My Right Foot

March 2, 2012 § Leave a comment

Here’s the reading I did last week about becoming a TABI free reader using the Right Foot Forward spread. Overall I found it very helpful, despite being flummoxed by Death. If you know what it’s trying to tell me, please let me know.

1 – What am I bringing with me on this journey?


I think this card is about my attitude. I’m a cup-half-full person. I want to use the power of tarot to help people be happy, realize their dreams and make all their wishes come true. Unfortunately, I’m not actually a genie. ūüėČ At best, maybe I can be an innkeeper, ready to extend a warm welcome, a helpful ear and some friendly advice.

The woman in this card looks pleased as punch and all her cups are already behind her. I take this as a reminder that endorsement is not a done deal. I’ve got a lot of spitting and polishing to do before I can display my cups like hers.

2 – What is my biggest strength?


I use my head. I tend to see tarot readings as puzzles to be solved. When I’m not over-thinking things (see 10 of Rods, below) I enjoy the thrill of the interpretive chase. I try to look for the truth in a reading and like to use logic to combine card meaning with position meaning.

Also, I’m willing to learn and be taught (I’ve been hitting the books with vigor since starting this process).

3 – How can I make the most of this strength?


Initially this card seems to contradict the previous one. But when you look at the two cards side by side, the Page appears to be using his sword to cut through the clouds in the 7 of Cups. So I can use my logical approach to cut through confusion and present the querent with clear options.

I think this card could also be telling me I need to inject a little imagination and intuition. Too much logic can be a bad thing, and I do believe learning to trust my intuition more will improve my readings a hundred-fold.

4 – What is my greatest weakness?


Hello 10 of Wands, my old friend. This card has been popping up all over the place recently. In general it tells me I don’t have the time to take on yet another project (yawn). But specifically, it sums up exactly what happens when I read tarot. It can take me hours, days – weeks, sometimes – to do a reading. For some reason I seem incapable of taking the cards at face value. I keep looking for that other interpretation – you know, the secret, hidden one that I’m sure to find if I can just dig…a little…deeper. What can I say? It’s a gift. I’m working on it.

5 – How can I improve on this weakness?


“You know your problem?” he says. “You try too hard. Don’t sweat it. You know this stuff – just do the reading and move on already. We’ve got people to see, dragons to slay.”

On the subject of tarot reading, this knight’s advice might come across as irresponsible and – ahem – cavalier. But I get what he’s saying. I need to have more confidence in my abilities and try not to get too bogged down.

6 – What will be my biggest challenge?


Unless the answer is “this card, in this reading”, I haven’t a clue. Do you?

Okay, I’ll try not to be a wuss and take a pinch of my own advice. So, what am I looking at? A skeleton holding a scythe (cutting down), a river running red (purging, releasing), a sunset (ending, closing). Okay, that helps somewhat and actually, having already done my first free reading I can relate.

“Cutting down” – one of the things I mentioned to my mentor is that I have trouble being concise. I felt my reading was too long, too wordy and too heavy. Luckily she’s handy with the red editing pen. “Purging, releasing” – again, I really need to purge some words and I don’t mean all over the page. Maybe also I’ll need to purge some bad habits or beliefs, I don’t know. And “ending, closing” – well, I struggled with the summary of the reading, identifying the core message (the “bare bones” if you will). I need to work on that.

I’m not sure any of these is the one true secret hidden meaning ūüėČ but at least I don’t have a big glaring hole in my reading any more. I still want to know what you think though.

7 – What can I do to improve my chances of success?


I can conduct myself with dignity and grace. This card says I’m responsible for my own success. I need to be disciplined and professional, and I should try to project an image of competence and confidence (so let’s hope none of my querents are reading this ;-))

This card is also about self-reliance. As a self-employed tarot reader the buck will stop with me. I need to be able to rely on my own skills, develop my own style and know my own boundaries. So I should spend time focusing on personal and professional development. Funnily enough, I’ve just started reading Professional Tarot by Christine Jette which seems like it will help me with all of this.

