tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
I sat down to do this reading thinking that the Id/Ego/Superego reading was next. I double checked the graphic just now and I see that it should be The Devil (What do I need to let go of?). If you're counting along, I haven't forgotten that one. I'll get to it next time. :)



If you're not up on your Freud, the id, ego, and superego are the three parts that make up the sum total of your conscious experience. The id is pure desire and impulse; the ego is calculated strategy, and the superego is the conscience and ideal self. One way to envision the three parts is the ego navigating conflicting desires: what the id wants (usually something akin to immediate gratification) and what the superego wants (usually to be a better person, or to live up to some ideal).

Id, Ego, Superego )
tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)



I thought a lot about this day's prompt before I shuffled. I think this may be the most uncomfortable question so far. Sometimes I do a thing where before a reading I wonder about what cards would be especially appropriate, or confusing, or just plain funny.

What would happen if my significator (Queen of Cups) or any of the Cups courts came out? That would be a laugh riot. 7 of Cups would be a funny card, too: I'm out-of-touch with the ideas of my own out-of-touchness? 7 of Swords: I see myself as honest but I'm really a tricksy, lying bastard? Ace of Swords? And so on.

What I got was a reversed 7 of Clubs.



Calm down, child. Not everyone is out to get you. Not everyone is glued to your every move, waiting for you to make a mistake so they jump down your throat. You really do take shit way too seriously and get needlessly defensive—it's okay to chill the fuck out once in a while.

tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
At this rate, it'll be Shadow Work November/December! Man, I don't know how people found the time to do these exercises every day over on Instagram. Even underemployed I'm falling behind...



So today's prompt is Day 7: Sage/Crone: What is my Inner Truth?

With all the heavy words like sage and crone and Inner Truth, I was ready for this to be a heavy duty card. And I get...

8 of Pentacles, reversed.

IMAG0375

(I can never find the image I want of cards from the Tarot of St. Petersburg, so all you get are my crappy cell phone pictures. Sorry!)

The 8 of Pentacles is about hard work, perfection (often in the form of studying, or apprenticing under a master), and fine-tuning details. Some people thrive under that; for other people it's tedium with a capital T. Golden Dawn correspondences peg this card as Sun in Virgo.

When you set up a day with words like Sage and Inner Truth, a ho-hum little Minor Arcana is a bit of a let down! (Though, scrolling through the #shadowworkoctober tag on Instagram, someone else got 10 of Swords as their "full potential" so oof could be worse...)

So much of my anxieties boil down to the struggle between perfection and imperfection. I bust my hump on my work (creative or paid) and it's worries over the imperfections and the flaws that keep me up at night—am I really being the best teacher I could be? Will this manuscript ever be good or am I too much of a talentless hack to bring this idea to fruition? All very relevant to the discussion in the previous post as well.

I drew this card days ago but it was so weird and confusing that I sat on it until now. Like: it is a pretty perfect reflection of my innermost drives at the moment, but it doesn't feel like a "crone-like" truth, won after years of reflection and experience. Is this going to be my eternal struggle, something I never quite make peace with? But that is mostly me, getting hung up on a name and expectations. 
tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)




I thought this prompt was going to be serious and difficult. I was fully expecting to cry over this one. Instead, I was just...puzzled.

stpete9wands

I have always been inclined to see the positive side of the 9 of Wands (or Clubs, as in this deck). Its presence indicates struggle and even conflict, but also success. The figure in the Waite-Smith 9 of Wands may be exhausted and beaten up, but he's at least accomplished something.



And I do not believe for a second that I need to forgive myself for some faux flaw like "working too hard" or something, because what kind of "shadow work" would that be? So what are the negative, reversed, inversed meanings of this card? In other words, even though I drew it upright, how would I read it reversed? It's embarrassing that it took me basically an entire day to consider that angle.

What is the inverse of the 9 of Wands? What is the opposite of that meaning? Overwhelmed and exhausted but without success, failure, defeat, overrun.

