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.
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.
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 realize the title of this blog sounds as though I’ve decided to write about sex rather than tarot. I haven’t (yet). It was the only way I could think to summarize what happens when a particular suit dominates all your tarot readings.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the tarot are the four suits of the minor arcana – Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles – and how they work together to fully represent the wide range of experiences we encounter in our day-to-day lives. Unlike the major arcana, which represent the big, spiritual lessons unfolding around us, the minor arcana speak to the more mundane things contained within the human experience. This includes things like worrying over finances, juggling daily responsibilities, or going out with friends.
As a brief summary, the four suits of the tarot represent the following:
Swords – Air – Thoughts and Mental Activity
Wands – Fire – Creativity and Career
Cups – Water – Feelings and Emotions
Pentacles – Earth – Money and the Physical World
I have said that there is no greater teacher of tarot than life and time itself, and I stand by that. If you are studying tarot, a year of working with the cards daily and reflecting on how they play out in your life will be the best teacher there is. No book can teach you what life can.
A while ago I wrote about how the suit of Swords was affecting me personally. During this time I was grappling with the mental illness of a loved one. My mind raced constantly with worries about the future and pervasive guilt that I could not lift her out of darkness. As an empath (someone who easily feels the emotions of others), and someone who has grappled with her own depression, I found myself sliding into sadness with her. The swords were showing up consistently in my daily readings, and sleep did not come easily. Luckily, with time and psychiatric care, things begun to shift, and I am happy to report that the intense stress of the past few months has ended.
Interestingly, as the swords retreated back into the pile of cards, the cups emerged and began to take over my daily readings. This past month has been all about emotions and feelings in a way I have not experienced in years. Nearly all of my readings have prominently featured the cups. Experiencing them in this way has led me to my own increased understanding of how these energies play out in our lives.
My experience with the cups has been so intense that I’ve decided to examine each of them, card by card, and share my reflections on what they have meant to me personally. These descriptions below build on what I have learned from studying the tarot, reading for others, and journaling for myself. I will expand this post by delving into the other suits in time, as they unfold in my life. I will cover the court cards separately.
As you review these cards, you may find the symbolism in the Rider Waite is so overt that you can predict what each card is about before you even read the description. This is why I believe the Rider Waite to be the perfect deck for a beginning reader versus a more abstract, artistic tarot deck. If you want to read more about learning to read tarot for yourself, check out this article.
Ace of Cups: Each ace is a gift from the universe and a positive omen for a new beginning. The Ace of Cups represents a new wave of emotion crashing into your life. A new love may present itself to you. This isn’t necessarily a sexual love – it could be a pleasant exchange with friend. The Ace of Cups can also appear when you have an opportunity to release emotional burdens. This card can also represent an outpouring of creativity powered by feelings of love and deep emotion. It can represent the birth of a child (likely a girl, versus a boy as suggested by the Ace of Wands).
Two of Cups: The Two of Cups bodes well in relationship readings when someone wants to know if there is potential with a new love interest. This is the card of star-crossed lovers. When this card appears you know you have met someone very significant in your life. As a lover, it could be your soulmate. However, it can also be a very close friend or even a business partner. It can also represent falling in love with a new hobby or personal interest.
Three of Cups: This card represents good times with friends. This is the card of abundance and celebration. It suggests a time in your life when you will go out, be social, and maybe have a few drinks. Modern interpretation could also see this as Internet dating or even a threesome (gasp!). In love readings it suggests that a person is more focused on having fun and being casual rather than something serious, and it can also be an indicator that someone may need to slow down on the drinking if their social life has been a little too full.
Four of Cups: The Four of Cups suggests boredom or dissatisfaction within a relationship. Oftentimes there is nothing wrong with the union, but it feels stale. This could also present itself as depression or melancholy. This card encourages you to examine yourself and is a reminder to reflect on all the things that are right and well in a relationship rather than focusing on the negative. The figure in the card is being a bit greedy and ungrateful. (Jerk!)
Five of Cups: The Five of Cups is about grief and loss. This is known as the card of “crying over spilled milk.” This card presents itself when we long for a past love or have our heart broken. It is a bad omen for an existing relationship as it suggests that the current energies within the relationship may be leading toward trouble or betrayal.
Six of Cups: The Six of Cups is about nostalgia. With this card, we look back on a time when we were happy and fulfilled. It may be a time when we were younger, as in childhood. It could also be that we are longing for an earlier period in our relationship when there was still romance and intrigue. This card can also tell you that you need to indulge your inner child and have a little fun.
Seven of Cups: The Seven of Cups appears when our fantasies are running wild. We may have several different paths (or people) to choose from. This card creates a certain degree of paralysis in your life because it is hard to know where to go or what to choose. It can also be that someone has high hopes for a relationship, but they are fooling themselves. I experienced this card at the beginning of 2017 when I wrote about intention deficit disorder.
