Category Archives: Uncategorized

Real Estate Reading

Like in many areas of the country, the housing market in the Detroit area tanked in 2006.  Just a few years after my partner and I bought.  Buying a home at the peak right before a massive fall was not the most financially beneficial things that has ever happened in my life.

I was reading some articles, one discussing the possibility of strong rebound in my area in the next 4 years. It was both surprising and welcome news.  I decided to pull some cards and see what the tarot projects my real estate market.

I decided to do a simple past-present-future spread:

        Image                               Image                                  Image

          8 of Swords                                      Strength                                      Ace of Wands

The first thing I noticed in the 8 of swords is that castle that is blocked off by the swords off in the background.  I think that really captures the stress and worry that many people felt towards their homes.  Like others, I felt stuck in a home that lost a lot of value and, with the market crawling to a near halt, was unlikely to sell if I needed to move for any reason.   Like the figure, there was not much to do but feel stuck. There were no quick fixes or easy answers.

Strength is consistent with news articles I was reading. Housing sales are picking up.  Home prices are stable and starting to rise slightly.  I consider the Strength card to show one’s power to get through a difficult time. That said, it often comes up in times where one needs to draw on that inner strength. So I think that are getting better, but this card reflects things are still difficult for many people.

Finally the Ace of Wands – a fresh start.  This one also has a castle off in the distance, only now the way open.  The firely nature of the Ace indicates that the market will go from stable to hot. The active nature of fire indicates that people may feel less locked in where they are and be able to sell and move if need be. Given that this is the Ace, one of beginnings, I do think it shows that things will start to heat up in the future. I don’t think things are going to pick up as quickly in the next 4 years as the article I read was suggesting.

One last note, not a single pentacle showed up in the reading. I don’t think the prices will be approaching pre-bubble highs anytime soon. Still, improved sales and any improvement in the home prices will be welcomed by me!


A Daily Draw

One of the common techniques for learning the tarot is the daily draw.  The most common version is that the tarot reader draws a card each morning and then journals about the card’s possible meaning or perhaps just reads up on it.  In this form, the practice is a learning tool.

Some readers continue to do it as a part of their personal practice.  Until earlier last year, I have confession to make: I never did this type of draw.  But when I started this blog, I started to do this as I saw this as fairly common on twitter.  I enjoyed the practice, but I enjoyed it less as a spiritual practice and more as a personal challenge.  How do I distill the meaning of a card into the (then) 140 character limit of Twitter? Then I found #amtarot and #pmtarot as well as #tarottoo, which are ways of participating with readers all around the globe by sharing your take on the same card. I really enjoyed it and enjoyed readings how others view the same card.

During this practice I tried a couple of ways of staying engaged with the practice.  I started a tag of my own, called #badtarot in which I used the daily draw as a way of giving a bad (in a funny way) reading.  Truthfully, I learned a lot about the cards this way as it let me open up my brainstorming and find meaning in the cards I hadn’t seen before.  I also added a set of meanings about hipster tarot readers (e.g. I read with a really obscure deck, you’ve probably never heard of it), which was a lot of fun and way to poke fun at myself as much as anything.

While I do a lot of straight forward predictive readings, I have really been feeling called to explore the power of tarot as a contemplative or mindfulness tool. I would like to restart the process, but one of the things that I’ve been working a lot with in my personal tarot practice are using the cards to find thing to bring to my consciouss awareness. For example, instead of drawing the Lovers and making a prediction about my day, to use it to ask a question. How is my relationship to my partner?  How have I been expressing love or affection in my life?

Here are a few more examples:

5 of Wands: Who do I express frustration or anger in my life?  Am I do it assertively? Aggressively? Or am I numbing?

8 of Pentacles: What is my relationship to my job or other tasks? Do I resist what is before me or embrace it?

Justice: How do maintain my boundaries? Do I hold people accountable in a fair way? Do I under- or overreact when people say or do hurtful things?

