How I Got into Tarot

How did you, dear reader, get into Tarot? When was the first time you saw a Tarot deck in action? People see Tarot as vaguely illicit, bordering on sinister or even downright evil so usually it’s in a secret room somewhere, there may have been drawn curtains or even some candles, about on the same par as smoking dope in the naughty stakes.

When I was a child, my sister was my biggest hero. To me, she seemed to be the epitome of everything a person could hope to become: she  had a lot of silver rings and wore eye-liner, she had tons of friends, she was tall, beautiful, with the best grades in her year and frequent comments on how long her legs were. She was great at sport and she had a horse. Second to my sister in the hero stakes was my cousin, who used to come from Brittany and stay with us nearly every summer. To my 11-year-old mind, there was basically no-one to top those two icons, those pillars of cool, my sister and my cousin. And one year, my cousin bought a Tarot deck with her when she came to stay.

Looking on in awe – because I was never allowed to participate fully – and as I remember, I think they asked questions like: “When are you going to die?” “Is your future husband going to be rich?” And: “When and how are you going to lose your virginity?” After a few tries, they realised that the Tarot wasn’t going to give them the answers they were looking for, and they put the cards away. I then stole them.

Years later, I remember finding them and trying them out for myself and realised how incredibly accurate they were. It was about 5 years later, when I was in my late teens, we were having a dinner party at home. My parents had invited some posh friends, an Admiral in the French Navy and his incredibly well-dressed wife, and I asked if anyone would like a Tarot reading. They all said:

“Oh, what fun! Let’s do it!”

There may even have been some polite clapping.

So I laid the cards out on the bridge table for the Admiral, who had shuffled. I was looking in the little white book and saying: “2 of Disks, this one is you, you can see you are on the water, you are facing your responsibilities, but it’s tough going.” Everyone laughed. “Tell us something we don’t know!” they shouted.

“OK,” I went on, “now we see your wife, she’s, she’s, she’s…”

“She’s what?” Called out my parents in unison.

“Yes, what is she?” asked the Admiral.

“I can’t tell you.” I said.

“Tell us!” Everyone shouted.

“She’s having an affair.”

There was a silence then my mother said:

“I think it’s time for dinner, don’t you think? Come and help me, Elise.”

So I put the cards away and didn’t say another word all evening. The Admiral’s wife was having a very scandalous and public affair, and they were in London trying to patch up their marriage. A few months later, they were divorced.

It was at that moment I realised for the first time that the Tarot wasn’t just some parlour game, and it wasn’t just for over-imaginative, gullible little girls, as most people think. I bought some books and investigated a little more deeply. I found that the answers I was getting to my questions were about 80% consistent with what was actually happening in my life, and recording the readings showed that the predictions were just as accurate. Not only that, but the guidance was shockingly apt. The Tarot would say things like: “Stop feeling sorry for yourself.” “You’re totally out of control with your emotions.” or: “Sex magick is a false road for you. Develop what you’ve got going on now.”

I moved to Japan, my sister is now living in London, and my cousin is based in Thailand. Because she never regarded money or possessions as important, she lived on a beach for many years. She came to visit us a few years ago for Christmas and we all went up to Nagano and had a wonderful hot spring break. I reminded her of the Tarot cards, but she had no recollection of them whatever. I said: “Whatever, I learned the meanings of the cards, would you like a reading?”

The cards that came up for her were ALL about the money: Queen of Disks was her signifier, 4 of Disks, Knight of Disks, you name it, they were all there. I said: “Sorry, but I’m not sure this is a very good reading. It’s all about savings and investments and pensions.” She answered: “That’s my question: should I take out a pension and life insurance to protect my daughter, in case anything should happen to me?”

That’s when I knew that the Tarot is pretty much infallible, and it was during that holiday, while sitting in the outdoor bath one evening, with the Nagano snow piled up all around, and the Moon and Venus shining down upon me, that I made a vow to become a Tarot professional.

So, what about you? How were you introduced to the Tarot? What was your first deck? Do you give readings to other people? When did you realise just how insanely accurate the Tarot is? Comment in the box below.

