Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Christmas time Christmas celebration by Marius Iordache

Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” ~ Oren Arnold


Life tends to keep us so busy taking care of the day to day chores; we forget the ones who are most important to us. Canceling gatherings, missing phone calls, forgetting to say 'I love you,' we continue on our hectic journey as if it's no big deal. There will always be tomorrow, but for some tomorrow never comes. 

For 2013, don't wait all year for the Christmas season to enjoy your family and friends, enjoy them every chance you get.


I'll be taking the next two weeks off for the holidays.

Hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Alphabet for Lovers by Orna Ben-Shoshan

Insights, advice and prophecy about love and relationships according to the Hebrew Alphabet.

The Alphabet for Lovers, the latest product from Israeli artist and author Orna Ben-Shoshan, is 72 heart-shaped cards based on the Hebrew Alphabet. The fronts offer an illustration and number, while the backs contain the Hebrew letter and a key phrase. Within the deck, you gain insights, advice, and prophecy about love and relationships.

Packaged in a sleeved box, shaped like a book, the deck is accompanied by a companion book and a decorative bag to hold your cards.

The companion book gives information on the Tree of Life and our connection with the Hebrew alphabet. It also contains explanations of how the cards work and how to use them. The author offers sample questions, various spreads, insights on ‘yes and no’ questions, along with the topic of finding timing in the cards. Included is a section on determining personal compatibility between two people.

Card interpretations make up the bulk of the companion book. Each section starts with the individual card number, the Hebrew number, and the key phrase. After an introduction to the card, three additional topics are offered: For singles, personality, and advice.

There’s no memorization required with this deck, simply select the card and refer to the booklet for guidance.

After reading through the first part of the companion book and scanning over the interpretation pages, I tried the cards out. On a piece of paper, I jotted down the questions suggested for the two card spread. With my left hand, I shuffled the cards about and pulled out a heart. After writing down my thoughts and impressions from the card and its interpretations, I repeated to select my second card and made my notes. The cards rightfully reflected the relationship in question.

I also performed the tasks to the Personal Compatibility, which basically guides you through choosing a card for each of the two people according to their name. You then refer to ‘personality’ in the interpretation section. It’s up to you to judge whether the two personalities are compatible. Again, the selected cards described the two people in question very well.

To purchase this deck, visit

(Review previously published on Tarot Examiner, December 11, 2012)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card - Step 17 - Embodiment

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card
Mary K. Greer
In step seventeen of our journey, we explore the tarot through our bodies.

This step explores what your body knows--its inner wisdom--of which you may not be consciously aware.

The starting point is to assume the exact pose of a tarot figure: copying the gesture, posture, and muscle tension, and then extending this into motion.

Activity 17:1 - Greer walks us through the process using the four of pentacles. In short, you are to assume the pose of the figure, feel the pentacles you hold in place, and slowly absorb each pentacle. (Greer goes into much more detail in the book.) This process is a meditation on the card and figure.

Activity 17:2 - Using your chosen card, assume position of the main figure. Move into suggested motions, ending with a release and return. Write about your experience.

Artwork © Jennifer Galasso, 2011
In the case of the two of swords, you would stand with your arms crossed at the wrists and your hands gripped as if holding the sword handles. The woman's stance isn't visible, but I suspect one foot is slightly in front of the other.

Feel the weight of the two swords. Imagine the wings attached to your back. Listen for the birds and their song. Blinded by the feather, feel the urge to see. Your feet want to move forward.

Take that first step. Allow your wings to extend. Lower your swords, and open your eyes.

Take a deep breath, count to five, and relax.


Mary K. Greer goes into further details in The Way of the Adept section.


If you haven’t already, grab a copy of the book for a deeper understanding of 21 Ways to Read the Tarot. Available in Print and Kindle.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tarot Spreads & Layouts by Jeanne Fiorini

The subtitle of this slim book, Tarot Spreads & Layouts by Jeanne Fiorini, speaks for itself ~ A User’s Manual for Beginning and Intermediate Readers.

This little, handy book provides more than just spreads and layouts. It offers a friendly guide through the entire process of reading, from asking a question to getting the most out of a reading, no matter how many cards you choose to use.

The book’s information is divided into two sections.

The first section, less than a third of the book, provides the ground rules of tarot reading. An introductory into ‘The Art of Question’ and ‘Reading Skills and Other Practical Matters’ provides a beginner with a firm foundation to begin his/her journey into the tarot world. It also offers some great advice a seasoned reader my find useful. Such things as the importance of having a clear intention before beginning a reading, the use of the Significator, and even reversals are touched upon in this section.

Throughout the book, Fiorini offers helpful hints, which are found in boxes labeled Important. Such information includes items like:

When setting your intention before using the cards, ask yourself: “What is it I really need to know?” 

