Sunday, August 7, 2016

So you want to learn to read the Tarot

It's easy!

Yeah, no. It's not easy. There are 78 cards with different yet nuanced meanings. We have majors and minors. We have pips and aces and courts. We have right side up and, often, reversed. It's not easy, but it's definitely possible.

First, pick up a decent, in depth book of card meanings. Something basic and modern like Rachel Pollack's The New Tarot Handbook.

Most decks come with a small book of interpretations, a 'little white book' or LWB. Some decks come with a more detailed book that you an actually put on your book shelf. There will be a few spreads as well.

In the end, you should have at least two books to use and compare.

Pick a spread and start reading.

Don't get too hung up on what spread to use. If you are up for a real learning challenge start with the Celtic Cross. (I did, and I turned out just fine.) But otherwise a 5-card Horseshoe Spread or 7-Card Rainbow spread are perfectly good.

As you start to interpret each card using your books, write down your findings in a notebook. You should have some way of recording what you've learned about the cards individually as well as the spread or reading that you are doing.

Just as important as the knowledge you glean from your books is what you learn from your own intuition. What is the card saying to you at this moment, in its position in the spread? Write these down too. Date and cite your notes.

Your first few readings may not make any sense to you. Fear not!

As you read the cards, find more books, authors, and mentors, and let your intuition develop, your readings will begin to have meaning.

You will learn to read the Tarot.

PS. This is not the last word on learning the card!

Friday, July 29, 2016


Something has got into me and it seems I am going to zombiefy this blog. There won't be any zombies, although I do mention an old zombie movie in an older post. It is just being raised up from the dead.

What brings me back is a little project I embarked on a few weeks ago. I typed up all the notes from my Tarot notebook. It took me about two and a half weeks to go through everything and make it coherent.

This is the notebook of card meanings and interpretations that I've been keeping over the years. One thing I did that I'm really glad of; cite my sources! If something came from a book, I jotted down the name of the book. (Here is a list of some of my faves.) If it came from my own brain, I noted it.

 A couple of revelations happened as I worked on this project. First, I was surprised at how much trouble I had pushing through the Swords. Secondly, my notes on most of the majors were pretty in depth and had a lot of my own insights.

Once I recover from this little exercise, I may comb through my notebooks of readings to see if there is anything worth gleaning.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Questions and Answers for a Tarot Reader

This is a short Q&A that I put on my table when I do readings at a fair or something like that.  No one actually reads it as far as I can tell, but they do read the disclaimer I also put on the table so that counts for something.

If you have some other interesting Q's that might spark an informative A, I'd love to hear it.  Also if you read all the way to the end, there is a tiny little surprise prize for you.

Q:  Can you predict the future with the Tarot?
A:  In a way.  A Tarot reading can show you where you will end up following the path you are on, but the future is yours to make and change.

Q:  What if the Tarot shows my death?
A:  A responsible reader won’t tell you when you are going to die. The reading should focus on how you live your life.

Q:  If you see something bad, will you tell me?
A:  Yes.  Every life has its rough patches and forewarned is forearmed, as they say.  But the cards can also show what you need to get through it.

Q:  Another reader told me there was some old gypsy curse on me and my family and she could lift it but it will cost at least $10,000. 
A:  That is a scam.  Don’t shell out any money for that.

Q:  Is the Tarot a religion, and aren’t you charging money for religion?
A:  No to both. Tarot reading is a skill that I have worked and studied for, so I charge a fee.

Q: If you are so psychic….?
A:  I am not a psychic.  I can read the cards, but not minds.

Well, you got to the end of this post!  Enter coupon code TPP25 for 25% off any item in my Etsy Shop, Frankly Tarot.

Until next time, good people, cheers!

Friday, August 24, 2012

How to Deal with the Good Ole Celtic Cross

NB:  This post first appeared as a guest post at  Sofia's Rose on July 15th.

This covers you. This crosses you. This is beneath you. This is behind you. This crowns you. This is before you.

 This little mantra is a handy mnemonic to learn and lay out the much-loved, and equally dreaded, Celtic Cross Spread. It makes the whole process of doing a reading mystical and mysterious for the querent, and difficult to master for the student.