Udemy Course – the story so far

Instead of running the beginners’ course directly from this site, I’ve decided to post it on Udemy. The advantage is that my newsletter and blog subscribers can get it free, because you can get vouchers and the like, apparently.

The slightly sad and sorry news is that it’s taking me a lot longer than expected to get that thing up and running. I thought I would be able to just transfer files from the Beginners’ Tarot course that I ran earlier this year. However, looking back on that I realised that in fact I pretty much had to re-write the whole thing. But that’s ok, I love talking about Tarot. ETA is about mid-July at present.

So if you want a really amazing (!) comprehensive beginners’ Tarot course, subscribe to my blog! There’s a link in the side-tab on the right.

Third-Party Readings

To 3rd-Party read or not to 3rd-Party read? It’s when the person asks to know about someone who has not given permission to have their cards read.

Questions can include: Is my wife having an affair? Is my boss ever going to promote me? What’s he building in there?

A few years ago a woman client asked me to do a reading for a guy she had a crush on. It was in a café, and all the other people in the café knew both her and the guy involved, and everyone was listening in to the reading. Kind of tense! The guy in question wasn’t present, he was married and had a successful career as the drummer in a rock band. I told my client that she could get a reading about the relationship between her and this man, but his private life was his own business. She was obviously disappointed but short of putting a gun to my head, there was nothing much she was going to be able to do to change that.

To my amazement, the Tarot reading was all about him, his wife, his mistress, his manager, his career, his fans, they were all in there.

The Tarot showed him to be extremely stressed and unhappy, pressurised by the conflicting demands of so many people riding on the coat-tails of his career. My client sat through the reading in total silence, and at the end she said that she was going to just love him from afar, and stop stalking him like a beast.

It’s happened a few times that people have asked me to do a third-party reading, and I always say no, but you know that if the Tarot thinks you need to know about someone’s life, because that’s going to help you personally, then that’s the information you’re going to get.

To show what I mean, here’s a reading I did this morning. I asked the Tarot to help me illustrate my point with a fictitious office crush situation. The cards are from the Tarot de Jacques Viéville.

So obviously, thinking about the visual language of the Tarot, the very clear message is: “get your nose out of this person’s life. The way is closed, buster!” We see someone waving a big truncheon in our face, then the way is barred, then it’s super-double barred with an extra padlock. From a more traditional interpretation: He’s having a lot of sex and he’s partying a lot. Notice the numbers? It’s 1 – 2 – 4, multiplying the Wands exponentially. How does that help the client? It just makes them feel more left out and vulnerable than ever. However, check this:

See, now that’s better, isn’t it? A woman wrestling with her lust, looking back on past events and feeling even more left out and sorry for herself, while over on the other side the door is locked like Fort Effing Knox.

Just leave the dude alone, already, and attend to the matter at hand, which in this case is your beautiful pet lion, which has to be a metaphor for everything that’s beautiful and wild in your life. Stop pining over some guy who is ultimately going to ostracise you and leave you out in the cold.

Basically, it’s the same reading twice in a row. However, in the second reading, the message is a lot more personal and useful, don’t you think?

What do you think about 3rd-party readings? Some people say it’s tantamount to psychic spying and totally out of bounds. Others say: “Well, if I don’t get paid to do this, someone else will, so I may as well go ahead and do this thing. Who cares, anyway?” The difference is an ethical Tarot reader who feels honour and professionalism, versus someone who doesn’t care about you or the person who you’re stalking. Which person is going to give the better reading?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this controversial topic, so please comment below.

Timing Events with the Chaldean Decans

Tokyo Tarot Meetup rides again, at Denny’s Restaurant, Shinagawa, and this time we focused on  the magnificent Chaldean Decans, or decanates, whichever you prefer.

This system is based on the Chaldean calendar. The idea is that you can time events in the future using Tarot cards. I love this kind of fortune telling, because you get prediction and timing together.

Coming up soon, I will be offering a Chaldean Decan mini e-course, which will be FREE to Star Tarot Blog and newsletter Subscribers, and Patreon supporters.

