Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Ask a Tarot Reader—Card of the Day?

Question: What do you do when all these different tarot readers that you follow pull different cards? Is there a way to use all of them as a guide for your day?

This situation is not dissimilar to using a certain newspaper to check your horoscope. Thanks to the magic of twitter, facebook, and other social-media-centered sites, you can start off your morning by checking what your favorite tarot reader's card of the day is.

What is a card of the day? How is it determined? A card of the day (to me) is the Advice card for the day. A quick little “head’s up” for what might be occurring in your day. How I determine the card of the day: I shuffle the cards and as I’m shuffling, I ask, “What do I and everyone who reads my interpretation need to know for today?” When I think I have shuffled enough, I stop and pull from the top of the deck. Sometimes I’ll fan the cards and pull a card randomly. And other times (rarely) I will flip over the stack of cards to the bottom card of the deck (which is termed the “deep card”). My method of choosing always depends on what my intuition is telling me to do at that moment, but the card of the day is always pulled randomly. Well, as random as tarot (seldom) is.

I will use today as an example. Today’s card of the day for me was the Tower reversed. Here’s what I posted to twitter:

The Tower (rev): You are not seeing the true situation right now; you are unwilling to see it b/c it will destroy what you think you know.

Short, sweet (as sweet as the Tower can be), and to the point. After all, on twitter, you’ve only got 140 characters to get the message out.

Extended interpretation posted to facebook:

Card of the Day—The Tower (rev): You are not seeing the true situation right now; you are unwilling to see it because it will destroy what you think you know. Someone has built their reputation on lies but people don't know it... yet. A shake-up will happen, but now's not the time.

The base message is still there, but more words equals a way to get that message out, using more angles. After all, there are many sides to a story; so too are there many sides to one tarot card.

Okay, let’s get back to the real question at hand, now that you know what a card of the day is and my process of selecting a card. I’m going to throw a wrench in the works here when I say…

…all card of the day pulls and interpretations are valid.

You could approach the situation in a few ways:

a)    If you choose to only follow one reader’s card of the day pulls, I would suggest doing a little journaling about it before making the choice. Follow several readers on twitter, facebook, wherever they leave their card of the day. Keep a log of each reader’s card of the day and interpretations. Then at the end of the day, journal about your day, and retro-fit. What card do you think best described what occurred during that day? Do this over several days so you have enough information to work with. This exercise is not just about card of the day accuracy; it is also about style. Some readers are gentle with their message, some are no-nonsense, and some are in-between. Keep in mind both accuracy and delivery when you choose.
b)    Here’s where the second part of the question comes into play: what if you simply don’t want to choose? Is there a way to integrate all these cards of the day as a guide for the day? I would say so. There’s never just one situation going on in someone’s life. We’re all juggling many different issues in the air at any given time. Who’s to say the card of the day applies to only the most pressing situation? Multiple cards of the day might mean multiple questions are being answered, just by different readers. Try this: Before reading a card of the day, ask a question that you want answering, aloud or in your mind. Then read that person’s card of the day for the answer. Ask a different question. Read the next person’s card of the day. For as many readers you follow in the social media universe, that’s the amount of questions you can ask their cards of the day!
c)    If you want to apply the multiple cards of the day to your day, here’s a variation on the question game (see b): Instead of asking different questions of the different cards of the day, create a spread. Draw it out, or use playing cards as placeholders. Lay it out however you like. Assign a positional meaning to each card, such as Relationships, Advice, You (in your current position), Hopes/Fears, Message from Higher Self, etc. Now assign a reader’s card of the day to its own position, by the reader’s name alone. Now unveil what the cards of the day actually are and their interpretations. How does each card “fit” into its position? How are the cards talking to one another in the layout? Are any of the cards similar in either the card itself or its interpretation? What positions do the similar cards/interpretations land in? Take notice; these might be areas in your life where you need to pay special attention to on this day.