 After the cross portion with its handy and rhythmic layout, comes the staff portion, which for the most part, seems to tell what the querent likely already knows; Fears, Family Opinion, Hopes, and Final Outcome.

 No wonder so many Tarot newcomers have trouble understanding and mastering this spread! But we should always remember that Tarot is ours to interpret, work out, and reinterpret. If the positions seem unintelligible to you, start moving things around a bit.

 The first thing I felt about it was that placing the “before you” card after the “crowns you” card seemed anti climatic. So I switched the order, though not the placement, of those two cards around.

 This is the original order and layout:

 1. This is You

 2. This Covers You

 3. This is Beneath You

 4. This is Behind You

 5. This Crowns You

 6. This is Before You

But this way works a little better, I think:

 1. This is You

 2. This Covers You

 3. This is Beneath You

 4. This is Behind You

 5. This is Before You

 6. This Crowns You

 Still, it doesn’t help one to learn what these positions mean. Gray has short explanations that are a little bit helpful, but she explains that the Before You card is, “…the near future…” The Crowns You card is also supposed to be something that will happen in the future and, over on the staff, the last card is a future card. Why have three cards that mean basically the same thing?

 It seemed to me that the only way to wrap my head around all this was to read, read, read the cards. I read the cards, studied the examples in the books, and bumbled around as best I could.

 At some point I found that I had acquired a modest but decent library of Tarot books with lots of different points of view on the great Celtic Cross Spread. Greer, Gray, Pollack, a few others. I began to compare and take notes. One book focused on exploring the meaning of the first two cards renaming the positions to The Situation and The Challenge. Of course! What crosses you is what challenges you!

 Someone else changed Family Opinion to External Influences, and somewhere else it came up as Resources. These worked when the question concerned something the family had no knowledge of or no stake in.

 In a basic—very basic—way, the cross seemed to show where you were and how you got yourself there, while the staff showed how to move beyond that or at least make progress.

 I began to read books and interpretations of the spread as much as I read the cards to try and master it. I used different position names and ideas until I finally came up with a Celtic Cross that flowed for me and was helpful. The one I use now is not really a fortune telling spread the way the original tried so hard to be. Rather it is one for insight and inspiration, and helpful clarity.

 I put this new and hopefully improved version of the Celtic Cross below. Ultimately, though, I use the notes as guidelines. I prefer to find the story in the cards and what I see does not always correspond much to the position names. In fact, I consider the position names to be handy for adding another layer to the reading if needed or wanted.


 1. Situation: This is the core of the question. It should help to clarify the situation or a specific aspect of the situation

2. Challenge: This is the challenge the querent must meet in order to change or fix the situation.

3. Roots or Unconscious Awareness: What you don’t know you know. This could indicate ingrained habits or ways and means that fuel the question.

4. Intuition or Inner Voice: Some deep feeling or idea that the querent may have surrounding the situation. This card can move forward to #5 so that the intuition and inner voice guide the next card.

5. Potential Action (outer): A potential action the querent may take and is directly guided by the Intuition.

 6. Goals and Aspirations or Conscious Awareness: Some more options that the querent may wish to explore, and which she may already be aware of.


 7. You: The state of the querent at the time of the reading

 8. Environment and Resources: What the querent may or may not be able to depend on when resolving the situation. Can be an inner resource but probably something or someone from the outside environment.

9. Hopes and Fears: So often the same thing!

10. New Focus or Resolution: Where you go from here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Just a quick note for anyone who is in Burlington, Vermont this weekend.  The neighborhood known as the Old North End is having a Ramble.  And it promises to be a lot of fun.

I will be reading Tarot cards at the ONE World Market at the North End Studio A at 294 N. Winooski Ave.  Stop by!  I will be doing $5 quick look readings (3-cards, about 5 minutes), $10 readings, about 15 minutes, and $20 for a half hour reading.

After the festivities, I will be at the Round Up, held at 274 N. Winooski.  I think I will be doing sliding scale readings there.

Last year I read at Old Spokes Home which is a really great bike shop, the pride of the Old North End, and other wonderful things.  It was a lot of fun talking to people from so many walks of life.