In other words, a lot of the feelings I've been staring down in my personal/professional life. I'm in a situation right now where I feel like I've failed to meet all of the challenges set before me. Not only that, I don't have any energy left to try again or to face any new ones that may come my way.

That I should forgive myself for being so despondent and defeated is strange. Had I really been beating myself up that much about it?

Maybe not exactly, but I haven't been allowing myself to feel that way. Not really. I've had temporary bursts at my boyfriend or elsewhere on LJ, but within the paradigm of "let it out so it will go away, get over it so you can stop sitting around and feeling sorry for yourslf." Not the healthiest attitude towards one's own darker moments: "I'm getting real sick of this shit." How would my friends react if I said that to them while they were having an awful time? Never mind that it would never, ever in my life occur to me to say something like that to them. I treat myself worse than I treat my friends.

For that, I'm sorry.

tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)



I'm doing things a bit out of order, here. The truth is I need a bit more thinking on Days 6 and 7, so I'll come back to it in a moment. Day 8, on the other hand, is at least halfway easy!

For me (and honestly, I think if you polled people), the three scariest and most negative trumps are Death, the Devil, and The Tower. As is practically the in-joke right now, "DEATH ISN'T ALWAYS ACTUAL ACTUAL DEATH IT'S USUALLY CHANGE!!!" and so there's the positive spin. The Devil—The Devil is the card of Capricorn, which is all about hard work and creating structure and form. Even the artwork on the Thoth version of The Devil has an image of the anaphase portion of mitosis (a cell dividing in two to reproduce asexually) right in the foreground.



That leaves us The Tower.



But good spin can you possibly put on The Tower? It is the worst. It is losing your job, your spouse, and your parents in the same 24-hour stretch.

I guess, if one recovers from The Tower, you can say that it's given you a clean slate. A new start. That's the gist of what the Instagram posts for this one say. (A lot of other people also chose The Tower.) But if you never recover....?

I am dubious of this particular exercise, I suppose. "There is good and bad in everything!" smacks of the wrong kind of New Age frou-frou sweetness and light philosophy. Sometimes, things are terrible, and there's no two ways about it. Sometimes shit happesn to a person and there's no lesson to be learned, no "new path" to be taken. Sometimes it's just one more turd on a shit sundae, and to pretend otherwise is harmful.

tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)


Putting aside the possibility of "my least favorite card to interpret," I'm going to assume this question is aimed more towards: which card's energy/appearance makes me uncomfortable?

Putting aside the Majors (they get their own question later) and the court cards (just because, as a class, they're weird and difficult), I sat and thought about all of the negative, uncomfortable pips. And there are definitely some that are uncomfortable! In general, I think the most heart-breakingly terrible cards are the usual culprits: 3 of Swords, 5 of Cups, 5 of Pentacles, 8 of Cups, 9 of Swords, 10 of Swords, etc. Those turn up and you just want to throw your hands up and say fuck it, I'm running off to join the circus.

But the funny thing is, a lot of them don't touch me. They haven't all turned up a lot in my readings (at least, about my own shit), so I don't have a particular memory of "oh that time I did a reading and then there was card and that thing happened." So after a lot of reflecting and thinking on the pips, I finally have my least favorite one.


RWS, Pamela Colman-Smith

Legacy of the Divine, Ciro Marchetti

Everything about this card speaks to some kind of hard-to-articulate disgust. The thing that separates this one from the two other serious contenders I had (8 of Cups, because I've lived that painful moving-on; 5 of Pentacles because DAMN SON WHO LIKES BEING BROKE) is that there is just no possible end in sight. The figure in the 8 of Cups is leaving behind something, but they're also moving to something new. The kind of destitution in 5 of Pentacles at least has a simple solution, if not an easy or possible one (MO' MONEY). But oh, man. The endless drudgery in carrying those wands is my idea of hell.

