We've launched our Coffee Tarot: Grande Edition on Kickstarter!
Come on by this link to check out the goodies--and make sure you watch the video above. Thanks so much!
2. Book you’d like to give everyone (or wish they would read)? The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963
3. What makes you laugh? Tarot Memes
4. Song that never gets old: "I Gotta Feeling" by The Black Eyed Peas
5. Drink of choice: Colombian Coffee, vanilla creamer, and three sugars
6. Would you rather be hot or cold? Cold
7. Mountain, beach, desert, or forest? Forest
8. Favorite color? Green
9. Best movie line: “She doesn’t even go here.” - Mean Girls
10. Last thing you splurged on? The Ostara Tarot Pre-order
Bonus Q: How do you navigate the challenges of being a "double" minority? It is exhausting living in a world where there are people who judge me and hate me for who I am. For the longest time, I allowed the hatred and ignorance of others to define me until I decided it was time for me to finally love me and everything that I am. It was at that moment that I made the conscious choice to not allow the challenges that I face daily to hold me captive. I also refused to be silenced. Each day I wake up queer, black, proud and that much stronger.
Bio: Ivan is a queer person of color who is a lover of creative writing, photography, and tarot. Ivan runs the website www.tarotprose.com where they explore tarot through the lens of poetic prose.
The short version: Our Snowland Deck is the “sweet” in this equation. Our colleagues’ Twisted Tarot Tales Deck (by James Battersby and Christine Aguiar) is the “sour” part. I compare and contrast these very different cards showing the powerful and illuminating continuum Tarot spans…sometimes, to the “outer limits”.
In fact, in the engaging companion book to the Twisted Tarot Tales, James and Christine reference the old black and white TV Show The Outer Limits—particularly the introductory monologue which admonishes the audience not to touch the screen settings, because “they” are in control of the TV—regarding the Ace of Swords.
It’s this issue of control (or lack thereof) that James tackles with one version of the Ace of Swords: a surgeon in the foreground, holding a bloody scalpel—and an operating room in the background faded into “deep focus” (a cinematic technique that, according to James, Orson Welles was famous for using in the movie Citizen Kane).
In our Snowland Deck, we see a crowned snowman reaching towards a huge, sharp icicle offered from a cloud. Four colorful balloons swirl about in the sky.
From the companion book to our Snowland Deck:
What piercing truth do I need to confront?
What assumptions need bursting?
How can I gain clarity?
How might I narrow my focus?
What is now clear to me?
In what area of life do I need to be single-minded?
What are the facts?
Although the snowman in our cards is “sweet”, the implications of that sharp icicle may not be: what happens if it gets too close to one of those balloons?
And what does the icicle represent?
It represents the truth—the cold, hard truth—that may very well “pop” the lofty ideals (and ideas) floating around the ether…even (or especially?) the pretty, innocent looking ones.
The snowman in the pictures, crowned with a love for truth, reaches towards the icicle.
Will he be the one popping the balloons—or will it come from the human hand? Or do any of the balloons even need popping on this clear wintry day?
Until individuals are ready for truth—to see things as they really are, without any spin—most prefer ignorance at best and willful self-delusion at worst.
Why? Wouldn’t humanity want to see things at face value?
Not necessarily. To see things as they are, to embrace what is, would require, for most people, change—something humans are notoriously afraid of.
And why are people afraid of change?
Because they can’t control it. Better the devil they know than the one they don’t.
This brings me back to the Twisted Tarot Tales version of the Ace of Swords, where James and Christine tap into this deep-seated fear of loss of control.
Not having control of my perception is a frightening concept. I am an Air sign—I like to be in full control of my mind at all times. So, when I was thinking of what makes me fearful, and how it could to the Swords suit, I thought about receiving anesthesia before going under the knife. I hate that loss of control and the nagging questions that plague me hours before an operation: "What if something goes wrong and I wake up mid-procedure…or not wake up at all?” Another horrific idea: someone or something controlling your mind—via chemicals, the government propaganda or mainstream media.
Every time I have an operation, the idea of a drug controlling my consciousness makes me uneasy. Seconds before you go out, everything beyond the surgery lamp and doctor disappear in deep focus. That is the last thing a patient remembers before he enters into a deep sleep. Initially, when we introduced the concept for this card, some people thought it was creepy. People like to feel in control.
