Friday, 29 July 2016

How to use tarot to reconcile with someone?

One of the most common questions tarot readers get is along these lines: "how do I reconnect with someone I've lost from my life (an ex, a friend, a relative)" or even more commonly: "when will we reconnect - when will the other person take action to mend it all?" This question is also often accompanied by "does x regret what they did to me / how they behaved / that they cut ties?"

This is, of course, very natural to ask. If a friendship or love has gone sour, usually one person was more keen to leave than the other and that always leaves a pining party. Even in situations where the break-up or fall-out was a mutual decision, people change their mind over time and start remembering all the good of that relationship. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, and same applies with time passing. 

Also, people seem to be "wired" to be very aware and concerned about fairness. Studies on monkeys have shown that our furry cousins also understand the concept of fairness and get offended, if - for example - other monkeys get more or better treats for the same tasks in a test. Monkeys also know how to share and are happy to give some of their treats to others to be fair and loyal, i.e. worth friendship and alliances. 

Same goes with us humans. There is hardly anything as painful as the feeling of being wronged. We normally can't comprehend nor stand the feeling and knowledge that someone has done something unfair towards us - in particular if that was on purpose. People can spend days, weeks and even years trying to figure out what happened, why, and in the worst case scenario, holding a grudge and/or plotting revenge. 

We probably all know that holding a grudge is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die, so for the sake of a better life, it's always a good plan to either try to solve the problem or move on. Or both. 

I as a reader prefer action-oriented questions such as "what can I do to resolve this?" instead of asking "when will things turn better, or when will the other person take action?" That's because waiting for someone else to deliver is bound to cause more anxiety and helplessness than taking the risk of action.

I also find questions such as "is x regretting their actions" not-very-useful, because there is always a chance that x indeed is not regretting, at all. Not everyone is mature enough to treat others with kindness and respect, and not everyone is mature enough to see any fault in themselves. Realising that x did what they did with no remorse whatsoever might cause more pain and anger than needed. 

As a subject of wrongdoing, it's always up to us to make the decision whether we're ready to forgive, regardless of how regretful the other person is. Victims of narcissists, for example, might never find a day when the wrongdoer regrets - because s/he is not capable of it. 

Asking waiting-oriented questions in the flavour of "when will things happen to me?" is nothing but a way to frustration. The least we can do with the help of tarot - instead of drawing a card after card hoping for the best - is to ask questions to better understand the situation and what really caused the trouble in the first place. After all, what you believe was the reason for the fall-out, might be completely different to the other party. 

For example, I have a wrong button to push and that's people doubting my creativity or intelligence. I've had arguments where I've jumped into a conclusion that the other person is criticising or belittling these, when in fact, the other person did not mean that at all. Always ask, always clarify, always try to talk things through when both are calmed down. 

I am a firm believer of direct action in terms of taking the initiative. If you strongly feel you want to reconnect with someone, do it. Regardless of who "should" be the first to extend a hand. Contact them. Their response will tell, if the bridge can be rebuilt. If it can't, find a way to move on in peace. That person was not meant to be in your life for longer than this, and whatever happened, taught you both a lesson. Something else, something new is awaiting for you.

Here's a spread I made to examine what went wrong and how to try to reconnect:
  1. The core of the matter?
  2. How I feel about this matter?
  3. How x feels about this matter?
  4. How I feel about reconnecting?
  5. How x feels about reconnecting?
  6. If I contact x, what's the most likely response I get?
  7. What's the most likely outcome if I approach x?
  8. What's the most likely outcome, if I don't approach x?
  9. The lesson of this matter to me?
  10. The lesson of this matter to x?

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

How to handle naysayers?

How to deal with people who are putting you or your plans and dreams down? We all have encountered one or two (or a dozen) of those in life and will keep encountering them, both IRL (in real life) and online, there's unfortunately no way out of it. But how to handle those situations without losing your temper, face or self-esteem in the process?

Six years ago, I made a decision to move to Australia. I had lived abroad before and wanted to turn my life around completely, due to general dissatisfaction with my career prospects, climate, and cultural atmosphere in general (pessimistic and whinging) at home. I wanted to see what else is there (btw I absolutely love that song of the same title by Royksopp, a Norweigan duo).

I got two kinds of responses to my foolishly courageous plans to quit my well-paying job, leave everything behind, sell my belongings and hop on a plane with no visibility about if I would succeed. Others thought I'm brave and adventurous. Others said I'm mad and warned me profusely about how I'll fail and regret my choice.

