My Tarot Philosophy

I’ve been practicing tarot for ten years. How I’ve used the tarot has shifted and changed a lot in that time, as I’ve grown in my study as a witch. This blog is still fairly new, so I just wanted to tell you all a little bit about how I come to the practice.

There are a lot of ways to do tarot. I want to talk about how I use the cards, and the ethics involved in reading for others.

You can use tarot to learn about yourself, to prioritize your goals, as a creative tool, as an artistic prompt, to create spells and rituals for your spiritual practice, to learn about others, to set intentions, to write stories, any myriad of things!

I use the tarot in a lot of different ways. I have used it for spellwork, I have used it to learn about myself. I haven’t used it as a creative-writing tool, but I’m interested in trying that out.

I don’t see or use the tarot as a way to predict the future. It’s more about exploring the different options available to you. It’s more about learning and understanding yourself, less about predicting the future. It’s all about how you react to the energy of the cards, and to the energy of others. And that holds through whether I’m reading for myself or for others.

I do not see tarot as a way for myself or my querents to get in the heads of others. I find that unethical and at its core messes with an energy I’m not willing to mess with. So I read for myself, and for others present for the reading. Consent is important. I will not read for someone else without their consent.

When reading for myself, I use tarot to learn.

I see tarot as a beautiful way to get to know yourself. The art can speak to something deep inside of you that your consciousness may not be able to reach. I have also used tarot in my magical practice as well – trying to take tarot out into the world with me, to see it as a way to help my dreams manifest. The energy is powerful. I sometimes use tarot to explore my dream world, my shadow self. It helps to connect me to the deep corners of myself.

Tarot also brings art to my life in a gorgeous way. Learning about new decks, exploring deep into my own decks, connects me with many artistic traditions and brings its own richness to my life.

For the first 8 or so years that I practiced tarot, this was largely a solitary pursuit. I was afraid to read for others, unsure how to ground the energy I was receiving and unable to take up the cards publicly. I was afraid.

But this year, I’ve found community. I’ve connected with other tarot readers around the world, and have learned new ways of using the cards from them.

When reading for others, I use the tarot as a conduit to help them learn and heal. 

Usually, when someone comes to me for a reading, there’s a reason. There’s something large shifting in their lives, or they’re at a crossroads, or the way forward appears murky, or their energy feels seriously depleted. I am so grateful for the trust they place in me, and I am grateful to be on this path.

I think that connecting over the cards is a beautiful thing. It is an act of self-care, an act of trust, an engagement with the mysteries of life. When I read for others, I want the process to be give and take. I want it to be about the journey of life, and a way to get real with each other and with the world around us.

Anything that comes up in a reading, any decisions the querent might make after leaving the reading, are entirely up to them. I merely aim to be a mirror of sorts, reflecting aspects of their journey or their inner self that they may have overlooked.

This is a beautiful, old practice. It can mean what you want it to mean. It can take many forms, and I’m still experimenting and finding new ways to use the cards.

How do you use the tarot? What resonates with you?

This Week’s Energy

All right, friends, it’s Monday, and my Monday has started off with a bang! Lots of projects going on, lots of things happening, and Mercury goes direct today. With all of this energy swirling around, it felt like a good time to pull some cards and do some reflecting and looking forward.

I used my Legend: Arthurian Tarot deck, because it has become like an old friend and I needed that comfort. You can check out my deck interview here.

I intended to pull an energy/action spread, and the Seven of Shields leapt from my hands, so we will need to incorporate that energy into the reading as well.

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Energy: The Universe. This card has been coming up for me a lot as I’m pulling from this deck. It can be an overwhelming energy to manage. This card is about celebrating the triumphs of your hard work, about bringing change to your life. It is also about maintaining stability in that change – which can be a challenge. I look at this card, and I see the great cosmic dance.

