Crystal Cast for the week of 26 Dec 22

CrystalCast psychic reading – a look ahead to the week of 26 December 2022

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

It’s been quite a year for me, and this cast for the final week of 2022 rubs a little lemon juice into a private emotional paper cut. That being said, I’ll leave it to you to decide if this resonates for you or not. That being said, it isn’t about us per se as much as it is a confirmation or explanation of other people or of some of the unkindnesses we may have experienced or witnessed this year.

It might be a pitfall of being a people pleaser. It might come from some deep seated desire to do the right thing above all.

Or it might come from being elitist, egotistical, holier-than-thou and judgemental.

The take-away message that I see here is that people are more important than ideology. When I say ideology, it could extend to anything but top of mind right now is religion. Use it interchangeably in this post, if you like. Damage is done when we put religion or politics or policy over the people they were originally intended to help.

I tend to look at life through a very secular humanist lens. True to pareidolia, our natural neurological tendency to see patterns where likely none exist the pattern I see here is a human form reminiscent of the constellation Orion. If the upper blank rune stone is considered the face, the left hand could be the largest obsidian chip. Left is considered the yin or receiving hand. Give and take is a consideration this week. Don’t leave your receiving hand closed. Give a little love to yourself even as the main focus is caring for others. The black color of the obsidian also resonates with yin, resting, receiving, accepting, abiding: All things to remember.

The right hand is the larger raw quartz bead. If we consider this patter as looking at another human face to face, the quartz would be the sending, giving, yang right hand. Our task this week is to care for others. It’s our turn to give that extra little bit of care and consideration be it literal, like taking out the extra holiday garbage, or giving a little tlc to the emotional bruises the holiday season can inflict for some while celebrating all the good that comes of it for the rest of us.

The “m” shaped rune is ehwaz, which Thom Pham visually likes to two people holding hands. It has to do with relationships.

Your relationship with people and with yourself is pre-eminant. In my opinion any person that puts organization and dogma over people are making the wrong choice. Organizations and their leaders that ask that of their members are barking up the tree of cultism and psychopathy in my non-expert opinion.

The extended diamond shape next to ehwaz is othala, which has to do with homeland, legacy, or ancestral home. I get the purely intuitive sense of that ancestral legacy being self-knowledge in the vein of Socrates. I want to associate it with the treasure of being confident and comfortable within your ancestral home, your own skin. The more you know thyself, and the more comfortable with that authentic self, the more impervious you are to other people’s petty judgements. More importantly, it makes you less likely to judge or demean others, even inadvertently.

Yoda was right. Fear and anger and dare we say emotional pain of any kind leads to the dark side.

Socrates was right. The more you know yourself, the more you can accept and abide with the unique, amazing person that you are.

The art form of Kintsugi is right. Brokenness has the potential to become beautiful.

In this last week of the year, in the flow of yuletide, in the hope of brighter days to come, give freely of your compassion and be generous your ability to see the beauty in cracks and crinkles. Give all of these things freely to yourself as well.

Zombie Cat’s Tarot Reading for 2023 is coming later this week. Zombie Cat doesn’t give a flying brain cell about how Tarot really works, how probabilities really work or if his so-called predictions come true or not. He’s a zombie. And he’s a cat. All of Zombie Cat’s readings are 100% guaranteed to contain words and have a 50% chance of being dead wrong. I hope you’ll stay tuned for the fun.

As for me, I want to say thank you here and now for your kind attention. I appreciate your following the blog and the podcast. It means a lot that you are willing to spend a few minutes and few sips of coffee to consider these little Tarot contemplations.

Both the Blog and the Podcast will be back right after New Years. I’m considering a few superficial updates, maybe even a name change as my Tarot work continues to adapt to some off-line meatspace changes. From your end of things, it will all be pretty much the same. I want to make things more regular and predictable for all of our sakes. Hang in there with me. We got this.

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, peaceful and abundant 2023!

Ugh – you again

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot contemplation for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Want a personalized sip? They are available, in the no appointment needed email readings.

Sometimes apathy is an accomplishment.

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

This card again. Ugh.

