My latest publishing project – Tarotmoon Press

You’ve probably all seen it by now, but just in case… :) this is what has been keeping me too busy to blog lately: Tarotmoon Press. Tarotmoon Press is an experiment in self-publishing, like freeware for tarot and astrology books, course materials, and other writings. I’ve enjoyed working with Llewellyn in publishing past books, but I got interested in having a creative-commons type website for all kinds of writings astrology and tarot-related, including articles and resources for tarot readers, original spreads, course materials, and books in progress. Many of these have never been published on my website and I will be uploading them over the next couple of months. I’ll be sending updates through an RSS feed if you feel like subscribing, along with blogging more about tarot. This is part of a transition in progress away from doing online readings and toward doing more teaching, writing, and other online activities. Hopefully it will encourage me to finish that book that’s almost done, and keep making more steady writing progress. I just added a really fun 10-week online set of course materials we used one year to study the four elements in life and tarot – one of the most rewarding classes I ever taught.

The Power of Silence

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I’m packing to head off the Reader’s Studio – an annual get-together of tarot professionals, readers, authors, deck creators, artists, and more. I can’t wait to get there. It’s going to be such a fun break from work as it’s been lately – an endless string of controversies, conference calls, angry public comments, conflicts, spreadsheets ad infinitum, document reviews, and, well, yuck. I can’t wait to get on that plane and just curl up with my Kindle and puzzle book :D I really thought about completely leaving my laptop behind this time, but since I’m taking most of next week off too, that just isn’t… in the cards.

One of the neat things about this conference is a pre-conference workshop Thursday evening called The Power of Silence. We have no idea what it’s going to be about, but the title was intriguing enough that I had to sign up for it. I’ve been thinking about what it might mean…

Could be, given the nature of the conference, that it’s all about silencing the noise of everyday life (see above) to be more in touch with your own intuition, the greater Universe, and the people you’re working with.

Could be that it’s about going within oneself with no particular purpose, simply to explore and see what there is to find, to better know oneself and take the time for inner personal reflection and growth. I don’t know how many of us consciously take time out for this in life.

Could be that it’s about observation, being in the now, and being silent so as to better see and experience what is going on around you, and what life has to offer.

Could be that it’s a tool, such as is often used in mediation, to allow one’s client the time to reflect and speak for herself, and for you, as the reader, to not impose your own views. This will be a useful reminder for me in many ways.

Could be that it’s more esoteric than all of these, that it links to the four principles of Western Mysticism – To Know, To Dare, To Will, To Keep Silent. Keeping silent being often associated with the High Priestess and the knowledge behind the veil, the collective unconscious.

Now it’s time for me to Keep Silent and make my way to New York :) See you, my friends, soon!

Tarot south of the border

On my trips to Puerto Vallarta, I had noticed a tarot reader across the street from the condos, and had figured that someday, when my Spanish is better, I will have to go in for a reading. I am very curious about how different it may be in Mexico from the kind of reading I am used to giving and receiving. I have heard from some folks in the South that clients, at least, often request prayers, spells, blessings, and other rituals that they are not used to from their other clients.

On this visit, we happened to notice a shop selling tarot cards, incense, books, and other ritual items, so we decided to stop in. At first, it was hard to find the tarot cards. One thing that was prominently displayed were these:

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We wracked our brains for a while to remember what “Jabon” is – soap! In a way, these are like the candles that you burn to attract various things, but instead it is soap that you use to attract what you want. I could probably use the one second from left – to bring you clients. We couldn’t help giggling over the one on the right – Macho Garlic Soap.

Here’s a deck that I probably should have bought for the novelty value:

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“The Tarot of Death” (not to be confused with Tarot of the Dead). I probably would have, except that there were only the 22 major arcana, and each had an identical figure of Death, colored differently and with a different background. I couldn’t quite see how this focus on Death would help you learn about Health, Money, and Love, as the cover promises. This seemed to be a general theme, in keeping with the more light-hearted attitude toward death in Mexico:

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There were also many ingredients for making infusions and using in rituals in jars around the room, as well as stones and other ritual items. The woman sitting behind a desk looked like she might be a tarot reader, so at least we asked her where the tarot decks were. She pointed out a few on a shelf. It was not the most interesting assortment ever, though I did pick up a recolored version of the Marseilles that I liked, and to support the shop and to practice my Spanish on a fun, familiar topic! We got into quite an extensive discussion with her about her own practice, and it turned she had a much more intriguing assortment of decks:

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Those above are her personal collection, used with more private clients (not in the shop). She had set of well-worn decks that she used for the public, including a Gypsy deck with 48 cards. She says these are used by the Gypsies in Mexico – I found myself wondering about the origin of the deck, as well as the origins of these Gypsies that apparently travel from place to place. I had thought that most European Gypsies read with regular playing cards. In spite of having 48 cards (closer to 52, at least) these were not a regular playing deck. They had some attributes like a tarocchi deck in the illustrations, almost – except for the lack of a trump suit. I’ll have to get ahold of one of these on one of my next trips and look at it more carefully.

