So I turned 45 this year, and I was more than a little excited about it. I don't recall being that excited about a birthday since I turned 21! My intuition has been hinting at the great changes that will happen this year, and I'm feeling ready for all of it. Not that it won't be like any other year of my life, in the sense that I'm sure there will be some major challenges to overcome and lessons to learn. But I'm full of gratitude for the privilege of growing older and the life that I'm living. I'll continue to learn and grow and love, no matter what! The sad reality is that a lot of friends my age have already passed, and as a result I don't take a moment of this life for granted.
A few days before my birthday, I felt a strong urge to plan out the whole day (and a bit of the day before as well) with some of the rituals I did last year, plus a few more that I felt guided to do. Here's what it looked like:
Day before my birthday:
Day of my birthday:
This was all in addition to my daily rituals of meditation, yoga, Reiki, Tarot, and giving thanks to my guides. It helped that it snowed beautifully on my birthday, and my husband and daughter stayed home to celebrate with me. We ordered in sushi for lunch and pizza for dinner from my favorite restaurants. And that bath smelled AMAZING! Best bath ever, hands down.
But the most important ingredient in all of these rituals was intention. All day I prayed and gave thanks for my many blessings, past and future, and envisioned my year ahead.
Please share your thoughts, questions, and some of your own rituals with me in the comments section below!
Reversals refer to cards that are upside-down in a reading; depending on how we shuffle our cards, there’s the potential for reversals in every reading. I simply turn any upside-down cards right side up, because I don’t read reversals. Here’s why:
Most people who do use reversals see the traditional energy of the card as blocked or stagnant in some way, and I can understand why. However, this can get very tricky when we’re working with a card that is traditionally seen as very positive or negative, i.e., Ten of Cups or Nine of Swords. For example, the Seven of Swords is usually seen as the card of sneakiness and deception, which are obviously not very positive traits. However, over time I’ve come to see this card as also representative of keeping your thoughts to yourself to avoid hurting others or because the current environment is not going to be receptive to your ideas. This alternate interpretation has been true in readings for myself as well as for others. Ultimately, I believe that the interpretation that matters is the one that resonates for the querent, because it was sent to them by their guides.
All 78 cards in a Tarot deck have a multitude of possible interpretations based on many, many variables, such as the traditional meanings, the querent’s associations with the images, the card’s location in the spread, the question being asked…you get the picture. To narrow down a card to its “positive” and “negative” aspects has always seemed so limiting to me. I think that we have to take the full energy of each and every card into consideration. And based on my experience, I may have more positive or negative associations with a card compared to another reader. This can even vary from deck to deck because of each artist’s interpretative style. And honestly, there are light and shadow aspects to EVERY situation in our lives; I believe that to ignore one or the other is going to leave us with an unbalanced perspective. Our guides provide us with information in multi-layered and multifaceted ways; to limit their messages to positive/negative or blocked/unblocked would be so restrictive!
So, especially if you’re just starting out or you’re still in the process of learning all 78 traditional meanings, I suggest that you leave reversals aside for now. You can always come back to it later if you decide that it works for you! Please let me know what you think in the comments below.
Images Copyright US Games, Inc.
This New Moon also marks the Lunar New Year. This year is Year of the Earth Dog, and it indicates that we can look forward to an auspicious year in which we should focus on our own positive doggie-traits, such as optimism, loyalty, authenticity, and diligence. Sounds good to me! It's also an especially auspicious year for my husband, since he was born in the Year of the Dog.
Do you know what your Chinese Zodiac sign is? I found this handy chart to help you figure it out. Your sign affects many things in your life, especially your relationship compatibility! Some people try to plan weddings and childbirth based on these years/signs:
Please let me know in the comments what your sign is!
At some point in 2005, I found this Tarot story somewhere online, copied it, and saved it. This is not my work, and the author is unknown. If you know who the author is, please let me know so that I can give them proper credit! This is a lot of fun, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.:
"Three majors walked into a dark and crowded bar: The Hierophant, the Magician and the Fool. They sat down at a table and Temperance served them a pitcher of Mai Tais while a tipsy Empress greeted each one with a big hug and kiss. The Fool couldn't help but notice a robed woman seated in the corner. In front of her was a large dark brown box inside a glowing sphere of white light which was hovering above the table.
"What's that!?" declared the Fool in wonder.
"That," said the Devil at the end of the bar as he lit another cigarette, "that is addictive."
The three Majors decided to go and get a closer look. The woman introduced herself simply as the High Priestess. The Magician noticed that the box had a door on top which was closed and mentioned it to his friends.
"What's inside?" asked the Hierophant.
"LIFE." replied the High Priestess.
