A very basic Fen Shui 101
For the last few months I have been studying Feng Shui for both my office and my home, what I have learned is that in Feng Shui, the main concept is that qi- that invisible powerful all-pervading force- needs to flow in a certain way through our dwellings for harmonious lives. When the qi is stagnant, or rushed- when there is too much yang or yin energy in areas of our dwellings- the effect is negative.
In addition to the flow of qi, each room and home is divided up in areas of influence in your life based on the Lo Shu Magic Square. Using the Ba Gua (the Octogonal compass, if you will) a Feng Shui Master can determine which areas of your dwelling need Feng Shui cures. For example, if your love life is a challenge we would look at the relationship area of your home. Perhaps that area is where your dark dirty closet is and the qi is stagnant. Once determining that the closet may be affecting your relationship qi, we would apply a “cure” to get the qi moving in that area which will also affect your life.
Meet the Ba Gua:
The Chinese have traditionally put South at the top...
Each area has one of the Chinese five elements that can be affected by other elements in that area. Elements can either enhance, be neutral towards or exhaust one another. For example, the relationship area is presided by Earth. So things that “destroy” earth- wood as an example in this cosmology- should not be placed in this area as a cure.
Number 1 resides in the North and is influenced by the element of water. This area is also known as the Journey or career area. It is more than just career though, it is an area where we are working a career that is deeply meaningful to us and fills us with purpose.
Throughout this blog, I will be posting pictures of my own reading room to show the principals:
My actual reading desk is in this quadrant and this is the area I spend the most time. Above my desk I have a water lilies batik hanging, promoting the qi flow of water in this area, but I could also use something as simple as Ace of Cups.
For me, the Aces represent the most pure form of that energy so I use them as the first option wherever appropriate. It would not be good to put an earth card here- like a pentacle- because pentacles are earth and earth exhausts water.
Number 2 resides in the South West area and is influenced by Earth and relationships. In my office, I have plants (non woody) and I also have things like the open hands and my rose quartz to facilitate qi flow in this area. A wonderful card you can place here is the 10 of Pentacles: grounded happy families protected. You can also put pairs of things here to represent couples.
Number 3 in the east is influenced by wood (wood is considered an element in Chinese cosmology) and ancestors and family. Water nurtures wood so you could put the
10 of Cups here. The Empress and Emperor could work as the ultimate Mater/Pater familias. This area acknowledges the work our ancestors did and continue to do to influence our wisdom and success in all things. This is very different from the western paradigm of independence.
In this area, I have a large plant activating wood qi as well as a big picture of the Buddha to represent people from the past who influence me. You could also put a pic of your grandparents here. Personally I am using the World card from the Dreaming Way, when I asked the artist why he chose an old man for the world card he said, "It is the scene of an old man who has seen the world and is now content with it and himself." It is like a grandpa card to me.
Number 4 is in the South East and is also represented by wood (different Feng Shui schools also call it wind). This is the area of wealth. Wood is considered neutral by earth so it is ok to have earthy things in here. Here I have a nice big thriving plant as well as a small fountain that runs, water also nourishes wood and a small water fountain is an especially powerful Cure for the flow of money coming to you. In this area I place the Ace of Pentacles.
Number 5 is at the very center of the all the other quadrants it is moving yin and yang that all the others spin around, in Feng Shui this is not an area that usually needs a Cure. It is an earth area, also.
Number 6 is in the northwest and is influenced by metal and is the area of helpful people and travel. In my office I have a banner that speaks to being of a helpful nature and if you need to travel more or need to cultivate qi in a way that helpful mentors and support folks come out to help you can certainly activate this area by placing something metal here, a compass perhaps?
To me, metal corresponds to the suit of Swords, so I think I might just place the whole Swords Court here to represent people who can help. This area is also how you are of service so the Ace of Swords could be fitting here, too. I also put the Magician, his help is always a gift. As you see, you can hide them behind things, and according to Feng Shui principals, they still work.