While one can generate and then journal these kinds of questions, just holding that question in mind during the day and just observing how these kinds of things occur in one’s daily life can be enough.  An alternative way to this kind of practice is generating an intention or affirmation for the day.

5 of Wands: I will handle conflict with grace and calm today.

8 of Pentacles: I will embrace my work with vigor and excitment today.

Justice: I will treat others fairly and evenly.

As a third way of working with a daily card draw is act on the information in way that supports the life you that want to live.

5 of Wands: I will take a step to resolve the  conflict I have with Jane Doe today.

8 of Pentacles:  I will work deadly on my goal of getting the basement cleared out.

Justice: I will talked to my husband about the balance of housework today.

So these are some ideas to invigorate your daily draw practice and to bring it to a mindful place. Enjoy!



Problem Readings….

“Tell the Querent what he has come for: if wrong, abandon the divination”– Aleister Crowley in Liber LXXVIII  A Description of the Cards of the Tarot

I ran across this quote while doing so reading on another matter entirely. I find this a very thought provoking statement. To put this quote a bit more in context, he is speaking about the start of a reading where you’d tell the querent the general nature of this overall concern (work or business; love, marriage or pleasure; money, goods or other material matters) based on the technique he’s describing.

But it’s not the mechanics of this technique that caught my imagination. The term “abandon the divination” has really struck a cord with me. I recently gave a reading and the client and I were not clicking. One of the first things I do is to try to get a feel for the clients energy and I couldn’t get a good fix on her. Not a good sign, but I went ahead attempted the reading. It did indeed feel flat to me. And worse, it felt flat to her too. I stopped the reading and referred her to a colleague. I am abandoned the reading.

Really, I should have listened to my own initial intuition that counseled against performing the divination. I ignored that voice because I have this idea that I should be able to perform a divination at any time or at any place and for any person. I’ve been examining this belief and I think it is time to let it go.

In fact, the Oracle of Delphi also used a  procedure to screen divination.  Initial divinations were done as to whether the Pythia would even hear the question. I can only imagine the oracular work performed by the Pythia was demanding and thus she took only those that had good omens for a clear outcome. Frankly, if the Oracle of Delphi couldn’t read for some people, I don’t feel so bad that I can’t sometimes too.

So Crowley and the ancient Greeks would either end a reading or reject the petition for one based on initial signs. Not all readings are favored.  Both giving and receiving, I have been in readings that have been amazing to good to fair to (unfortunately) poor. Sometimes I’ve attributed that purely to skill of the diviner or an off day. Now that I’m sat on that other end of the table and given several quality readings only to give a poor one the to a client on the same day, I realize that it is not just about skill or aptitude of the reader. This is something else at play – a personal energetic connection or bit of divine will perhaps. What I am taking away is that a failed reading is not a failure on the reader;s part.  Sometimes, a reading is just not meant to be and to walk away from it gracefully.

A little Dolly is always a good thing

I love Dolly Parton!  I think she is amazing muscian.  Here is a song she sings about an old-time diviner:

She also gives some background here:

Have a great weekend!

Sample reading

Here is a sample reading I wanted to share.  I did this particular reading for myself.  I used the Celtic Cross spread the date on this spread is March 25th, 2010. I know it customary to share a reading I did for a client, but I rarely write those down, so anything I did share would be reconstructed.  This is taken pretty much from my notes, edited a bit for clarity and spelling.  I did add my thoughts about the reading, looking back on it from now.  I added those comments to the very end of the reading.

Sample Reading:

   8 of Cups

Death        Sun crossed by Strength       9 of Pentacles

Knight of Wands

Outcome: Empress
Hopes/Fears: 8 of Swords
Enviroment: The Tower
Me: 3 of Pentacles

Highest ranked card: The Sun

Second highest ranked card: The Tower

Number of Majors: 5 total ( Sun, Tower, Death, Strength, Empress )

Number of Pipes: 5 total: (1 sword, 1 cup, 1 wand, 2 pentacles)

First thoughts: The sun is ruling this reading, assisted by the Tower:  Joy realized through the break down of structures.  Both are in positions in the spread that represent the present, so this reading is strongly root in the now. Powerful changes affecting all areas/elements of day to day life.

