How I Read the Tarot for Online Clients

How do I read the In-Depth Tarot Readings that Clients Order?

In-depth Tarot Readings are one of my favorite ways to connect with clients. The readings are intimate, juicy, and always educational. I take these readings very seriously and dedicate quite a bit of time and attention to ensuring that when you receive your reading it is not only clear and full of advice but that it touches the core of your inquiry.
For me, it’s super important that each and every client I work with has a great experience. So that’s why I have created a list of literally ALL the steps I go through with each and every client- from the second they book me to the very last e-mail after the reading and beyond.

When You Place an Order

I receive a request for a reading
Check Paypal to see that they did indeed pay.
*If they did not, respond to the request with explanation of how the tarot reading works and the payment process via Paypal.
Payment received
Check the email to make sure I have a clear idea of what the tarot reading will be focused on (what is their question or what area of their life do they want to focus on).
*If there is no question or the question is unclear, respond asking for clarification or focus.
Question/Focus of the Reading is Clear
Respond to the request, letting them know you received their order and will have their reading to them within the next 3 days.

As soon as I have uninterrupted time to do the reading, I start collecting the tools I need. The tools include a variety of items including:

  • Tarot deck
  • reading cloth
  • pendulum and/or oracle deck (used for clarification)
  • candle/incense with holder and matches (I usually make my own candles and incense blends for this purpose)
  • crystals to help with focus and connection
  • Notebook and pen
  • a glass of water or cup of tea

The deck is selected by intuition or relation to the querent’s reading focus. For example: I’ll use XIII for clients that are into BDSM or have a question regarding their sexual relationships, for clients looking for information about their spiritual journey I like to use Thoth, and for business questions I often use Tarot of the Old Path. At times, I’ll use 2 decks such as a tarot deck and an oracle deck from which I will draw a card to guide the energy of the reading.
This is also the time when I make it clear that I will be busy for the next hour for the actual reading.

Setting up for the reading

I message Damon to let him know I won’t be answering the phone then I turn the phone on silent. I turn off all distractions like tv and computer though I might turn on some low music depending on my mood. I also schedule these readings during a time of the day when I’m least likely to be interrupted by any visitors like the land lady or delivery men or Jehovahs Witnesses, hah!

I lay out the reading cloth with the crystals in the corner, set out my cards (and pendulum if used), make sure my tea/water as well as my notebook and pen are near at hand and light my candle/incense.

Beginning with Prayer

My divination protocol was taught to me by Galina Krasskova in her divination course and you can see a similar protocol on Raven Kaldera’s website here. Its very simple:

  • Cleanse and clear space
  • Ask for the Gates to be opened (I pray to the Norse Goddess Syn for this)
  • Ask for a blessing from a patron deity (I pray to Odin and Frigga)
  • Ask for the blessing of Diviners that have walked this road before me (witchcraft teachers, Saint Agabus, and others)
  • Ask for the blessing of my beloved Ancestors
  • Bless the client
  • Bless the tools I am using
  • Formally and ritually ask for clarity

Connecting with the Online Client

Connecting with the querent in spirit and energy begins the actual reading. Some clients are very confused about this particular part of the reading and I get more questions about this than almost anything else about tarot readings. Since the reading is done without the client present, some feel that there is no possible way for me to connect with them or for the cards to answer their questions because their energy isn’t physically present. What I would love to easily get across is that energy isn’t caged in by such boundaries as time, space, physical barriers, etc however that usually leads to a discussion bordering on Quantum Physics and I’ve yet to work out an easy answer, sorry. In the end, I just try and help them understand I can just as easy tap into a client’s reading when their half way across the world as I can if they were a foot away from me and that, no, they don’t need to touch the cards in order to have an accurate reading – in fact, many readers are very picky about not letting anyone at all touch their cards ever and yet give excellent readings each time.

A tool that really helps me in connecting with clients across long distances is angelite which is a throat chakra stone that opens up communication. The particular stone I use is also imbued with the Reiki symbol for distance connection for this particular use.

Choosing a Spread

Each question, querent, and energy dictates what spread I use for a reading. Some spreads work particularly well for business and finance situations while others work well for when querents want to focus on bringing something in particular into their lives and just need guidance as to how. Sometimes the spread will shift and change during a reading, when I feel drawn to pull another card for clarification. At other times I may be drawn by spirit to simply lay out the cards without a spread and read the situation intuitively. No matter what situation I am in or what spread I use, I always make a note of it and explain to the client why I laid out the cards in the manner that I did.

Reading the Shuffle

While shuffling the cards, I take deep breaths and focus on the client and their question. The shuffle itself can often give me clues as to how this reading will go. If the cards have a lot of friction and the shuffle feels forces, I can guess that there are some barriers that the client or the situation has up that I might have to work through when reading the cards. If the cards shuffle together smoothly and evenly, I foresee that the reading and the client’s situation will also be smooth. If the beginning of the shuffle is smooth but then there is a bump, pause, or friction later in the blending of the cards then I foresee that there will be a bump in the road ahead for the client. I make a mental note of the shuffle to mark down later, set the cards on the altar, repeat the client’s inquiry, and cut the cards.

*Did a card fall out?
Sometimes during a shuffle or even cutting and laying out the cards a card will fall out. I ALWAYS read this card in the reading. I take these random cards as messages from the Divine that need to be taken into account for the client and the entire situation.

The Tarot Layout

Laying out the cards happens pretty quickly and without incident (this was not the case when I had a cat who wanted to snuggle the altar and tarot every time I had a client reading). I lay all the cards out at once. I know some readers lay out a card at a time and read that way but I find doing this task all at once allows me to see both the big picture and the details – no forest is lost for the trees this way.

Reading the Cards

Sitting with, soaking in, and reading the cards

During this time while the cards are out, I look at the entire reading, taking the image in like a painting at a museum. The entire reading tells a story just like each individual card does. I consider what the story looks like – is it a romance or a thriller? A drama? I then go row by row, card by card and read into the details with my client and their question in mind.

I have to admit, I often talk while I do this as if the client is there, mumbling over the cards and saying things like “Oh I see here that you’ve not be sleeping well…” and them nodding as if they’ve answered back. I often think back to myself, cradling my tea, squinting at tarot cards, and muttering away that most people would think I was absolutely nuts – but I know you don’t dear client because we understand each other, right?

Taking Notes

I take notes the whole process of the reading. If anyone looked at my notes their initial idea that I might be nuts might very well be justified. My handwriting is scratchy and nearly illegible. The topic seems broken and all over the place. Short hand, symbols, and little sentences in the margins like “It’ll be in the Fall. Probably close to Thanksgiving” fill pages. These odd bits of paper and writing will transform later, after another cup of tea and a long look over the tarot table, into your reading email. 

