Getting to Know Your Tarot Deck

Come on.  Admit it.  Your tarot deck has been sitting in a closet or a drawer for months or years.  You always mean to break it out and really become fluent, but it never happens.

If you haven’t decided on a New Year’s resolution yet, learning the tarot is a great skill that can been mastered in a year with some diligence and dedication.

Here’s a few tips to get you started.

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Choose a deck.  If you don’t have one already, or the deck(s) you have simply don’t speak to you, start by searching some random ones.  This can be done online, but occult shops with sample decks are an even better opportunity to get a literal “feel” for various decks.  There are many, many decks of every imaginable variety.  Decks for cat people, decks for steampunk enthusiasts, decks for music aficionados, decks for writers, decks for kids.

(One of my favorites of all time is The Housewives Tarot.  It’s shaped like a recipe box and The Devil is chocolate.)

Point is, there’s one for you.  If nothing speaks to you, keep looking.

Connect with your deck.  Once you’ve selected and acquired a deck, spend some time with it.  Go through it card by card several times.  Right down any impressions you get or cards that jump out at you, even if you don’t know the meanings of the cards yet.

Learn the cards.  It’s time for a little rote memorization.  While most readers eventually develop their own method of interpretation, it’s best to have some foundation in the traditional meaning of the cards.  I started by choosing 3 key words for each card from Learn Tarot and putting them on flash cards.  It took me several months of daily study to get to the point of instant recall, but you may find it goes faster or slower for you.  Once you have absorbed the basic energy of the card, the words themselves sort of disappear and you just get a general impression when you pull the card.

Start reading.  For everyone.  In the beginning, I carried my deck wherever I went.  I started reading for people I knew well first.  But then I just started reading wherever.  The homeless guy outside my grocery store, the lady at the nail salon, the bored bank teller.  I used to know a reader who traded readings for cab rides.  Respect those who decline your offer for a reading, but don’t assume someone won’t want one.  Many times people whom I never thought put any stock in divination quite eagerly let me read their cards.  Skeptics arguably make for better learning experiences than believers anyway.  The more you practice, the better you get.

Decide whether you want to be paid in karma or cash.  Once you’ve become fluent enough to start charging for your services, think long and hard about whether or not you really should.  It’s not for everyone.  Don’t assume that just because you don’t get cash, you won’t be paid back in full—and then some.  I’ve noticed that when I offer a complimentary reading to someone in spiritual need, it comes back to me ten fold in karma.  Just something to think about.

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Chaos Tarot Spread

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Have things gotten a little crazy lately?  Don’t know which end is up?

Perfect for the seeker feeling a little out of sorts, this spread is designed to help tame the mess and make sense of your surroundings.

1.  Your foundation.  This card represents the most stable force in your life.

2.  The “disrupter.”   Signifies the catalyst of your current situation.

3.   Hidden agenda.   The underlying motives that make up the root cause—whether they   are yours or someone else’s.

4.  The obstacle.  What stands in your way right now.

5.  What your meant to learn.  Represents the test you must pass in order to restore calm.

6.  Who or what will help you.  Signifies who or what you should seek help from.

7.  Final outcome.  How things will ultimately play out if you continue on the current path.

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5 Things to Consider Before Becoming a Professional Tarot Reader

Have you been reading tarot for a while?  Are you at a comfortable level of fluency with the cards?

You might be ready to start reading tarot professionally.  But before you do, take a moment to do a quick personal inventory.

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1.  What are your ethics?  While everyone is different in this respect, I think it’s important to establish some firm boundaries for yourself and be open about them with your clients.

Personally, I don’t like the word “psychic,” because for me, it has too many connotations that I’m not prepared to identify with.

I also like to explain ahead of time that reading tarot is about showing people their options, not telling them how to make decisions.  It’s important to me to empower my clients rather than leave them with a feeling of dependency.

What standards will you set for yourself?  If you haven’t thought about it, it’s time to get those squared away before you book your first session.

2.   How comfortable are you with discussing the intimate details of someone’s life?  When I first started reading professionally, I was astonished by how forthcoming strangers were with me.  They discussed extremely private parts of their lives, including combat experiences, extramarital affairs, and mental health problems.  If you are squeamish about the idea of addressing topics like these, reading is not for you.

3.  Can you keep a secret?  See #2.  Nothing will ruin your reputation faster as a reader than dishing the details of a client’s private life.  Be honest with yourself:  are you a gossip?  There are worse things to be, but if this is a weakness for you, consider another line of work.  You can really do damage to peoples’ lives this way.

That being said, I always warn first-time clients that if they disclose plans to hurt themselves or others, I will tell someone.

4.  How judgemental are you?  Compassion and a non-judgemental attitude are absolutely essential to the art of reading for a bunch of reasons.

First, if you’re quick to jump to conclusions, it tends to cloud your intuition.

But more importantly, humans are incredibly adept at reading subtle, non-verbal cues.  If you’re judging someone for sleeping with multiple partners, blowing her inheritance on foolish expenditures, or lying to her boss, she’s more likely to pick up this than you think, and you may not even know it.

5.  Know when to part ways.  Tarot reading is a very personal affair.  Not all clients will be good fits.  If you sense you’re not really helping someone, don’t continue to take her money.

This is particularly true with the Tarot Addict.  While good readers will undoubtedly build up a regular clientele, there is a difference between a loyal customer and a junkie.  If you have someone who calls you every time they need to make even minor life decisions, becomes anxious if you are unable to see them, or starts to become obsessive, do the right thing and let them go.

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Cloud Scrying for Beginners

Last year, I did a post on Bone Reading.

Now that the weather is warm, I’d like to talk about another form of divination commonly referred to as cloud scrying.