When I look at this card, I don’t see a sinister surgeon. I see a determined specialist who has cut out a cancerous tumor (or gangrenous piece of flesh) in order to save the patient.
Sometimes, like a scalpel, truth needs to cut away the disease of assumptions and faulty reasoning in order for psychological wholeness to result.
The patient’s well-being depends on it.
For this to occur there must be singularity: the mind cannot be distracted by cute balloons. The body cannot be threatened by life-eating disease.
Something will need popped. Or cut out.
Interestingly, James and Christine created two versions of the Ace of Swords card. The one from the official deck shows a crime scene—a homicide—that’s being processed by forensic specialists (we can see numbered tags surrounding the bloodied body, as well as a knife).
And one of the intuitive questions posed by this card as mentioned in the Snowland Deck companion?
What are the facts?
Just like straight-shooting Sgt. Joe Friday from another old black and white TV show (that aired a few years before The Outer Limits--Dragnet) often said: Just the facts, ma’am. Just the facts.
Now…do you want to embrace that big-ass icicle of truth? Or care to do some serious cognitive forensics on your mental “crimes”? Or crave seeing without assumptions, confirmation bias or faulty logic? Then I strongly recommend reading The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli. It will shake your world (or, at least, the flawed cognitive foundation you’ve laid in your brain).
As the iconoclastic business book Rework affirms, "A business without a path to profit isn't a business, it's a hobby." Here are five concrete steps towards paving a path to professional Tarot reading business that stands out and attracts clients.
1. Web presence – You need to have a home-base where you can point potential clients. Web-based Tarot readers no longer need pay exorbitant fees for a classy or inviting website. In fact, knowledge of html isn’t even required to get your business up and running within 24-hours.
One company, Homestead, uses “drag and drop” WYSIWYG technology, meaning you don’t need to know html to use it (although knowledge of basic coding can enhance your web presence by embedding widgets, videos, social media tools and more). For less than $30 a month you get a downloadable SiteBuilder that allows you to edit your website online or off. And the good news is that if your computer crashes, no published material is ever lost. Even better, Homestead will create custom PayPal buttons for all your services.
However, it’s just as viable to use a blog as your web presence, often for free. Wix.com, Blogger and WordPress are a few examples. Blog sites like TypePad (what I use) provide custom templates or drag/drop Nimble formats, and have affordable subscriptions should you want to trick out your blog beyond a simple, free site.
Beware of hitching your Tarot pro wagon to another organization’s “guild”, “town”, “house” or “portal”, though: if an organization is catering to Tarot pros, then you’re preaching to the choir (and won’t get much business).
Being a windbag touting “growth” doesn’t mean squat; anyone can say anything on the web, doesn’t mean it’s true…especially if they can profit from you and your business via subscriptions). And what is their reputation?
Make sure you have an engaging bio on your website, preferably with a professionally photographed headshot. It’s true that you can use some pretty, mystical picture to represent yourself, but I’ve found that client’s are much more comfortable ordering a reading from someone with actual eyes to look into, a smile to respond to and a physical “vibe” to evaluate. In short, it’s personal and transparent.
You can use social media tools (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, InstaGram, Google+, Pinterest, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.) to promote your business and engage with potential clients, but only do so when you have the basics covered AND you know how to use social media without sounding like an obnoxious carnival barker.
2. Testimonials page – How will a potential client know if you’re any good? Whether you have actual experience? A Testimonials page will help your skill speak for itself. Ask anyone you’ve ever read for—free or for a fee—to give you feedback on your reading. Every time I send out an email Tarot reading, I say “Please let me know if you have any questions or need any clarification, as well as how accurate you found this reading to be.” Your client’s answer can be a testimonial you can add to your page.
If you do this consistently, over time, you’ll have a testimonials page with dozens of recommendations. No only is this the best advertisement for your abilities, but it also gives potential client’s a feel for your style. (For example, do friends, family or clients always commend you for your empathy? Accuracy? Diplomacy? Incisiveness? Pull-no-punches delivery? Practicality? Foresight? Friendliness?) Click here to see how I’ve created my Testimonials page.
