Tag Archives: Divination

Tarot 101: An Intro to Tarot (Part 1)


I’ve talked a couple of times on the blog about card meanings, how to read tarot, and what it means when a deck doesn’t feel right, but I realized that I’ve never talked about the basics. I just assumed that anyone finding my blog would A.) already know or B.) be able to find the basics elsewhere since there are so many websites out there now that cover this topic.

But I’m about to add one more.

I realized if I’m going to talk about the more advanced stuff, I should probably also cover the basics as well. Not only does this help add more information to the topic, but it also gives my readers a basis of where I’m coming from and how I work. Which seems like a pretty good idea to me.

Please keep in mind, not every tarot reader works the same way. I’m quite certain there are other readers out there who do things very differently. And that’s OK! That’s awesome! One of the great things about reading cards is that there are so many different ways of doing it and each reader is free to find the way that works best for them.

So, to begin . . .

What is Tarot?

Tarot is a tool. The cards can be used to gain insight and perspective into the self and situations. Tarot cards aren’t inherently bad or “evil”, though there are some negative stereotypes that persist about the cards and readers. Anyone can read the cards, though in my experience, some of the best readers are those who have spent some time studying the symbolism and meanings of the cards.

Tarot has been around since at least the 15th century and was originally a card game. At some point, they became a tool for divination. Probably the most well-known deck, the Rider-Waite, was designed by Arthur Edward White and published in 1910. Depending on how you’re taught, some say that the tarot cards are the journey of the Fool, the first card of the Major Arcana, and that the Fool travels through the deck to experience each card.

How are Tarot Cards Different From Angel and Oracle Cards?

For the most part, tarot cards are set up as a specific system and angel and oracle cards aren’t. The primary purpose of most angel and oracle cards is to be read intuitively and with very little or no study of the cards needed. With tarot, the reader often benefits from studying the cards as well as reading intuitively. There is a specific number of cards in any tarot deck (78), and they generally stick to a system of four suits plus the Major Arcana. Angel cards tend to be a deck of cards of any number with images of angelic beings. Oracle cards tend to be a deck of any number and usually with custom artwork or images of any variety. There are some varieties of tarot that deviate from the typical 78-card system and don’t stick to the popular Rider-Waite imagery, but they still tend to be divided into the suits and the Arcanas.

What are Tarot Deck Basics?

A typical tarot deck consists of 58 Minor Arcana cards and 22 Major Arcana. The Minor Arcana is divided into four suits: pentacles, swords, wands/rods, and cups. The names of these may be different depending on author, but they tend to be relatively interchangeable. For example, I’ve seen the pentacles suit called the coins suit.

Each suit consists of fourteen cards: ace through ten, page, knight, queen, king. Again, the names of the royal cards may be different depending on deck, but they tend to follow a hierarchy. For example, I’ve seen the page also called the princess and the knight called the prince. It depends on the author of the deck. The Minor cards tend to be symbolic of everyday life and indicate everyday issues.

The Major Arcana is 22 cards going from the Fool to the World. These cards tend to reflect archetypes or overall lessons. Some say that the Major cards indicate karma or karmic rules, but not everyone agrees on this.

How Can I Learn What the Cards Mean?

There are many different ways of doing this. Some people take years to study and read up on the cards. Others don’t. I have a couple of suggestions for those who want to learn what the cards mean:

  • Keep a tarot journal. Record your impressions of each card as you come across it. You can even photocopy the card you want to work on a tape or paste it into the journal. Then study the card and write down any impressions you get. What does it mean to you? What to the symbols tell you? Listen to your intuition. Then, once you’ve recorded what the card means to you at the time, look up what it means to other people and see if there’s anything you want to add. A good website I’ve used before for card meanings is http://learntarot.com/cards.htm.
  • Pull a card a day. Every morning, shuffle and ask the deck what your day will be like. Pull only one card, study it for a few minutes, write down initial impressions, and then leave it alone. Come back at the end of the day and see how you did.

The suggestions above are more for those who want to learn what the cards mean to them on an intuitive level. I usually say that the cards have different meanings for different people. You can certainly look up what the cards tend to mean, and I encourage you to do so, as studying the symbolism can really help understand the nature of the deck. But I also contend that there’s an intuitive element to reading and the usual meanings will not always apply in every situation. This is why I encourage a mixed approach–practice the intuitive while also studying the symbolic.