Number 7 is in the West and is cultivated by the area of Creativity and Children (as you see I is directly across from the ancestor area showing a clear linear link to the whom before and after. Fire and earth are both ok to use in this area so I have my terracotta candle holder of a Momma elephant and her baby. I also have a large metal mirror to activate the qi in this area.
From a Tarot perspective I would place 6 of Cups and the Empress. Fire is said to “exhaust” metal so I would not place any Wands related cards in this area, even though they often mean creativity, perhaps the Magician could go here, too. The cards are under my elephant. Not needing to be visually displayed to work.
Number 8 is in the North East and is influenced by Wood and Knowledge. This can also include contemplation and the study of spiritual subjects. Because my door is here there is not much I can do in this area but I do have a picture of the Hermit above the door to activate the energy here.
I would say that I would consider the use of a Major Arcana as elemental-neutral, they can be used anywhere. So if you are stumped with the minors and the right elements use a Major! The area also has a big wooden door, so that inadvertently is activating the qi here.
Finally, number 9 is in the South and has to do with fame and illumination. This area is for building a reputation for yourself but it also can mean the light that shines within you that spark, becomes brighter so that all can see it. I did not get into colors too much in this post, but placing something red here enhances this area.
I have a red pillow and a string of fiery butterflies so that their wings can fan the flames here. In terms of Tarot 7 of Wands/ Ace of Wands/ 8 of Wands would do very well here. Something I did not get into is that if an area is becoming too intense, you can use the destructive element to tone it down a bit. For example, if you were Kanye West and felt the fame too intensely, you could put a Cup card here, a little bit of water, to tone it down.
So there you have it! How to use Tarot as a Feng Shui cure beyond the traditional ones of mirrors, chimes, crystals, and flutes. The idea of Feng Shui is to not make your home look like it just came out of a Buddhist temple, but rather to use the underlying principals with your own cultural influences and contexts.
Disclaimer: Since I have only been studying a few months I am in no way near an expert and I am sure my advice here has some very obvious gaps, however I believe using Tarot applied as a Cure in areas for maximum beneficial flow to qi can only enhance and balance our lives.
There are no hard and fast rules here, only associations that make sense and have meaning to you. Have fun Feng Shuiing!
It is not an easy thing to be a Tarot reader, in fact, if one is not called to do it, it hardly seems worth it sometimes.
Tarot readers often have a history of reading at the fringes of society, often working under the table or without true business practices, it is not uncommon to find a reader reading from her kitchen table with cash payment taken only.
So while Tarot and Tarot readers often have a reputation of working at the fringes of society, society by and large actively blocks readers who aim to professionalize the field. In my years of working and creating a professional business that is legal in every way, here are the particular challenges I and other readers have encountered:
Banks will drop us once they find out we read Tarot. I had a bank that I was using online and that bank decided to drop me for no other reason except that I read Tarot. When I asked why, I was told that my company was in violation of their terms of service. Their terms of service had tarot card readers snuggled in right between mail order bride companies and narcotics sales businesses. (!!!) When I tried to push back, explaining that what I do is like life coaching using the archetypal nature of Tarot, I was ignored, discounted, and basically treated like a third class citizen.
Some insurance companies will drop us if they find out we read Tarot. A colleague of mine was unceremoniously dumped as a “psychic company” when in fact the word psychic appeared nowhere on her website, only Tarot. This insurance company will cover life coaches (also completely unregulated and requiring no formal education) and yoga teachers, but not Tarot readers. Not all Tarot readers are psychic or claim to be, but it doesn’t matter to society- there are no attempts at making any distinctions or educating themselves on the many differences of Tarot and the Psychic field on the whole.
Some festival and event coordinators will not allow us to read at their events (while allowing face painters, art vendors and other small business folk) due to their own personal agenda, religious beliefs, and things like, “We had a bad reader 15 years ago so no readers now.” or “You are only here to capitalize on these poor unsuspecting people.” I have had craft vendors deny me but allow other service providers, I have been told regularly that “We don't allow that kind of thing, here.”