Death in the past – This meaning is clear, it related to the announcement of lay offs and the death of my view of security.

Sun in the present – This is odd to get in the reading.  I really don’t feel the joy in this card, but looks like there is joy underlying.

Strength crossing – It appears that I may not be feeling the ease I should because I’m struggling too hard.

9 of Pentacles in near future – a person alone, but wealthy and powerful.  Either an ally or state of being. It’s likely I will be reading this lay off out and my finances and security may not be effected.  The person by themselves indicates I may lose coworkers.

Knight of Wands as the underlying foundation – This appears to be related to Strength.  Me charging impulsively through things

8 of Cups crowning the reading – leaving relationships behind.  This deck implies foolishness and mischief. Not a flattering picture of my decisions to look for transfer opportunities.

3 of Pentacles in as self –  A reminder that I have a lot of skills and mastery within my field.

Tower in my environment  – Big changes and structures falling.  Things around me shifting.  What’s interesting is that these changes are not affecting me directly, but instead are showing up in my environment.

8 of Swords as hopes/fears – Feeling trapped and uncertain of how to get out of the mess I’m in.  Yep, this nailed it on the head.

Empress and outcome   – A state of being, luxury and comfort. Possibly a female boss.


Death, Tower and the Sun – things coming undone and the death or destruction of what is familar.  With Death in the past for  as well as in his environment, it seems like this a far reaching effect.  The Death in the past (with it’s promise of dawn) and the Sun in the present indicates that the things have improved greatly and to my benefit.

Sun, Strength and Tower – The Tower is reflection a storm of change and upset in my home.  The people around me and the life I built.  Strength as a crossing condition, I think refers to being strong and supportive for those being affected by the storm.  On another level, I think that the strength or set of strengths I am drawing on may not be the best.  It could be that I am trying to force things and that willing and forcing is distracting from the easy flow and warmth of the Sun.

9 of Pentacles and the Empress – A solo woman of means and luxury.  These cards neatly reinforce themselves and speak to ease and comfort after the storm of change blows by.  Physical comfort and financial security.

Knight of Wands, Strength and 8 of Cups – The pushing brining the powers of fire and will to bear on the issues in my life.  The desire to do, to be in control and keep things moving according to my plan.  Based on what is crowning the reading, it is based in feelings of loss or need to leave what one has and move into something else.  Perhaps fear of loss.  Or simply it just reflects my foolishness in this situation.

Summary:  Breathe.  The worst is over and rest of the stress is fading fast.  Relax and open yourself the warmth of sunlight.  Let go of your desire to control what is going on and accept.  You will be safe and secure.  Breathe.

Looking back at this from August: This reading was very accurate.  Some of my coworkers did leave my office and all my stressing and looking for other opportunities did not help.  I did practice the acceptance that this reading encouraged and it helped me through the down sizing process. The 9 of Pentacles was particularly accurate as I am working a lot more independently now than I was.

When bad cards appear in good positions

When reading for ourselves or others, we may pull a card about what our strength is in a given situation.  Or perhaps we pull a card on what quality or talent that we need to bring to bear on a conflict.

What do you do if that card is the Devil? Or any other negative card in the deck?  How do you interpret that?

While different readers have different methods, I tend to see this is a layered message.  First, I think the tarot is suggesting that we have shadow work around this strength.  It’s not that the quality itself is actually bad, but we may view it as such.  We have trouble integrating that inner power in with the rest of lives or who we think we ought to be.