I value my independence and my freedom. It took me a while to realize that this was a truth about me, because in some ways (emotionally) I am extremely reliant on others. My greatest fear was (and is) dependency; for a while I saw myself as a dependent person just because I was in a headspace that couldn't disconnect "my greatest fear" from "my biggest flaw," or understand that everyone is dependent on other people to at least some extent and that I'm not exempt from that.

The connection to the 10 of Wands is this: I realize that I have the emotional fortitude to get over the 8 of Cups, and I naively believe I have the luck to weather out the 5 of Pentacles. In a sense, much as I don't like being in the space of those cards (and I have been), it's comforting to be able to 1) recognize those times for what they are and 2) have the belief/knowledge that they will end. But when I look at the 10 of Wands, all I see is forever. A trap. "Life's a bitch and then you die." I know myself well enough to know that I will never set down that burden, or ask for anyone's help. And I see a personal blind spot that might trap me without me even realizing it. Because I might convince myself that carrying all that crap by myself is somehow ~*~freedom~*~ or ~*~independence~*~.

In short, it's the only trap in Tarot that can last for the rest of your life.
tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
Days 3 and 4 of Shadow Work October make a nice pair, so I did them together



Brief comments on fear. )
tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
So I had a nice long post ready to go, and then I made the mistake of checking it in the visual editor. Somehow it doesn't like LJ-cuts and ate half the entry. Then I accidentally navigated away from the page (trying to go back and see if it would "remember" what it ate) and that just lost the whole thing.

Sigh.

Anyway, some errant Googling led me to discover that a Thing happened on Instagram called "Shadow Work October." It seemed interesting, but when I found it October was more than halfway over, so I put it off to November. The whole thing seems to be organized by Instagram user @mnomquah so you can go and peruse her feed if you want. Here's the original image she posted with all of the prompts:



I'm not going to do all of these, but I would like to try a lot, if only to have a reason to handle my cards more. Since the mandala bit isn't really important to me personally, my first day of the challenge is day 2, the hero's journey.

Now, there are a lot of spreads based on Joseph Campbell's idea of the monomyth—Tarot nerds are also huge Campbell nerds, more often than not—but the spread I used was one given by the aforementioned @mnomquah, and it seems to be a spread of her own creation. Here is the layout:



And with commentary:

1) The Hero - Who are you at the beginning of your journey?
2) The Quest - What is the conscious purpose of your journey?
3) Refusal of the Call - The reason why you're afraid of to seek out what you desire
4) The Guide - Who/what will guide you on your journey
5) Road of Trials - The lessons for you to learn; what you need to go through
6) The Dragon - Your greatest obstacle to overcome
7) Death - What you have to leave behind?
8) New Knowledge - What new wisdom and power you will obtain on your journey?
9) Boon - What you will take back with you to share with others
10) The Hero Returned - Who you come back as from the journey?

Here's how it turned out. )
tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
I love projects that combine the arts and the sciences (you should check out the #sciart hashtag on Twitter if you haven't already). This Science Tarot deck is so wonderful, I might make it my Christmas present to myself.

Each card, from the Majors to the Minors to the court, has been associated with a scientist (courts), a scientific concept (Minors), or a "science story" (Majors). Care has obviously been taken to align the energy and meaning of the card as best as possible with the concept. Each suit has its own theme that in turns tells the larger story of creation: Wands as creation, the nuclear fusion burning in each star; then Pentacles as exchange, elements forged in the star now coalescing into matter; Swords as scientific observation, the higher thinking of conscious life and the beginning of abstract, scientific fields like mathematics, chaos theory, and physics; and finally Cups as the integration of the scientific consciousness into a more holistic picture of life and the return of the scientific observer to a participant in the system. The deck creators also employed Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey to tell the "story" of the Minor Arcana suits, for that extra layer of meaning. For example, the 2 of Swords:







Sitting under the apple tree, we contemplate a choice to be made. The tree branch lifts an apple high in the air, and gravity continuously pulls it toward the ground. These equal and opposite forces hold the apple in place. But soon the balance may shift and the apple may fall, releasing the branch from its burden and shaking the leaves as they swing upwards.

