Saturday, 27 February 2016

How to do timing with tarot - and why is it challenging?

Timing with tarot is one of the most difficult, if not the most difficult particulars to get correct in a reading. A standard tarot deck does not come with cards that tell without doubt how many days, weeks or months (or years) you have to wait to see the predicted event to take place. However, there are different methods existing to figure when exactly is something going to happen.

Why is timing so difficult? 

Firstly, tarot seems to be geared towards personal development and inner workings of a human mind. Tarot is less concerned with the material world and things that actualise in our daily lives; and more focused on what's going on inside our heads and hearts - how we feel about things, what decisions and choices we make, what intentions we set.

Tarot offers frustratingly often answers such as: "the event will happen, once you work on your issues and find a way to be happy". The timing is conditional, subject to our own actions, mindset and behaviour, and hence, a definite timing can't be given because it's all in our own hands! The sooner we fix or implement something, the sooner the queried event can take place, but not before.

One of the most common questions I get is "when will I meet my next partner". And the most common answers are along the lines "when you release the baggage you're still holding from your previous experiences, open yourself to love and embark on a new life stage without hesitation".

This type of an answer is bound to annoy many sitters, because they regard it as evasive and an attempt by the reader to avoid answering - avoid being held accountable. However, that simply is how tarot works and if the cards tell this, it's not always possible nor morally right try and impose a week/month/year timeframe on the cards, if it is not visible on them.

It seems that in the grand scheme of things, "when" is not so much a question about counting days, it's much more about "when step one is complete, step two can take place", i.e. about cause and consequence, and following through plans and intentions. Manifestation, in a way.

Because so many things in life depend on our own actions, lack of action can delay or prevent events. I think this is the main reason why timing is so difficult. The cards can't tell for a fact that you'll get married in April next year if you are not even trying to meet Mr/Ms right by putting yourself out there and being the best version of yourself; or, if you are constantly arguing with your Mr/Ms Right about petty things caused by your own insecurities, thus putting the likelihood of marriage in jeopardy.

Not all answers can contain timing

Some questions can't be answered in terms of "when", because the question assumes the event will happen. What if the fall-out you had with your childhood friend will never be solved due to one or both being too stubborn? The cards can't give you a time then. Nor for "when will I become a doctor", if your grades are not good enough to be accepted to study in the first place. Tarot reflects life like a mirror, it can't show things that are unattainable or unrealistic.

Setting a timeframe with a question

Things are not always hopelessly fluid and there are methods to try and work out the timeframe in calendar terms. The most unambiguous method is to frame the question in a way that also contains a timeframe, such as "what will my love life be like within the next three months?" or "what's my next month like?". This also makes the tracking easy, because after a month or three months you can easily take stock whether the predicted themes took place or not.

Counting the elements on the cards

Possibly the best-known timing methods involve treating the suits as the indicators of days (Wands), weeks (Swords), months (Cups) and years (Pentacles), according to these suits' nature - from fast-consuming fire to slow-moving earth. Minor Arcana cards contain both the element and a number, so 2 Wands could be two days, 2 Swords two weeks and so on.

ATA (American Tarot Association) teaches a slightly more complex but still easy to figure method for 3-4 cards.

First, you need to interpret the cards normally, i.e. what do they mean for the question. The ATA example is "when will a musician overcome the lack of inspiration", so you'd need to relay all the information the cards tell about gaining inspiration, such as listen to your intuition for finding new inspiration. Then for timing, count how many passive or active cards you got: air and fire are active, water and earth passive. With Major Arcana cards, you need to think their nature: is the card active or passive? Waiting or actioning? Thinking or doing? Withdrawing or progressing? Yin or Yang?
  • If more than 75% of the cards are active, the timespan is days.
  • If between 75% and 50% are active, the timespan is weeks.
  • If between 50% and 25% are active, the timespan is months.
  • If less than 25% of the cards are active, the timespan is years.
Next, take a look on the numbers. If you have a repeating number, that most likely tells the number of the days/weeks/months/years. Reduce double-digit numbers to one digit (11 is 1+1=2 and so on).

For added clarity, ATA recommends taking into account the astrological correspondences according to the suit element (fire signs that correspond with the Wands suit are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius; meaning 21 March-21 April, 21 July-21 August and 21 November-21 December, and so forth).

Some people associate seasons with the suits, but I don't find it useful. I live in the Southern hemisphere and many of this blog readers and my online clients live in the Northern hemisphere. Whose seasons would I be talking about? My summer or yours? 

Combine events, causes, consequences and "when"

The majority of timing techniques available online seem to rely on variations of the theme outlined above: counting the numbers per suit; or cross-referencing tarot with astrology. However, the method that I've found to be most functional is a hybrid of the "normal" reading, i.e. what will happen, and timing. This method was created by user called Amanda at Aeclectic Tarot Forum and this is how I understand it:

Pull 5 cards upright (don't use reversals) and read them left to right. Major Arcana cards and court cards (Page, Knight, Queen or King) do not tell the timing, but they tell other relevant information you need to know: Major Arcana tell about the events or energies outside of your direct control (major life lessons) and the court cards tell who's involved. Pip cards (number cards) between the middle and the end point of the spread tell the timing, as outlined in the previous system.

Here's an example. I have a number of creative projects underway and I wanted to see if any of them will be successful, my "meal ticket" in the future. I asked: when will I feel like my creative efforts bring me success? and got the following: 


This is a prime example of a spread that highlights both the importance of asking the correct question and how tarot answers in a cause-consequence-change your mindset-way.

This reads: you can feel successful fast, if you stop worrying and fretting about this and acknowledge that feeling inspired and energetic - enjoying your own creativity - is everything you need to be blissfully happy. And it's pretty much a perfect answer. 

I didn't ask about when will I earn money, when will I become famous as an artist/writer, when will I be celebrated etc. I asked, when will I feel successful. 

And it's available to me right now, if I change my mindset and stop worrying about success that I currently define in terms of earning money; if people pay me, surely I'm successful, right? But... would I feel like a success emotion- and passion-wise if I only focus on money? What if by creating to earn I feel like I'm selling out my independence and unbridled self-expression?

If we were to dig out calendar-timing, it would work like this

The first cards of the spread tell what is the main energy, the core of the issue, and/or what needs to happen before the question can be answered. 

The Knight of Swords is fast-paced communication or action and 10 Swords is about "murdering" one's worries - these pestering thoughts and anxieties can't live further, this is the "rock bottom". So, I must stop fretting about success - the sooner the better - to avoid hindering my creativity. This is also a reminder not to be too impatient and submit unfinished projects (Knight of Swords). 

Ace of Wands - creativity - is the core of the issue, but it's also fickle and quickly burnt out like a match. I must protect this flame by feeding it with happiness, and this inspiration will in turn make me happy. It's a self-strengthening cycle. 

9 Swords closes the sentence by saying "wake up from your anxieties, they are not real, they are all in your head". This could also mean 9 weeks, but given the nature of my projects and if I count success as being acknowledged or earning money, the most realistic answer is in 10 months as indicated by 10 Cups - - - also, I'll be happy when I'll be successful.

