Drink from the Flow

Sage’s Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee

Zen teaches us that only an empty cup can be filled.

So what do you do when your cup is full, when things are good?

That CAN happen, by the way. It’s probably  happening right now. Check it out. Shift your attention away from your screen in 3, 2, 1 – NOW. Pay attention to what is around you. 

Are you at work? Cool! You have a job and some degree of income! Are you doom scrolling? Cool! You have a device and internet access to scroll with! Are you in physical danger? If you are, get off your phone and do something about it for cryin’ out loud. Have you had something to eat today? Did you get a little bit of sleep last night? 

I’m not saying that you don’t have anything on your mind. I’m not saying that you aren’t struggling with anything or that your health is perfect or you have no emotions or emotional pain. Everyone deals with something sometimes. Call it the price of admission to this brief and shining spark we call life.

​Pay attention to just this minute for a minute.

Paying attention to right here and right now is what we call mindfulness. 

What fills your cup right now?

If you spend your life waiting for champaign, you are going to miss the clear, cool, clean, life-giving water that is there right now. If things are good, drink up. 

If things are good, drink it in with gratitude, and make room for more to flow in. 

What if the water in a cup is stagnant, or bitter, filled with dirt or germs? Drinking from that would be a bad idea. Instead do what you can to clean out the cup and find a better drink. That requires emptying the cup to make room for more to flow in, too.

How do you know where the good things are to fill your metaphoric cup once there is room in it?

Today’s card is the King of Cups. It symbolizes emotional maturity, emotional protection and healing, mentors, teachers and spirit guides. 

Cups and water are timeless symbols for exactly this kind of spiritual, intuitive, emotional learning. Going back to cups and water as an example. 

How do you know where the clean, healthy, flowing water is? We don’t necessarily know. We don’t have to know that alone. Teachers, mentors, students and mentees all have a way of finding each other when the time is right. When you are thirsty and your cup is empty, ask for directions to the nearest water fountain. If you know where the clean safe water is, it is up to you to give directions to the empty-bottle thirsty people. 

Knowledge and guidance and life flows like water. We all have cups. Drink from the flow even as you help others to do the same.

Thank you for reading and listening! I appreciate each and every one of you.

The Daily Sip ko-fi membership is the only place to get Tarot every weekday, in addition to an ongoing shop discount. Tarot Table members get weekday Tarot, a shop discount and access to on request private email readings. Please visit the Sage Words Tarot Ko-fi page for details.

The name change from TaoCraft Tarot to Sage Words Tarot is almost finished. There are still a few new things on the horizon, so please follow the free blog for all of the latest. Links are in the episode description for podcast listeners

See you at the next sip!

Do for you

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Today, the eight of pentacles and the stuff you do for you.

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

Today’s card is the eight of pentacles, which points to work and productivity.

Which is too bad because I’m a lazy, lazy girl this morning.

Headphones on, listening to one of my favorite playlists on Spotify, drinking coffee and writing about Tarot (or knitting) is pretty much my happy place. Life is good at the moment.

But life isn’t always comfy chairs and cinnamon latte.

Shit happens, and when it does, empty platitudes and pep talks are no help whatsoever. Today’s energy could too easily slip into that. On the surface it could sound like some kind of suck it up buttercup, pull yourself up by your own bootstraps puritanical platitude.

Today’s energy isn’t suggesting that you can just cheer up, work hard and everything will be ok. Far from it.

It is suggesting that there is a whole world of coping mechanisms out there. A healthy lifestyle is something that you do for you. The emphasis today is on the word DO. Work isn’t all bad. The hack is finding the right kind of thing do for where your head is at.

When I saw the card, it reminded me of another life long ago in a galaxy far far away. One of the psychiatrists I used to work for back in my long abandoned physician assistant days always said that a job is as good as therapy. It wasn’t for all of the toxic anti-welfare, racism tinged, right-wing-ish reasons that might spring to mind these days. He was talking about structure, diversion, and self esteem.

As supportive as structure and getting something – anything – done in a day can be, I’m not talking about actual depression or real world problems here.