Isaac Newton observed that every action caused an equal and opposite reaction and so reasoned that every reaction could be predicted from the action that triggered it. Like a game of billiards, Newton's world is a predictable knocking around of objects: the force of the impact equals the mass of the moving object times its acceleration. To send an apple flying in a specific direction, we only need to know where to hit it and how hard. To move a gigantic apple, we'll need to hit it with a great deal of mass, or we will need a running start.

A decision is hanging over your head. You can choose to leave the apple suspended in the tree, or you can apply enough force to bring it down. Either decision may bring good results, but if you wait too long, the apple may fall on your head.

Hero's Journey, Step 2: Refusal of the call. The hero is reluctant to use this new power.




The court cards are all illustrated with famous scientists; Page, Knight, Queen, and King are all associated with Helen Fisher's work in personality and attraction. Pages are the Explorers of their suit, Knights are the Innovators, Queens are the Storytellers, and Kings are the Visionaries.

There is obviously just so much thought and attention to detail in this deck—but then, would you expect anything less from a science-themed Tarot deck?—and I am just in love.

tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
I admit to having a fascination with the number 3 and its multiples. That's why I tend to look at the minor arcana in sets of three: Ace-2-3, 4-5-6, and 7-8-9. Some systems see 9 as completion and 10 as "too much"/degradation; other systems see 9 as incomplete and unstable and 10 as perfection. Over the years I've developed a slight preference for the former approach. In my scheme, the 10s are something like the mirror versions of the Aces. (The stark contrast between the "natural conclusions" of the Cups and Pentacles suits [overwhelmingly positive] and the Wands and Swords suits [unpleasant to say the least] is interesting and speaks to the nature of will, but I'll come to that another day. Or never!)

I have, at the moment, no literature to back up my intuitions. I haven't started digging yet. But I present: a pictorial defense. I mean that, if you look at the 3s, 6s, and 9s of each suit, they are among the clearest and strongest images (or at least within the RWS tradition) outside of the Aces. They all seem to embody something specific and distinct about their element. The previous two cards, to my intuition, lead up to "ah-hah" moment or triumph (or failure) in the final card of each triad.

The Swords. )

You can create similar stories for the rest of the suits and they all seem to follow a similar rhythm. You can use your own deck and see how well this miniature narratives stack up, but the images I had in mind were Colman-Smith's art; I don't know if this narrative model works well with, say, the Thoth deck.

CUPS

Emotions/sensitivity -> love -> joyous union/celebration

Disillusionment -> total loss -> redemption through (re)union, sharing, nostalgia

Delusions and daydreams -> left behind in the process of maturity -> a deeper, self-sufficient joy


WANDS

Inspiration -> planning -> implementation

Success stability -> the struggle to maintain success and stability -> victory

Defending one's "establishment" -> fighting every possible battle -> Pyrrhic victory


PENTACLES

Windfall/seed money -> juggling different investments -> proper discipline and success along a specific track

Greedy success -> downfall and lesson to be learned -> redemption and generous success

Expanding plans -> developing those plans to the next level -> the next level

Note that in all of the narratives, the 7s are a bit weird. They don't feel like natural introductions but rather in media res beginnings. I think this says something about the chaotic and confusing nature of all of the 7 cards. Likewise, the conflict or transmutation provided in all of the miniature stories by the 2s, 5s, and 8s showcases their combative nature. (Even with the 2 of Cups, there is an element of "combat": the dance of getting to know another person, flirtation, and attraction.)

