My husband and I like to forage for wild mushrooms and collect edible wildfood. It is a gentle way to sink into a place and learn local ecology.
It also provides us with some really delicious mushrooms and herbs as well as knowledge of local poisonous plants; for example, our front yard is abundant in snakeweed, which was what killed Abraham Lincoln’s Mother.
Cows can digest the plant but the poison will leak into her milk and kill people! Interesting, no?
So, what the heck does any of this have to do with Tarot? Well, actually, a lot, and from the practice of finding mushrooms I have become a better reader.
Being good at spotting things in nature requires the art of soft focus, soft focus is absolutely the opposite of what most of us do in our daily lives. Our lives are grounded in hard focus; on the road, on our phones, at our emails, etc. The beam of concentration is sharp, but pinpoint small. Soft focus is blurry with a wide field of view and increasingly, we as a society are engaging in soft focus less and less often.
So just as I begin a walk in the woods with soft eyes and alert and calm mind, so to do I begin a reading. The Tarot spread is like a patch of woods, and perhaps there will be mushrooms, edible nettle or even a fawn off the trail. The Tarot spread just might have an answer I am looking for, or it contain might something else. We are just taking a walk in the forest, open to what we experience. As a mushroom hunter, I have in mind a number of mushrooms I would like to see in the woods but I make no personal expectations about what will happen. That is the first very important tip, have no expectations. As a reader I begin a spread with no expectations about what I will see, including answers.
Once I have checked my own expectations, I spread the cards and I invoke soft focus. Those of you who meditate probably know what I mean by soft focus. We “soften” our eyes by allowing our vision to be less focused, we are not “looking” or “paying” attention to anything in particular. We are allowing the whole vision of the scene to be as it is.
So more concretely, what does it mean to engage in soft focus during a reading?
Here are some guidelines to help you :
And when you do that… YES!… there’s your shining mushroom all the sudden out of nowhere, as if it appeared. The message, the connection, the intuitive information hits you, usually out of nowhere. It is as if the information bubbled up between the cards. I am not sure how I can explain it more than that, but that is how it works for me… the information comes between the cards, and it is shining and by itself, and it is accurate, but I can never strain for it, or ask for it. I just sit without anxiousness and it will appear to my conciousness if it will.
The act of reading Tarot is truly an act of surrender.
This kind of soft focus reading can be extraordinarily challenging. Our rational/anxious/monkey mind wants to immediately set to work to figuring it all out. And you will engage the ordinal part of you later, but when you first lay out the cards have no expectations, do not “set to work” just walk in the forest of the tarot spread and allow the subconscious/intuitive part of you do what it does.
If I am actively trying to focus my attention on every tree and shrub I would never find my nummy num nums, there is too much information everywhere. So I stay quiet, I move slow and I look about but in that place of soft focus I am allowing the information to bleed past the line of sight and into something deeper. Like vision, you can either have a narrow and sharp focus OR a hazy wide field of vision, why not use both tools in your readings?
Give it a try, lay out your cards and refrain from the emphasis to make meaning. See if anything pops up, and if it does not, then go about your normal tarot reading, but do give it a chance first.
Gain the ability to consult the cards for just about any question you or your friends could think of. Knowing how to work Tarot is like always getting a sneak peek into the workings of the Universe... who wouldn't want to learn how to do that?!?
Tarot 101 One Day Intensive
September 14th, 2014 11am-4pm at the Cynwyd Station Cafe
Everything you need to know to jump start your Tarot skills with an info and fun packed day. This is the course you have been looking for! There are a lot of online Tarot courses but nothing beats doing this in real time with others face to face in a small group with the guidance of a master tarot professional. Join a small group (no more than 8 people) with highly individual help and attention as you are walked through each part of the process. Handouts are included. Sunday 10am-3pm (lunch will be an option or you can bring your own).
5 hours & $100 includes:
Ready to begin, darling?