For more clarity, according to this method I could also look at the direction where the court cards are facing (what card they are looking at) to see what information, element or energy crucial to the timing, as well as other visual cues such as the colour scheme or repeating numbers.

I'll report back whether or not one of my projects takes off around the end of 2016!

Happy practising! 

What will happen in the future? It depends what action we take and what decisions we make.

Friday, 26 February 2016

How to solve an argument with tarot

In my view, tarot is most useful for self-development, because pulling cards for oneself and pondering the message – and then taking action to do whatever needs to be done – is a direct improvement or problem solving opportunity. 

But, we don't live in a vacuum, and nor are we islands. We all interact with other people every day and the majority our problems are not caused by only us, but they are caused, triggered, related to or made worse by others. How to use tarot to solve a curly situation with someone else?

Firstly, there are at least two schools in tarot about reading about other people’s thoughts and emotions. Some people think that we should never ask how someone else feels or thinks, because it’s prying and morally wrong. 

I’m with the opposite school. I think that we as people are always trying to figure what the other people are up to – either directly by asking or indirectly by trying to deduct or guess based on our own experience and earlier encounters with the said person – so it’s impossible to live a human life without trying to understand other people. 

If cards can help us to understand others better and build bridges between people, then I think it’s justified to try and use tarot to figure what's going on in someone else's head and heart. 

What absolutely needs to be remembered when trying to pick someone’s else’s feelings and thoughts with tarot is that:

a) if tarot is “supernatural” and really can pick someone’s thoughts, then it is more direct spying than guessing: “spying” comes with a moral obligation to not use the knowledge against the person; and
b) never trust the cards blindly.

It’s still possible that your take on the card is not correct, or it shows just a tiny snapshot of the person’s inner workings, or the situation changes rapidly and the person doesn’t think that way in the long run (life is fluid and ever-changing anyway), or your interpretation of the emotion is wrong (say: you see someone’s sad, think it’s because they deeply miss you, whereas they’re sad due to self-pity about losing the fight with you).

So, what could you ask to help navigate a difficult situation?

How to solve an argument - spread

This exercise spread is for me and a relative: we don’t see eye to eye. My relative is sure that certain conspiracy theories are true, whereas I think they are nonsense. Consequently, we end up ruining happy family gatherings by arguing about this.

What is the real core of the issue (the bone to pick)? 2 SWORDS

Indecision and lack of clarity, but also two minds going to completely different directions. My truth simply is different to her truth, and they do not align or combine well. World is not black and white and everything can be seen from different angles - I guess I better remember this and acknowledge that neither of us has all of the facts nor absolute clarity about how things really are.

How do I see this issue? ACE OF PENTACLES

I think it’s mainly about money and greed: these conspiracy theories (e.g. climate change is a hoax) are motivated by the need to earn more and more (big oil and gas businesses wanting to secure profit). It’s also about focusing only on the material world at the expense of any other, including spiritual or scientific take: if you only focus on what you can directly experience with your senses, you’ll miss a lot of data about the world - such as is there more air pollutants or not in the atmosphere? If you can’t see them, it doesn’t mean it’s not true.

How does the other person see this issue? 6 CUPS

I think the person just wants to secure a happy, safe life to her and her family, with no need to worry about how someone’s going to take it all away one day and ruin the carefree, easygoing existence. The person also wants to go back to the past where no such things as climate change were ever heard of and hence, didn’t cause any trouble or hassle to anyone. It was a life of simply enjoying existence without having to worry about overpopulation, allocation of resources, environmental protection, survival of human kind etc.

Why is it important to me to be right? 10 CUPS

To ensure happy coexistence, environment and atmosphere for the extended family. I’m done with arguing, I’d just like everyone to enjoy each other’s company and live in harmony.

Why is it important to the other person to be right? EMPEROR

This card talks about control and power, but also permanence and solidity in life: the bed rock of one’s life. It’s possible this person wants to expose the authority that is (in her view) wrongly exerted upon people (environmental taxes etc.), or, she would want to have a solid ground how to live, without having to worry how these evil forces of the world want to disrupt her lifestyle by imposing rules.

What is the ideal solution for me? 2 CUPS

To understand each other, see eye to eye, be able to connect, listen and be heard – and feel happy about the existence and company of each other. Yes, that would be ideal.

What is the ideal solution for the other person? 7 CUPS

I suspect this means she’d like me to see the world like she sees it: see all those opportunities and threats that surround us, use my imagination more, accept that not everything is like the “mainstream media” wants to present it, that there can be more going on behind the closed doors.

What is the middle ground? QUEEN OF SWORDS

Stick to the facts, don’t get emotional. Stay grounded and mature, don’t engage into fights, don’t attack, but cut through any BS with clarity and confidence. There’s no real reason to fight, but, at the same time, there’s no real reason to not stand my ground and present my facts as I know them. And allow this same opportunity to her, too, it’s not just about me.

What action should I take to reach the middle ground? 9 CUPS

Focus on feeling satisfied and happy, and also remember to party. I usually meet this relative in family parties and gettogethers, so focusing on having fun and appreciating the lovely food, drinks and company would work much better than engaging into petty bickering.

The likely outcome if I take the advice? 10 SWORDS

This matter will be put to rest, it will die off. Yes, there might still be some arguments left but eventually we’ll move on, tired. The topic and the thoughts and worries associated to it will just die out, there is no energy and interest left to keep waving these swords at each other. The worst is upon us, it can't get worse than this, so we might just move on. 
Of course, using this spread does not guarantee that the other person is willing to cooperate or back off. But at least it gives you clarity on where the other person is coming from, what motivates them, and what would their ideal solution be, so that you can reassess your approach and see if you can offer an olive branch. If you can’t, at least you are better informed in your actions!

When we fight, we normally try to defend either literally or symbolically our existence or our cubs, the beloved "children" (projects, thoughts, feelings, anything we create). Instincts run unchecked. But, what about the other party? Most likely he or she is feeling exactly the same. 

Thursday, 25 February 2016

How to be a better partner?

I bumped into this question on an online forum: should you or should you not change for love?

One valid view is that of course not. If you need to try and change who you are, it’s a dead end road from the beginning. Carving out elements of your personality or trying to fit in someone else’s mold simply can’t work or provide any sort of long-term happiness. Which, I fully agree, is true. Trying to please someone else by being something you are NOT is a surefire way to break your own heart and maybe your own spine and self-esteem, too.

I want to make clear that I’m pretty much the last person on earth who wants to advocate bending over backwards for someone else.

I’ve had my own issues with clingy and co-dependent people, and I’ve went through a crash-course about how to deal with and survive from a manipulative narcissist, so I strongly encourage everyone to stand their own ground. However, there is a difference between being your current self, warts and scales and all, and being the best version of yourself.

Nobody can be perfect, but quite a few of us can be slightly improved, if we first identify what’s not working in and for ourselves and for our relationship. This is quite a self-evident advice but not everyone realises it when they are pining for a relationship, or for a better relationship. The only person you can change is you – and, let’s take an honest look: are you a genuinely nice person to be with?

