I recommend inquirers to visit my website before booking. This is for their benefit, to make sure I’m the right kind of reader for them. Not every reader offers the same kind of service, and I would far rather lose a booking than disappoint a client’s expectation.
I once took an enquiry over the telephone from an unusually cagey enquirer. He had heard a colleague talking about a recent reading with me, and he wanted a reading, too. I later realized, putting two and two together, this new enquirer had been a police officer. I recommended that he also check out my website, and he did not book at that point, but called again some weeks later, and was startled that I remembered him, greeting him by the first name he had given (which was not, I sensed, his real name)
The client arrived and was polite but continued cagey to the point where it threatened to become counter-productive. I drew The Emperor card confirming what I had already suspected, and asked if he worked for the Government, was he is the civil service, Armed Forces or Police? He replied with some reluctance that he was in the Police, while a further card, the Seven of Swords, elicited that he worked in Fraud investigating.
I’ve read for a few police officers (purely off-duty) and had no problems. This was like pulling teeth, except I’ve never pulled a tooth. It was like pulling up a dandelion, or getting Il Matrimonio to tidy his clothes away.
The Emperor from The Gilded Tarot, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti
I asked if he had visited the website, as I had suggested, to know how I conducted readings. He had not had time, he said, and I reminded him of what I had said on the phone, that I start readings cold, and expect to deliver ‘psychic’ insights but thereafter, a reading works as a dialogue, and this is how I am able to deliver a useful reading, drilling down on precise particulars.
‘You’re doing OK. Carry on,’ he said smiling, then stonewalled me, leaning back on his chair with his arms folded, letting me know he was alert to my ‘techniques.’
Please do not do this to your reader. Of course any reader with half a brain will tap into social cues when doing readings. Why ever is this considered the sign of a charlatan? A reader with poor observation skills is a social munchkin and unlikely to deliver a meaningful psychic reading either.
I sensed he was hoping for a bit of help, but would not value whatever was not delivered cold. I had already sensed disquiet attached to his marital situation, and said so, but he had so far declined to verify this.
Now I drew the Page of Swords Reversed and said, ‘I sense a legal issue. An unwelcome communication. A letter, an email. Have you received it or are you sending it?
He smiled. ‘Suppose you tell me?’
There was a pause while I drew more cards. I was not at ease. Stonewalling is socially hostile and I needed to make sure my own discomfort did not skew my impressions about the card.
The Page of Swords Reversed may indicate a minor stress as well as a legal document, potentially. (It can also mean a minor surgical procedure, a minor injury with acute pain, a spy or a young person born under an Air sign: Aquarius Gemini or Libra)
From the Universal Waite, by kind permission of US Games
I pulled The Hierophant reversed (marriage problem) and the Seven of Swords Reversed (a card of plain speaking or alternatively; surveillance and covert research)
I had a ‘ping’ moment, took a deep breath and said, ‘Yes or No? Have you, or have you not, recently visited a solicitor with a view to asking about a divorce, but without telling your wife?’
‘Yes,’ he said, and the Tarot proceeded to share its insights surrounding this event and its ramifications past, present and possible future.
That might seem a reasonably specific psychic hit for someone who does not advertise as a clairvoyant (though I am sometimes, and sometimes clairaudient) but he remained unresponsive, politely thanking me for my time when we finished.
It is your time and money, and the reader’s time and energy. Research their service.
During a reading the other day, with a delightful client; charming, brave and resourceful, we looked first at a number of questions focussed on her two businesses. Then the conversation moved to children’s activities and prospects, and in respect of her son, 18, I drew the Four of Cups and said, is this how he’s been sometimes, lately? Fed up, irritable and restless, wanting to do something new but not yet able to decide, or make a start?
The card prompting this question was the Four of Cups, a card commonly nicknamed ‘the bored boy,’ and whether you’re a boy or not, it’s an unpleasant state of mind, even while it’s not exactly a problem you can do nothing about.
So, what might be the path ahead for him? I drew The Eight of Pentacles, and as you can see, it shows an apprentice at work, happily engrossed, so much so, he is burning the midnight oil, watched by a mouse who’s probably hoping for a crumb of his supper.