Intermediate Tarot Class
September 28th 9am-Noon at the Cynwyd Station Cafe
Do you have the basic meanings down, are able to do small spreads and want to take your Tarot to the next level? This intermediate class will cover how to read many cards in combination to one another, master the Celtic Cross spread, Tarot card reversals and dignitaries, delve deeper into the court cards in readings, creating your own spreads and layouts, how to energetically open and close your readings, intuition tips and techniques and reading practice with a skilled Tarot professional to give you tips, tricks and tools for your Tarot Journey.
Ahh, I see the tarot Force is strong in this one...
Intermediate Tarot: Spreads Spreads Spreads!
September 28th 1pm-330pm at the Cynwyd Station Cafe
Are you mostly “off book” but want to learn a few more special Tarot spreads? Do you wish to have a bigger repertoire of spreads as needed for the situation? Tarot spreads can be predictive, problem solving or clarifying and choosing the right spread for the right question is half the battle. In this 2 and a half hour workshop we will cover and practice 4 spreads that will cover most of the question and situation types you will encounter. (Note this is not a beginners class, most participants should feel comfortable with having most of the deck memorized)
Watch out, Tarotista is on the loose!
Book all three classes and get $10 off!
I loved running the World Tarot Day Instagram Contest!
Participants snapped photos of 'Tarot in the World' people and things that look just like Tarot in real life. We know that Tarot is a mirror of the world but the world, interestingly, can often mirror Tarot. I was blown away by the creativity, sensitivity and gorgeousness of the folks who sent me snaps.
Want to find them all on your own? On either Instagram or Facebook search #queenofwandstarot to find the full selection. Below are the winners of the contest along with a few of my favorites.
First Place Winner
Sarebear830 sent me some lovely pics but this is my absolute favorite. A fool and his dog is a winner where ever you go. She also snapped a couple of other really great pics including the 7 of Pentacles and the Queen of Cups! Check those out on her instagram profile, above.
Second Place Winner
Eloy sent me this incredible Ace of Cups along with some others. I think he had a lot of fun coming up with pics, you can find his full submissions by #queenofwandstarot on Facebook!
Third Place Winner
Cindy of Rocky Mountain Tarot Sent me this lovely Strength pic! She totally gets 3rd place for snapping this little gem.
This was great fun and it was very difficult to choose who gets placement. Below are some honorable mentions that I also wanted to share with you!
I personally made many submissions throughout the day but this was my favorite of the group I shared. Everyone, meet Ace of Wands!
My only Lenromand contribution came from Katrina Wynne of Transformative Tarot Counseling. See what she did there? The sea and the tower? Lovely!
This is an incredible, and incident shot taken by Marcus Katz of the Tarot Association renown and highly regarded Tarot author shared with me his shot of 5 of Pentacles. The resemblance is very striking.
Eloy who won 2nd place above also made this stunning contribution of 2 of cups. It was hard choosing which of his many submissions were the winner!
To everyone else who contributed your time, skills and talent thank you for making World Tarot Day a success!
Sometimes I will see a client tell me, “I do not want to hear any bad news.” By bad news, I believe he is referring to cards which come up that he may not want to see like Death, The Tower or 10 of Swords.
However, I am very Zen about Tarot, I do not believe that there are any bad cards. I believe that there are hard truths and difficult outcomes, there are mistakes being repeated and sad endings that we can change or prepare for and for that, the Tarot can be its own weight in gold.
I cannot in good conscience lie about what I see. I have had clients walk out, yell at me, argue with me, defriend and unsubscribe from me and even then, I cannot make something that looks “bad” what they want to hear as hard as it can be for the both of us even knowing that the moment that I share the ‘bad news’ will be the last time I might ever see you.
Even though hurt springs to your eyes and you suffer, even though you blame me and call me a fake, a fraud, a ne’er do well; I still am only the conduit for the information and to lie about that means to lie about everything that I do and am. There are readers out there who will only tell you the good news, because it is easy and it feels great. In fact, I know of a few readers who TAKE OUT the ‘bad cards’ in the deck; ensuring that everyone gets their happy ending. At the price of my integrity, I cannot do that. At the price of your beautiful shining spirit reaching to you through the Tarot, I cannot do that.