I left anyway.

We all get a cr@ploads of criticism in life: some think we should have kids. Some think we shouldn't have kids. Some think we should have more kids. Some think we should have decided to have fewer kids. Some think we should change jobs. Some think we should stay in our current job. And so on, ad infinitum.

To be able to deal with this, it's essential to figure where the criticism is really coming from. It actually has very little to do with my or your decisions. It has everything to do with the worldview of the critic.

Surprisingly many people have a - subconscious - mindset like this: "Other people's decisions that contradict my life, are critique towards me, hence I have to defend my decision by attacking their decisions; or I need to convert them to believe in my values and worldview."

People with kids can think that childless couples are undermining the value of a family and sacrifices of parents. People in steady (but perhaps dull) jobs can think that more entrepreneurial people are critiquing their decision to stay put instead of chasing dreams they once had.

We are all part of a so called "world-making project" (a word from philosophy and sociology) where other people's behaviour is setting an example for us and vice versa. 

What is common for us to see, we believe is normal, and if our common and normal is questioned, we start fearing that we have to change our lives too at some point in the future, because the normal itself has changed. Or, that our decisions won't be as widely accepted in the future, because we are no longer the norm, the majority, the typical.

This, I believe, is behind the fierce attacks against legalising same sex marriage. Some people in traditional marriages can't stand the idea that their marriage is made "less normal" by expanding the definition of marriage.

My point is that whenever you encounter a naysayer or a critic - regarding your tarot business, alternative lifestyle, pre-Christian religion/spirituality, or anything else under the sun - remember it's not about you. It's about the critic.

It's revealing what their worldview and normal are, and how they are struggling with understanding your normal. It's not a reason to change your beliefs, but it is an opportunity to engage: why is the person so invested in convincing you that you have to change, or change your dreams and plans? How are your dreams and plans "threatening" this person? How can you assure that your normal is, in fact, enriching the world, not taking away from it?

Here's a little spread I devised to explore your own bias, to be mindful of it. 

  1. What do I believe about the world? 
  2. What in my beliefs is something others find hard to accept?
  3. What in others' beliefs is something I find hard to accept?
  4. What is the best action for me to take to bridge the gap between me and others (naysayers)?
  5. How to build my confidence to believe in my message/dream?
And a sample reading:

1 - 6 PENTACLES Reversed. I believe that everyone has something to give (to me and others). I only have to look for opportunities and take what comes, acknowledge the blessings. I read the 6 Pents rx as me receiving something and 6 Pents upright as me (or the querent) giving something to others.

2 - TEMPERANCE. People don't think it's easy to have a balanced give and take. It takes a lot of effort to understand that when you give, you're not being taken advantage of. If you give freely, it will come back to you in one form or another; and if you receive, you should pay it forward. 

3 - 8 WANDS Reversed. Others believe it's better to keep your thoughts to yourself and not act too fast. I don't believe in non-communication: in fact, I think the world needs more honesty and discussion, genuine attempts to try to understand each other, and more action to sort problems.

4 - FOOL. Don't care, just move on, walk your own path. True! :D

5 - CHARIOT. Trust that you have the willpower to make the life you want, and tell the messages you believe in. Don't budge or dodge, just do it.

If you have a vision, believe in it. If others don't believe in it, it just means they are not on the same mental platform yet. Photo (c) Tarot for Change.

Monday, 18 July 2016

Guest blogger: what does Capricorn full moon 2016 bring?

Today, we have a guest blogger from the other side of the globe to share her tarot wisdom. Meet Mia Alviz from Spain, the owner of Readings by Mia.

"I declare myself "tarobsessed". I live in Spain and make a living out of my passion: Tarot. With a taste for traditional European divination and crystal healing, my aim as a professional is to provide my querents with honest, meaningful and empowering insight as well as building a legacy into the Tarot community."

Mia did a reading for Tarot for Change to explore the main energy of the full moon in Capricorn tomorrow, 20th July. And this is what she has to say:

Mia: I've recently started flirting with astrology,so when I discovered I could mix it with Tarot I though "Yay!"
That's what inspired me for this post, so, let's analyse the upcoming Full Moon in Capricorn.

(My deck of choice has been The Deck of the Dead, by Seven Stars). 

