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March 2013

February 2013

Tarot Basics eBook Free March 1-3

Tarot_Basics_Cover_250If you're curious about Tarot or want a fresh take on the cards, my Tarot Basics eBook will be free on Amazon.com from March 1-3, 2013 (it should show free a bit after midnight EST). 

This revised edition has an extensive keywords list at the end, too. 

Click here for more information or to download your very own free copy from March 1-3.

By the way, did you know that you don't have to have a Kindle device to read a Kindle eBook? You can download a free Kindle for PC app, as well as Kindle for smartphones, tablets and androids.

Enjoy! (And if you do enjoy it, a review posted on Amazon would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!)

-- Janet


The Tarot Classroom Is Open!

Tarot ClassroomI've gotten several emails over the last few weeks asking me to teach Tarot online once again.

Well, I'm pleased to tell you that my Tarot Classroom opens April 1, 2013 via a special password-protected blog. There will be 11 information-packed lessons posted weekly, but you can learn at your own pace and ask questions any time!

For more information and to pre-register, visit the Tarot Classroom page on my site here.

-- Janet


The Four Healers of Tarot

Technically, any card in a Tarot deck can contribute to healing.

However, I associate the Queens of Tarot with nurturing and supporting, so I view them as forms of Healers.

Each heals differently, and no one is more effective or preferred than the others. Yet, because two of them are feminine Queens (the Cups and Coins), those are often the most recognizable and lauded.

But the two masculine Queens, the Wands and the Swords, are just as powerful and needed.

How are they different?

SmallCropped44
Nurturer - Emoting (Berchta from the Snowland Deck)

The Queen of Cups nurtures emotions. Archetypes like the Caregiver, Mother, Lover, Angel, Samaritan, Servant, Martyr and Rescuer are connected with this queen. Ways of healing include soothing emotions, promoting peace, holding hands, running errands, talking on the phone, revealing past lives, Reiki, crystals, swimming with dolphins, therapeutic touch, channeling spirits and energy healing. These types can cross the line from hand up to hand out. When of the New Age persuasion, they can be Pollyanna space cadets. If Buddhist, cultivators of lovingkindness practice. The Queen of Cups as healer is akin to a Momma kissing boo boos to make the ouchies go away.

Examples: Amma (The Hugging Saint); Mother Theresa; Elizabeth Clare Prophet; Doreen Virtue; Sonia Choquette; Marianne Williamson; Denise Linn; Lucy Cavendish; Dr. Judith Orloff; Sharon Salzberg

Theme: All you need is love.

Love language: Acts of Service.

SmallCropped54
Nurturer - Mental (Hulda from the Snowland Deck)

The Queen of Swords confronts and exposes disempowering thoughts, stuck patterns, poor choices and ignorance. She heals through exposing shadows, piercing illusions, expanding perspectives, deconstructing fabrications, and applying reason. This queen can be impersonal, objective and analytical. Archetypes like Judge, Prophet, Teacher, Sage, Detective, Exorcist, Trickster, Wordsmith and Provocateur are connected with this queen. She is like a laser or scalpel, honing in on disease that needs cut out lest it spread and kill.

Examples: Caroline Myss; Louise Hay; Helena Blavatsky; Pema Chodron; Karen Armstrong; Joyce Meyer; Debbie Ford; Don Miguel Ruiz; Ken Wilber; Bryon Katie

Theme: The truth will set you free.

Love language: Words of Affirmation.

SmallCropped59
Nurturer - Energy (Lucia from the Snowland Deck)

The Queen of Wands heals through passion, advocacy, inspiration, creativity and energy. She cultivates authenticity through shaking up the status quo, defending the underdog, encouraging self-reliance, adding flair, revealing patterns, promoting strength, accessing intuition, going within, understanding myth and coloring with abandon. Warrior, Pioneer, Visionary, Entrepreneur, Creator/Destroyer, Networker, Rebel, Advocate, Liberator, Mystic, Artist, Storyteller and Alchemist are archetypes associated with this queen.

Examples: Annie Besant; SARK; Mary Anne Radmacher; Colette Baron-Reid; Clarissa Pinkola-Estes; Marion Woodman; Angeles Arrien; Karla McLaren; Brene Brown; Cyndi Dale; Anodea Judith; Joseph Campbell

Theme: To thine own Self be true.

Love language: Quality time.

The Queen of Coins heals through attending to the body, protecting the environment, advocating good nutrition, promoting prosperity, encouraging stress relief, sexual expression, ancestral veneration, rootwork, rituals and connecting with animals. Archetypes connected with the Queen of Coins include Coach, Craftsperson, Crone, Witch, Bon Vivant, Environmentalist, Yogini, Animal Whisperer, Gardener, Companion, Medicine Woman. She is like a warm blanket, hot bowl of soup, vigorous work out or helpful prescription.