So when our Deep Self brings to us ‘bad news’ I find it to be a helpful warning about the things currently dealt with and the things to come. As Tarot is plotting a probability line we are being afforded a choice to continue to a path of unwanted outcomes or to prepare for an ending of a thing. Bad news gives us warning and also choices.
However, our egos- the part of us worried about the car and what the neighbors would think and is filled with fear and anxiety and separation- can get in the way of hearing the message.
We know that ego is acting up and trying to block the message by doing the following things:
· Flipping completely out (using emotionality to override the message)
· Feeling helpless and victimized
· Blaming the messenger
· Ignoring the message
So when we catch ourselves in the act of the ego responding we can then redirect ourselves by attuning to the message of our Deep Selves. Appropriate actions to ‘bad news’ are:
· Understanding the message without excess emotionality
· Looking into our part of creating the ‘bad news’
· Pulling more cards for clarification and understanding of the outcome
· Asking different kinds of questions to gain a greater understanding
· Asking what is the lesson both spiritually and otherwise
· Asking what actions we can take to change or influence the message
· Asking how we can best deal with endings
Many clients will respond after the reading that, “Deep down, I already knew that.” This is when Tarot is its most powerful to transform the current reality.
The Tarot are the breadcrumbs scattered across the pond so our Deep Selves can emerge up like golden Koi fish, bringing their beautiful natures up to the surface.
We know the fish are always down there but in moments of transcendental clarity, during a tarot session, is when we get to hear what they represent and have to say. The tough hard stuff, that is where the work needs to be.
Helping to bring up Deep Truth to the light of consciousness is a beautiful moment that needs to be honored and to take out the bad cards, to ask to not hear the process goes against the very wonder of what Tarot can do.
I am rarely one to review Tarot decks but when I saw this gorgeous OMG YES deck in the works by Janet D.H. Hinkel I knew I had to help this vision by sharing it with you so that you, too, may fall in love.
Tarot of Delphi: Know Thyself
I reached out to Janet about 8 months ago offering to review the deck because YOU JUST HAVE TO KNOW ABOUT IT!
Janet is focusing on fine images from artists in the Victorian Neoclassical era from the late 1830s to about 1910 including Waterhouse, Leighton and many others.
The deck is a reasonably standard Tarot deck with one extra card at 79 but what I find most fasinating is how she turned the traditional court cards: Page, Knight, Queen and King into Devotee, Artisan, Hero and Enchantress.
These names invoke in me a dream of 1880s fairytales, nymphs, and a sigh for a largely imagined world gone by. My first deck at 15 was the Enchanted Tarot (which also has neoclassical art) and when I gasped upon seeing Janet's vision I understood that my tastes have a reliable theme.
Every day another Tarot baby is born but Janet has the artistic knowledge and sense for iconic photos as well as a technical sense in Tarot.
Any reader of the Ride Waite Smith should have no problem transferring to these images as Janet has chosen art to closely match original sentiment while staying on theme. There are also some interesting small changes in the major Arcana that strengthen the theme throughout, for example the Tower is re-envisioned as The Shipwreck.
Janet's gorgeous compilation of classical work into a lovely Tarot deck is completely self published and she needs some help to get this beautiful deck birthed into the world. She is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to pay for some of the images that will be used (as she uses high quality museum art) as well as for the publishing of the decks.
If you have fallen in love like I did with this lovely work of art, mosey on over to her Kickstarter campaign and if you have to have this deck like I do... there are some wonderful give aways for every level of contribution. There is also a video from her talking a little more about her process as well as theme for the deck. Enjoy!
