Tarot and Timing

“But when?”

One of the most difficult aspects in reading tarot is trying to assess when things will happen. Timing becomes particularly of interest when a client wants to know when they will meet their next romantic partner, or how long it will be until they find a job. You will be hard-pressed to escape timing questions when reading tarot for others. To help make this a little easier for beginning readers, I have compiled several ways to answer those difficult “when” questions.

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Timing using Suit/Arcana

This is by far my favorite way of determining a specific time frame.

To do this, you ask your question and draw a single card, then use the suit/arcana to determine the time frame. Using this method, swords are days, wands are weeks, cups are months, and pentacles are years. The corresponding number of the card provides specifics. For example, if you asked how long it would be until you got a job offer, the four of wands would indicate a time period of four weeks.

Court cards mean that other things must transpire before a time frame can be determined, so the answer is unclear at the moment.

If a card from the major arcana is pulled, the issue that corresponds to the card must first be addressed before the desired outcome can occur. If someone looking for love pulled the Emperor card, then the advice may be that the structure of their life isn’t conducive to a new relationship. They may be too rigid and controlling with their time, making it impossible to socialize and meet new people.

In Summary –

Swords = Days

Wands = Weeks

Cups = Months

Pentacles = Years

Court Cards = Other events must transpire

Major Arcana = Must address issues first

Golden Dawn Method

This method uses the corresponding season associated with each suit to determine when an event will happen. In this method, wands are summer, cups are autumn, pentacles are winter, and spring are swords. I will often use this method to double-check that the timing suggested by the first method is correct.

Astrological Methods

Each tarot card has a specific time period associated with it. If you choose to use this method, you will need a source for determining what that time frame is. I have many tarot books that assist with this.

For example, the Eight of Swords corresponds with the first decan of Gemini (May 21st – 31st). If you pulled that card in answer to your question, then that may be when the event will occur. This is far simpler when you are using the major arcana, as many tarot decks will provide visual clues on the card to help you remember what the astrological significance is of the card. For instance, in the Thoth deck, there is clearly a ram on Emperor card, denoting Aries.

Experiment with these methods and see what works for you.

Feel free to explore these methods, and let me know what you think. Do you have a preferred method that you want to share? If so, please tell me in the comments.

I am currently accepting new clients by appointment only. To learn more about me and my services, visit www.namastetarotreadings.com.

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Learn to Read Tarot 

5 Quick, Easy Tips for Learning to Read the Tarot

After I read for a client, many of them express to me that they want to learn how to read the tarot cards for themselves. The two most frequent questions I hear are, “How do you learn to read the tarot cards?” and “How long did it take you to learn to read tarot?

I have compiled my top five tips on learning to read the tarot. Other readers may have different opinions, but this is my blog, so I’m offering my opinion. I welcome the feedback of other readers in the comments.

Tip 1 – Purchase the Rider Waite Tarot Deck (this includes the Radiant Rider Waite or Universal Rider Waite). 

I believe that this is the ideal deck for anyone who is learning to read the tarot. My reasons for this are numerous. One, almost every book you read when learning the meanings of the cards will feature images from the Rider Waite. This makes it very simple to transfer the knowledge from the book to the cards you are working with. Two, almost all tarot decks available for sale are based on the imagery found in the Rider Waite. If you can learn to read with this deck, you can learn to read with nearly any deck you want to work with. Sometimes when I read with an art deck (like the Wild Unknown), I close my eyes and see the images from the Rider Waite to help me determine the meaning of a card. I am very glad this was the first deck I learned.

Here is a comparison between the Rider Waite and some other popular decks. Can you guess the meaning of the card? Do you see how the card on the right doesn’t convey quite the same meaning? The meaning is the same, but it is harder to intuitively pick up on it.

Tip 2 – Purchase books on the meaning of the tarot cards and read, read, read. 

There are a growing number of readers who identify as intuitive readers (meaning they use their intuition alone to determine the meaning of the tarot cards), but I think it is critical to learn the traditional meanings. This will enable you to work with more decks if you choose to expand your collection. It is relatively easy to read the Rider Waite intuitively, especially the minors. But when you work with more abstract decks like the Thoth or the Wild Unknown, it is great to have an index of symbols and meanings associated with each card.

I also suggest you seek out information from the best and brightest in the field of tarot. My personal favorites include Benebell Wen, Marcus Katz, Rachel Pollack, Mary Greer, Eden Grey, and Joan Bunning. Here are a list of some of my favorite tarot books.

Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen (I just got this, but I know it’s going to be one of my favorites. It’s thicker than the Bible.)

Llewelyn’s Complete Book of Tarot by Anthony Louis

78 Degrees of Wisdom by Rachel Pollack

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Tip 3 – Commit to drawing at least one card daily.

