Following the Fool

Sometimes it takes that leap of faith–the jump into the abyss, not knowing where you are going to land, or even if there is anything to land on at all.  Like the Fool in the Tarot, I feel like I am standing on the precipice with an entire journey ahead of me–but only after a terrifyingly big jump into the unknown.

2017 is off to a good start; things are running smoothly, life is going well.  I have high hopes that this is going to be an expansive year of growth and discovery.  I re-opened my Etsy shop after being closed for the holidays.  It took a bit of courage to do it, to tell the truth.  I had been feeling a bit discouraged, as there have been so few sales, and very little feedback on the sales that I’ve done.  Nothing strikes doubt into you like not having a clue as to whether you’re doing a good job or not!  My feedback from my clientele in the brick and mortar store where I practice has always been stellar, however, so it was time to put myself back out there.

Another goal I have for 2017 is to more diligently maintain my blog, my Facebook page, and to keep active on other forms of social media–Instagram and Twitter for example.  It feels like a daunting task some days, but when I think about how very much I love Tarot, the effort really isn’t that much.  Talking about Tarot, taking pictures, etc., is a lot of fun.

A big thing that is in the works is the start of a YouTube channel.  I’ve just gotten all of my equipment, so I’m ready to get started as soon as my techno-challenged self can get it all sussed out.  I’ve got a list of planned videos, and there will be some interesting things that I plan on putting out into the cyber-world.

At any rate, it’s good to be back, and I look forward to getting more out there in the coming weeks!

The Uninspired Tarot Reader

I’m trying to get back into the groove of blogging after vacation, and man, let me tell you–it’s hard!  So I’m going to get this down on (virtual) paper before I lose my focus yet again.  I decided on a topic that seemed appropriate since I’m trying to get back into my blogging groove: what to do when you feel uninspired as a reader.

It happens to all of us.  There are times when you just don’t feel “on.”  The cards just sort of stare up at you blankly, looking like so many pretty pictures whose mysteries are still hidden.  Colors and shapes sort of blend together into a mish-mash, and you sit there trying to make sense of it all.  What do you do, especially when you have a client sitting across from you expecting you to help?

When I feel that initial, terrifying block, the first thing I do is to start describing the card.  “If you look at the card, you see a beautiful woman, blind-folded and bound, surrounded by a cage of eight swords.  There are cliffs around her, and the water is rising at her feet.”  Almost immediately after I begin to describe a card, the words will begin to flow and the meanings start popping.  The spread begins to make sense and the cards tie in together, allowing me to complete the reading.

What do you do when you aren’t in a client reading, but are feeling uninspired generally, however?  Well, that’s another ballgame.  One of my favorite go-to’s is to just pick a card and journal away.  I think you can tell from earlier blog posts that journaling is a very important part of my practice.  I rely on it a lot, and I think it makes me a better reader.

Another method is to pick up one of your favorite tarot books and start reading.  There are so many good books out there.  A couple of my favorites are Tarot, Plain and Simple by Anthony Louis and Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen.  There is so much good information out there that can get that spark going again.

Finally, if you are feeling uninspired, it might be a sign that you need to take a break.  There’s nothing wrong with putting down the cards for a while.  Sometimes we all need a vacation.  Don’t feel guilty for taking some time off!

I hope this blog post has inspired you with some new ideas on how to handle it when you are feeling uninspired.  Blessings!

Creativity and Tarot

One of the things that I absolutely love about Tarot is the never-ending possibility for creativity for the practitioner.  Divination is a blend of art and science, and coming up with combinations to delve into its depths is an immensely satisfying experience.  One of my favorite things to do is to invent new tarot spreads.

When you think about it, the questions that can be posed through tarot are really limitless.  Some are “yes” and “no” questions–I’ll do another post about why it’s best to avoid those types of questions later–but many are complex questions that really dig into the heart of an issue.  The layouts that can be created are expressions of the practitioner’s creativity and thoughtfulness, and they are vehicles by which those questions can be answered.

I suppose the logical question is “How do I go about making up a tarot spread of my own?”  The first thing I like to do is come up with a genre of the type of question or issue.  For example, I created a spread called the “Self-Love” spread.  It is designed to help the querent explore issues that may be preventing them from loving themselves as deeply as they deserve and provides advice on how to go about making that happen.  Secondly, I thought about how the card positions would work; a card to represent the querent, cards to represent the blockages, cards to represent hidden issues, cards to represent things that are on the surface, cards to give advice, etc.  Finally, I laid it out in a manner that was pleasing to me and easy for me to interpret.

