I will have the honor of being a part of a great line up of Tarot speaks such as fellow Tarotsophist winner Carrie Paris, authors Barbara Moore, Anthony Louis, Corrine Kenner, Kim Huggens and more!!
This will be my first time speaking at a Tarot conference and am so excited. I will not give away what I will be speaking about just yet. Maybe another post will divulge that.
I invite you to come joins us and make TarotCon 2014 a blast! To learn more click here
Ticket includes …
SATURDAY EVENING: BUFFET BBQ MEAL TAROT-TEXAN STYLE (vegetarian option included)
+ THE GOBLIN MARKET (Both days) + THE LIVING TAROT ORACLE (TM) + THE WIZARD’S WELL (Pitch your project to win funding!)
+ LATE-EVENING BAR OPENING & LUNCHES (to be priced separately – watch this space)
+ SPECIAL “LIVING TAROT ORACLE” EVENT: Receive a reading from the living cards themselves!
+ SPECIAL GIFTS, SURPRISES, AFTER-DINNER SPEAKER & MORE
April is now one of my favorite months. Not only is spring reawakening, but Reader’s Studio (RS) is also held in April. Reader Studio, hosted by Wald and Ruth Ann Amberstone of the Tarot School in NYC. It is a yearly Tarot conference where readers from across the country and across the world come together for a weekend of pure Tarot goodness. While many readers are writing blogs on what happened at RS, I wanted to focus more on my experience (as well as what happened). This was my first time officially attending RS, so I “lost my virginity” and wanted to write down how RS has affected me. Day one I meet with James Wells my foundation-reading partner. We ask a question to our partner, they do a reading and we record the reading, positions, and cards. We will later revisit on Sunday.
There was the first-timer welcome, where all the first timers to RS are welcomed with a little ritual ceremony. I thought I was going to be sacrificed to the Dark Goddess but my life was spared. It was great to see so many first-timers! I was not alone, and there were so many young faces! A good sign that Tarot is alive and well with the younger generations.
The master class leader was none other than Mary K. Greer , who spoke about a subject which as she said would be controversial. I thought it was a subject that every reader needed to hear. The topic was about the fallibility of our intuition and how things like a prejudice or jumping to a conclusion can impact our work. It forces all of us to really sit back and reflect for a moment on our unconscious processes during a reading. The reading exercises we did were a difficult one, which challenged me. I walked away learning I had a weak spot I need to develop and work on.
Later that night I took Rachelle Pollack’s study group.There were many good study groups that night I wanted to take, but I could take one. It was a joy to sit and listen to Rachelle’s stories and learn from here. The class was on Gods, Goddess and the Tarot. The class was engaging and powerful. A reader in the class shared a powerful experience and did a reading with Rachelle on it. Later we did readings with a partner. The reading I did for her was spot on and spooky accurate, a good way to end the night. Day two I woke up early to be at the morning roundtable talk lead by Heatherleigh Navarre, just love this woman. Her energy is amazing. The topic was about the two sides of Tarot, intuition vs scholarly/book ways of reading the cards. I loved this topic, again like Mary’s it was needed. We need to talk about these issues because it keeps each other side in check. Sometimes it one side may become a little snobby in that they things their way is “better”. There are two ways to read, some read without picking up a book and other love to read books on tarot, learning systems and associations to use in the readings. I always saw myself as being more in the book camp than intuitive. I know intuition plays a role, but I do not rely purely on the intuition, though I know it is there in the background. The reason why I like going about things from a book/system perspective is that there is something to “backup” what I am saying when I give a reading. What I am saying seems less like it is coming out of no place or out of my ass to be blunt. I like having a system that is there that anyone if they know the system would also look at my reading and understand my conclusions and impressions.
We had two mater class leaders today. These were two excellent teachers that I am so upset I never knew about before! My god where I F**K have I been??? Anyhow, first up was Caitlín Matthews. I was very excited about her class because it was on the “sight of line”, which way cards are facing and the direction of the reading. A technique I already used, but after Caitlín’s class I have a new way of using this method and a new reason to use reversals again!
Caitlín taught us the oldest spread she knew about from the 18th centaury. Controversy seems to be the theme this weekend, the spread as designed to inquire about another person. The perfect spread for third parties, a touchy subject for readers. We broke into groups and used the spread on a fictional or real person. I was doing the reading and did not know who the person the group picked. I did the reading and it went well. At the end they told me I was reading for Elvis Presley.
The fun did not stop, next up was Sheilaa Hite a woman with a very large resume! Her class was very interesting and I love the way she communicates and presents herself on stage. She taught us a spread to use to look at different sides of a relationship. Some of the cards I got for my readings made my go “HMMMM” and Sheilaa came and gave me her views and I was blown away and got a glimpse at her perspective. I bought her book on tarot spreads.