Your Reading

After I’ve digested the advice and messages of the cards, I take my notes to the computer. I begin typing up a comprehensive explanation of the reading with symbol explanations, broad stroke explanations, and, most importantly, what the cards say is in store for you and what you should do about it. This all adds up to 1000+ words that I combine with at least 2-3 photos of your reading. 
Before I send out the email, I re-read it and check in with myself. It is my biggest desire to make sure each client is getting as much information and advice as I can give. 
I then send out the reading with blessings and a welcome to each client to feel free to ask any questions about the cards I’ve laid out. 

Follow Up

After the client receives the reading I like to do a small check in, especially if I don’t hear back from them in the next few days. I want to make sure the reading went through as it should, that the messages were understandable, and that the images were easy to view.

If the client has questions I take my time to review the reading and we work on where things might not be clear. However, if their questions range outside of the reading, we discuss either 1 or 2 more card draws for an additional charge or purchasing another reading if the topic is separate from the last one.

Lastly, after reading is received and questions are answered, I send a thank you to the client for being such a great customer.  A month or so down the road I often check in with my clients. A month is a great amount of time to have between in-depth readings. I’ve found that this gives clients enough time to really process and implement the advice of the previous reading, they are ready to take the next steps in their life and might be interested in seeing what the cards have to say now.

I also love to see how clients are doing and how my reading has benefited their lives since we last spoke. This really reminds me of why I love my job – the results. 

I welcome all of our clients, and those considering becoming clients to read my Privacy Policy and the Tarot Reading page’s FAQ’s. If you have any questions, please feel free to Contact Me. 

Ask a Volva: Touching Tarot Decks

Should I let other people touch my tarot deck?

I get this question, in various forms, quite often, especially when reading at events. 
Before I go on to giving my answer, let me please say there is no Right answer or One True answer to this question. Each tarot reader might have a different opinion and it really is all about you and what you are comfortable with.  I know of at least one tarot reader who feels it is absolutely necessary for the clients to touch the deck. She feels that this connects the client’s energy to the cards and that the next client that chooses that deck, they choose the whole package – energy, cards, message, and all. She might have a point as I’ve never had a client respond with distaste to my decks or their energy (at least those clients who want a reading – this isn’t about those people who respond with distaste to my profession, that happens) even after they’ve been in the hands of clients all day at a fair. 

Varying Opinions
I have no issue with letting a client touch my cards. I’ve even had clients ask if they can go through my cards to look at the images on a certain deck they are drawn to and let them. I don’t feel it has a damaging effect and I usually cleanse my cards, thank them, and give them care between events anyways so I don’t feel I’m bringing a jangle of energy home or from event to event to event. 

What About a Client with Bad Energy?
You can always choose who you want to read the cards for.
That being said, if you still would like to go on with reading for someone who’s energy you don’t feel comfortable with, by all means, shuffle, cut, and deal the cards yourself. Most clients won’t know the difference. If they do ask why they aren’t cutting the deck themselves, just say that you felt moved to do so or were intuitively guided. You don’t have to make them feel uncomfortable by stating you don’t like their energy. 

Cleansing Your Deck
If someone does touch your deck and you don’t like it or feel the need to cleanse your cards, there are many ways you can do so – I discuss them here.

If you are at an event or party, the easiest way is to shuffle the cards continuously with the intention of dispersing the energies on them. Otherwise, you can be as elaborate or as simple in the cleansing process as you like. This is also why I usually if not always have a cleansing stone like clear quartz or selenite near at hand for space clearing.  However, I also know clients who guard their tools and tarot with great vindication. No one touches these cards but them and if they do, those cards then undergo a thorough cleansing and cycle of re-bonding with the reader.

Still other clients have 2 decks – 1 they read for clients and allow or don’t mind when they are touched and 1 for themselves that no one touches but them to keep the bond strong.  As for how much each tarot reader allows others to touch the cards is also varying. Some only allow a client to cut the deck but do not allow any further handling. Others don’t mind or even desire the client to thoroughly handle the cards.

I used to ask my clients to shuffle the cards – I stopped doing that when 2/3rds of my clients turned out to be uncomfortable with it as they felt they weren’t good at shuffling or had a hard time with 78 cards that were a lil bigger than a standard 52 card playing deck. I still have my clients, when in person, cut the deck because I think it draws them further into the experience and the connection between them, their question, the cards, and me can only benefit from it in my mind. 
Like I said before, when it comes to this question, it all depends on the reader and their personal beliefs. 

Tarot of Bones: Interviewing Lupa Greenwolf

Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview!
How long have you been reading tarot? What got you started?

I started reading tarot in 1996 when I was a newbie pagan. It was a period where I was trying out everything–tarot, herbs, crystals, totems, etc. My first deck was the Shapeshifter Tarot, because I liked the concept of being able to assume the forms of other animals, even if only in spirit, and the artwork was lovely. In 1999 I discovered Ted Andrews’ Animal-Wise deck, and it was love at first sight. We worked out our own directional/elemental spread together, and it’s been my main form of divination since, more from a totemic perspective than a strictly tarot-based one.

Coming back to the tarot through the Tarot of Bones has been something of a homecoming for me. I’m older and more experienced, and I have a more nuanced and personal view of the cards and their symbolisms. Early on, I stuck mostly to the books; I was especially fond of P. Scott Hollander’s “Tarot For Beginners”. Now I’m reforming my own relationships with the tarot cards, and while I follow some of the common themes, there’s a lot of personal interpretation.

I love what you say on your website about your use of Bones, especially the part, I hope you don’t mind if I quote, “Through bones we can speak with our evolutionary ancestors; through divination we create patterns that help us make sense of the world around us–and the worlds within.” What started your wonderfully morbid hobby of collecting and creating art with bones?
I’m not sure I’d call it “morbid”, though it certainly is wonderful! When I was a kid I was always bringing home little natural treasures–feathers, leaves, bones, etc. These were unfortunately lost when we moved from one place to another. However, in my late teens I found myself with a pickup truck and a small income, and so I was able to go to craft stores, antique shops and the like to pick up hide scraps, old fur coats, and so forth. In 1998 I began creating and selling artwork made from these remains, first small projects like pouches and necklaces, and then more elaborate costumes and other pieces.

It’s an intensely spiritual practice for me, always has been. I wanted these remains to have a better “afterlife” than being a trophy or status symbol, and I wanted to care for the spirits that were still within them, even if they were just haunts or impressions. So everything I create, even if it has a seemingly mundane purpose, is sacred. Everything gets a ritual purification with prayers once complete, and I make offerings through donations to nonprofit organizations that benefit wildlife and their habitats. These are our relatives, even if somewhat distant, and they deserve care and attention like our human ancestors.

They’re also a constant reminder of the world beyond our human-centered habitats. We keep thinking in terms of “natural” and “artificial”, when in actuality we are just human apes and everything we do is an extension of the big brains we evolved as a survival strategy. Yet we make decisions as though we are the only ones who matter. My hides and bones, especially my skull collection, help remind me otherwise; they’re sort of a council that I consult.