The same kind of advice about structure, diversion and accomplishment re-emerged during pandemic quarantine. For the average person under stress or in the occasional normal doldrums, accomplishing something – anything – in your day can be the little boost that you need. The degree varies from individual to individual and from day to day. Some of us secretly get off on going mach 2 with our hair on fire. For others, fresh pajamas and getting the dishes done is enough.

Self care is as much about mindset as action. For some people self care and a mood boost is all bubble baths and candle light. For others it is turning up the punk rock and cleaning the house. Anything, even being productive at some kind of work or project, can be self care.

The point in all of this is to do the thing that is right for you and your day in the amount that is right for your needs…but for goodness’ sake do SOMETHING. It might make you feel better than you think it will. Even if you are a lazy, lazy person like me.

Like everything for me, it gets back to Zen and Taoist philosophy akin to the old adage “Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” Self care and stress management doesn’t have to be fancy, high minded or separate from life. Like Zen spirituality, self care and stress management is all about the moment to moment mundane living of life.

If you will allow me to indulge in a moment of fangirling, Madam Adam, one of my favorite social media follows, put it absolutely brilliantly. It was spot-on perfect when I first his post yesterday, and the eight of pentacles this morning confirms it. As he said “self-care is doing what you do anyway, but doing it with intent.”


Through simple intention, anything can be self care including a day of work and productivity. Through simple intention, the mundane becomes magick.

Thanks for reading and listening! I always appreciate any likes, subs, follows, shares, questions or comments you can give.

For those of you listening on the podcast, a link to the blog website are in the episode description. You can find episode transcripts, private readings to purchase and other non-podcast Tarot content there.

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Thanks again. See you at the next sip.

Ease up on the woo woo

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Today, quotes about Alan Watt’s potatoes and Mark Salzman’s donkey.

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

Today’s card is the eight of pentacles.

The pentacles are always grounded, practical cards and today is no exception.

The interesting thing about today’s card is it is reverse engineered. I don’t know about you, but the phrase “reverse engineered” always makes me think of science fiction, alien technology, conspiracy theories and that time people were Naruto running around area 51.

Maybe retrofit would be a better word. If you are interested in elevating your intuitive connection to Tarot, one good way to do that is to come up with an idea and then see what cards come to mind that represent the idea rather than choosing a card at random and letting that prompt the idea. You retrofit the idea to the card instead of the other way around.

Today, the energy around here is decidedly NOT spiritual or woo woo. Which is fine. It is a western, puritanical notion to think that we must constantly strive and work for spirituality and personal improvement. Sometimes the best thing do is do what needs done without all the woo woo or striving or self-judging. Sometimes you just have to sit on your workbench and hammer the dents out of your pentacles before moving on. Today’s energy pointed to the Eight of Pentacles instead of the card pointing out the energy.

Think for a moment about Mark Salzman’s donkey and Alan Watt’s potatoes.

As I’ve said a hoo-zillion times, this is just like when Alan Watts said that “Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about god while you peel the potatoes. Zen spirituality is to just peel the potatoes.”

In Taoism it IS personal growth and spirituality to live in harmony with nature. In this case nature means your feelings and energies for the day as much as the rocks and trees kind of nature.

Mark Salzmen, author and martial artist, once recounted the Chinese proverb that “it is the height of stupidity to go searching for the donkey you are already riding upon.

In Wicca for the Solitary Practitioner, author Scott Cunningham has said “the feeling is the power.” So if you are feeling pulled to the mystical or spiritual side of life today, by all means follow that feeling. If you are feeling like having a sammich and streaming your favorite movie, that’s an ok feeling to follow too.

It’s the trend line, not the individual day or data point.

All of those things point to letting the woo woo rest for a bit, and LIVE the things you’ve already learned. Do the things you already know to do. How is state of constant striving any better than not striving at all? Show yourself a little self love by accepting who you are right now and just go about your day with no pressure on yourself for a change. Immerse yourself in the day, and do the do. Do the do regardless of how stressed or how ordinary it all is at the moment.