A reversed position provides alternative ways to view a card in relationship to the other cards within the layout, and thus offers additional avenues of interpretation. 

The second section, the bulk of the book, provides you with a variety of spreads and layouts. Divided into helpful sections of issues, one will find it easy to grab the book and discover the perfect spread for his/her question. Each layout includes a brief overview, diagram, questions to think over during the reading, and guidelines for expanding the layout.

Fiorini wraps the guidebook up nicely with a Reader’s Checklist, some final thoughts, and a reference guide to the card meanings.

Available at Schiffer Books

(Review previously published on Tarot Examiner, November 28, 2012)

Thursday, November 29, 2012

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card - Step 16 - Drawing

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card
Mary K. Greer

In step sixteen of our journey, we explore drawing.

The purpose of drawing your card is to give you a deeper look at the image and to discover what truly expresses the card's message.

Mary K. Greer mentions this isn't something you'd use while reading for others. This is a process for your own benefit and will appreciate after the experience.

Activity 16:1: Do a basic sketch of your card. What did you discover that you hadn't noticed before?

(No laughing please, I'm not an artist.)

Did I discover anything new? Can't say that I did, but I have been studying this card intently during these steps.


In The Way of the Adept section, you move into drawing whole spreads, combining different card elements, and working with your drawing.

If you haven’t already, grab a copy of the book for a deeper understanding of 21 Ways to Read the Tarot. Available in Print and Kindle.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Thanksgiving Tarot Spread

Thanksgiving presents us with time to share great food, love, and conversation with our relatives and loved ones. On this Thanksgiving Day, I offer you a moment to look upon yourself and discover your current blessings through the way of tarot elements.

The Thanksgiving Tarot Spread offers a look of what you have to be thankful for and an additional look at how to accomplish an elemental balance.

Card 1: Water/Cups - What fulfills you emotionally?
This card represents blessings in the area of relationships and emotions.

Card 2: Earth/Pentacles - What sustains you physically?
This card represents blessings in the area of money and material resources.

Card 3: Fire/Wands - What feeds your passions?
This card represents blessings of work, career, and creative interests.

Card 4: Air/Swords - What are your thoughts, ideas, and challenges?
This card represents what you think about your life, ideas to explore, and challenges you face.

Card 5: Spirit/Major Arcana - What is your greatest blessing?
The card represents the greatest blessing in your life right now. This could also be an important life lesson.

In a perfect world, each card in this spread would correspond with its position. Although, you may have a perfectly balanced spread, for the most part it is unlikely. No need to worry.

If you find there are missing elements in your spread, this may mean you need to work a little harder in that element to find balance.  To further explore this, draw from the remaining deck for the first card representing the missing element. Use these cards to see 'HOW' to work on getting more of that element into your life.

My Thanksgiving Tarot Spread

Deck - The Rider Tarot Deck

Card 1: Water/Cups (Relationships, Emotions) - 7 of Cups - The Dreamer's Card - This card shows a lack of focus and a sense of confusion. But, it is also the card for visionaries, artists and creative people. One may be thinking unrealistically, or her imagination may be in over-drive.

How am I fulfilled emotionally? I fulfill myself emotionally by allowing myself to dream, to imagine, and to create.

Card 2: Earth/Pentacles (Money, Material Resources) - 10 of Wands - This card represents the burdens of success, the weight of ambition, and the task of doing it all. It is the card for ambitious individuals, overworked or hardworking individuals.

What sustains me? My work and ambition sustains me in my physical world. I am no stranger to hard work, or carrying the load. The burden I carry is by choice.

Card 3: Fire/Wands (Work, Career, Creative Interests) - 3 of Pentacles - I've always thought of this as the Writer's Card. I even have an image of this, from the Mystic Dreamer Deck hanging at my workstation. I've written below the image: Accomplishments. The act of turning plans into creative results.

What feeds my passions? My fiction writing feeds my passions. As I put my talents to use, learn new skills, and write more words, I become even more passionate about my writing journey.

Card 4: Air/Swords (Thoughts, Ideas, Challenges) - 5 of Swords - This card speaks of empty victories and negative energies. I look upon this card as a challenge to defeat negative thoughts concerning my life. Everyone has them from time to time. In the creative zone, the voice of negativity can be a strong distraction when it comes to working on one's craft.

What are my thoughts and ideas? My challenge is to accept the negativity is only a way out, a road away from my goals. I will need to reinforce positive thoughts when this challenge appears. Squash the pest.

Card 5: Spirit/Major Arcana (Greatest Blessing) - 9 The Hermit - Searching within. When this card appears, it shows a time of inward searching, connecting with one's higher source, and solitude.

What is my greatest blessing? My greatest blessing is my ability to connect with my higher source and the opportunity to grab moments alone.

As all the elements appeared in my reading, no additional cards are required in this case. If you have missing elements, this would be the time to pull for additional guidance, beginning with the first missing element and then moving to the next (if more than one.)