I don’t know if this is true of all professional readers, but I have a couple of cards that are my arch nemesis. They poke a bony finger at old sensitive scars and rub salt in spots that still aren’t all they could be. For me, the hierophant is defininitely one of those nemesis cards, if not THE nemesis card. It isn’t clinically correct, but a common, understandable way to say it that this bad boy is triggering.

Or you could say it is a pain in the ass. Either one works for me.

Either one is Tarot at its best doing its best thing. Tarot really isn’t about blowing happy smoke up your aura or making you feel good. It is about holding a mirror up to what we are doing in life at the same time it is giving context to the nonsense. Sure, Tarot inspires and empowers, but that is only part of it. Sometimes part of the healing, helping, inspiring and empowering process is to challenge us.

A good friend will tell you when your zipper is down or there is spinach stuck in your teeth. Tarot is a good friend. Both best friends and Tarot decks are truth tellers and support systems all rolled into one.

It is standard issue boiler plate advice that when a Tarot card keeps turning up in a reading that it signifies a lesson that we haven’t learned, an aspect of life that keeps coming around until we finally deal with it in the right way.

I wonder if it isn’t part desensitization therapy too. I don’t know if this is legit, or if it is a disproven trope, but at one point people would manage specific phobias, flying for example, by gradually increasing small exposures to the thing that triggered their anxiety until they were inured enough to the trigger that it wasn’t a problem anymore. In other words, repeated exposure helped them let go of the fear inducing thing by repeating the thing until they were just sick and tired and totally over it.

That’s kind of how I feel about the Hierophant today. I wonder, what card or what issue in life are all of you completely over? The religious imagery and symbolism in the Pamela Smith artwork for the RWS deck isn’t trigger-y for everyone, but to my minds it begs the question: What is your personal IDGAF totally over it topic today?

Whatever it is, celebrate your accomplishment of attaining a state of apathy. Celebrate your apathy about that thing that used to send you up a wall and over an edge, whatever that is for you individually. If you can’t think of anything like that, then it may just not be the right time for you to take on your triggers. Or maybe you are one of the fortunate ones who don’t have a nemesis card or maybe you just don’t need this message today. Either way, it’s all good. Despite what the dogmatic religious folk might think, nature is unfolding as it should.

If it does apply, however, enjoy your apathy. You’ve earned it.

Thanks so much for reading and listening! Any likes, subs, follows, shares, questions or comments you can spare is much appreciated. I’d also appreciate it if you’d take a look at the TaoCraft Tarot ko-fi page where the exclusive content memberships, shop purchases, private email Tarot readings, and virtual coffees all help me create these non-monetized, free to access (almost) daily Tarot readings for you.

Enjoy your weekend. Next sip comes Monday. See you then!

source unknown

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.


Tools of the Inner Trade

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip your coffee. Today: the page of wands and learning along the spiritual path.

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

I’m a big fan of freethinking. I recommend it. Free your mind, question everything and all of that. Those of you who know my background know that I’m a downright expert at parachuting out of organized dogma.

On the other hand, repetition and tradition can be deeply comforting, especially in times where it feels like the world is on fire and evil is winning. For some reason this reminds me of a quote from G.K Chesterton that I found browsing brainyquote.com once. Paraphrasing quote “A warrior fights not because he hates what is before him, but because he loves what is behind him.” End quote.

Forgive me if this is all a little circular and confusing. The energy is like that some days. Sometimes it is blunt, short and to the point like a frying pan in the face. Other times it is like a connect-the-dots puzzle or a Rube Goldberg machine. Today, instead of getting to the point, the energy is circling around and nabbing it from behind.

Page cards are connected with learning. They are the first step in training to be a knight. Historically, they were young boys which brings to mind brightness, curiosity, high energy and unbridled enthusiasm. Wands are associated with fire, passions, the inner world. Today it is particularly pointing toward our inner spiritual path. Part of the circling around to the point is to think about our chosen spiritual rituals and traditions. What is it that we turn to in times of emotional crisis? What is our go-to rock and foundation….it’s almost like the page is waving hello to the Hope card and the “Anchor Rock” post as it circles around to today’s point, if there is one.

