Found Family

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Today we talk about found family and stray cat royalty.

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

I’m still exploring the Alleyman’s Tarot by Seven Dane Asmund. Today’s card is the Queen of Strays.

My first early morning coffee deficient impulse response to the card was my inner three year old yelling KITTY!

But honestly, though, there are worse ways to start a Monday morning than a picture of a cat.

My Aunt used to have an orange tabby with a vibe a lot like the queen in the box on the card. I imagine that if Pumpkin had a human voice she would have sounded like Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey. Pumpkin was a rescue like all the other cats my aunt ever had. She was legendary for bringing home every stray around when she was a kid. To this day, she is the neighborhood cat whisperer.

If we humans have the capacity to form relationships with the strays of other species, then think about how much stronger the bonds between found humans can be.

In that respect, the internet is a glorious thing. I’ve had conversations with people who I never would have met otherwise in more places than I could ever afford to visit. I’ve had conversations in Esperanto with a Japanese doll designer and a German Reggae singer. I’ve built years-long friendships with an energy healer in Albuquerque, a writer and two Tarot readers in Canada plus a voice actor on the entire opposite side of the country (insert Nineth World Journal and Oz 9 fangirling here.)

I’ve done email Tarot readings that started wonderful conversations with lovely people on the entire opposite side of the planet in Australia, India, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Meat space can be just as glorious as cyber space if we let it.

Have you ever been to a comic con or a concert for your favorite band? That is a glimpse of how like minds and found family can feel. For some of us that found family, that sense of tribe and community can be desperately important.

I’ve been lucky in negotiating these things. I’ve avoided the land mines that have exploded friend’s families over smaller religious and political differences. I’ve lived in the white evangelical subculture. I grew up in what we now call “MAGA” culture. It isn’t an exaggerated news media trope. The danger and emotional damage of rejection and homelessness and worse is very real especially for lgbtquia teens in the so-called red states and red counties.

We all have to do all we can to protect the vulnerable among us. Each of us must be the Queen or King of strays. Vote. Be kind. Advocate for equality and inclusion. Most of all be your true self when you can.

For we adults, it’s usually easy, safe and cheap. You never know when letting your true self show might make a younger found family member feel a little less alone. Letting your true light shine might throw a some encouragement into a dark corner where it is needed. A little kindness and a little authenticity can make you stray cat royalty.

That’s why I love this card today. Families of heart are just as real and valid as the genetic kind. They feed your soul. I’m old and lucky and privileged, but I still remember going to a U2 concert in the 80s and feeling like I found “my people.” I still remember the giddy joy of watching the Reason Rally in 2016 and seeing the Ron Reagan unabashed atheist commercial. It is one thing to intellectually know you are not alone, but it is another thing altogether to really feel and experience that there are others “like me.” I remember doing Tarot readings at a theater after party one time and feeling ridiculously happy in that diverse, accepting, loving group of people especially after getting a quick hello hug from a seven foot tall drag queen. It doesn’t matter how your stray-ness is defined, be it race, religion, gender identity, sexual preference, or what have you – strays of every type nurture and care for each other because we all know what it feels like to be the only one.

Thank you so much for listening. All very best wishes to all of you, my found Tarot Tribe. See you at the next sip!

Are you enjoying these free to access sips of Tarot? If so, please visit the TaoCraftTarot ko-fi page. Shop and membership proceeds support the blog and podcast. The link is in the episode description for podcast listeners. Want a whole cup of Tarot all your own? Private email readings with the blog author are available to order 24/7, no appointment needed on the blogcast website.

Confession #5: I’m Proud of You

All are welcome here: A few June thoughts from an lgbtquia ally and recovering fundamentalist

New and improved podcast version of the post by the same name earlier this month.


I’m a clairvoyant and I have a confession. I’m proud of you.

I’ve re-written this episode at least two dozen times. 

One version even started with an Eleanor Roosevelt quote. Something about doing what’s right because you are going to be criticized anyway. 

This sort of thing happens in Tarot. Working with your intuition WILL help you find a better understanding of things, but sometimes it will kick you out of your comfort zone in the process. This particular card reading has been pushing my buttons for days

Today’s podcast episode is based on a single card, daily meditation reading from the TaoCraft Tarot blog earlier this month. There is a link in the show notes if you want to read my original semi-unhinged rant.

When I drew the Four of Wands card, the words “quirk” and “celebrate” stepped forward immediately. Here, the word quirk carries a very positive energy and points toward anything that makes you unique or is a key part of your individuality. 

“Celebrate with pride” is still the top level energy message.

I’m recording this in June. You don’t have to be a psychic to connect “celebrate with pride” to Pride Month.

 But there was a secondary message underneath that one. The mental image that came with it reminded me of the ‘river of slime’ in Ghostbusters II. 

I recognized the energy immediately from being raised evangelical in the american south, but it’s really hard to describe the FEEL of it. It helps that there have been several reputable news reports about evangelicals because of their overwhelming support for a certain former president.

Based on my experience and what I’ve seen through my family, the news reports are fairly accurate. I searched for a few recent ones and put links in the show description [below] if you want a better sense of the energy. If it seems like I’m picking on Southern Baptists, I am. That’s my parents’ church. White evangelical baptists are what I know first hand. But never mind my background. REAL experts are saying hate crimes are on the rise. I think this part of the card message serves as a reminder to please stay safe and reach out to reasonable people for support if you need it.

Dogma about the word “pride” is one of about nine thousand ninety-nine hundred and eleventy-one reasons why I ran screaming from evangelical religion. They, and others, turn the simple word “pride” into something terrible.

