You can’t fix what isn’t broken.

You can’t fix what isn’t broken.

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

Today’s card is the queen of cups. Queens represent a nurturing, caretaking sort of leadership. The suit of cups is associated with the element of water, with emotions and with our closest circle of relationship. Most of the time this card seems to point to deep inner knowing that requires a quieting of emotions to reach. The queen’s gaze into the cup is said to symbolize plumbing the depths of human emotion and our subconscious psyche for important guidance and answers to life’s dilemmas.

But like every card, the queen of cups has strings of keywords and connotations that have been attached to it over time. Psychic ability is one of those common associations, but that is the opposite side of the world from today’s energy.

Today is more about calm and clarity and a sense of emotional harmony. Today is focused on the prerequisites for intuition, not psychic ability itself.

“Emotional healing” is another of those accumulated key concepts for the card. I see a problem with the whole notion of “emotional healing.” The word healing implies that healing is needed. It implies that emotions can be somehow broken or diseased, literally ill-at-ease.

But, on the other hand, just because an emotion is difficult doesn’t make it dysfunctional, broken or wrong.

You can’t fix what isn’t broken. You can’t heal that which is already healthy.

The emotion itself isn’t the problem. Our relationship with that emotion, however, can become broken and problematic. Giving old trauma or future outsized control over our present moment can be one such problem. Expressing honest emotion in unhealthy ways is another. It’s normal to be afraid in frightening situations. It is normal to worry about risk when it exists. It is normal to feel regret, sadness, grief, and feel the entire spectrum of emotion. What you do with those normal natural emotions is the key of it, not the feelings that naturally bubble up.

There is a serene quality around the Queen of Cups card. It reminds me of the example from the Tao Te Ching. Stirring muddy water or trying to see through muddy water doesn’t really help much. But if you wait…if you abide with the muddiness and let it be what it is…then with a little time the mud will naturally settle and things will become clearer and better again.

Difficult emotions are what they are just like muddy water is what it is. Sit with them as they are, and they will settle as sure as gravity pulls the mud from water. The emotions are what they are. The healing comes from how we relate to them.

Here I am reminded of Dharma Drum Mountain, a Chan Buddhist education center in Taiwan and their website where they offer this strategy for dealing with problems in the 21st century:

Face it : face the difficulty squarely
Accept it : accept the reality of the difficulty
Deal with it : deal with the difficulty with wisdom and compassion
Let it go : afterwards, let go of it

This card suggests that this strategy for dealing with problems might be a good strategy for a healthy relationship with our normal, day to day emotions

I shouldn’t have to end this post with a disclaimer, but times being what they are, it’s necessary. Tarot has no place in medical or mental health care. I’m in no way talking about real illnesses. This isn’t about clinical depression or anxiety disorder or any other genuine mental health concern. This blog, podcast, and Tarot writ large is a tool for growth and for day to day stress management. Tarot is a normal natural way to do that. Getting real mental health help if and when you need is a normal, natural thing to do too.

It’s ok to not be ok. It’s ok to be ok too. Heal what needs healed, and abide in peace with that which is unbroken.

Thank you so much for listening. TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot contemplation for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. If you enjoy these (almost) daily Tarot readings and the other Tarot content please support this work through the TaoCraft Tarot page on ko-fi where you can be a Patron of the Tarot Arts and receive exclusive access to members only content, tarot how-to, special offers and more. Links are in the episode description for podcast listeners.

Thank you again. See you at the next sip!

A Strange Sort of Keeper

Weakness is a strange thing to keep, but only the things you keep can be transformed.

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

I’m not an expert on Taoism. The philosophy has been a big part of my world view and how I live life for well over 30 years. It has held true for me and I come back to it time and time and time again. I’ve been reading The Tao Te Ching, I Ching, Alan Watts, Chinliang Al Huang, Deng Ming Dao and more since the 1980s. Taoism predates Tarot for me, which is saying something.

Like Tarot and magick, exoteric Taoist philosophy (I can’t speak for the religious aspects or for esoteric Taoist practices) is broadly inclusive. If you think of the Tao as the multiverse sort of meta-everything then anything written within our universe about it is part of the greater whole and a valid point of view. Therefore, as someone once wrote, everything written about the Tao is canon. Be that as it may – if you are interested in Taoism, go grab a book and have at it. Good stuff, that.