Do you pay attention to card of the day interpretations? Do you follow just one card of the day, or multiples? How do you integrate the multiple cards and interpretations into one day’s worth of advice? Let’s chat about it in the Comments section.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Tools That Help, The Tools That Hinder

Is the tool above helpful?
I never wear a watch when I do readings. Call it superstition. Call it what you will. But check my wrists the next time I’m reading for you, and they will be void of timepieces. Why?

I think it might stem from my wrist feeling incredibly heavy with the weight of time when I’m doing readings. I don’t want to feel constrained by time when I give a reading. It takes me completely out of the reading. I also don’t want to indulge into giving in to the urge to look at my watch if I am reading for a difficult client (few and far between, but, hey, it happens).

So, I find wearing a watch to be a tool that hinders. It stops me from doing readings to my best ability. Tools that assist a reader and tools that limit a reader I find to be an individual thing. Over time, you come to realize what works and what doesn’t.

What I think helps a reading:
  • A candle in a color applicable to the reading.
    • Actually, I carved a candle that I only burn during tarot readings. It is purple and anointed with specific oils for the purposes of divination, grounding, and goddesses associated with divination (Brid and Oya). It also is covered in silver glitter. I bet Martha Stewart would be either surprised and/or amused to know that her glitter brand was used for this purpose! I used a “7-Day Pullout” candle for this.
    • There’s plenty of books out there about magical correspondences of colors. Do a Google search with the search terms “candle color correspondences” and you’ll find a wealth of information and recommendations of books to read on the subject. When at a loss in choosing, I suggest burning a white candle, since white is an all-purpose color. Also, use your own gut for this. If you get a peaceful calm feeling from burning a black candle, even if the correspondence isn’t “correct” according to a book, do what you feel. Burn that candle!
    • If you already know what issue a client is coming to the reading for, burn a candle with the corresponding color for the situation. Or burn a candle to combat the situation, such as burning a light blue candle for peace if the particular situation is full of conflict.
    • Always use common sense when burning candles. Keep water close by. Use a candle snuffer when possible.
  • Crystals/gemstones.
    • I usually keep the stones with whatever deck I’m using the most at the time. I store my cards in a bag, so the stones lay right next to the cards in the bag. I favor clear quartz (all-purpose, energy boost), amethyst (intuition, focus), rose quartz (love, friendship), tiger’s eye (luck), and any clear light blue stone (communication).
    • Plenty of books out there about gemstones, too. The Crystal Bible by Judy Hall is a good, comprehensive resource book on the topic.
What I think hinders a reading:
  • Caffeine.
    • Caffeine causes me to become ungrounded. It is very hard for me to read when I’m not grounded. I feel fuzzy, out of it, and not present for the client. Gauge this for yourself. Me, it’s a personal choice to try to avoid coffee before I read for someone.
  • Alcohol.
    • I’ll further specify. I think one glass of wine while doing a reading is fine, especially if you’re feeling uptight/nervous about reading at an event. Sip slowly and thoughtfully. Don’t chug.
      I had a glass of white wine while reading at the Tarot of the Boroughs launch party, and I was fully present for my clients, and not wrapped up in my own confidence issues and anxieties. In this case, it helped. But keep it to a minimum. It’s unlikely that someone will be drawn to a reader that’s smashed out of their gourd. Use common sense. There are some readers that will disagree with me on this point, and prefer to avoid alcohol completely when reading the cards. Do what you feel is ethical. Remember to keep your client’s highest good in mind.
    • Additionally, avoid reading for someone that’s had too much to drink. Reschedule with them if you can. It will be very hard for their reading to be beneficial if they’re not mentally present for the reading, and they won’t retain any information you give them.
Do you need every item? Nope! After all, some of this paraphernalia can get pretty unwieldy. Take everything I said above and either take it to heart, or chuck it out the window. Use whatever tools you want, but always keep ever mindful of the “why” behind them. Be wary of those tools becoming a crutch. In summation, all you really need is your cards and yourself.