Most people would say that Tarot reading is foretelling of what will come to pass. A Tarot card reader is someone with mysterious supernatural powers that enable her to see what lies ahead in someone's life, often this foretelling involves the ideas of fate and soul mates. For many, Tarot is synonymous with the understanding that things are fated to be and there is an order to how each life unfolds.
Our basic idea for how Tarot may work has evolved out of a medieval understanding of how time works. I posit that Tarot does not tell the future in the way we traditionally understand it because what we understand about time is fundamentally wrong. In order for us to truly be able to use the gift of Tarot, we need to update what we understand about cause and effect.
Rather than ask, "does tarot see the future?" how about, what do we know about time?
The traditional western perception of time (not universal, culturally) is a line always moving forward:
past---> present -->future
Like a rollercoaster we are strapped in for the continual ride forward. Physics calls this the Arrow of Time. But, mathematically, we cannot prove that the Arrow of Time exists.
So if the Arrow of Time does not exist, then what does?
Instead of a line moving forward on a rollercoaster, (time is not linear or even directional) it is more like a boiling pot (it is helpful to see the picture above as if you are looking down into a pot of water) in 4 dimensional space with complex interrealities constantly shifting, moving, colliding and being affected by other things.
So if there is no arrow of time… how can we use Tarot to see the future?
We can’t. At least, not in a concrete 100% right on the money kind of way. I believe that when we use Tarot as a predictive method we are not seeing the future; we are plotting a probability. A probability (one of many that exist) based on current causality and as soon as those causes change the many effects, the future changes right along with them and not always in a one directional-linear kind of way.
The power of Tarot lies not in the understanding of what will be, but rather to understand a most likely probability based on many different factors. A probability that may change as soon as you have become aware of it. Or, a probability that is actually happening at the same time as your present-time. (See Eternalism, see Wave-Particle theory, see Chaos theory for more info on these concepts). We are alive in a multidimensional causal reality that is astoundingly complex, inter-dynamic and beautiful.
Understanding that Tarot is plotting a probability is immensely helpful when looking for clarity on any given situation. Changing the Arrow of Time question like, “Will I get fired from my job?” evolves into the causal, “How can I either keep my job because I feel insecure about it” or “How can I best weather the instability I am feeling in my position right now?” The latter questions are more useful in terms of creating an empowered life while keeping in mind that the future as we understand it is fluid and complex.
So, can Tarot tell the future as we have traditionally understood it? No.
Can Tarot help us create rational decisions and give us important information to create the lives we want to live? Oh yes, very much so.
Readings should be interactive experiences
Readers such as myself are only conduits of information given to us by our and your Guides. The session is enriched when you share what you are also thinking, perceiving and feeling during the process. We work to activate your natural intuition so to have a “surround sound” experience.
Our intuitive selves are involved in a conversation both with each other and our Guides to bring forth information which will be helpful for you; this is not a one man show. Being open and participatory in your session will only enrich the time you have with your reader.
Sometimes the Tarot will tell you something other than what you wanted
You came in wanting to know whether your boyfriend will propose to you; meanwhile, the Tarot are talking about a huge restructuring of your company, or how to patch things up with your Mother. I like to call this
“Tarot Override”. Tarot override happens when our Guides are telling us, “what you WANT to know is not as important as what you NEED to know.”
And, sometimes, what you want to know the Tarot will just outright refuse to answer. If you can stay open about the information you will receive then you will find the reading to be more helpful than you could have imagined. But sometimes our Guides just won’t let us have our way.
Share information: the more you give the more you will get
Ahh… the testing of a Tarot card reader. Testing by withholding information only makes a good reader spend time ferreting it out (time you are paying for!) rather than using the same time to work on what you both don’t know.
When I “tune in” to a client it is like putting my hand into a large magical top hat. I get images, impressions, signals and words and I often have to play detective to understand their significance and compile them in a way that can be helpful.
Without any information being provided I have to spend time pondering, “how does this red sock, a boy named Billy and discomfort my client feels when going to the movies relevant to what she wants or needs to know in right now?”