Theme: The body is the temple of Spirit.

Love language: Physical Touch and Gifts.

Examples: Dr. Christiane Northrup; Crystal Andrus; Dr. Andrew Weil; Peggy McColl; Dr. Ruth; Nicki Scully; Margot Adler; Caitlin Matthews

See how all these queens are powerful healers in their own right?

What are your thoughts on the Queens as Healers? Agree or disagree with my archetypal connections? I’d love to hear your take!

Images from the Snowland Deck by Ron and Janet Boyer.

-- Janet


Using the Snowland Deck with Kids

I just made a video with our son, Noah, about how the Snowland Deck can be used with kids for healing, comfort and insight (see below).

I can't believe I broke down crying...

Want to get your own copy of our lovely Snowland Deck or find out more? Visit SnowlandDeck.com. As soon as you order, I'll email you the secret password to our Snowland Explorers Club...and you'll get to find out what those mysterious "Soul GPS" Signficators are all about.

-- Janet


Live Readings from the Snowland Deck on the Paranormal Podcast

Paranormal podcast thumbI'm thrilled to make a return appearance on Jim Harold's Paranormal Podcast. Jim's wonderfully produced show is so popular, it's been downloaded via iTunes over 6 million times!

On Monday, February 25 at 7 PM EST, I'll perform live intuitive readings for callers using our brand new Snowland Deck. How can you get a reading and be part of the show? Click here to go to Jim's site to sign up.

I look forward to reading for you!

-- Janet


Return of the AstroTarot Forecast!

From 2005-2007, I posted a monthly AstroTarot Forecast to my main site, JanetBoyer.com. Although the Forecasts were a heavily trafficked area of my site, I stopped doing them simply because I didn't have time to do them (I was busy writing books and homeschooling my young son).

Many were disappointed, emailing me to tell me so.

Well, I'm pleased to tell you that after a six year hiatus, my monthly AstroTarot Forecasts are back...with a new spin: The Snowland Prophecies.

Astrotarot snap

For each of the 12 signs of the Zodiac, I draw a card and create a specialized prophecy that factors in both Astrology and Tarot using our Snowland Deck. Are you ready to discover your AstroTarot Forecast for March 2013? Click here to read all about it.

Let me know what you think in the comments section, as well as if you found the prophecy to be accurate for you.

-- Janet


Bad Tarot Cards, Bad Rap - The Tower

Welcome to the first video in the Bad Cards, Bad Rap series where I highlight the gifts and benefits of the so-called "bad" cards in a Tarot deck. 

First up, The Tower card:

What about you, fellow Tarot enthusiasts? What wonderful aspects to The Tower have you seen in a reading or via life?

-- Janet


In Praise of the Rebel

Odd man
Those with Rebel archetypes tend to go against anything "organized", including bureaucracies, religion and groups. We don't "play well with others".

I believe each person is given (or scripts before incarnating) several archetypal patterns to help us fulfill our soul's sacred contract during a particular lifetime.

I know that if I didn't have the Rebel archetype, I wouldn't be where I'm at today, nor would I have accomplished all I have.

Nor would my son.

When our son Noah was diagnosed with Autism at age 3 from an "Autism Center", I went against prevailing "expert" advice to apply ABA "therapy". Instead, I followed intuition with how I interacted with Noah, and continued to homeschool him.

I took a huge risk, with no one in our corner but myself, Ron and Noah...and it paid off. He's now 14 years old, and is funny, kind, compassionate, wise and smart. Last time we went to the psychologist, he said Noah wasn't even on the spectrum anymore. 

I haven't blogged about my son or Autism since April 2011, thanks to being attacked by another Mom who fancies herself as a "Light and Love" Tarot expert. 

But I felt, strongly, that someone out there needs to hear that it's OK to be a Rebel...even if it makes you unpopular at best and hated at worst. Raun Kauffman, the product of the SonRise program (and now, CEO of the Autism Center of America), helped spur this line of thought. Below are some videos about him, ABA, Autism and SonRise.

Just because an individual has a different archetypal array than you do, don't demonize or marginalize them. Your archetypal "skill set" is no better than any other. Just different.

And, those patterns you don't like or find offensive?  They are exactly what a person may need to navigate a difficult life path and accomplish the soul's plan.

-- Janet


Good Tarot Cards Gone Bad - The Star

Have you ever crossed paths with a Tarot enthusiasts that did not like The Star card?

Me either.

After watching this next episode of Good Tarot Cards Gone Bad - The Star, you may begin to feel otherwise.

Fair warning: I bitchslap Age of Aquarius space cadets, so if you're easily offended by dissed crystals (rather than getting "the point"), you may want to pass on this video...

-- Janet


Good Tarot Cards Gone Bad - 10 of Coins

What could possibly go wrong with the 10 of Coins, a Tarot card usually depicting an intergenerational family lounging in a courtyard or a big ol' fancy house on a hill? 