Stop looking so hard and vibe with your donkey while peeling today’s potatoes. Live what you know for a while before striving to learn more.

Thank you so much for reading and listening.

I always appreciate any likes, subs, shares, follows, questions or comments that you can spare.

Proceeds from private reading sales and from the ko-fi page all contribute toward creating this free to access blog and podcast.

See you at the next sip!

The Infinite and The Empty

TaoCraft Short Sip is Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your coffee. Today, the infinite and the empty.

Hello and welcome to TaoCraft Short Sip, Tarot for your day in the time it takes to sip from your morning coffee, or evening tea, whatever happens to be the case. The blogcast is posting much later than usual today because of adulting and schedules and the like. Whatever day or time of day that you are reading or listening to this, I’m glad you are here.

Today’s card is The Empty, which as best as I can tell was created by Seven Dane Asmund specifically for the Alleyman’s Tarot Deck. In the guide book he makes it very clear it was not intended as an “anything is possible” sort of card.


For all of its zen simplicity and stark beauty, conceptually this card is Schrodinger’s cat meets the Bene Gesserit box test from Dune. For those of you listening on the podcast, there is a link to the blog in the episode description if you’d like to see the real world card draw for today. Seriously, I hope you’ll google the deck and the card. This thing is seriously gorgeous.

This card also reminds us that the observed and the observer leave their mark on each other.

As Seven writes, quote … it doesn’t mean that anything is possible, only that you will irrevocably stain and paint this thing as you begin to interact with it. Be mindful what imprint you leave on its surface. End quote

Be mindful, too, of what you are drawing out of the infinite void of possibility. Anything may be possible, but you leave your mark on that process. When you contemplate the infinite, it leaves its mark on you. You are an active participant in what is attracted and manifested from the infinite, even when that activity is on the subconscious level.

Or, in the words of Carl Jung, quote Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will all it fate. End quote.

Empty is powerful. But empty is not pristine. Empty observed is different from empty ignored. Empty is where all things can become potentially possible. Only the empty cup can be filled. There has to be a deficiency of electrons in one part of a circuit for electricity to flow. Thinking positive with outward flowing desires and expectations and efforts often doesn’t serve as well as being open and empty and in some sense surrendering to the larger and emptier universe. What will you draw from infinity into your empty.

Empty is where infinity hides.

Thank you for listening.

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Of course, your likes, subs, shares, commissioned Tarot readings, follows, questions and comments are always apprecitated.

See you at the next sip!

That Breeze You Feel

Collaborating with Stevie Nicks on the 1991 song “Sometimes It’s a Bitch,” Jon Bon Jovi tells us exactly that…”sometimes it’s a bitch, sometimes it’s a breeze.”

And sometimes that breeze you feel is life sucking.

Like all Tarot cards, the Ten of Swords has different threads of feeling, different threads of meaning. Like life, Tarot cards are not all rainbows and unicorns. The Ten of Swords is one of the best cards in the deck at showcasing that little fact.

From my side of the Tarot table, part of reading for other people is dealing with the suckage as well as the sparkles. It’s kind of a weird juxtaposition when, as the reader, you are perfectly fine but then along comes a card like this one. When that happens, it is time for a little re-framing of the situation for the client and nice beefy boundaries between your personal feelings and the external energies. Humor helps on both sides of that strong boundary.

When you feel the breeze of suckatude for yourself or for a client, there are two main roads to take. First you have the standard issue platitudes and pep talks. Sometimes that is the legit energy coming from the card. When that is the vibe, it’s your cue to take the card down the cheerleader path: “Fall down seven times, get up eight…when life hands you lemons, make lemonade… when life hands you limes, make margaritas.” That sort of thing. There are times when that approach puts things into better perspective. Sometimes people will be receptive to the idea that the mountain is really just a speedbump and let themselves be cheered up by a colorful verbal bandage, as a toddler with a bump on the knee might be.

Other times, the mountain really is a mountain. Unicorn poop and platitudes won’t help. You can’t re-frame real problems away. That’s a recipe for so called toxic positivity (or at least an extra helping of denial, minimization and other perhaps less than healthy coping mechanisms.)