The Pew Foundation does scientific, unbiased, highly reliable surveys. Their work on the religious landscape in America is interesting to say the least. It turns out that agnostics and atheists know quite a lot about religion in general compared to most other American adults. You can read more for yourself on the Pew Foundation website HERE. This takes a step closer to today’s message.

The next step after that is the famous Socrates quote “know thyself.”

Here is where we jump the card’s message from behind and wrestle it to the ground.

The Page of Wands asks us to know the tools of our chosen spiritual path.

I’m not talking about religious indoctrination or dogma. I’m allergic to that stuff. You will never hear any of that here.

I’m talking about the rituals and symbols and acts of your personal chosen spiritual path whatever that may be. This is talking about the ideas and philosophies that feed your soul, soothes your heart, lifts you up and makes you happy. If your religion does that for you, cool. This energy is talking about spirituality, which is a very different thing. Sometimes spiritual paths are shored up by ritual and tradition, too. The page is asking us to know our motives and symbolism and rituals and habits along our spiritual path. We are being asked to know the difference between the outward social trappings of religion and the physical realm expressions of our personal inner world. The page of wands is asking us to intellectually know our spirituality in addition to deeply and mindfully experiencing it.

When you are finding your own way in or if you are eclectic and solitary by nature, it is easy to reject tradition as stifling or constricting. The page reminds us to know before we throw so to speak. Knowing something well makes it all the more fulfilling when it is right for you. By the same token, you have to know something to some degree before you can rightly reject it.

Thank you for reading and listening. As the squirrels are raving at the moment, this should be the last late night post for a while. We should be back to posting late morning U.S. eastern time most weekdays. For the moment, anyway.

This blog and podcast are not monetized. Please visit the TaoCraft Tarot page on ko-fi. The shop, memberships and virtual coffees all support the creation of this (almost) daily Tarot content. There is a link in the episode description for podcast listeners. Thank you all so so so much.

See you at the next sip!


Reminder: there will be a short blog, pod, and socials hiatus the weekend of the July 4th holiday. Email readings will be OPEN throughout. You can order email readings 24/7 no appointment needed. Delivery times vary for orders placed nights (eastern time), weekends, & U.S. holidays

The Quiet Why

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

Every superhero has a super villain. Every Tarot reader has a nemesis card or two. This one is mine. I’m allergic to religion and this card is dripping with it today.

The classic question “Why ask why?” also springs to mind.

Usually that question comes in a context that implies a certain laissez faire attitude or a go with the flow sort of vibe. In Tarot we often work with the unknown or mysterious. Being OK with not knowing things is sometimes as important as knowing the reasons and motivations behind the stuff we do. That level of mystery is, however, the purview of the High Priestess card.

There are several threads of meaning for the Hierophant card. I get along with it better when it’s called the High Priest. Mark Evans’ artwork on the Witches Tarot deck is far and away my favorite rendition of the High Priest. His art captures the card’s grandfatherly, kind, storyteller, tradition-keeper qualities. It is still a belief system and social order oriented card, but with a softer, wiser, more ancient, more organic feel.

From medieval decks to the 1909 Waite Smith to contemporary decks the Hierophant is most often shown as a Christian religious authority figure. Some decks go so far as to call it the Pope card as the 17th century Marseilles deck did.

This pope-like aspect of the hierophant card speaks of a stricter social order, of dogma, and clear-cut cultural expectations. Why ask why? Why not ask why!?When it comes to dogma and blind faith you bet your backside I’m going to ask why. Sometimes why really matters.

But realistically, not everyone has the privilege of questioning.

I rage with heartbreak at the racial, religious and LGBTQIA bigory that floods America like a Tsunami – and always has. It isn’t new to recent politics. Right wing political power has only ripped the top off of a rotting underground septic tank and allowed it to ooze .

Why ask why? To know who you serve, that’s why.

Think, for a minute, about small rural communities.

There aren’t many homeless shelters, if any at all. There aren’t the same community resources that cities and suburbs have. If there are any such civic or secular organizations, they are tiny, underfunded and making miracles out of nothing at all.