The professionals leave because of the ongoing discrimination they face as well as the vulnerable position they are in because no one will cover them, leaving a nice big void for the bad guys to fill. How does this make any kind of sense?
There are bad readers and con artists who use Tarot as an avenue to rip people off. But when us honest readers who pay taxes, buy insurance, and professionalize ourselves are met with roadblocks at every turn, it reinforces the tarot reader under the table scheme, because no other framework is allowed for us. If the prevailing idea is that Tarot readers are a joke or a con at best, and if readers who do attempt to professionalize are blocked at every turn; then that actually creates the conditions that people complain about in the first place. The professionals leave because of the ongoing discrimination they face as well as the vulnerable position they are in because no one will cover them, leaving a nice big void for the bad guys to fill. How does this make any kind of sense?
Because of the rampant discrimination many readers feel, they often use an alias or do not put a picture of themselves online because they are afraid of the reprisals they may get from society, day jobs, family and friends. If our best most honest readers are still hiding in the Tarot closet out of fear of discrimination and retaliation, then again, that only reinforces the erroneous concept that Tarot can only be a profession at the fringe of society. Discrimination against readers is so difficult that many do not find it worth it. I know many amazingly gifted readers who never take the plunge to actually read as a professional because they are scared. So who is the bully here, readers so unfairly maligned, or cultural ignorance?
Interestingly, I am more authentic, more honest to myself and to others than I have ever been, far more authentic than in any job I have ever held. The sad irony is that society now views me with the most suspicion. Some days I get exhausted having to prove myself and the Tarot over and over again. What a miraculous dream it would be to just do this work with the benefit of the doubt. Understandably because of the con artists many come with a bad experience, but if we are not allowed to professionalize, how can we possibly compete against the bad guy?
So at this point, you might be wondering, “Well, Jenna, why DO you do it then, if it is such a pain in the tuchus?” That is a fair question, a question that I sometimes have to ask myself, especially after a door has been slammed in my face, especially when I am called a “bottom feeder” from a detractor, especially when friends of family say, “If Jenna has an advanced degree and speaks several languages… why is she doing this?”
We do it because to ignore this ignores a fundamental piece of ourselves.
I read Tarot because I have seen how a good reading can fundamentally change someone’s life for the better as nothing else can. I read Tarot because it is a CHOICE that I choose from many options available, not because I have no other choice or options. I read Tarot because I love it and it has value, worth and I get to (lucky lucky me) help people with their lives, I can see everyday that what I do has value for others. Being self-employed as a Tarot reader means I answer to no one except to my clients, I am living my life by my rules and in my way. Reading Tarot means I don’t wear panty hose or dress suits or play political office games (though I do miss having office mates).
Reading Tarot means that I am using all of my native strengths and talents and it is truly me at my best, helping others intuitively is something that I have done my whole life. The call to read Tarot became so loud that I could ignore it no longer and like an artist, like a person who has a calling-everything about who I am fell into place once I took the plunge to go full time. I stopped fighting myself and embraced something near to the core of my meaning and purpose. If reading Tarot wasn’t such an intrinsic part of me, why the hell would I even bother to deal with such unfair bias? Why would anyone (besides the con men) bother when the social cost is so heavy to do so? We do it because it is a part of who we are and what we are called to do. We do it because to ignore this is to ignore a fundamental piece of ourselves.
Being the Queen of Wands type that I am, I also have an agenda. I do not play at being small very well, nor am I the type to be comfortable or happy reading at the fringe. My overarching goal is this: that as a professional reader who also business coaches other Tarot readers; that will I help create a tipping point of professionalism, support, nurturance and honesty- the amount of amazing readers will be so open and so professional-that the culture-at-large will have no choice but to check it’s own stereotype about us. I aim to see Tarot reading being seen in the same light that people now see massage therapy within one generation. I aim to change it all.