The last sentence is key–“pleasing to me and easy for me to interpret.”  As a diviner, you need to be able to get the message across to your client.  You may find a spread online that looks AMAZING, but if you don’t connect with it, you are not going to glean as much out of the cards as you can as you would had you laid them out in your own fashion.  So be original!  Do what feels right for you!

Above all else, remember that tarot is a creative expression of its own, and working in harmony with it will only enhance your practice.  So flex those creative muscles and start making spreads that work for you!


Dealing with Difficult Clients

I’ve been very fortunate over the past two years to only have to deal with a few difficult clients.  However, when it happens, it can be jarring and make for an unpleasant experience for both you and the client.  There are a several types of clients that make readings particularly hard.

The first is the Skeptic.  The Skeptic likes to sit with their arms folded across their chest, staring aggressively at you while you do the reading.  You’re not sure why they are there, and to be honest, I’m not sure that they know why they are there either.  You can almost feel the disbelief radiating off of them in waves.  It used to rattle me a bit when I could get nothing from the client energetically; they were so closed off that it was like reading for a brick.  However, I could press on through the reading, let the cards give me their message and convey that message to the client.  What the client did with that message afterward was up to them.  Dealing with skeptics is not easy, and it can shake your confidence sometimes.  However, you have to trust in your abilities as a tarot reader and know that you are giving that client the best reading that you can.

Another type of difficult client is the Ignorer.  I call them the Ignorer because they are going to ignore any and all information that the reading has to offer them.  Oftentimes, they have already been to several readers prior to coming to see you.  They are seeking validation for a course of action that they have already decided upon. No matter what the cards tell them, they are already convinced of their course of action, and they will tell you that anything suggested in your reading can’t possibly apply to them.  I’ve had more than one Ignorer tell me that my reading was spot on accurate, and then immediately follow up with “But I know that if I just do it my way that it will turn out o.k.”  At that point, it’s your job as a professional to realize you are just there to provide information; it’s not your job to fix someone’s problems.  Their free will is paramount.

There is another type of client that can be difficult to deal with, and that is the unstable client.  I can’t stress enough how important it is to be able to recognize when a client’s issues are deeper than what can be enlightened by a tarot reading.  It is vital to know that as a tarot reader, you are not a trained mental health professional.  I have on more than one occasion gently suggested that professional therapy might be helpful to the client.  DO NOT GIVE LEGAL OR MEDICAL ADVICE DURING YOUR READINGS.  Do not hesitate to refer your clients to professionals for those types of issues.

Finally, although dealing with difficult clients can make readings unpleasant and sometimes make you doubt your own abilities, you have to have confidence in yourself.  You are there to do a job, and you have to do it ethically and to the best of your ability.  Trust that you are good at what you do, and that you are going to do the best job that you can for your client–even the difficult ones.  The rest will fall into place.

I’d love to hear suggestions from others about how they deal with difficult clients, so please feel free to comment!

Patience Is a Virtue: Starting a Tarot Business

As you’ve either read or probably guessed, I’ve started my own tarot business.  My shop is up over at Serenity Divination on Etsy.  I’ve been reading professionally now for about two years, although I’ve been studying tarot for much, much longer.  I work out of a fabulous metaphysical bookstore called Books, Beans & Candles in Birmingham, Alabama.  (By the way, if you are reading this and live in the greater Birmingham area and would like a reading–come see me on Monday or Thursday nights!)


The photo above is what sparked my post today.  I can honestly say I love my profession as a tarot reader.  I am a recovering lawyer–yes, you read that right.  I’m a lawyer.  I still have my law license, and could practice if I wanted to, but my heart just isn’t into it.  I never had a passion for law.  It was a job to me; something to pay the bills.  It wasn’t something that moved me, or made me wake up every morning with the desire to go out and hit the ground running knowing I was making a difference.

I get a wide variety of looks when I tell people I’m a tarot reader, as opposed to the days when I told people I was a lawyer.  Nowadays, I get reactions varying from: “Oh, that’s interesting!” to the sideways looks of “Ok, you’re a freak but I’m too polite to say anything.”  Being a lawyer definitely commands more respect in a very conservative and traditional society.

I don’t regret my decision to try to make a go of this as a full-time profession one bit.  I’ve built up a steady clientele at the shoppe, but I’m still waiting on that first Etsy order to come through.  My income is definitely NOT steady at this point, and it’s not livable.  I’m very grateful to my wonderful supportive husband, who bears the brunt of our financial burden so that I can follow my dreams.