What other items besides bones are you drawn to as tarot and art mediums?
Honestly, I mostly stick to making art with animal remains and other natural and recycled materials. I have drawn on a wide set of skills in creating the Tarot of Bones assemblages–painting, sculpting, adhesives, design, etc. And I do use these skills in my more general artwork, but it’s more along the lines of using acrylic paints to decorate a leather pouch or animal skull necklace, rather than creating an acrylic painting on a canvas as is more traditional. This is the first tarot deck I’ve designed, so I don’t know what I’d use for a medium if I created another one, but I do have a few ideas on the back burner.

I use a lot of recycled and reclaimed materials. Every one of the backboards for the assemblages came from a thrift store as did many of the other materials, from paints to faux flowers. Even a lot of the hides I work with in my artwork are secondhand or salvaged. Most of the bones were bought new or found out in the great outdoors; a lot of that is because I was very particular about which ones I used, both with regards to species and condition.

I know many readers also fall into the subcultures of vegan and animal rights activism while others simply feel uncomfortable with using animal curios. What reactions have you received over your deck?
I actually haven’t taken much flak for the Tarot of Bones in specific; I think the information on the website helps a great deal, particular where I do explain why I chose bones as opposed to other materials. Bones tend to cause less consternation than, say, fur, and I even know a few vegan pagans who pick up bones from the woods for their altars. I have gotten some negative responses for my art in general over the years, ranging from nasty comments online to, well, nasty comments in person. They usually follow the same few patterns–trying to convince me to stop my art, telling me what a horrible person I am and how someone should use my bones in artwork, etc-

-so I’ve come up with some stock responses over the years, and I try to keep the conversation brief and civil since arguing is pretty pointless. It happens to everyone who makes hide and bone art, unfortunately, and too often the people who come in swinging aren’t interested in hearing anything that doesn’t toe their party line. So I try to keep the conflict to a minimum in situations where we aren’t able to have a more constructive conversation.

My hide and bone art is part of how I am an environmentalist; it helps remind me and others that there is more than just the human-centered world we live in, and brings a more nature-centered energy to homes otherwise filled with drywall, furniture, computers and other human things. I reclaim a lot of materials in my art, and I make sure everything gets a use–even tiny scraps end up as pillow stuffing. I donate part of the money I make to environmental nonprofits, and because I have a flexible schedule I can do some volunteering locally, too. And a lot of the vegan alternatives to my materials are pretty bad for wildlife and their habitats; plastics are almost all made with petroleum, crystals and metals are often mined with very polluting methods, cotton and other plant fibers are grown in massive monocrops that destroy habitats and poison animals through pesticides and fertilizers. Never mind that everything you buy at, say, Michael’s was made in China by underpaid, often abused labor, and was sent to the U.S. on ships that pollute the ocean with oil and other unpleasant things. I try to minimize my use of these supposedly “cruelty-free” materials, and buy them secondhand as often as I possibly can.

Without giving away your trade secrets of course, how do you purchase or find or gather your bones?
I have a few different hide and bone dealers whose sources and methods I trust for legal and ethical reasons; Custom Cranium and Frozen Critters are two of the main ones, and for resin replicas I like Arctic Phoenix and Bone Clones. I used to have more access to wild land where I was able to collect bones on my own, but these days I have neither the resources nor the time. And since I share a small apartment with two other people and we have no yard, bone cleaning isn’t really an option so I have to stick to pre-cleaned bones. But I’d rather be making art with them anyway, so it all works out–I get to support small businesses, and I have more time for what I really love doing.

Why did you decide to create permanent pieces rather than ones that you could move around and change between photos for the tarot cards? I understand this decision raised the cost of creating the tarot deck for you?
First, I’m an assemblage artist, not a photographer, when it comes to the Tarot of Bones. So my primary art form involves putting the items together into a completed piece of artwork which will then be ritually purified and sent off to its new home. The photo is just what’s necessary for translating that assemblage into an easily replicable format–tarot cards. And a lot of what I do to the materials in the process of putting together the assemblages permanently changes them, like painting them or adding a sculpting compound, so it wouldn’t make sense to make them temporary anyway.
From a spiritual perspective, creating a permanent assemblage rather than a temporary one seals the energy in more thoroughly. A photo is not the same as the real deal, though it can convey some of the power. These assemblages are shrines, both to the spirits of the bones within them, and the spirit of the cards themselves. I wanted them to have a long-term form, rather than an ephemeral one. Honestly, I can’t wait for the official release party where I plan to have all of the assemblages on display in someplace that is NOT my apartment!

Yes, it did cost a lot more, to be honest. I could have just cycled through a few dozen skulls and bones and other materials in varying combinations with temporary assemblages, with many of them appearing in more than one card’s artwork, and saved a lot of money. But I had a grander, more elaborate vision than that, one that involved individual species and the symbolism of different bones in the vertebrate body. Since I needed to have a lot more bones for that purpose, why not just have bones for each unique assemblage?

Will you be selling any of the finished pieces?
They will all be for sale once the Tarot of Bones is officially released, though I want to keep one or two for myself. I love having them around, but they take up a LOT of space; most of the free wall space in the apartment at this point is covered in them, and they need to do the equivalent of growing up, moving out and getting a job. Plus the money I’ve crowdfunded has all gone to materials, perks, and other costs. Selling the pieces will help me pay myself for the time and effort I put into designing the deck in the first place. I’m fully self-employed, after all, and every hour I put into the Tarot of Bones was an hour I wasn’t able to put toward more immediate income to pay my rent and bills–but I had to have a place to live and food to eat all through the process anyway. So selling the pieces will help me get back my initial personal investment in the project.

You are currently ahead of schedule, if you stay that way can we expect edits to the current image releases or anything surprising before the release date?
Well, the pictures you see on the website right now are just quick snapshots saying “Hey, look what I made!” They’re not the final photos for the card art. So after I have the assemblages done I’ll be setting up a better photography studio in my home and taking the final pictures and then editing them with GIMP. I may go back and tweak a few of the assemblages before then, but the production schedule probably won’t get moved up too much. The printing will take a while, and I want to hire a professional editor for the book and they’ll need time, too.

Can you tell us a little about the companion book? Will it be a basic tarot cards defined or will it be just as unique as the cards themselves?
The Tarot of Bones companion book is not meant as holy writ or the final word on what each card means. But it’ll give readers more of an idea of why I created each card as I did, why I chose specific animals, etc. It’s a guide to the Tarot of Bones in specific, and while you can certainly use other books and your own interpretation when you use the deck, there’s a lot of valuable information that may help you navigate the deck as its own individual entity. I won’t be going into the basics of tarot; there are TONS of books that do that. But I will likely be including some unique spreads along with my card interpretations.