Each and every day, draw a card in the morning. Write it down in a journal along with the date. Write down everything you know about the card. As the day progresses, be sure to pay attention to how the energy of that card plays out in your life. At the end of the day, write down any notes from what you observed. Then, look up the meaning in one of your books and jot down any meanings or symbols you may have missed. The best way to truly learn the meaning of a card is to experience it on your own. Journaling is an excellent way to record your personal experiences with each card in the deck.

Tip 4 – Study!

You aren’t going to learn tarot without commitment to studying regularly. When I was learning I didn’t go a day without reading, listening, or talking about the tarot. Podcasts, audiobooks, regular books, blogs… Consume them all.

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BE LIKE THIS GUY
Personally, I would recommend tackling the meaning of the cards in the following order.

The Major Arcana (you must understand the Fool’s Journey)

The Wands

The Cups

The Swords

The Pentacles

The Court Cards

For some reason, court cards were the most challenging for me to master. I suppose that is why I saved them for last. You may wish to tackle them first. The choice is yours.

I also recommend sticking to the upright meaning of each card at first. Reversals can be very confusing for a beginning reader.

Tip 5 – Join the tarot community.

The tarot community is alive and thriving. Where I live, I am lucky to have an entire “fortune-telling family” that supports and encourages each other. If you live in the Tallahassee area, there is a fantastic FREE tarot class held every Sunday by one of Tallahassee’s best and most experienced readers, Leah. Please contact me for details. These are the people you need in your life!

Sadly, this isn’t a possibility for many people throughout the world. Fear not, because as long as you have Facebook, you are among friends. Reach out and join some tarot groups. Here are the Facebook groups I couldn’t live without.

  • Tarot Tarot Tarot (this is definitely aimed at beginners, and provides new tarot readers a place to exchange readings and get feedback in a public forum)
  • Tarot Professionals (over 24,000 members and counting!)
  • Tarot Rebels (just don’t post pictures from Rider Waite here – this is for other decks only)
  • Tarot Nerds

If I follow these tips, how long until I’m proficient with tarot?

I would say that with six months to a year of devoted daily practice and study you can learn to read for yourself, as well as friends and family, rather fluently.

*SOAPBOX ALERT*

Under no circumstances do I feel it is ethical to charge for readings until you have completed at least 50 free readings for your friends, family, and strangers. Once you are comfortable with several spreads and can ascertain the meaning of the cards without using a guidebook, you may be ready to charge for a reading. You may decide never to charge for a reading. Whatever floats your boat!

 Also, I don’t believe there comes a point in the life of any tarot reader when you are finished learning the tarot.

The truth is, professional tarot readers never tire of discussing and learning about the tarot. As a tarot tribe we all learn from each other. The more we work with others who share our passion, the better we get at our craft. The task of learning about tarot is never done.

Have fun on your journey!

XO Bethany

Answering Yes/No Questions 

Yes/No Questions: Hard to Avoid!

Any tarot reader will tell you that despite your best efforts to use tarot for guidance and to encourage only open-ended questions from your clients, people inevitably want to ask yes/no questions.

And who can blame them, really?

The truth is that we all want to know what’s going to happen. Despite our best efforts to live in the present and not to worry about the future, WE DO. I bet even Eckert Tolle (author of The Power of Now, who I adore) will occasionally lie awake some nights wondering how his next book will be received or how his next overseas tour will go.

If tarot readers are being honest, even they have probably used the cards to attempt to answer a yes/no question from time to time. I know I have. In fact, learning how to answer yes/no questions was one of the first things I attempted to learn when I began to learn tarot. I wanted to know the future, damn it!

In my studies I researched a ton of different ways you can answer a yes/no question, but one in particular really resonated with me. This method was developed by Susyn Blair-Hunt and is featured in Barbara Moore’s book entitled Tarot Spreads: Layouts & Techniques to Empower your Readings.

In this method, you will use the following guidelines in deciphering the cards:

  • Major arcana and even-numbered minor arcana indicate YES
  • Court cards and odd-numbered minor arcana indicate NO

To perform this spread, you will shuffle the deck while considering the question at hand. You lay the deck down, then you cut it twice to the right so that you have three piles. You then leave the three piles on the table.

Starting with the pile on the left, lay down one card face-up. Then lay down a card from the middle pile, and then finally a card from the pile on the right.

Lay down another card from the pile on the left and the center pile. You should have a total of five cards.

At this point you will consider how many cards indicate “Yes” or “No.”

5/5 indicate “Yes” – An enthusiastic YES!

4/5 indicate “Yes” – Very probable YES.