Plenty.

Watch the video below for the next installment of Good Tarot Cards Gone Bad:

What about you, fellow Tarot enthusiasts? What dark side of the 10 of Coins card have you seen in your readings?

-- Janet


Good Tarot Cards Gone Bad - The Sun

Welcome to another edition of Good Tarot Cards Gone Bad, where we examine the dark side of cards that are usually touted as positive, happy or auspicious. Today, we're examing The Sun Tarot card. Watch the video below to find out what happens when The Sun gets turned on its head, is ill-aspected or lands in the "drawbacks"/cons position of a spread.

Other dark side expressions can include obsession with fame or going past (way past) the proverbial "5 minutes of fame".

-- Janet


Good Tarot Cards Gone Bad - 2 of Cups

Welcome to another edition of Good Cards Gone Bad!

What could possibly be wrong with the 2 of Cups card, you may wonder. Isn't that the "soulmate" card? Well, yeah, but...it can also indicate other things, too.

Undesirable things.

Watch below to see what I mean. 

P.S. Sorry that the lighting was so crappy. It didn't look this dark on my laptop when I recorded it in my library. I'll do better nex time in that department. Well, I'll try, anyway...

So what about you, dear readers? What "dark side" keywords or scenarios do you associate with the 2 of Cups? Do share in the comments!

-- Janet


Good Tarot Cards Gone Bad - 3 of Cups

Welcome to the first edition of Good Cards Gone bad, a series of posts highlighting the negative, undesired or unhelpful aspects of Tarot cards usually deemed "happy" or "positive". Sit back, relax and grab a margarita--because we're about to crash the 3 of Cups' party:

So tell me, guys, what is the darkside of the 3 of Cups that you've experienced? What has come up in client readings, especially if this card is ill-aspected or reversed? Weigh in! (And do let me know what you think of the video posts...and which cards you'd like me to tackle next).

-- Janet


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (of Tarot)

There are no bad cards in the Tarot, any more than there are any good ones.

This idea has been simmering in the back of my mind for a few years, and I've contemplated writing a book about it. Instead, I'm going to start two blog series:

Angel devil smallerWhen Good Cards Go Bad - This will be about the unicorn-pooping-rainbows cards that many Tarot enthusiasts assume are all nice and beneficial. I shall shoot these notions full of truth-bearing arrows.

Bad Cards, Bad Rap - Conversely, some think there are "bad" cards in the Tarot. Hell, some Tarot readers even remove them from the deck! ::passes out:: For these often maligned cards, I shall offer redemption. 

Look for the first blog post soon. Might even do a video post, come to think of it.

Any particular cards you want me to tackle first? I'm thinking of crashing the 3 of Cups party, myself...

-- Janet


The Snowland Deck is FINISHED!

Ron just handed me the LAST significator card. Then he said, "Hold your ears"...and let out a war whoop. He's done! And Noah's thrilled! (Lots of Dad and son time sacrificed during the Snowland Deck project, too.) Way to go, honey! Thank you for all your hard work!

Ron just put this on in the stereo. The floors are shaking! Much laughter and congrats all around. Oh, hell, now he and Noah playing the bongos to this song!

As the song says, and Ron and I are singing (loudly):

There's no unachievable goals. 

-- Janet


Your Deck Is Too Expensive

I’ve seen some people complain that our Snowland Deck is “too expensive” at $55. On behalf of Ron and myself, and deck creators everywhere who self-publish, please allow me to share some of what goes into creating, and publishing a Tarot or oracle deck.

As you read the following, remember this: we have not received any monies towards our project from any source at any time, other than orders for our Life Themes Edition (which was but a handful) and pre-orders for our full deck—which we’ve only opened up summer of 2012.

Ron PaintingRon and I have invested over two years into our Snowland Deck project. Ron gave up two entire summers (No swimming! No garden!), which you can hear him speak about here in my video interview. The amount of hours we spent just on research—including reading biographies, myths and fairytales—number in the hundreds.

Then, there was the amount of hours spent scripting each and every card, which included scrapping some ideas and modifying many. Each card, for us, had to serve something greater: the structure and import known as Tarot.

For each card, I created at least six keywords or phrases. I’ve also devised several systems for our deck that have never been done before—a significator “Soul GPS” system, and a Secret Symbol Connection system.

I asked Ron to estimate how many hours he spent painting each card. Around 20, he says. Our Snowland Deck contains not only the standard 78 count of a Tarot deck, but also two different card backings (one for the Life Themes Edition, another for the full deck). It also contains four special significator cards. That’s 84 cards. Total estimated hours just painting: 1,680.