What is your favorite piece so far?
That’s a tough one. I think my perennial favorite is still the Magician. I really like how the design turned out; it best illustrates my personal style as an assemblage artist. But I also have a deep, abiding love for the Four of Wands, the second assemblage I ever created. And I’m tempted to keep the Hermit for myself, too.

Why did you choose crowdfunding for your tarot deck rather than the more traditional route of going through a major publisher?
Honestly? Creative control. I’ve published books with a couple different publishers, and while they’ve let me have a fair bit of control, this is a deeply and intensely personal project. It is the product of almost two decades of art and writing experience, and it draws together all of my skills into one Magnum Opus. I’m outsourcing very little with the Tarot of Bones; I hired Narumi of Lotus Lion, who has done several graphic design pieces for me, to create the back design for the cards, and again I’ll have an editor for the book. But I’m doing everything else–the photography, layout, etc.

Also, in doing a bit of research, it’s harder to get a publisher for a photo deck; they tend to prefer other sorts of art. Since I wasn’t willing to morph the photos of my assemblages into computer-generated designs, I just decided to do this on my own. It’ll be my first major foray into self-publishing, so I’m drawing on my experience in the publishing industry to help me along. And I’ll be getting some mentoring with some of the skills I’m less familiar with, like the photography.

Were there any surprises in the crowdfunding process?
Yes: the amount! The IndieGoGo campaign last spring met its initial goal in four days, and doubled the amount by the end of the six week campaign. I was incredibly surprised and honored that that many people wanted to back the Tarot of Bones. It just made me want to make even more sure that the final deck and book will be amazing. I also was wowed by the emotional support people gave throughout the project, all the cheering and high-fives I got. I mean, I have some of the best supporters and fans in the world, so the quality doesn’t surprise me–but I was amazed by how many people came out to help! At this point I’ve pre-sold 250 deck and book sets just through that one campaign. And again–thank you to everyone who contributed.

Speaking of crowdfunding, there will be another IndieGoGo campaign in early 2016, for those who missed out on the first one?
While the spring 2015 campaign paid for all the materials and some related expenses, a lot also had to be factored in for perks, upcoming shipping costs, and the like. So I’m far from being in the black on this, and this second campaign will primarily be for the purpose of covering printing costs for the deck and book. The IndieGoGo campaigns are NOT my only source of funding; I’ve also been drawing funds from my art and book sales once rent and bills and other expenses have been paid. But I had a lot of people say they were unable to support the last campaign due to finances or finding out about it after it ended, so this is a win-win situation: they get a second chance to pre-order the deck and book and other goodies, and I get another healthy shot of funding so I can stick to my production schedule and the planned Summer 2016 release.

What advice do you have for those out there thinking of creating their own tarot deck?
Do smaller projects first. This has been a HUGE investment of my time, skills and energy, to say nothing of money. If you’ve never undertaken a big art project or written a book before, I don’t recommend this sort of thing as a starter project. Smaller projects will help you hone your skills to a finer degree so that you’re more prepared physically and mentally when the time comes to get started on your tarot project.

Once you are ready, make sure you have a solid concept. You don’t have to design all the cards at once; I went into most of these assemblages only sure of what card it was going to represent and what bones I was going to use. But those two factors–the bones and the meaning–were the common thread I had to work with throughout the entire project, and they helped to tie them all together. So make sure you, too, have at least one solid thread that binds your cards into one deck.

Also, don’t take my production schedule as something to measure yourself against. Remember I’m self-employed and I’m already in my studio almost every day. So I’m working on the assemblages and the book manuscript in between working on other projects throughout the day. I have the luxury of getting this put together relatively quickly because I’ve done this sort of thing before on a smaller scale, and I’m already immersed in a creative setting much of the time.

Will there be a release party online or off that fans can attend?
There will definitely be an in-person one in Portland, and likely some pieces in galleries after that as well. I’m not entirely sure how to pull off an online party, but I’m sure something can be arranged there, too. I want everyone to have the opportunity to celebrate with me, even if they can’t be with me in person.

What amazing creative projects can we expect from you in the future?
Wellll…a lot of them are currently secret projects under development. I don’t like to announce things until I have a pretty solid plan, because I don’t want to let people down. That and I am a VERY busy person, and unfortunately I just don’t have the time to enact everything at once. So while I have several books bouncing around in my head, some other elaborate art projects on a similar scale, and some new avenues unrelated to anything I’m doing now, I need to maintain my focus on the Tarot of Bones until it’s out and everyone’s gotten their packages of goodies in the mail.

That being said, I do have a new book coming out from Llewellyn in January, Nature Spirituality From the Ground Up: Connect With Totems in Your Ecosystem, which I’m really excited about as it talks about land-based, bioregional totemism in a lot of detail. You can always keep up on my progress with the Tarot of Bones and if you’d like to see what else I’m up to head on over to The Green Wolf.

How to Recycle a Broken Tarot Deck

I recently lost a tarot card out of a deck I loved. I pulled the deck out of my trunk after I was unpacking from an event. I went through the cards and realized immediately something was wrong. I counted and alas, only 77. I separated the Major and Minor Arcana and knew just by looking, the Moon had disappeared. While disappointed, as I love reading this deck, I wasn’t completely heart broken because I know broken decks can be used in so many ways.

The Robin Wood deck is sadly not the first deck I’ve had problems with being broken. I’ve had decks given to me missing cards, I’ve bought decks used that are damaged, and I’ve had pets decide to do a little tarot reading of their own that has caused card damage. At first I was embarrassed to talk about the decks with other readers and I tucked them away in hopes of going back to them months later and they magickally develop that missing card or their tears and coffee stains be mended. 
I then realized that this was folly all its own and that the tarot can be used for so much more than just a traditional reading! This came to me when I was looking at a piece of furniture and wanting to do something to it to make it look spooky-magickal…like add tarot! A tarot deck is considered broken when it is 1) damaged or 2) missing at least one card. 
Broken here means that the deck cannot be read in the traditional fashion. 

If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It
Make sure that the deck is broken. If it is missing a card, set the deck aside for a week or so and set your manifestation into gear to find the missing card. This has worked for me a number of times and usually the card shows up in the most random place. 
If the deck is damaged, do a thorough assessment and decide if its unusable in the traditional sense. Is it just one card? Would you still be comfortable reading for someone else with this deck, even if it isn’t professionally? Are you still able to read for yourself? Maybe this deck just needs to be handled with care and set aside for personal use only. 
Don’t dismantle or give up on your deck when it isn’t too late. 
As I developed this concept of non-traditional card use, I looked online and realized there are many, many readers who have broken decks ( I am not alone! gasp!) and are looking for something to do with them! I began compiling ideas and here is the fruit of my labor:

Create a Major Arcana Deck
If the lost or damaged cards are part of the Minor Arcana only, the Major Arcana cards can still be used in readings. Some types of readings and spreads, especially ones focusing on the spiritual aspects of life, use only the trump cards. 