We’ve all heard about “if you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best”, but could that worst be brought into a bit more manageable level?

Does it have to be the Third World War or the annual convention of drama queens or kings, when you’re at your worst? For me it certainly was at some stage, but I eventually realised that I’m not being very fair – nor nice. And why would I want to put my beloved through such a misery in the first place – I love him more than anything in the world, and I want him to know it, every day of the year.

Here’s a spread I created to examine this very question, and my own sample reading.

How to be a better partner?

  1. What is my overall partnering style (how do I behave in a relationship)?
  2. With who am I compatible with?
  3. What is something my partner(s, ex and current) like about me?
  4. What is something my partner(s, ex and current) dislike about me?
  5. What should I leave behind to be a better partner?
  6. What should I embrace to be a better partner?
  7. What action should I take to find/build/maintain a fulfilling relationship?

- - 7 - -
- 5 - 6 -
1 - 2 -3 - 4

What is my overall style of being a partner? 8 CUPS

I’m always searching for something new in my life, I’m never fully satisfied. This card is and is not true, depending on the angle. I aspire to commit for life and when I’m in love, I believe it will last forever. Of course sometimes things change and it won’t, but I’ve always been in lasting relationships and the current one – marriage to my soulmate – for all intents and purposes is supposed to last for a lifetime and beyond. 

However, in every other area in my life I’m always in search for more – or something new. I like experiencing new things and I get bored easily with hobbies, work etc. I blame my Gemini moon for this insatiable thirst for new knowledge, new emotions, new experiences, new viewpoints. And I keep dragging/inspiring my partner to this quest, too. I pretty much have a new plan for my/our life every week and some of those plans transpire to action, some don’t, because I come up with a new, even “better” plan.

With who am I compatible with? LOVERS

With my soulmate, duh, thank you tarot. With the person who makes me feel that he is the choice of my mind, heart, body and soul: when the relationship makes me feel all these aspects of myself are in perfect alignment and it feels like it’s a match made in heaven.

What is something my partner(s) like about me? ACE OF PENTACLES

I’m a solid choice, I guess. As I said, I commit and see the value of the relationship. I’m also crafty and always on the lookout for new opportunities: to earn money, grow as a person, learn something new, network, find and incorporate something new and interesting into my/our life. I’m also the “cheerleader” or the life coach of my partner, trying to find job opportunities for him and supporting him through the application process from writing the resume together to coaching for the interview.

What is something my partner(s) dislike about me? PAGE OF SWORDS

Hmm. I’m an eternal student and currently I’m studying towards a PhD degree. I simply love learning and I dwell in areas of my interest for days to an end. I don’t believe my partners necessarily dislike the studious or curious side, but perhaps this pertains to my communication blunders – the immature and inconsiderate side of the Page. I’m known for my stupid blurt-outs and inadvertent heartless comments that I have let escape my lips without thinking. Time to practice, clearly…

What should I put behind to be a better partner? 2 WANDS

This card most often means change of heart to me. It’s a passionate choice, made after an earlier passionate choice. I definitely recognise myself from this flipping back and forth and this relates to the earlier 8 Cups, always on the quest to find fulfilment that never comes. My husband is much more solid with his plans and this sometimes causes distress and tension for him – he feels I’m uprooting him with my flickering plans to move to Japan to teach English, move to New Zealand to own an adventure company, move to Queensland, Australia, to have our own wedding resort… I’ve been learning the hard way that the only way forward in life is to set intention and then follow through with resilience. This butterfly tendency to hop from one plan to another with a moment’s notice is clearly not the most helpful in a relationship, nor is it taking me anywhere, really.

What should I embrace to be a better partner? 9 SWORDS

Stop worrying for nothing. I’m normally easygoing and relaxed, but sometimes I get stuck in a loop of anxieties and worries: why are things not progressing as I’d like? Is something bad going to happen? How can I keep myself and my partner safe from accidents, misfortune etc.? This, again, is not very helpful. Alternatively, this card could simply say “nothing”, stop worrying about needing to be something different or more!

What action should I take to maintain a fulfilling relationship? 2 CUPS. 

Haha, another no-brainer! Be a giving, open and receptive partner: transparent and generous in your emotions and expect the same in return. Love with your full heart and be loved in return.

More of this same topic can be found in this article: how one husband changed the course of his marriage by biting the bullet, stopping the blame game and changing his own behaviour. And what flow-on effects it had on his wife and life. An interesting read! 
2 Cups, Joie de Vivre tarot, Paulina Cassidy. Mutual, equal, shared, true love.

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Planning a tarot business? Read this

I'm definitely a newbie in tarot business and by no means claim to be an expert, but I thought I could share some thoughts from the beginning of this journey and maybe update later on, how the feelings change throughout time when I gain more experience as a pro.

I've read for myself since early 2011, and I ventured to read for others on an online forum for free some six months ago. I got hooked immediately: there's something incredibly empowering (for both the reader and the sitter) and profound in being able to deliver useful, meaningful and pertinent messages to complete strangers, whose life is otherwise unknown to me. The mystery of how the cards can make sense is both baffling and satisfying each time a reading hits the nail on the head.

I turned "pro" (i.e. felt competent enough to start charging for my readings) just before Christmas 2015 so I've hit the landmark of first two months as a professional tarot reader pretty much about now. Some might say I'm not a pro yet, because tarot is not my main source of income, it merely supplements my finances. Even though I'd like to earn more as a pro - to be able to do more in the realm of tarot and dedicate a bigger chunk of my life to it-, right now money is not the main driver. Being a reader - the map reader of the soul -, is more about me living my calling than becoming rich.

Where do I work? I work from home, during the week before and after my office job; and also during weekends. I spend on average one hour per day in doing readings, and some 3-4 hours/wk on top of that for writing this blog to talk about tarot. I work online for a company called Phutureme, where I had to pass a tarot interview (do successful readings for free) to be able to be added as a reader. I also work through this website and do face to face readings and tarot tutoring in my home office (our guest room turned into a tarot parlour).

How to get started? In my opinion, the most surefire way to earn as a reader is to get listed by a bigger (online) company. I've never worked for a phone line, because I prefer written readings or face to face discussions. I also like it that online readings have a flexible timeframe and I don't have to pick up immediately if I don't have time, nor do I have to be "on call".

I'm considering adding Skype as an option to offer readings, though, because it could allow long-distance readings in a face-to-face-format. Having one's own website is the equal or the second best option IMO. Long term, all of us probably want to be our own bosses, but at the beginning, it's easier to be found through a big company than being buried under millions of other tarot websites in Google.

I also tried to offer doing readings in a number of local mystic shops, but nobody was interested. In other cities and countries this can work better, but in Perth, there doesn't seem to be enough demand for this type of "esoteric" service, as there are not that many shops - or I just didn't find the right ones.

How much do I earn? Like I said, this is not my main driver as I also have a full-time bill-paying job, but in the name of full transparency, I think it's useful to discuss this to inform the fellow tarot enthusiasts who contemplate setting up their own business. My tarot-related income fluctuates between $100-200/week, so it's a decent extra sum on top of my other earnings, but it would not keep me going by itself: my home city, Perth, is one of the most expensive in the world, unfortunately.