Ahem… we ALWAYS know when we are being tested.
It is still meaningful even if it doesn’t make sense
Sometimes a reader will bring up information that makes no sense whatsoever. Or the information doesn’t seem to pertain exactly to you. Rather than fighting it, or thinking your reader is wrong, just file it away later. Oftentimes it may not make sense now, but it will later or it is predicting an event later on down the road.
I like to call these Tarot warnings, our Guides are bringing forth information that while not immediately helpful will be later on. This is why I record my sessions, so clients can refer back and make later greater connections with the information later on. Give yourself a week, then listen to the recording of the reading and see if anything clarifies, then listen again after 4.
After the session journal your thoughts, impressions and feelings
This one is SO important, there is so much radical information that has to do with your positive growth and change that it is easy to forget about it and not work on it after your session. Journaling the experience, how you felt and how you will move forward deepens the energetic work and the information provided to you by your Guides and your reader, the session is interactive even after the session has ended.
Crying and laughing are beautiful
When we hear deep truth, truth we have only ever kept locked up in our hearts, we often cry or even laugh when it is brought to light. If I had a nickel for every client who told me sorry that they were crying I would be rich. Do not say you are sorry, and yes it is perfectly OK to cry.
Your tears are honest and out there in the “real world” we are told not to cry or our experiencing deep emotion is something to avoid as if it were shameful. But in your Tarot session, the session is about you and your honest, authentic emotions. Cry, laugh. Do a silly dance. Sing a song… embrace them all. You can do that in your reading and if you feel uncomfortable doing that with a Tarot reader, get yourself a new one.
Above all, be nice to your Tarot card reader
What we do is brave work. Outside of sessions we have to deal with a lot of stigma and misunderstanding from the general public about what we do and what our gifts are and we swim against the tide in all of that because we have a gift we could not ignore. Trust me, it is far easier to say you are an Accountant than a Psychic or Tarot card reader!
We do what we do because we love to help and we have a burning desire to share the messages we encounter. It is tough to be in a job that the “real world” says isn’t real and that our gifts are just made up. One kind word or one act of validation from clients can mean so much. This career choice has a high burn out rate because not only do we have our jobs to do but we have to fight a lot of stereotypes in order to do it.
Did I forget anything above? Please make your additions to the comments section below!
Morgan Greer Tarot
The King of Wands loves to eat, drink and be merry and for him and many of the Wands clan, Italian varietals are best suited. A pampered vine makes for a bad vine and the best wines come from vines that are planted in dry, clay-like soil. In fact, some of the best vines thrive in soil that would be terrible for anything else. Like the Wands suit, the wines ascribed here like it hot and thrive in challenging yet opportunistic, conditions.
This King is talking animatedly about his next big project among friends at the table with a spicy tomato concoction and a lovely glass of Barbera. Barbera is the people’s wine of Italy and this King is no different being the most approachable King of them all. Not particularly fruity, a Barbera is a medium red spicy noted wine that is simple yet exceedingly well balanced. This is the ultimate table wine, working with food and complementing palates from across the taste spectrum. This is the wine of pouring for friends and hands in the area conversation. Try not to say no as this King pours you another generous serving while trying to talk you into funding his latest Great Idea.
By Pheonix Lu
This Queen, like her King, is full of ideas, possibilities and becoming the best we can be. As a result her wine is very well structured, uncomplicated being a hit with even those who are not very wine enthusiastic.
This Queen does enjoy the round bodied, full fruity nature of a good Malbec. This Queen is known for her sex appeal, not like the Cups languidness, but rather a quick chemistry: the flamenco dancer not the belly dancer; the seductress who leaves you wondering, "Who was THAT?" Full bodied and fruited the Malbec pays no attention to what the other wines are doing and is simply in a class of its own.
Not too complex and very easily drinkable this is the wine that many who do not like wine would enjoy. Expect to be poured a glass of this from the Lady herself as she draws from you your best performance yet.