3. PayPal buttons – You need to use PayPal or some other system for clients to pay you easily, securely and quickly. If a potential client is debating between two Tarot readers that seem equal, ease of pay may very well be what separates a contemplated order from a completed one. Sign up for a premium account at PayPal.com and, after approval, add buttons to your site. Even if you’re intimidated by trying to copy and paste coding, you can at least list your PayPal email address on your site so clients can send your fee through email.
When setting your fees, make sure your prices are commensurate with your experience. If you’re just starting out professionally, don’t price your readings past $50 (via email) or $.99 a minute (if you read via phone). Get some experience under your belt before you price yourself parallel to the big girls (or boys).
4. Ethics page – You need to state, up front, what you will—and will not—do during and after a Tarot reading. To get an idea of what an Ethics page looks like, click here to read mine. If you’re up front with the kind of readings you enjoy doing—and the ones you will absolutely NOT do because you’re not qualified or comfortable doing so—you’ll save yourself a lot of headaches by having an Ethics page on your site.
5. Types of Readings Your Offer – Decide up front if you’re going to charge per issue, per question or per spread. Keep your offered readings simple, clear and brief. I can’t stress this enough. If you need convinced, consider this passage, based on experimental data, from one of my favorite social psychology books The Paradox of Choice: Why More is Less:
“A large array of options may discourage consumers because it forces an increase in the effort that goes into making a decision. So consumers decide not to decide, and don’t buy the product. Or if they do, the effort that the decision requires detracts from the enjoyment derives from the results. Also, a large array of options may diminish the attractiveness of what people ACTUALLY choose, the reason being that thinking about the attractions of some of the unchosen options detracts from the pleasure derived from the chosen one.”
In other words, however you decide to create and price your readings, make your options simple and few—or you may contribute to a “no sale” or eventual “buyer’s remorse”. Click here to see how I’ve structured my readings to give you an idea.
In this economic climate, consumers—your potential clients—want to get a lot of bang for their buck. Make it easy on them to order a Tarot reading—then make sure you over-deliver, exceeding their expectations.
Did you know that "Rage Quit" was a word? Click here to read what it is--and who does it.
Here's a neat TED Talk by Dr. Curzan on what makes for a "real" word. Fascinating!
Noah thought Niocola Tesla would make a wonderful Magician card for the 2017 International Tarot Day Deck--and I agree!
Noah's explanation: I chose Nicola Tesla to represent The Magician because this extraordinary scientist and inventor helped usher in the electrical revolution, including A/C (alternating current), VTOL military aircraft and radio waves. His theories were revolutionary, and unfortunately, Thomas Edison received much more credit, renown and money than Tesla. Tesla formulated his theories, produced sketches and, in some cases, built actual working prototypes (unlike Edison, who was more physical in his approach, favoring a trial-and-error method).
A voracious reader his whole life, Tesla was a brilliant man who spoke eight languages and used botanical discoveries as inspiration for some of his inventions. He was a bon vivant who enjoyed spending money on stylish clothes and rich foods. Tesla also loved pigeons, feeding them from his hotel room and at parks.
In this image, Tesla stands like many Tarot Magician images, except he's harnessing natural resources and pointing them towards the world: he knew wind and solar power could perpetually fuel the globe. In fact, because the earth is surrounding by electromagnetic fields, Tesla wanted to harness it using his World Wireless System via the Wardenclyffe tower. After construction started, investor J.P. Morgan realized that free energy wouldn't bring any profit to himself, so he stopped funding the project.
To represent the four elements/suits often found on the Magician's table, I chose:
Swords/Air = Tesla Coils. These are narrow, vertical cylinders that conduct electrical impulses, and are found in radios from the 1920s and 1930s. Nowadays, they're only used for demonstrations and exhibitions.
Disks/Earth = Metal Sphere. Tesla held one of these spheres in the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago where he allowed millions of volts to course through his body (he wore a rubber suit). The sphere prevented burning on his hands.
Wands/Fire = Glowing Fluorescent Bulb. Tesla invented this omnipresent light source.
Cups/Water = Beaker of Water on the Bunsen Burner. When Tesla viewed tap water under a microscope, he was horrified and disguted at the sight of all the microbes. After that, he became a germophobe--boiling all water before drinking. He was also a compulsive hand-washer, especially after mingling with crowds and shaking hands.