Saturday night was the big night of the banquet. I sat with my gurl Theresa Reed the Tarot Lady who I was making cry with tears of laughter. The topic of the evening our table for some odd reason was a certain male appendage. I didn’t laugh that hard in a long time. A great night was had by all. I also treated the room with a quick belly dance
Day Three’s morning roundtable was held by Doug Reuschel who opened the floor to all sorts of questions that the room had and people had the chance to answer them.
We later broke into incubators, small groups where we talked about a topic. The incubator of choice for me was “the dark side of positivity” lead by Barbara Moore. We had an excellent conversation on what happens when we focus only on the positive, how to handle negative readings and difficult situations. I learned the most from Barbara and Heatherleigh who gave me some tips I will use.
Later I found my foundation-reading partner James to revisit our foundation readings to apply what we learned over the weekend to our readings. I applied Caitlín’s techniques and saw how much the readings expanded and told a bigger story. In the end and after everything what can I say about my experience? Reader Studio was amazing and an experience every reader should be a part of. If you are a reader and never been to RS and have the means to attend do it! RS has recharged my batteries and motivated me to be better, to learn more and to just do more with Tarot. It has shown me what I need to work on, new techniques, and new perspectives. People came up to me and told me they enjoyed my videos/blogs and have learned much from me. It was a great to know that I am impacting others, my efforts are being recognized. It is a good feeling to know you have helped another person. Above all I had one hell of a good time with my tarot peeps. Which is one of the best things, the human connection. Our work we do can be very isolating if you do not anyone who reads the cards in your town. Online interaction is fun, but nothing like meeting in person, sitting together, working together, eating together and of course laughing our Asses off together. You make memories and make friends for life!
And all the Tarot Swag you can get!
See you at Reader Studio 2015!
Questions, they are the reason we approach the tarot or any divinatory tool. We may be facing a difficult situation in our lives, a tough relationship, and an important decision that needs careful consideration or some small curiosity.
Tarot is a tool, which answers questions. The way a question is asked is very important. A well-worded question can provide a more specific answer. Vague questions can lead to vague answers.
Author Joan Bunning of Learning The Tarot provides wonderful tips for this subject.
Joan says that you should phrase the question to show that “you accept responsibility for your situation”. Joan provides the following example
- Should I put my father in a nursing home, or take care of him in my house?
- What do I need to know to decide on the best living arrangements for my father?
In the first question, the writer gives up her responsibility for making a decision. She wants the cards to tell her what to do. On the second question, she is simply asking the cards to give her more information. She knows the decision lies with her.
It is tempting to ask questions like the first one, but Joan stresses that we should “avoid questions that deflect responsibility”. Such would be questions that are answered with a “Yes” or “No” or Questions that begin with “Should” or questions asking only about time.
So what kind of questions should we ask the tarot? Joan says the question should be open ended, which are questions that allow for conversation and explanation. These questions start with “How” or “What”. Example: “How can I improve my relationship with…” or “What do I need to know about….” These questions allow tarot to provide a detailed answered which is how tarot is designed to answer. Tarot likes to talk.
Joan also states that the question should focus on yourself, not on others. It is very tempting to ask, “What is my ex thinking” or “What does my boss think of me”. We want to know the unknown and get into people’s heads. It is natural to ask these questions, if only we knew what they thought then it fix our problems, we would know what we should do based on what the other wants. However tarot is not a mind reader. Yes, I have used tarot to find reasons for behaviors in others, but it is only speculative.
Instead of asking questions totally directed about someone else, stay focused on yourself and phrase the question where it gives you an action or advice. Instead of “What does my boss think of me” you could ask “How can I best present myself in front of my boss”.
The finale two tips from Joan are to “stay neutral” and “be positive”.
Staying neutral removes your interest in the outcome. Joan states “it is easy to begin a reading convinced that your position is the right one, but if you truly want to receive guidance, you need to be open to other points of view”.
Being positive gives the question confidence and removes defeating thinking. For example, Joan provides us with a question, which is negative then is rephrased into a positive statement.
- Why can’t I overcome my fear of public speaking?
- How can I improve my ability to speak to groups effectively?
Personally, I think you can ask the first question, it is valid because it is a “why” and tarot can provide an indication of the problem. However the main purpose of the second, rephrased question is to provide a positive self-foucsed question.