My goal is to be able to earn at least half of my income via tarot/intuition in the next three years. Naturally earnings depend on what you charge. I charge to cover the time, skills and effort I'm putting into readings, but not too much to avoid making it inaccessible - tarot for me is all about helping others, after all.

How does it feel to have a tarot business? Firstly, you need resilience and confidence. A lot has been written about how not everyone will embrace your choice of business, for example by the Tarot Lady.

Not all the people in my life know about my business and at first I felt that I'm not being honest if I don't tell to all of my family, friends, colleagues etc. immediately - but once I started telling to some of them and I got responses ranging from mild interest to indifference, I realised that my life and my decisions are much less interesting to other people than I thought. Every one of us is mostly concerned with our own lives and decisions, after all!

My services are also targeted to people who are not in my immediate social circles (it's easier to read to strangers than friends and family, IMO), so I realised that what's the point of making a big announcement or fuss about this when people will gradually learn anyway.

How does it feel to deliver a reading? This depends whether the reading is done online or face to face. Both have their own benefits and downfalls.

An online reading is smooth but unemotional in the sense that you see the cards (either pick them yourself or view the spread picked by the client) and type what the message is; and then send. 90% of the people don't give any feedback or get back with questions, but some ask clarifications or follow up. Before I started, I was a bit nervous that what if people keep asking tons of follow up questions and I end up charging for half of the time that's actually spent on a reading. Either it's due to my style - clear and to the point - or people don't feel like "wasting time forever", but most people are happy with one clarifying comment/message.

However, this lack of feedback often leaves me wondering that whether or not the reading was spot on or useful. The website calculates what percentage of clients become frequents and my average is the same than the website's in general (approximately every fifth client) so I take that to mean at least some people are happy enough to keep coming back.

In online readings, the exchange is somewhat more "clinical" than face to face, because the topic and the question are not really discussed: it's usually a short, sharp question and bam, the answer.

A face to face reading is at the same time more enjoyable and draining than an online reading. I love the connection that builds up with the cards and with the client. However, face to face readings usually take double or triple the time than online readings and staying focused, tuned in, connected with the client and talking for an hour and a half is draining, even if it's gratifying.

Face to face readings also come with an element of experiencing emotions, which can be difficult, especially at the beginning. During the first time(s), the reader will be nervous, whereas the client is anxious to get answers. Clients can go through deep feelings during the reading (I myself burst into tears when I had a clairvoyant reading done for myself), because the topics that are discussed are often sensitive, possibly painful and very pertinent - the shock of hearing someone describing your life to a T might in itself be an emotional experience.

The ability to deliver negative news in an emphatic manner is probably one, if not the most important skill a reader can develop and have.

In my experience, people seek for a reading when they are in some sort of a distressing spot in life. When everything's going well, there's no need for clarity and guidance. Also, buried or neglected matters often come up in a reading without the sitter having planned to discuss them, so the ability to be flexible and guide the reading and discussion in a supportive, encouraging manner is the key skill for a reader, I think.

I have not yet encountered a difficult client either online or face to face, but I have encountered pestering, dismissive or disrespectful sitters in the free readings online forum I used to practice at.

People might ask questions you don't feel comfortable answering (such as: how could I hurt my ex because s/he hurt me), they  might not accept the message you've given and behave in an aggressive manner towards you; or they might beg for more cards/readings than you have promised to deliver. I personally don't have a problem with saying no, but setting healthy boundaries is definitely among the key business skills of a reader.

Phutureme offers free tarot spreads, numerology calculators and other forecasting tools; paid interpretation available but it's not a requirement for using the spreads. 

Friday, 19 February 2016

Unearth your hidden talents - "activate your strange jewels"

Do you suspect you have - or maybe, you believe you don't have! - hidden talents that nobody, including you, knows about? Now we have a way to find out!

This spread, activate your strange jewels, is from the Over the Moon – blog, who in turn borrowed it from Happy Fish Tarot. Carrie of Happy Fish got the inspiration for her spread from Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat Pray Love and Big Magic. 

Carrie describes the spread like this:

We all have innate creative strengths, but for many of us these “strange jewels” (as Elizabeth Gilbert calls them) seem inaccessible and hidden. This reading will guide you in unearthing and using your own strange jewels! You’ll get actionable tips on understanding your gifts and actively engaging your creativity. 

Elizabeth in turn describes what she means by “the strange jewels” like this:

I’ve always embraced magical thinking when it comes to creativity. I see inspiration as a mysterious external force that comes to us from unknown realms, in order to collaborate with our imaginations. This is how humans saw the artistic process for thousands of years, and it still works for me! 

I certainly like this fanciful approach to creativity better than the modern notion of the tormented artist, suffering alone in anguish and martyrdom. My book is an effort to lure people back into the “Big Magic” — into a more celebratory and mystical way of being a maker. (from the Etsy Blog)

And, this is how you do it:

Activate your strange jewels 
(or, unearth your hidden, unexpected talents or traits)

Card 1- Accessible Gifts: 8 CUPS.

This card talks about leaving an unsatisfactory or unfulfilling situation behind for a quest to find what makes one happy. At first sight, this does not look like a positive gift, but on a deeper level, this is a very pertinent card. I’ve never been afraid in life to leave a situation (or location, action, feeling or person) behind which or who does not serve a positive purpose anymore, even if it once brought joy.

I guess this is a good talent to have, because if I were afraid to move on, nothing would ever change. This definitely changed my view of the 8 Cups as the card of sad abandonment of something. Walking away is not always a bad thing – in fact, it can be the first step of something new and great -, even if it hurts at the moment of leaving.

Card 2 - Unconscious Gifts: DEVIL.

This is even more cryptic at the first sight than the 8 Cups. How could negative forces, unhealthy attachments and fear possibly be good gifts? Then it clicked.

I have a tendency of getting obsessed by whatever interests me. It can be anything from tarot to the nature of reality to travel stories to thriller novels. I go through periods of finding out everything I can about a topic, dwelling in it, thinking – definitely overthinking – it. It’s not the healthiest way to be passionate, but it’s quite effective. This obsessive period of a few weeks or up to months is a crash course on whatever topic I’m into, and I gain the knowledge for the rest of my life. This most definitely is an unconscious and unexpected, strange jewel!

Card 3 - Challenges of Your Gifts: STAR.

I regularly seek guidance (from tarot, my intuition, synchronities and other signs around) and I’m a positive and upbeat person by nature, but I also have a tendency/downfall to not trust this guidance and sense of direction. One day I’m sure my purpose is to be a teacher of tarot and intuition. The next day I’m sure my purpose is to be a travel blogger. The third, it’s something else. I keep losing track due to overthinking and overactive imagination – but mainly, impatience.

When things don’t go to the direction I’m expecting or hoping them to go, I start doubting myself and the plans I have: should I change them? Is this after all what I’m supposed to be doing? And round and round in circles I go, not achieving what I could, but beating the bush in the dark, without seeing the star above me. Point taken, better keep scanning and following that star even during the darkest moments!