As a quick overview of this spreads results, I look upon the cards and find myself much more balanced than I'd believed myself to be. If I'd done this spread months ago, I believe the results would have been very different.

Reading Summary - My imagination fulfills me emotionally, my ambition sustains my physical security, and my creative skills feed my passion. My challenge is to quiet the negative voice which sometimes slips through. My Greatest Blessing is found within the Hermit - the ability to see beyond the physical, to look within myself, and the rewards of solitude and meditation.

I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving and a balanced life.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Sirian Starseed Tarot

The Sirian Starseed Tarot
The Sirian Starseed Tarot, a tool for higher consciousness and soul awakening, is simply amazing.

The images in this deck are vibrant and stunning – full of energy. Even the card backs, featuring the Sirian Seal, give off energy. Patricia Cori and Alysa Bartha have created an amazing deck with unlimited possibilities.

The companion book, 86 pages, gives you all the information you will need to use this deck. The book begins with a short introductory and an explanation of the term Starseed. It goes on to explain the structure of the tarot. You may think this isn’t an important section, if you’re experience with the tarot, but think again, this is not your normal set of tarot cards. The deck consists of seventy-eight cards: twenty-two major arcana, forty minor, and sixteen people, but the names are not the same as most decks. Detailed explanations for these changes are given within the text.

A brief overview of some of the changes:

 • Major Arcana – Fool = Starseed, Magician = Indigo, The High Priestess = Higher Power, The Empress = Abundance, The Emperor = Reason, The Hierophant = Guidance, The Hermit = Reflection, The Wheel of Fortune = The Great Wheel, Justice = Divine Justice, The Hanged Man = The Hanging Man, Death = Transition, Temperance = Alchemy, The Devil = The Shadow, The Moon = Luna, The Sun = Solar Deity, Judgment = Karma, The World = Ascension
                  o The Lovers, The Chariot, Strength, The Tower, The Star remain unchanged.

Suits – Pentacles = Crystals, Cups = Chalices, Swords = Orbs, Wands = Fire

The People – the Seeker, the Adept, the Sage, and the Master of each suit.

The guide ends with a brief look at reversed keys (the cards are referred to as keys), and a description of the Sirian Starseed Spread. The deck can be used with any spread, but this is a nice new spread - a new approach, reflecting the Starseed’s very special awareness and process.

The deck and guide comes with a sturdy storage box, featuring the Starseed key.

Does size matter? The cards are ‘4x6’ and made of a heavy card stock. I found them difficult to shuffle. To properly separate and mix up the cards, I had to make stacks, rotating the cards around. To shuffle, I did the best I could. When I connect with a deck, there is an evident energy flowing during the shuffling process. With these, the energy was there, but it was slightly interrupted by the awkwardness. If this deck is ever reduced in size, I would purchase without a seconds thought. Till then, I will adapt my process to the size of the cards.

I recommend this deck to anyone searching for a deeper meaning of life. You will find some direction in these cards, whether you use them in readings or meditate on individual cards.

The Sirian Starseed Tarot is available at North Atlantic Books and Amazon.

(Review previously published on Tarot Examiner, November 10, 2012)

Thursday, November 8, 2012

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card - Step 15 - Dialogs

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card
Mary K. Greer

In step fifteen of our journey, we explore dialog.

Having a dialog with the tarot card can open yourself up to your many different thoughts and ideas by projecting these hidden aspects onto the card. This process lifts you from your conscious/physical thinking into your higher self's knowledge base.

"A spread often represents these different parts of yourself: the voice from the past, the voice of your hopes and fears, the voice of choice A and the voice of choice B."

Mary K. Greer offers an example of possible dialog with The Hanged Man.

Artwork © Jennifer Galasso, 2011 
Activity 15:1: Dialog with your chosen card. Speak with the figures and the objects.

Me: You shield yourself - from what?

Two of Swords: The truth, your truth. You hide from decisions, from choices. I'm here to help you continue to do so.

Me: What if I'm ready to let down my guard?

Two of Swords: Drop the swords and the feather will fall, along with the other armor, and your wings will spread.

Me: Swords, what are your purposes?

Two of Swords: To keep others from making you choose before you are ready.

Me: Wings, what are you for?

Two of Swords: To lift you when you are ready.

Me: Birds, what is your purpose?

Two of Swords: To guide you when you are ready.

Me: What advice can you give me to help me to step out of the shielding darkness of the feather?

Two of Swords: Trust in the birds to guide you, your wings to lift you. Trust in yourself.


Mary K. Greer goes into further details in The Way of the Adept section.


If you haven’t already, grab a copy of the book for a deeper understanding of 21 Ways to Read the Tarot. Available in Print and Kindle.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card - Step 14 - Dignity & Theme

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card
Mary K. Greer

In step fourteen of our journey, we explore the similarities and differences between the cards.