If you want to see a much more beautiful version of the Chaldean calendar, see THIS blog post. In the reading on the table above, the member asked when she was getting married. Based on what the Tarot said, and looking at the calendar, what do you think?

Tarot Telesummit

Mass excitement here at Star Tarot as the indefatigable Kim Wilborn announces what promises to be another “Fly Higher, Fly Further” Tarot telesummit: Tarot Horizons. In case you’ve never participated in one of these, they are free to join, and take place live over 5 days, with recorded replays available for 48 hours. Guest speakers are usually pretty fantastic, you definitely learn a lot. My advice is hook yourself up. If you love Tarot, then this is the event for you.

Star Spread: How do I know I have Permission?

Warning: Adult Content, y’all.

How do I know I have permission to succeed and feel fulfilled? Because of course I do have permission, I only need to get out of my own way. So in many ways the spread should be titled: “How do I get out of my own way, already?”

This spread is in Tom Benjamin’s book Tarot on Earth, which I just finished it this morning. It’s an Elemental Dignities spread, where you see how the Element of the card conflicts or complements the Element of the position. I like that. Tom also says that just because two elements clash according to conventional ED theory, it doesn’t actually mean they clash in reality, and can work together rilly well. Take Fire and Water: How you gonna get yourself in a nice hot bath if you don’t heat it up? But then I wonder if conflicting Elements are another case of “The Death Card Doesn’t Always Mean Death, Until of Course it Does”? Sigh. Here we are back at the reason I bought that book in the first place: to learn to use my intuition in a reading, instead of what I have learned empirically.

Speaking of which, let’s crack on and do this bad boy, shall we? What imma gonna do is a kind of hybrid visual language meets learned meanings. Hang on to your ovaries, it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

Card Interpretation
Spirit: Spare Card. Aha! The Tarot is in cahoots with my Higher Self and saying you can't have that information now. I kind of love it when that happens – which is why I always leave the spare cards in the deck. “Check back later friend.”
Water: Tower. Ben Says that this is actually a lot more like a phallic symbol than a nuclear explosion taking place all over your shit. As this is in the Water aspect of my spread and it's a hard-hitting Fire card I'd say it looks like some jerk just came all over my favourite black shantung blouse. If only I had a black shantung blouse. But actually you know it's about how my emotions just explode everywhere and take me back to ground zero. Looking for equanimity? It's a long way to the top if you want to rock'n'roll.
Fire: Hierophant. My passion is teaching apparently. The only thing is that I'm a Gemini so basically that whole Taurus vibe (Hierophant is Taurus) is a little s-l-o-w for me. Perhaps if I can see the long view that’s how I get to the place I want to be.
Air: Queen of Coins. I kind of despise my own materialism and wanting to succeed. My inner critic basically rules my inner roost. Just look at the way she's glaring at that Spirit position card.
Earth: 8 of Coins. OK good at least here I know I'm on the right track. Here the 8 of Coins looks like a field with flowers in it which is also a back-burner plan of mine. As this is the only card that is aligned with it's positional element and the only Pip to boot (what I feel I can do for myself) maybe this is the clue I've been waiting for.
Topics: There are a lot of Majors here. I seem to think that this situation is kind of out of my grasp and the signifier is the grasping old Queen of Coins. The only pip is the 8 of Coins and I guess that means that I know I'm on the right path.
Overall: So how DO I get out of my own way? I think I have to get over my fear of material success and align myself with a very Taurean view of the future.

Did the reading answer the question? What would you have done differently? Thoughts?

Court Cards – you can’t live with them and you can’t shoot them.

A lot of people have a big fat problem when it comes to Court Cards in the Tarot. As a Tarot teacher I usually advise my students to match each Court Card profile to a person they know, a celebrity, a character from a book or a film. That way, you get to know the Court Cards as individual personalities, which I think makes it a whole lot easier to relate to them and understand what they mean if / when they pop up in a reading. I made a series of YouTube videos and you can watch them via the link on my website HERE.

