Archive for April, 2013

Earth Day 2013 Message

Earth Day.  It seems a shame that we need to set aside one day a year to remember that we live on a planet whose systems are just right for life as we know it.  And it’s good that we set aside this day each year to honour this generous and lovely planet from which we came forth.

For those of you who’d like to connect more deeply with your own relationship with Earth and more deeply with those around you, feel free to play my Earth Day Tarot Circle Game.  You can read and use the guidelines for it at https://jameswells.wordpress.com/2011/04/20/earth-day-tarot-circle-game-3/

I pulled a card from the Tarot of the Crone to respond to, “What does Earth most want to tell us today?” and received the Ace of Disks.

Through this card, Gaia’s message to us this Earth day seems to be, “My body and your body are one.  What would you put into your own body?  What do you put into my body?  There’s no difference.  I gave birth to you.  I have fed and held you in my lap.  Imagine how this can be reciprocal.  Begin tangible steps to make this so.”

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Who Mixes the Cards?

So you’re reading some tarot textbooks to get better at this tarot reading/consulting thing.  Every author suggests that it’s good to mix the cards before laying them out.  Whew!  They agree.  So far, so good.  Author A’s advice is, “Only you, the reader, should mix the cards and you should do it with an overhand shuffle that keeps all cards upright.”  Author B writes, “Both the reader and the readee should shuffle the cards in such a way that both upright and reversed cards will turn up.  Do this until they ‘feel done’.”  Author C tells you, “The reader cuts and riffles while the querent picks the cards from the fanned out pack”  Author D warns, “Under no circumstances should any other person touch or handle your precious tarot cards.”  Author E says, “Since it’s the querent’s session, only he or she should mix the pack.”  Uh-oh!  Who’s right?

The simple answer — but not a glib one — is that they’re all correct.  Each person who uses the tarot has hir own rituals to help cue hirself that s/he’s entering “tarot time”.  Some readers say that having the readee mix the cards puts their energy into the deck to help with the reading, so they prefer that the other person do it.  For this same reason, other practitioners don’t let anyone else touch their cards, simply shuffling and laying them out themselves with the intention that the consultation is for the sitter who’s with them.  Some of the same people are also concerned about the transmission of germs.  There are tarot consultants who like the sense of partnership that’s symbolised by both reader and readee mixing the pack, either one after the other or even at the same time.                                 [article continues below image]


How do I deal with this?  First, I mix the cards however I feel like doing it in the moment.  Then I invite the other person to mix the cards too. I don’t tell hir how to do it, so s/he can do something as simple as slowly stir them on the tabletop, do an overhand shuffle, move them around in piles and restack them, riffle them (if it’s not an expensive deck!), or any combination of these. In my sessions, I prefer to let people experience as many of the senses as possible; touching and mixing the cards brings in the tactile sense.  It grounds them by allowing the tarot to be a bodily experience, not just a conceptual one.  The act of mixing the cards reminds a person, “Yes, you really are here.  You really are engaging in a tarot consultation and it’s OK.”  Also, there are people who are kinesthetic learners; the experience of mixing the cards helps them to remember more of the tarot encounter after the session is done.

If you’re someone who uses the tarot, I encourage you to check in with yourself about this ritual of mixing the cards.  What is your comfort level around other people touching, handling, and mixing your tarot pack?  Very comfortable?  Freaked out?  Somewhere in between?  What makes sense to you?  What doesn’t make sense to you?  Keep what’s useful, discard the rest.  It’s OK to be in charge of the reading enough to decide who does what.

Image: XIV, Temperance, from the Morgan-Greer tarot deck by Bill Greer and Lloyd Morgan.

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Five Years of This Blog

Today marks five years since beginning this blog.  Wow!  The fifth tarot trump is the Hierophant (or Pope or Teacher or…depending on the deck used).  Trump V, for me, can be about philosophy, teaching, learning, ethics, morals, and traditions. 

It seems appropriate then that on the fifth anniversary of this blog, an interview in which I’m teaching has appeared on the wonderful Biddy Tarot site. The topic is on of my favourites: creating spreads/maps that can make a tarot session a satisfying and empowering experience.  Brigit, who runs Biddy Tarot, is a great interviewer, a pleasant person, and a very good tarot practitioner.  She even had a couple  of people send in questions for me to turn into something that can take a client to a different place than they thought a reading might take them.  The link is immediately below.  Enjoy!


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Consciousness, Not Salvation

Tarot of Jean Dodal, V the Pope, JC Flornoy restoration

The new pope recently stated that people such as tarot readers are not able to provide salvation.  This is fascinating to me for three reasons.

First, as a practitioner of tarot, I don’t offer salvation.  For me, the concept of salvation is unnecessary because, in my cosmology, there’s no enemy “out there” from whom or from which to be saved.  As a tarot consultant, I employ the tarot as a tool to encourage consciousness, awareness, and insights that can lead to constructive change.  My goal is to assist myself and others to remember, embrace and express our innate wholeness.

Second, I wonder why such a long-standing religious organisation is so unsure about the power of its deity that it feels the need to proclaim other groups, practices, and deities as invalid.  Why start yet another sacred pissing match?  There’s room enough for the many names of the Nameless One(s), space enough for the multiple faces of the Imageless One(s), so it seems unnecessary to scare people away from another person’s concept or vision of the Holy.  For many, the torah, the bible, the koran, the tao te ching, and others are texts that provide comfort and guidance.  For me, and for many people in my sphere of influence, the tarot is a text in pictures that offers comfort and guidance.

Third, the tarot emerged as a pack of cards during Europe’s early Renaissance and, as a product of its time, is full of christian symbolism.  The cards extol the virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.  Several of us have heard that John Paul II possessed a copy of Anonymous’s Meditations on the Tarot: A Journey Into Christian Hermeticism and approved of its contents.

I hope that the new pope finds it in his mind and heart to embrace the many paths to wholeness and divinity.  May we all do likewise.

Tarot of Jean Dodal, II the Papess, JC Flornoy restoration

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