Imagine you are keeping a secret in that small town. Imagine being in a closet, be it a sexual orientation one or a gender identity one or an atheist one or a witchy one or any other kind of closet. It eats at you. Especially if you are a teen where self-discovery, self-definition and gaining independence is pretty much your job in life.

Now imagine the heart-rending and mind-bending emotional and intellectual dissonance for someone who has been told their whole life not to lie, because you are a bad person if you lie. Yet, if you DON’T lie to every single body every single moment about your essential self then you put yourself at risk. The same honesty that was held up to you as so very virtuous now puts you at risk for losing important relationships, outright abandonment or possibly violence.

The hierophant is pointing to these dire realities today.

We said earlier that ‘why’ is important because it shows who you serve. Why matters in the context of social expectations and institutional dogma.

WHY are you a member of the groups that hold your allegiance? Do you agree with them? Do they express who you really are? Are you there in service to a set of beliefs? Are you there to serve the advancement of beliefs that mirror your own? If you are an adult, if you are part of a group and if there are no consequences to you if you left, you are there by choice however habitual or mindless that choice may be. If you are a knowing adult with no threat to your well being, then you are a willing part of your social, political and religious affiliations. You are a part of them and they speak for you unless and until you choose otherwise. Agreement is why you are there.

But if, at any age, there are real consequences to leaving a dominant group, a different and vastly more important WHY comes into play. Are you in a group not out of agreement, but rather in quiet service of your own well being. Safety and life is why you are there.

If your why is the preservation of life, health, safety and relationships, know that you are not alone. We see you in your closet because we are in there too – or have been at some point. In your quiet service to your well being, in your quiet why, know that you are loved.

Anchor Rock

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Want a whole cuppa Tarot all your own? Private readings with the blog author are available by email and can be ordered 24/7 no appointment needed

Welcome to the blog and podcast. I’m glad you are here. TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot contemplation in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. If you are enjoying these blog posts and podcast episodes, I hope you will visit the TaoCraft Tarot page on K0-fi and consider becoming a patron of the Tarot arts. The link is in the episode description for podcast listeners. Proceeds from the ko-fi shop and memberships all support the creation of posts and episodes like this one. Thank you so much for your support. Your likes, subs, follows, shares, questions and comments are always, always, always welcome and appreciated!

Let’s start today with one of my favorite ideas on the planet: wabi sabi.

No, it isn’t that green paste that comes with sushi, although I like THAT a lot too.

As I understand it, wabi sabi is a philosophy and an aesthetic that values things as they are and sees beauty in natural, spontaneous imperfections and asymmetries. Old but valued ceramics are preserved and repaired with great care, sometimes highlighting the repairs with precious metals. I’m no expert. I’m not even average-level knowledgeable about Japanese or Chinese thought or culture. All I know is that everything I’ve ever learned about Taoism, Zen and wabi sabi has helped me to live a better life and be a better person. For that, I am deeply grateful. These ideas have time and time and time again proven to be my unshakable rock in every storm, just like the rock and anchor on today’s card, the Hope card from the Alleyman’s Tarot deck.

Speaking of spontaneous imperfections, the card is mislabeled in the video. The intuitive message from the card was, however, clear, concise and clairaudient (meaning the intuition came as mental words this time instead of the usual clairvoyant mental images.) It came in two parts.

First, “Storms will always come.”

The first noble truth of Buddhism is the truth of suffering. First on the list of world religions on that old 80’s T shirt is Taoism with the assertion that “shit happens.” Things break. Things are uneven. Stuff happens and sooner or later storms always come.

And it’s beautiful, because it is alive and it is real.

L’esperance, as the card is actually named, is a French word meaning hope. Storms will come. Sometimes the only hope is to find a rock and hang on.

The second half of the clairaudient message is “Know your rock.”

A paramedic instructor once told me that if you prepare for the emergency, then the emergency goes away. The same thing applies here. Knowing which ideas and philosophies you can trust makes life’s inevitable stress just that much less intimidating. Question everything. When it comes to beliefs or dogma or other peoples unsupported assertions, questioning is invaluable. It may take a trial by skeptical fire to find out what really is your philosophical storm shelter. If you know your rock, if you know where to find your anchor when the storm comes then you just might make it through to the other side intact enough to glue things back together and paint the cracks with gold.