8 – What is the most likely outcome of this journey?


Remember this card came up as the outcome in the reading I did about applying to be a free reader? Of course you do. I was gushingly positive about it then – well, the Star is an extremely positive card. But I forgot about one important aspect. The Star guides us and lets us know we’re on the right track (hooray!) but it also tells us there’s a long road ahead. Endorsement in itself isn’t enough – I have to keep learning, working and journeying if I want to reach my goal. Knowing how good I am at sticking at things, this card is a gentle reminder that following the Star (keeping my destination in mind) will deter me from straying too far from the path.

To summarize… it looks like I can do this, if I apply myself and continue to learn and develop my skills. But I need to know this isn’t going to be a fast process. I need to work on trusting my intuition and increase my confidence (which hopefully will come with practice). I need to be humble and realise that I have a lot to learn. But I also need to be more relaxed about the whole deal.

OK, got it. ūüôā


An ending, and a new beginning

February 4, 2012 § 1 Comment

Okay, so the first thing you should know is that I’ve broken things off with the Haindl. I’m not proud to admit it but I was feeling trapped and I think truthfully, I wasn’t ready to settle down. We had a good talk, I said some things, the Haindl said some things, some of it not pretty, but I think we’re going to be okay. I know our bond is deeper and will last longer than any shallow year-long commitment.

That was a week ago. Luckily for me, I rebound quickly. The Haindl wasn’t even cold in its bag before I hooked up with the Shadowscapes. I’ve been doing as many 3-card readings as I can find time for and what a joy and a relief it’s been. Sorry, Haindl, you know I love you dearly, but sometimes you make my head hurt and reading with you can be such an effort. The Shadowscapes on the other hand, reads like a dream.

In other news, I have applied to be a free reader for TABI. This is something I’ve thought about doing for a while but a) I didn’t think I’d be able to make time for it and b) I was too chicken. Maybe it was just a way to deal with the break up, but I made a sudden and bold decision to go for it. I desperately need the practice if I ever want to be a real tarot reader.

After sending off my application (note: not before, that would be stupid ;-p) I did a reading asking “What do I need to know about becoming a TABI free reader?” And look! What a lovely answer I got.

Situation – Ace of Wands

The Ace of Wands reflects the spontaneity of my decision (some might say rashness!). But also, my excitement and enthusiasm about this exciting new adventure. I have grabbed the Wand with both hands and am shining it like a torch into my future.

Advice – 10 of Cups

The 10 of Cups as advice tells me to dream big. Following this path can lead me to my heart’s desires. I have a dream of one day being able to read well for others. Even though that dream seems a long way off now, it feels much closer and much more possible now I’ve taken this first step.

Outcome – The Star

Isn’t this a beautiful card to get as outcome? I like how in the image, the woman seems to be drawing down energy from the star, like she’s receiving messages from the universe to pass on to those in need. This is what I would like to do as a reader. The Star is a card of compassion, hope and healing and its appearance as outcome helps me to believe that, even as a free reader, I will be in a position to help others in this way.

So that’s what the cards say. Now I’m just waiting to hear what TABI’s free reading panel say…

Images from the Shadowscapes Tarot Copyright Stephanie Pui-Mun Law

The Power of the Earth

March 4, 2011 § 1 Comment

Four of Stones

I am beginning to feel that the questions I ask the universe are mere formalities. A question can open a dialogue, but the reply isn’t always about the same subject.

In the middle of 3-cards I drew today was the Four of Stones – the Power of the Earth. The question I asked was about an immediate problem and I interpreted them accordingly. Later, I looked the cards up in Rachel Pollack’s books. I always do this for any reading I do with the Haindl – partly to jog my memory but also as a form of bibliomancy. Sometimes I find another aspect to the reading this way.

As I read about the 4 of Stones, these phrases sprung out at me:

…if we understand our fears we can overcome them

…with most people living in cities, the Earth seems less fearsome

…and understood their own place in the world

…tell us to…find our own place

Reversed, the Four of Stones indicates losing a sense of place…

…does not know where she or he fits…

When some conqueror…forced them to relocate, they became lost.

