TaoCraft Portfolio: The Layouts

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No matter which of these layouts you choose, the reading progresses in the same fundamental way we talked about in the last chapter. All layouts are available by email. The seven card reading is the only one I do for individual in-person sessions and InkMagick readings. Phone and video readings can choose from both 5 and 7 card (Modern Oracle, extended Modern Oracle) layouts. 

The most important thing to remember about any of the layouts is simply this: NONE of them predict the future. I specifically created the Modern Oracle 5 card and the Expanded Modern Oracle 7 card layouts to give the greatest possible respect to your choices and your actions. The one card meditation is ubiquitous, as old as Tarot readings. The Pathway layout is based on the old past-present-future layout but with modern, choice-oriented approach. Four seasons is also my layout that gives you ideas, themes or navigation points for the year ahead. Zombie Cat is a playful but thought provoking yes or no answer to any one question. TimeFlow is new layout that I’ve written that will be available in October 2020.

Tarot doesn’t tell you what will happen in life.Tarot helps you decide what to do when life happens

One Card Meditation: This is just as it says, a single card. This is helpful for both ends of the Tarot experience and detail / focus spectrum. On one hand, the one card meditation is an excellent way for absolute beginners to learn the Tarot deck. It has the broadest focus of any reading. It can be a large, vague idea, intended for you to ponder it throughout the day and see how it unfolds for you. I use them as general audience readings in the blog because they are best able to capture the general energy of the day and open audiences.

Personalized One card readings inhabit the middle ground. They take a little more experience to do well, and they have a great deal more detail and focus than a DIY meditation reading or a general blog reading can give. This middle ground personalized reading are available by email or in the “mini InkMagick” pen-and-ink real paper format.

On the other end of the spectrum, an experienced reader can use a one card reading with laser focus to get a clear but narrow insight on a specific question, or to get a quick update on a question that has already been explored in a larger card layout. I typically reserve this kind of one card readings for clients who have already had a larger reading with me for an ongoing issue.

Three Card Pathway: This layout shows a progression through time and the path you are on but does not predict the future. It tells you how to put your best foot forward, and helps you move toward the future you wish to create. This layout includes

  • Lessons From the Past: things you have done well or lessons you have learned that you can bring forward to help you now.
  • Current Situation: Energies around you now that are asking for your attention or can help you understand the current circumstances
  • Moving Forward: Ideas to help you move forward well, and move toward the future you wish to find, not predict what will happen or not happen.

Five Card Modern Oracle: I wrote this layout around 2003, inspired by the Oracel character in the first Matrix movie. It starts with the pathway cards then adds:

  • Advice and Choices: This is a card to show the place where you can make the biggest difference in your path. It is a pivot point. You can use the energies here to change the direction of your current path if you choose to change, or you can use it to help stay on course if you like the way things are going.
  • Alternative Path: This card hints at other energy paths that are easily open to you if you want to change or shows alternatives that are worth considering even if you don’t ultimately choose them.

Seven Card Expanded Modern Oracle: This is the largest layout that I offer. In my experience, larger readings deteriorate into circular logic and contradictions very easily. This layout provides detail, but stays focused. It builds on the Modern Oracle five card spread using the pathway cards, the advice and alternative cards, but adds

  • Helpful Energies: Things that are working in your favor and can act like a wind at your back when you are on the right path.
  • Potential Challenges: Again, this does not predict. This is simply a heads-up to potential problems. Keep an eye out for them, and you can act to prevent problems or take care of them early on before big problems arise.

Four Seasons: This layout is especially popular at New Years, graduations, anniversaries and birthdays. The reading starts with whatever season we are in at the time, them progresses through the coming seasons in order to cover the full year ahead. Each season card gives a theme for a three month period, based on solstices and equinoxes. Then it gives a single card that is the overarching theme for the year as a whole. I usually offer this during the winter holiday, new year season from winter solstice to spring equinox. If it isn’t actively listed, please ask and we can make arrangements to do this layout for your special occasion.

Zombie Cat’s Yes or No Tarot: This layout uses three cards to give a simple yes or no answer to any one yes or no question. Zombie Cat is a character I created in the Tarotbytes blog on ModernOracleTarot.com in 2015. He was inspired by Schrodingers famous cat and the “Test Tubes and Tarot Decks” episode of Menage A Tarot podcast that I had co-hosted with David Dear and Daily Tarot Girl Kate. These readings are lighthearted, meant to entertain, and come with a liberal sprinkling of snark and humor.  Zombie Cat readings are 100% guaranteed to contain words, but have a 50% chance of being dead wrong.

