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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Prep Work 

Preparing for a Tarot Reading

I am an intuitive reader who prides herself on honest and open readings, and I consider it an honor and privilege to connect with spirit and help people. I am committed to an ethical spiritual practice and ensuring that my clients are satisfied with their readings.

Tarot readings are a tool for providing you with divine guidance in life. I take my responsibility as a tarot reader very seriously. If I cannot establish a connection with you and spirit, I will end the reading and refund your money. Most of the time, however, spirit shows up and information will begin to flow.

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My office, encapsulated by the Florida sun.
A reading can greatly benefit people who are open and empowered to take control of their lives. I believe the future is predictable, but not predetermined. We have the power to change the future and that power lies in our day-to-day actions. In a tarot reading, we will analyze where you are. We can then look at your future and give you an idea of what you can expect if you stay on your current path. If you do not like what the cards predict, we can discuss strategies to change your outcome.

It’s easy to get a reading from me – even if you are across an ocean. Spirit doesn’t require that we be in the same place at the same time. I am able to connect energetically with only your name, though I find a photo and birthday to be very helpful in establishing a connection.

If you are on the fence, please check out testimonials from my clients on my Facebook or Etsy page. If you have questions you can always contact me here (it may take up to 24 hours for me to respond).

Visit my Book a Reading page and locate the kind of reading you want. Payment will be sent through PayPal. I will contact you within 24-48 hours to confirm that I have received your payment and verify the details of the reading you wish to receive.

Once you have ordered a reading please send me your name and date of birth. I also need you to send me your question and the method through which you wish to receive your reading. You may send any additional information or other necessary details about your situation if you wish. I find a photo can be helpful in connecting with a long-distance client, and the birthday allows me to delve more fully into astrology which complements the tarot.

Here are tips to prepare for a phone, Skype, or Facebook Messenger reading:

  • I will call/contact you at our scheduled time. If you do not answer or respond, your payment will be forteited.
  • Make sure you are in a quiet space and will not be interrupted.
  • Prepare your questions in advance.
  • Refrain from asking the same question again and again – this will never produce a good reading.
  • The future is not predetermined! If you do not like something that comes up in a reading, know that you always have free will and can alter your life any way that you wish.
  • Timing is the hardest thing to predict. A tarot reading can only give a general outlook on timing.

 Here are tips for an email reading:

  • Make your question as specific as possible.
  • If you have requested a general reading, you may respond with three follow up questions. Once completed, your reading is done. If you want to continue to go deep on a question, it may be best for you to seek a phone reading instead.
  • You may ask between 1 – 3 follow up questions within several days of the reading and I will gladly respond.
  • Do not try to wrap more than one question into one. It may confuse the energy of the reading.  One thing at a time is always best and leads to a more focused answer.
  • Timing is the hardest thing to predict. A tarot reading can only give a general outlook on timing.

Final Notes:

  • Please refer to my ethics and business policies here. I will not perform readings on medical, health, pregnancy, or any other issues for which I am not qualified.
  • I do not “tarot stalk,” meaning I will not read to pry into someone else’s life except for how it may intersect with your own.
  • Once I receive payment and your information, all readings are usually completed within 24-48 hours. If you book a reading over the weekend or during holidays it may take longer but I will be in communication immediately as to timeline.
  • I reserve the right to refuse to read for any client and will refund any money paid.
  • I will not read for anyone under 18.

 

 

 

A Peek into the Psychic Capital of the World

The Importance of Ethics in the Psychic Realm: A Story from Cassadaga

Earlier this year I visited the mecca of the psychic world: Cassadaga, Florida. This quaint, sleepy town is the hub of the modern spiritualist movement. It has been termed, “the psychic capital of the world,” with more psychics and mediums per capita than anywhere else across the globe.

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A myriad of psychics located directly across the street from the Cassadaga Hotel.
How did this come to be? Were individuals with psychic abilities drawn to this region of Florida like a moth to a flame? I’m afraid it isn’t that interesting, but still notable.

In the early 20th century a group of people within the budding spiritualist movement left their home in upstate New York following their leader, George Colby. As a young man, Colby was told during a séance that he would someday be instrumental in founding a spiritualist community in the south. In 1875, that prophecy was fulfilled when he was led through the wilderness of Florida to an area surrounded with hills by a spirit guide named “Seneca.” There he established the Cassadaga Spiritualist camp, fondly named after the city of Cassadaga, New York, that he and the others had left behind.