That’s all for Part 1 of Tarot 101. Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon!

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Question of the Week: Astrology


Hi all!  This week’s question is about astrology.  Most people know their sun sign and enjoy looking up what the signs mean and so forth.  Horoscopes can be a lot of fun, depending on how much stock you put in them.  I’ve had horoscopes be completely right before, and then I’ve had horoscopes that were so wrong I wondered how on earth it could have possibly been written for a Virgo. 

How much do you believe in astrology? Do you use astrology in your practice at all?

Have a great week and, as usual, put your answer in the comments below!

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When a Reading Isn’t Right


So many people take tarot card, oracle card, aura, and palm readings as absolute truth.  Somehow, it seems that when someone goes in for a reading, they are more likely to blindly accept what is told to them by the reader rather than think it over or question anything in the reading even when it isn’t really right.  I’m not the only one who’s noticed this tendency, either, and thank goodness for that, because otherwise I might have thought I were going crazy.

But no, other readers have noticed this as well.  Once you realize this, as a reader, you tend to become hyper aware of what you say to the client/questioner.  You realize that they could very well take you completely at your word, not question anything you say, and go off and do something stupid because they think you told them to.  And that’s fine, they can do that, and it’s their choice.  They chose to believe you without thinking over what they had been told.  However, that doesn’t mean the reader should just say anything that comes to mind and expect to be absolved of responsibility if the client does something stupid as a result.

Nor does it mean the questioner will or should take everything said in a reading to heart.  When you receive a reading–whether tarot, aura, or palm–oftentimes there is an element of intuition at play on the part of the reader.  There is an element of study as well, as I would expect that any serious reader would practice and study their craft a lot.  But for many, especially in tarot readings, the intuition plays a role for the reader in interpreting the results for the questioner.  That means that the results of the reading are fluid and open for interpretation.  Sometimes a lot of interpretation.

I recently had a tarot reading from someone I’d never met before.  She was very nice, and has been practicing readings for a while now, so I figured I would get a decent reading.  However, when the cards came up, I was very confused.  None of the cards made much sense to me for the placement they were in.  One or two cards didn’t seem to fit me at all.  I pointed out my confusion to the reader, and we worked to find the interpretation that fit–but in a reading like this one, if you have to work that hard to find meaning in the results, you’re better off starting over, clearing the deck, and scrapping the previous results.

When a reading doesn’t feel right, or doesn’t seem to fit you or the situation you asked about, then make sure you bring it up to the reader.  It may be that you’re misunderstanding the card, in which case, it’s easy to correct.  But it could also be that the reading wasn’t right to begin with.  If it’s a tarot reading and the reader had other clients beforehand, then perhaps they didn’t clear the deck well enough before reading you.  Or they put too much of their own energy into it and muddled the results.  Or, if in a gallery situation, perhaps the reader picked up on someone else’s energy and the reading was meant more for the other person than for you.  Whatever the reason, when a reading doesn’t feel right, then speak up and tell the reading that you think it doesn’t apply or that you’re confused about something.

Not only does that help clear up confusion for you, but it also helps the reader improve their skills.  Feedback is important in that kind of setting.  In my case from the reading I just had, the reading wasn’t really meant for me.  Thus my extreme confusion and why it didn’t seem to fit.  I believe the reading was actually intended for the person sitting next to me, and her energy and need overrode mine, unknown to me and the reader both.

And I usually tell people to take most readings with a hint of skepticism.  Not everything will turn out as the reader says it will.  Not all readings will be 100% correct, or even 50% correct.  Some readings will just not fit, and when they don’t fit, don’t just accept what the reader says and try to make their results mesh with your life.  Ask questions.  Find your own interpretation.  Listen to your own instincts.

Store Review: Mysteries (London, England)


Address: 9-11 Monmouth Street, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9EQ, UK
Website: http://www.mysteries.co.uk/index.html
Rating: 4 out of 5

Mysteries has been in London for many years.  I heard of the store both online and through recommendations from locals and other visitors who had been there.  So, when I went to Coven Garden, I decided to check out the store.

Inside, it’s a mixture of so many different things.  Books, crystals and stones, incense, statues and figurines from a variety of different traditions and religions, tarot and oracle cards, jewelery, bags, and so much more.  I could have spent more time in there, honestly, just looking at the wide array of products.