I’m guessing the “pride” they talk about is something of a language artifact. Language shifts and evolves over time, even when some belief systems don’t. Bronze age manuscripts filtered through medieval translations and then bent to contemporary ends equates “pride” to unbridled ego. In a world before psychology, it makes sense that a mental state like that would be described with commonplace words. Words that WE are familiar with, like ego and narcissist didn’t exist back then. “pride goes before a fall” for example. Out of control narcissism can lead to poor choices and bad stuff happening. 

In any case, it’s a shame that newer, healthier connotations for the word pride are sometimes haunted by old, derogatory ones.

Looking at the card, I was reminded of being a kid and hearing all of the adults quietly supporting Anita Bryant, the loudly anti-gay peanutbutter lady from the 1970s. This part of the message reminded me of how evangelicals STILL feel about pride month and all of the bigotry, racism and overt homophobia that was the number one reason why I quit that religion so long ago.

Did you ever notice how evangelical preachers have a tendency to yell during their sermons? 


Imagine how it would feel as a teenager to hear them literally raise their voices against quote/unquote “the homosexuals.” It was heartbreaking for me to hear it when I had – and still have – good friends in the lgbtqia community.


Now, imagine what that experience would be like if you were young and IN the community.

The Four of Wands is about public cultural celebrations. The Four of Wands is about lifting each other up.

Authenticity is something to celebrate. People living their truest lives is a profoundly happy thing. 

A lack of self esteem can make us more prone to prejudice. Studies are starting to show that putting other people down really is a self esteem boost for some people. 

On the other hand, self acceptance is jet fuel for empathy. Self confidence makes compassion for other people so much easier. Compassion for other people supports their self esteem which in turn seeds more compassion and so on and so on. Pride not only ISN’T a sin, it arguably can make the world a better place.

Pride month is a lesson for all of us. It’s hard to hate other people when you make peace with your TRUE self first. 

Those of us with privilege are exponentially more responsible to protect and celebrate and uplift Pride Month. I used to think that my experience of leaving evangelical religion and coming out atheist gave me a tiny glimpse into what it is like for the lgbtqia community on both sides of the closet door.

But no. Just, no.

As an ally, pride month doesn’t have anything to do with me. For an ally, Pride Month is about being proud of other people. It’s about being proud OF people I care about.

Whatever your situation, if you are living a kind and authentic life – I’m proud of you.

Celebrate who you are. Celebrate everyone. Just be careful that the celebratory kind of pride doesn’t slip into the ego kind of pride. The supportive kind of pride is something for every month, not just corporate advertising during the month of June. 

I post rainbows and celebrate WITH you this month because I’m proud OF you and proud of who YOU are.

All are welcome here. 

This episode is dedicated to a still-quiet loved one and the memory of Roger Harmon, florist, businessman, and one of my first and best friends south of the mason dixon line.

Thanks for listening. I’ll see you on the print side and I’ll see you next time in the clairvoyant’s confessional.

Based on the wordpress blog:

Bibliography / Sources:

TaoCraft Portfolio: Authenticity

Authenticity is the whole reason that I re-branded from Modern Oracle Tarot to TaoCraft Tarot. It is an unfortunate reality that psychics and Tarot readers can be a target for all sorts of biases. We are often caught in the crossfire between religious fundamentalists who are convinced we are all evil and pedantic would-be skeptics who think we are all criminal. When I began in-person work in 2003, I had a whole laundry list of reasons to do so with a low profile inoffensive public image.

By 2018 that list had changed. By then, Modern Oracle no longer reflected who I am or the kind of Tarot work I want to do. I still don’t intend to deliberately offend anyone, but I am no longer willing to dilute my work to spare other people’s exaggerated sensitivities. Some places still require us to use the “for entertainment only” disclaimer. Tarot is entertainment because it really is a lot of fun. It is also much more. Tarot is a genuine expression of spirituality and life philosophy. Being honest is more important than being inoffensive. Integrity is more important than expanding market appeal.

Authenticity circles right back to the core premise of TaoCraft Portfolio. How do you find the right Tarot reader for you?

Professionalism and transparent business practices is a good place to start. If you are looking for entertainment, then a good stage personality is all it takes. But if you want a reading because you need honest to goodness guidance, both professionalism and personality matter. You wouldn’t want to talk about sensitive emotional or spiritual issues with someone who holds ideals that you find repellent.

I am Taoist, Zen, and solitary eclectic all in one. I was raised evangelical, but I’ve been an atheist for decades now. Science works regardless of what we believe. I am a LGBTQIA+ ally. Black lives matter. There is a climate crisis caused by humans and we must do everything we can to live in balance with nature. Women’s rights are human rights, especially reproductive choice. Healthcare is a universal human right. Shit happens, but love is love, and compassion is the one measure of it all.

You may think it odd that I want to come out and say these things so explicitly. You may think it is odd that anyone would care about such things. Still, if we know there are no unexpected cultural or political landmines, then we can do the reading from safe, solid ground. Both of us can relax. If any of these things anger you or offend your religious sensibilities, then I’m not the right Tarot reader for you. If you don’t mind this worldview (or maybe even agree with it) great! Let’s get started!

The free download version of TaoCraft Portfolio explains all of the basics about TaoCraft Tarot: descriptions of a session, a sample reading, explanation of the layouts, policies and so on. The “About” page in the menu gives you the same information but also has background pages about philosophy. The full expanded version of TaoCraft Portfolio will be available in the Shop late 2020 and has all of the “about” information collected in one place but adds expanded essays about philosophy and the occasional peek behind the scenes of Tarot readings.