That said, I don't think this triad model works at all in the majors. Aside from a few logical categories that have a lot of overlap, I mostly see each trump as a category and story/biography unto itself.
tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
It's been a busy few months for me. My online presence everywhere has suffered, not just this blog. I will probably continue to be absent until the middle of July, but I wanted to take the time to share this post from Benebell Wen: Mah Jong Divination. I mostly wanted to share it because I am a Mah Jong fiend but knew nothing about what the images represented. I'd always wondered, and now I know! And now you do too. :) You can also read more about divining with Mah Jong, Serena Powers has a tutorial. If you don't have a set of tiles, the Wen article above is a review of a card deck designed for play—but pour que non los dos?
tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
A friend of mine alerted me to the existence of The Ghetto Tarot, and I wanted to share it here.



I love the idea of photographic Tarot decks, especially updated or just new interpretations of the iconic images. I love the idea, but the execution so far has been lacking. Things got one step closer with Alice Smeets's The Ghetto Tarot, a collaborative fundraising art project. I encourage you to read more about the project at the above IndieGoGo link.

The Afro-Caribbean milieu of this project is certainly appropriate, given Pamela Colman-Smith's own heritage; I haven't seen all of the images yet but I can say already that I particularly love Death and The Sun, as they are less literal recreations of Colman-Smith's plateaus and more a portrait of Haiti, Haitians, and Port-au-Prince themselves.



Death




The Sun

I admit to liking the simple recreations less than these images, but I still love Smeets's collaboration with Haitian artists on this, and the fact that the profits from the deck will go to them. Tarot and art as a force for good in the world. Plus, sometimes the literal recreations actually work out well, like in The Moon and the 3 of Swords.



The Moon




The 3 of Swords

Others work because the Colman-Smith's original artwork was striking and made for a well-composed photo. Yet somehow, the impression is starker when it's a photograph. Take the 9 of Swords, one of my favorite cards (in terms of aesthetic, not in terms of divinatory meaning. Obviously!)



9 of Swords

I don't know if I'm going to buy a copy of this deck yet, or if I'm going to opt for a poster print. I know already that I probably wouldn't use this deck much to read, but some of these photographs are just too beautiful to pass up. Besides, it's for a good cause.
tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
People have lots of different opinions on how to best shuffle a Tarot deck, mostly with an eye towards preserving particularly lovely and/or rare decks. Preservation is a concern for me with some decks (I would prefer that my Victorian Romantic keep its gilt edges!), but also of importance to me is the matter of focus. In a typical riffle-in-the-hands-and-bridge shuffle, I tend to get lost in my thoughts; unless I make a point of focusing, my attention is directed away from the matter at hand, mostly because I'm so good at shuffling cards I can do it without thinking. Does that affect readings? Who knows. But I think Tarot at least deserves focus, especially if the matter at hand is important. So I feel better, both about my focus and about preserving my nicer decks, using my Klondike method.

I haven't seen anyone else describe this particular method of shuffling ("shuffling") and perhaps with good reason: it's not truly random—or at least, it's not as close to "truly" random as a riffles shuffle is. (Though, side note: it takes a deck about seven tries with a riffle shuffle to be truly randomized. How many times is your dealer shuffling in between rounds of poker?) My Klondike shuffle method is just a variation on pile shuffling. Pile shuffling is what it sounds like: dealing out cards into a certain number of piles, and then stacking them all together for a "shuffled" deck. While it's probably one of the safest shuffles in terms of preserving cards, it is fairly easy to manipulate. Plus, this is a shuffle that doesn't account for reversed cards. Reversals don't matter much in poker, card tricks, or Magic: The Gathering tournaments, but they can matter a lot in Tarot readings. The randomization (or lack thereof) is a problem I have yet to solve, but reversals is easy enough.

Anyway, enough setup. The Klondike shuffle!

I was a card games and solitaire fiend as a kid. I don't know why. I guess I didn't have a lot of friends? But like everyone, the first version of solitaire I learned was Klondike (thanks, Windows). I found the layout very aesthetically pleasing; honestly my favorite part of the game was dealing out a new hand. So all the Klondike shuffle is, is dealing out a few new games of Klondike, right on top of each other (without turning over any cards). I use 5 piles, or tables, because I have a small space for readings. If I had room to spread out I would probably use 7, like a proper game of Klondike. In other words:

1. Deal out 5 (or however many you like) cards to make 5 (or X) amount of piles.
2. Skipping the first card on the left, deal out 4 (or X - 1) cards in a second row.
3. Move another card to the left and deal out 3 (or X - 2) cards in a third row.