Cloud scrying

Scrying is the art of looking for hidden messages in different objects.  The most accessible form of scrying for most people is the crystal ball, but people have used everything from tea leaves to chicken bones.

Today, we’ll talk about how you can use clouds in a similar way.  I like clouds for the purpose of scrying because they are:

1.  Free.

2.  Available to almost anyone.

3.  Brings us closer to the natural world.

4.  Something you can do in broad daylight, where many beginners find occult practices less intimidating.

5.  Something you’ve probably already done, or did do as a child, without knowing it.

The first thing to remember is that scying is essentially meditation with your eyes open.  When you think of it this way, the basics become easier to master, especially if you have experience with meditation.
Much like ordinary meditation, clearing your mind becomes both the most important and the most difficult task.

Fortunately, laying on your back in the grass on a warm day lends itself nicely to clarity of the mind.

Choose a pleasant day with warm temperatures.  Be sure also that the sun is not too high or too strong.  You should be able to look up at the clouds without straining or squinting into the light.

Load a relaxing soundtrack onto your phone or MP3 player.  Some people find music distracting and if that’s you, then simply enjoy the silence or the sounds of your natural surroundings.  Certainly, if your phone alerts constantly, it’s not helpful, which is why I generally prefer to use an MP3 player and leave the phone behind.  But if you opt for sound, I recommend meditation music to get you in the right frame of mind.

Be patient.  Don’t leap right away to deciphering shapes or even words in the clouds above you.  Relax.  Allow them to float over you for a while.  Scrying rarely rewards an impatient or over-eager practitioner.

Even if nothing obvious leaps out at you that day, or the next day, keep at it.  Make a habit of trying on your nature walks.  With regular practice, it becomes easier and easier.

Once you get the hang of it, write down your insights!  Your journal or Book of Shadows provides the perfect space for any kind of spiritual thoughts.  Note your progress.  Even better, take pictures of shapes in the clouds that you found especially inspiring.  Come back to them later to see if anything else jumps out at you about those formations.

Make a point to make the most of this summer season.  Blessed be!

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3-Fold Path Spread

You may be familiar with a spread called the “Two Fold Path” spread, which considers two major life decisions.  The Three-Fold spread is a variation on this, drawing additional cards for a third option—The Path Unconsidered.

This is where the Tarot can be especially helpful in decision making.  Sometimes, when we are faced with two options, it can be easy to forget that life gives us infinite options, and while it is impossible to consider or even think of them all, taking the time to look at least one that fits outside the box can be helpful.

3 fold path spread

Position 1:  Where you stand now.

Position 2:  The next step forward on your current path.

Position 3:  The primary obstacle that stands in your way on this path.

Position 4:  The general direction you’re headed if you stay with it.

Position 5:  The first step on a new path.

Position 6:  The primary obstacle that stands in your way.

Position 7:  The general direction this path is headed if you chose to go this way.

Position 8:  The first step on a path you’ve not yet considered.

Position 9:  What stands in your way.

Position 10:  Where this path is headed.

I hope this spread is helpful to you in your divination inquiries!  Enjoy!

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Free Will of Fate Tarot Spread

In my last post, we discussed the concept of the “Free Will of Fate.”

Discussion is one thing, practical application is another.  So I decided to show you a simple Tarot spread that applies this principle in the practice of divination.

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Position 1:  The Crossroads.  This position represents the figurative place you are in right now.  Before you, you face a decision with two options.  This decision may be a major life decision (like whether or not to get married right now) or not (like whether to eat that muffin.)

Position 2:  Represents the first step on the first optional road you could take from Position 1.  By now, the decision is made, you chose left instead of right, and this will determine your course.

Position 3:  Represents an obstacle on this path.

Position 4:  Represents someone or something that will help you along your way on this path.

Position 5:  Represents the first step on the second optional road you could take from Position 1.  By now, the decision is made, you chose right instead of left, and this will determine your course.

Position 6:  Represents an obstacle on this path.

Position 7:  Represents someone or something that will help you along your way on this path.

Position 8:  Final outcome.  Lesson learned.  The point of this spread is that you will arrive at your destination no matter how you chose to get there.  This idea is both liberating and difficult for the controlling nature of the human condition.

I hope you enjoyed this new spread, and add it to your repertoire!

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Relationship Spread: Group Dynamics in the Workplace

This spread specifically addresses one the most important aspects of your working environment: your relationship with your co-workers.  Sometimes referred to as “office politics,” the complex interactions you have with the people you work with are arguably more vital to your career success than any other single factor, including education, experience and work ethic.

Fair?  No.  But it’s the reality.

Finding insight here can be extraordinarily valuable to your long-term career path.

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Position 1:  Represents whomever or whatever you are beholden to at work.  Most typically, this card represents a supervisor.  But even if you work for yourself, everyone must answer to someone: customers, a property management company, the IRS.

Position 2:  This card represents you (or the querent).

Position 3:  Represents your relationship to your supervisor (or whatever).  When you draw a card for this position, what does it tell you?  Don’t expect an obvious answer.  The Lovers might represent an inappropriate love interest with your superior, or the Ten of Cups could indicate a familial relationship.

Position 4:  This card represents a subordinate.  If you have no subordinate, substitute whatever you are responsible for or in charge of.  Everyone has a key responsibility at work.

Position 5:  Represents your relationship the people or things you are responsible for.

Position 6:  Both position 6 and 8 represent co-workers or equals in the workplace.  If you have no co-workers, you may either omit these cards, or substitute peripheral factors in your work environment.

Position 7:  Represents your relationship to #6.

Position 8:  See Position 6.

Position 9:  Represents your relationship to #8.

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