3/5 indicate “Yes” – Probable, but not certain.

2/5 indicate “Yes” – Not likely, but possible.

1/5 indicate “Yes” – Very unlikely.

0/5 indicate “Yes” – An enthusiastic NO.

One of the best things about this spread is that the cards will provide additional information on the question, and will help you determine why something may or may not occur.

An example would be helpful, so I’m going to address a question about some land that my husband and I are trying to sell. I decided to do a quick spread on the question, ”Will my husband and I sell our land soon (in the next three months)?”

I decided to use one of my favorite decks, Thoth. Before you get hung up on my caption, please know that in the Thoth deck the Knights are actually Kings in the traditional sense of the tarot.

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In order from left to right: Two of Disks (YES), The Fool (YES), The Lovers (YES), King of Cups (NO), 4 of Wands (YES)

Thank you, cards! Managing this land has been a juggling act, as it required that we jump through a ton of hoops to get it listed. There was also the expense of having it surveyed and paying to have it advertised. To be honest we could have handled the process in a much more expedient manner, but we were distracted by other more fun things and didn’t get the land listed for six months. We were also a bit foolish in our initial asking price and had great faith that it would just sell, and it didn’t. We recently made the decision to lower the price despite my husband’s initial feelings that it wasn’t enough, but with the 4 of Wands I’m certain we will have cause to celebrate soon. We just lowered the price this week. (If the cards are right, it should sell by the end of January).

I hope that you will find this method helpful in your own readings when you have a yes/no question or if a friend or client persists in asking them. However, I encourage everyone not to put too much stock in yes/no readings. The tarot is not intended for this purpose and to reduce it only to these kinds of questions is to miss out on the wealth of hidden knowledge that it contains.

Is Tarot Evil?

Is tarot reading a sin?

*Excerpts of this blog from Divination: Sacred Tools for Reading the Mind of God by Paul O’Brien.

I was born and raised in an area of the United States known as the “Bible Belt.” If you are familiar with this geographical area, you know you can’t throw a rock without hitting a church (this is a southern way of saying they are everywhere). Furthermore, in my hometown you will only find Christian churches. If you are Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim, or belong to any other denomination, you must make the twenty mile drive to neighboring Tallahassee to worship.

I worked as a public school teacher for many years in this small town and as a result I continue to live life as a public figure in many ways. After working with so many children and families, it gets to the point where you can’t go to the grocery store without being recognized. As I live in a Christian community, I was deeply afraid to “come out” as a tarot reader because most people whose faith depends on biblical scripture believe that divination is a sin. That being said, it terrified me that once people knew I worked with the tarot they might whisper about my evil antics or, worse, it could even hurt my chances for future employment with the school system. After devoting over 12 years of my life to the field of education this was quite frightening.

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So why do I still do it?

I am a baptized Christian and I do not believe that tarot and other forms of divination is a sin against God. Why? The most commonly quoted verse in the Bible that is used to assert that divination is a sin against God’s will is Deuteronomy 18:10-12.

“There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the Lord, and because of these abominations the Lord your God drives them out from before you. (Deuteronomy 18:10-12)

The book of Deuteronomy contains countless laws that were themselves abominable and are no longer respected or practiced by anyone. For instance, “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release of debts.” (Deuteronomy 15:1) There would be countless people in a much better financial position if this were enforced – myself included. Women might be interested to know that they are “an abomination to the Lord” if they wear men’s clothes (Deuteronomy 22:5), so forget about pants in the winter. Also according to this law, any bride who is not a virgin on her wedding night shall be stoned to death on her father’s porch (Deuteronomy 22:21). Sounds like Sharia law to me!

Over the centuries, churches, temples and mosques have narrowly selected which parts of their scriptures to heed, and which to ignore. But in this modern age we are free to look at ancient scriptures with fresh eyes. In so doing, we need to remember that the true value of scriptures does not lie in lists of ancient laws and “shalt-nots,” but in parables of virtue and timeless principles that are relevant to the cultivation of wisdom. If religious organizations have been hostile to divination, it is because they are not interested in cultivating the types of mystical experiences that inspired them in the first place. It’s also important to remember that “communicating with divinity” is what the word “divination” means, and what divination systems (tarot, I-Ching, etc.) are created to facilitate.