Card 4 - Your Contribution: KING OF PENTACLES.

This card is intended to represent why your gifts are important and how they contribute to the world. This is the entrepreneur card for me: a person who is in charge and enjoys controlling the material realm.

It’s my dream to have my own, financially and emotionally successful business and with this tarot site I’m taking first tentative steps to that direction. I’ve had a one person consultancy business before (arts and culture projects and event production) and I loved it – besides the financial side, which was not bountiful. This time I hope to make the most out of my strange talents by offering them to the world and hopefully making a living at the side. So perhaps my skill to courageously leave things behind and look for something more can inspire others to do the same, and leave whatever is not working in their lives behind for something new.

Card 5 - Real-World Application: 10 CUPS.

My strange gifts have the ability to make me and my partner/family/friends very happy. This is the card of domestic bliss, overflowing happiness and overall satisfaction in life. Maybe my gift and spreading it can make the people around me, or the people who seek guidance or advice from me, happy? What more could I ask? Not a thing!

Card 6 - Advice:  TOWER.

The final card gives advice on taking the next step. Whoa, this is a disturbing card to get – the card of destruction, shock, crumbling beliefs or expectations. Maybe it means I should not have any fixed or cemented mental constructions about myself or the world around me: I don’t have the whole truth or the right picture, when I start cementing my views. It’s good to be flexible and adaptable, and understand that in life, things change constantly – including myself and my own abilities.

Happy exploring!

Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert's new book about creativity. Picture via Etsy Blog.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Interview by Berlin Tarot Parlor - what's it like to read professionally?

Louise, the owner of Berlin Tarot Parlor, runs a fresh and informative blog and reading service. Louise was interested in hearing my views about tarot, reading professionally, and what tarot can give to the seekers, so she asked me 10+1 questions online about tarot, including my favourite cards.

Louise's plan is to interview tarot readers around the world to give insights about different takes on how to read, why to read and what sort of benefits or revelations tarot cards can offer. Her blog is also packed with handy infographics, so it's a great place to start seeking advice on how to interpret the cards.

Take a look on the full interview here:

Snippets from the interview

Tarot Parlor T.P: How did you discover Tarot?

Anu Saskia A.S: By coincidence, or fate, depending on one’s viewpoint! I went through a divorce in 2011. I was desperate for solace and guidance, so I ordered a free astrology reading online. It came with a complementary Tarot reading. The cards I got were so accurate that I just stared at them in awe and shock.

T.P: What is the cliche about Tarot that annoys you the most?

A S: That it’s either a hoax or something evil. I understand that for a today’s non-religious, scientifically geared mindset it’s difficult to believe that pieces of paper could bear any messages, other than what’s imagined or superimposed on them by our own hopes, fears and wishful thinking. But I personally like to approach “paranormal” topics without prior assumptions either way. Tarot is not evil or satanic, either. It’s about interpreting symbols in the same way than interpreting dreams. Would anyone label discussing dreams or trying to understand their intuitive message as evil?

T.P: If you read professionally, what questions come up more often?

A S: Romantic relationships and career are the top areas to ask about. Both men and women around the world are anxious to know when they'll find the one. Many ask about reconciling with an ex. Another major area is career direction.

In general, a tarot reader gets a mixed bag of all sorts: will my cat come home, how will this legal proceeding go, should I contact a childhood friend, will this argument be reconciled, will my finances improve soon? More often than not questions veer towards: will my situation change for better due to someone else taking action, or the universe changing it? I always remind that you are the one in charge of your life.

T.P: What’s the strangest or most difficult question someone has asked you in a reading?

A S: Can you locate a specific book I've lost? The cards gave advice that didn’t mean much to me but when I relayed it to the sitter, she found the book, based on the advice. All questions about finding things are tricky, because cards are symbolic, not literal, and they work better when discussing mental, emotional or spiritual aspects of life instead of the material plane. In general, people don't tend to ask strange questions - they ask what they would ask from a friend, for guidance, advice and perspective.

The full answers and the rest of the 10+1 questions can be found in the link above. I hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

How to analyse dreams

For some reason, dream interpretation has a bit of a bad rap - it's easily seen as fluffy and vague pseudo-psychology or New Age mumbo jumbo that's at best harmless and at worst, laughable.

I personally think interpreting - or rather, analysing - dreams is a very useful tool for self-exploration and knowing what's going on in your life, mind and heart.

People have interpreted dreams as long as the human kind has existed.

Apparently there have been times and cultures where talking about dreams has been the first thing to do among the family or tribe members in the morning. I love doing this with my partner - whenever I can remember my dreams - because it's an interesting topic, a nice way to connect over breakfast (on weekends when we're not in a hurry to get to work) and it's also a practical way to get to know what's going on in your partner's or family members' subconscious.

When I talk about dream interpretation, I don't mean referring to dream symbol dictionaries. I find them indicative at best, but they should not be used as a bible. I think everyone knows their own symbols without a dictionary, but it requires a bit of imagination, effort and putting your mind to it.

In my opinion and experience, the most useful method for analysing a dream is:

When you wake up, go through the dream while you're still laying down, or immediately after getting up. Don't let the feelings and images fade.

Think carefully what you felt in the dream. Don't focus on the images, people or actions in the dream yet, just think how you felt. Was the vibe uplifting, happy, content, neutral, anxious, scared, what?

Now look at the actions that you did or happened to you in the dream. Try to ignore the imagery again, just focus on the actions. Say, you were chased by a dragon. Ignore the dragon and focus on the feeling of being chased.

Scan through your life: what is causing you to feel like you'd rather flee? Is it your boss? Colleague? Partner? Life's pressure in general? The presentation you're supposed to give next week? Clearly you'd rather avoid something in your life and that's what the dragon symbolises.

Combine the action and the feeling, and again, ignore the imagery. What did you do or what happened to you and what it caused you to feel? This tells you the core of the issue. Scan your life again to recognise what matches or reminds you of this action and feeling in reality.

In my opinion, often in dreams, the look of the objects and/or people is of secondary value and the feelings they evoke are the focus point.

People and objects in dreams can be almost disposable or interchangeable with other people or objects, and the message would still be the same. It's like you need to strip the mask of the elements or actors/actresses in your dream to see the real meaning behind them.

An example: 

I still dream about my first boyfriend from my teenage years. I don't miss him - awake or in the dream-, but still he is a regular character in my dreams, playing the part of my partner.

I've had other partners since and I don't have any regrets about not being with this person anymore. I was baffled for a long time: why do I keep seeing him, even in intimate dreams, when he doesn't really matter to me anymore?

Finally I figured: it's not about him, it's about what's happening and what I'm doing and feeling in the dream. 

My mind has a habit of casting him into a generic role of the "opponent" to deal with issues I nowadays encounter in relationships (romantic, friendship, family, or work life) in general.

In that relationship, I often felt I was not heard or seen as I really was, I was misunderstood, or I was treated in an unfair manner. Whenever I'm feeling the same in my current life, the ex-boyfriend pops up to play the part so that I can practise dealing with these elements of misunderstandings or unfairness in my dreams.