Back in the 1970s people saw massage therapy as a fringe business, too. Something hippy folk went to or at the very worst, a veneer for sexual services. When I speak to my massage therapy friends I hear these early stories and I also see how different it is now, there is no longer any stigma attached to get a massage, it is seen as a helpful therapeutic service. I want Tarot to be seen in the same light. I want future Tarot readers to be able to provide a therapeutic service without the stigma of deceit, tricks, or manipulation labeled against them.
So I use my real name. I use my real picture, I am completely legal in every way, even when doors have been slammed shut to prevent me from professionalizing my service, I soldier on. When people ask me what I do, I tell them. I have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. I am extremely proud of the work I do for others and I work very hard at creating a business of value and worth to my clients. My existence serves as education against a long unfair stereotype about who Tarot readers are. I and many others are blazing a path, and I do not come alone. We are the professional face of Tarot. The face that will not allow anyone to put us away, to shut us up or ridicule us. We are here to stay.
As a Tarot client, student, or Tarot lay-person, you can help, too. Do not hide in the shadows about your craft or interest or that you get readings, square those shoulders and calmly step out into the light with us. Educate others about Tarot, engage when you hear misinformation, bring yourself authentically and push back when others attempt to quiet you. We stand shoulder to shoulder and we will change this, within our lifetimes it is possible and the world will be better for it. Join us.
We are the professional face of Tarot. The face that will not allow anyone to put us away, to shut us up or ridicule us. We are here to stay.
“My reader was telling me what I already know.” What is going on here and why does it matter? Below are 4 reasons why a client might be getting known information from a reader:
However, a reader who is talking about immediate issues: the micromanaging boss, the still living at home adult child, the husband who has been distant-- these things, while they may be “what I already know” can be instantly confirmed for accuracy illustrating a clear connection between the reader and the sitter. Doing this without being vague takes far more skill and confidence on the part of the reader, and in my mind, is the most accurate way of illustrating that the Tarot is in fact speaking to the sitter’s life and not just making up a bunch of you know what.
#2 There is a mismatch between sitter expectations and the experience being offered by the reader.
In a larger cultural context, there exists a kind of showman style of some intuitives that has largely dominated the popular imagination and expectation about what one should expect from a reading session, “I feel someone over here in this corner, a purple sweater and a daisy, who is this message for?” if the sitter has an expectation that this style is the norm, that they will be wow’d with information about the mystery of their lives, then a reader who is verifying known information may not live up to their presession expectations. Does that mean the reader is bad or perhaps just a bad fit for what the sitter wanted?
It is important for the sitter to research what the intuitive does and how she does it. Read her reviews; what do they say about her reading and intuitive style, these are often clues to see if her style is a match. Just like with any other service practitioner, as the consumer it is important to find out if the provider will meet our base expectations before we buy.
#3 The sitter has specific expectations about the session.
Sessions come from a conversation between our higher selves, our God principal, or subconscious and our own inner knowing- we cannot possibly dictate to all of Them what we want as often They have their own ideas about that and that idea is to get the sitter to pay attention to certain known aspect of their lives.
#4 The current situation is emphatically more important, it is the lynchpin unlocking everything else.
That right there is a Spiritual Intervention, sure it’s all stuff the client knows but her Higher Self is so absorbed with looking at the current issue that She absolutely ignores the stated question. Her future lies directly within the resolution of a current scenario and her Higher Self is far more motivated in helping to resolve an urgent issue than alleviating anxiety about the future. An unscrupulous reader in this scenario would just give the sitter what she wants, “I see that in 6 months you will find the man of your dreams, he will be tall, he will be accomplished, he will love you, its coming for you!!!”
O, how much easier it is to be a reader to tell sitters what they hope/desire/wish to hear! So much more spiritual labor goes into being a conduit for truth, delivering the tough news, the news that will hurt and be unremarkable and necessary and needed and ultimately transform a sitter's very life. It is tough being the "bearer of bad news" or telling the client that the session will not be about what she was hoping for-- making people take their spiritual medicine is tough work! I get clients who have seen a string of readers before me, “But they said he will come back but he never did.” How hard it can be as a reader to state the obvious and the painful, “Darling heart, he is not. Let’s look at healing that heart of yours.”