Our son, too, created a special card for our deck: Chillaxin. He drew and colored it by hand, but I told him that it would have to be digitized to fit into the theme. So he got into his MS Picture It! 2006 and digitized his own card.

And then there’s the actual tools of the trade. Ron goes to Home Depot and has them cut down Masonite boards. He then brings them home and cuts them down further in his woodshop. He then sands the wood, and paints three coats of gesso on each board (waiting for the paint to dry between coats). In addition to the cost of the wood, Ron must buy acrylic paints, brushes, gesso and frisket.

Bags with charmsThen there’s the special bags for our deck. I bought over 30 yards of hand-selected fabric at JoAnn’s. I then had to design how the bag would be made, and then gave the pattern to a local seamstress who we pay to make the bags for us. Each bag also includes a sparkly, pewter snowflake charm that I hand-sew on the bag; it retails for over $5 a charm.

Then there’s the image preparation. For each card, I scan Ron’s painting and put on white borders so they look like cards for the internet. I don’t have any fancy programs, just Microsoft Picture It! 2006, so this takes some time. I then resize the images and put them on our website so that individuals know exactly what they’re getting when they order our Snowland Deck.

I then must prep each image according to the printer’s standards which takes a fair amount time. I had to learn how to use the printer’s online interface, and do all the ordering.

And then there’s the packaging. Ron and I wanted to make each package special, so we get sturdy white boxes and prepare them with loving care: tissue paper, hand-written thank-yous, glitter, and special extras “just because”—in addition to our deck and bag. You can read about this in two online reviews at Tarot Notes (Zanna Starr) and 78 Whispers (Amanda Donnelly).

And then there is the countless hours I spend marketing our Snowland Deck—preparing our website pages, making special videos (here and here), writing blog posts, creating spreads, answering emails, Tweeting, maintaining our Facebook page, doing hour-long free drive-by Tarot readings, etc.

And Facebook? We’ve sunk hundreds of dollars into promoting posts and taking out ads to raise awareness of our Snowland Deck, perhaps in the thousands (about ready to do taxes, so I’ll know for sure soon!). We’ve not only had to do this because of Facebook’s bizarre policy of not allowing fans to actually SEE the content of the pages they’ve fanned (in essence, holding posts hostage), but also because Stephanie Arwen Lynch bullied the American Tarot Association Board into NOT allowing any reviews or mentions of my work in the ATA Journal OR Tarot Reflections—including our Snowland Deck—just because she doesn’t like me.

Also, Solandia, for reasons unknown (she will not answer my emails to provide an explanation), banned me from her Forum around 6 years ago and will not allow our Snowland Deck—nor, indeed, ANY of my books or work—to be discussed on ANY thread at the largest Tarot website/Forum on the web that she owns: Aeclectic.net.

Snowland bracelets 300We’ve also commissioned Zanna Starr, aka Jewelry by Scotti, to make gorgeous custom Snowland bracelets--like snowflakes, each are different--to go with our Life Themes Edition deck and the Platinum and Gold packages of our full deck. All out of pocket expenses.

I also design and make special mugs, mousepads, calendars, greeting cards, ornaments, totes, etc. featuring our Snowland images as a part of marketing.

After reading all that, does $55 for a deck and bag sound like a lot to you? The price includes shipping and handling in the U.S., with the price slightly higher for international shipping and customs (which is outrageous). The price also includes an all-access pass to the secret Facebook Snowland Deck Explorers Group (unlike some deck creators, I'm not asking anyone to pay me $12 a month just to interact wth me or get special videos or extra goodies connected with our cards) and a full-length companion eBook which includes 7 intuitive questions, 5 writing prompts, 3 affirmations and a "secret" for each card--plus special Snowland spreads.

Now, consider all the ways our deck can be used. (You can read about it here.) Sure, you can grab about four mass-produced decks to equal the price of our Snowland Deck. But, let’s face it, mass-produced decks aren’t special. They’re tossed about and traded as if they were cheap trading cards.

We consider our deck not only a work of art, but also a profound tool for self-awareness, creativity, storytelling and communication.

While we’re here, consider this:

  • In the United States, a pack of cigarettes cost anywhere from $4.84 to $12.50. 
  • A 12-pack of beer costs around $10. 12-pack of soda, around $8.
  • Cable and satellite TV costs around $50-$80 a month.
  • Netflix costs anywhere from $7.99 a month to $15.98. Trips to the local video store or RedBox will cost you anywhere from $1-$3 per video.
  • Eating out—fast food or at a sit-down restaurant—usually costs between $5-$20 a person

Ron SigningHow much is art worth to you? What about a deck that provides delight, insight, inspiration and intuitive flashes? Individuals pay for what they value, simple as that. If you're not sure what you value, just look at where you spend your money.

Only you can determine that. But, please, before you complain that a deck “costs too much”…consider what it cost the creators. 