If you want to learn more about the esoteric side of Taoism I highly recommend Benebel Wen’s excellent book The Tao of Craft. It was published just as I was beginning to lay the groundwork for rebranding Modern Oracle Tarot into TaoCraft Tarot. I took it as an omen that I was on the right path even though that path is more on the philosophical, exoteric side of things.

I mention it Taoism because today’s Strength card brings to mind probably one of the most Taoist ideas to come out of a card reading in a while. This deck hasn’t touched the Taoist vibe very much. Speaking of decks, today I’m working from the Alleyman’s Tarot by Seven Dane Asmund. The artwork on this particular card is by Madam Clara for the Five Cent Tarot.

Taoism is about being in harmony with nature. Sure, that means the rocks and flowers and trees and bees kind of nature, but it also means your nature. Taoism is about living in harmony with your authentic self.

Being in harmony with your authentic self doesn’t mean you can’t do better next time. Authentic self does not mean static self. People change. Ideally people grow and mature and hopefully become wiser and kinder as time goes on.

Part of that nature, for some of us, is to be hard wired people pleasers. The idea of strength and weakness and being a better person is often tied to idealism more than realism. The path to being a better person is often fraught with “should” and “ought” and external definitions of good and external measures of character. We tend to want to eradicate or drastically change anything that is considered a weakness or a character flaw.

The major arcana Strength card is all about strength of character, not at all about the physical variety. Internal progress is measured internally, not measured to outside signposts.

It is a strange thing to say consider keeping your weaknesses. Perhaps instead of getting rid of our weaknesses, we should keep them, but learn a new relationship with them. Find and use the good aspects.

Repurposing a weakness into something beneficial still gets rid of the so-called weakness. It is a strange sort of keeper, to hold on to what some people might label as weakness. Transforming our downfalls into superpowers is a Strength all of its own.

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Links are in the episode description for podcast listeners.

Thank you again. See you at the next sip!

The Makings of Magic

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day (or evening) in the time it takes to sip from your coffee (or tea). Today: The Alleyman’s Tarot Lightning in a bottle and the makings of magic

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

Today we are drawing from the Alleyman’s Tarot by Seven Dane Asmund of Publishing Goblin LLC, used with permission. It’s a big deck, with one booster pack already in it and yes, you bet I’m planning on getting the other booster packs if possible.

I’m not a collector by nature, but I’ve been around collectors and I understand the passion. It’s not a greed thing or a materialistic thing. It’s a surround yourself with symbols of something you love thing. As a professional Tarot reader and Tarot writer slash blogger decks appeals to the maker part of me. It’s a “right tool for the right job” kind of vibe. On one hand they are a collection of specialized precision tools, yet on the other hand “every tool is a hammer” as the Adam Savage book puts it.

I know some Tarot readers who have dozens of decks. The Alleyman’s Tarot is my eleventh. I’m enjoying it even more than expected. It is a virtuoso deck, that pushes your comfort zone just by the vast array of tones, images and artwork. It’s also challenging by virtue of the cards like this one that are absolutely gorgeous, but not traditional RWS or lenormand symbolism. I can’t imagine anyone with the wherewithal to collect well over one hundred decks, but the vast array of different cards all beautifully curated by the creator gives you a taste of exactly that. Seven Dane Asmund has pushed all of our Tarot reading envelopes. Now it is up to us to haul it back in.

I’ve been watching the new season of the Witcher, so the Mages of Artuza came quickly to mind when I saw the lightning in a bottle card – specifically the scene where initiates were in a cave with a hole in the roof during a thunderstorm and were required to capture lightning in a bottle in order to become fully fledged Mages.

The phrase “lightning in a bottle” has been around much longer than TV shows. Generally, it means sudden, unexpected, unconventional but huge success at something rare, at something once thought nearly impossible. Lighting in a bottle is a get rich from YouTube, put a ding in the universe type of luck-meets-skill achievement.