Sometimes a reading that speaks to “what I already know” will be the most honest and profound reading a client has ever had… if she can check her assumptions at the door and open to the incredible mystery/ordinary that is a good Tarot session.
Over time, I have learned to mark my calendar and back up my hard drive because it seems that the Mercury Retrograde seems to hit me hard. As a triple Gemini (sun, moon and mercury all in Gemini) I seem to get particularly hard hit during these times.
Last year, I had my laptop break, my car break down, the electrical wiring in my house collapse all costing me over 5k in repairs!
For me, the retrograde of Mercury is no joke and I appear to feel its effects about a week before it actually goes in rewind.
Mercury is about to move backwards on June 7th and lasting throughout the rest of the month. Remember what I said about it hitting me early? Well, I fell down the stairs a few days ago and sprained BOTH ankles!
When Mercury is in retrograde we may experience snafus in communication with others, problems with travel, and electrical equipment failures. Go gently, back up your work, and of course, get a Tarot reading about it!
Mercury Retrograde Spread
Read the Spread is read right to left
1. Will the retrograde affect my communication with others?
2. Will the retrograde affect my electronics?
3. Will the retrograde affect my travel?
If any of these is a positive response then proceed with further clarifying questions.
To help you with your reading I have conducted a spread on moi:
Using the Wild Uknown I proceeded to ask the questions below and got:
1. Justice for Communication (looks like there are no issues in this area this time around...yay)
2. Judgement reversed for electronics (uh oh looks like a problem here! The Wild Uknown showing me the Judgement card which has birds leads me to believe it is most likely a car issue-- something that affects movement)
3. Ace of Pentacles reversed is definately giving me further insight since this question covered travel and Ace pf Pentacles reversed is often a loss of money, i.e. more expensive repairs! grrr.
Cut a hole in the box... oh, wait... wrong instructions, ahem...
Cross the first card with this second, action card, this can be none or all three depending on your initial responses.
1. What can I do to block the effect of the retrograde in this area?
Pulling aside the two 'trouble cards' I then cross them with the blocking element, what can I do to block this energy? Chariot crossing Judgement FURTHER indicates that this is going to be a car issue or travel related break down of some sort and 10 of swords crossing the Ace is basically my deck shaking his head and saying,
"Girl you are not going to get out of this so do not buy those shoes, inflate your savings account! Check your AAA membership. too!" Sometimes there really isn't much we CAN do, but the heads up is very helpful.
Finally pull 3 more cards below the initial card and the crossed card as the final outcome
1. What will be the outcome of the affected area once I take minimizing actions?
First I have the Sun, the Devil, and finally 6 of Wands: While it is an annoying inconvenience it really does work out in the end without too much heartache. I have been thinking to get a new car for awhile now, and I believe that is the function of the Devil in this layout.
Second, Page of wands (that's me I am usually Page or Queen depending), 4 of wands and Strength: further reinforcing that I will be really just fine, no personal harm done and it should all be ship shape by the end of the retrograde.
While there was nothing I could really "do" in the context of this reading, it is helpful to know what I need to be aware of so now at least it will not be such a glaring surprise.
There you have it, my Mercury Retrograde spread! Do share the results of your spread in the comments below. I hope the retrograde goes easy for you!
The Tarot has 4 Queens and each one is different in personality, outlook and expression. Which one are you? Take the survey to find out and post your results below!
Don't mind if I do!
Today's card pull is the mighty, yet gentle, King of Cups.
I really fancy King of Cups types, they are calm, patient, tolerant and are true diplomats of the court realm. They diffuse arguments and work to bring people together. This is often my "therapist" card. He can also be an artist, a person in ministry, a poet. When a Court card makes an appearance it can either mean someone with those qualities popping up or that you need to take some of his qualities on for yourself. This King is so much about helping others, how are you helping others in your own life?