What happens if there is no question? Can’t think of a question to ask the tarot? Marcus Katz and Tali Goodwin from “Tarot, Face to Face: Using the cards in your everyday life” provide guidance on this. They go on to ask that if you woke up in the middle of the night, what issues may be on your mind? Or you were to stare out a window and daydream, where would your mind wander off? The goal is to engage the imagination to allow deeper questions to emerge.
After you phrase the question properly, it is time to activate the question. Activating the question is more of a ritualistic idea, which I have come to through my own practice, and study of magick. It is not enough to think of the question in your head because the question remains internal and private to yourself. To activate the question it needs to be released into the universe by way of the four elements.
You think the question (Air), speak the question (Fire) and write the question on paper (water and earth). If you use a pen the ink represents water and the paper is earth. This is my practice, the way I see it by this process you are conceptualizing the question and manifesting the question into reality (birthing the question to life). This makes the question a thing, and releasing the question to the universe allows it to be answered by whatever it is you connect with (God, Goddess, Spirit, Higher Self).
Finally, a tip I learned from studying Lenormand (another system of card reading), Rana Geroege in “The Essential Lendormand” reminds us that we should stay focused on the answering the question asked, do not go off into other tangents of unrelated subjects. Rana also says that if the cards do not make sense, then your question or focus may not have been clear. So make sure to follow all the steps listed above.
Renewal, Healing, Rejuvination, Rebirth, Change, Transformation, Calling, Deliberation, Freedom, Revelation.
- The theme of the image of the Judgment card comes from medieval and Renaissance art of the Last Judgement.
- Tombs and resurrected people represent new life, restoration, rebirth and renewal.
- Angel Gabrial blowing horn calls us to a higher calling or a direction/purpose.
Meaning & Message
- A profound change may be happening or urging you to make a change in your life. This change is transformative, you change as a person, develop and evolve.
- You may be called to do something greater in life or to do something significant. There is an urge to change the normal course of things.
- You feel rejuvenated and energized. Reborn from a period of “death” or lifelines.
- Clinging to the old ways, resentment and anger about change.
- Doing something you do not desire.
- Resistance, avoidance of what is important.
Have you ever asked yourself, “What should I ask my cards today?” The daily reading is a common practice for tarot readers. However the practice can become a bit dull over time without a little spice. Sasha Graham knows all about spice and she brings in a lot of flavor into the daily reading tradition.
365 Tarot Spreads is an ambitious work. Sasha’s goal here is to provide the reader a daily spread for them to explore. I had high hopes for this book and was excited to see how Sasha would pull this off. Sasha has done a excellent job and I am pleased as pie.
Each day has its own spread and each spread is somehow linked to something related to that specific day. For example January 3rd, this is the feast day of Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris. The spread presented on this day is a protection spread used to ponder from whom, how and why you might need some extra protection. The spread goes like this,
1) Am I open to the influences of others?
2) What energy surrounds me?
3) Is there energy I must be aware of?
4) Who aids me?
5) What protection can I count on?
6) How can I ground myself?
7) What should I do to protect myself?
Sasha also includes a card on the side, which relates to the spread, in this case the Queen of Wands. Sasha comments that the Queen of Wands maintains the strongest energetic field in the deck. She also says that if you read for others grounding is important as to not unintentionally absorb the querent’s energies.
There is also a blurb above the card, often relating to some historical fact or background or comments on the spread of the day and inspiration of the spread. I like this section because as a history junkie and trivial knowledge king these little cookies of wisdom are great to use at parties!
The spreads you will find inside this book are various, unique and will provide you continuous insights. This is a one of a kind tarot spread book!
I first heard about the Lenormand in 2012 at Readers Studio in New York. I saw little groups of people (Rana was among them) gathered at tables gazing over cards I never seen before. These were not Tarot cards nor where they oracle cards. These were Lenormand cards. What the heck is this? I thought to myself. Someone took the time to explain the cards to me and do a sample reading. I was skeptical and wary of trying to learn another divinatory system, “Ain’t nobody got time for that” as I thought to myself.
The spread of Lenormand within the Tarot community was apparent. Groups were forming and growing online. New books and decks began to be published. The famed artist Ciro Marchetti (Gilded Tarot, Legacy of the Divine) created his own “Gilded Reverie Lenormand” which is the deck that got me to look into Lenormand. However, it is Rana George I can give credit for teaching me the Lenormand and now I see its real value.
The Essential Lenormand is the first book you should purchase to begin your Lenormand journey. It may even be the only book you will ever need. Rana is the perfect teacher for the subject, a dependable expert in the subject. Rana has been reading Lenormand practically her whole life. If you are going to learn something from someone it better be from someone who has being doing it for many years. Rana is this person. Her knowledge is vast and her ability to convey the Lenormand is effortless. Learning the Lenormand like any divination system is not easy, you need to practice but Rana’s gives you the ability to start reading Lenormand right away.