To those of you who have supported us on our journey from the very beginning, we thank you from the bottom of hearts for your steadfastness and encouragement. Orders from all over the world are pouring in and we're grateful.

For those of you just discovering us, welcome to our frosty world!

It's been a labor of love, and we wouldn't trade the experience for anything.

-- Janet


I Am Not a Candy Machine (Or, Why I Am Not A Fortuneteller)

Candy machine
Insert coin, get my future told. Sounds good to me!

When you go up to a candy machine, you put in your money, select the type of candy you want and get exactly what you pay for (provided the machine is in good working condition).

Many people think Tarot readers work the same way. Querents order the reading they want, plop down their money and then proceed to tell the reader what they want to know.

Sheila wants to know if Johnny’s cheating on her, Margaret wants to know if she’ll ever find a soulmate and Greg wants to know if his stocks will go up. These types of querents want easy answers that could just as readily be answered by a coin toss…and not cost them a dime.

Some readers have no qualms taking a querent’s money and answering such shallow questions. Their defense is “The querent knows what they want. Who am I to tell them to change their question?”

These are the fortunetellers in the Tarot world. They’re also known as card readers. They don’t have much wisdom beyond what the cards tell them, usually retrieved from a cache of associations they’ve memorized via books, “experts” or their own reading experience.

Interestingly, around five years ago, a presenter at a popular Tarot conference took a poll of all the professional readers assembled. “How many of you consider yourself psychic?” the presenter asked. Surprisingly, only a few hands went up. When prodded, the readers said they simply “read what’s in the cards”.

Shallow answers for shallow questions.

And that’s fine and dandy if you want to be a fortuneteller who’s strictly a “card reader”. You’ll have clients out the whazoo until the next Ice Age, because most people want easy answers—mostly “yes” or “no”—to simplistic questions.

Mowing
Mow, mow, mow the lawn...weeds keep coming back. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily...my Tarot reader don't know jack.

Fortunetellers are the candy machines of readers. To use another metaphor, they’re the ones that mow the weeds over and over and over again, ensuring repeat clients who can never seem to get rid of those dandelions.

Then there are readers like me, who don’t try to predict the future (although that may be a side benefit) and who refuse to read for such near-sighted querents. We’re the ones who have backgrounds in Jungian psychology, theology, pastoral counseling and/or spiritual directorship. Some of us even have Ph.D.s.

We’re trained to address the root of the weed so it never comes back. Since we address the root—and usually equip our clients with some Grade A weed killer to keep the pesky flora from coming back—we may not have the same repeat clientele banging on our doors as do the surface mowers.

Then again, Tarot readers who address the root of issues tend to draw sophisticated clients who want to do the hard work of consciousness, healing and growth. So when they have yet another problematic area that’s preventing their spiritual or emotional advancement, they know exactly who to go to.

The root addressers, diametrically opposed to the surface mowers (aka fortunetellers), do not believe “the client knows best”. Like a doctor, lawyer, accountant or other professional, root addressing Tarot readers are trained to give specific types of knowledge to clients.

Doc
Hey, Doc, prescribe me some Oxy STAT!

Think of it this way: you don’t go to the doctor, tell him what’s wrong with you and then order him to give you five specific drugs to take care of the ailment. Better yet, you sure as hell don’t go to a doctor, look at her and say, “Guess what’s wrong with me?” (which is what some skeptical, “prove it to me” querents attempt with some readers—again, usually fortuneteller types—because that’s the ilk they attract).

If clients truly knew what was best for them, they wouldn’t be going to Tarot readers. Unless, of course, they want simple answers so they can attempt to sway or control the future out of fear.

So that’s why I’m not a candy machine aka a fortuneteller. I couldn’t accept money, in good conscience, from desperate, fearful clients who want answers that could be easily answered by coin toss.

No, what I am is a spiritual coach, soul midwife and psychic root addresser. Of course, it depends on my clients if they want to actually pull up the roots or apply the weed killer—but at least I’ve given them the tools to address the heart of an issue.

So if you want a candy bar machine for a Tarot reader, you’ll just have to look elsewhere.

-- Janet


Using Tarot for Creative Writing and NaNoWriMo

I have found Tarot cards to be a wonderful source for inspiration for creative writing. There are literally thousands of decks on the market! Because of the rich diversity of themes, symbolism, and artistry, Tarot cards are an exciting, easy and portable way to spark the imagination.

Tarot cards can be used to originate themes in your creative writing, as well as generate character personalities, names, plot points or even dialogue.

Let’s say you’re in the beginning stages of creating a short story or novel. Or maybe you're going to dive in to the November madness known as NaNoWriMo. What do your characters look like? What are their names? Their personality? You can receive inspiration to answer these questions using Tarot cards.

Judgement 400Here’s an example: I want to flesh out a female character, including her name, occupation and some personality traits. Using the Universal Waite Tarot, I shuffle and draw Judgement.