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A photo beside Spirit Pond (which is said to have cured Colby of tuberculosis)
The first night there my husband and I enjoyed dinner at the historic (and haunted) Cassadaga Hotel, which hosts séances twice a month with one of their seasoned mediums. We did not attend the séance, though I did have a session with esteemed medium Rev. Judy Cooper while I was visiting. One night, 15-minute tarot “mini-readings” were being offered during dinner, and I encouraged my husband to get one.

It was disappointing to say the least. The reader was insistent that my husband, if not currently in the medical field, would work in the medical field soon. When he explained that he actually manages a very successful pest control office, she was insistent that he would go back to school and become a doctor.

Now I don’t claim to know the future, but this really missed the mark for us. The odds that my husband will quit his job, go to college for the next 8 years, and become a doctor are about as likely as winning the lottery. Nonetheless, he shelled out $20 for the reading and returned to dinner with me disappointed with the experience.

Later that night during our coming and going from the restaurant, we overheard the conversation of several readers in the lobby, one of which was my husband’s. They were discussing business as readers and we distinctly heard his reader say, “You have to fake it before you make it, right?!

When it comes to psychics and mediums, there are quite a few phonies out there who spoil it for the rest of us. These individuals bring shame upon us lightworkers who honor spirit and only operate from the highest good.

I have spent most of my life as a public servant and a teacher, and I am committed to working with the tarot with only the highest ethical standards. I will tell you what I see in the cards, honestly and clearly. If we do not connect during a reading and I cannot be certain of the message, I will not take your money.

Please take a moment to review my ethical principles and business policies that govern my work at Namaste Tarot Readings and let me your thoughts below.

Read here: http://www.namastetarotreadings.com/ethics-and-business-policies.html

Card #13

Make Friends with Death

 

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How many times has a tarot card reader had to explain the Death card to a frightened querent?

Don’t worry! The Death card doesn’t mean death – it means change and transformation.” No doubt more than one of us has received a skeptical look as we try to assuage the fears of our client upon seeing this ominous card.

This is a much easier explanation if your deck featured a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis on the Death card, as I imagine some deck out there does (surely there is a butterfly-themed tarot deck out there). But in most decks, a skeletal being almost always represents Death. Also present is a sickle, reminiscent of the grim reaper. Traditional Rider Waite decks often portray this figure on horseback with dead and dying people left in its wake.

The Thoth deck is wrought with imagery and symbolism. In Crowley’s Death card, he portrays the figure busy at work with the sickle, slashing it back and forth, creating bubbles in its wake. A variety of figures in various stages of life are shown in the watery images. It also features a snake, a symbol of resurrection and reincarnation, and a scorpion that reminds us that this card is associated with the astrological sign Scorpio.

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The Death card is the sign that the butterfly needs to emerge from its chrysalis, and that it’s time for the snake to shed its skin. Like these creatures, we humans also metaphorically need to shed from time to time. On our path we must grow and change into the people we are meant to be.

We are fluid beings and every experience leaves us changed. And yet we all know of someone, perhaps ourselves even, who sometimes allows themselves to get stuck for too long. While some of us love change, others detest it.

I love change, and I applaud the Death card (hence the title). Recently the Death card worked its way through my life as I found the strength to work my way out of my own comfortable chrysalis. I spent much time hiding in the “broom closet” as most of my family members are devout Jehovah’s Witnesses. I was raised to believe that anything to do with the occult or spiritualism was simply communication with the Devil. I was terrified of what my family would think of me when they found out that not only was I not a practicing Jehovah’s Witness, but I was a practicing tarot reader and part-time Pagan!

Sadly, my last living grandmother passed away very suddenly this May. I never wanted to disappoint her, because she was so loving, gentle, and innocent. She was deeply afraid of the occult and I didn’t want to break her heart with my fascination with the topic. With her passing, I found the courage to be more transparent about who I am as a person. A new time had begun in my life and it, ironically, started with death.

The coming out was just the first part of my transformation, as this year has given me several personal challenges that are causing me to reconsider who I am as a person and how I want to live my life. At 36, I’m beginning to realize the importance of living for ourselves, and not to simply conform to what society expects of us.

Thank you, Death, for helping me to grow and change into the person I was born to become. I look forward to the next visit, dear friend.