In these dreams I've screamed, yelled, cried, walked away in puzzlement, walked away in disgust, stayed silent, tried to reason, tried to justify or explain, stood up for myself... It's like am trying every possible coping strategy to see how it works and feels to be able to use it in real life to solve the real life relationship issues.

And my ex-bf just happens to be cast in the role because my mind can easily recognise him as an "opponent" to practice with. It could be anyone else, really, or even an unknown person, but clearly my mind finds it easy to picture him for this purpose, so him it is.

In my opinion, the imagery of the dream does matter, but dreams should not be interpreted with a dictionary of readymade explanations. Yes, images symbol different elements in life, but I think they can be highly personal and one size does not fit all. Hence, it is worthwhile to study your own dreams to build a personalised alphabet for what the different elements can mean.

Some examples about what imagery can mean, based on my own dreams.

Landscapes in general tell what is my overall internal state: calm, happy, content, neutral, bewildered, anxious or something else. A beautiful landscape with nature, trees, flowers, water etc. tell about content and joy, whereas any type of a threatening landscape (including city scenes with scary people) indicate anxieties, worries or fears - either specific and topical, or general, underlying fears.

Interestingly, in dreams I sometimes see objects, events or people afar (veiled in blue haze) that will appear in my life in the future - geographically distant objects in a dream are distant in time in real life.

A house tells about my physical and mental state. If I've had a few drinks or I'm ill, there are bugs in the house. If the house is in order and tidy, I feel organised and in control. If it's in various states of disrepair, something needs to be fixed in my life or body. If there's water on the floor, I need to wake up to go to the toilet :D

A car tells about whether I feel in control or not in life. If I'm driving and it's going fine, all is under control. If the car is misbehaving or someone else is driving, I feel that I'm lacking control. This can be positive, negative or neutral, depending on who's driving and how's it going.

A train is about life and direction, too, but it's about focusing less on direction and more on who's on board with me. Life is on track, going where it needs to go, but who's with me (friends, relatives, partner, unknown people) can tell who matters to me in this moment or whom I should focus on.

Water is about emotions and thoughts. I've had some beautiful dreams about standing at the shore of a water body (lake, river or ocean) and I can see golden fish through the pristine water clearly. After those dreams I know I'll soon get an epiphany of some sort - there's absolute clarity of thought; and stillness or calmness of emotions.

Dreams, in essence, are metaphors for different situations in life and not everyone has the same metaphors or symbol library. It can be hugely informative and entertaining to recognise your own symbols. Next time you have a dream you remember, why not have a crack in analysing it instead of letting it disappear!

Something visible and useful can crystallise out of a dream if you take a close look. 

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Cheat sheet - how to interpret Minor Arcana court cards?

This post relates to the earlier Cheat Sheet - how to interpret Minor Arcana pip cards? 

Because court cards can only be understood and interpreted as a member of their suit (wands, swords, cups or pentacles), please refer to the linked post to check what the suits mean in tarot in case you're not yet familiar with them.

The court cards can be read as energies or concepts but I personally always see them signifying people: either the reader him/herself or someone else influential or connected to the question.

The court cards are a combination of their suit's meaning and the "job title" - the Page, the Knight, the Queen and the King.

With the court cards, it's useful to flex your imagination to figure what each one of these court positions or "titles" meant in history. The court member roles originate from the Medieval era, but they also refer to the archetypal family: the daughter, the son, the mother, the father, and what sort or behaviour or traits could these roles encompass (in a stereotypical way).

When court cards come up, they can mean either different people with the portrayed traits, or different personality aspects or behaviours of the same person. Also, men can come up as Queens (or Pages = daughters) and women as Kings (or Knights = sons), depending on their personality or behaviour.

The Pages

A page in the Medieval period was someone in training to become a knight.

This tells a page is a young person learning something. In tarot, the Page normally means someone who is young or young-at-heart, or behaves in an "childish" manner. Note: childish can mean positive or negative things.

A child can be innocent, curious, keen to learn, open-minded, flexible thinker, not stuck in a rut, happy-go-lucky, willing to try new things and imaginative. On the other hand, a child can be impatient, immature, inexperienced and inconsiderate.

In tarot, Pages are also seen as messengers.

The Pages are sometimes called the Daughter or the Princess of the suit, because Pages are seen as having traits that (in a stereotypical sense) girls/young women have: curiosity, creativity, sensitivity, artistic traits and a wish and skill to connect with other people in an emotional level.

To figure out the meaning of each Page, you'll simply combine the "personality traits" of a Page in general with that particular Page's suit. The Fire Page, Page of Wands, is curious about the world of inner drive, passion, energy and excitement. What could be exciting? Newness, risks and adventure, for example.

The Air Page, Page of Swords, is curious about the world of thought: words, word plays, sense of humour, communication, reading and writing, problem solving. But s/he's only learning, so the result can be great innovative insights or immature blunders.

The Water Page, Page of Cups is drawn to the world of emotions: s/he likes to learn about and test the waters in the area of feelings, including being kind, innocent, sensitive, artistic and having a crush or falling in love.

The Earth Page, Page of Pentacles is the learner of all things material: a new job, studies, apprenticeship; finding ways to earn money or come up with tentative business ideas; find new directions to invest money or source an income; or being creative for practical purposes.

The Knights

A knight in the Medieval times was the soldier, the guard, the protector and the champion of the royal family.

Accordingly, the traits that Knights have in tarot are for example to: fight, protect, and explore/expand (the territories of their suit). The Knights are often portrayed as horsemen to indicate movement and pace: the Page walks by foot, so s/he can't go very far with his or her explorations. But the Knight can come and go as s/he pleases and cover vast distances - not just take tentative steps in the suit's energy but explore it.

Knights are sometimes called the Sons or Princes of the suit because their traits are seen to be (the stereotypical) traits of boys and young men: adventurous, bold, keen to explore and conquer and/or protect. Depending on the suit, the Knights can be reliable or unreliable (dependable or rash), valiant, courageous or hot-headed like real life sons.

The Knight of Wands is the explorer and fighter of the Fire suit, so s/he can be impatient, flighty, rash, fast, passionate and unreliable.

The Knight of Swords is the soldier of the Air suit, so words and thoughts are his/her weapons: this knight can be quick to attack or defend him/herself, charge into action, dive into debates and act or speak before thinking.

The Knight of Cups is the explorer and protector of the world of emotions: the charming prince, the white knight, the artist, poet, musician, the romantic...

The Knight of Pentacles is the dutiful soldier of earthly matters: reliable and diligent worker, caretaker of finances, the accountant, and the ever-dependable - but maybe a bit dull - person who will not leave a duty undone.

The Queens

A queen in the Medieval times was the spouse of the king and not as high in authority (although some powerful queens exist in history, like Elizabeth I of England in the 1500s). However, the queens have always had indirect power as ruler-partners who advise and influence the king and inspire and nurture their people - they set an example for behaviour as the Mother of the Nation.

