Januae. Based on the role playing game Numenera and set in the far future, Januae invents a teleporter which, for reasons, causes him to randomly & spontaneously teleport or “jaunt” and sci fi adventures ensue. I won’t spoil it, but if you like sci fi or fantasy an eentsy bit, please give it a listen. I’m more of a reader than a listener, but I’m transfixed. If an audio drama holds my gnat sized attention that is saying something. I am eternally honored to have been invited by David to be a co-host on his previous podcast Menage A Tarot, which was one of the most fun things I’ve ever done (it’s still available on TuneIn if you want to give it a listen) I can tell you first hand that David is one of the wisest, kindest people you’d ever want to meet plus has an enchanting fm radio voice that you could listen to for hours. That, plus the perfect length of the Ninth World Journal episodes and David’s sense of humor make it one of the most binge-able podcasts around. Please support Ninth World Journal on Patreon and ko-fi.
  • Speaking of wisdom and podcasts! If non-fiction is more to your taste, the please visit, home of you guessed it….Coach Jose Johnson, mindfulness coach, martial arts master and musician (Side Streets of Dreams is one of my all time favorite songs) I’ve had the privilege of taking clinics taught by him, and chatting with him as friend and colleague in the mindfulness & spirituality field. I know and respect his work. My husband studied with both he and Justin so of course if you have any interest in martial arts whatsoever, please give The Kung Fu Equation podcast a listen. Lately he has been posting I Ching (the “Book of Changes”) inspired thoughts on instagram. While I don’t use I Ching in my professional work, I’ve used it personally almost as long as I’ve worked with Tarot…since the 90s. He is absolutely spot on. Take it from someone with “Tao” in their website name…listen to him about the I Ching and mindfulness. His book Mindfulness Secrets is available now.
  • From audio art, to nonfiction and music … now back to art. Ry Summers is one of the most multi-talented artists I’ve ever cyber-met. I first met him on the poetry site “We Drink Because We Are Poets.” His writing is gritty, raw, real, powerful and alive. For his poetry, I recommend an older work of his written under the pen name Sahm Atain King, Laria Onyx. At the same time, he is a brilliant artist and photographer. Check out his work (including my favorite of his paintings that he’s posted so far, “Mephistopheles”) on  Rumor has it that he has a new project in the works. Please visit his instagram profile to learn how to support his work.




Today’s Tarot 23 April 2019

When I saw #Neo from #TheMatrix was #Magician, I knew #heartofstarstarot by Thom Pham was a deck for me. The Matrix ‘s #cookie #baking #Oracle was a big part of the inspiration for my first #Tarot #blog and website, #ModernOracle. I love the part where Neo wakes up and says with a note of awe in his voice “I know kung fu” It always motivates me to practice and reminds me of those rare moments when something your sifu taught finally clicks and for half a second you feel like you might know some tiny molecule of sompin’ sompin’

Knowing means you gotta DO. DOing means in time you’ll know. They are connected, and they are both balanced with a sense of BEing without need of activity, without intellectual judgements.

Heart of Stars Tarot Copyright Thom Pham. Used with permission.

Tarot Without a Net: The Heirophant

I like Marvel.

I was as happy to see Professor X as I was to see who I thought was ObiWan Kenobi on the Emperor card. It is a perfect bridge between what I see and what the artest saw in these two cards.

It’s been a long year coming, but waaay back when the third edition of Heart of Stars third edition deck was released by Thom Pham, he very graciously gave permission for me to share these posts with you. I am so looking forward to exploring this deck with you because it is very much how I work. If you have ever had a reading with me, there is a good chance that spirit and energy gave a pop culture reference at some point…a song, book, movie or tv show.

It is interesting to me that the very thing I missed by mis-understanding Odin from Thor as Obi-Wan from Star Wars is the exact thing that drives my impression of this card.

The Hierophant (or Pope card in some decks) has always been a nemesis for me personally. The Hierophant / Pope is often associated with social rules and conventions. On the RWS deck it is rife with religious imagery. As an adult child of evangelicals recovered fundamentalist, that is a hot button pushing reflex issue for me. Lucky for me AND my clients, that only happens when I engage with stuff like this, outside of a reading. In a reading, the Hierophant is smooth as silk and clear as a bell because it has to do with connecting with THEIR  energies and messages. Please don’t take my wrangling matches with this card to be an indication of what is to come in YOUR reading should this card turn up.

It is much better than it used to be, actually. It took a dozen re-writes to do the “Arcana in Balance” post (I’ll updating and reprising that series here later this year.) Since coming out secular, it has been easier to deal with this card. It is even easier still since Johanne Dinali explaned the card in her twitter feed as the keeper of traditions, like a grandfather or a shaman.

Here, I get the word teacher very strongly from this card. It still has undertones of rules and conventions because the Professor teaches discipline and ethics and how to deal with mutation super powers. It has the same threads of mystery and power. All that Professor X has learned has been long and hard-won….and about mysterious powers. So yes, the Hierophant is the keeper of rules, traditions, social conventions….but to teach them. He teaches mysteries through the same, not just all law and order. It is a subtle, even nonexistant distinction to those who embrace religion, perhaps. To those of us who have experienced and deliberately, mindfully left mainstream religion, it is an important one. The hierophant is more kindly kindly monk-teacher-scribe than lay-down-the-law, missals and diatribes Pope.  Professor X and the heart of the Hierophant card is more like teaching us to find and use our X-men powers than it is law-and-order, lock-em-up and throw away the key. The Hierophant is a spiritual teacher – not a religious  officer, judge, jury and executioner.

I was browsing for a quote to post with the card as I often do on Instagram (@Taocraft.Tarot) This one by Thich Nhat Hahn caught my eye:

“Doubt in my tradition is something that is very helpful. Because of doubt, you can thirst for more and you will get a higher kind of proof”

That resonates with teaching in a very real world way on multiple levels for me. If we go back to my personal religious issues (obviously not something that will relate to everyone, but shout out to all the ex-vangelicals out there) anything worth learning will stand up to doubt and questioning. Christianity, for me, disappeared in a poof of dust at every question, every doubt. Taoism has stood up through everything life has thrown at me. Tarot has never ending wisdom so far for me AND my clients. That isn’t bragging about my skill…it is bragging about what a reliable, testable, doubt-and-question-tolerant tool Tarot has proven itself to be in my experience.

That is just from the one sided perspective of a student. I’ve taught. This card and this quote has something to say to teachers as well: Questions and doubts are a wonderful thing. When I was teaching Kung Fu and Tai Chi I LOVED it when students had questions. They took the whole class to some really cool wonderful places…to hell with what I had planned. When students question us and doubt us and push us….they are doing US, the teachers and enormous favor. They are showing us the dead spots that need pruned away. They are showing us the empty gaps that need feed. If I don’t know an answer, it is only an embarrassment if I fail to try and find and answer or at least try to point the student in the direction of other possible sources for their answer.

When Professor Hierophant rolls in to a reading, it is a good time to ask questions, face our doubts, test the rules, then follow those guides and lessons that prove trustworthy.

Unsurprisingly, given his choice of Professor X, the artist makes teaching a primary focus, instead of a supporting focus behind the paternal / protector emphasis of the Emperor card.

Deck: Heart of Stars Third edition by Thom Pham, used with permission.