"What is LIFE?" the Magician queried.
"Oh," sighed the Star wistfully, "it's anything you want it to be."
"I like that," said the Fool.
The Magician looked at the surface of the table in front of the High Priestess and saw 78 cards spread out. Before he could open his mouth, the Priestess said "KEYS."
"Ahhhh," deduced the Magician, "these keys open the way to life. I wonder how it works!"
"Be careful," warned the Moon, "Things aren't always how they appear."
"I'll unlock the box!" declared the Hierophant.
The Hierophant moved the Magician out of the way and sat down at the table across from the Priestess. "These keys," began the Hierophant, "are tools and instruments of my faith. If I arrange them according to my beliefs, I will certainly unlock it."
"Yes!" cried Strength, "Belief will surely do it!!"
"I like that." said the Fool.
So, the Hierophant began arranging the cards according to his beliefs and slowly began to build a Tower around the sphere of light, positive in the feeling that it would act as a conductor, focusing the energies of his faith, and that power would unlock the box. It took him some time to pick and arrange just the right cards and after 3 hours he finally placed the last card.
Boom!! There was a loud, thunderous crash and a flash of light. The card Tower exploded and all the cards fell to the ground.
The Magician laughed and moved the Hierophant out of the way to take his place. "These keys," began the Magician, "are tools and instruments of my thoughts. If I arrange them according to the systems I have worked out in my head, I will certainly unlock it."
"Yes!" cried the Emperor, "A systematic order will surely do it!"
"I like that." said the Fool.
So, the Magician began arranging the cards according to his ideas in three little piles, positive in his reasoning that if he juggled the correct combination around the sphere it would focus the energies of his thoughts and that would unlock the box. It took him some time to pick and arrange just the right cards and after 3 hours he finally placed the last card and began to juggle them in figure 8's.
Boom!! There was a loud thunderous crash and flash of light. The card configuration exploded and all the cards fell to the ground.
The Magician shook his head and stood up leaving a space for someone else to try.
The Fool stepped forward and picked up all the cards.
"I like these." said the Fool and he put them in his backpack.
The Fool then leaned forward, reached out, opened the lid to the box and fell in.
The Magician and the Hierophant stared at each other in astonishment and then looked back at the High Priestess.
She smiled and said, "I never said it was locked." "
UPDATED MAY 31, 2018
A follower on YouTube directed me to the author, Serena Powers. Thank you!!!
So you've bought your first or your tenth or your hundredth Tarot deck...what next? Are you the kind of person who immediately unwraps and unboxes, gives it a few shuffles, and does a reading right away? Or are you the kind of person who waits a few days before even removing the cards from the box, smudges it, lays crystals on it, lets it bathe in the light of the full moon, and then carefully examines each and every card before even dreaming of shuffling? No matter where you fall on that spectrum, a deck interview can help you get to know your a deck, get a feel for its energy, and what questions or situations it might be best suited for.
Here's a sample deck interview that I conducted with my Dreaming Way Tarot deck:
After working with this deck for almost two years now, I can say that this has all panned out. It's not the dreamy deck I thought it would be, but it's been great for clear answers on emotional issues, and who doesn't need that! Please ask questions and leave comments below.
My lovely friend Monicka Clio Sakki is the creator of the self-published Sakki-Sakki Tarot (2004), and she's also a self-described “self-starter artist, illustrator, designer, educator, author, inspirer, tarotist, publisher, and a professional color whisperer and creativity courier.” Indeed! As many of you know, the Sakki-Sakki Tarot is one of my all-time favorite decks. Over time, I’ve discovered that the Sakki-Sakki is especially well-suited for artistic, creative, and business questions, so it fits my life perfectly at the moment. Therefore, it was a dream come true for me when Monicka agreed to do this interview.
We began corresponding back in 2004 when she first published her deck; I had to reach out to her because her deck resonated with me in a way that no other deck had up to that point. As I pointed out in my last post, my first deck was the Thoth Tarot. My discomfort with it led me on a quest to find a deck that felt right to me and spoke to me, and that deck was the Sakki-Sakki Tarot...
Q. We were both inadvertently ‘inspired’ by the Thoth deck, in that we were both afraid of it. For myself, I was inspired to find brighter, more welcoming decks that had a sense of humor but still a strong sense of symbology and tradition. Eventually, it led me to your deck of course! Did you have this sense of playfulness and humor when you were designing your deck?
A. Oh yeah...Thoth. I found it incredibly magnetic and scary at the same time. I think that if I had found a deck then that fulfilled my needs, maybe I wouldn't have created mine. So I am very happy this deck scared the hell out of me!