If you want to try any of these layouts, email readings are available to order 24/7 no appointment needed HERE Like live readings better? Schedule a live phone reading at taocrafttarot@gmail.com

Visit the special offers page to get your unique FREE “Mini InkMagick” digital email reading. InkMagick readings are my custom creation and ONLY available here.

Elfcon – DONE!


The cure for holiday stress is to celebrate YOUR holiday, not other people’s.

Christmas cards – CHECK!

Gifts mailed to out of state family (which is everybody except the hubster and the padawan) – CHECK!

Cookies – batch one, devoured – CHECK!

More cookies coming? You betcha.

All that is left is a grocery store run for the big meal itself.

This has been the lowest key, biggest Zen, fewest fucks given Christmas ever. I probably forgot something really big and embarrassing. But then there is the part about fewest….well, you know.

Here we are over a year on, and I’m still niggled about the name change. I think the big niggles come from the big symbolism. Rebranding to the TaoCraft Tarot name is both a stage of life evolution and a giant step out of several self imposed closets. This year and this holiday season is filled with more authenticity than ever. TaoCraft is starting to feel lived-in and cozy.

It never fails to amaze me how there seems to be a Tarot card for everything…even the long slow process of sweeping Christmas out my psyche. It is one of the hardest things to let go, but still necessary to release. When it comes to tradition wrangling, the High Priest is just the thing. Or, from the opposite side of the same coin, rejecting the pope / hierophant is just the thing.

For a recovering fundamentalist, there can be a lot of mixed feelings and internal conflicts this time of year. Not only do you have to come to some sort of terms with  family relationships (or the lack of them for those who ‘come out’ and are rejected) but you also have to come to terms with your feelings about the extant holiday itself. What do you do about pleasant childhood memories or a desire for all of the things about Christmas that are, after all, truly enjoyable? How do you celebrate the good stuff while letting go of the toxic stuff? In spite of the feelings at the time, looking back, all the things I cherish most about ‘Christmas’ has zero to do with the religious parts of the holiday.  By letting go of christian christmas, I lose nothing.

My ethos has always been to make some pro forma gestures and try to keep the peace with religious family members. After all, evangelicals and fundamentalist respond well to sweeping things like that under the rug. With visions of the Ghost of Christmas Present dancing in my head, I’d remind myself that a simple little card was a small thing to do to reach out to my fellow humans, and honor whatever thread of relationship may persist. Still, it felt like *I* was putting a lot of time and effort and postage into *their* holiday. Right or wrong, that is a recipe for stress and resentment. We who have “left the faith” are thought to have left the holidays too. We have been so ‘othered’ that it takes a deliberate effort to find some sort of  common ground with Christmas much less see a new path through the holiday season. It is hard to see a current spiritual or secular path through all the haze of Christmases past. It is conflicting to want to engage with the larger, more spiritual symbolism of the season but not the narrow christian-only aspects.

This year, for once, feels different. By scaling everything way back, enough evangelical energy is drained away that I can finally claim this as a holiday of my own. Call it Yule. Call it Solstice. Call it Festivus. Yes, there will still be a tree (no star on top) cookies, egg nog, gingerbread, lights, that plastic garland that I love despite it’s vintage cheesiness, and the whole holly jolly thing. But this year it’s MY holly jolly secular pagan thing. It a small and happy thing to mail gifts and write cards and bake and do when it all done in celebration of MY holiday instead of as a conciliatory gesture toward theirs. If it has some surface appearances in common with *their* holiday, so be it. But Christmas is not me. Not anymore.

When you were raised in the evangelical fundamentalist sub-culture, it is easy to forget that acting FOR something is vastly different than acting in compliance WITH something. You have every right to YOUR holiday traditions even if they are shiny new self-created ones. You have every right to celebrate nothing at all.

The moment we stop celebrating other people’s holidays all of the seasonal stress vanishes.

I give no energy to Christmas. Pumpkin soup to roasted chestnuts, Thanksgiving to New Year,  I am celebrating Yule, Solstice, Festivus, all things cinnamon, cookies, egg nog and the light of the human spirit.

You may not be celebrating those things. Jesus may be the one and only reason for your season, which is just fine. But that is not why I send these wishes. From a place of holiday spirit, from a place of those things deeply meaningful to me….I wish you all a season of love, happiness, health, safety and prosperity.

Wishing you all the best throughout the holidays and the New Year



Speaking of the holidays…I’ll be available for email Tarot readings throughout the entire month of December. There may be some delays in delivery while I get the cookies out of the oven, watch Christmas Vacation for the third time or baste the ham, but be patient. I will get your reading to you. Email readings do not need an appointment, order HERE any time.

In-person and party tarot will be closed Dec 20, 2019 through Jan. 2, 2020.

But did I mention email Tarot is open? It’s my specialty, you know. 

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