Oracle Deck
I know of some readers who continue to read their broken decks but as more of an oracle deck. They take out the damaged cards (or leave out the missing cards) and also take out any cards they don’t resonate with or want in the deck. They then use the remaining cards as oracle cards, each representing a different intuitive message for them. 

Playing Cards
If you lose a Major Arcana card you can still use the pips and some of the court cards in a unique playing card deck. Playing decks have 52 cards consisting of 4 Aces, the pip cards 2-10 in each suit, and the Kings, Queens, and either the Knights or the Pages  as the playing card Jacks. 
Imagine playing poker with this deck!

Spell Cards
Use what cards are not missing or damaged for spells, manifestation, rituals, or meditations and pathworking. 

  • If you still have the 4 aces and like to use them to call the Quarters in ritual work, consider framing them or putting them in your magickal tool chest for that purpose in the future. 
  • Set aside the Emperor and the Empress or the Sun and the Moon to represent the Goddess and the God on the altar. 
  • Add the 4 of swords or the Moon to a dream pillow or satchet for rest or psychic dreams. 
  • Tape the Lovers card over the glass candle holder for the focus of a relationship aid spell. 

There are endless possibilities. 

Magickal Artwork & Decor
One of my favorite ways of using a broken deck is in art. 
The biggest piece of my tarot art is my tarot table. It started out as a cube steamer trunk to which I collaged the cards from my broken Jane Austen tarot deck. This is now an altar in my home and at events on which I do my tarot readings for clients and myself. There is a lot of tarot energy and my own personal mojo in this table and I love it.  Use The Remainder in Business
If you’re a professional tarot reader and one of your decks is broken, you can always re-purpose the cards to use in your business.

  • Turn the remainders in to special business cards for top rate clients. 
  • Paste them on your sign advertising your readings.
  • Turn them into price tags for any other items you sell like tarot bags or boxes. 

So the next time you’re going through your deck and find you only have 77 cards or your cat has gotten a hold of the High Priestess, again, don’t despair right away! Those cards are still full of purpose and spiritual juice to be used in your magickal life!
Tarot Blessings,

Setting Boundaries in the Tarot Relationship

Tarot readers have a really interesting job. Even the ones that don’t get paid sit in this odd in-between of mystique and counselor, entertainer and wise advice giver. We hear client’s problems, their worries, their dreams. We develop relationships with them and can even find ourselves invested in the outcome – wondering if everything will turn out alright for them and if they are doing ok days and weeks after a reading. 
Sadly, this position that we are in can put us in a precarious place in the minds of some clients. We start to become, in their minds, a friend, a therapist, or someone responsible for their happiness. This is not only unhealthy but can be down right dangerous for some readers who have attracted a client who isn’t quite stable. 
How do we deal with this?

I come at this question with experience. I have had to learn the hard way to set boundaries with clients.
I have had clients that have, due to my lack of boundaries, skewed the client/reader relationship and thought of me as more of a friend that they just so happen to pay for advice. These clients pestered me via phone calls and email asking for readings at all hours of the day, repeatedly for weeks, and even got to the point where they expected my advice and aid (on everything) for free or at a “friendly” discount. The situation became extremely uncomfortable, not only for me but also for Damon who had to deal with these people as well.

Setting Boundaries

The creation of professional boundaries not only help protect readers from needy or unstable clients but also protects clients from overly curious or prying readers. (I mean, what cleint wants to run into a reader at the super market and get bombarded with questions about their marital problems in front of their kids or strangers in the produce section?) 

In the end, I had to cut them off. I told them I would no longer be reading for them, that our professional relationship was becoming a struggle for me. I dealt with tears, name calling, and more. I’m sure these clients have nothing kind to say about me now, and partially I am responsible for what happened because I didn’t set healthy, professional boundaries.  Sure, cutting off clients is somewhat drastic, especially for tarot readers who make a living off their craft. I want to say first I don’t think cutting off an annoying or strange client should be your first step at all! This was simply something I had to do in order to regain control of that part of my life. Since then, I have changed a number of ways in how I handle clients. 

Clear Company Policies

Be clear on when and where you will provide discounts, refunds, and, if you do bill or invoice a client, how long you will wait for a payment. 
Sadly, even with clear policies, you might still run into those clients that will push for a “friendly discount.” Each person must figure out what is comfortable for them in how to deal with these matters just as each situation will depend on your relationship with that customer. 
Another matter regarding policies is a Privacy Policy that keeps the client safe. 

Set Office Hours

By making it clear what days and what hours of the day you are available to clients, you can prevent them from contacting you during personal hours when you are with family, friends, kids, sleeping, appointments, etc. 

Create Privacy Barriers

This too will vary from business to business. For some this might mean having a business only e-mail (highly recommended anyways due to the professional look), a post office box rather than giving out your home address, or having a phone number you give to clients only. By not giving out personal information to clients, you create a barrier between the two of you that keeps you safe. 

Keep your Personal Life & your Business Life separate. 

(Oseaana has a great video about this on her Business Alchemy series on YouTube). 
Putting out there when you’re having a bad day or even a bad week gives the message that you are a mess and that will draw in people who are attracted to chaos and messes, not people who want clarity and calm via your spiritual practice. 
This doesn’t mean that you can’t write your personal story or blog posts about how you’ve overcome difficulties. It simply means don’t complain about the issue in the moment and then plaster that complaint all over your business social media. If you’re gonna share your life issues, share them in a way that you’re showing how your practice helped you overcome your problems. 

Be Both Professional AND Compassionate

In businesses where the services are of a spiritual and emotional nature, whether its tarot reading, reiki healing, or life coaching, creating boundaries can be very difficult when it comes to emotional attachments between professional and client. 
In one direction, the professional can become too involved in the client’s life, problems, and worries. Taking these matters to heart can cause stress and unnecessary worry for the professional and cause them to either go over a client’s boundary by being nosy or pressing matters or allow clients to cross boundaries and take advantage of the professional’s sympathies. 
In the other direction, the client can come across as cold, unfeeling, and hard. Clients want to be able to connect with those they hire for their spiritual services and if they cannot connect, they won’t return. 
Finding the balance takes practice and can be difficult to find with some clients. In the end, we can fall back to our boundaries and policies to help us when we find ourselves lost in our sympathies for a client.

Be Wary of Who You Have in Your Support System

Everyone needs a support system. People who encourage you, who you can go to for advice, who  you can bounce ideas off of and just outright be yourself first and your business second with. 
Make sure the people in your support system are trustworthy. This will change from person to person whether your support system is your mom, your husband, your best friend since high school, your business coach, or your reverend or high priestess. Be careful who you show your weaknesses and your ideas to. Don’t leave chinks in the armor for someone who is unhealthy and who does not have your best interest at heart. 