And so on. I like to continue until I've dealt out the whole deck, so once I reach the last pile, I just start another "game" right on top of the first one. But maybe you'd prefer collecting each "game" into a stack to keep things from getting messy.

I find that counting out the cards I'm dealing in each row helps me focus. Counting is weird like that, isn't it? Almost hypnotic. "1, 2, 3, 4, 5. 1 , 2, 3, 4. 1, 2, 3. 1, 2. 1." And repeat.

When the whole deck has been dealt out, I stack the piles together (sometimes starting with the "5" pile and putting the others on top, other times putting them under) and then cut once. I turn one half the deck like I would if I were going to riffle shuffle (to ensure that more or less the same amount of cards end up getting reversed or unreversed; it strikes me that you could also reverse the card you'd turn face-up in a proper Klondike game to add another layer of random) and then start dealing out another set of Klondike games. Once I've done this three times, I consider the deck shuffled enough to read. I cut it twice, then stack, then cut once again, and I read.

Do you have a favorite or unique way of shuffling your cards—Tarot, oracle, or otherwise?
tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
The woman to whom all modern Tarot readers owe their hobby received a pittance for her artwork and died in debt, unknown outside her circle of bohemian friends.

Just so you know.

I mean there's more I could say, but someone else has already done an excellent job writing a comprehensive biography of her, so I will link to that and use this space to share some brief, notable facts. If you don't follow that link or remember anything else I mention here, remember that thanks to prevailing Victorian attitudes (read as: patriarachy, white supremacy), Smith never received the credit, money, or prestige she should have for her work on the groundbreaking Rider-Waite-Smith deck.

Unfortunately she has no direct descendents that could possibly benefit from her work (US Games estimates that, were she given her proper royalties, her estate would be worth millions today), so I guess the best we can do is remember to call the deck the RWS deck instead of just the Rider-Waite. Or maybe just Waite-Smith, as they did the work; Rider was just the publisher.

Anyway, here are some brief facts about Pamela Colman-Smith!

First of all, she was a cutie patootie and seems like she would have been a vibrant and interesting person just to know:

What a smile! She went by the nickname "Pixie" which I imagine suited her quite well.

Colman-Smith was born in 1878 to a British father and a Jamaican mother, their only child. She spent her early years in Manchester, then in Jamaica, until finally studying art in Brooklyn. While we remember her today for the RWS Tarot deck, Colman-Smith was engaged primarily in set design for the theater. She also became involved in the women's suffrage movement and illustrated pamphlets on the topic.
Additionally, Colman-Smith illustrated a handful of books: a rare copy of Bram Stoker's Lair of the White Worm, Ellen Terry's The Russian Ballet, The Book of Friendly Giants by Eunice Fuller, Seumas McManus's In Chimney Corners: Irish Folk Tales, The Golden Vanity and The Green Bed, and two books she wrote herself: Widdicombe Fair and Anancy Stories. Widdicombe Fair commands a 4-digit price on Amazon, but Anancy Stories is easy and cheap to find.
Colman-Smith was a member of the Golden Dawn in her own right. (I was always under the impression that she was just a random artist Waite had simply contracted out to. I don't know why. But in case anyone else was under that misconception, I thought I'd clear it up.) Outside this occult group, many of her friends were the movers and shakers of the early 20th century.

After this explosion of work in the turn of century, records of Colman-Smith dwindle until her death in Cornwall in 1951. She was in debt and her belongings were auctioned off. Hopefully among them is a well-preserved journal or diary that will one day be found and help clue us in on those missing thirty years of her life!
tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
It seems that after I finished that 30-Day Tarot Meme I immediately dropped off the face of the Internet. Truthfully there are a few things I'm thinking of writing on:


*unsung women of Tarot (Pamela Coleman-Smith, Lady Freida Harris, Florence Farr et al.)