This new moon definitely promises a fun ride, having the Chariot depicting its main energy. Its effects won't go unnoticed for sure. This will be a time for rejoicing in our accomplished goals as well as for gathering new energies for our next ones. 
The Chariot, the Deck of the Dead.
As a positive aspect, the Ace of Swords shows that signals can be more evident during theses days, and we should pay attention to the messages we could receive, as they are meant to help us along the way. As well, if we've been putting off important conversations, it is a good moment to say what we need to communicate.

On the other hand, we can feel particularly sensitive to strong emotions and our mood could be quite unstable for a while, perhaps making us shed some tears as the Five of Cups forecasts. However, we shouldn't stay stuck in what ifs, for the purpose of this energy is to show us how far we've come. 

In love matters, we have Two of Swords we might feel quite defensive, an perhaps it would be useful to thing about our layers of self-protection and their root causes, so we can analyse wheter we really need them or the time for being vulnerable again has come. 

It can also be a rough time for our personal projects, since we could see some of them tear apart with the Three of Swords, nevertheless, in case this happens, we will manage to rebuild stronger foundations of our projects and this will only be a temporary setback that will bring long term benefits.
3 Swords, the Deck of the Dead.
Spiritually, it's time to rejoice, The Sun's energy is shining and it is time to go back to the basics and enjoy our spiritual connection as children do, no questions asked, just getting filled with its bright and lively energy.

*** Sounds like an excellent full moon, then! ***

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Difference between possible and impossible

I joined a new pilates/yoga studio a couple of weeks ago and go often, partly because it's energising, partly because it's direct debited fortnightly for unlimited access, so I better get value for money!

I've practised yoga sporadically for five years now (sometimes multiple times per week, sometimes not at all for a month or two) and it's an activity where you gradually and reliably see the change in your skills, flexibility and balance. Slowly, slowly at first, but faster once you get the hang of it. Of course the main purpose is to learn to be more mindful, calm and centered, but the physical, fitness side is a great addition, too.

Yesterday, someone new joined my pilates class: an overweight 50+ lady. She struggled to keep up, which is more than understandable. Starting from zero is always hard, and it takes courage to join a class where you feel others are more fit and skilled than you. The teacher kept encouraging her in every turn and teaching her different methods to not make it all too challenging.

However, the new lady kept finding reasons (excuses?) why she can't do more than a couple of repeats per move. Instead of at least trying and persisting, she complained about cramps, panting, sweat, how it all feels uncomfortable. With every change of body position, she shuffled a good long minute longer than others - which made her drop out of the others' rhythm, then apparently feel she can't catch up anyway so she simply waited for the beginning of the next series of moves. And the same shuffling, delay and drop-out again, throughout the class.

This sounds judgemental and I admit I struggled with not judging her, but she was only harming herself by giving up from the get-go. Any type of exercise feels awkward and uncomfortable from the start, when you're not yet familiar with how it should feel and how great it can feel afterwards. She wasn't pushing herself, because she had not (yet or ever?) learned, that developing strength, balance and flexibility takes a few weeks to notice. Rewards don't come immediately and you don't even get the post-workout euphoria if there's no proper workout.

Of course I can't know what were her reasons for not persisting. But I've heard many times before people complaining how they exercise or diet and no results come. There is a good chance the exercise is not actually done as effectively as it should be: attending a class is not the same as actually doing a workout, pushing yourself, challenging and persevering.

The moral #1 of the story is not to judge anyone who's struggling with weight of fitness. It's to remember that everything in life takes work, effort, energy, time to succeed.

Yoga has actually taught me the meaning of the Hanged Man tarot card: it's about self-sacrifice, voluntary yet frustrating waiting, changing one's viewpoint instead of changing one's circumstances. Sometimes you must stay in an uncomfortable (yoga or life) position for longer than you'd possibly like, because it's good for you in the long run. And you'll only see the benefits later, after sufficient time - weeks, months or years.

The moral #2 of the story is: whatever we tell ourselves, we believe, and that becomes our reality. "It's too hard, it can't be done, I'm not fit enough, I'm not skilled enough, I don't know what to do anyway, everyone else is better than me, I can't succeed because everything and everyone is against me, I just have a body type that won't allow me to change, etc."

I've worked in four different fields, tried and played any sports I can think of, moved to new countries and travelled wide and far, because before embarking on any of these quests, I've told myself: "others have done it, I can do it too." And believed it. The usual limiting suspects, such as time, money, lack of skills etc. are not an actual, physical barrier, if you plan and prioritise differently.

