Archive for March, 2015



There has been some discussion among my friends and colleagues lately about how some elements of social media encourage certain people to feel a sense of entitlement to freebies from self-employed visionaries.  Some folks think that a tarot consultant or a circle process host or an intuitive coach or an artist should just give it all away for nothing or barter for it, forgetting that these activities are not only our deep delight, but also the ways in which we earn our living.

Once in a while, I enjoy offering a gift certificate for a consultation or a class to a silent auction for a worthy cause to help them raise funds.  There are also times when I love to give a free one-hour presentation because I’m giddy about sharing some of my latest work with people.  Giving back to the community in such ways feels authentic and comes from my heart.  It’s a choice that I make, not something I do because someone has coerced me.

When it comes to barter, most people are not offering something that I truly like, need, or want.  I won’t trade an hour-long tarot consultation for an Elvis-shaped macramé plant holder.  A 90-minute reiki session in exchange for a cracked meditation CD from 1989?  No thanks.  

On Facebook, I don’t comment on people’s self-readings or cards of the day because that would dishonour my time and skills.  When someone sends me a private message to request commentary on their self-reading or if they ask me to just “pull a card” for their situation, I politely direct them to my Services and Fees page because I want them to know that this is something I not only enjoy, but that is also something for which they are required to pay a fee.  Some people still don’t get it, but most people graciously catch on that their request is not something that “James that guy on Facebook” is responding to, but something to which “James the professional consultant, teacher, and facilitator” is responding.

In days of old, villagers honoured the shaman by giving hir food, garments, blankets and other items of value in exchange for services rendered on their behalf.  In Greece, people made lengthy pilgrimages to the Asklepian dream-healing temples where they provided offerings to the keepers of the tradition and sacrifices to the goddesses and gods in exchange for their wellness encounters.  Nowadays, monetary remuneration is the form that practitioners require in order to buy food and clothing, pay rent and mortgages, and stay sharp by attending workshops and conferences.  

Another point is that to just give away our services disempowers the client.  When someone doesn’t pay for what they receive, she or he is being treated like an infant who is unable to make hir way in the world, a charity case to be pitied.  This robs the client or student of hir sense of being a capable, self-reliant human and further diminishes hir well-being.

In short, while we’re passionate about what we do and while many of us enjoy giving to worthy causes from time to time, skilled, knowledgeable self-employed visionaries offer work on a “for pay” basis for our own sake and for the sake of the people consulting us.


Image: 10 of Worlds from the Voyager Tarot by James Wanless and Ken Knutson.

Read Full Post »


A blessed Equinox to all of you (Spring here in the north of the world, Autumn to my friends south of the equator)!

Last night, I enjoyed the company of many like-spirited people at a Great Turning Gathering.  The Great Turning refers to this very time in history when we have the opportunity to shift from a destructive industrial growth model to a life-sustaining model of being in our world.  We watched a short film, Joanna Macy and the Great Turning, then used World Café (a variation on circle process) to hold a conscious conversation about the big questions we carry that ignite our inner fire, what that inner fire inspires us to do in these times, how we sustain ourselves as we carry out these actions, and much more.  It felt so connective to be back in a circle-type group and to address such matters as well as to see and hear Joanna Macy again, if only in audio-video form.  I remembered how important it is to balance personal reflective time with moments of sharing then times of action.  Then we can take all of our sharing and action back into reflection, share again, and act again.  The blend of these three things is vital for all of us, regardless of who we are or what our calling in the world may be.  Other themes that emerged during the final full-group circle were the importance of gathering, connection to land, connection to self, connection to each other, receiving and passing on a lineage, balancing “me time” with “us time”, to keep listening to one another, the practice of gratitude, wondering how we can be the best possible humans in these times, images of fire, pictures of circles, the yin-yang symbol, and spiral shapes, how to move from conversation to action, and how to shift to being a communion of subjects rather than a collection of objects.  As I walked home, I paused at one point and noticed the delicious quiet near a particular residential intersection — Life seemed to be saying, “Thank you for coming back to this.”  I returned home feeling as though a soul thirst had been quenched.


This morning, I asked the Motherpeace Tarot, “What gifts are emerging from last night’s Great Turning gathering?” and got the 4 of Discs, reversed.  This card suggests to me that the gifts of integrating last night’s concepts into our cells, demonstrating Earthspirit, establishing longer-term security and wellness, a sense of sanctuary within, and doing what’s needed in order to be safe, secure, and grounded are emerging (so far) from our time together.

Today, as we approach the Vernal Equinox where I dwell on Mama Earth’s body, I feel inclined to do a simple ritual suggested by Vicki Noble, one of the Motherpeace Tarot’s creators.  Perhaps you could do the same.  Go outside, notice a tree that stands out for you and sit near or under it.  Spend at least ten minutes just breathing with it, connecting with it.  Then draw four cards from your symbolic deck of choice: one for your roots (grounding), one for your trunk (stability), one for your branches (outreach), and one for your leaves (communication).  Notice which ones are strongest and which ones are weakest .  Pull helper cards to suggest healing for any parts that might need it.  Complete the ritual by breathing fresh Spring air deeply into and out of your body.

Again, a blessed Equinox to all of you!

Read Full Post »