Archive for February, 2012

Books That Enliven Me, So Far, In 2012

Books and I are very good friends.  As a child, I often carried a book around with me.  I still do.  I’m inspired by the words and ideas of people who are agents of change in our world and who are excellent teachers and practitioners of the processes and tools that I use.  So, what have I been reading in the first sixth of 2012?  Here are four texts that have enlivened me, or are currently enlivening me.

Tarosophy. Tarot to Engage Life, Not Escape It (Modern Magistery series)

* Tarosophy: Tarot to Engage Life, Not Escape It by Marcus Katz.  From basic tarot reading to developing your oracular/intuitive voice to personal spiritual evolution, Katz offers generous advice and profound and original activities.  Reading it feels like being passionately coached and stretched.

* Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker J. Palmer.  A bone-honest, gentle, yet challenging invitation to listen to the inner teacher so that we can live authentic lives that want to live through us.  Reading it feels like sitting at the kitchen table with a beloved uncle.

* Walk Out, Walk On: A Learning Journey Into Communities Daring to Live the Future Now by Margaret (Meg) Wheatley and Deborah Frieze.  A pilgrimage to seven communities around the world where groups of people have walked out of oppression or restriction and walked on toward their gifts, resilience, and inventiveness.  Reading it makes me reflective, squirmy, hopeful, and creatively uncomfortable, wondering what more I might do or be in our world.


Front Cover

* The Tarot: Methods, Mastery, and More by Cynthia Giles.  OK, I’m actually re-reading this 1996 text.  Not your garden variety tarot book, this one takes us and our cards on a journey through divination, bodymind wellness, personal growth, the renewal of our culture and planet, the idea of mastery, gender, language, and so much more.  Reading it (again) feels like an expansion of my imagination and an alignment with the best of what tarot might be.

How about YOU?  What are you reading these days that enlivens something in you?  Please tell us about it.

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Join us at the Toronto Tarot Symposium: March 10

Are you passionate about the tarot?
Tired of top-notch tarot workshops being offered in far-off locations?
Looking to expand your tarot skills and connect with like-spirited people?

Join Southern Ontario tarot teachers and practitioners
Monica Bodirsky, Bev Haskins, Peter LeBlanc, Andrew McGregor, Marilyn Shannon, and James Wells at the

Toronto Tarot Symposium
Saturday, March 10, 2012
9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
in the events room at 40 Homewood Avenue, Toronto, ON (Level B1)

This is a day for you to:
* gain practical tarot skills through six experiential workshops
* learn through a panel Q & A time
* mingle with your tarot peers
* have your name entered in a draw to win cool prizes!
All of this for ONLY $78 (pre-paid by PayPal, cheque, or cash)

What you’ll need to bring:
* a tarot deck(s) of your choice
* a notebook (or laptop, iPad, etc.)
* a brown bag lunch or money to purchase lunch nearby
* anything you require to feel comfortable (journal, blanket, cushion, water container, etc.)
* a willingness to explore

Your commitment and pre-payment ensure that this truly Ontarian tarot event takes place:
* Call or email James Wells
(416) 966 – 2685 circleways@yahoo.ca
* Send payment ($78) to James by PayPal, cheque (address will be given upon contact), or cash (in person).

* We have all the presenters we need; therefore, NO presenter submissions will be accepted.
* Refund Policy. Cancellations occurring on or before February 24, 2012 are eligible for a $60 refund, $18 being retained by the Toronto Tarot Symposium.
Cancellations occurring on or after February 25, 2012 forfeit payment; no refund will be given.