Very few things in life are outright impossible, but a good number of things are at least semi-possible if you set your heart to it and stick with it. No excuses, no dodging, no giving up when the first roadblock comes or the first cramp hits.

If you can't achieve your full dream, maybe you can achieve at least half of it? 

With weight loss, maybe half of your target is better than no loss at all? Acquiring new skills: learning the basics of a new language is better than not learning at all. Changing jobs: finding a lower-paid position in a field that interests you is better than no change at all. Dating: putting yourself out there to learn confidence and socialising skills is better than not even trying, even if you don't find the Prince/Princess Charming immediately. And so forth.

And here's a tarot spread I created for identifying roadblocks and ways around them.

Pull 1-3 cards for each question depending on your interpretation skills and reading preferences

  1. What change or achievement I believe is not possible, when it actually is? 
  2. What can I do to make it happen?
  3. What negative situation or trait in myself I believe is permanent, and it's not?
  4. What to do to change it for better?
  5. What change or achievement for now is out of my reach? 
  6. What can I do to achieve or change some of it? 
  7. What trait in me helps me achieve goals?
  8. What trait in me hinders me from achieving goals?
  9. What to focus on to be the best possible version of myself?
And a sample reading:

1)  7 PENTACLES. This card is often read to meant "waiting for results", as it shows a person waiting for fruit to ripen. I read this to mean here: accumulating wealth, as my card shows a mother and a child ready to pick massive, plump apples.

2)  EMPEROR. This card means a structured, organised and assertive approach; stability and permanency. I think it means: accumulating wealth can happen with hard work, logical approach and wise investment decisions.

3)  7 WANDS. The uphill battle I'm currently in with my PhD studies and work. I'm doing my best to tackle all challenges, yet it feels I'm not moving forward at all. More issues and tasks pile up on me no matter how fast and well I work.

4)  9 PENTACLES. The card of enjoying one's freedom, independence, wealth, experience, achievements. Maybe I should take more time for myself, to enjoy my freedom and things I like. And also remember and appreciate the fact that I'm actually quite free both at studies and at work to handle things as I please.

5)  8 WANDS. Fast-paced action and messages bearing good news. I'm waiting/hoping for good news from multiple fronts regarding my studies and a creative project I'm undertaking, but clearly the action won't be fast in those areas. Well, good to know.

6)  3 CUPS. Find like-minded people, join "my tribe", enjoy company of friends. My friends, indeed, are helping me with the creative undertaking. Also, I should do more research online to find the best community, as I'm trying to find a University department to join next year as a visiting scholar.

7)  4 WANDS. The card of home, completions, celebrations. I work full-time in the office but I also work at home on my own stuff, which I truly enjoy. Also, I divide tasks into chunks that are easier to complete than the whole project, and I mark the mid-completions with celebration. It works!

8)  LOVERS. I believe I should only focus on things / people I love in life. However, this is not possible, because many tasks are simply boring, but necessary steps on the way to bigger achievements. For example, I'm much more prone to fiddle with my tarot cards in the evenings than read PhD material... and I should not let my heart dictate what I do so much!

9)  5 WANDS. The card of conflicts, frustrations, competition. I don't think I should be more anxious or frustrated, but maybe I should put myself out there to compete more: I can't achieve goals if I shy away from competition. However, as I am quite competitive already, I'm inclined to read this as a reminder to keep an eye on this tendency and only use it in appropriate occasions - fight for your goals when needed, but let others win where necessary to keep the balance right. 

I hope this offers interesting insights! 
Forge your own path marked with successes and joy. Photo (c) Tarot for Change.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Roadblocks of being a pro tarot reader

I wrote earlier about the start of my journey as a "professional", i.e. paid tarot reader. The reason I put professional in brackets is that this is not my full time job and I do "normal" office work as my full-time career. However, I think that once people are willing to pay for my insights, it is at least semi-professional, no matter how big or small sums of money we're talking about.

Because I want this blog to be a channel for useful information, I also believe in full disclosure, meaning no sugar coating. So, I've now hit my first road block as a professional reader and similar blocks probably come to anyone's path, who wish to make a living with or from tarot. If that is something you're planning, here are some real-life issues that might pop up to hinder your progress or rather, the money flow.