I’m not here to tell you what your rock or your anchor is or should be. It is difficult, if not impossible for one person to determine that for another. The things I was taught as a child should be my strength and stronghold crumbled to dust and nothing at first contact with adulthood. I’ve since learned that it is much better to scout out the territory for yourself. Trust yourself to know what gives you hope. Trust yourself to lean on ideas and know what holds you up and what doesn’t. Explore new ideas and challenge old ones. Give them all a good hard kick and see if they hold strong for you. If they do, grab on because storms will always come and it pays to know your rock.

Thank you so much for listening. See you at the next sip.

L’Esperence (Hope) image from the Fancy Minchiate Tarot, cited copyright “BnF” This card from the Alleyman’s Tarot deck by Publishing Goblin LLC, used with permission.

Throwback: I dunno

Hello everyone and thank you for reading and listening to the TaoCraft Tarot blog. This is a post from 2020 before the podcast started, even in its original Clairvoyant Confessional form. I’ve edited the post a tiny bit to make it more podcast friendly, but I’m still not sure how well it will convert to audio. But if you’ve listened before, you know that I’m a terrible narrator, so Siri’s second cousin Remy is still going to do a better job for you, wonky pronunciation and all.

The card for this November 2020 post was the Queen of Wands. Here we go.

I dunno

Life is a mystery.

Some would say its like a box of chocolates. Others of us might lean more toward a word that sounds like bit snow. Chocolate or otherwise, sometimes you just don’t know what is going to happen or where it is going to splatter.

Not knowing is part of life, and and it is unnerving as heck. Nobody likes it.

Trying to cope with the unknown comes in different forms. One way is to try prepare for it and make contingency plans as best as you can. It is warm and comfy to wrap ourselves in that kind of logic. If X happens, then I’ll do Y, but if A happens then I’ll do B, if C happens then –

have mercy….

I don’t blame people for wanting predictions.

Predictions, however, are uncertain in and of themselves. They only push life’s uncertainty back a step and hold it at arm’s length until facts and reality set in. Advice and guidance are more effective. Rather than a prediction that still might or might not materialize, guidance adds a degree of information, a tiny bit of knowing that increases both our comfort levels and our ability to make contingency plans.

Imagine driving on a long road trip, and not quite knowing where you are. But ah-ha! A little sign on the side of the road lets you know that you are on highway I 79 going north. If you keep going straight you’ll get to Lake Erie, as long as you don’t have an flat tire or get stuck in a surprise snow storm or something. If something unexpected happens, you can look for more signs to help. So of course, you should start with the logical, practical things. In this analogy that would be putting gas in the car, making sure your cellphone is charged, dress for the weather and such. Tarot readings are to life what gps is for a highway trip. It can’t predict what will exactly happen along the way, but it can give you an idea about the direction you are headed and the conditions ahead.

Other than a chance to practice facing our fear of it, is there any value to the unknowns in life?

I think the mysterious and unknown is our portal to meaning and spirituality.

The mysterious and unknown are key to defining spirituality. As I see it, spirituality is how we, as individuals, deal with and engage with the mysteries of existence. Spirituality is the diametrical opposite of religion. Religion is concerned with the social group. Religion strives to make the unknown into something that is known and in turn impose that understanding from the outside inward. Spirituality is concerned with the individual, and is purely internal. Spirituality expresses from the inside out, rather than impressing from the outside in. Spirituality makes the unknowable – not into the knowable – but into our friend.

It is ok not to know everything. It is ok not to have easy answers to everything. If the journey is more important than the destination, then the contemplation of the mysterious is more important than the comprehension of it.

I make meditation beads. I made one for myself recently. I have no idea how many beads are on it. I just strung however many beads were in a loose package. It’s not a size of bead I typically use, so there was no easy guess how many wound up on the strand. I could have counted them, but I chose not to. I could count them now, but I still choose not to. That mala stands as a symbol for me of the mysterious parts of life. Because it is unknown, but could be, it symbolizes a tangible connection to the mysterious. It is a reminder that the unknowns in life are something to work with rather than eradicate.