However, each day I plug away.  I brainstorm new ideas.  I’ve religiously started building up my social media marketing (you can click the links on the side of the blog to see it).  I’m sitting back and learning from other readers who’ve got established practices and seeing how they market their businesses so I have models from which to compare.  I’m rigorously inventing new spreads to put up in my shop so that new clients will have a range of services from which to pick.

It’s going to take time, energy and effort, and it’s not going to come overnight; but I’m not giving up.  This is my passion, and I’m going to see it come to fruition, one way or another.


Unboxing: The Wild Unknown Tarot

Ok, so this deck has been on  my wish list for a while, folks–the Wild Unknown Tarot by Kim Krans.  Yeah, yeah, I know I’m late to the party, as it’s been out a while, but by the time I fell in love with it the first edition decks were going for $100+ dollars.  Needless to say, I bought the second edition deck and guidebook, which was still at the high end of what I’m willing to pay for a deck at $40 for the deck and $20 for the guidebook, plus shipping.  I’m a collector, but not an avid one, so I just haven’t gotten quite to the level of dropping $50+ dollars on tarot decks yet.  (I’m looking at you, Alice Tarot!)

Unboxing a new deck is always a very satisfying experience, but for some reason, this one was particularly so.  I opened it at my favorite metaphysical shoppe where I am a tarot reader, because it came in the mail right before I had to go do my shift there, and I simply didn’t want to wait until I got home to open it in my sacred space.  Luckily, the energy in the shoppe is fabulous, so I knew it would still be a wonderful place to do it.

The box for the cards is very sturdy, thick cardboard, which is a treat, considering that  most tarot card boxes are quite flimsy–especially those that are mass-produced.  The value of non-mass production wins in this department.  It has a lovely ribbon inside for helping lift out the cards, and included is a fold-out sheet that has brief meanings of the cards and simple layouts in lieu of a LWB.

wild unknown box


When it comes to the cards themselves, I’m not even sure where to begin.  The imagery is really like nothing I’ve ever seen in a tarot deck before.  It is mostly black and white ink drawings with pops of color on select cards.  There are no human images in this deck; the author chose to stick with animal and nature imagery.  At first glance, the images are very simplistic, but on closer inspection, you can see the incredible detail the author put into each illustration.


These cards demand your intuition.  Even with the guidebook, which is nicely in depth with the meanings that the author assigned to each card, there is something visceral about these images that makes your intuition tingle.  It feels impossible to look at the Empress, for example, and then just go into the rote meanings assigned to that card.  The gorgeous tree that represents the Empress in this deck seems to be so much more than traditional meanings–strong foundations, delicate beauty, intuition, complexity, etc.

I’ll confess–I was a little nervous trotting this deck out for a reading because I wasn’t sure it would resonate with me; it’s so different from anything I’ve ever worked with before.  My fears were unfounded, however.  There is something about it that just clicks, and I think that’s why it’s become such a popular and coveted deck among collectors and readers alike.  I think I will be using this deck for readings with clients in the very near future, once I get to know it a little bit better.

In fact, the popularity of the deck has led it to be picked up by a major publishing house, and it will be mass produced this fall.  Part of me is kicking myself for paying the heftier price tag, but if I’m honest, I’m terrible at waiting, and I wonder if the quality of the boxing, etc. will be the same.  At any rate, if you are wanting something special for your collection, or if you just want a unique deck to connect with, I can highly recommend the Wild Unknown Tarot.






Tarot Journaling: The Fool’s Journey on Paper

One of the best pieces of advice that I got starting out was to keep a tarot journal.  I wasn’t very religious about it at first, but as my interest and knowledge grew, the more I realized how important a tarot journal can be.

The method that was recommended to me, which was quite stringent (and probably why I didn’t do it) was to start with the first card of the deck (The Fool) and journal my way through the entire deck….twice.  It felt quite overwhelming, and I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  However, months and months later, I realized that simply pulling a card daily, meditating on it and putting my thoughts down in my journal was an invaluable tool for helping me to understand and get to know the meaning of the cards.

My daily journal practice now includes a three card draw for the day, where I interpret the spread, make notes on anything that jumps out at me about the cards (believe it or not, I’m still finding imagery that I’ve never noticed before even after all this time), and write down my thoughts on my overall take for the day.  I do use a rotation of various decks; I feel this is my opportunity to get to know different decks in my collection.

Again, your tarot journal doesn’t have to be that complex.  I do recommend starting out to take one card, study the imagery and write down what you see.  Then make notes on how that card makes you feel.  Think about what message it seems to convey.  It’s ok to refer to the LWB (Little White Book) if you are just starting out, but it’s important to trust your intuition as well.