The Secret Language of Tarot (Monica Bodirsky). Tarot can be easy to interpret at a glance but most artists include a variety of personal, universal and traditional symbols that express abstract concepts. This workshop will consist of a brief introduction followed by a few simple exercises to give you access to this often-overlooked aspect of reading tarot.
Monica Bodirsky is a tarot reader who spends her spare time as an exhibiting artist, educator, entrepreneur, writer and human rights activist. www.hedgewitchery.com

Welcome Spring! (Bev Haskins) The cycle of the seasons is a metaphor for the journey of growth our souls take. As we approach the Spring Equinox (March 20th, 2012 – 1:14 a.m.), it is time to push the tender seeds, that we have incubated in us all winter, toward the light. In this workshop we will let the Tarot help us define the nature of these seeds and how we can best allow them to “blossom”.
Bev Haskins is a co-creative Tarot counsellor, circle process facilitator and owner of Lakeside Retreats where many courses and workshops offer opportunities for personal growth and awareness. www.bevslakesideretreats.com

Tarot and Astrology (Peter LeBlanc). Esoteric studies have linked tarot and astrology for over 200 years. You will explore some of those general links as well as get a chance to play with these elements using your own tarot deck and birth date.
An avid Leafs fan, Peter is a tarotist, teacher and the owner/operator of White Sage Tarot who has worked in education and tarot for more than 20 years. www.whitesagetarot.com

Bringing the Magic Out of the Tarot and Into Our Lives (Andrew McGregor). Through ceremony and the power of the natural world, we can bring the transformative power of the cards into our daily lives. We will talk about tools, techniques, and tricks to draw in the power of plants, crystals, and places to create the life we are looking for.
Andrew McGregor’s work as a reader helps people get clear about their lives, then helps them achieve their goals. His store, the Hermit’s Lamp, is a space for classes, practitioners, art shows and much more. www.thehermitslamp.com

Miss Merle’s Phantasmagorical Reading! (Marilyn Shannon). This fun, inventive way to get out of your head will prompt spontaneous brilliance in your readings as you tap into your intuition. Originally created by Rachel Pollack, this light and lively way of reading can become deep and provocative. Trust Miss Merle!
Marilyn Shannon is a long-time reader, student, and companion of the tarot who is also known for helping people be fearless and for teaching the ancient art of scrying: crystal ball reading. www.kingstonpsychic.com

The Power of Personal Layouts (James Wells). Fed up with unhelpful textbook tarot spreads? The best possible layouts for you and your seekers lie in your own imagination and life experience. In five simple steps, you’ll be able to create relevant spreads to explore life’s intricate situations through the cards!
James Wells is a Toronto-based circle process host, tarot counsellor, author of Tarot for Manifestation, and the caller of many growth-oriented gatherings that encourage personal and planetary wellness. https://jameswells.wordpress.com/

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Valentine’s Day Goodies

Valentine’s Day is descending upon us.  Several tarot practitioners, including yours truly, were asked by Amethyst Mahoney to contribute something to her special Valentine giveaway.  My own contribution is a five-card layout to help people create an intimate loveship in their lives that will be mutually satisfying.

You can get this, and many other people’s wonderful contributions, by clicking on  http://amethysttarot.com/valentines-day-giveaway/#

I hope you enjoy it!

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From Grief to Hospitality

My father died on January 14.  It’s been heartbreaking to bid farewell to someone who was such a welcoming and sharing presence.  At his funeral, I quoted Joanna Macy: “The heart that is broken wide open can contain the entire world”, and encouraged all of us to generously and hospitably invite one another into our capacious, broken open hearts.  In all of this, I accept that Dad’s death has indeed happened and I appreciate the gifts of support, love, and life-honouring that are growing from the experience.

Overall, I’m doing quite well.  There are moments of tears and sadness that sneak up on me, and there are moments of immense gratitude that flood me.  In the spirit of what I’m saying, I offer you a new tarot layout to explore the spaciousness of your own heart that comes from the profound cracking open of that place in you.


(can also be used with runes, goddess cards, soul cards, crone stones, gifting bones, or other tool of insight)

© 2012 James P. Wells, Toronto, ON




  1. What is my deepest heartbreak?
  2. To whom or to what does this open my heart?
  3. How can I most hospitably receive him/her/it/them into my opened heart?

Note:  If you’re already certain of what your deepest heartbreak is, you can go through your face-up pack and consciously pick a card that most looks or feels like that experience.  Use its characters and symbols to help you talk about the experience and your feelings connected with it.  You can also just pick your first card at random, as usual, and allow it to take you to the heartbreak that most needs to make itself known.

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