Maybe, just maybe, misery loves company because miserable people hurt a little less when they don’t feel alone at the same time. That isn’t to say you should let yourself be made miserable. Reflection, rather than re-framing comes in handy. Try acknowledging the situation while holding on to your own strength. Think of it as a head shake and “Duuuuuude” as you stick out your hand to help them up. Even if there isn’t much anyone can substantially DO for the situation, it might help a little to embrace the suck. THAT is the advice the Ten of Swords is offering today.

That breeze you feel? That’s life sucking…as it does sometimes.

“Going with the flow” is often assumed to be all peaceful, zen and pretty. Not always. Sometimes the flow you have to go with is from the wastewater treatment plant. If that is your situation – duuuuude.

That sucks. I hear you. You have every right to feel pissed/depressed/terrified. Who wouldn’t feel that way in a situation like that? Feel it. Spend a minute embracing the suck and feeling the breeze of the suckatude – but then let’s figure out what you can DO to maybe help things suck a little less.

Wishing you all clear water and quiet breezes.

Private email readings with the blog author are always available, no appointment required HERE

Today’s Tarot: To what end?

“Love: The heart wants what it wants. It doesn’t seek other people’s opinions; sometimes not even your own.”

Steve Miraboli, author

The lovelorn love the Lovers card.

Every card has its dark side, and for this one I’m seeing fixation. When you get stuck on finding one particular thing, like your “soulmate,” it also fixates on the lack of that thing. Lacking creates more wanting creates more fixating creates more lacking. A vicious cycle like that is very hard to stop because cycles and circles by definition don’t really stop. Think physics and the conservation of energy. Cycles aren’t so much stopped as they are transformed.

Having some idea of why you want something, especially when you want it with desperation, can help achieve it. The word achieve in itself implies and endpoint, a goal, a reason for being. Wanting something badly enough motivates us to do the work we must do to get the wanted thing.

Not all wants need to be tied to achievement. Not all wants are what we think they are.

We say we want a “soulmate” but perhaps what is really wanted – or needed – is feeling heard, feeling understood, having companionship. Relationships are complex things that deserve a little thought and attention, even before they begin.

Sometimes the trick to finding your hearts desire is to desire a better thing. If the lovers speaks to you today, it is asking you to think about what you want and why you want it. Is it the right thing to chase?

I don’t share my private life here a lot, but here is an example. I have a very convenient opportunity to study martial arts again. It was at one time very important. I competed. I taught. I won a few blue ribbons along the way. Why? I don’t really know, other than I loved doing it, and wanted to be the best at it that I could possibly be, like everything else. Then because of an assortment of life and health stuff I had to set it aside. Did I miss it? Not as much as I thought.

You learn a lot about life in 20 years.

Do I want to pick it up again? Yes, I want that. Why? I enjoy it. If I get some health benefit that’s just frosting on the cake. I could put in the work and teach again – but I don’t want to. I could get up early and do all the shit they tell you to do to be an accomplished Tajiquan player….but I don’t want to. I could brush up on Chinese, and find work-arounds for the physical limitations. But I don’t want to. I value different things now. And that is perfectly OK. You don’t have to be driven and perfect about every thing. Not everything in life is goals and attainment. I could fixate on wanting to do high level tai chi again … I could use that as motivation to drive and work toward acheiving that….or I could want the peace and serenity and mindfulness that Taijiquan represented all along.

It turns out I really just want to enjoy a little tai chi every now and then. Bam. Done. Mission accomplished. Goal achieved. It pays to want what you already have.

Today’s Tarot: Dam it

Or more accurately, don’t.

Accidents happen. Poor choices are made, more often than not unintentionally. We wouldn’t set out to hurt anyone, but sometimes we are less careful with ourselves than with others.

There are some times, hopefully minor ones, where we are our own worst enemy and our self sabotage is our own damn fault. I have a theory that is the precise time when obstacles are a potent spirit message and life lesson.