‘I think he will do well in an apprenticeship, head and hand working together in unity, making or crafting something,’ I said.
He was wondering about something like that, the client said, maybe technical drawing.
Yes! Good choice.
‘What about the RAF?’ I said, ‘I feel it might be worth his while to see whether they’re recruiting.’
‘That’s amazing!’ she said. ‘How did you know? He has been talking about a technical apprenticeship in the RAF.’
OK then, his next port of call is sorted, and if he doesn’t end up there exactly, it will be something of that kind.
The 4 of a bored boy becomes the 8 of a busy boy, and to be busy, is very often to be happy.
Is the word or idea of the RAF anywhere written in the cards? No, of course not. This was just another instance of a word springing out, using a card as a diving board. Gob-shiting, I call it. Such are the various ways of reading the Tarot.
When I draw The Fool card in a reading, the Major Arcana card numbered Zero, or in some decks numbered 22, it may classically signify good news; a birth, a welcome opportunity, a fresh start of any significant kind. I drew it this very day, for a client who is not just moving house, but changing a way of life, and it is absolutely the right way to go. It suggests taking a chance, a leap of faith. Reversed, it cautions against hastiness. You need time. You need more information. You need to think, properly think, or you will do summat truly daft.
But the Fool has other, darker associations, as fools and jesters and solitary wanderers always have, in western culture. There are good reasons people are afraid of clowns, the jokers in the pack. The Tarot’s Fool is the Joker in a pack of ordinary playing cards, and means the same things, if you are using playing cards to read with.
The Fool represents that which haunts all margins and borders. The ‘outwalker;’ that being. force or agency, which observes and may, given opportunity and sufficient reason, may find its way in to where you do not want it.
There is another Tarot card, more often cited in association with Odin, or Odin-esque associations. This is The Hanged Man, Major Arcana number 12. Odin hung upside down on the world tree, Yggdrasil, for 9 days for knowledge, and for a world view gained through a changed perspective.
But The Fool card, Trump 0 of the Major Arcana, contains something as frightening as it is innocent, not only birth and opportunity but something not quantifiable, as real as it is unreal, a ‘thusness’ or haacceity more implacable than Death.
that property or quality of a thing by virtue of which it is unique or describable as ‘this (one)’
the property of being a unique and individual thing.
“he has a paramount concern with haecceity, the thisness of things”
Zero is a something as well as a nothing. Even leaving the philosophical questions aside, and they are bogglers, without 0, as without 1, there is no binary, and no digital age.
Zero draws the Number of the Fool
But only fools will fail to fear
The oddly smiling one who walks alone
Magician, outland, dawn and dusk
Fleeting, glimpsed by tree and mere
Where ripples lap without a breeze
Or single casting of a stone
Zero, Odin’s one remaining eye
His other traded for all kenning
Out-with the knowing of the Norns
Nine days he hung considering
On Yggdrasil, the great ash tree
But Life is flux, and, unfulfilled
Does Odin walk abroad with Men
Entranced, he follows their technology
Their blindly restless struggles to get free
Refusing that their final liberty
Is in their choice of sacrifice
Their ultimate expression
In their direst of necessity
Insatiably, dispassionate, he watches, waits
And sometimes smiles, but has no tears
For what might dim or blind his sight
Of conjurings and reckonings with Fate
The new born come, and dead depart
His scouts of Thought and Memory
Twin ravens, Hugin, Munin, fly
Through Odin’s questing, flaming Eye
The singing echo-chamber of The Gate.
My brother and his wife were selling their house. The Moon card reflected, amongst other more specific things, their uncertainty about when it might sell and where they would go next.
It had been on the market the previous year and they had pulled it due to lack of buyer interest. It had gone back on the market in late May, and now it was mid June.
I whirled my cards about blind and drew the Three of Wands. Since Wands cards deal with travel, property, sales and movement in general, the immediate appearance of this commercial card was encouraging for better luck this time around.