Similarities and Differences

Comparison and contrast of the details of two or more cards is what makes a reading dynamic.

Activity 14:1: Look at your cards from Step 12. List the similarities and differences. What do these suggest?

Artwork © Jennifer Galasso, 2011 
Similarities - Birds appear in two cards, the colors of The Emperor and the Ten of Wands are similar, all three figures hold an item. These similarities may suggest control and freedom throughout the reading.

Differences- Two figures stand on their own feet, while one is carried. One card has clouds, while the other two do not. These differences may suggest ups and downs and the need to know when to ask for help.


Dignities is a term for finding affinities or antipathies among two or more tarot cards that can strengthen or weaken their effect in a spread.

Although most used when comparing suits and elements, dignities is actually a general term for all of the following situations: Suit, Element, Number, Sequence, Location, Astrology, and symbols.

Mary goes into great detail on each of these in the book.

Activity 14-2 : In your three-card spread, are any situations repeated? What do these suggest?

Suits - Swords and Wands are both masculine and active.
Elements - Fire + Air + Fire, Fire and Air are friendly, tending toward compromise and balance.
Number - All even numbers - emphasize balance

These dignities suggest balance and activity in the reading.

Mary K. Greer goes into further details in The Way of the Adept section.


If you haven’t already, grab a copy of the book for a deeper understanding of 21 Ways to Read the Tarot. Available in Print and Kindle.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tarot SWOT Analysis

Christy of Tarot Girl Next Door offers a wonderful spread for planning with the tarot in the form of the 'SWOT Analysis System'. Below is an image of the SWOT diagram and a sample reading.

SWOT Analysis

My objective of the reading is to view my options and opportunities in my writing world and tarot world. First, I have to say WOW! 4 Major Arcana cards in sequence 8, 9, 10, and 11.

Artwork © Jennifer Galasso, 2011
Crystal Visions Tarot

Strengths - energies working in my favor - 10 Wheel of Fortune (reversed)
Weaknesses - energies working against me - 8 Strength (reversed)
Opportunities - external energies working in my favor - 9 The Hermit
Threats - external energies working against me - 11 Justice

Wheel of Fortune reversed represents the feeling of no forward movement, a stalled position. My strength is my determination to succeed. No matter how much it feels like I'm walking through quicksand, I'll continue to push forward. The Hermit reveals the need to search within, a time for soul searching. As I look upon the card, I think of 'searching the horizon'. The opportunity for success is there, but the first steps are to decide upon the direction best for me.

Strength reversed signifies the lack of self-confidence, doubt and fear.  My weakness is my lack of confidence in my ability to succeed, a fear of the power found in the upright position of the Strength card.  Justice represents a need for balance, time needed to make the best decision. The threat is of not taking the time to balance the factors and making hasty decisions. 

The figure in The Hermit looks directly at the figure in Justice, but she is turned away, eyes closed. The Hermit waits for the decision to be decided upon. The figure in Strength looks upon the wheel, as if waiting for movement.

Overall - By overcoming my weakness (doubts and fear in my own abilities), I can put my strength (my determination to succeed) into forward motion. By taking the time to reflect internally, the threat of hasty decisions resolves into no threat at all.

Affirmation: I believe in my abilities to move forward and succeed. I will take the time to be patient and search my soul for direction.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Transparent Tarot by Emily Carding

The Transparent Tarot
by Emily Carding

The Transparent Tarot is an original, unique deck with a new approach to the tarot. The deck follows the basis Rider-Waite system, yet brings to life a new understanding and a new view of tarot reading.

Read my complete review, previously published on the Examiner.

To give you an idea of what the cards look like and a view of a quick reading, here is a one card reading for the week. Now, with the Transparent Tarot, this is actually three cards layered to produce one.

Wow! Three Major Arcana cards - should be an interesting week. Below you see the image created by three cards layered - 6 Lovers, 2 High Priestess, 0 Fool. 

Notice how the images intertwine with each other. So, what do we see? The rose captures my attention. The heart flows up from it. In the center of the card, we see a butterfly, the Yin and Yang symbol, a sliver of moon. The open book also draws special attention. So we have a display of symbolism here.

The rose - growth, the heart - love, yin and yang - coming together, butterfly - growth, moon - the unknown. Without even considering the meanings of the tarot card, the symbolism creates its own message.

This week will be about growing, a loving union, and surprises.

Now let's look at the cards. The Lovers - a new relationship or finding balance through choice, The High Priestess - listening to your intuition, and the fool - taking a leap of faith.

Message - There will be a choice to make, listen to your intuition and don't hesitate to move forward.

Another way to look at the cards is through story mode. Below, you will see the cards spread apart, yet connected.