When the challenge comes from things outside of us, all of the adages and advice about persistence come into play. When the obstacle is our own doing, then it is more a matter of beating our own head against our own wall until we get our own clue.

The feeling with the card today is not really preventative. It feels like the message is about something now, something in progress, something where the cosmos is telling us to knock it off already. Where are you putting on the brakes (or building a dam) when you need to go with the flow?

I’ve discovered that I like making playlists. Not going to put the brakes on that just yet. Here is another one for your enjoyment: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/6hDnolAabh3u3g4vcGpS68?si=19ee6787bdcd47be

Today’s Tarot: Two Cup Tuesday

Let’s pour ourselves a second cup and do the thing.

This is not a high wattage card today.

I thought about sharing my favorite salty language internet meme that features the Knight of Pentacles, but the energy isn’t even up to that. The earth connection and the grounded quality is so strong that it escapes levity. This card is 6 am staring across your coffee mug at a chipper morning person. This card is the zombie shuffle to the kitchen for a second cup.

Today’s energy is strongly connected to the physical realm. It is OK to set aside big spiritual questing every now and then. The mind and spirit must be balanced with the physical. This is a day to pour that second cup and do the thing. Grind. To borrow from a shoe company – just do it.

Doing is key. Knights are about action, after all. But this is effective, ruthlessly efficient action, not fidgeting, fuss, emotion or bother. Don’t waste energy on drama. “Work the problem” as was said in the Apollo 13 movie. Or as has been said “Follow the process, not the plan.” (as I read it on Tested.com – this might be my new mantra, just like “simple but elegant” got me through dissertation)

Arguably, this kind of practical, down-to-earth, just-do-it energy IS a high level of spirituality, like the adage “Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.” or, as I’ve often quoted here before, Alan Watts taught “Zen does not confuse spirituality with thinking about god while you peel potatoes. Zen spirituality is to just peel the potatoes.”

The practical needs done and the physical realm needs tended to, not matter what our mental, spiritual or emotional state might be. The knight reminds us that immersing in routine work or physical exercise can be very soothing to churning thoughts or upset emotions.

YouChoose Interactive Tarot: Look

Time and space isn’t such a big deal in Tarot. Viruses be damned, we can read Tarot together any time, anywhere. You may be reading this years after it was posted – thank you! If I just smashed the old publish button and you are reading this – Wow! Thank you! You may be watching this for the fourth time…it still has some message for you, even if it isn’t the week in the video or the interpretation that is stepping forward right now. Follow your intuition.

Choose a card at random, left, middle or right. Choose on impulse, or if you want to think about it, pause the video and then restart it to see the reveal.

The video get things started, then here in the blog we take all three cards together for a theme too. For this week’s theme, I get a sense of “look.”

Left: Seven of Swords. Look around. Watch your back. Mischief is afoot. It is NOT a prediction. This isn’t to say anything bad will happen. The energy feels like a minor heads up, think critically, question things. It could be as innocent as a prank by kid, or it could be more adult office politics. Use your head, don’t be taken in by social media hysteria or a deep fake. This is a good week to question everything. But then, aren’t they all?

Center: Knight of Wands. Look inward, then DO something about it. Whatever your spiritual tradition, spiritual leaning or life philosophy might be, this is a good week to DO it. LIVE it a little bit. For me, that is in the realm of lighting a stick of incense or meditating with a mala. Or it may be to do nothing at all. Celebrate your nonbelief by celebrating SOMEthing you love. I mean, they are going to fly a drone on Mars soon – go Percy & Ingenuity!

Right: Ten of Wands. Look inward, and persist. The Ten of Wands is about slowed or blocked energy, a strong sign of obstacles, more than simply a reversed card would be. It is a spiritual time and energy, but chances are you just aren’t feeling it….which is perfectly OK. If all the peace, love and positivety is more annoying than not, it is fine to find your vibe. Don’t force yourself to listen to new age harp music when you really want to crank up the thrash metal. Acknowledge your true mood, and keep one eye on the spiritual stuff. Time will work it’s magick and your moment of peace and Zen will come in its own time.

TaoCraft Portfolio: Authenticity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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