God’s People used Divination in the Bible
Organized religion’s condemnation of intuitive powers is especially ironic considering that the Bible itself is considered a channeled work, transcribed by its human authors through what St. Paul later defined as “the gift of prophecy,” which was available to all who believed in orthodox doctrine. It is an article of faith in scripture’s authority that God spoke through prophets, who received His message using what we now call channeling, a freeform psychic version of divination. The Bible describes this process in several places, including the following:

I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him. (Deuteronomy 18:18)

I have also spoken by the prophets, And have multiplied visions; I have given symbols through the witness of the prophets. (Hosea 12:10)

The prophets are psychic mediums who received wisdom in the form of voices and visions from a higher power, which they then conveyed to others, sometimes to make a decision or offer advice. The God of the Old Testament gave prophets knowledge of the future to warn people and persuade them to abide by God’s will. As it is recorded, the prophets who predict the future generally do so when a warning is necessary, but it is reasonable to assume that they do it at other times too.

The prophets were watchmen, guardians of the people, who looked out for the nation because they could foresee dangers coming. Prophets were also known to interpret events that were happening in the present and provided insights into God’s reasons for creating the conditions in question. Diviners and prophets were classed as being similar roles. In Isaiah 3:2-3 diviners are ranked with judges, warriors, and prophets as pillars of the state.

The mighty man and the man of war, The judge and the prophet, And the diviner and the elder; The captain of fifty and the honorable man, The counselor and the skillful artisan, And the expert enchanter. (Isaiah 3:2-3)

The book of Numbers (22-24) contains the story of Balaam, a diviner who was known for the effectiveness of his blessings—and his curses. This story is the furthest thing from an illustration of an abomination, or even a parable illustrating the dangers of the mantic arts. Balaam was, in fact, in the good graces of God and was chosen by God to speak for Him. He was obedient, dutiful, and fair. The Bible does not condemn his actions as a diviner and God freely spoke to him, in a friendly way, and considered him as His messenger.

Divination and the reading of omens are commonly used in the Bible when it comes to deciding all sorts of issues. Most that were recorded had to do with the safety of king or state. God used omens to signal Gideon’s victory over the Midianites. If the fleece of the sheep was wet and the ground was dry it was a sign of ensuing success (Judges 6:36-40). The prophet Elisha directed King Joash to throw two arrows through the window in order to find out whether the king would be victorious or not (2 Kings 13:14-19). There is nothing in the Bible disapproving of the reading of signs sent from God.

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The story of the Moses is a classic example of a mystical experience in the Bible. Moses repeatedly ascended Mt. Sinai to communicate directly with God. Not only did he listen to God’s instructions, he also was able to ask questions in order to confirm the divine commands. Moses also used the Israelite’s Urim method of divination described below.

The High Priest’s Divination System: Urim and Thummim
The Israelites had a sacred divination system, known as Urim and Thummim, given to them by Jahweh (Esther 3: 21-28). Several verses of the Old Testament that were not edited out mention the use of this sacred tool. The exact composition of the Urim and Thummim is not certain, but most scholars believe there were two sacred stone dice that were stored in a pouch inside the high priest’s “breastplate of judgment,” which he wore whenever seeking divine guidance with regard to important issues or strategic decisions of state. However it worked (and we do not know exactly), the Bible makes it clear that God himself granted the people this divination system, and that He controlled the answers it produced.

He shall stand before Eleazer the priest, who shall inquire before the Lord for him by the judgment of the Urim. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, he and all the children of Israel with him—all the congregation. (Numbers 27:21)

The great prophet Moses used the Urim and Thummim. Joshua was named as his successor using this divination system (Numbers 27:21). After Joshua died, the Israelites used it to determine who would continue to lead them into victory over the Canaanites. (Judges 1:1) When David was considering whether or not to pursue the marauding Amalekites, the divination tool confirmed for him that it was advisable to do so (1 Samuel 30: 7-8). There are many more examples of the divinatory use of the Urim and Thummim, which can be easily looked up in any Bible concordance. In most cases, God explicitly tells them to use it to divine His will.

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Since there are so many instances in the Bible in which God provides answers to his followers through divination, we ask ourselves how it can be that divination has come to be portrayed as evil by fundamentalist religions and sects. In the first century of the common era, as he was defining orthodox Christian beliefs, St. Paul labeled the ability to decipher the mind of God as “the Gift of Prophecy”—one of the Holy Spirit’s gifts to true believers. It was a form of channeling. Nowadays, thanks to universal access to authentic divination tools, everyone—Christian and non-Christian alike—who approaches the process with sincerity can go direct, without being expected to channel (or speak in tongues, for that matter). When it comes to communicating with the divine, we are truly the chosen people.

In ancient times, only the high priest had the power of direct access. Luckily, all spiritually inclined people alive today have access to better divination systems. We are now able to go direct on our own, bypassing religious and political hierarchies altogether.

Based on a fair and balanced look at the biblical record, it is safe to conclude that God intended us to use divination systems to better interpret the divine plan.

*Excerpts of this blog from Divination: Sacred Tools for Reading the Mind of God by Paul O’Brien.