Crashing and Burning 

Control is an Illusion: An Experience with the Tower

While you make decisions that help shape your life, you are not in control. Did you understand me clearly? You are NOT in control.

For some of us this can be hard to accept. And for some, it is just a fact of life. It really is a matter of our life experiences.

Childhood and Control

How we understand our power over the circumstances in our life stems from our childhood. Some people are raised in very unstable families where things are always changing. Perhaps they moved frequently, experienced the divorce of their parents, or they were abused. These individuals grow up in environments that remind them daily that they do not have control of their lives. Now, many people who grow up this way end up just fine. Others develop very controlling behaviors in their own lives to compensate for the lack of control they felt growing up. Others never gain control of their lives and move into adulthood with a sense of victimhood and powerlessness that never leaves them. It’s luck of the draw.

On the other end of the spectrum, some people grow up feeling very empowered and in control. These people have a solid family, make good grades, get the right degree, and land the right job. Perhaps they meet their soul mate and settle down, begin their family… They take all the right actions and believe that they are soundly in control of their life.

There enters the Tower.

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Sometimes, life has other plans for us. It comes in many forms, all equally terrible and upsetting, such as a cancer diagnosis, the loss of a job, a car accident, a school shooting, etc. You can never be prepared for the twists, turns, and tragedies of life that come up seemingly out of the blue. They will undoubtedly leave us in tears, shaken, frightened, and completely uneasy about life.

These events remind us that we are never 100% in control of our lives. There is always the element of fate and the wisps of karma intertwining their way through our daily lives. We must be prepared for them when they strike. This may mean putting aside money, drafting a will, being insured, and never leaving your loved one with a harsh word. You never know when it will be the last time you speak to someone.

The Tower reminds us to love harder, speak kindly, treasure the present, and be grateful for what we have. We need to thank the universe daily for what we have and the people we treasure because everything is fleeting.

And while the shock of the Tower leaves us shaken, we look forward to the next card in the major arcana, the Star, which promises us a new beginning and a renewed hope about life. We can always look forward to that moment when the world will seem hopeful again. And it will.

Blessed Samhain.

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.

Oh ye of little faith!

Seriously… Tarot can’t really tell me anything about my life – can it?

Many people want to get a tarot reading, but don’t because they are afraid they will be disappointed.

It’s normal for people to have doubts about whether a tarot reading can really reveal things about their life if they have never received a reading before. Skepticism is alive and well in today’s society. This is especially true for matters of faith and other things beyond the lens of science.

I began my journey with tarot many years ago when I received my first tarot card reading at seventeen years of age. I was at a crossroads in my young adult life. I had just found out I was about four weeks pregnant. Confused and frightened, I turned to my friend’s mother that I adored who had keen intuitive abilities and many years of experience with reading tarot cards. I watched, fascinated, as she unfolded a beautiful piece of crimson silk and took from it her trusted tarot deck. On the kitchen countertop she laid the cards out in a cross and studied the cards with her piercing blue eyes. A moment passed and she began to speak. I sat, stunned, as everything she said aligned perfectly to my current situation.

What card was in the current situation? You guess it… The Empress.

Tears came to my eyes as she spoke about the recent challenges I had experienced. I had big choices to make in the coming weeks about what I was going to do about this pregnancy.  She said my life was about to change in a very big way – and for the better. It looked as though I may even get married. This I would never have guessed, because at this point my child’s father was most certainly not ready to be a father and did not want me to have the baby. She assured me that if I continued on my current path, and trusted in my baby’s father, I would be glad I did. Things were looking up for my future. I left her house that days feeling relieved and my burden was lightened knowing that maybe, just maybe, everything was going to be okay.

Two months later I married my high school sweetheart, and a few months later I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy little girl. This year my husband and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary, and that baby is turning 18 in a few weeks. After that first reading, I was given my first Rider Waite tarot deck on my 18th birthday. I have been a student of the tarot ever since.

That first reading forever changed the way I viewed the tarot cards, but I was most certainly a skeptic before then. There is no shame in skepticism. Why shouldn’t we question everything in life and decide for ourselves?

As a child we blindly follow the beliefs of our parents, and later that of our peers. The major arcana series in the tarot captures the experience of growing from a child into an adolescent. The Lovers best represents this turning point in our lives. In adolescence we begin to question, rebel, and make choices for ourselves. The choices we make will then power us forward on our path (via the Chariot).