Notice how the yin and yang symbol touches the moon. The choice to be made will have everything to do with my intuition. Perhaps the choice will only be available on a higher level, rather than a physical one. This will be a personal, internal choice, not a action choice. The results will be the freedom to jump with no restraints.

Hope you enjoyed this preview of The Transparent Tarot. It is a deck which grabs both your creative mind and your intuitive mind.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card - Step 13 - Symbols

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card
Mary K. Greer
In step thirteen of our journey, we explore the symbolism of the tarot.

"As A. E. Waite noted in The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, 'The true Tarot is symbolism: it speaks no other language and offers no other signs.'"

"Emotions bridge what goes on in your unconscious to the meaning you give the symbol. It is through symbols that the unconscious speaks to consciousness."

Artwork © Jennifer Galasso, 2011 
Activity 13:1:  1) List the symbols appearing on your chosen card. Write down what you know about the 'meaning" for each without looking it up. 2) What are the objects used for? 3) Where have you seen the symbol? 4) Do any of them remind you of something else. 5) Can you see a recurring themes? If so, summarize the significance.

  • Swords - Protection
  • Pink Wings - Hope, flight
  • Birds - Freedom
  • Armor - Protection
  • White Feather - Purity, power
  • Pink Jewels - Hope, positive energy
  • Knives - Protection
  • White Snow - Purity, isolation
  • Reflection (of bird) - Self-knowledge
  • Sunlight - Recognition
  • Clouds - Doubt
  • Pink Triangle Necklace - Hope, positive energy
What are the objects used for? Swords, knives, and armor are used for protection. The wings, birds, and feather are used in flight. The jewelry is used to decorate. The snow, sunlight, and clouds are part of nature's healing source. Reflections or shadows allow you to see in another light.

Where have you seen the symbols? Other than the obvious birds, sunlight, and clouds can't say where anything has really appeared to me. Although, I have spent some time recently looking through healing stones, which could refer back to the jewelry in the card.

Do any of them remind you of something else? Not really. A bird is a bird, a knife is a knife. :)

Recurring themes? The card concentrates on common themes of protection, freedom, hope, positive energies, and seeing through the doubt.


Need some extra help with Symbolism? Mary K. Greer goes into great detail in this step, in The Way of the Adept section.


If you haven’t already, grab a copy of the book for a deeper understanding of 21 Ways to Read the Tarot. Available in Print and Kindle.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Inspirations For Survivors

Inspirations for Survivors

"Inspirations for Survivors", a 44 card deck and 96 page companion book, offers encouragement to those stepping through life, seeking helpful guidance.
"In this life, we are all survivors on some level."
Read the full review at the Examiner.


There are a few methods of using these cards in the companion book.

One is as 'a daily motivational tool.' Today's motivation comes in the form of "In the face of adversity find beauty in everyone."

Inspirations for Survivors
The companion book suggests looking deeper into a situation than face value. We do not know what others' situations are, while neither do they know ours.

Compassion toward an enemy can change the world.

As you may see from the image, these would also make wonderful meditation cards. Lose yourself in the calmness of the water and the mysteries of what may lie behind the stone wall. 

Storytelling is another alternative use. Look closely. There seems to be a building beyond the stone piers. Who lives there? Is the scene from an earlier period or a magical land? Is the water of a river or stream, or maybe it's a moat? Does the main character have a problem with quickly judging others? Is there a marital problem which could easily be fixed with a little compassion from both participants? 

These cards hold many possibilities. What do you think? Do you see other possible uses? Do you own the deck and have used them for storytelling or meditation? Did you find them useful? Share your thoughts.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Five Mistakes Most Tarot Beginners Make... and How to Avoid Them

Brigit Esselmont
Guest post by Brigit Esselmont of

You tear open the new deck of Tarot cards you've just bought and you grab your favourite Tarot books. Perfect! You’re ready to start learning how to read Tarot!

But as you flip through the pages and work with your Tarot cards, you soon become overwhelmed, confused and doubtful about whether you’ll ever master all 78 Tarot card meanings let alone do a Tarot reading.

If this is you, then you’re probably making at least one of the five mistakes most Tarot beginners make. Find out how these simple mistakes may be unravelling your Tarot studies and what you can do to avoid them. 

Not Trusting Your Intuition 

No doubt it was your intuition that brought you to the Tarot cards in the first place. Perhaps it all started with a Tarot reading you got, or when you walked into the local New Age shop and were attracted to a deck of Tarot cards, or when your best friend gifted you your first set of cards.

Whatever has drawn you to the Tarot has been a product of your intuition guiding you gently along.

But why is it that so many Tarot beginners ditch their intuition in favour of rote learning the Tarot card meanings?

I often get emails from Tarot beginners saying, “My gut feeling was telling me one thing, but that’s completely different to what I read the card is supposed to mean. What meaning do I use?”