The 2017 International Tarot Day Deck will be for sale soon!
We plan on pricing it close to/at cost since this was a labor of love to celebrate Tarot...not to make a profit.
In the meantime, we would love for you to use our deck images (freely and liberally!) for blog posts, tutorials, spread examples, COTD and forecasts.
We just have a small requirement: please, at the bottom of your post, put Card Images © 2017 International Tarot Day Artist Collective
If you'd like to be invited to a DropBox folder with all 78 cards already sized and titled for you to download, please email Janet at email@example.com with Tarot Day Deck Image Use in the subject line, as well as the preferred email address you want to use for your DropBox folder invitation.
Thanks for your interest, and Tarot on!
There was a last minute withdraw in the 2017 International Tarot Day Deck, so I stepped in and created a Strength card:
Janet's Thoughts: Barbed wire, originally invented to contain cattle, can cause severe discomfort or serious injury when trying to pass through or over. It was the most inexpensive way to keep fence them in. Barbed wire was eventually used in combat, especially in front of trenches; you can read about its fascinating history here. In contrast, another type of strength is shown in this image: a fully intact spiderweb. While spiderwebs aren't really as strong as steel as often believed, the tensile strength (the greatest stress a material can withstand before breaking) is comparable to steel. Not only are spiderwebs strong, they are beautiful--making their way into art, sculpture, fashion and design of all types. When this card comes up in a reading, ask yourself: How am I like barbed wire? What's "fencing me in"? What needs "fenced out"? Or how am I like a spiderweb? What am I "catching"? How am I delicate--yet strong?
It's a fun challenge to create your OWN Tarot cards, of course, but just about anyone can search royalty-free/free-use image sites to create a Tarot card. It's not only a creative challenge, but helps you clarify how YOU feel about a particular card--and the personal keywords YOU would ascribe to it (as opposed to, say, what a book says are the correct interpretations).
If you're crafty or love playing with paint/crayons/markers/gel pens and so on, you can create a card from scratch. Who knows? You may even become so inspired, you create our OWN Tarot deck some day!
Have you ever created your own Tarot card? Do share with me in the comments! Would love to see your creation and hear your keywords.
Exploring The Fool
Phrases and Keywords: Carefree; Guileless; Carpe Diem; Spontaneous; Blind Trust; Leap of Faith; Taking a Chance; Innocence; Naiveté; Wastrel; Quixotic; Absolute Trust; Rootless; Risk; Impetuous; Folly; Foolishness; Tabula Rasa; Idealistic; Gullible; Unbiased; Beginner’s Mind; No-Mind; Living in the Moment; Free; Purity; Impulsive; Clueless; Crazy; Your Face Before You Were Born; Happy-Go-Lucky; Immature; Optimism; Conflict Avoidant; Ignorant; Distracted; Careless; Blissful; Unaware; New Journey; Faith; Childlike; Childish; Reckless; A Few Cards Short of a Complete Deck; A Few Sandwiches Short of a Picnic; Not the Sharpest Tool in the Shed; Present Moment Awareness; The Now; No Responsibilities; Thoughtless; Open-minded; Joyful; New Beginning; Follow Your Heart; Irresponsible; Avoiding Reality; New Adventure; Innocence; Naiveté; Slapstick; Foolishness; Spontaneity; Insouciance
People and Archetypes: Wanderer; Clown; Pilgrims; Harlequin; Wise Fool; Puer Eternis; Satirist; Jester; Hitchhikers; Buddha; Innocent; Child (Magical, Nature, Divine); Dalai Lama; Hobos; Trickster; Comedians; Robin Williams; Martin Short; Jim Carrey; Conan O’Brien; Simpleton; Dummling; Idiot; Madman; Court Jester; Vagabond; Joker; Simpleton; Michael Jackson
Characters, TV and Movies: Gilligan (Gilligan’s Island); Pee Wee Herman; Puck (A Midsummer Night’s Dream); Peter Pan; Pinocchio; Prodigal Son (Old Testament); Mad Hatter (Alice in Wonderland); Grover (Sesame Street); Buddy Curale (Dick Van Dyke Show); Mork (Mork and Mindy); 3 Stooges; Goofy; Don Quixote; Scarecrow (Wizard of Oz); Roscoe P. Coltrane (Dukes of Hazzard); Ernest P. Worrell; Dory (Finding Nemo); Mater (Cars); Family Jewels (Jerry Lewis); Charlie and the Chocolate Factory; Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure; Fisher King (Robin Williams); Apple Dumpling Gang (Tim Conway and Don Knotts); Grizzly Man (Documentary)
Objects and Actions: Slapstick; Practical Jokes; Whoopee Cushion; Bungee Jumping; Skydiving; Hobo sack
Quotes: Not all those who wander are lost. – J.R.R. Tolkien; Fools Rush in Where Angels Fear to Tread (proverb)
Songs and Videos: What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong); Walking on Sunshine (Katrina and the Waves); Somewhere Over the Rainbow (Judy Garland); Jump (Van Halen); Life is a Highway (Tom Cochrane); Leaving on a Jet Plane (John Denver)
Number 0 – Nothing…or everything. An egg. Pure potential. Lips open in surprise.