It’s OK to not know everything, even if it is a little frightening.

As Frank Herbert wrote in Dune:

“I will not fear. Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that leads to total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will allow it to flow around me and through me. When the fear has passed, I will turn my minds eye to the path where the fear has gone and only I will remain.”

Thank you all for reading TaoCraft Tarot blog and listening to the podcast. Your questions and comments are welcome on both platforms. I’m glad you are here, and I appreciate you. Any likes, subs, shares, follows and virtual coffees are also greatly appreciated. There are links to all of the formats in the blog post and in the episode description.

Short sip Tarot should be back tomorrow. See you at the next sip!

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.

TRANSCRIPT:

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.

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.

Imagine.

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: https://taocrafttarot.wordpress.com/2021/06/09/todays-tarot-im-proud-of-you/

Bibliography / Sources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/religion/2020/12/23/black-pastors-break-southern-baptist-critical-race-theory/

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/racial-tensions-simmer-southern-baptists-hold-key-meeting-78220643

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/southern-baptists-divided-over-politics-race-lgbtq-policy-n1258492

https://www.hrc.org/resources/stances-of-faiths-on-lgbt-issues-southern-baptist-convention

https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/anti-transgender-hate-crimes-soared-20-percent-2019-n1248011

Today’s Tarot: I’m Proud of You

If you are serious about living an enriched life and being a better person, then stepping outside of your comfort zone – even for a moment – is inevitable. That happens a lot in Tarot. The cards will nudge you toward a better path even if that means kicking you entirely out of your comfort zone in the process. This post might be one of those moments. It is for me. Today’s card uncomfortably pokes at some old issues, but imma just say what intuition gives anyway.  This post is a little sweary and political. If you are not up for that, no worries, just skip it and come back for the next post. I’ll be back to my usual religion and politics avoidance policy by then.


Evangelical dogma and connotations around the word pride is reason nine thousand ninety-nine hundred and eleventy-one why I ran screaming from my family’s religion.

I was raised in the American evangelical subculture by the church deacon and Sunday school teacher who helped found the town’s first Southern Baptist affiliated church. (Yeah, THOSE Southern Baptists in the WaPo article) That kind of thinking turns the innocent word “pride” into something wrong and guilt-riddled. They turn pride into a sin (as do Catholics, so I’m told.)

If being happy with who I really am while proudly celebrating the authentic selves of the people I love is a sin, then hail Satan and pass the asbestos underwear! See you in hell, frens!

It’s a stretch, but I’m guessing the “pride” they are talking about is maybe a language artifact. Language shifts and evolves over time, even when fundamentalists don’t. Bronze age manuscripts filtered through medieval translations and bent to contemporary evangelical ends frames their version of “pride” as being unbridled ego. It makes sense that, in a world before psychology, a mental state like that would be attributed to a more common word like pride. If you define it in those terms “pride goes before a fall” isn’t wrong. Out of control narcissism leads to poor choices and risky behavior (like, for example, the former president who was supported by 80% of white evangelicals according to NPR)

Whatever the reason, it is still a shame that the newer, healthier connotations of the word pride is often haunted by these older, negative, derogatory undertones.

It’s June, so it’s not psychic or paranormal for my thoughts turn to Pride Month.

With the Four of Wands today, the words “quirk” and “celebrate” step forward. “Quirk” is the name for superpowers in the anime My Hero Academia that we’ve been watching lately. Superpower or not, socially acceptable or not, “quirk” here means anything that makes you unique and is a key part of your individual, authentic self. “Celebrate with pride” comes strongly to mind.

This is where it gets uncomfortable. I am reminded of reason number 1 why I ran screaming from the evangelicals: bigotry. Rampant, pervasive, intractable bigotry including overt homophobia. Not every single individual certainly, but the words that pour from those they collectively elevate to their pulpits speaks for everyone in a congregation. Loudly.