I picked the Devil card because, in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, it literally shows the parts of ourselves that we demonize.  For some of us, it may be our lust for love, our soft side, our ambition or our temper.  Things we may have been told are “lower,” “unspiritual” or not right for a man or a woman to express.  So we hide and repress those parts, despite the fact that we need our wholes selves to be, well, whole.  The tarot is simply reflecting them back to us.  If the Devil cards comes up, it may mean your strength is slaying your demons.  But there may be a more subtly message about finding the power to accept your temper and channeling that anger productively so that is an emotion that mobilizes you to make postive change in your life.

This technique can be used in the minor arcana cards as well.  The 5 of cups came up in a reading as a strength for my client.  I suggested that her strength was her ability to connect and to care deeply for those around her, but that she had been hurt in the past.  She also mentioned that she had been guarding her heart lately and staying more closed off.  In the context of the reading and from speaking with her, we found a deeper meaning that the path to the best outcome was  being open to the emotional connection that was possible, while acknowledging potential for both intimacy and rejection.  Her strength ultimately is her ability to accept that potential for grief AND to view a life rich with love and friendship as worth that risk.  While another “positive” card could also share this meaning, the fact is a “negative” card helped to uncover that an open heart, for this particular client, was something hard for her.  It had led to pain the past.  Her openness was connected in her mind with grief.  She viewed that strength as a source of weakness instead and the tarot reflected this back via a “bad” or difficult card.

To pick on the other difficult 5 in the minors, the 5 of pentacles can show the the strength at play is your power to survive.  The times in your past in which you experienced loss and deprivation have given you the skill and the grit that you may need to bring to bear.  You may look back at those times as unhappy periods, but because of those trials you developed the fortitude you need to solve this issue or conflict.  It is time to integrating the power to endure, survive and just generally be scrappy in our life and apply it to the situation at hand.

Those are just a couple of examples of difficult cards.  The next time a “bad” card comes up as strength or other “good” position in spread, consider delving into a little shadow work with that card.

Why Get a Tarot Reading?

Is it to know the future?

A prediction of what may come is often the chief reason a client comes in for a a reading.  I’m not sure if that is the best reason, however. Certainly, as a reader, I make every effort to give the most informative, accurate and clear reading as possible, including predictions.  But tarot reading is NOT about me (or anyone else) telling you how to live your life or what decisions to make.  I’m not the one who has to live with your choices. The person who has to deal with the consequences, good and bad, is you.

Instead, a reading should provide you with food for thought.  When you sign up for a reading, you’re opening up to “non-rational” information or information coming from Spirit (or from within our own psyches, depending on how you believe tarot works).  It’s not just about me accessing my intuitive abilities alone.  It’s about helping you access yours.  When intuition is engaged, new insights emerge on conflicts and questions.

This insight is created by working with the symbols as living and breathing things.  The cards are not static, dead things with set meanings.  They are not bossy school teachers, telling folks what to do.  Instead, I see each card as an invitation to look at your life differently.  They are questions that, when answered by you, show you the way to the best outcome.  As reader, I believe my role is best served by sharing the questions, advice and concerns that I see in the reading.  I encourage every client to share what they see in every card as well.  I am guide in the reading, pointing out land marks. The journey itself  is about you making the connections in ways that help you live your best life.

The future is not fixed and predictions always are uncertain.  Instead of being prediction-focused in a reading, try using the tarot to help in opening options and creating self-knowledge.  The path to a good future is created by making good choices in the present. A good reading can help you do that.

Tarot in Poetry

It looks like this piece was posted in 2008, so you may have already encountered it in the past. If so, it is worth another listen. It is new to me and I really love the piece. I think it is very evocative of the dreamy nature of tarot and shows that a good reading isn’t necessarily about a prediction, but about understanding and meaning.

The poet is Karen Finneyfrock. Please be sure to check out some of her other work.


There is a conversation going on in the tarot blogosphere regarding cards that jump or pop out while you’re shuffling.  It was started by Barbara Moore on her Llewellyn blog.  Another blogger, Barbara Graver, also weighs in on the topic.  Catherine, at Tarot Elements, posted a reading in which she addresses a jumper card.