So wish me luck!  It will be a long day of card reading, and I can't wait.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Pagan Art, Part Deux

Good morning, friends (and foes, if there are any such out there).  This summer has been summery lately, that is for certain.  Hot, dry, and all my flowers are wilting.  The herbs seem happy, though.

Well, let's carry on with our exploration of Pagan Art.  Today I want to start with an artist I found on Etsy, Emily Balivet, who according to her profile hails from the same neck of the woods that I do; Vermont.

Her main influences are myths, goddesses, and Art Nouveau--some of my favorite things.  They are full of grace and movement with deep colors and lushness.

Hathor as Goddess of Music & Dance
I love the image of Hathor as the goddess of music and dance, with its mysterious monochromatic feeling.  It is more evocative of a 60's movie that takes place in Las Vegas than it is of Ancient Egypt, but if the gods are alive and on the move now, then why not?  The goddess of music and dance will be where ever there is music and dance.

This creative interpretation of the Goddess's aspect shows a strong understanding of Her myths and aspects.

Check out her gorgeous work on Etsy or Facebook.

Anunet, Goddess of Mystery

Orpheus and Eurydice
Lastly I want to mention Mary Kelly.  Some of her work is more stylized, but very dynamic nonetheless.  Rather than portraits, her work strikes me as more votive than anything.

As well as some well-known goddesses, she digs out some very obscure deities and brings them to light through her art, like this beautiful lady.  Brunissen, a figure of Norman mythology.  I had never heard of her, and unfortunately, Kelly does not cite her sources.  Nonetheless, I include this one because it depicts a Goddess of the Birds, a favorite aspect of mine.

If you have the good luck to be in the area of  Bluffston, South Carolina this summer, her ladies are on exhibit for the summer and fall, first at the library then at the SOBA gallery.  Details are on her website.

That's all the Pagan Art that I have for now.  I may revisit the subject some more in the future so if you have any recommendations, please share them.  I am always on the lookout for great art, which can be hard to find when you are as picky as I can be.

Til next time, Blessings dear friends.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Guest Blogger and Horse Totems

Hello, friends and Pagans. On this glorious summer's day, I would like to welcome my very first guest blogger, Sofia Rose.

 Sofia's Rose (Bobbie) is a Science Lover, Crystal Junkie, an Etsy shop owner and Blogger. She works in a hospital lab and is owned by a 5lb Chi/Pom mix named Sophie.

 Be sure to visit her at her blog, Sofia's Roses, as well as her Etsy shop. Follow her, favorite her, buy from her!

I now turn this blog over to Miss Bobbie.

Horse Totem

Having recently discovered my totem being, a brown stallion, I have been obsessing with what does that mean spiritually, physically, and energetically.  I have loved horses as a living animal since I was a small child, and so there are some thoughts that come to mind about the possibilities of representation. In my vision, my totem was not bridled or harnessed in any way. 

Horses have long represented freedom. In this case, I feel that my totem was the absolute in freedom and free will. Having struggled with the concept religiously, it is a major lesson to learn that while society says one thing, I do have the freedom and free will to be my own person. And just as we raced with utter abandonment, I feel that we also have the right to live with that same abandonment. Live by instinct, live my choice- how many of us conform to western thoughts? These people say we can only live one way (and this “way” can change with who you speak with!).

Spiritually the horse as a totem represents freedom, friendship, adventure, stamina, psychic abilities, a warning of possible danger, spiritual freedom, joy, perseverance, creativity, and expression.  People that have the horse totem are very independent, intuitive and compassionate people who can be teachers, leaders or healers. I work in a hospital lab and while I do not directly deal with patients, I have a direct impact on their care.

Physically and energetically for me, right off the top, horses represent strength. How wonderful, just to visualize the brown stallion and feel a boost of strength and energy! Standard rule of thumb by veterinarians is a horse can carry 20%- 37% of their body weight! My horse totem was large, tall and muscular with boundless energy, the feeling of endless stamina! We could have ridden for much longer and he and I both would have been fine. 

Being female, I think that it is important to note that my totem was a stallion (male). This has so many meanings for me. The strength, courage, and also the lack of a strong male influence currently in my life come to mind.

While I am still in the process of getting to know my totem being, my horse friend, these thoughts are what have occurred to me since this discovery. If you have any other thoughts, please share them below! I would love to hear them!