Tarot Poetry: An Interview with Marjorie Jensen

Arcana: The Tarot Poetry Anthology is a diverse collection of 78 poems, including original verse and new translations by contemporary writers and Tarot readers. The book can be pre-ordered through the publisher, Minor Arcana Press.
Tarot poetry began in Renaissance Italy with artists like Teofilo Folengo. Many famous poets–including T.S. Eliot, W.B. Yeats, and Marge Piercy–have used Tarot in their work since. Our era is now blessed with our own poetic creations as those featured in Arcana. Editor Marjorie Jensen has brought many of these amazing poets together from an international community including Rachel Pollack, Tanya Joyce, Cecilia Llompart, and Sierra Nelson.

PictureMarjorie Jensen is an educator, writer, and Tarot reader. Since completing her Master’s degree, she has taught (Tarot) poetry and prose workshops at U.C. Berkeley and has edited several literary publications, such as 580 Split. Her published articles include “Structuring Sonnets and Tarot Spreads” in Tarosophist International as well as “Cards are Told” in Unwinnable Weekly. She is also a contributor to Spiral Nature.
See more of her writing and featured Arcana authors on Tarot Poetry WordPress.

I see that you are both a tarot reader and a lover of books as well as an editor. What got you into tarot? Would you mind sharing with us your favorite tarot deck? 
My mom reads Tarot and gifted me my first deck—the Aquarian Tarot—when I was about fourteen. My paternal grandmother read intuitively with playing cards, so I guess you could say my love of reading cards runs on both sides of the family! Currently, my favorite decks are the Paulina Tarot, the Wizards Tarot, and the Rider-Waite-Smith.

What initially inspired the Arcana Tarot Poetry anthology? 
When I started writing my unrhymed sonnet sequence based on the Major Arcana, I wanted to read an anthology of Tarot poetry. I like research, and I found a number of books and poems by individual poets, but no one had created a volume of Tarot poems that brought together multiple authors. So I decided to make the book I wanted to read.

Minor Arcana Press calls Arcana a “muse: enchanting, inspiring, and empowering.” What are some ways that the tarot has inspired and empowered you? 
I love writing with the Tarot and using it in writing workshops. Collecting Tarot is like collecting art (but generally on a much smaller and cheaper scale), and I find art to be a wonderful muse. Also, I feel that the Tarot enriches my spiritual practice—my private rituals as well as the spiritual connections I make when reading for others. 

Arcana is described as “groundbreaking” in its uniting poetry and tarot. Before this project, you published articles like “Structuring Sonnets and Tarot Spreads” in Tarosophist International. Do you foresee a trend of combining tarot with poetry, art, and literature in the future? 
There are some deep connections between Tarot, art, and poetry, going back to renaissance Italy, and what we are able to do now with the internet allows niche communities—like Tarot poets—to come together and be seen. One of the things I enjoyed with this project was seeing how writing from people who spend more time in Tarot circles harmonized with writing from people who spend more time in poetry circles. Both poets and Tarotists give readings, but now a little more light is being shed on how similar those readings can be. And I think this light will continue to grow.   

When this book first came into view to the public it was being crowdfunded through Indiegogo. Why did you and Minor Arcana Press choose to use crowdfunding for the project initially?
Indiegogo did not make its crowdfunded goal, how did this effect printing and publishing the book?

Minor Arcana Press is a small non-profit with a limited budget, so we thought that crowdfunding would be a good way to help cover printing costs and other costs of making the book. Not making the Indiegogo goal means we will be publishing fewer copies of the book. Later this year we will also be putting out an e-book edition so more copies can enter the world, but we will have a very limited press run of paperback editions. Also, not making the goal inspired amazing generosity—for instance, Mary K. Greer offered to waive her fee for the introduction. Gifts like hers made it possible for us to still put out a small press run of physical copies.

What was it like working with authors and artists like Rachel Pollack (one of the poetry authors), Siolo Thompson (who did the interior art and front cover) and Mary K. Greer (who did the intro to the book)?
In addition to Mary’s generosity, and both her and Rachel have been wonderfully supportive. They have also been very accessible and welcoming. Anne Bean, Minor Arcana Press’ layout designer, worked more closely with Siolo than I did (I believe they knew each other before this project because they are both based in Seattle). I feel very blessed to have so many talented women involved in this project—I have been inspired by their words and images.

Some of our readers are both tarot enthusiasts and writers. As an editor, what advice can you give them if they are interested in writing for a project like this in the future? 
Be yourself. After reading hundreds of submissions, I think the best poems draw on personal experience/experimentation/style. The worst seemed to regurgitate all the clichés about Tarot. Utilize the Tarot to find your distinct voice.

Minor Arcana Press is having a launch party for Arcana on August 26th. Will you be there? What can readers expect at this online shindig? 
I will be there! The launch party will be held at Hugo House in Seattle—I’ve never been to Seattle before. There will be Tarot readings as well as poetry readings, and I hope we will be able to post some pictures/videos online. I’m planning on having similar events in other locations, especially Oakland (where I live). 

Will there be more like this anthology in the future for us to look forward to?
I really enjoyed making this book, and would be interested in creating another anthology in a couple years. In the meantime, I plan to finish and publish my Major Arcana sonnets (which are nearly complete!). And I have some fiction that my muses are demanding I work on after that, so my next anthology might end up being a multi-genre collection with drama, fiction, and essays as well as poetry.

Choosing a Beginner Tarot Deck

I began reading tarot professionally in 2009 and have taught classes on the subject off and on ever since as well as participated in community tarot groups both online and off. I often meet people interested in tarot but who hesitate to begin learning or reading because they have questions and insecurities about the cards. By far the question I am asked the most by people interested in tarot is “What tarot deck should I start with?”  Before answering this question, I would like to acknowledge a myth that is very common in the tarot community. 