As you know if you read my post about the Tarot blogs I follow, one of my favourite Tarot writers is Kate, the Daily Tarot Girl. Her latest post was as usual hilarious, irreverent and a strong blast of insight into the Tarot. So if you have ishuze with the Court Cards, I strongly suggest you hop on over to her blog, have a good laugh and never worry about those pesky little buggers ever again. Check it out HERE.

Free 3-Card Draw in Exchange for Feedback

Tarot de Jacques Vieville from Editions Sivilixi

At the moment I’m reading Tarot on Earth by Tom Benjamin because I want to expand my skills and learn to read the cards using the visual language of the Marseille deck, instead of all the card meanings I learned from books. In order to practice this skill / technique, I need some kind volunteers. So I am offering three free 3-Card readings, in exchange for feedback. This is on a first-come, first-severed basis.  Remember that I am still at a totally experimental level with this, so who knows what could happen? But as with everything Tarot-related, expect the unexpected.  Use the contact form below:

Contact Form

Oh Lord It’s Rough On This Road

Yes, I am now currently on the road less travelled, and as Kid President says: “And it hurt, man!” but I think it’s ok to lose your shit from time to time. I really feel like when you need to break down you should go ahead and do it, do it like a PRO. Luckily, we all have Tarot in our lives, whether we know it or not.

Today, my card was 7 of Swords, the card of the Hot Steppin’ Murrrderer! Everyone thinks this one is so sly, such a shady number. But often that’s just what you think about yourself. You think you’re the sneaky one and the cheat. Negative self-talk is a tricky one because on one hand, we all need an inner policeman, but on the other, we guard ourselves too much it filters out too much of the ability to expand.

The 7 of Swords is a spy. But a spy never gets the recognition for what he or she does. Just look at James Bond, taking a grilling from M, for example. It takes a lot of work to train to be a spy – look at Black Widow. She doesn’t actually have any superpowers but she is the one that keeps all those other dudes together, she’s the lynchpin.

7 of Swords is just a short step away from the 8 of Swords and that’s a place you really don’t want to go! 7 of Swords says you’re actually going at this with a pneumatic drill when a feather would be better. You need to enjoy your road more, sweetness. You’re doing great. Encourage yourself. It’s rough on this road.

Other Tarot Blogs I Love

Two Sides Tarot showing Lioness Oracle Tarot.

I was thinking about just how cool and groovy (yes people still say that) my blog is and thinking I wonder who else is out there in the Tarot blog world that’s sassy and classy (yes they say that also) like me. So I had a little hunt around and found this collection of amazing people.

Camelia Elias

Insightful, masterful, no bullshit, eloquent. Tarot, magic and more.

Mystic Medusa

Basically an Astro blog, but oh my gosh! So insightful and accurate you’ll think she’s been stalking you! Tons of Tarot goodness also.

Daily Tarot Girl

Oh my gosh there is sooo much to read on this blog – great if you have a good few hours on a train. I really liked her Guilty Pleasures post. I wanted to add my ha’penny’s worth but I think the comments were closed. Very funny and cool lady.

Tarot Thrones

All about the Courts. People do actually freak out when you say: “Ok it’s time to learn the Courts”. Still no idea why, IMHO they are much easier to interpret than some of the Majors – yes, Wheel of Fortune, Justice and High Priestess, I’m looking at you! But about Tarot Thrones, it’s not about the GoT deck that came out recently, but still a very enjoyable and thought-provoking read and very helpful and grounding when it comes to the Courts.

Little Red Tarot

This one has the most amazing shop. They have all the decks I have my eye on, and some I’ve never seen before that have jumped on to the queue. The writing is smart and sharp and there is tons to peruse and enjoy.

Little Fox Tarot

This is by far the most stylish of them all. She has a Tarot mixtape made by Theresa Reed and an interview with Rachel Pollack. All you need to know, really.

Two SidesTarot

A great selection of articles and interviews for new readers and advanced. Also some really awesome decks.

Kelly-Ann Maddox

So many freebies to enjoy and so much insight into the Tarot. Highly recommended.

And now it’s your turn! What Tarot blogs do you enjoy? Write your favourites in the box below.