The not-joking joker

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

Usually Short Sip is Tarot contemplation for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. You might want to pour yourself a full mug for this one. Possibly a full mug of something stronger than coffee. Or maybe not. I don’t know – let’s jump in and see where this takes us.

This is the joker card from the Alleyman’s Tarot deck. The thing I love about exploring this outsized deck with you is the way it pushes me to the edge of my comfort zone. It also lets me interact with cards, decks and art I wouldn’t have otherwise.. This card is a little bit of both of those things.

As always, I read the card as-is before looking at the deck creators intentions and was rewarded for that pattern with this card. Intuitive reading is the whole intended point of the card which was originally drawn by Christian Ellingstad for the Arcadia playing cards. All of the cards in the Alleyman’s Tarot were either created by its author, created specifically for the deck, or used with direct permission. The author in me respects the work it took to make that level of permission and scholarship happen.

Here, the Joker card and its lovely line drawing pulls in two directions. The lighter, easier of the two talks about cartomancy. Technically, cartomancy means divination or an intuitive reading with any cards. Lenormand Tarot, Marseille style Tarot, oracle decks, playing cards – reading with all of those fall under the term cartomancy. You could use old maid cards if you really wanted to. Just as often, if not more so, when you hear the word cartomancy, it usually refers to using playing cards for the reading.

How do you do that, you might ask? The coffee mug isn’t big enough for that this morning. More on that some other day.

Long story short, readings with playing cards are at the same time the easiest and the hardest readings you can do. There are no details or complicated symbolism on playing cards. There isn’t much to memorize, so playing cards are a good way to start learning cartomancy in its largest sense.

Which is precisely why playing cards are the most difficult to use. There aren’t established meanings. There aren’t a lot of details or images for your intuition to use as fuel to find the right message. You have to read playing cards intuitively or you are screwed. Unless you add a big dose of pure intuition, playing cards are only good for playing games. But, on the other hand, if you are willing to take that chance and make the leap into intuitive reading, then playing cards are as good as any other deck for finding the insight and guidance you need.

OK, great. But what else is the Joker telling us about today?

After working with the Alleyman’s deck, I’m starting to take reversals more seriously. But even if we stick with my usual practice of deciding with pure intuition whether a reversal is indicating a slowing or blockage of energy or just happenstance, my hunch today is this card rightfully should stay upside down. So much so that this is in the old-school flip the meaning territory, which is rare in my experience.

This joker is serious.

Period. Underline. Exclamation point.

Ok, fine. But what is this joker so serious about?

I live in America. I’ll let you decide if that is a good thing or a bad thing because after the past 6 or 7 years, I’m honestly of two minds about it. Especially after the past couple of weeks.

99.999% of the time I avoid religion and politics in readings. My job is to try to bring clarity, not stir up muck. Despite that deliberate effort, sometimes intuition steps in, yoinks the good intentions right out of your hands and spits the real talk. Most of the time if it comes up, it is encouragement to get literally involved in civics; volunteer at an animal shelter, plant trees, that sort of thing. There is more to it this time. Full on politics has come crashing into a pretty little playing card.

After 4 July 2022 I can only see an inverted Joker one way: This is serious.

What the actual freaking fuckitty frack was that yesterday, America?

To the rest of the world, all I can say is – I’m sorry. I did all I had the means to do. I voted, yard signed, contributed – at one point I even volunteered and phone banked – which sucked – for a candidate who, luckily, did not suck. Yet here we are, screaming down the highway to theocracy and oligarchy and a bunch of other -archys and -isms that are – um – bad.

Democracy is in danger. Look at yesterday as if it were a Tarot reading. Consider the implications and symbolism if you drew a card that was an assault rifle slaughter of innocents at an Independence Day celebration. I’m at a loss for words. On top of the death, horror and tragedy you have a literal representation of democracy and decency under fire.

Maybe it was the movie JFK, but the phrase “kill box” keeps coming to mind. And, too, there was just an interview with Andrea Mitchell and a retired agent who worked in Dallas at one point in his career. He spoke about the paralles between the Highland Park shooting and Lee Harvey Oswald. I encourage you to listen to reliable news reporting and get the information directly for yourself. I’m not a journalist. It’s my job to stand here and point to the symbolism of it all.

This is serious.

I am worried for all religious and spiritual minorities (atheist, agnostic and secular included) as well as our LGBTQIA and our POC brothers and sisters.

This joker is not joking. All good and decent people have to band and act together, including voting this fall in hordes and droves. We have to make the polls look like that scene from the movie World War Z.

Meanwhile. Stay safe, be careful. Protect your privacy. Protest smart. Be aware of your surroundings in both cyberspace and meatspace. You are precious. We need you.

Thank you for reading and listening. Short Sip will be back tomorrow, hopefully with a little better mood for you. Take good care of yourself.

Today’s Tarot: Mind to Meatspace

Even though we are having a vegetarian supper, it’s Meatspace Monday.

Usually for me it works out to be Meatspace Sunday, but alliteration makes everything better. Even when that’s not the kind of meat I’m talking about. Any other William Gibson fans out there? I can’t remember how long ago I read Neuromancer or how many times I’ve re-read it since, but I’m pretty sure (considering how old my gen-x backside is getting) he’s the one who coined “meatpuppet.” It has a bit of an, ahem, adult meaning in the book, so let’s just say it means the physical body….meat instead of mind, physical reality vs virtual reality kind of reference. I’m not sure who came up with “meatspace” as the physical real-world counterpart to “cyberspace” (also a Gibson word, if memory serves) but I think it was Adam Savage who is another one of my favorite inspirations and creative influences. Neuromancer and Every Tool’s a Hammer are both excellent reads. Several thumbs up for both

But on to the Chariot card. Sure it has all of the chariot race Ben Hur kind of energies that Thom Pham depicts here in the Heart of Stars deck. To win a chariot race you have to pay attention to what the heck you are doing. I often explain it as the ‘test pilot’ card. Whether you are racing chariots or flying fighter jets, being preoccupied or letting your mind wander can land you in big trouble. But that’s not quite the energy of it for today.