Action: The Magician Reversed. These two cards together, the first upright and the second reversed, seem to be opposites. The magician reversed warns against self-deception, against losing sight and focus. I know that I’m feeling this sort of tension between wanting to celebrate, but also feeling that I’m unsure what I’m celebrating or what to do with all that energy now that I’ve accomplished something.

Confused? Enter … the jumper.

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Jumper Card: The Seven of Shields. How to continue moving forward with competing impulses? There are things unseen, mysteries you don’t understand. You are on a journey, it’s ok to take your time and be methodical. You will celebrate small victories along the way, but don’t allow them to remove you from your main goal. Ingenuity and perseverance bring great gains. It’s ok to focus on one task at a time, do it really well, and proceed to the next. You may need to be patient, but it will ultimately pay off in the end.

This reading is a comfort to me – I’m definitely feeling the pull of these different forces. I don’t know if this also makes sense for you, dear reader. Rather than try to pull for anyone, I decided to focus on myself today. Nevertheless, I hope this is helpful beyond myself! Finding balance and focusing on one thing at a time should be helpful for you, no matter if you’re feeling this now or later.

State of the Moon: Full Moon in Aquarius

State of the Moon is a semi-regular, bimonthly check in with the universe. 

This is my first post that focuses on the moon, on astrology, on how what’s happening in the heavens impacts us on earth. I am still learning about astrology, but I process information through writing. I will also include links to blog posts by other people studying astrology, because this place isn’t a vacuum and I want to be very much in conversation with others.

It’s taken me a while to learn about astrology. In fact, as someone who believes in and is fascinated by science, it took me a long time to show interest in this area of pagan spirituality. Over the last several years some very intense stuff has been going on with the moon. There was a blood moon tetrad, and a complete eclipse, and a whole lot of super moons. Things seemed to come in cycles. My interest was piqued.

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(c) Fred Espenak of NASA
And then, the more I delved into astrology the more it seemed to fit with what I know of myself. I felt the tug, the pull of the moon and the heavens, and I wanted to learn more.

But more on that in a different post.

What does this Leo full moon in Aquarius bring us?

This week we move from sturdy, practical Capricorn into the inventive sign of Aquarius. Perhaps you, like me, live in a colder climate and your imagination is starting to run wild from being cooped up. Or perhaps you don’t, and you’re just tapping in to that creative Aquarius energy.

Aquarius is all about the greater good, finding what is right and just in the external world. It’s about finding creative solutions to your problems. The moon itself will be in the position of Leo, which highlights confidence. This moon should be self-assured and confident that your inner fire is lit and ready to take your projects into a more public sphere – that you are ready to enter the interchange of ideas. But there are some other aspects interfering with this energy: Mercury Retrograde and Mars in Scorpio.

This full moon is occurring under the direct influence of Leo, which means things could get … dramatic. Leo is best known for inspiring confidence, performance, art, and direct action. You may feel compelled to step out and get something done. But because there are other things going on in the skies, you may also find that there is a dark side to this flair. It’s possible some things may manifest that you’re not ready to manifest. The impact of Mars in Scorpio is to bring some intense, tense energy. There are some manifestations of the shadow world present here.

There’s usually a period leading up to and coming down from the full moon where the energies are still in the air. Mercury goes direct two days after the Full Moon, which means it is still somewhat influenced by the full moon’s energy. For those of you that don’t know about Mercury Retrograde, it’s a phenomenon when the planet Mercury, ruler of communication and travel, appears to be moving backward in the sky. When Mercury is in retrograde, things get weird. Communication gets harder. Technology backfires. Travel plans get complicated. But as Mercury goes direct again under the (waning) influence of the Full Moon in Aquarius, I think we’ll breathe in some fresh air and find creative ways to cut through the murk of the retrograde.

These influences on the moon suggest to me that we are entering a period of less reflection, less careful planning, and more “getting out there and doing it.” We may stumble, the energy may feel powerful and tense, but this is ok. We will all be ok.

Because I’m no expert, I thought it would be best to point you toward some folks who know more about astrology than I do. I drew on the interpretations of others to create this post, because I am still learning and this is a journey. Also because, you know, I’m an academic and we are always out there seeking information from others and citing our sources.