For a name, I can riff on the card title: Judith? Judy? Last name of Judge? Judd? Or maybe she likes the music of the Judds? Looks like Ashley Judd?

Personality wise, maybe she’s an actual judge. Or judgemental. What kind of occupations could involve criticism or even judgmentalism? A book critic? Headmistress? Mother superior? Minister?

What about looking closer at the imagery. Could she be a mortician? Coffin maker? Trumpet player? Or maybe an exacting conductor or perfectionistic composer? Maybe she’s a no-nonsense head nurse on the battlefield (notice the red cross on the flag)?

Maybe your character is a Joan of Arc type personality, who is “sent” to be a group’s “salvation”. Or perhaps she’s an actual angel…or a woman with a messiah complex.

Trumpets usually announce important people or messages. In fact, in the Greek, angel comes from the word angelos which means “messenger”. Maybe your character is a town crier. Or the town gossip. Or she really does bear an important message that must get delivered…or else.

See how much I was able to glean from must one Tarot card within a few minutes?

Tarot cards can also be used to determine conflict–man versus man, man versus nature or man versus himself. Conflict is important in a story because it carries the plot forward, provides tension that begs for resolution and hooks a reader’s interest. You may choose the cards at random, or consciously select them based on what appeals to you.

Either way, the Tarot cards you draw can provide a wealth of ideas for characters, conflict, setting, dialogue and plot.

For example, draw a Tarot card to represent the nature of the conflict. Then,  draw a card for each of your characters, showing how they are involved with, or react to, the conflict at hand.

Whether you choose to interpret the cards according to the deck creator’s suggestion, tradition, keywords, a book, a blog or according to inspiration received from the image itself is entirely up to you!

You can even perform Tarot readings as your character/s to get insights on what they are thinking, feeling, wishing or will be getting. Below are a few I've made that are posted here on my blog:

Halloween Tarot Spread

Whatsa Matta? Spread

Diamond Clarity Spread

Snowland Hermit Spread

The Loop Spread (by Craig Conley)

Horns and Hooves Spread

Empress and Emperor in the Garden Spread

Occupations 200You may also want to check out my eBook Occupations in the Tarot: A Guide for Readers and Fiction Writers

So, tell me, what are your biggest challenges with creative writing? Have you ever used Tarot to write a story, poem or book? Do you have any questions for me about the cards and how to use them--for writing, personal growth or divination? Feel free to comment!

By the way, are you new to Tarot? Here are 20 things you should know.

-- Janet


Commonly Confused Words Part 2

Hello fearless writers! It’s time for another episode of Commonly Confused Words. Believe it or not, I come up with each episode’s words based on reading incorrect usage on the web or in print. Especially egregious when the fallacious swap out occurs in print, in my opinion, but it happens.

Without further ado, let’s dive into nine sets of words that are commonly confused:

Chord vs. Cord

The most common misuse of this set occurs with the phrase “struck a chord”, when the correct “chord” is swapped out for the incorrect “cord”.

Chord: Two or more musical notes struck or sung together producing a pleasing harmony. Thus, when something “strikes a chord”, it resonates.

Since my kitty just died, the author’s memoir on pet loss struck a deep chord.

Cord: A thick string, thin rope or cable.

If I set the lamp on this table, the electrical cord won’t reach the outlet.

College blocksCollege vs. Collage

Unless you’re pursuing higher education in scrapbooking or found art, you’re not going to collage (pronounced cole-LAHJ)…you’re going to college (COL-lehj).

College: Institute for higher learning.

After High School, Jen is going to college.

Collage: Sticking a hodgepodge of photos, paper, found art and other items together to form a picture.

I’m collecting old newspapers and vintage photos to make a collage piece.

Moot vs. Mute

Unless your plea is falling upon deaf ears, your point is moot—not mute.

Moot: Doubtful, debatable, unresolved or unlikely.

Arguing whether reptilian creatures are guised as political leaders seems a moot point in reasonable debate.

Mute: Unwilling or unable to make a sound or speak.

Helen Keller was born both blind and mute.

Roll vs. Role

If you’re listing your favorite sites on your blog, it’s a Blog Roll—not a Blog Role. Unless, of course, your favorite sites are vying for some kind of acting award…

Roll: An official list (in this case)

Excellent grades secured her place on the Honor Roll.

Role: A specific function or acting part.

It’s probably easy for Meryl Streep to get choice movie roles.

Alley vs. Ally

If you’re walking down a dark alley (owl-LEE), you had better hope you run into an ally (owl-LYE). But don’t walk through an ally, lest you lose the friendship.

Alley: A narrow passageway.

Don took a shortcut down the alley on his way home.

Ally: A mutually supportive person or group.

In WWII, England, France and America were allies against Germany.