‘There’ll be viewers soon,’ I said. ‘The future is not set in concrete but chances are good, you’ll have a suitable offer on it within three viewings, or within three weeks, three months max.’
‘We’ve had three viewings already, sis, he said.
‘Oh, OK,’ I said, ‘Well, I’ll be picking that up, I expect, but the cards often say several things at once. It’s still looking likely there’ll be developments sooner rather than later.’
Big deal, one might say. How very oracular and vague.
Well, er, quite. Oracles are not always easy to decipher, even for the oracular practitioner.
I now drew the Ace of Pentacles. This is the Tarot’s ultimate house, job and money card.
My brother and his wife have moved to a country lane near Stroud. This card proved a quite literal foreshadowing of their new home.
Illustrations from The Gilded Tarot, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti. Buy on Amazon and other places or visit his website: http://www.ciromarchetti.com/
‘Positive developments round about the middle of July,’ I said, ‘It’s looking like the sale of house, or it’s job-related or both.’
Then I drew the King of Swords and the Queen of Pentacles. ‘I’m seeing your buyers here, I think. They’re a couple, just as you’d expect. She’s probably got dark hair and maybe eyes; very house proud, and he…well, he might be a legal advisor, or policeman; or it’s possible, a military man.’
The following week they had an offer on the house which they neither accepted nor declined, as it was well below the asking price and early days, the prospective buyer wanted to push for a very early completion. Then they received another offer a few days after that from another prospective buyer, a few days later. It was closer to the asking price, and less urgent for completion and they accepted.
Sales can fall through of course, and they had quite a rocky time of it but the sale went through and what made me smile was this news of the buyer: a family man, married with three children, and whether currently serving or not, my brother doesn’t know, but the buyer was not only a soldier but a Gurkha.
My brother and his wife are selling their house. They put it on the market at the end of May. Lots of things are up in the air for them both; whether to look to buy again or rent for a while pending possible career moves for them both in the not too distant future. He and I were chatting on the phone a couple of weeks ago, about all this, and I drew blind cards, shuffling them about with my free hand while we were chatting.
‘Hey, Boofs,’ I said (nickname for a younger brother who used to be in his own toddler words, a ‘bad boofs’) ‘has there been any illegal hunting going on near you that you’re aware of: badger-baiting, for instance?’
‘Not that I’ve heard of, particularly,’ he said, ‘but I’ve had a few suspicions lately. I’ve seen a few dead badgers on the road and thought, they’ve not died there. They’ve been put there afterwards.’
That’s probably what I’m picking up, then,’ I said. ‘Or why else am I pulling this card and thinking; hunter, hunting…a hunter’s moon?’
I had pulled out at The Moon Card from Kat Black’s Golden Tarot, pictured by kind permission of US Games, available to buy on Amazon and other places.
Traditional Associations for this card: Psychism, Artistic Vision, Dreams, Delusion, Lies, Error, Infidelity, Danger, Travel, Infection, Fertility, Pregnancy.
‘F*** me!’ he said, ‘We’ve been thinking about maybe going to stay at the Hunter’s Inn, next week, in Exmoor…’
In fact, they did not go and stay there. They went on a day-trip down to the Dorset coast instead, and had a nice day out though my brother got lost, according to my lovely sister-in law, something he indignantly denied.
And so, the Moon card was not predicting, not forecasting, it was just facilitating enhanced telepathic communication, making literal use of the card’s imagery. Tarot will often work this way, and this is often how the most ‘far out’ or psychic insights are triggered.
Establishing the difference is what can make Divination so tricky, you just have to go with your gut, and there is no card trickier than the Moon card.
Constant in inconstancy, fidelity in fickleness…
Part Two coming up tomorrow, that’s Sunday, or else Moon-day *cough* 🙂
The rain beat down on the garage roof, washing August away, just as it had washed July away and most of June before that. The British Isles, like most of northern Europe, was losing its summer. It was coming soon, Joe thought, and fear gripped his belly.
He held Suzette, stroking her to calm himself while he considered the situation. Deciding when to put to sea was tricky. Too late would be…too late, but if he embarked too soon, he’d be eating into provisions unnecessarily. Noah had provisioned for a voyage lasting ten months, but then, he’d had the benefit of inside information.