The answer is so simple. Trust your intuition.

The books are there to guide you and to offer suggestions as you learn, but it is your intuition that needs to come forth in a Tarot reading.

Give your intuition voice. Allow it to be the guiding light when reading the Tarot cards. Go with your gut more than what the book is telling you.

Rote Learning In-Depth Tarot Card Meanings

Speaking of rote learning... Many Tarot beginners believe that they must have an intricate and in-depth understanding of every individual card in the Tarot deck.

If your goal is to read the Tarot with confidence, then focus on learning about the larger patterns that influence each card. For example, learn about each of the Tarot Suits, numerology, symbolism, elemental associations, the Court Cards and the Majors. By learning about the systems and the patterns that relate to all cards you will find it much easier to develop your own interpretations of each Tarot card using what you already know.

I also recommend focusing on developing keywords and phrases for each card rather than learning their full, in-depth meaning straight away (this will come later). Create a series of Tarot keyword charts so that you can easily refer to the high-level meanings for each card and build your confidence much faster.

Using Complicated Tarot Spreads

Why is it that so many beginner Tarot books include the Celtic Cross Tarot spread? The Celtic Cross is a complex 10-card spread that is wonderful if you are an experienced Tarot reader, but frightening and overwhelming if you’re just starting out.

I typically recommend Tarot beginners start with a 1-, 2- or 3-card Tarot spread. Don’t even worry about having specific positions. Just draw 1, 2 or 3 cards and interpret the story that you see in those cards. You would be amazed at just how in-depth a 1-, 2- or 3-card can be. Here’s proof – a 2-card Tarot reading about a recent celebrity divorce.

Waiting Until You're Good Enough to Start Reading

“Oh, I could never do a reading for a stranger! Definitely not yet. I don’t even know what Tarot spread to use.”

For some reason, Tarot beginners seem to be paralysed by fear of reading for strangers. Many want to wait and wait until the magic day when they are finally a Tarot “expert”. But will that day ever come? Will you ever know EVERYTHING you need to know? I know I can certainly learn a lot more, and that’s with 15 years' experience reading Tarot professionally.

My advice? Start reading for other people as soon as possible. Start with yourself, then read for friends and family. Then, jump online and offer free Tarot readings on websites such as and Biddy Tarot where you can provide free Tarot readings via email in exchange for feedback. No-one is going to know that you are sneaking a peek in your little white book every now and then. Plus there is a never-ending demand for Tarot readers who are willing to give free readings. Trust me!

Getting ‘Lost’ in the Vast Amount of Information

When I started to learn to read Tarot, I collected a ridiculous amount of information, through Tarot books, online forums and websites. I had so much information that I was completely overwhelmed and had no idea how to make sense of it all.

Instead of buying up big with every single Tarot book that has ever been published, choose just 1 or 2 books and work with those. You can find my recommendations at

Set yourself Tarot study goals – what are you going to learn and in what timeframe? Then, make sure that everything you learn is aligned to your study goals. You can always file any additional information for later reference.

Tarot Foundations
Love These Tarot Tips?

You’ll find even more in my newest Tarot eBook, “TarotFoundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot with Confidence”. Follow my 31 day program and you’ll be reading the Tarot like a professional in no time. Build a personal connection with the cards and take your Tarot readings to the next level. Find out more at

About Brigit

Brigit is a professional Tarot reader with over 15 years' experience. She is an author, blogger and mentor. Her website, BiddyTarot, is incredibly popular amongst Tarot enthusiasts with Tarot card meanings, Tarot guides and eBooks, and regular blog posts to help you learn Tarot.

She is also mum to 2 beautiful girls and lives with her family in Melbourne, Australia.

Examiner Articles

Interview with Brigit Esselmont (Author, Blogger, Tarot Reader...)

How to Read Tarot with Confidence Without Studying for Years by Brigit

Thursday, September 27, 2012

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card - Step 12 - Modification

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card
Mary K. Greer
In step twelve of our journey, we explore how various factors interact to modify the cards meanings.

Main Factors: Elements within the card itself, question or issue, spread position, and the individual circumstances.

Two Additional Factors: Stance (upright or reversed) and interaction among cards.

The author goes on to explore and give examples of the different factors and possible spread positions.

Artwork © Jennifer Galasso, 2011  
Activity 12:1 - Using the 8 of Wands, give the possible responses to the following positions -  (1-3). How would you modify its meaning in response to the questions and positions - (4-5)?

  1. Recent past - You have been in a hurry to achieve something, to move forward.
  2. An obstacle - You are going too fast, the task needs more thought, more preparation.
  3. Your strength - Once you get your sights on something, you go full force toward obtaining or achieving it.
  4. Question: What is my purpose in life? Position: The best that can be achieved. - You are quick on your feet and will accomplish plenty as long as you keep going forward, making progress.
  5. Question: What do I need to know about buying this house? Position: My fears. - Your fear is that you may be moving too fast toward the purchase.
Artwork © Jennifer Galasso, 2011  

Activity 12:2 - Using your chosen card in answer to your the original question, "What do I most need to look at in my life right now?" turn the response into a question. Pick three spread positions and interpret your chosen card from these new perspectives.