Humor and play can't hide. I don't know if I looked for them intentionally as I didn't aim for a cartoon-like or humorist deck. The truth comes out anyway, especially when you don't take yourself too seriously! I love to amuse and surprise myself in the process of my work.
Q. How long did it take to create your deck from start to finish? Is there a time of day when you’re at your creative best?
A. It took me three years to complete. I can be creative at any time when I have peace, quiet and no distractions. Yet, many times I worked on it at Starbucks...
Q. You created a 79th card for your deck called The Artist. What does that card mean to you?
A. The Artist card holds the theme of the deck and it seems to be the theme of my own life too. That was not the intent from the beginning though. The Artist card was born through a sequence of events and it gets more meaning every day. As you know I have looked into, and identified the three creative powers and one of them is the Artist-Creator. This does not refer to the occupation of an artist, but in the way we see our inspiration for everything we create: Artists-Creators need to first birth their creation to be able to see what that is and looks like. There is no definite knowing, no preview or sneak peak before the doing takes place. So while working on the deck, things started emerging in a way they could not be ignored. I have gone through a long journey of denying and embracing this identity of mine, and it still goes on. It always will. This is my personal theme and my message, too. There are no accidents...
(For more on this, please click here: http://sakki-sakki.com/the-artist-the-79th-discovery/ )
Q. Are there cards that you would go back and revise now if you were to publish a second edition?
A. The deck is a limited edition, so there would never be a second edition, only something related, if it was to happen.
And I definitely have my dreams about that–-I’d love to play with the heads: to switch some of them, and add a few to headless bodies. Maybe then I’ll have to take off some others to still keep the headless people philosophy. On the other hand, maybe the next evolution is to put heads on everyone, making them whole in a new way. This is something I have been thinking a lot about.
This is where self-publishing is most powerful. I get to decide!! Definitely a big dilemma...which may be the reason I will create something completely different and not related altogether!
Q. Your personal Sakki-Sakki deck shows signs of being well-loved…how do you like to use your deck these days?
A. Oh, you have a good eye that you noticed that! The truth is that it only recently started showing the work it has done. Sometimes I think to crack open a new one, before I have none left, but you know how it is with well-used ones: they carry history, memories. They have seen what you have seen...you want to keep their patina and wisdom.
I usually draw a daily card, and occasionally for additional insights on matters I am debating about. I do readings for myself mostly on my keyboard. This is my creative shrine!
Q. You once had me read for you with the Sakki-Sakki, which was simultaneously amazing and intimidating all at once! I’m so grateful that you gave me that opportunity. Do you personally use any other Tarot decks, or are there others out there that you admire?
A. There are many I admire but not so much use. Since my kids were born, all my decks are hidden somewhere safely. I don't get to open them, look at them, use them, or expand my collection. In some ways I am completely “out of the game,” but I feel it's calling me back...the Spirit Speak Tarot, the Circo Tarot and the Oracle of Oddities have recently grabbed my eye.
My top favorites are what I call “First” decks where you feel the creator's search and process to mastery, card after card; where their uncompromised vision and evolution unfold together. You need to see every card in the deck to really see it! The first edition of The Tarot of Prague gave me that feeling and was a huge inspiration for mine.
Q. I immediately fell in love with your deck for its colors, humor, and playfulness. And I want to point something out that's also very important to me for its practicality: the size of the cards! I have small hands, and I find it so much easier to shuffle and work with your deck. Was this a conscious choice on your part?
A. Hehe...once in a forum I read a comment about "small hands" and it stuck with me. The cards are not really smaller only narrower. It was a decision dictated by production issues–the width of the very special card stock it was printed on. I was happy to shrink them a bit, and I thought they looked more elegant that way. I enjoy their size too, and I have my dad's huge hands, if you know what I mean!
Q. What does color mean to you?
A. Everything. It is the heart of my work, of everything I produce. Besides being a color lover, and a colorist in my work I am also color minded, which is an entirely different thing. I don’t look at a color only for looks and energy, but also at its symbolic meanings, and at the relationships (and additional meanings) created between colors that live within a certain system.
I am currently working on a book, Colors of Creativity, where I map my insights about the creative process, and through that the evolution of my creative space. I am happy to follow this thread of continuity to wherever it takes me.
Q. Why do you think play is so important for us? What does ‘play’ mean to you?
A. Ahhhh...without knowing, you know where to shoot your arrows TarotMama! You are extracting all my essence words. Play.