I went in specifically to look for tarot cards, stones, and tools, especially an athame.  I found the stones and cards pretty easily, both in the rooms off the main room.  The store stocked many different decks, but none felt right or really appealed to me, so I didn’t buy a deck this time.  I found the stones, which I did buy, and I liked the selection they had in stock.  They did look like the kind of stones that could be picked up at just about any New Age-type store, but that’s not necessarily bad.  I needed to restock on my quartz stones.

I was disappointed at the lack of tools, however.  If they did stock them, I didn’t see them, and being so close to closing, I didn’t ask about them.  I tried to get back to the store during my stay in London, but unfortunately it didn’t work out.

To be honest, I’m not sure what I expected exactly, but I had been given the impression of a more Pagany kind of store, but it really wasn’t very different from any store in Sedona, AZ.  It has a lot of the basics and does very well in that, and also stocks a lot of interesting statuettes and such from traditions such as Buddhism and Hinduism, but I don’t think I would have found the things I was really looking for, namely, the tools (i.e., cauldrons, athames, wands, etc.).

It’s a decent store, the service was excellent, and the people were friendly.  When crowded, it’s a bit of a squeeze, but that can happen in any store.  So I give the store a 4 out of 5 rating.

Protection During Readings


I know some people don’t think it’s necessary to protect yourself while you’re giving (or sometimes when receiving) a reading, which could include tarot or oracle readings, intuitive readings, and hypnosis.  I, on the other hand, disagree.  I think it’s important for the reader, at the very least, to protect herself.  It may not be quite as important for the person being read to protect themselves, especially during something like an intuitive or hypnotic reading in which it’s better for them to be more open.  Still, there are some precautions that I think every person going into a reading should take, whether they are the reader or the person being read.

It’s very easy for us all to pick up energy and emotions from other people and carry them around unless we take precautions to avoid such things.  All of us do this, even if we aren’t psychically open or empathic.  It happens naturally.  But do you really want to carry around someone else’s depression over having a bad day, or sadness at breaking up with their partner, or even their happiness over something you had no part in?  No one should really want to carry around someone else’s energy, which is why so many different traditions stress cleansing yourself and being aware of your aura and what you give or take with other people.  As a reader, you are then opening yourself up, not only to the other person but to the higher planes.  It’s not the higher planes that you need to be worried about, but if you’re just opening things up willy-nilly and not paying much attention to protection, you can come away from a reading feeling pretty drained and bad, or you could have inadvertently opened up to something else (unlikely, but possible) such as the lower planes.

During my hypnosis training, it was emphasized that as we put a client into hypnosis (and this really only applies to the spiritual hypnosis, because that’s where you have the potential to interact with lower planes and such while doing past life regression or entity clearing) we should also raise protections and call on the archangels or higher forces for protection during the hypnosis.  This is because the person’s defenses are lowered while under hypnosis, and they are in no state to protect themselves.  The reader has to do it for them, not only to protect the client, but to protect the reader!  I don’t want some entity latching on to me because I didn’t protect myself.  Granted, if it does that, then I didn’t do my job correctly, but still.

Even during a tarot reading or oracle card reading, I think it’s important to protect yourself.  Raise shields, if you’re good at that, or use stones or oils or whatever else that works for you.  Just protect yourself from absorbing some of the other person’s energy, or from being too open for other beings to get in.  It also works to keep yourself from being too drained.  A few times when I’ve done readings (not including the events with PSU, at which I read tarot for hours without a break—not highly recommended), I’ve felt so drained afterward, or I’ve felt like I was angry or sad when I didn’t need to be.  It was odd to me until I figured out that I wasn’t really doing very much to protect myself while giving these readings, and that made me feel that I was doing a disservice not only to myself, but to my client as well.

As for when you are the one being read, I think it doesn’t hurt any to create a shield or protect yourself in some way.  If it’s someone you trust, I wouldn’t erect a shield that would keep the reader out, but create something that would protect from any negative energy or negative beings that might be attracted.  The best form of protection I’ve found yet is to create a shield and then ask higher beings, such as your spirit guide or angels or whatever you like to come protect you, and specify that the only things that can influence you during the reading are the higher forces (and, in the case of hypnosis, the reader/hypnotist).