The ministers are literally in front of and above everyone else when they speak. Imagine the heartbreak as a teenager when they would nearly yell bigoted bullshit about “the homosexuals” when I had friends in the community who where some of the kindest most compassionate, open, inclusive loving people I’ve met to this day.

The Four of Wands is about community celebration. It is about lifting others up.

And it can be about embracing those who were rejected by their birth families because of who they authentically are. I love those “I’m your mom / dad now” memes supporting lgbtqia kids who are rejected by their own families. Anybody the evangelicals reject is prolly my kind kind of people.

The Four of Wands is about celebration. Authenticity is something to celebrate. People living their truest life is a profoundly happy thing. A lack of self esteem can make us more prone to bias or worse (a 2011 article on psychologialscience.org is one quick example) Confidence is fuel for compassion. Pride in ourselves breeds compassion for others which leads to pride in those around us which creates acceptance which seeds even more self esteem and so it goes. Pride not only isn’t a sin,  it arguably makes the world a better place.

Pride month is a lesson for all of us. It is hard to hate others when you are comfortable with yourself. 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 as a tarot reading, science loving, Taoist, atheist and witch gave me a teeny tiny partial keyhole glimpse into what it is like for the lgbtqia+ community on both sides of the closet door.

If there is anything at all I’ve learned from Pride month about being a good ally, it’s that being an ally doesn’t have any fucking thing to do with me. Pride month for an ally is about being proud of other people – proud of the people we care about.

If you are living an authentic and kind life – I am proud of you.

Celebrate who you authentically are. Celebrate everyone else’s authentic self too. But don’t let the celebratory pride slip into the self-centered pride. Pride and a safe and welcoming place is something for every month, not just big business June advertising. Although I kinda like all the rainbow tshirts. And the one big burger place donating a portion of their chicken sandwich profits (including Sunday sales) to a lgbtqia+ organization to troll the anti-equality uber christians that run that other chicken place. I’m all the way down with that particular cororporate move.

I celebrate with you because I’m proud of you and who you really are.

All are welcome here.

Related: The Niggles: What’s In A Name

gif images via giphy.com, nope via bitmoji free app, Tarot card image from the public domain. Rainbow photo by the author.


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Today’s Tarot: Wordless

Connect your heart

Some things are beyond words.

Mat Auryn superbly and poetically describes the idea of mystery tradition in magick (and in some ways, I might add, Tarot.) There are some things that can only be directly, wordlessly experienced. That is the essence and definition of spirituality to my mind. Spirituality is our individual experience of the wordless and intangible parts of our human experience. Religion, on the other hand, is exernal experience, not internal. Religion is social, and group focused. Spirituality is wordless, expressed from the inside out. Religion is codified, group behavior that influences from the outside in.

Expression, experience and wordless are the key words here.

The High Priest and High Priestess cards also deal with these great wordless mysteries. Although this and other contemporary Tarot decks don’t have the explicit Christian religious imagery for the High Priest/Pope/Hierophant card that you see on the Marsielle, RWS and other older decks have, the nature of the tradition keeper and even the mystery seeker priestess cards are outside-in, just a hairbreadth on the religious side regardless of their visual depiction.

So what does any of this have to do with the Knight of Cups?

The Knight of Cups has always had some degree of spiritual connotation. He carries a message. Cups are associated with water (deep water is often a symbol for deep spiritual and cosmic mysteries) and intuition (often a wordless experience.)

Knights are associated with action. We are three dimensional creatures. Even the purest, wordless, silent, direct experience if the spiritual and intangible still has some physical third dimensional corollary or action. To have direct spiritual experience requires some action or doing be that sitting in meditation, gazing at the sky, performing a ritual, or taking a shower. Whether you call it spontaneous enlightenment or simply a moment of insight, this direct, wordless experience of emotion and insight is a normal, natural, inherent part of being human.

If you have chosen to read and watch this, if you have chosen the knight of cups card today, there is a sense of urging. There is a strong push to do the spiritual things that put you in a mental and physical space where wordless experience of the profound and spiritual is an open possibility. Follow your heart to the doing of it. Do the thing that connects your heart to the wordless.