All of which probably won’t mean much to you, until I tell you that we’re in the process of moving house. Which, by the way, has nothing to do with the question I asked.

We have yet to find somewhere we want to live but this week the couple buying our house have found a first-time buyer for theirs, so the pressure is on. We are planning to move from the “city” (it’s technically a large town), to the sticks. I won’t deny I’m a little anxious. (Excited, yes, of course, but the thing I’m excited about still appears so distant that anxiety trumps it, no problem.)

…it describes thunder as a great shock…people become terrified…yet in summer a thunderstorm can also bring joy

As well as describing the situation, the book suggests solutions:

The background for the Four of Stones comes from the same painting as the Seven of Wands [Courage] and the Ten of Cups [Success].

The card calls us to respect the sources of power in our lives.

We have lived here a long time. It is familiar and safe, and although we want to start a new life somewhere else, it takes a ridiculous amount of courage to do so. The last line I quoted suggests recognising the other things in my life that make me feel familiar and safe – most of which I will be taking with me when we move. And when we get there, the power of the earth – nature, wildlife, the seasons and the stars – will provide me with a familiar background against which to build our new life.

Kali in my Corner

February 23, 2010 § 4 Comments

Kali – Mother of Wands in the East

Everyone should have a friend like Kali.

A few days ago I drew a card to help me decide what to do about a loved one who disapproves of my interest in tarot. When I sat down to do the reading, I braced myself to do some soul-searching. Then Kali barged in.

“Screw them!” she says, in the most literal way imaginable. “You love tarot. Don’t let anyone make you feel bad about doing what you love!”

I see her point. It’s hard not to.

“And don’t try¬†to hide it either. Live it. Own it. Wear it all over your body. Show everyone – this is what you do. This¬†is who you are! It’s not a dirty little secret, it’s a wonderful beautiful exciting thing. And so are you.”

Well, that solved that problem. It’s great having Kali in my corner.

What Tarot Can Do For the World

July 3, 2009 § 9 Comments

This morning I asked, “What can Tarot do for the world?” I wanted to know if Tarot¬†had anything to offer us¬†in the 21st Century. By us, I don’t just¬†mean tarot lovers; I mean the world at large and people in general. I wanted to know if Tarot could save the world.

The answer I got, drawn from the Aquarian Tarot, was the Seven of Pentacles. Which is such a perfect answer if you think about it. The Seven of Pentacles is¬†the pause button. Tarot gives us the opportunity to pause, to evaluate our lives. I have spent the past six, almost seven months, stuck on play (occasionally on fast-forward). I’ve had very little¬†time for Tarot. Almost every day I have questions I’d like to ask but don’t. Instead, I just get on with things that need doing, leaving the questions unanswered.

Having an unanswered question or two doesn’t sound so bad. What that really means, however,¬†is that I daily have¬†thoughts and feelings that go unexamined. I repeat the same mistakes because I don’t¬†make time to understand why I’m messing up or to work out how I can do better. I’m making big, huge, major decisions – moving house, finding childcare for my daughter, falling out with my parents – without sitting down to consider how I really feel. I am being swept along by my life instead of stepping out ahead of it.

I’m not saying I need tarot cards to tell me how I feel.¬†But when¬†I sit down to do a tarot reading some kind of switch goes off inside. It’s the intention:¬†by taking the time to do a tarot reading and putting the¬†rest of my life¬†on pause I’m saying this – this issue, this situation – is important to me. It matters enough to warrant careful consideration. Without tarot cards, I may think endlessly about the same problem, but not in the same way. I think in circles. I might¬†think about it as I’m washing up, bathing the baby, cooking dinner, working, but without Tarot I don’t have an excuse to sit still and only think. Tarot takes the problem out of my head and spreads it in front of me. It freezes it so I can walk around it, look at it from all angles, see what’s really going on. It’s these moments of stillness in life that allow me to check¬†my progress, to make sure¬†I’m still on the path I want to be on.