Perk vs. Perq

I’ve seen this confusion a lot. In fact, I’ve seen it in a both book about writing and a novel! In short, I’ve seen this confusion from writers who should know better. Writers don’t get “perks” unless they’re females walking out into frigid temperatures or males running into bodacious babes.

Perk: To stick up or become lively. Or, short for percolate (to drip or filter).

When she heard the name of her favorite band mentioned, her ears perked up.

Perq: Short for perquisite. A bonus, extra, freebie or advantage.

One of the perqs of being a baker is sampling raw cookie dough.

Two vs. To vs. Too

Most people use “two” correctly. It’s to vs. too that gets confused the most. To remember which is which, consider the extra “o” in too as a hint to the word’s meaning: “in addition to”.

Two: The number 2

Joe thought he danced as if he had two left feet.

To: A preposition indicating direction, destination or position.

Mary needed to walk to the market to get some milk.

Too: As well. Extremely.

Tina, if you’d like, Katy can come, too.

You’re vs. Your

This is a sneaky pair. More than once, I’ve caught myself typing the wrong word, especially posting on Facebook when I’m in a hurry—even though I know better. So keep an eye out for this easy-to-do switcheroo! If you’re not sure which is correct, see if you can substitute “you are” for the word. If you can, and it still makes sense, you’re is the correct word. If not, use your. NB: Do not trust MS Word grammar check to catch mistakes when it comes to “you’re” vs. “your”! There have been times when Word suggested the wrong word for this pair.

You’re: Contraction of “you” and “are”.

You’re such a kidder, Jack!

Your: Belonging or relating to someone.

Don’t forget your coat, Linda!

Pseudo Name vs. Pseudonym

OK, this is a crazy one…but I saw it on a blog recently and thought I’d set the record straight. Since “pseudo” means false or fake, calling a pseudonym and Pseudo Name is, I guess, technically correct (even if it’s not really a word). But if the blogger meant to use the word pseudonym, another word for nom de plume or penname, then it’s a faux pas.

Pseudonym comes from the Greek pseudōnumon ("false name") and the French pseudonyme.

Alrighty, kiddos, I hope you enjoyed Commonly Confused Words Part 2. If you have any questions about proper usage or notice some confused words in the wild, by all means take a moment to comment here or email me at synerjay (at) atlanticcbb (dot) net.

-- Janet

Writer Quirks (and Advice!) from Rachel Thompson

It's always lovely to run into a fellow smart-mouthed red head (yeah, yeah...I know I'm a blonde underneath!), especially one so big hearted and supportive of fellow writers (especially indies). 

RachelYou know who I'm talkin' about, right? None other than Rachel in the OC herself, Rachel Thompson! ::throws confetti, opens a bottle of vodka and passes the Nutella::

Rachel kindly answered my nosy questions about her writer quirks, and tossed in some great writing advice, to boot. Take it away, Rachel!

Thanks for asking me, sweet Janet!

 Okay, writing quirks:

1) I cannot write a thing without drinking coffee first thing in the morning.

2) I listen to moody music for inspiration when I write, primarily women. My favorites are Poe's HAUNTED, Fisher's WATER (stunning album BTW), Jonatha Brooke, Imogen Heap, Heart, Grace Potter, Tori Amos (Little Earthquakes), and the quieter songs by Sheryl Crow and Madonna. That's good for now. :)

3) I'm always in black. What. I lived in NYC. It's how I roll. Bright colors distract me.

4) I like all the blinds closed when I write. If it's rainy outside, I'm happy. Gloomy is good for my writing soul.

As for writing advice: trust your vision. lots of people will have lots to say about your writing, and I encourage you to be brave and show it (via guest posts, your own blog, sharing in critique groups, whatever). But ultimately your name goes on it. It's YOUR book. Be true to your vision.

Also, give yourself permission to write the hard stuff. Don't self-edit. Get in that headspace and just go. You're a grown up. Write like it.

Ohhh, another writer that likes gloom and rain! ^5

Gah, I need to work on that self-editing thing. Comes in handy for non-fiction writing but, geez, it sure is a pain in the ass when it comes to fiction writing. Le sigh. I'm working on it!

Thanks heaps, Rachel, for sharing your writing quirks and advice with us!

BrokenPieces 400Readers, Rachel is out with a brand new book called Broken Pieces. It's a raw, unflinching look into Rachel's soul and the effects of abuse. I'm about twenty pages into these essays and, admittedly, I had to put it down...only because I was feeling a bit raw, myself. When I'm stronger, I will pick it back up to read. The prose and authentic emotion is exquisite.

If you're more in the mood for snarktastic humor, check out Rachel's other bestselling books A Walk in the Snark and The Mancode: Exposed.

You can find Rachel on the web at rachelintheoc.com and 
BadRedheadMedia.com, as well as on Twitter (@RachelintheOC and @BadRedheadMedia).