It’s a little more meta than that. Pay attention to where you pay attention.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very thankful to all of you who read the blog and watch the videos. Please keep it up! I love having you to talk with (and for goodness’ sake feel free to talk back. I have the comments moderated to keep the energy spam free and reasonable for all of us) But just for a minute, pull back. Be a person reading a screen instead of letting your mind rest IN the screen. Pull back to meatspace, be aware of your surroundings, your device as a whole, the words on the screen, yes, but also of the environment you are in. Be aware of you where you are right now as part of that meatspace whole.

It’s easy, especially for those of us who tend to “live in our head” anyway, to get caught up in an intellectual, conceptual virtual reality be it found in websites, or movies, or TV or books. For us, it is even more crucial to reconnect with physicality. Take a mental vacation into meatspace. Get a little exercise. Savor your favorite dessert.

Pay attention to paying attention. Put your mind into meatspace sometimes.




Confession #6: I’m Lazy


I’m a clairvoyant and I have a confession: I’m a lazy, lazy psychic

This is a question that crossed my path out in meatspace, you know, in real life as the kids call it. They wanted to know if I keep anyone in mind when I do one card meditation readings on the blog

The lazy answer is no. 

And yes. 

When I do readings for the blog, youtube or social media, I don’t think of any ONE person in particular but I do try to keep everyone in mind. 

Don’t try this at home kids. It really is as vague and confusing as it sounds.

Energetically speaking, it is a TON easier to do a big, complex layout with 5 or 7 or 10 cards  for one specific person than it is to do a quick single card meditation reading for basically the whole internet. 

That’s why I’ve been asking all of you to please please please submit your questions. It is SO MUCH easier to connect with all of you when we all have a shared question or topic in mind. 

It really doesn’t take much to make a long distance connection like that. I’ve done email Tarot readings for clients in New Zealand and Papua New Guinea which is about as far away as it gets from the eastern united states. The part where you ask your question or give permission for an open reading is pretty much all it takes. Once you have that. Tiny spark of a connection, it dorsn’t matter whether we are using one card or a dozen, working across a table or across time zones, talking to one person or an entire internet audience.

That’s one reason why I am always EXTREMELY grateful when people let me share their questions with all of you like this. That one little bit of focus makes this whole blog and pod thing so much easier. 

Aaaand as we have established – I’m lazy.

But no, MOST of the time I don’t have any one person or one question in mind when I do my “Today’s Tarot” posts, although I really enjoy it when I can. 

At the same time, the whole *point* of doing a general audience reading IS to think of everyone and not just one person or question. I start each blog or youtube reading with the intention that the card will help the most people possible. 

I don’t get a lot of feedback about these things, so I never know how well that plan works out. Even if my starting intention is to appeal to a lot of people, if a post or a video or a podcast helps just ONE person, then it was still worth it.

The public nature of all of this is another reason why I’m so grateful when people share their questions. Some people are understandably shy about asking questions in a public venue like this. I mean, why WOULD any rational person trust some rando stranger on the internet with an important or emotionally charged question?

So the casual, off hand question that YOU ask might turn out to be a big help to someone else out there in cyberspace.

If that’s all there was to it, doing an internet reading with the vague hope that it might resonate with somebody would be easy enough, BUT when you work with subtle energies, other subtle things can mess with the process. 

Just like out in meatspace, cyberspace is … a space. 

You know how in the real world a place or a room can carry a vibe? 

Being outside in a forest FEELS different from being alone in a basement or overhearing an argument on the bus or being at a party with friends. The same is true in cyberspace. In my experience, websites and social media feeds have an energy to them too. 

Energy is everywhere and intuition absolutely works at a distance. In most ways, doing readings in cyberspace is *exactly* like doing readings in real space. I think it is possible to set the tone and atmosphere in a website…or a podcast… just like you can decorate a room in the real world. Doing email Tarot readings or writing for the blog is as comfortable as sitting in my favorite chair with a cup of coffee . Reading on youtube is kind of like working at a fortune teller booth at a festival. Some places  like snapchat and tictok are just not right for this kind of energy work. 

When the idea for Clairvoyant Confessional came along, I imagined doing readings or answering questions here would be like a  conversation among friends over a cup of coffee by a fireplace.  I want the tone for the podcast to be calming and comfortable. I want it to FEEL like a relaxed space where you can feel safe asking questions 

OR … you can just sit back and listen to me monologing like like some kind of comic book supervillian.

Either way, I hope that this podcast is a little bit entertaining or a little bit helpful for someone somewhere out there. If you DO have a question, any question, send it to me using the contact info in the episode description. I’ll do my best to give you an answer and I might even use an on air Tarot reading to do it.

The outro music that you hear is “Dimension” by the Pittsburgh band Dinosoul. Copyright Donny Donovan and Carolyn Hilliard, all rights are reserved, used here with permission. Please support local artists and musicians wherever you are.

Thank you so much for listening! I’ll see you on the print side and talk to you next time in the clairvoyant’s confessional.

Clairvoyant Confessional podcast is also available on Anchor Fm, Stitcher, Google podcasts, pocketcast and more.

PLEASE…consider this your slow rolling AMA…ask me anything. Bonus points if it about Tarot, intuition, clairvoyance, and such. Use the handy contact form below OR email