MYTH: In order to truly be able to read the tarot, your first deck must be given to you.  I heard this myth when I first began my tarot studies as a teenager and I hear it continuously as the years go by. I don’t know who first began this shenanigans but I would love to clarify that it is not true at all. 
Yes, my first deck was given to me and I could not read it anymore that I could read Sanskrit (I can’t, by the way). It was a square, blocky deck that I had problems shuffling and it had minimal images and symbols on it that I couldn’t interpret. This caused me to put off my tarot studies until college when I finally bought a tarot deck that I could read. 
Your first tarot deck can be given to you or you can purchase it, barter for it, borrow it, etc. The way you obtain your deck will not establish whether or not tarot will come easy to you or whether it is something that you will be able to do for years to come; those things are up to you. (BTW, I do not recommend stealing a deck or obtaining one by illegal means. That carries with it its own problems.) When clients, customers, and students ask me which deck they should purchase first I have two answers for them:

  1. Your first deck should have plenty of imagery – preferably of people doing things on the cards
  2. A deck that is aesthetically pleasing to you

The first recommendation sometimes leads to confused looks and questions so I’ll elaborate. Tarot decks have three sections:

  • The Major Arcana or Trumps
  • The Court Cards
  • The Pips (the number cards)

The Pips are what I am concerned about when it comes to the imagery of a beginner deck. In some decks, the pip cards look like playing cards that someone would play rummy or poker with – rows of coins, wands, swords, and cups but no real imagery to read off of. When a deck is like this, the meaning of those number cards relies entirely on the reader’s memory. 
I recommend cards with a lot of imagery and people doing things on the cards, especially the number cards because within that imagery the reader will pick up symbols and hints as to the card’s meaning. This makes them easier to read no matter what level the reader is at. 
The aesthetics of the deck is important for the simple reason that if you like the look and feel of the deck you’re using, you will use it more frequently. Besides, who doesn’t like to have pretty things?

PictureIf asked specifically or pushed for an answer as to which deck I recommend above others for those readers starting out, I say the simple Rider-Waite deck. This is a deck that many refer to as the oldest deck in circulation and the most common/easiest to get a hold of. Book stores, occult shops, new age stores, and head shops carry this deck. I can point out four locations to buy it in my area without hesitation so there is no worry as to ease of purchase for a newbie. 

I recommend this deck in particular because it definitely fits the first of the two previous requirements (the second requirement of aesthetics vary from person to person, of course). There is a ton of imagery in these cards and some tarot readers refuse to use any other deck because they feel this is the only one that contains the “true” esoteric symbols. I don’t know about that last part but I will say that there are a lot of books about this deck and its images and most beginner books will reference this deck unless they were written for another deck in particular. 
I will also say that I use this deck frequently. It is probably in the top three of my most used decks of my collection.  I did ask people in the tarot circles I move in to help me answer this question of recommendation. I asked them what do they look for in a deck and what decks they recommended or favored.  

The decks recommend include:

Teresa Mills of the Facebook group Tarot Daily Journal said, “What are your interests, does a themed deck appeal to you, what theme? What purpose do you want to use your deck, general readings or something else? Go to the aeclectic tarot website, they have over 1200 decks in their database. You can search by a specific theme, alphabetically, or search. You will find some card samples and the reviews can be helpful. If you find a deck you are interested in, you can then how to google and search for the deck, then click images and hopefully you can see more cards in the deck. I read a number of reviews before purchasing, which an give me an idea of the general structure and style of the deck.” The Aeclectic Tarot is an excellent resource for all tarot enthusiasts and her recommendation is an excellent point! I really don’t know that I could have said it better. 

Tarot Blessings
Ylir

Never had a Tarot Reading? Want to get an idea before investing in the cards? Schedule your In-depth Tarot Reading today for insight on any area of your life you would like advice on. 

Ask a Volva: Clients with Bad Vibes

Without fail, when I teach classes on tarot I get at least 1 person who asks what to do if they get a client that doesn’t resonate with them or, worse, is someone they get a really bad vibe from.

One student asked if I had ever read for someone that I felt was “evil” (her words) and what I would do if I did.
While I don’t tend to classify people as good or evil, I did see where she was coming from. In movies and media we’ve seen stories of psychics and readers who are caught up in murder cases and crime because of their connection with either a victim or the person committing the crime. These stories are rampant and good for those nights on the couch with a bag of popcorn and a glass of wine. However, it is a really rare case when something like this happens and is usually much less dramatic.

I do make it a point for every single one of my friends, clients, and anyone else who is wondering about this topic to know – You are NOT Required to Read for Every Client.
That’s it. If someone comes in your booth for a reading or orders a reading over your website or other media and you are uncomfortable in ANY way, you can say no.

I, of course, recommend being polite about it but you can simply state that you are sorry but you cannot read their cards at this time, give them their money back if they have paid, and that is that. If they insist or try and pressure you into reading their cards, then feel free to be abrupt and, if you have to, take measures to have them blocked or removed from you (most events if you are reading in public will have security or you can call the police if necessary).

Consent culture applies to more than just relationships and social encounters. Every person has the right to remove themselves from a situation they are uncomfortable in.

There have been some instances where I felt uncomfortable with clients and each one was in an event setting (a fair or festival) where alcohol was usually consumed by the client. This isn’t usually a problem, I find that clients that have had a drink tend to tip well. However, there could be a case made that these events do bring out the weirdos and my sort of services attract a fair share of them.
I’ve gotten every sort of client from alien conspiracy theorists, men who have hit on me in somewhat vulgar ways, people who claim to be immortal vampires from the 1400’s (and believe it), tarot experts who ironically pay me so they can scold me on how I read the cards, religious fundamentalists of all sorts who believe I’m in the wrong, and more. Each one I handle on a case by case basis and rely heavily on my years of customer service training and experience in most instances. I’m also blessed to have a husband who can look pretty intimidating when he chooses to and is often with me when reading face-to-face with others (its nice to have personal security).

That being said, I love a good, spooky novel with a psychic or tarot reader in it so if you’ve got a murder mystery or horror or whatever sort of novel in mind with this story please feel free to comment or share with me! My nightstand has a couple of free spaces for a good book, haha!
Tarot Blessings,

Ask a Volva: Why Should a Tarot Reader get a Professional Reading?

While sitting before my tarot cards among the hustle and bustle of a vendor hall or fair, I ask those who pass me a curious glance if they would like a reading. Some are interested, some pass on with a shy or fearful expression, and then there are those that stop, shake their heads and say, “I read my own cards (or Runes or other form of divination here).”

To me this is a curious reason to not have a reading (and yes I understand that sometimes it is only an excuse for not wanting to pay for a reading). I wonder if they truly never seek out readings from someone other than themselves. I personally cannot imagine relying solely on my own reading abilities, especially when problems arise in my life that feel bigger than me or what I can handle (and we’ve all been there, I know).

We All Need Help Sometimes

When it comes to someone like this (even those not in the reader community for I see this with healers, teachers and other professions) I ask “what happens when you’re too tired or sick to do this anymore? Who will do it then, when you have not taken care of yourself and you just stop because your body and mind can take no more?” You can only give so much when you are run down and you’re of no benefit to others running at half capacity or less.

Professional Tarot Readers and other Mediums & Metaphysicists often seek the aid of others in their field for therapy & guidance.

I can’t tell you the number of readings where rest, self-care, and stepping back from those they are helping comes up because someone gives and gives and gives to others and never takes a moment to give to themselves. I also can’t tell you how sad it makes me to see these clients get up from the tarot table and I know either intuitively or by something they say that they will not heed the words of the cards and will probably run themselves until they are sick. Wonderful people don’t stay wonderful very long without some help.