Stephanie Law's Tarot
This Knight may very well be the funnest Knight out of the four. He enjoys a good challenge and can often be seen displaying his natural athleticism on the polo field with his trusted steed. In fact Wands were original polo sticks when the game crossed along the silk trade routes. The Europeans, never having seen or played Polo, changed the curved stick into a wand or Baton.
This Knight will quickly slake his thirst in between matches with a hearty, hot Nebbiolo. Not as fruity as a Malbec yet not as fruitless as a Barbera, the Nebbiolo carries hints of both his Queen and King's varietals but with a brighter, more energy finish. Nebbiolo is famously known for its rose notes and like the Knight there is a tannic heat not often covered up by malolactic fermentation. Our Knight CAN be rough around the edges sometimes but that's what comes from a passionate soul.
None of the Wands suit varietals have a heavy finish, these guys are not in any way nostalgic, they are always thinking of the next big thing a flash and gone again are the Wands and also the delightful Nebbiolo.
Druid Craft Tarot
Beaujolais is often the first drinkable wine of the year. It is truly a white wine disguised as a red it is fruity, liight and very refreshing just like this young page and her energetic ideas, creativity flitting among thoughts like a butterfly in a field the light and energetic Beaujolais keeps up with varied whims and fancies.
Esters of banana and even pear begin this light easily drinkable wine. Not super serious and more delightful as a result, our Page of Wands enjoys frolicking to the next dance, singing the next bawdy tune and hearing the interesting gossip of the village folk.
Simple and quaffable you and her will be enjoying a glass of this in between acts of the play she wrote, directed and starred in!
While looking for cards to illustrate the cups suit for this post I found that images of our emotional, watery cast of characters were the most inspired, varied and imaginative. No surprise there as the arts are often associated with the Cups suit and artists would find a natural affinity with this watery element.
Robin Wood Tarot
The King of Cups loves a happy celebration so for this happy and kind man nothing other than a raised glass of champagne would be adequate. This King would most likely buy extremely rare vintages of champagne but it doesn’t take much schmoozing before he is popping a cork of something special for you.
Expect to cheers this King at a wedding reception, artist's grand opening or some other emotional or artistic gala, event or fundraiser.
The Queen of cups is a great match for Viognier. Semi dry with hints of melon and honey with a lingering finish, this wine and this woman love deep, complicated sensations. Grabbing you by your senses and seducing you down into a languid bed is truly Viognier and this lovely lady. Expect to take your time.
This wine lingers on the finish; not playful not "clean" but messy and erotic at times. This is the great Titania and I can see this Queen enjoying either a Viognier or a glass of mead from within her flowered bower, beckoning you in with languid eyes and a sly smile.
by Fredrick Burton
Real mean drink Riesling, or at least that is what you would hear from the Knight of Cups. Riesling can be both sweet, semi-dry or dry. Riesling is a white fruity wine that is very compatible with all kinds of foods, especially exotic foods like Asian, Ethiopian and all things spicy. This wine is also known for the wide variety of styles it can accomodate, like this Knight. He loves love and is truly a paramour that sees the beauty and possibility in all love relationships and lovers. Unlike Viognier, a Riesling has bright notes, a spirited wooing with a light finish this Knight and this wine leave you wanting some more. A Riesling full body massage? Yeah, this guy will try it!
The Page of Cups enjoys her very sweet honey, apricot-noted Muscat. Like the Queen, this is a complex but not overly structured wine unlike the Queen’s Vioginer. This is like honey on the tongue and like this page, it stays on your tongue and your mind for more than a minute. Not a wine easily forgotten, pure enjoyment and heady fragrance this Muscat will make an impression for sure.
Uncomplicated, sweet and blends well with so many others just like this playful, sensitive sweetling. Not for everyone and many people who dislike wine in general will love this one. Sing well enough, Troubadour and she might bring a glass to your table with a kiss for your efforts.
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