I have a long history with Play. I was always fascinated by it, although I myself wasn't playing that much. For example, I created an epic chess set but I hardly ever play chess...my role was more about “creating play.” Nevertheless, it's how I approach my creative work. This is what the process feels like to me, and it’s beyond “having fun.” Play brings joy, pleasure, amusement and invites you to try things without commitment. It lets you taste the possibilities. While at play, risk is not an issue. Play allows for expansion without taking yourself too seriously. It invites laughter and imperfection. Play is essential for every creative and developmental work. No play, no fly.
These days I play with colors, I play with cards, I play with Lego, I play with my kids' collectible figurines, and I play out characters as I am creating my self-portraits. Play takes off the edge and delivers magic!
Q. Which card is your favorite one in the deck? Which card would be your significator, the one that represents you in a reading?
A. My fave card is the World, which is also my number, 21, but I have more favorites....
My significator? The Artist, of course!
Q. Which card is your least favorite? Which one makes you groan when it turns up?
A. Well. Least favorite for a creator is one thing, and makes me groan when it turns up in a reading is another...let's just say that both would be from the suit of swords, and leave it at that...
Q. You've inspired me to want to create my own deck someday. What advice would you give to anyone who is thinking about creating their own deck?
A. This is the most exciting news!!! So honored to have inspired that in you. I now know that this WILL happen…
Advice? Don’t make the creation of a deck an item on your bucket list. Start playing, try different imagery and different meanings, and keep doing that till you reach the point of no return.
If you are not already a seasoned reader, don’t feel intimidated by the need to know the meanings. By committing to study the Tarot and to develop your own interpretations, you discover yourself through it, and this is how you contribute to the collective wisdom. You can’t go wrong with this one!"
Please leave a comment or question below, and I also suggest that you visit her website because it's full of goodies: http://sakki-sakki.com/ Enjoy!
Monicka, thank you for being my guest and for sharing your wisdom so generously with all of us!
When I began learning about Tarot, I was 20 years old. I began with what I now consider to be one of the most difficult (and IMO, darkest) decks out there: the Thoth Tarot by Aleister Crowley. I followed along with the odd card meanings in the LWB (the Little White Book that comes with most decks) and tried to use the challenging Celtic Cross Spread for my questions. Needless to say, I made it way too difficult on myself! If I could talk to my 20 year old self, or anyone who is new to Tarot and burning to learn, here's how I would suggest you begin:
> Start with a Rider-Waite deck, or one that is inspired by it, or one that denotes that it follows its symbology. There are literally hundreds of these decks in various styles and sizes. You are bound to find one to suit your taste. A great way to start reviewing the many Rider-Waite style decks out there is via aeclectic.net. Decks are organized by theme, two of which are "Rider-Waite Clones" and "Rider-Waite Inspired." They also have a whole section dedicated to Tarot decks for beginners! Warning: if you're like me, you'll get easily distracted by the pretty pictures of newly published Tarot, Oracle, and Lenormand decks. But try to stay focused! You can explore those later. Here are my suggestions with my favorite Rider-Waite and Rider-Waite inspired Tarot Decks:
> Once you have your deck, spend some quality time with it. First, check that all 78 cards are there. Occasionally, printing errors occur, and a deck will be missing a card. Next, look through each card one by one, just to get acquainted with the images and your gut reactions. Ultimately, your relationship with your deck is deeply personal and your interpretations for each card will not be exactly the same as anyone else's. So before you dive into trying to memorize the traditional meanings for the cards, tap into your intuition and let the images speak to you. You may want to start drawing a card a day and journal your reactions and interpretations based on your intuition.
> Next, after you've familiarized yourself with your deck and feel comfortable with it, you should start to learn about the traditional and intended meanings for each card. Each and every human experience in this world is represented by one or more of those 78 cards, and some of the LWB's do a fantastic job of explaining the symbology and meaning behind each and every card. Some authors even explain exactly why they chose a certain color or shape or being for each card, which I love! Still, other (generally older) LWBs often contradict themselves, make outdated references, and only leave you feeling more confused. You be the judge! There are also many wonderful Tarot books available for the beginner; below I've listed some of my all-time favorites. Start with one of these, not all of them at once:
> There are also a number of online and in-person Tarot courses available. I took Joan Bunning's free online course many years ago and would take it again today. My friend Kelley Knight of Modern Mystic Tarot teaches both online and in-person courses, and my friends Ethony and Victoria Wilson of Eternal Athena Tarot have online tutorials and classes as well. They are all highly knowledgeable and lovely! I can't recommend any others since I don't have personal experience with them, but if you want to ask about or suggest one, please do so in the comments below.
This is only the tip of the iceberg, but it should be enough to get your started on your Tarot journey. I promise you will have fun learning, and I thank you for trusting me to help you on your way!
My thoughts on Tarot...
Written especially with the beginner in mind!