Eight of Cups: This card is about hard choices. It’s about examining our current relationship and/or situation and evaluating whether it still meets our needs. Oftentimes this card shows up if someone is contemplating a breakup or divorce, or leaving a job. It is about making difficult decisions and choosing a new, and often more difficult, path in order to seek one’s own truth. This is a difficult card to work through in your life.
Nine of Cups: The Nine of Cups is one of the best cards you can receive in a reading. This is known as the “wish card” and it represents deep emotional fulfillment. In a relationship reading it means you are very satisfied. It also can suggest that you are in a time of life where you are able to manifest the things you want quite easily.
Ten of Cups: The Ten of Cups celebrates the time and energy we invest into our relationships and families. This card celebrates the joy of family life. This is the high point of family life, when things are happy and simple.
We must celebrate the emotional depth that the cups add to life, and not just on Valentine’s Day. All the warm feelings, the sweetness of love, the emotional vulnerability, and even the heartbreak… Without love life wouldn’t be quite so sweet.
“To love is nothing. To be loved is something. But to love and be loved, that’s everything.” – T. Tolis
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
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.
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 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)
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.
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.
My name is Bethany, and I began my journey with tarot many years ago.
I received my first tarot card reading when I was seventeen years old and at a tremendous crossroads in my young adult life. Confused and frightened, I turned to my friend’s mother that had years of experience reading tarot cards. I watched, fascinated, as she unfolded a beautiful piece of crimson silk and took from it her trusted tarot deck. She laid the cards out in a cross and studied them 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. Tears came to my eyes as she spoke about the recent challenges I had experienced, but alas, the future was bright. My life was about to change in a very big way – and for the better, she said. She assured me that if I continued on my current path I would be glad I did. I left her house that days feeling relieved and at peace knowing that everything was going to be okay.
A month later I was married to my high school sweetheart, and eight months later I gave birth to a beautiful, healthy little girl. In April my husband and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. After that first reading, I was given my first Rider Waite tarot deck by a friend. I have been a student of the tarot ever since.
Years later, as a professional reader, I now sit beside clients with the same frightened expression I wore many years ago. It is my turn to comfort them when they cry, or to congratulate them when life promises the fresh new start they are seeking.
There is no greater honor than to assist people spiritually by providing divine guidance when they need it most.
If you are in need of such guidance, please reach out.
At 36 years of age, I just began to live an authentic life. I am no longer afraid to risk rejection, humiliation, or scorn. I am not easily embarrassed. I do not fear what people think of me.
For the first 35 years of my life, I existed in two worlds simultaneously. The contrast was so glaring that I feared I would never be able to bring the two parts together and still be loved by my family or respected by my peers.
Part One: I am what mainstream society expects of me.
I excel in school and begin taking college classes at 16. I marry and have my first child at 18, and finish college with my Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education at 21. I begin working at an exhibit company that focused on environmental and cultural sites of interest throughout the world. With the birth of my second child I begin teaching students with disabilities at an elementary school to be closer to my children. Six years later I take a position with the Florida Department of Education where I support students on a statewide level. I earn a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, and advance to the University of South Florida where I expand my skills to include web development. I provide for my family, pay my bills, vote, serve as a member of my homeowner’s association, and try to be an upstanding citizen.
Part Two: I am rejected by mainstream society.
I am a mystic. I read constantly and my library includes books on psychic development, philosophy, astrology, Buddhism, and tarot. I am drawn to religion and spirituality but have lost faith in organized religion. I accept Jesus as a profound teacher and role model but do not believe he is the only messenger of God. I sit in nature for extended periods of time trying to connect to the earth and my spirit guides. I believe in spirit guides. I read tarot cards and I believe that they provide insight and guidance into our daily lives. I surround myself with crystals that I believe contain positive energy and vibrations. I bathe in salt and essential oils when I feel down to cleanse my aura. I believe some people have gifts that allow them to see auras, communicate with spirits, and see the future. I track the phases of the moon and align my intentions accordingly, and will complete certain rituals that I believe manifest my desires. Some would call me a witch, but I don’t really believe in the Devil.
For many years I kept the two parts of myself separate and few knew the whole truth of who I was. Only my closest friends knew the “real” me. I was afraid and ashamed to reveal my interests and beliefs for fear of people thinking I was crazy or just plain stupid. How could an intellectual believe this crap? I feared that this side of myself would open me up to public scorn or potentially hurt my chances of getting a job in the future.
Mostly, I was afraid of hurting my dear grandmother that I loved deeply. She was the best grandmother that anyone could ever wish for. She was deeply afraid of anything “new age” or “spiritual” as she believed it was from the Devil. She was in her eighties and I didn’t want to do anything that would stress her already fragile heart. A couple of our family members were struggling with addiction to narcotics, stealing and lying to support their habits, and she was deeply hurt and stressed out about this. I would never have forgiven myself for causing her any more stress or risking her health further.