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The Lovers – the card of adolescence.
As we mature we do not need to believe things simply because we are told. Independent thinking and making our own choices about what is right is what makes this time period so interesting to be alive. Aleister Crowley (magician, founder of Thelema, and father of the Thoth tarot) believed that the 21st century marked humanity’s entry to the Aeon of Horus, a new era in which humanity would take increasing control of their destiny. This exciting time comes on the heels of the Aeon of Osiris, in which religions like Christianity, Islam, and Buddhism dominate the world.

As a species (mankind), we are growing up! We live in an age where humanity as a whole is maturing out of a childlike state to that of a rebellious teenager – questioning everything and deciding for ourselves. The spirit of Horus is the spirit of rebellion as society’s artists, poets, musicians, writers, and activists actively push for social reform and justice. It shakes traditional paradigms and brings radical change to individuals and countries, as well as dramatic changes to religious ideals and beliefs.

This new age is evident in church attendance rates that have been in steady decline for the past 20 years, with people shifting from weekly to monthly or just holiday attendance. Sociologists have attributed this trend to a number of reasons, from boredom during services and lack of motivation, to generational incompatibility of belief systems and social changes attributed to modern life.

Skepticism isn’t a new concept. One of the most famous skeptics in history dates back to Bible times – the Apostle Thomas. Thomas refused to believe that the resurrected Jesus had appeared to the ten other apostles until he could see and feel the wounds received by Jesus on the cross for himself. We use the term “doubting Thomas” to refer to a skeptic who refuses to believe without direct personal experience.

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” (John 20:24-29)

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Calling all tarot skeptics!

 Thomas simply could not believe until he saw it for himself. I use the example of Thomas to introduce what I jokingly and lovingly refer to as a “Doubting Thomas Reading.” Now, I’m not claiming in any way to be Jesus or even be like him (though I aspire to – Jesus was pretty awesome and a total social justice pioneer in his day). I simply want to give any doubting skeptics the opportunity to experience a tarot reading for themselves and draw their own conclusions.

The “Doubting Thomas Reading” is a concise, 20 minute reading on a question of your choosing for only $20. Within 24 hours of the conclusion of the reading, if you are unhappy with the reading and feel that it did not address your question or concern, I will refund your money, no questions asked. All I ask is that you have a well-formulated question or issue on which you would like insight and be open to the process. If you clam up and do not provide input along the way, chances are you won’t get the full benefit of the reading. A reading is a conversation between reader and querent who work together to get the most concise interpretation out of the cards as they present themselves.

Readings can be conducted in person, on the phone (U.S. only), through email, Facebook Messenger (live), or Skype. With an email reading, you may reply back with three additional clarifying questions on the reading which I will then address. Readings will be completed within 48 hours of sending payment.

If you would like to receive a “Doubting Thomas Reading” please email me at namastetarotreadings@yahoo.com

Sometimes you must experience things to believe them. I invite you to try it! I am confident that you will not be disappointed.

(Only one Doubting Thomas Reading per client.)

How do tarot readings work?

How do the cards arrange themselves into a meaningful pattern? Why should some pieces of cardboard with pretty pictures on them be able to mysteriously arrange themselves into an order which tells us about our life and experiences in a detail that often exceeds what we are consciously able to observe?

No one knows for sure. I can’t say exactly how the cards work, but I can assure you that they do. Several theories abound as to why this is. One is that when we shuffle a deck of tarot cards (or your reader shuffles them for you while concentrating on you and your question), the cards connect to your energy and they arrange themselves accordingly based on it. We all have energy within us. Christians call it the Holy Spirit. In Chinese medicine, it’s Chi. Yoga refers to it as Shakti. In the West, it’s commonly called Spirit. All great spiritual traditions talk about spiritual energy and the energetic body. Whatever the tradition, the energy and spirit within each of us is meant to flow as blockages result in physical and spiritual issues.

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Another possible explanation can be found in Karl Jung’s theory of synchronicity. Synchronicity can be defined as “the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have no discernible causal connection.” Jung was fascinated with the tarot and worked extensively with the I-Ching, a Chinese form of divination based on the same principles. Sometimes in life we are gifted with “meaningful coincidences.” Can you think of a time (or several times) where you were simply in the right place at the right time?

By deliberately shuffling the cards we are invoking synchronicity into our lives and the cards will ‘just happen’ to arrange themselves into an order which tells us something useful about ourselves or the question we have asked.