It’s also handy to have a journal to refer to to look back and see how far you’ve come.  It’s also fun to see if something manifested that the cards were trying to tell you by checking dates.  But most of all, the practice making perfect is key.

Your tarot journal doesn’t have to be fancy, although you can get some lovely ones at various bookstores and on Amazon.  A simple spiral notebook will do the trick.  As long as you can write in it, that’s all that matters.

So get out there and get journaling!

The LWB: Little White Book

Most tarot decks come with the standard LWB (little white book), which contains a list of meanings for each of the cards–major arcana, court cards, and pips.  Most of the LWB’s are exactly what they sound like: simply printed pamphlet-style booklets that are roughly the size of the box that the tarot deck comes in.  Many will contain some examples of simple tarot spreads to get the reader started.  Here is an example from the Thoth Deck:


Not all LWB’s are created equal, however.  Some decks come beautifully packaged with amazing books of meanings that are quite substantial in their depth and scope of information, as well as the quality of their construction.  I’ve seen everything from gorgeous paperback books to impressive hardcover tomes.  Of course, you get what you pay for; these decks are often more expensive–and rightfully so, considering the quality of what you are getting.

Now to the meat and potatoes of this blog post.  You’ve got the LWB in front of you, so what do you do with it?  There are a couple of schools of thought.  For a new reader, you might hear conflicting things.  Some might tell you to hang on to that LWB and study the meanings religiously until you have them memorized.  Others may tell you to immediately throw that LWB away and start reading based strictly upon your intuition and the imagery that leaps off of the cards.

It’s my opinion that you have to find a happy medium between the two.  Tarot, despite being a highly intuitive form of divination, is still based off of a structured system, and it’s important to know that structure in order to become an accomplished reader.  The images in the cards are usually there for a reason, and the designers of the decks, from the trusty Rider Waite to the latest indy deck, chose those images to convey a message.  I think you’d be doing yourself a disservice to ignore those meanings entirely.

However, after you have a grasp on the meanings, it’s important to take the training wheels off, so to speak, and let that intuition take hold.  That’s when I think it’s important to lay the LWB aside and only refer to it when you are well and truly stuck and need a memory jog.

Also, I can’t express how important I think it is to keep a tarot journal of your own to jot down your personal thoughts and impressions of each cards.  My next blog entry will be about tarot journaling, so more about that later.  Suffice it to say that you can’t be dependent just on the LWB!

I’m curious as to what your thoughts are on this topic, as I know everyone has differently-colored views.  Please feel free to share in the comments below!

Oracle Decks

I was asked today what I thought of oracle cards and if I ever worked with them.  After a moment of thought, I responded that yes, I did work with them and that I liked them very much.  The natural follow-up question was “Why?” and that got me thinking.

Oracle cards fill a very unique niche in divination practice, in my opinion.  You will find a host of oracle decks with ideas encompassing everything from angels to dragons and fairies.   I have not personally worked with more than three or four oracle decks myself, so I cannot speak with any authority on every type.  However, the overarching theme that I have found running through the decks that I have worked with is that of more instructive messages which have a more uplifting feel to them.

For example, my favorite oracle deck right now is the lovely Vintage Wisdom Oracle by Victoria Mosely.

vintage wisdon oracle

What can I say? I’m a sucker for vintage ephemera and this deck has it in spades with its striking, feminine images and graceful collages.  It’s a substantial deck as well, with 52 cards and an 80-page guidebook.  I find the messages in this deck to be clear and instructive, giving the seeker something to meditate upon or something upon which to take action.  They strike a nice balance, without being overbearingly sweet or unendurably harsh.  I think this balance is why I enjoy their messages so much.

There is also so much room for intuition when using oracle cards.  Unlike Tarot, which often has a proscribed system or meaning for its cards, oracle cards are very free-form in how you may interpret them.  The guidebooks provide insight into what the creator intended, but the rich imagery often allows your intuition to really take flight.  I do not mean to imply, of course, that intuition plays no part in Tarot.  We know this is not the case!  I simply mean that oracle decks don’t seem to have a built-in framework to start with, and therefore you need to “wing it” a bit more, so to speak.

Another thing I have noticed with oracle decks is that most of them seem to have a more positive slant to them.  Even the “darker” cards appear to have more uplifting messages.  I honestly can’t say why this appears to be the case.  I’d be interested in opinions on this, so feel free to comment below!

In closing, I think oracle decks will always have a place in my divination repertoire.  I think they are useful, unique and quite fun to work with.  In fact, I think I will endeavor to give mine a bit more exercise in the coming months!