For your moon reading:

Chani Nicholas’ horoscopes for this week – she’s one of my favorites! She brings a deep sense of justice to her magic.

AEternalight Astrology

Wings Wide Open from Starcana

Do you study astrology? Does this make sense to you? Let’s talk moon-magic in the comments!

Deck Spotlight on Legend: The Arthurian Tarot

Legend: the Arthurian Tarot is the oldest deck that I have. My first ever deck was a fairy deck that I quickly moved away from. I’ve been carrying Legend with me for the last 6 years at least, perhaps longer. Therefore, we have a lot of history. However, it seems lately that my energy around tarot has shifted, and it makes sense that this deck’s energy would have shifted toward me as well.

Enter: The deck interview!

This is very useful for me as a reader, but it’s also useful for those who might seek a reading from me in the future. You will get to know my decks, see a glimpse of how I work with the tarot, and get a feeling for the sorts of things you can learn and explore through a tarot reading.

Let’s dive in!

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All illustration (c) Anna-Marie Ferguson

Continue reading “Deck Spotlight on Legend: The Arthurian Tarot”

New Year Intentions

This is my first post! Wowee!

I’ve been thinking and dreaming of this moment over the last year, and it finally felt 100% right to start this project. It’s time to be more public about my journey. It’s time to dust off those old writing and blogging skills and put them toward something.

2016 feels amazing.

I’ve been wanting to do more reading for others, and so I put it out there on social media. 13 tarot appointments booked, and I’m feeling like there’s something here I can’t ignore anymore.

Now, I want to talk a little bit about my intentions for 2016. I love the beginnings and endings of phases – I love the transitions, as messy as they can be. But I also know that New Year’s “Resolutions” can be pretty toxic for people. This year, I’m focusing on intentions. Knowing that they are intentions, and that they are fluid, and can respond to things that come up in my life, I think is very helpful for keeping the anxiety down.

So, here are my intentions for 2016:

Continue to take care of myself. Get outside. Eat veggies. No dairy.
Focus on my career. Find a paid internship, a fellowship for the summer.
Continue doing well in graduate school.
Do more tarot, do more readings for others.
Develop this blog.

And finally, just a little somethin-somethin for your tarot interests.

My tarot card of the year is: Judgement. 

Judgement Legend Japaridze Cosmos

Hmm … Certainly some big things happening! Each deck that I drew from has a slightly different take on judgement, so I’ll spend some time exploring them here.

The Legend: Arthurian Tarot shows Arthur’s arrival on Avalon. It’s both the end and the beginning of his journey. It appears a very positive card, a card of taking care of the details, of celebrating natural endings and beginnings.

Judgement Legend

Judgement in the Cosmos deck is also linked to Capricorn. This is fitting, because it’s currently Capricorn season. Capricorn is all about setting priorities, efficiency, and practicality. This is about prioritizing your projects, methodically pursuing one’s goals, analyzing the appropriate means to an end.

Judgement Cosmos

The Japaridze deck shows an apocalyptic landscape, birds swarming toward the light in the sky. It highlights the journey toward the light. It speaks to me of rising above the confusion, finding a new understanding, and beginning new projects. This is a card to mourn the endings, but also a card to celebrate the beginnings.

Judgement Japaridze

You can find your own card for the year! I grabbed these directions from Story By Tarot, who originally got them from Eternal Athena Tarot.

To find out your Year Card for 2016, add the month and day of your birthday to “2016”. Then add together the individual digits of that number one more time. Whatever card that number corresponds to in the Major Arcana is your personal Year Card.

If you get a number over 22, reduce that number again by summing the individual digits one more time. Year Cards hail from the Major Arcana. And because there are only 22 cards in the Major Arcana, any number that exceeds 22 needs to be reduced again.

What’s your card for the year? What are your intentions for 2016? Let me know in the comments!