Archive for September, 2010

Make the Cards Fit Life

In a more old-fashioned, “fortune-telling-ish” style of working with tarot, the reader made pronouncements about the seeker’s life and the person was left to try and make their life fit the cards (or not).  It was all about being right (or not).

Aren’t we happy that the tarot and how we work with it has grown up?!  In the more counselling, “dialogue-ish” way of working with the cards, we have a real conversation with the querent, letting the images and concepts of the tarot take us into interesting territory.  This conversation helps us to find what the card is most likely about in the context of someone’s life.  It’s all about being helpful.

For example, my own Card of the Day today is the 10 of Blades from the Daughters of the Moon Tarot.  I pulled it at random this morning after asking, “What do I most need to know or learn today?”  The picture is of a group of women engaged in talking piece council in a tipi.  For me, Tens are about transition, taking a break, time out, pausing, putting on hold, etc. and Blades (the Air suit) are about ideas, thinking, communication, learning, etc. 

So, how have the notions of council, pausing, and ideas/communication played out in my life today?  In a ‘phone conversation with my mother, I knew enough to sit back and listen when she needed to speak about what was on her mind and in her heart.  When feeling a bit tired and grumpy this afternoon, I knew it was time to give my brain a break from words, so I sat with a cup of tea and did Sudoku — very centring.  I have engaged in honest, attentive listening and honest, intentional speaking with someone close to me.

All of this to say that it’s good for us to make the cards fit our lives, not the other way around.  Cards don’t make things happen, people do.  The tarot is a tool, just like a hammer, computer, or oven.  The living is done by us.

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Some Questions for These Times

A few days ago, I posed a question on Facebook: What is a question that we all need to be asking in these times?

Below are some responses I received.  Thank you to everyone who responded!  We can use these to begin conversations, prompt journal writing, or focus a tarot session.  We can also simply spend time with these questions, letting them soak into our skin.  Jot them on post-it notes and stick them in book covers, in the fridge, in dresser drawers — anywhere that these questions will surprise you afresh. 

I’d love to hear your repsonses to these questions AND I’d love to hear your own questions that matter at this time.

  • What can I do to make a difference?
  • How can I leave this place better than I found it?
  • What is my purpose?
  • Am i willing to be renewed?
  • Is my news source telling the truth?
  • How do we transform the world – individually and collectively?
  • If all around me is in chaos, am I living/doing all that I can for the highest and best every day in every way?  
  • What do I need to do to remain in alignment with myself and the world around me?
  • How are we called to serve?
  • Am I part of the solution or the problem?

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Preparatory Notes to Self

In my journal, I sometimes write notes or letters to Self (with a capital S), that which is my personal wholeness, or totality that holds all the original capacities, potentials, and resources of our humanness (to quote Bill Plotkin).  I tell that part of me what’s really on my mind and in my heart.  I ask Self for guidance through dreams or through making me more conscious of the signs around me.  And It responds.  I receive strong dreams, open books to relevant random passages, and allow the subtle changing of the seasons to teach me.


Yesterday, I got the idea that these notes to Self would be a great way for people to prepare for their tarot sessions with me.  The day before hir appointment, a client could write a Dear Self letter about what’s up for them.  Just before bed, s/he could read it several times.  The next morning, s/he would record any dreams, thoughts, or feelings that emerged for them during the night and upon waking.  We could use hir Dear Self letter and hir dream to set an intent or focus for hir tarot session.  It could be a very rich experience.

What do you think, folks?

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The word TRUST has been coming up a lot lately in my sphere of influence.  True confessions between lovers, an apartment key given by one person to another, me in the process of council circle with new people, and folks sharing deep life experiences with me over the tarot are all recent indicators of the theme of trust.


I asked the tarot, “What is trust?”  Its response was the Queen of Cups.  This tells me that trust is an act of emotional maturity and relational competency.  Trust is relationship at its best, the ripe fruit of intimacy, and the apotheosis of love.  Wow!

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Margarete Petersen Tarot

Just a short entry to praise the Margarete Petersen tarot deck.  Gorgeous colours and swirling patterns in which one can see many aspects of self/Self.  The Minors really feel like the elements they depict and the Majors are richly archetypal.  Do get it and use it.  Deep discoveries await you in these images.  Here are a couple of examples:

magdeath                     margkcups

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Are you a Silver, Gold, Platinum, or Quintessence?