I take my own advice (in this case) to heart, reminding myself that I’m no good to my clients, friends, or family if I don’t take a moment to rest and recharge. Sometimes this is as simple as a cup of tea, a nap, or a hot bath. Other times I have to see help from others – my sister-in-law is often a phone call I make but sometimes I need help of a professional kind (we all do sometimes).

When I had my miscarriage in 2013, I went to a psychic friend of mine, needing answers and advice. I had talked to family and friends and while their words were kind and loving, they could not clear my mind of the pain and guilt and trauma I was going through. My friend, the psychic, had exactly the right message for me – “Just as women on this plane of existence have a choice in whether or not they want to have their child, our babies have a choice in whether or not they want to be born. Sometimes a being comes to the physical plane and cannot bear it. They see the life they will live and get scared or feel they are not ready. So they decide to stop before they even get started. They may come again later, in another form or the same, when they are ready.” (I share this here because someone else might need to hear these words, as I did, and be comforted by them.)

In my experience, Professional Readers seek other Professional Readers for aid more than any other type of querent.

I first had the discussion about tarot readers getting readings from others when I was studying under my tarot mentor, June Wright. June and I would swap tarot readings not only so that she could see my progress but also so that she could have a reading done by an outside source. At other times she would swap readings with Damon, who does not use the tarot but his intuitive and psychic abilities to read others. When I asked June why she did this rather than just read for herself she explained to me that having a fresh perspective from someone outside of her problem was sometimes just what she needed. She did readings for herself, and often, but this sometimes left her in a slump of the same answer without any other advice or ideas. However, when I pulled the cards for her, I would point out symbols and messages she hadn’t seen yet.

I do not hold to the myth that tarot readers cannot read for themselves. 

I think this is not only a silly statement but a detrimental one to someone just starting out with the tarot. Reading for ourselves is necessary to build a relationship with the cards whether we’re doing a daily one card pull or elaborate spreads to analyze an event or problem in our lives. Yes, we do bring our own personal biases to the reading table when we do this, which can show up when we read news that we don’t want to hear and blow it off only to risk further problems down the road. This is merely a lesson we all must learn and if you feel that your own biases are limiting your reading – all the more reason to have your cards looked at by another knowledgeable person.

I believe that the best explanation as to why a tarot reader should see another reader is my sister-in-law pointing out that most psychologists, therapists, counselors, etc see someone about their own problems, usually someone within their own profession. 

They do this as an act of self-care. 

They acknowledge that they too have problems, just like their clients, and that their profession is a great way to find help.

Self-care is something I don’t see a lot of within the reader community, sadly. I run into readers who are burned out, giving more of themselves than they should, and running themselves ragged doing everything for those around them and nothing for themselves. They view their abilities as a divine gift and that if they are not helping others with it at all times they are somehow letting down the cosmic creator.

Needless to say I am glad I sought help from another reader. I think I see where some readers are coming from – fear that going to another of their same profession or practice will somehow be giving the competition a leg-up on us, but this is far from the truth.
I’m not much on competition. Cooperation games are more my gig and when I am among competitive people I usually just sit back and enjoy watching them instead.
In readings and business, I feel the same way. We could all compete with each other like gas stations lowering and raising our prices by pennies…or…we could be a brother and sister-hood that helps each other out. I like the second idea best…plus its far less work than trying to keep up with the Joneses.

So, if you’re a reader that up till now has only read for yourself, go get a reading from someone else. There are groups on Facebook that are all about Tarot and other forms of divination and members are all the time offering to give or trade readings for those interested. I’ve also been known to trade readings and give out freebies when I get a wild hair…or is it hare…like riding off on the Ostara rabbit!
I hope that this little ramble has helped you to see that we all need help sometimes, and that is perfectly ok…hell, better than ok, it lets you connect with other people who might also need a reminder that they too should be taking care of themselves and not just others.

Much Love!
Ylir

A Brief History Of Tarot (Or Lack There Of It)

“The Tarot’s story is your story. Savor it. When you have finished reading it – you will be someone else.” ~ Lon Milo DonQuette

A Brief History Of Tarot (Or Lack There Of It)

Due to the nature of history, that is anything written rather than verbal hearsay, the creation of tarot has an unknown date. Students of tarot history can, however, make an educated guess that their initial creation was some time between the invention of paper and the first time the cards were mentioned in known recorded history – 1378 Regensburg, where the cards were banned. 

As far as physical cards, in southern Germany a 15th century woodblock collection was found that would have been used in printing production of tarot decks. Another piece of tarot history is a hand-painted deck owned by the Duke of Milan in 1415.

Outside of the alchemical, zodiac, and other mystical symbols, there was very little evidence that the cards were originally used in fortune-telling. Most historical documents mentioning tarot initially were regards to a gambling game of the same name that was similar to modern-day bridge. 

Today, tarot is defined as a system of divination and fortune-telling based on allegorical images and symbols on a 78 card deck. 

Decks and Variances

A tarot deck is made up of 78 cards, 28 of which are trump cards called the Major Arcana and 4 suits of cards that correspond to the 4 elements, 4 tools of Wicca, and 4 directions. These 4 suites correspond to modern-day playing cards with the exemption of 1 face card in each suit. These playing cards can be used like tarot in divination and have been by many gypsy fortune-tellers. 

Another variation of tarot is the oracle deck. Like tarot, oracle decks are made up of cards with symbolic images, however, unlike tarot there is now set rules on how many cards there need be or what needs to be on them. Oracle cards are created by artists from divine inspiration or intuition. They can be used for divination and fortune telling in the same manner as tarot cards, though certain spreads requiring all 78 cards cannot of course be created with an oracle deck. 

When it comes to decks of tarot, even though the rules dictating the number of cards and what images are necessary, tarot artists have still found ways to transform the cards into individual creations and made their own interpretations and voices heard in each new deck created. I personally have 10 tarot decks and each one has its own feel and depiction of each and every image so much so that it is hard to believe they are essentially the same deck and read the same way until one gets down to an actual reading of the cards. 

Reading the Cards

When looking to tarot cards for divination, fortune telling, meditation, etc. the reader needs to have some understanding of what each card represents and how they are interpreted. This understanding can take years to obtain. I learned tarot from an employer of mine over a year under her mentorship and tutelage. 

Beyond knowing what each card means, the reader needs to know how to lay them down so as to understand what message comes from their higher self or divinity. This is where tarot spreads come into play. When the cards are laid out in a certain, predetermined order, a message is relayed. Spreads can be as small as 2 cards to as large as using all 78 cards. Common spreads are a 3 card past, present, and future reading and the 10 card Celtic Cross spread. 

Bibliography
Witch School first Degree by Rev. Don Lewis
Tarot Journaling by Corrine Kenner

Interested in a Tarot Reading?