-- Janet


Kuan Yin Oracle

Kuan Yin Cover Smaller“Kuan Yin is the Mother of Compassion. She guides us into our enlightenment, which is being able to live in harmony and unity with the Love that is, and surrendering into that Love. Enlightenment is not meant to be a distant spiritual goal, but something that we can choose to live at any time, by choosing love, kindness, compassion and wisdom over fear, judgement, anger or separation from the Source, the Divine Feminine, that seeks to nourish us so that we blossom into the fullness of our being.” – Alana Fairchild

For those weary of the fear-based zeitgeist, the Asian goddess Kuan Yin serves as a balm to deflated souls. This Mother of Compassion finds expression via delicate, ethereal images painted by Chinese artist Zeng Hao in the 44-card Kuan Yin Oracle, published by Blue Angel Gallery (Australia). With profound, heart-based insights by Alan Fairchild, this deck offers wisdom, healing advice and prayers to help seekers operate from their Higher Self.

The 143-page companion booklet provides two excellent spreads (the 3-card Kuan Yin’s Mirror and the 4-card Lotus Blossom), as well as 2-3 pages dedicated to each card, explaining the energy of the card, the issues or circumstances likely at play when the card comes up, a healing meditation and a prayer.


As with most of the Blue Angel Gallery decks, the cards are quite large and glossy, measuring approximately 5 ½ x 3 ¾ inches. Each card is titled and numbered, making it easy to find the corresponding entry in the companion booklet. 

Kuan Yin 4In the companion book, Alana Fairchild points out that “You might have a specific question but know that the Divine Mother brings to you what you need…” When using the Kuan Yin Oracle, I’ve found this to be very true.

For example, the other night, I was troubled by the behavior of a Tarot blogger who writes for the same group blog that I do. I’ve never had any interaction with this person before, and she’s new to the blog, but when I came across a post of hers, I took the time to comment—complimenting the post and sharing my own insights on the topic.

To my surprise, she deleted my comment and blocked me from further posting.

I can only assume she’s a part of the petty Tarot clique that’s made it their mission to blackball and ignore me no matter where I am.

In the back of my mind, though, I was also discouraged about the direction of my writing—not sure if I was on the best path for my highest good.

I decided to test out the Kuan Yin Oracle, asking about the snub by the Tarot blogger. Interestingly, I drew Card 24, Reveal the Peacock Beauty. Some of the wisdom of this card includes:

“As the power of the throat chakra grows, our urge to express ourselves in an uniquely creative way becomes strong…This oracle is also an indicator that whatever project, plan or purpose you have been contemplating is in alignment with the higher creativity of your Soul. Don’t worry if the details aren’t unfolding as you thought they would. It is always wise to be clear with your intention and surrender the details to the Universe so that they can unfold according to a vision greater than our own…Don’t give up, but do let go. Allow the beauty within to find its expression now, beloved. It is time for your inner beauty to shine.”

Kuan Yin 10I was blown away at how the advice seemed to address both issues that were on my mind (one in the forefront, the other in the back). The purpose of any kind of shunning (or shaming) is to shut down the Throat Chakra of the target—to crush the will to the point of “shutting her up”. It’s an insidious, passive-aggressive, fear-based approach to dealing with a disliked person, to be sure.

Bolstered and encouraged by the additional advice of the Peacock Beauty card, I sat in awe at how its message resonated on multiple levels. It reminded me to keep on shining, to pursue beauty, to allow the powerful creative energy generated in the Sacral Chakra to rise up and manifest in the Throat Chakra via written communication (in my case, blogging and writing a novel)—free from the bad (or good) opinions of others. I am in Higher Service to something Greater, and it’s my sacred duty to allow the beauty within to find expression.

So, just in case you wonder if the Kuan Yin Oracle may be too “gentle” or “feminine” for you, allow me to point out that other expressions in this deck include Mother Fierce, Orchid Priestess of Destiny, Daughter of the Phoenix, Sound of the Fierce Flute, The Book of Changes and Weave the Future Golden. In other words, some heavy-hitting spiritual energy to help you bust through blockages, stay resolute, honor your own authority, act courageously and choose compassion—not exactly pursuits for the faint of heart!

Even if you’re not a fan of Asian art or familiar with Eastern spirituality, don’t let that keep you from acquiring the Kuan Yin Oracle…especially if you feel inexplicably drawn to it. I didn’t expect much when using it, only because I’ve associated Kuan Yin with “just” compassion and nurturing energy. By the skillful words of shaman priestess and spiritual alchemist Alana Fairchild, however, I’ve come to realize that the Mother Goddess is so much more than I assumed—and powerful beyond imagination. Om Shanti.

To see 13 more images from the Kuan Yin Oracle, click here.

-- Janet