James is my number one go-to for kind, innovative, focused, brilliant, wise, useful guidance His work is masterful and he is my most valued teacher. My investment with him continues to increase my assets.”                                         ~ M. Hillhouse, Brooklyn, NY

The tarot is a deck of 78 symbolic cards that depict inner and outer human experience.  James offers interactive consultations with these cards.  The focus is on insight, personal empowerment, and the process of making effective choices.  Your sessions can be by ‘phone or in person, both by appointment only. 

A series of tarot consultations, whether four or ten, can assist you to go deeper, to discover and explore the questions behind the questions, to gain greater understanding.  Your multiple sessions can be experienced once a week for several consecutive weeks, once a month for several consecutive months, or at any point within one year of purchase.  You can even give one of your consultations to a friend — what a gift!

What levels of tarot consultating are available with James? 

One hour.    

Single session…$145  

Silver Insights Programme (a series of four sessions)…$535

Golden Insights Programme (a series of ten sessions)…$1300.

90 minutes.    

Single session…$215 

Platinum Insights Programme (a series of four sessions)…$825  

Quintessence Insights Programme (a series of ten sessions)…$1900.

Make your appointment now by calling or emailing James directly! (416) 966 – 2685          circleways@yahoo.ca

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Flowing with the Circle

This past week, my friend Bev Haskins and I taught a two-day circle process practicum in Ottawa to a very diverse and long-standing group of 19 people.  It was fascinating to condense what can be a five-day retreat into a two-day workshop, but it allowed us to expose people to the basic skeleton of a circular way of being together.

At the point when we invited the group to discuss what agreements they already have in place and what new agreements they might formulate, shadow entered the room in the form of strong reactions to certain aspects of how they regularly meet, how they want to meet, and how they don’t want to meet.  Three or four very firm voices expressed some difficult things.  “Here we go,” I thought as I breathed energy into the centre to support the group and breathed energy from the centre to support myself. 

I looked over at Bev while privately wondering, “Now what?”  We suggested that people continue to pass the talking piece around the rim and just express what they were feeling about what was taking place.  This continued until one round when the talking piece travelled around the circle and no one had anything more to say.

We took a short break.  Bev and I decided that even though we were scheduled to teach about shadow and conflict on the morning of the next day, this was the time to bring it in.  The group members agreed.  So we quickly revamped the rest of the afternoon to offer teachings on the shadow and some things that could be done about/with it.  The next morning, we continued by offering an activity that allowed people to take what bothered them about someone and to reframe these things into constructive gifts within themselves that these qualities might indicate.

It was a real lesson for us as facilitators and hosts of circle.  The circle was teaching us to flow with what’s needed in the moment, to be present to what’s happening here and now and to do what we can about it.  It really brought home the third and fourth of Christina Baldwin’s Seven Whispers: Practice certainty of purpose and Surrender to surprise.  We had a plan in place, then had the courage to drop the plan and be with the situation and what it required.  Thank you, archetype of Circle, for this profound reminder.

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Andrea’s Words About Tarot and Me

On Tuesday, October 12, I begin to teach my six-session course, The Essentials of Tarot Reading, at Grey Heron, home of the Earthsong Mysteries School.  Andrea Mathieson, hostess for my class and a wonderful friend, has written a lovely piece on her blog about her experience of tarot and me: http://ravenessences.wordpress.com/2010/09/11/divination-with-tarot-%e2%80%94-an-ancient-sacred-art/

Please join us for some deep and enjoyable evenings of learning tarot!

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No More Madness

Nine years ago today, much madness abounded.  Today, the madness still roars in the consciousness of many people.  May we give ourselves the grace to move on to being kind to ourselves, each other, and Mama Gaia.

What might an alternative to cultural madness look like?  What might the agents of that alternative be?  What role might you play in that shift?

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Preparing for Ottawa C.P.

Next week, my friend Bev and I will teach a two-day circle practicum (c.p. for short) in Ottawa.  It will be a time to share PeerSpirit circle methodology with people, rippling the attentive listening, intentional speaking, and reliance on Wholeness that this process entails.  Today, I put together a set of cue cards for a role-playing activity to demonstrate non-verbal communication in groups (thanks to C.S. for inspiring some ideas!), then gathered together a stick and a ball to use as talking pieces, some beeswax candles for the centre, my tingshas to call us to mindfulness, and a picture of the 8 of Air from the Gaian Tarot to depict council in action.  I’m looking forward to this trip and to this circle experience!

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