Reliable origins of idioms like this one are just as hard to find. A quick search of the google machine gives you the idea that it refers to eighteenth century experiments with electricity like Benjamin Franklin’s kite and Leyden jars. Leyden jars are conductive material on either side of non-conductive glass in such a way that it will hold a small electrical charge. It used to be party entertainment to get a little spark from them, kind of like scuffing your sock feet across the carpet and touching a door knob on purpose. In the poetic language of the day, those little sparks were literally lightning in a bottle.

The Alleyman’s Notebook that accompanies the deck connects this card with a situation that can’t be forced. That interpretation fits in with the pop culture analogy. You can’t MAKE lightning strike. You can’t MAKE opportunities happen but you can position yourself in such a way as to be in the conditions that more favorable for the right opportunity to happen. You can put yourself in a mental and physical space to take full advantage of it if it does.

You can’t make lightning strike any given place at any given time. Putting real world electrocution aside for a moment, if you stand on an iron rich rock near salt water ocean with your arm up in the air during a thunderstorm, there is a better chance that you, the lightning and a bottle will all wind up in the same place at the same time.

There is a practical, mundane, banal side of catching lightning in a bottle. It may seem lucky or miraculous, but the most unlikely success still has elements of practical intellect and persistent effort. As Thomas Edison famously said “genius is one percent inspiration and ninety nine percent perspiration. Lightning in a bottle is random luck plus the courage and cleverness to take advantage of unexpected opportunity with a healthy dose of effort to follow it all through to fruition. These are the elements of mundane magic available to anyone.

There is one more element. A subtle one, the one that makes you into a lighting rod and gives you the power to contain it in the bottle. This is the part that makes the apprentice into the sorcerer. It’s the part that takes us back to the rainy rocks at the witch school of Artuza.

Harmonize with nature.

Lau Tzu gave us this advice in the Tao Te Ching a long, long, long time ago. If you are a grower by nature and you are in a sunny field, plant as you wish. If you are by the sea, step out onto the rainy rock and lift your bottle to the sky with confidence.

Thank you for reading and listening. The blog and podcast are not monetized and depend on audience support. Please visit the TaoCraft Tarot ko-fi page to become a Patron of the Tarot Arts which gives you access to exclusive content, private email readings and members-only special offers. Proceeds support the production of these free to access posts and episodes. Of course your likes, subs, shares, follows, reading orders, questions and comments are always, always appreciated.

See you at the next sip.

Controlled Burn

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Today: the King of Wands and the controlled burn.

Hello and welcome to TaoCraft Short Sip: Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee.

Today’s card is the King of Wands.

The connection between the whole suit of wands and the classic element of fire steps forward this morning. My attention was particularly drawn to the salamanders on the tapestry or throne behind the king in the classic Pamela Smith artwork we see here. There is no doubt in my mind that the artist used them and the little guy on the ground to signify the elemental connection with the cards.

The myth of salamanders as fireproof inhabitants of hearth and flame is a whole thing in itself. Books have been written about elementals and nature spirits and such. That’s not quite the point here. It’s interesting that the artist draws the salamanders on the throne as curled in a circle, nose touching tail, just like the classic Ouroboros symbol with a snake or dragon biting their own tail. The Ouroboros symbolizes wholeness and infinity and the cosmos among other things, akin to the simple enzo circle in Zen philosophy. Books have been written about that, too, and it’s not quite the message for today either.

When I first noticed the salamander motif, for just the smallest tic, just for a split second, I thought it was a yin yang symbol which in turn reminded me of the Tao Te Ching’s advice about leadership. Lao Tzu was not a fan of micromanagement. To paraphrase “when a good master governs, the people hardly know he is there.” That is closer to the energy today.

Another way to say it might be “Slow your roll, Karen.”

Don’t be a doormat, certainly, but a little diplomacy might be go a long way.

When gasoline explodes in small amounts inside an engine cylinder, we go far. When gasoline explodes in large amounts outside of an engine, we get disaster. When a campfire toasts marshmallows we get a treat. When a wildfire starts from a campfire, destruction follows.