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Different areas of psychic study credit the subconscious mind with an entire array of powers and abilities of which we are generally unaware. As an explanation for the tarot, it is usually supposed that in some way the subconscious mind ‘knows’ the order of the cards and through the shuffle, re-orders them so that they will lay out in an order which conveys a useful meaning to the person performing the spread, based on insights that the subconscious mind presumably already had.

Lastly, let’s not rule out magic (or magick). Magic means ‘to make events occur in conformity to your will’. In this case, the will of the reader is that the cards will arrange themselves in a meaningful way, in order to reveal something useful. The magical explanation is simply that this focused intent is enough to make the cards arrange themselves in a useful way. This involves accepting as an explanation that magic is real – the Universe really does respond and change according to the will of an individual. It also suggests there is some skill required in ‘making the tarot work’ as well as simply interpreting the cards. A deck of tarot cards is believed to be particularly susceptible to this form of magical influence, because of the way the cards are read.

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These are all theories. We will never know for certain exactly how tarot cards work.

The bottom line is…they do.

This post contains excerpts from http://www.weirdshitnotbullshit.com/articles/how-does-the-tarot-work.

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.

 

 

What do tarot readers do?

What does it mean to be a tarot reader, anyway?

First, I cannot read your mind, nor can I tell the future.

The ability to read tarot cards is not a skill reserved for a select few who come from a long line of psychic mediums. Anyone can learn to read the cards. It requires passion, dedication, and immense amounts of study and practice to learn the meanings of the 78 cards contained within a tarot deck. It requires even more time and effort to learn reversed cards, and to learn a variety of spreads that are designed to provide guidance on different scenarios. (If you are interested in embarking on your own journey with tarot, I am happy to share resources on this topic in a future blog.)

The tarot reveals much about our past and present, as well as the larger forces at play in our lives. In exploring these themes you can glimpse at a likely outcome to a current situation. However, it is important to note that though the future is predictable, it is not predetermined.

But how does tarot work? It boils down to the belief in Spirit. We are all made of the same stuff – loving energy and light. Inside each of us is God’s incredible and powerful DNA. The energy that flows within each of us is known by many different names throughout the world. Christians call it the Holy Spirit. In Chinese medicine, it’s Chi. Yoga refers to it as Shakti. In the West, it’s commonly called Spirit. All great spiritual traditions talk about spiritual energy and the energetic body. It’s this same energy that some mediums connect with when the spirits of loved ones leave their physical body. Whatever the tradition, the energy and spirit within each of us is meant to flow. Blockages can result in physical and spiritual issues.

When we shuffle a deck of tarot cards (or your reader shuffles them for you), the cards are connecting to your energy and spirit. They come together in a reading to reflect your unique energy.

The 78 cards capture the entire human experience from birth to death. The 21 cards of the major arcana depict the spiritual forces at play in our lives. They deal with three phases of our life: consciousness and the outer concerns of life in society; subconscious, or the search inward to find who we truly are; and superconsciousness, the development of a spiritual awareness in the larger context of life. When many major arcana cards appear in a reading then the events taking place are largely out of our hands (in other words, the universe is doing its work) and there are big lessons being learned.

The minor arcana is made up of four suits – Wands, Swords, Cups, and Pentacles. The association of these four emblems with magical practice and underlying spiritual truth goes back at least as far as the Middle Ages. These emblems stand for the world itself and for human nature, as well as the act of creation of both specific things and the continuous creation of evolution. The four suits are also linked to the study of Kabbalah, and they each are related to God’s name, YHVH, which some translate as Jehovah. I could write an entire book on the esoteric meanings behind the cards. Suffice to say that the minor arcana depict us in our daily lives going about our daily business. Within the minor arcana there are also court cards that depict people and energy depending on the spread.

When you have a tarot reading, it’s like taking a picture of your life. You can see the present moment, the recent past, the near future, and the likely outcome that may result if you carry on your current path. The beautiful thing about the future is that nothing is set in stone. Predictable, not predetermined, remember? If a tarot reading reveals a poor outcome, you can take steps to avoid it. The tarot is less about giving definitive answers and more about giving guidance.

To me, the tarot is best summarized by the message of the Hermit card. Tarot is a tool for introspection. Just as the hermit in the card takes off alone with his lantern, the tarot provides a light in the darkness as we find our way through life.

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