Queens represent the archetypal personalities of women: wives, mothers, sisters, friends, home-makers, carers, nurturers; but also independent, powerful (business)women of today. The Queens represent the archetypal feminine energy or outlook in life combined with their suit's energy.

The Queens also relate to emotions:

Queen of Wands experiences and expresses life with passion, drive and creativity - she also knows how to express and enjoy her sexuality.

Queen of Swords experiences and expresses thoughts and feelings by rationalising them, operating at the level of logic and analytical thought.

Queen of Cups experiences and expresses her feelings at a purely emotional level, dwelling in them, showering them around, being the most (stereotypically) feminine of the Queens.

Queen of Pentacles experiences and expresses her feelings from a pragmatic, down-to-earth point of view, by taking care of her family, home and business efficiently, but always with a warm touch.

A highly informative, deeper post about the Queens is available here, Truly Teach Me Tarot.

My favourite Queens, the Queen of Wands of the Witches Tarot deck and the Guardian of Air (Queen of Swords) of the Gaian Tarot deck. The fire queen above looks content, confident and relaxed surrounded by her favourite things and energising colours. The air queen below is a tribal wise woman with generations' worth of knowledge; a sought-after adviser for clarity and direction.

The Kings

A king in the Medieval times was the ultimate ruler, the head of the nation (the suit). Kings have full authority over their own actions and can influence or order other people, too.

In tarot, the King is someone who has mastered the energy of the suit and can use its power externally: the King is able to use the suit's energy for his/her own benefit but also for the benefit of others to influence and empower - to rule in the world's fullest sense. The kings are also the archetypal representations of masculine traits: the protector, the ruler, the boss, the provider, the decision-maker.

King of Wands is an energetic, enthusiastic and excited leader who is able to live his/her truth, be authentic, and inspire and influence others to be their best selves. This King is also passionate and sexual, as per his fire suit.

King of Swords is the master of analytical thought: think of a mindset of an engineer or an analyst. He'll cut through any confusion and will find and present the core of the issue with absolute clarity. He is also convincing and logical in communication. He makes decisions based on rational thought and will not be swayed by emotions.

King of Cups is the master of his own and others' emotions: he's mature and wise, and he's an excellent counsellor. He knows how to be quietly and warmly supportive as a friend, boss, spouse or a relative.

King of Pentacles is sometimes dubbed the "husband" card in the archetypal sense: he's the caretaker, provider, traditional leader who relies on common sense and good money management. He's pragmatic, organised and steady.

Again, a handy intro to the Kings is presented at Truly Teach Me Tarot. And, again, both men and women can come up as Queens or Kings: the cards show personality traits and behaviour, not solely or always the physical gender of the person.

My favourite Kings: the Grail King (King of Cups) of the Arthurian Tarot deck, and the King of Wands of the Joie de Vivre deck. The water king above captures the maturity and wisdom of the King of Cups (a respected shaman in tune with nature, spirits and human nature) and the fire king below is having fun, being fully and unapologetically himself. I always see this card as the King and Queen of Wands having a laugh and play around - passionate and enthusiastic as they are - but according to Pauline Cassidy, the creator of the deck, the King is riding on his trustworthy steed. 

Reversed court cards

If the court card pops out reversed (upside down), it can mean that the personality traits associated with the card are from the negative end of the spectrum. Instead of curious and open-minded, the Pages can be childish and bickering. Instead of bold and strong, the Knights can be inconsiderate and unreliable. Instead of supportive and emotionally confident, the Queens can be manipulative or bitchy. Instead of showing true leadership, the Kings can be repressing and controlling.

However, nothing in tarot is black and white, so always take into consideration the question, the surrounding cards and your own intuitive hunches of the matter at hand.
I hope this helps!

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Why and how to improve your intuition?

Learning tarot is not just about memorising the card meanings. It's mostly about letting your intuition guide your rational mind instead of the - usual - other way around. And this is much more difficult to many/most people than expected!

As a tarot teacher, I've learned that the biggest obstacle in the way of a successful reading is the lack of trust in your own intuition and imagination; not letting that part of yourself come to light and direct your rational mind.

I grew up surrounded by stories and artwork. My home was not particularly artistic, but my parents believed in teaching kids to read young and we had bookshelves full of story and picture books. I learned all the traditional fairytales before the school age and I loved the weekly trips to the library to borrow more picture books. I also loved drawing, so I was deep in the world of stories, pictures and symbols for the best part of my childhood - and I still miss that incredible feeling of immersion only a child can achieve.

Now, how this relates to tarot, intuition or teaching it?

I had never realised before I started using and teaching tarot cards that not everyone is equally comfortable with letting their imagination soar.

We are taught from early on to be practical, rational and sensible. "Stop daydreaming and get on with your homework/studies/work" is one of the most common instructions we all get from our parents, teachers, bosses and ourselves. And this is a shame, I think, because imagination and intuition are different sides of the same coin and we can't use our intuition effectively without imagination.

Tarot is not about voodoo, superstition or hocus pocus. Tarot is about accessing your own intuition for a clearer decision making in life.

If you know what your drivers are - the deeply held fears, hopes and aspirations - you're bound to make more informed choices in life, and can access and build deeper and longer-lasting happiness and satisfaction.

This is not marketing hype, it's something I've seen happening for myself and countless of other people who have learned to listen to and trust their intuition - either with or without the cards.

Tarot cards are useful in practising the use of intuition, because they bring the elusive and ambivalent emotions, hopes and fears visible by showing them in a picture form instead of one having to scope them in the "dark", only by sensing and observing one's inner workings.

Tarot is not the only pathway available to your inner world. Paying attention to dreams and gut feelings work, too, as well as meditation.

I've recently started this practice of "checking up" with my intuition to see what's going on in my life and what direction my subconscious sees or expects/prompts me to take. It's probably a form of meditation but I like to think it as a check up, taking a look on my subconscious. If you believe in clairvoyancy (by telepathy or accessing the collective subconscious), this can also be used to read for other people.

How to improve intuition and imagination - 
through meditation

Find a quiet spot in your house and preferably try this in the morning before all the hassle of the day. I've found that within an hour of waking up the mind is still close to the dreaming state and more receptive to images, and you're not overburdened by the stress and chores of the day.

Sit down, close your eyes and try to not think. No talking to oneself, no questioning, no planning or remembering, just let your mind be.

Then, whatever thought or image, no matter how faint, appears - let it come and watch it with your mind's eye.

When doing this, I don't see as clear images as in a dream, but I do get hunches, physical sensations (warmth, sounds, smells) and "see" or experience images or even "videos" with my minds eye. It's difficult to explain because it's not as clear as a full-on (lucid) dream, but it's clear enough to pick the message.

The main thing is to allow and trust what comes and simply observe. Don't try to guess whether the image is relevant, or whether it's "correct". Try not to direct the images or the story, just sit and watch.

Absolutely don't try to guess where the story will go, otherwise you're letting your rational mind take the lead and the whole purpose of this exercise is to let your intuition lead the way.