Mountains – Where the air is rare, fresh and clean. A place where the altitude can make you light headed or dizzy.
White Rose – Purity
Dog – Instinct. Sometimes, an internal warning.
Cliff – On the edge of something new, about to step from one plateau to another—an action that may entail risk.
Hebrew letter: Aleph (meaning = ox)
Elemental Association: Air
Planetary Association: Uranus
Esoteric Title: Spirit of Aether
Path on the Qabalistic Tree of Life: #11 (Kether 1 Crown → Chokmah 2 Wisdom)
Would you like to see The Fool card from over 60 different decks? Visit my PInterest Fool Board here.
I hope you all have been enjoying this very first International Tarot Day blog hop! Please visit Nym's Divination blog (the organizer of the Blog Hop) at this link next for some illuminating information about The Magician. Thank you for reading!
15 Ways to Celebrate International Tarot Day
How can YOU celebrate International Tarot Day? Click here to discover some ideas!
Hi all! I'm thrilled to be taking part in the very first International Tarot Day Blog Hop! I trust you enjoyed Trivia at The Crossroad's article on The Devil, and now, we're tackling another challenging Tarot card: The Tower. Below is The Tower chapter from my upcoming book Naked Tarot (NakedTarotbook.com)--out from Dodona Books early 2018. Enjoy!
Stripped Down Overview: Your house burns down. Your partner loses her job. The accountant ran off with your life savings. A Hummer totals your Prius. We’re rarely prepared when the lightning shitastic strikes our lives. These bolts don’t always arrive on the wings of material destruction, but rather bloom in our psyche like a mushroom cloud, evaporating worn-out beliefs, demolishing shaky structures and re-routing our trajectory. One thing’s for sure: when this baby blows, there’s no going back to the way things were. The good news is that the destruction of faulty structures you’ve built—either with material goods, misplaced values or incorrect assumptions—leaves a foundation for you to rebuild upon. Make sure that bolt from the blue isn’t in vain by accepting its resulting illumination.
Keywords: Shock; Collapse; Sudden Illumination; Crisis; Disaster; Release; SNAFU; Sideswiped; Godsmacked; Shit Hitting the Fan; Obliteration of Faulty Beliefs; Leveling of Man-Made Structures
Personifications and Embodiments: Tornados; Twin Towers; Father Mychal Judge; Natural Disasters; Lighting Strikes; Demolitions; Dynamite; Dennis the Menace; Tasmanian Devil (Cartoon Character); H-Bomb; The Titanic; The Hindenberg
Quote: The best lightning rod for your protection is your own spine. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Occupations/Vocations: Pyrotechnics Specialist; Stunt Person; Electrician; Demolitionist; Lightning Rod Manufacturer; Telephone Lineman; Crisis Hotline Operator
Disney Totem: Wreck-It Ralph (Wreck-It Ralph)
Animal Symbol: Scorpion
Flower Essences: Rock Rose (Bach); Star of Bethlehem (Bach); Fringed Violet (Australian); Waratah (Australian)
Crystal/Stone: Fulgurite (Sand Tubes Formed by Lightning Strikes) – Fosters awakening. Eases stress. Provides impetus. Helps pull one out of emotional lows. Promotes agility of action and mental acuity.