What do I need to do to allow myself to make a choice and move forward?

  • Fears - You fear what may happen if you make a move toward change.
  • Strengths - You are patient and able to stand still in a difficult situation.
  • Advice - Stand still, remain calm, and take your time with making a decision.

Activity 12:3 - Using your chosen card in the position of Issue or Situation, create two additional positions to help clarify the question. Select two more cards and interpret. How do the new cards offer insight to the chosen card?

Question: What do I most need to look at in my life right now?
Positions: Issue/situation, Source, Advice

  • Issue/situation - Two of Swords - You are avoiding a situation, choosing to make no choice at this time.
  • Source - 5 Emperor - The source of your position comes from your need to be in control and to have order. You'd rather not rock the boat or be a rebel in the situation, better to just continue as is.
  • Advice - 10 of Wands - This situation is more of a burden than you may realize, perhaps more than you can bear. It's time to ask for help, let someone else shoulder some of your responsibilities.

Artwork © Jennifer Galasso, 2011 

Need some extra help on using reverse cards? Mary K. Greer goes into detail in this step, in The Way of the Adept section.


If you haven’t already, grab a copy of the book for a deeper understanding of 21 Ways to Read the Tarot. Available in Print and Kindle.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card - Step 11 - Range

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card
Mary K. Greer
In step eleven of our journey, we explore the range of a card's meanings. Imagine a meter, similar to a gas gauge, with Benefit on the left side and Liability on the right. Imagine different levels of the cards meaning running through the gauge.

"A range, when seen as a spectrum, emphasizes the energy of the card."

We will explore the extent, where you are, where you want to be, how to move between levels, and how to move freely within the spectrum of the meanings of the card.

For example: The Sun: Benefit - Success, Liability - Egotism or Three of Swords: Benefit - Emotional release, Liability - Sorrow.

Activity 11:1 - Name some benefits and liabilities for the following cards.

  • Nine of Pentacles: Benefit - Self-sufficient, Liability - Alone
  • Page of Swords: Benefit - Reaching for the stars, Liability - Daydreamer
  • The Chariot: Benefit - making progress, choosing direction, Liability - stalled by indecision
Activity 11:2 - Working with your chosen card:
  • Decide upon your range. Hold your arm in front of you, bent at the elbow, like the indicator on the meter. Swing from left to right, saying aloud your range.
  • Continue this process until you 'feel' where you are at this moment in the arc. Now imagine all possible meanings. Where are you?
  • Move your arm to where you want to be on the spectrum of possibilities. What could move you there? What aspect of the card do you need to align with? Is there an image in the card that could help you? How?
Artwork © Jennifer Galasso, 2011   
Two of Wands: Benefit - Taking a moment of pause can give better insight (problem solving), Liability - Avoiding the situation does not solve the issue (unsolved issue.)        

Where are you? I fall near the quarter of a tank mark. :) So empty is the benefit, problem solving. I've moved away from the unsolved issue, moved pass the moment of avoidance (3/4 of a tank), moved passed not understanding the issue (1/2 tank), and have entered the decision making stage (1/4 of a tank), which should lead to the problem solved.

Where do I want to be? Problem solved. What could move me there? Let down the swords and allow the sun to illuminate the issue further. 


If you haven’t already, grab a copy of the book for a deeper understanding of 21 Ways to Read the Tarot. Available in Print and Kindle.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card - Step 10 - Meanings

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card
Mary K. Greer
In step ten of our journey, we take a look at meanings found in books. Some may find it a method of cheating to fall back on interpretations supplied by others. But, Mary suggests this is very useful, and I have to agree with her. On more than one occasion, I've used the process in this step to complete a reading.

As you read over a meaning in a book, it's important to pay attention to your reactions to each suggestion. Your body and mind will give clues to the interpretations best fitting for the reading. It will feel right, it will have you saying 'yes, that's it,' and/or the phrase will seem to leap out at you.

Artwork © Jennifer Galasso, 2011  

Activity 10:1

  1. Gather together a couple of books with varying length interpretations, including the booklet supplied with your deck. (You will use these to look up the meanings of your chosen card.) 
  2. Refresh your mind on the question used in the beginning of the steps. 
  3. Make a list of the meanings that grab your attention and summarize their message in a couple of sentences. How do these compare with your earlier interpretations?
  4. If you like, note where the meanings used in previous steps and the book meanings are the same or different. Write one-sentence summaries of these similarities and differences.
  5. Sometime later, revisit this reading and see which meanings were most accurate and which gave the greatest insight.
The question I began with was, "What do I need to most look at in my life right now?"