I usually watch the images or the "video" for maybe 30 -60 seconds after they start; then I pause to write it down. Longer periods (even up to an hour - how long you feel you can do it without falling asleep ;) ) are fine too, but I personally prefer to take breaks to take notes. For me this pace works because it allows me to just sit and observe without thinking or trying to memorise or analyse, and I can still remember the images to write them down and start analysing afterwards.

Don't be put off if you don't get anything sensible, or anything at all for the first few minutes. It's possible nothing comes (or you don't  know how to spot it) for the first few attempts. It's a skill that needs to be practiced. Intuition and imagination are like muscles - everyone has them, but the ones you don't use, tend to get weak and when you start exercising, they feel utterly useless at first!

I tend to see symbolical images - people in historical dresses and in all sorts of landscapes, and I interpret it later. The message doesn't have to be a photographic presentation of your everyday life to be meaningful. After all, this is akin to watching dreams fully conscious and also interpreting them on the go. And dreams are not necessarily straightforward representations of your life - yet they are relevant to understanding your own inner workings, beliefs, fears, motifs etc.

I've found that for any sort of intuitive practice, be it dreams, tarot or meditation / check ups / clairvoyancy, it helps to be acquainted with symbols, fairytales, folklore and legends to fine tune your intuition and "vocabulary". I'm an art historian and it helps me immensely with seeing and understanding coded messages. But you can find your own meanings and interpretations, too.

If you find meditation or clairvoyancy difficult to start with, try cloud watching. Just let your mind see patterns, images and symbols to get into the practice of letting your intuition direct your mind instead of the other way around. Don't disregard anything as silly, just keep watching and imagining - it will bear fruit eventually with improved clarity and self-knowledge!
Where will your intuition lead you, if you let it take the lead for a change? Photo via Kaboompics.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

Cards don't match my life - are they wrong?

I've done more than thousand readings for other people and probably the double number for myself by now. I've also actively followed how other people read on online forums. Based on this experience, I've concluded that there are three major reasons where the reading can go wrong, meaning that the cards and the real life events don't seem to match.

The top three reasons why the events that happen don't match your cards:

  1. you ask when will someone else or the universe in general fix your problems.
  2. you assume that feelings will cause actions.
  3. you retrospectively change the question to fit the cards or read what you want to see. 

#1 - When will my luck change?

In my experience, this is the most common type of question to ask from tarot, and I've done it often - too often - as well.

Will X contact me or fall in love with me? Will X approach me after the fall out and make everything right? Will employer X soon tell me I got the job? Will I go for the trip I'm planning? Will I move house like I'm planning? Will my luck change soon? Will my life change soon? Will everything be better soon?

Of course, it's understandable to be curious about what will come. We can't always ask directly from people around us, so we turn to the cards to get some visibility and perhaps reassurance.

However, more often than not this seems to cause frustration instead of clarity. The cards might tell that X will not take any action, or not such action that would benefit or please us, which is bound to disappoint. Or, the cards do tell that things will change, so you just sit back and wait for the change - which never comes due to the lack of required action from your part!

The main pitfall is that if you ask what will X do about this situation, you're bound to get an answer that's outside of your control. And usually there's a 50-50% chance that the card is not positive. Because X is probably equally scared/hesitant/offended/shy to be the first person to take action, declare love, send a date invite, offer an olive branch or confess that s/he was wrong!

To feel more empowered and in control, it's always better to ask action-oriented questions, such as "what can I do to make this situation progress as I'd like?"

I like to use a simple 4-card spread for situation - challenge - advice - outcome to scope, what is going on, what is working against me or is difficult for me right now, what is the best course of action, and what is the likely outcome with the advice. That way I at least know what is within my control and what is not, and I have a chance to do everything I can to initiate the change I want.

#2 - If X likes me, surely s/he'll ask me out?

It's incredibly common to see people ask questions about feelings, get positive cards, and then get disappointed by the lack of following action. If person X likes me, surely s/he'll ask me out, right?

Nope. Having feelings for someone and actually acting on those feelings are two completely different scenarios. I personally believe that if you like someone and get hints about being liked back - and your cards are confirming this - then why not go ahead and make the first move yourself?

I've always been the one to initiate dates, because I'm so afraid of losing a perfect opportunity just because the other person might be too shy and afraid of rejection. Yes, I have been rejected. And I lived to tell the tale. Personally I find fretting about someone's feelings much worse than getting clarity, even with the risk of rejection. At least it's settled then, and I can move on.

If you're one of those people who think that your romantic interest should prove their worthiness by being the first one to make the move, then... why exactly is the other person the only one having to prove themselves and risk rejection? Surely you're not the King or Queen of Saba, who can't interact with mere mortals, eh? ;)

Seriously folks. If you like someone, make a move. Don't draw cards night after night after night. Same applies, if you've fallen out with someone, or need to make amends. Extend the hand, send the ball to the other side of the court by taking action. You'll feel much better afterwards, in the grand scheme of things, even if the answer is no.

#3 - What's going on in his/her life? Oh, we'll get married!

This is simultaneously the most baffling and the most understandable "reading mistake" to make.

You check how things are going for your ex and pull, say, 10 Cups - bliss, happiness, joy, family. Suddenly the reading looks like a promise for you to finally get back together. Or, you ask: when will I hear about the job I applied for and get 4 Wands - happy home, completion of a project. Wow, this looks like the job is yours! But wait...

Notice what happened there? The first question was about "what is going on in X's life", not "what will happen to X and me together in the future?". The second question was about "when will I hear...", not "what are my chances with this job" or "what is the result of this application process for me", or something along those lines.

So, the first card can mean that your ex is indeed doing fine, but the card does not include you, unless you specifically ask. The second card can mean: you'll hear the outcome in four days or four weeks (depending on how you time with tarot), but it doesn't necessarily say you'll get it, even though it is more positive than negative looking card.

I'm most surprised by many people's (understandable) tendency to interpret negative cards positively in relationship readings, in particular regarding ex-partners or romantic interests.

I've seen dozens of readings where a person asks: what does X feel for me? and the answer is, for example, 8 Cups - moving on, loss -, or 5 Pentacles - being without, lacking something. And these cards are then interpreted as signs of great longing and love: X is feeling lost and cold without me. Errr, what if it means: "X couldn't give a toss about you", which is my instinctive take on these.

I'm sorry if this sounds cynical, but I think it's better to acknowledge the truth, in particular if the "doesn't care" card is also reinforced by action or rather, lack of action by the said ex or romantic interest. There's no point in fooling oneself to see great love and longing in "walking away towards the new shores" type of cards; there's only heartbreak in store for that, unfortunately.

However, this same phenomenon works the other way too, and I've seen many readings where the person won't acknowledge the positive message when it's slamming them in the face.

The most important skill of a tarot reader is the ability to detach. From the question and from the outcome.

Whatever comes up, try to remember (or better yet, write down) the exact wording of the question and then examine the cards as objectively as possible in relation to that particular question. If the cards still don't make sense, record the reading and sleep on it - check back later to see if you'll figure something new out. As a last straw, ask another, more carefully worded question and maybe consider a positioned reading, where each card answers a particular question.

Cards don't match the question? Are you sure you remember the question you asked and are not trying to push a square block through a round hole?