I’m also reminded of the character Ang learning firebending in the animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. The scene particularly comes to mind were he is given the exercise of lighting the center of a small leaf and controlling the small ember so it only burns to, but not over, the edge of the leaf. Later, in a burst of enthusiasm and carelessness, he accidentally burns his friend Kitara’s hands. Ang then refuses to ever fire bend again which in turn leads to its own set of problems.

It serves no one to extinguish your passions. By the same token passions that burn out of control can lead to disaster. Passion with discretion, passions with a controlled burn can light the way to something better.

Thank you for reading and listening.

The blog, the podcast and the companion videos on YouTube are not monetized and rely on your support. Your likes, subs, shares, Tarot reading purchases through this website and Tarot Table memberships on ko-fi all help me to create this unique Tarot content. Thank you.

See you at the next sip!

Duly Noted

Growing Ogres” was a challenging post to write. You can tell because it’s long. Einstein was right – “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”

There are three basic layers to talking about layers in Tarot: easy, hard and hot mess.

Reading for yourself is easy. I can teach you to interact with the cards by yourself for yourself in no time. In a short ebook in fact. You can order it HERE. And yes, I’m still working on a second edition. We’re gonna need it when this whole pandemic thing is over. Adjusting is hard. Adjusting BACK is hard too.

Reading for other people is hard. Interacting with the cards, plus the intuitive messages from energy/spirit plus communicating that message effectively to the client, plus business ethics plus ethics ethics…professional Tarot reading has several layers of complexity and levels of difficulty above grabbing your favorite deck for a little guidance every now and then.

Describing my side of the table and the inner workings of intuitive readings is wildly complicated because it requires taking a reader right up to the edge of silent mysteries and individual experiences. Trying to put the wordless into words can turn into a hot mess in a heartbeat. Or, in the words of Lau Tzu, “The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao.”

All I really needed to say was the combination of video and text wasn’t working out the way I’d hoped, so I’m changing it back.

I’ll circle back to personal growth, evolution, authenticity, inner growing new layers, shedding old ones and all of that stuff another time. Meanwhile, if you have any feedback about the tweek in the layout names or the audio/visual combo experiment, I’d love to hear it.

If you are interested in the video & text combination, check out the “Today’s Tarot” posts and the weekly “YouChoose Interactive Tarot” posts.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”

Jeff Rich

Today’s Tarot: I AM doing something

“Just a moment, Mary. I’m having an idea” – Young Einstein

Today’s Tarot: Five of Wands. Keywords – conflict, inner world, element of fire. Inner conflict isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It can take you to a powerful place.

Not all work is visible. Mental focus can be exhausting. Personal growth and spiritual work is work. It may not be obvious to other people, but inner conflict is as valid as the physical combat depicted on today’s card. It is arguably more important.

Conquering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power” – attr. Lau Tzu

Small changes that you integrate into who you are and can sustain permenantly are the most powerful. It is as true of perception as it is of a healthy diet, new exercise routine, adding a meditation practice to your day…any change really. It can be the most challenging…and challenged … part of real self improvement. Others may confront you about small changes without even realizing it. “Don’t you…” “When did you start…” “Just one time won’t matter…” and other little off handed comments can derail the best intentions without meaning to. If you are supporting someone, respect the small as much as the big. If you are making changes, lots of small step can get you to where you want to go just as much as a giant leap….just like a mouse can frighten an elephant or a tiny little mosquito can drive you up a wall. Little things mean a lot. They are worth any challenges they may bring.

Especially since these kinds of small steps and inner challenges are winnable conflicts. The five of wands often connotes conflict, but with an undercurrent of success in the end. Yes, long term small changes may not be evident to an outside observer, or show immediate success, but the Five of Wands gives encouragement to go along with its heads up message. Sure, little challenges and possible inner conflicts may be on the horizon, but they are winnable, do-able things. It may not be obvious on the outside, but you ARE doing something, even when you are busy having a new idea.

Today’s Tarot: Seven of Wands (11 July 2019)

Sometimes the best way forward is straight through. To borrow a phrase, just do it. Maybe a little melee is just what we need, especially if the confrontation is with oneself.


Need a wingman in that self confrontation thing? A reading can help. This just what Tarot does best. Distance is my specialty. Why wait for an appointment when a reading can be in your inbox in a matter of hours? Order HERE 24/7