Motivation vs. Exhaustion

I had a funny experience the other day; I was doing a tarot reading for someone else, when two cards came up that just made me laugh because they are so indicative of my life right now. I have long suspected the tarot does this – you often get requests for readings that give you messages you yourself need.

The cards in question are from Mark McElroy’s Bright Ideas deck, which doesn’t look exactly like a tarot deck. He developed it in part for corporate brainstorming, and so the images are quite a bit more modern than a traditional deck. In any case, here are the two cards I drew:

Situation:
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Ace of Cups equivalent – the seed of your heart’s desire

Crossing Card (Obstacles or Challenges):
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Ten of Wands equivalent – duties and responsibilities weighing heavily; time to let go of burdens and move on

Get the drift? :D

Here I am all fired up about a new project – an online mediation business that I hope to start within the next month (more on that later as the website gets developed) and the feeling that the mediation/facilitation career I’ve been working toward for so long is finally coming through. I’m very, very motivated to start something new.

On the other hand, I am literally chained to my desk with work related to the end of the fiscal biennium for the state – everyone wants their projects done before the end of the month, and it’s almost more work than I can physically do. That’s normal for the end of the biennium, but it’s rough, all the same. Especially when I am trying to sneak in work on my website at the same time!

Well, one more week of this and I hope to be done with the State projects. Then I have federal projects that will keep me working at almost the same pace through the end of the year – a little more free time, but not much.

This is not the first time I’ve been trying to start one career while still working at another. It is exhausting. But I hope to be diminishing those piles of paper and finishing up some things I’ve been working on almost 10 years. It will feel good to have left something productive behind for others to use, and to move onto something new – hopefully next year.

Spring Tarot Classes

cups-seer.jpgJust wanted to mention the two tarot classes I will be teaching this spring – for more information and sign-ups, see the course description page on TarotMoon. I’m particularly looking forward to the Ethics class, as that is a new one that I haven’t seen anywhere. Hoping for lots of lively debate!

* Court CardsBeginning/Intermediate – 8 weeks (Mar 16 – May 11, 2007). Get to know the court cards like never before – this course is designed to introduce the reader to this difficult group of cards from a wide variety of unique and in-depth perspectives. We will explore their personalities (good, bad, and …), elemental, psychological, and astrological qualities, address gender issues, experiment with significators, play with body language, and learn how to tell if a given court card represents the querant, someone else, or not a person at all. Meet the court cards disguised as approaches, professions, occupations, institutions, activities, animals, and more.

* Ethical Issues in Tarot ReadingAll levels – 4 weeks (April 2007). This is a short course focusing on ethical issues in tarot reading that may arise when reading for the public. The course does not teach or promote a particular approach to ethics, but rather provides a forum for exploring the issues and assisting each reader to discover his or her boundaries and develop a personal code of ethics.

Check out the Tarot Channel

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I just started writing for a new group tarot blog (featuring Mark McElroy and Janet Boyer as editors) over at The Tarot Channel. Pop over and check it out, and let us know what you think. It’s a neat idea, I think, to have a bunch of us writing in the same place about a topic we all like, but approach in very different ways. Plus Mark has a unique talent for finding odd and interesting tidbits on the web to keep us all entertained :)

As you know, this blog is kinda my own personal space, and you may find anything at all here on any given day. This way, if I feel like really writing about tarot in ways that are more in-depth and less personal, I’ve got another place to do it. Both of these forms of blogging are new to me in the last year, and it’s all very interesting – so many ways to communicate and participate in a community, and hard to know which ones will take the world by storm and which ones will slowly fall away. Fun to watch it happen though!

Let tarot remind you of the good things in life…

I just had a client ask me for a very refreshing reading – she wanted to know what blessings might be coming her way early in 2007, and also what changes she could make to improve her life. All positive thoughts – a good way to start out a New Year. As I thought about it, I realized that none of my clients had ever asked me for a reading in just that way. I’ve done a lot of thinking over the last few years on how to stay positive and see the best in life no matter what is happening in your life, and this seems to me like a very good way.

Being me and reading with reversals, I had to decide what uprights and reversals would mean for this reading. I decided that uprights would be good things that might just flow to her from the Universe without a lot of action on her part, and reversed cards would indicate areas where she could make active improvements in her life with some effort.

Just thought I might share this idea in case anyone needs a dose of optimism for the coming year.