Back in August, Shaheen Miro interviewed me about Tarot. Here is that interview:
Shaheen: Hello, Janet. To begin, you’re a bit of a Tarot know-it-all, so what got you hooked on Tarot?
Janet: No mysterious, elaborate stories I’m afraid: quit simply, I felt to learn the Tarot about 12 years ago. Most of it has been trial-and-error self-taught experience…especially figuring out how to mesh my natural psychic ability with the cards.
Shaheen: Have you explored any other divination art forms with the same tenacity as Tarot? Or are you a one-system type of lady?
Janet: I've explored several divinatory practices, but none is as versatile as Tarot. In fact, my use of the cards is mostly NON-divinatory. I’m naturally psychic, so I have the whole claircognizant and clairvoyance thing going on. I don’t need Tarot for divination, but, apparently, I need it as the medium for most of my current creative work.
Shaheen: You’ve contributed so much to the Tarot community, and I am always interested to know, how has Tarot enriched your life (personally and professionally)?
Janet: It’s provided an interesting playground for trying new things with the cards. I love how the cards allow for “mashups” with other disciplines. Of course, without the Tarot framework, my husband and I wouldn’t have our Snowland Deck…and this has been a very rewarding creative opportunity for us both.
Shaheen: At one point you declared to never write about Tarot again and you’ve mentioned many times that you have been black-balled from different Tarot related forums and outlets. So what made you give Tarot a second (or third or fourth or fifth :-P) chance?
Janet: There’s so much NOT being done with Tarot. The field begs for innovation and, sadly, hardly any are willing (or able) to answer the call. I can’t leave it alone because there’s more work for me to do within the field. It’s like an unfinished sentence: how can you walk away from something so incomplete, especially when you’re holding the words that will cause it to make sense or change the meaning altogether?
Shaheen: So tell us why you felt there was a need to write about reversed meanings in the Tarot in your book Tarot in Reverse?
Janet: Actually, it was my editor’s idea. I was on the phone with Dinah from Schiffer Books and she had just performed a Tarot reading…and asked how I’d interpret the cards that came up reversed. So I interpreted her reading for her. She exclaimed “Someone should write a down-and-dirty guide to Tarot—Tarot in Reverse!” I told her that I had just finished teaching an audio course on the topic and my notes were right next to me…and that I could easily write such a book. She told me to hurry up and write a proposal. So I got off the phone and did. It was accepted by the publisher and within a few weeks, I had a book contract.
Shaheen: What will we find in Tarot In Reverse that we can’t find anywhere else?
Janet: Most books on Tarot contain the same irrelevant, ho-hum, dry esotericism. That’s not how I “do” Tarot, so my book provides modern anecdotes showing how each reversed card plays out in real life (especially via pop culture), as well as dozens of unusual, accurate meanings for reversals. Oh, and 1,560 affirmations (20 for each card).
Shaheen: Do you think that reversed Tarot reading is for beginners? Or is it an added, but not necessary, layer to reading the cards?
Janet: If someone is completely new to Tarot and hasn’t been tainted by the good cards/bad cards BS—or the belief that a reversed card indicates the opposite of the upright meaning—they could absolutely learn about the Light/Shadow Continuum (that I talk about in Tarot in Reverse)…which makes understanding and interpreting reversals pretty easy. However, if they’re new but indoctrinated—it may be best to ease into reversals only after truly absorbing the energy and import of each card.
Shaheen: What did you struggle with while writing this book?
Janet: Time! My editor loved what I had written so much, she asked the publisher if Tarot in Reverse could be made into a full-color, glossy book. This gave me almost double the word count that was originally allotted to me. Thrilled to go beyond just a comprehensive listing of reversed meanings, I then decided to add modern anecdotes for each card to further illuminate and cement how reversed cards “look” and manifest in the real world, as well as 20 affirmations for each card, a quote that encapsulated its energy and advice. So what was intended to be a 20,000 word book was expanded to around 43,000 words…but with the same deadline!
More importantly, I was also dealing with personal attacks, stalking and harassment from several online Tarot talking heads at the time. It was utterly insane. After I wrote Tarot in Reverse, I was so fed up at what they were doing behind the scenes—defamation, insinuation, baiting, stalking—that I wrote a short story to vent my feelings.
Shaheen: With a creative mind like yours you have to surprise yourself sometimes! What were some of your “ah-ha” moments while writing Tarot In Reverse?
Janet: Thank you, you are too kind. :o) Gosh, it was almost a year ago since I finished the manuscript…so I don’t remember! More than anything, I think I was surprised that no one had written a book like this before. But, then again, not much new is being doing with the Tarot in a fresh, innovative, contemporary, bold way, so…
Shaheen: I really loved the long list of affirmations you included in this book. What inspired that? Are affirmations something that you use frequently?
Janet: I feel that if any endeavor or tool doesn’t expand perspectives, foster growth, encourage self-examination or promote personal responsibility—then it’s not worth much at all. It’s just a form of mental masturbation or a way to avoid taking charge of your life. Affirmations were my way of helping the reader integrate the energy of each card or serve as a form of closure for dealing with it.
Shaheen: I’m interested to know, when you personally conduct a reading, how do you piece together information from the cards? I know you do “intuitive” readings, but explain a little bit about how the Tarot factor into the process.
Janet: I feel that if you want a specific answer from the cards, then you need to ask specific questions. I encourage my clients to tell me what is bothering them and ask me direct questions. When they are unable, I create the questions FOR them. I create custom spreads for every client; I don’t rely on any pre-made formats. Why would I ask of a card the silly, vague question “What crowns this client?” when I could ask “What is going on with his mental attitude?” or “How can she attain mental clarity?”.
Shaheen: I know you’re a total badass, but do you ever get stumped? I know there has to be more than a few readers who have had a “WWJBD” moment lol! How do you pull it together in those situations?
Janet: I’m more stumped by the stupidity and groupthink I see among online Tarot groups, to be honest! Seriously, though, sometimes the cards refuse to be specific—and that’s because the situation is in the hands of another, it’s being worked out or the energy hasn’t yet solidified in order to “read” the likely trajectory. You can’t get a fix on something that has yet to be set in motion by actions and decisions, for example.
Shaheen: Janet, Tarot In Reverse is an amazing book and you can see all your hard work shining through. I’m happy to see that you haven’t give up Tarot yet and I hope that people see the treasure that you have created! It is sure to be a classic. Do you have any last words of sage advice?
Janet: Why thank you, Shaheen! I’m thrilled that you appreciate my Tarot work. My advice on the Tarot is that here is no wrong way to read, create, understand or use the cards. For life in general, the most brilliant person I had the pleasure of knowing once told me “Trust Self first, last and only”. Works for me.
Shaheen: Thanks again, Janet. It’s so great to speak with you. I’m anticipating what you’ll do next... Tarot and otherwise!
Janet: My pleasure, Dear One.