Maybe you need to give away some free hugs!
1. I am giving back to my community by doing...
2. Think back to a time where you truly and selflessly helped another, what was that like and how did it make you feel?
3. What do you need to be more tolerant of, more forgiving, more understanding of?
4. What does the act of compassion look like in your life? How do you practice compassion?
Not too long ago, I was at a large event waiting for the doors to open and my line to fill with eager clients. I had two gentlemen pass through my way and toss off a quick,
“Oh I bet the ladies are going to LOVE you!” while not breaking stride past my table. Ever the feminist I rejoined, “Well you know… Tarot is for men, too!!” they laughed and in fact did not take me up on my offer to read for them.
I would say 90% of my clientele are in fact women but is this truly a “women’s thing”?
"the power of the changing moon ruled over women"
The Delphic Orcle. c. 440-430 BCE.
A review of history places women in the unique position of being spiritual seers, ranging from cultural beliefs that the power of the changing moon ruled over women to the idea that women were thought to be the dark (yin) the mysterious dark power. A power that was so disturbing, in fact, that witch hunts were thought necessary to curtail this mostly feminine power. The great witch hunt during the inquisition mostly brought the elderly, the unmarried, the local herbalists, healers and fortune tellers all women believed to be in danger of losing their souls as a result.
"foothold over the mysterious, the nonlinear, the inner knowing..."
However, our earliest literature describes in detail the power female oracles have had over heads of state, army generals and philosophers alike.
Today, even in places where women are disenfranchised the most, do we see them retaining the foothold over the mysterious, the nonlinear, the inner knowing. So normative it is that it is known as “women’s intuition”.
Modern society often scoffs at intuition; fortune telling, probability casting, with some men disempowering the act, “oh well, you know how silly women are… rational men like us have no need for ‘fortune telling’.”
Women with significant intuition have had an interesting journey; from having immense power and influence over society, to eventually being feared and hunted to today’s mixture of bemused patronization. As women have gained in so many areas in the last 100 years in the western world, truly a revolution for equality, there has also been a loss of seeing women with intuitive insight as something deserving of respect.
"women as holders of intuitive knowledge..."
King of Wands renormed: Gaian Tarot
The tarot journey taken by Rider Waite Smith (Rider Waite deck) and later by Crowley (Thoth) continues the themes of women as holders of intuitive knowledge but also under patriarchic control.
Cards such as the Empress and even the Queens continue to express women as mothers and wives, considering only care-taking as the primary role for women. Except for the Queen of Swords perhaps, but even then she is the unmarried sister.
Later on, the Tarot underwent some revolutionary norming with the birth of the 70s feminist Tarot deck by Vogel and Noble, Motherpeace and the Feminist Tarot by Gearheart and Renny. There was significant revision of these roles that continues in many decks today. One of my favorite examples of this is the Gaian Tarot which has turned King, Queen, Knight, Page into Elder, Guardian, Explorer and Child thereby releasing the gender/power dynamics from the Tarot.
"women have come so far"
The Housewives Tarot
Post post modernism loves all things anachronistic, and we see evidence of this in the cult following that is supporting the Housewives Tarot, using images of the quintessential 1950s housewife.
In many ways, women have come so far that this stylized domestic bliss is seen with endearment which is a far cry from the 60s and 70s earnest and revolutionary efforts to break from the domestic woman role. Post post post feminism, perhaps?
Regardless, it seems easy for today’s man to dismiss what he considers to be a “woman thing”. This is a person who is not considering that throughout time wars were waged, land was conquered and ships launched all by the voice of a woman who could see just a little further on up the road.
Some men might do well to pay attention and listen to inherent intuitive observations by the women around them rather than dismissing it as folly.
But whatever our male gender decides to do or not do, women around the world and in every culture keep the torch burning ever believing in their own intuition and curiosity for information outside of time; a legacy that extends back to the very dawn of humanity.
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