Here are a few meanings which jumped out at me.
  • She is refusing to see the problem at hand, therefore avoiding making a decision.
  • Feeling uncertain about which way to go.
  • Unable to make a move.
  • You don't know rather to follow your head or your heart. 
  • A tense situation.
I'd say for the most part these are similar to the descriptions and meanings thus far explored by the steps, although the wording may be slightly different. For instance: following your head or your heart can lead back to finding balance, and a tense situation is likely if you cannot decide what to do.

Activity 10:2

You may also find it useful to turn the book interpretations into questions to answer. Use some of what you chose, turn them into questions, and then answer them.

Some questions:
  • What is the problem at hand? 
  • How do you feel about the available directions?
  • What can you do to make the move a little easier?

If you haven’t already, grab a copy of the book for a deeper understanding of 21 Ways to Read the Tarot. Available in Print and Kindle.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Artist's Way meets the Tarot - Anger

the Artist's Way
Julia Cameron
Week Three - Recovering a Sense of Power

As we move into week three, we look at using anger to move us forward in our goals. Through life, we are taught to suppress anger, but Julia suggests using it as a fuel. Recognize your anger and put it to use.

Tarot Dude takes a look at the five of swords.

5 of Swords

Here you can see anger from both sides. You have the two victims turning the other cheek, and the bully taking what he wants. Who would you rather be?

As nice people, we steer away from anger, drive it deep down, avoid situations which could lead to a fight. But, sometimes it's better to stand your ground. And when it comes to your creativity and your goals in life, it's time to take a stand against others and against yourself.

You are your biggest enemy when it comes to accomplishing your goals. Through procrastination, self-doubt, avoiding the challenge, and so many other ways, you successfully deny yourself your dreams. It's time to get angry and take control.

Knight of Swords
Tarot Dude offers a Tarot Task

Use the energy of the Knight of Swords - Feel his anger at your lack of persistence, at your inability to follow through, and at your failure to take those tiny steps forward. Become the Knight, sword raised high, charge forward, and change - take control of your destiny.

Take a close look at your life. Are there things you push aside to another day? Do you scatter your energies so thin nothing gets done? Do you allow yourself to be victimized by others, letting them pull you away from your goals?

Meditate upon the Knight. Feel the anger, the betrayal, the need to charge forward. Start a journal and make entries of your experiences. Set yourself in motion, charge toward your dreams, your goals.

Artist's Way Exercise Available.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card - Step 9 - Query & Snapshots

21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card
Mary K. Greer
In step nine of our journey, we learn how to transform metaphor into message by asking questions and capturing snapshots.

"Asking questions is the quickest and surest way to determine what a reading is really about - how to excavate the riches buried within. Questions also stimulate the energies that reveal a life pattern; turning a little story into a big story. This same energy creates change."

Using the steps already taken, we formulate questions to go deeper into the cards. The questions should be open-ended. You should not use yes-no questions, for they offer no room for exploring. Sample question openings are, How, Where, What, Who, and When. Avoid 'Why' to avoid justifications.

Snapshots, also referred to as memory images, are a normal occurrence, which most of us ignore or push aside. In this step, we are asked to pay close attention.

"They arise for a reason - there's an unconscious neural link between the emotions and sensations in former situations and in the current one."

Artwork © Jennifer Galasso, 2011 

Activity 9:1 - Part One - Go back over the descriptions you've given for your chosen card. Ask at least three open-ended questions. Answer these questions in writing. As you answer, pay attention to any memories and scenes flashing through your mind. Jot down a quick note and continue answering the questions. When you've completed that, go back and write about the memory and how it relates back to the question.

  1. What are you waiting for? The disaster, the one mistake which could take everything away. As long as I stand still and make no decisions, nothing will change, life will continue as is and will remain safe.
  2. What do you fear? What keeps you on the ground, rather than souring into flight? Failure, a sudden drop back to the ground.
  3. How can you take that first step? Trust in a higher power and accept my own intuition. Remember I am where I am now, not because I stood still, but because I moved forward.

Activity 9:1 - Part Two - Re-evaluate according to your responses. What do you most need to look at in your life right now? Where were the strongest emotions? This is your access point to the greatest energy for manifesting what you want.

I need to look at the areas where I'm most cautious and where I experience the biggest feeling of fear. I need to address these areas and begin taking small steps forward. The strongest emotions are in the fear of loss.

This step has been huge in my discoveries of myself and other important issues. I explored much deeper into this than revealed on the blog. I strongly suggest you to dig as deep as you can with this step. If you have the book The Way of the Adept section will assist you even further.

If you haven’t already, grab a copy of the book for a deeper understanding of 21 Ways to Read the Tarot. Available in Print and Kindle.