I have two other books on Lenormand but Rana’s has that “it” factor about it that makes it an enjoyable book to read and learn the Lenormand. Rana teaches that with the Lenormand when interpreting the cards, it is essential to keep your question in mind and answer only the question. Something I have to learn to do! Do not deviate into different subjects. The question is so important; it must be worded specifically to get a specific answer. Form questions that allow for concrete and descriptive answers.
Rana breaks down each card into different contexts for easy application of the meanings in a reading. Here is the breakdown,
Woman or Man
Health, Body and Spirit
Time and Timing
Advice or Action
Objects and Areas
Rana also shares with you’re her personal knowledge which she has learned over the years. She uses nuances, themes or tones that certain cards appear to group into. Rana lists four Action, Portrait, Mood and Time. I would say these are kind of like elements in Tarot, Water, Fire, Earth and Air. When you see a certain nuance appear in a reading you can see what sees to be the main focus of tone. Much like elements influences the theme of Tarot reading.
Within each chapter of a card you will see meanings for all the contexts, which I listed above. Rana will also share with you a personal story about that card. She explains the card as it might mean within the Grand Tableau (the celtic cross of the Lenormand world, a spread which uses all 36 cards). Rana also gives you examples of card combinations, which is very helpful.
Rana includes nine Lenormand spreads. Rana spreads a whole section on how to use the Grand Tableau. This is a spread which while large can be an amazing experience.
I have to say that I think I finally found a system to explore my fortunetelling side. Being a Tarot reader I try not to use tart for fortunetelling. I think Tarot is not a good tool for fortunetelling in the traditional sense. It is more psychology dealing with the consciousness, subconscious, archetypes and spiritual lessons. Lenormand on the other hand is a fortunetelling system through and through. All the questions regarding the future that I would not use Tarot for is perfect for Lenormand.
Tarot and Lenormand pair up very nicely as well. You can use both systems together in a reading; Rana explains how to do this as well. You will find this under the Appendix section.
After reading The Essential Lenormand and putting the cards into action I quickly got direct and specific answers to my questions and validations of some concerns. Rana has made a convert of me. This Tarot guy is now riding the Lenormand train.
Last month I created a new YouTube Channel dedicated to the pagan pursuit. I have always wanted to talk about spirituality/religion and philosophy on my Tarot Channel however, never felt it would mesh well with the Tarot Theme. I figured my viewers would enjoy it, but not want it to take over the channel which is dedicated to tarot.
So as a result, I created a channel where I can converse with other pagans on YouTube and share my ideas. The channel is called “The Unorthodox Pagan: a Different Pagan Perspective”. To learn more, here are some videos which I created which will help you get acclimated.
My Pagan Persspective
It is that time of the year again, Super Bowl Sunday! I am not a football fan, but I watch for the sake of watching it as a tradition. I mainly watch it for the commercials and the half time show. I also make yearly predictions on who the victor will be. So far I have an excellent track record.
This year the Seattle Seahawaks will vs the Denver Broncos. Who will win? The tarot knows.
The card on the left (4 of Cups) represents the Seahawks while the card on the right (8 of Pentacles) represents the Broncos.
My prediction is that Denver Broncos will win.
The four of Cups is not a promising card as it shows dissatisfaction and apathy. Dissatisfaction in that they lose, of course, but I feel like they will be close to a win but miss it completely.
Eight of Pentacles shows methodology, attention, hard work and consistency. Broncos will win.
To Walk a Pagan Path” by Alaric Albertsson is a fantastic book for the pagan to learn how to be practicing their faith. One of the disappointments of most pagan books is that most books focus on the theory and lack real guidance on practice. How does someone live a pagan life?
This is a question I have often asked myself and I can say that To Walk a Pagan Path is an excellent resource for incorporating paganism in your daily life. I greatly appreciate the author’s ability to incorporate various traditions such as Nordic, Greek, Roman or Egyptian for example. Being Greek I find it hard to connect to other pagan books because the focus seems to be on Northern European traditions.
The Sacral Calendar was an impressive chapter. The Wheel of The Year was taught. The Wheel of the Year has not sat well with me because it is a concept foreign to my Greek ancestors and I was happy that Alaric brought that up this book. Alaric explained the Greek sacral calendar having little in common with the modern wheel of the year. Paganism is not cut and dry, there is variety and Alaric always tries to be inclusive of other traditions.
I highly recommend this book to any pagan who is looking to connect with their pagan faith in a deeper way. This book will help you get out of “theory only” and into practicing.