What tools do you use in your tarot practice? Do they hinder or help? Why? Let’s chat about it in the Comments section!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Choosing the Right Reader for You

There’s one thing I am learning in abundance lately. There are A LOT of talented tarot readers out there. I surf the Internet and I have a whole bunch of stuff to read from readers across the country (if not the world). Ten years from now, the growth of tarot readers will explode exponentially as new people discover the power of tarot for themselves.

My hope is that every client I read for feels the spark of their own intuition igniting, and they pick up their own deck of tarot cards. After all, sometimes your neighborhood friendly tarot reader isn’t available to give you a reading… what do you do then: hold your head in your hands and cry? Wait to make a crucial decision based on someone else’s wisdom and card-reading instead of your own? Most of the time we have all the answers we need right inside ourselves.

Even if you never pick up your own deck of tarot cards, there still might be an interest to get a reading. How do you choose the reader that’s right for you?

Go into choosing a reader with these questions in mind:

  1. What is the purpose of my reading?
    If you want to be entertained, go for the more theatrical types. If you need a question answered that is emotionally charged, find someone that is down-to-earth and grounded, but able to deliver the message with sensitivity.
  2. Which of your friends gives you good advice? What are they like?
    You might be best served thinking about the kind of people you hang out with, and choose qualities in those that give the best advice. Then look for those qualities in a tarot reader. After all, tarot readers usually serve the same role as your friends: we can be sounding boards for your ideas, but the use of tarot cards adds an extra dimension to that advice.
  3. Opposites sometimes attract… what are the qualities of someone that is a polar opposite of you? Sometimes it is very hard to get an objective opinion; it’s even harder with someone that thinks in the same way as you. Consider hiring a tarot reader that is a complete opposite of you to read for you. You’d be surprised at how much insight into a situation you’ll receive from a person who thinks in a completely different way. Add tarot to that, and you might have the best reading ever!

What other questions do you ask yourself when looking for a tarot reader? Post them in the Comments section!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Writing with the Tarot

Recommended Reading for a Writer with a Weakness for Tarot

The other day I had a lovely conversation with someone about art, writing, and the tarot. This girl was a writer that wanted to write more and was getting stuck. She also was new to tarot, and had no idea where to start with the cards. So I told her to combine the two. Her face absolutely lit up and she said she would try it. (If you're reading this, I hope it worked for you!) 

There is much to be learned from the whole "meanings of the individual cards" thing. But sometimes, you have to let those images speak to you in their own way, and that has very little to do with accepted meanings. It's a private conversation of imagery between you and the cards. Keywords looked up in a little book tend to gum up the works if used for spurring the writing muses (but hey, if you're a wordy person, don't let me stop you). Let the card be a pretty picture. Let a story come out of it. Let your words describe what you are seeing. Let the words flow.

The cards lend themselves to writers very well, because through tarot cards we can see the story of our lives. Who's to say we can't see a story of a fictional life through them as well? We've got the beginning (The Fool), we've got the picking up of the pace (The Chariot), we've got the problem (Lovers, Devil, Hierophant; love story, boundaries and expectations, problem with authority), total destruction and climax or reversal of fortune (The Tower, The Wheel), and the resolution (Sun, Moon, World, etc). And by the by, even nonfiction writing can benefit from a shuffle and one-card pull.

I just did a shuffle and pull keeping writing in mind and got Death. You can use the imagery on the card (mine is very skull and scythe, Death as a mounted knight in shadows type) or you can use the interpreted meaning of the card (endings, letting go, loss, transformation, fear of unknown) to use this card to spark writing.

The writing/tarot combo is not new. In fact, there are quite a number of books on the subject.

Some Recommended Reading:

Tarot Diva by Sasha Graham

Tarot Journaling by Corrine Kenner

Tarot Tells the Tale by James Ricklef

On Writing by Stephen King

How do you use tarot to spur you to writing glory? Share your thoughts in the Comments section!