Barbara M. gives a wonderful overview of the different ways of approaching those readings and I don’t have anything to add.  Barbara G. mentions that “[j]umpers may mean that you are headed in the wrong direction or asking an incorrect question.”    Catherine seamlessly integrated the card into the rest of the reading, illustrating the way that that a jumper can be used to add depth and meaning to a reading.

Of course, many opinions and techniques can make life difficult for someone learning to read.  Which is the right way?  There isn’t one.  Try one method out and see what works for you.  As time goes on you may naturally gravitate to a different technique.  Follow your intuition to determine how your deck is speaking to you.

I would caution a reader from ignoring the jumper entirely though.  One of the features of tarot is that we initiate the divination.  It is not a dream the arises within us or a sign given to us by Spirit.  The tarot is a way of connecting with mystery that begins at our request.  One of the few exceptions is, arguably, jumpers.  Generally a jumper only happens when we’re shuffling, so technically we’ve started that conversation with mystery already.  Still, a jumper is a message that defies the structure of a spread and may defy the question entirely.  Tarot unfiltered!  It’s worth considering.

Yes or No?

3 ways of getting a yes or a no from the tarot and why you shouldn’t use any of them!

Flip it on over and reverse it:  Shuffle and lay down three cards.  If two or more are reversed, the answer is no.  If two or more are upright, the answer is yes.

Cut to the quick:  Shuffle and cut the deck.  Is is a major?  Your answer is yes.  An ace through 10?  Your answer is no.  A court card?  Your answer is maybe.

The Elements have it:  Shuffle and lay down two cards and see what the Elements have to say.  Air (Swords) and Fire (Wands) feed each other and indicate a strong, rapid yes.  Earth (Pentacles) and Water (Cups) also indicate yes, but a slower one to manifest.  Fire and Water indicate a no.  Earth and Air also mean no. Any other combination shows a maybe or mixed outcome.  You may be asking how to handle the elemental nature of the majors.  I will point you in the direction of Paul Hughes-Barlow’s page on card meanings.  Scroll down and to the heading “Major Cards” an click on the Air, Fire, Water, Earth or Planetary to find the element associated with the Majors. And stick around his site to learn much more about elemental dignities.

So why shouldn’t you use any of these?

I don’t think it is necessarily wrong to use the any of these techniques.  At the same time, I see these techniques as crutches.  It can be hard to pull out an answer from a spread, but it is important skill to acquire.

Example question: Should I start my own business?

Some example one card draws (or using an outcome card by itself) and a yes/no answer:

Ace of Pentacles – Yes, now is a good time start something new.

5 of cups – You may have some initial losses and disappointments, but won’t lose everything.  You may find your way to a solid business eventually.  Be cautious and make sure you are well-capitalized or don’t bother.

Knight of Swords – Yes, but be prepared to work very hard and deal with conflict.

5 of Wands – No, the business may fall apart due to in-fighting and conflict.

Magician – It may be better to freelance for a while or keep your office small.  But you’ve got the skills to make it happen.

The Lovers – Yes, but it will take a lot of networking and relationship building to be successful.

7 of Cups – No, you’re not ready yet.  Work on a solid business plan and do some market testing.  You may be seeing what you want to see rather that making a dispassionate evaluation of your market.

So why is that better than one of the 3 yes or no techniques?

One word: context.  It gives you (or your client) additional insight and information on the issue.  A simple yes or no can be done with a flip of a coin or using a pendulum.  The tarot can give a much richer answer and lets you know why yes or why no.  Knowing the why allows you to suggest  possible solutions for turning a no into a yes.  You can also prepare yourself or your client for possible challenges.  Ultimately it adds a lot more value and helps empower you or your client rather that just giving a simple yes or no.

Good luck with your reading!