In the 21st Century, everything moves at the speed of light. Tarot gives us the opportunity to slow down – not to stop, but to pause, check where we’ve been and where we’re heading, and make navigational adjustments if necessary. Or, as Ferris Bueller says:

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

And that’s what Tarot can do for the world.


Splitting Apart

April 19, 2009 § 2 Comments

5 of Stones – Material Difficulty


On Sunday, I drew a card as guidance for this week. I knew it would be a difficult week so I was saddened to draw the 5 of Stones. A member of my immediate family is ill and is having to undergo tests. In this card, I saw my feelings of despair and helplessness reflected back at me.

Like the 3 of Swords, the 5 of Stones is another card that manages to convey both suffering and beauty. The¬†image shows a winter scene, with deep shadows¬†plotting to overthrow¬†the¬†weak¬†sunlight. The trees are gnarled; their bare branches reduced to¬†frail skeletons. The ground is¬†dry and pitted. Five stones rise weightlessly and disconcertingly¬†into the air. Solidity and security have forsaken us: even gravity can’t be relied upon.

The keyword for this card is Material Difficulty. Winter is frequently associated with hardship. In¬†winter, as in¬†periods of hardship, life is reduced to the bare bones. All the rich¬†and diverse pursuits¬†that occupy us in better times¬†seem¬†frivolous and empty;¬†all that matters is survival. But¬†this card doesn’t just concern¬†questions of life or death – there are many¬†difficult things that we need to survive. “If I can just get through this,” we say, “everything will be okay”.¬†

The hexagram is 23, “Deterioration” or “Splitting Apart”. It can take an upset in only one part of life to feel that everything is falling apart. It’s¬†a feeling that things are outside of our control; suddenly the future is uncertain (it always was of course, but we can happily ignore that when times are good). Everything gets turned on its head: nothing is where it should be, or so it seems.

Hilary Barrett of Online Clarity calls the hexagram “Stripping Away” and says this about it:

“Everything outworn – every image, idea, possession, protection – must go. Even if it feels like your skin. Then the space will be cleared.”

As far as I can tell, not being an I Ching scholar, the hexagram represents a necessary time of material difficulty. It advises against taking action. Rather, the emphasis is on allowing the loss to take place Рto be willing to let go of something so that something else can fill its place. This is not something I want to hear right now. But, it is important to remember that I did not consult the I Ching РI consulted the Haindl Tarot. The hexagrams can add depth to a reading, but they are not the reading. In this case, I find comfort in the message of allowing this situation to happen (as if I have a choice!). As Rachel Pollack writes in one of the Haindl companion books (I forget which one):

“Now is the time for acceptance, and waiting.”

Five is an odd, unstable number. It signifies a time of revolution. Everything is up in the air, but what goes up must come down. Gravity will reassert itself eventually and the stones will fall to the ground, their proper place, albeit possibly in a new configuration. Knowing that spring follows winter allows us to endure all the hardships winter throws at us. In the same way, knowing that we also face such hardships in our personal lives from time to time, and that those hardships are unavoidable yet temporary, allows us to keep moving through the landscape shown in the 5 of Stones.

Remember the RWS 5 of Pentacles? The huddled figures keep on moving, despite their handicaps, because to stop moving would be to give up all hope. In the Haindl 5 of Stones,¬†the pure white bird feather that reaches down from the sky suggests some kind of comforting message from the divine, much like the RWS’s stained glass window. It tells us that everything will be all right, no matter how bleak it is in the present. And at the right edge of the card, a warm red glow hints at better times ahead.

Feb 1 – Feb 7

January 31, 2009 § 4 Comments

As I don’t seem to have time to draw daily cards at the moment – let alone think or write about them – I thought I’d try this: a 3-card reading for the week ahead which I can think about and write about in dribs and drabs (maybe).

I used the Hudes, which is my Deck of the Month for February. I’m warming to this deck day by day.

1 – Opportunities – 5 of Pentacles

2 – Challenges – Page of Swords

3 – Advice – 9 of Swords

Thoughts on this to follow (hopefully)!

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