Firstly, I don't think tarot is a great way to become rich and it shouldn't be used for (solely) that purpose. Given that tarot is a form of giving advice, people always have other options to obtain advice such as chatting with friends, seeking for formal therapy/life coaching/healing, trying to figure all out on their own... so tarot as a product is "nice extra" for many to buy, it's not a life essential like groceries. Thus, finding for paying clients is always much harder than finding people who'd be happy to get a freebie just to try it out.

I started my paid readings on a bigger business website but unfortunately I didn't generate enough repeat customers to "earn" a continued spot on the site. The website seemed like a great idea at first and it worked in terms of getting regular reading requests and a steady flow of side income, but it was also very competitive between other readers on the site. The pressure is on to outperform the fellow readers, offer something no one else does and so on. Of course, this can lead to stellar service but it can also lead to "empathy overload" aka "unnecessary" repeat readings.

All the feedback I got from customers was positive: they got clear, solid advice to their problems and were happy to move on. Too happy, in a way: they did not need to come back to me to ask for clarifying questions or further advice, because I already laid out the options and what's likely to happen. Hence, no repeat customers, no repeat purchases, not enough cash flow to show to the site I'm worth keeping.

I did not have the knack to deliver readings in a way that persuades people to ask more paid questions or to seek more support and confirmation from tarot. I simply blurted it out there, clear cut, done and dusted, off you go. I also did not have heart to tell customers (stupidly, from my point of view) that I can't answer further questions so I often pulled an extra card on top of the paid cards, if further questions came up in the chat following a reading. Great for customers, bad for business.

I was given a period of 3-4 months to prove my worth and given that many people only pay for a reading every quarter, half a year or for an anniversary, New Year, birthday etc., I don't think that was long enough period to see how many of my customers were keen to come back.

I have also done email readings and face-to-face readings on my own account since Christmas and of these, I first enjoyed in person meetings better than online. I've slowly changed my mind, because reading in person takes  a lot of energy and also time (reading for 60-90 minutes in a row is much harder than flipping out a few cards for an email question). Doing readings after a full work day is actually much more draining I anticipated; for some reason most clients want to see me during the week, not during weekends.

In addition, people can get "addicted" to personal readings and come back time and time again to ask about the same or similar issues. By email this does not tend to happen, people seem more money-conscious when they order things online!

When I started this blog and reading services half a year ago, I consulted another professional tarot reader to see how I would go. I wanted to get an unbiased view instead of a reading tainted by fears or dreams of mine, done by me. She told me that time, timing, scheduling and exhaustion would be the main themes coming up. I wouldn't worry about money (which is true, given I have another paid job), but I would overwork if I didn't pace myself. I should preserve my energy and enthusiasm instead of splashing it all out there, full speed ahead from the beginning. And she turned out to be right. Now I've hit the roadblock she predicted, and I need to regroup and rethink what to do with this business.

I have now come to realise that to protect my own energy levels and interest towards tarot, I have to limit my exposure/immersion in it and focus solely on email readings for now. It does not generate nearly as much income as readings in person or readings on the big business website, but it's still an outlet for people to find me and for me to reach out to those who need tarot. Currently I sell one reading per month, whereas I used to do 5 readings per week on the big business website (priced around $20/each) and 1-3 face to face readings per week ($59/each).

This is a major plunge for me, but funnily enough, I'm not disappointed. All good things in life take time to develop and mature and for now, I feel better to focus on blogging and chatting about tarot instead of treating it as a full-day business.

I have not been as active as I could have in finding customers, and I'm sure I could be a bit further ahead business-wise if I had done all the networking, advertising and pitching I was planning to when I founded this blog. So I'm not saying someone else couldn't be already making some (up to half?) of their income through tarot after first six months in business. However, I do think it's more likely that to build a solid reputation and customer base tarot is a line of business that takes years to come to full fruition. This is to all antsy pants out there who want to be on top of the world within the next quarter! ;)

Best of luck for your tarot (or related esoteric) business if you have one, and feel free to ask a free 3-card sample reading from me. Any topic goes, I'll deliver within 24 hours unless there's a long queue of requests or something urgent stopping me - in which case I'll always let you know.

Requests to tarotsaskia(a)

Have a great mid-summer, if you're at the Northern Hemisphere, and great mid-winter, if you're Down Under or someplace else in the South Side!

Do you want to start your own business or other creative project? Make a wish, close your eyes to visualise it - and then follow through in practice. Takes time, effort and sweat, but that's the only way to succeed.