Body Parts/Systems and Health Issues: Seizures; Migraines; Epilepsy
Mystical Messenger – Saint Barbara
Sabian Symbol: Aquarius 2 – An unexpected thunderstorm.
Writing Prompt: At a nighttime carnival, an electric pole crashes.
Affirmation: I can withstand any shock or surprise.
Naked Advice for The Tower
Career: If you don’t get a pink slip first, you may find yourself singing “Take This Job and Shove It” over the company intercom system. Quit now or forever hold your peace, because if you’re looking for a permission slip to burn a bridge, this is it.
Romance: Your husband asks for a divorce. You catch your boyfriend in bed with the landscaper. Your wife announces she’s a lesbian. Cue “The Break Up Song”. But if you happen to be single and unattached, Kundalini lightning will rip from your groin to your crown in a flash of mind-blowing sex.
Parenting: Expect the unexpected when it comes to your offspring. School expulsion, a report card littered with Ds, truancy—if you’ve been embroiled in your own earth-shattering dramas, shockwaves will cascade down the DNA ladder. When grownups play the game of upheaval, it’s the kids that pay.
Spirituality: When a forest fire ravages the land, the intense heat sears open seeds that would otherwise stay sealed and sterile. If there’s a silver lining to this shitty cloud, it’s the flowers that will rise out of the ashes.
Recommended Resources: Lightworker by Alex Grey; Joni (the life story of quadriplegic artist Joni Erickson Tada); Inferno (Movie); “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” by Gordon Lightfoot
The Tower Card Layout: Smash, Grab and Release Spread
I hope you all have been enjoying this very first International Tarot Day Blog Hop! Please visit Victoria (Eternal Athena Tarot)'s blog at this link next for some illuminating information about The Star. Thank you for reading!
15 Ways to Celebrate International Tarot Day
How can YOU celebrate International Tarot Day? Click here to discover some ideas!
2. Book you’d like to give everyone (or wish they would read)? The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry . It’s a simple and small book, for children and also adults, but no matter how childish you think it is, anyone can learn a deep lesson from it.
3. What makes you laugh? I laugh a lot watching The Big Bang Theory. But my husband, he is the only one who knows how my humor sense works and can make me laugh in any situation.
4. Song that never gets old: You can leave your hat on, no matter how many years have passed, you become the queen of karaoke with that song. But in my language I think Camilo Sesto’s “quieres ser mi amante” (tr. Do you wanna be my lover) and from my country, “Te recuerdo Amanda” (I remember you, Amanda) by Víctor Jara. A song that can actually make you feel every word. I still feel a lump in my throat when I hear it.
5. Drink of choice: Alcoholic, Chilean wine, the best in the whole world, only compared to a nice and cold soju bottle. Non-alcoholic, tea.
6. Would you rather be hot or cold? Cold. You can always get a good sweater or two if necessary, but when it’s hot, it comes a point where you cannot go naked.
7. Mountain, beach, desert, or forest? A forest, up in the mountains.
8. Favorite color? Blue
9. Best movie line: My momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." From my favorite movie, Forrest Gump.
10. Last thing you splurged on? The answer for that will always be chocolate.
Bonus Q: What do you value above all else? Family love and loyalty. No matter who do you consider as a family: old friends, husband, mom and dad, children. I think family is actually the core of human society. I also think that human being is not complete alone, he needs a home, a place to come back and share what he learns in his solitude. Family is also the best place to give love and nurturing others. I think universe works as a family too, where love is essential for everyone’s well being as individuals and as a community.
About Macarena: I've been giving advice along with the Tarot for almost twenty years. I believe that universe is like a big puzzle where everybody is an essential piece and has a unique inner truth. That's how I understand my work, and I want to help others find their own wisdom to be happy. I love human beings and spirituality. I look for learning opportunities from any experience--as a reader or as a querent, as a business woman, as a wife or as a mother. I live in Santiago, Chile, with my husband and teenager son, seven dogs, a turtle and two cats. You can find me (in Spanish) on Facebook here and read my ramblings and insights here and here, or follow me on Twitter here.