Beginning in February of this year, most of my readings began featuring the Three of Swords in the future position. This card represents deep sorrow, grief, and heartbreak. Naturally, this scared the shit out of me. What it could mean? Would my husband betray me? Was someone going to be hurt? What awful thing lurked around the corner? As a result, I loved deeper, I hugged longer, and I made sure to tell everyone how much I cared about him or her every time we were together.
The Three of Swords came to fruition on May 12th, 2016, and it is a day I will never forget. My beloved grandmother had been in a rehab facility due to an ankle injury for which she required physical therapy. I was going to see her as often as I could, rubbing lavender oil on her bruises and bringing her food that I knew she enjoyed. That afternoon, my mother had visited her after work and found that she was quite ill. She didn’t look right, and she was so weak she couldn’t lift her arms. The staff had not noticed this, but my mother was alarmed and insisted a doctor check her out. The physician was called and he agreed it would be prudent to have her taken to the hospital. My mom was scared, so I decided to join my mother and grandmother just to make sure everything was okay. My grandmother was loaded into an ambulance, and mom and I followed her to the hospital.
Upon arriving at the hospital it became apparent that everything was not okay. The moment we arrived at the Emergency Room, a team of people rushed in. It was determined that her pacemaker had stopped working and her heart was failing. We were immediately barraged with questions about her DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) orders. We were told it was serious and she could die very soon. We had to make frantic calls to try to determine her wishes. After several insane, tear-filled hours, the doctors were able to get her pacemaker working again. It turns out that the rehab facility she was in was not making sure she drank fluids or taking her to the bathroom regularly, and her kidneys failed. It caused her blood levels to become toxic and force her heart out of rhythm. When she was stabilized that night, I told her that her sister and my sister were so worried that they were on their way to see her. She laughed and said, “Well, I ain’t dead yet!” Those were the last words she ever said to me, and it was the last time I saw her smile.
After a moment of hope that she would recover, I awoke the next morning to find out she had slipped into a coma. Various life-saving procedures were tried to revive her, but within the day she was gone. It was May 13, 2016. Friday the 13th.
Even now, months later, I feel a vast emptiness inside as I remember that she is dead. She is not at home in her recliner sitting with my grandpa. I can’t call her and tell about my day. Tears flood down my cheeks as I remember that last moment we had together, and I hope wherever she is that she feels my love for her from beyond the veil.
In my experience, the death of a loved one creates a vacuum in your life that I do not believe will ever be filled. It is such a void that when I allow myself, it swallows me whole and I swim in an ocean of grief and tears. It is a physical sensation of heaviness and emptiness simultaneously that I feel in my chest whenever my mind wanders and I think of her.
I recount this story of loss and grief for two reasons, I suppose. The first is that this is the first time I have written about it, and it is therapeutic to do so. The second is to return to where this story begins, and explain how it took the passing of my grandmother to bring the two sides of me together.
With my grandmother’s death, I no longer felt I had to conceal who I was. I would have hid it forever if I could have kept her in my life, but that was not possible. For the first time, I was free to be me and to integrate the two parts of myself without shame. I no longer feared what people would think of me if they knew what I did behind closed doors. Fearfully at first, I began to share my metaphysical interests with my family and my close professional colleagues. I then publicly shared information on my website and blog on my personal Facebook page. There was no more “hiding in the broom closet.” This is who I am – take it or leave it.
Death serves as a reminder that life is fleeting. With luck, we might have 100 years to experience all this existence has to offer. No one knows what comes next – NO ONE – and anyone who tells you with certainty that they do is full of shit.
We are not here just to get an education, work, fall in love, raise children, and accrue possessions. In fact many of these things distract us from our true purpose. We are here to be our authentic selves and live the life to which we are destined. We are here to help others and be our best selves. There is so much love and beauty to experience and share with others.
Forget what you think you know about life. In fact, don’t think at all. As Eckhart Tolle says, “You are not your mind.” For five minutes, don’t think. Just be you, in the moment, and be still and silent. Pretend your mind is a puppy and when it begins to think about the laundry, tell it to sit.
Be in the present. The only thing we truly have and are guaranteed is this present moment. Try to live in it and be as authentic as you can be. Every moment that passes is a moment lost. When we come out with confidence and lose the fear of judgment, we inspire others to do the same.
As soon as you are able – and it might not be now (you have your own reasons for holding back) – I encourage you to live without fear and be who you are. People might just surprise you.
*I am so thankful for my mother, for her unconditional love. Though I am not at all the person she would like for me to be, she loves me anyway and never makes me doubt it. I am so blessed to have her in my life.*
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.