*history of the Celtic Cross (if there's much to dig up; it doesn't seem like much)

*a whole series of each card (more for my own reference than for public consumption, not sure if I'll make those entries public)

*maybe more???? ideas??


But now that my job has picked back up again, it will take a while for these posts to get underway.
tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
(30. Do you practice any other forms of divination? If so, what is it, and do you use them alongside the Tarot as to gain more insight or as something separate entirely?)

I am somewhat schooled in the field of astrology. While I don't think the Tarot was ever designed with Western/Babylonian astrology in mind, I can accept the historicity of the one being shoehorned into the other and so will consider those relationships and characteristics in a reading if I need something more to go on, so to speak. That said, I rarely use astrology in a predictive sense. I'm mostly a lazy armchair natal interpreter at the end of the day; I don't have the knowledge or the skill for electional or horary astrology. I call up my solar returns every year, and am well aware that this is the year of my Saturn return, but that's about it.

I did try to learn I Ching because there is something about the repeated manipulation of things that appeals to me, but I've generally not been impressed by the translations. (Not their fault; from what I understand, the original Chinese is even more obscure!) I think (and hope!) that Benebell Wen's translation will eventually be available to purchase, in which case I would pick it up. I don't know if I would use it in conjunction with Tarot, however. The Feng Shui Tarot (which I talked about before in this meme) attempted to marry I Ching trigrams to feng shui principles to Western Tarot and I found it a bit too much. 
tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
A resounding "no." My resources on the Tarot have been books, both new and "classic," Tarot communities (Aeclectic), and a dash of blogs here and there. While I envy anyone who managed to come into the practice under the guiding wing of a beloved elder, I think I've done fine on my own.
tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
I don't know if my Christian mom would be entirely okay with it, but we've never talked about it so I could be wrong. My boyfriend doesn't put much stock in it, but he has no kind of moral qualm with my interest. I'm sure there are other friends I have who more or less agree with him, but they're nice enough to not harangue me (and I don't go around harping on about Tarot much in real life, either, so I like to think we do each other favors).
tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
Nope. Any place quiet will do. I have been known to just throw cards on the top of my laptop keyboard—no altar, no sacred space—and gotten perfectly good, coherent, and accurate readings. My only caveat is that I have to be alone, without fear of being disturbed. Stress about someone walking in on me or wanting to talk about something unrelated can really take me out of the Tarot headspace.
tarot_scholar: An image of Norman Rockwell's interpretation of Rosie the Riveter (Rosie)
(Either for yourself or another.)


No readings, but a couple sitters/querents in particular spring to mind.

First and foremost is B, as you could probably guess. I was her go-to free Tarot reader for years, though thankfully she didn't ask as often as she could. I linked her to my favorite online Tarot reading tool a few weeks ago, so we'll see if that works for her.

The other was a girl during college. She was some years younger than me, still in high school at the time, and was a member of a massive forum that had its own currency, which you used to buy items for your custom chibi-style avatar.. You could earn money by posting in the forums and answering polls, but you could also give other people currency, so people set up little shops offering services in exchange for site currency. The most popular ones were art shops (people loved having pictures of their avatars) and Tarot shops. This girl found my shop, paid for a reading about something (I think a fight she was having with a friend or another girl in her class?), paid, and was happy with it. She asked if she could add me on AIM (remember AIM?) to chat and I said sure, and it turned into a three-month period of her asking for more readings and tips on how to read Tarot herself. Eventually it was clear that she was just in constant need for outside validation for everything, which is understandable in a teenage girl but not something I felt I was equipped to address. If she had been fun or interesting to talk to otherwise, she could have well been a new friend, but all she cared to talk about was Tarot and how to read it and could I draw a few cards for her and etc. I ended up blocking her because I couldn't figure out a way to tell her to back off without it coming off mean.
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