‘We’ll be all right, Suzy, hinny,’ he told his pet, ‘I’ll make sure of that. But what am I going to do about the wife?’
Suzette cocked her head as if considering, her beady gaze held his, unblinking. Joe had tried to explain to Linda about the bird’s intelligence, but Linda detested Suzette, and said pigeons were thick, and they were vermin, and good for nothing but a pie. Joe knew better, and that that was just Linda’s jealousy talking. Suzette’s plumage was the colour of heather on the moors, or the hills at twilight, and with the little bird’s plump warmth in his hand, he always felt better, somehow.
He tidied away and she followed, pecking at wood shavings, picking them up and dropping them again until he was done and scooped her up, dropping a kiss on the top of the small head, hard as a nut, placing her in the cage he had built for her.
‘Sweet dreams, little hen. See you in the morning.’ The cage had everything he could think of; a nest box, a perch, toys, even a mirror. She had everything but the company of her own kind and the open sky, but Joe didn’t think she minded. He had reared her from a chick, hatching the egg in his beanie; she had never known anything else.
It was after five. Time to get the tea on before Linda came home from work. Joe went through into the house, there was a connecting door – straight into the hallway and no need to get wet.
Joe was an unemployed shipwright, nearly twenty years at Swan Hunter until the day came when they all got the chop and he had come home, stumbling with shock, his leaving cards in his hands, and walked in to find Linda, his wife, on the sofa on top of one of his friends. He’d never forget the look on her face as she ground her hips, looking down avid at the man on the sofa. Then she turned and saw him, and the look changed. Joe’s love for his wife died on the spot, snuffed out by the shock, though later when he calmed down, he understood why she’d done it.
They were childless. Joe was sad about it, but for Linda it was a sporadic madness, a devouring need she could not leave alone. I want more tests, she’d said. I want IVF. But Joe wouldn’t agree, and it wasn’t the money, though they had little enough of that to spare. No, it wasn’t that. But forcing gates just broke things in his experience, starting with the gate itself and now, he decided that Linda’s betrayal was not only a desperate attempt at a solution, but revenge.
Resisting his first terrible, desperate desire to punch her into the middle of next week – though he caught his friend later in an alley and gave him a kicking that left the other man retching on hands and knees, Joe mulled it over and decided he’d accept whatever blameless little cuckoo came as a result of this betrayal. He was even, secretly and not without a sense of shame, a little excited at the prospect and caught himself waiting, counting, watching for signs. But Linda’s plan, if that’s what it had been, came to nothing. Joe realised with the dullness of grief, there was not going to be any nestling. Not even a cuckoo. They talked about divorce but neither made the first move, and so they carried on, together but apart.
It was one night soon after this, that Joe had had The Dream. Had not God told Noah, hadn’t He solemnly promised, he would never do it again? But look what He was up to now! Flooding was never out of the news, rescue boats plying high streets the length and breadth of Britain and the price of everything going up. Lying as if paralysed in his solitary bed, staring sightless at the wall, Joe saw a land drowned by rain and river, sea and sky, and a wave that came as if from nowhere, the water cycle violently seeking new stasis as the ice caps melted.
He watched helpless, as a torrent came down the Tyne, bent bridges like hair grips and shoved them out to sea. People were swept away or crushed as they ran with their screeching children for the high places, and were overtaken. The Angel of the North looked on as buildings, bridges, roads were pulled apart like Lego, chewed and spat out. Afterwards came a hush, and the smell of rot, and the thriving of flies as the terrible silence and the empty days stretched on.
Everyone had nightmares and usually it was little more than a case of cheese at bedtime, Joe understood that perfectly well. But he also knew it could be something altogether different, something so much more. He’d foreseen his mother’s death in a dream and ignored it…it was only a dream, wasn’t it, and then, three days later they’d found her, dead on her bed, arm outstretched for the pills she’d been trying to reach, just as he’d seen in his dream.
There was indigestion, and there was prophecy, it wasn’t easy deciding which was which. Joe hadn’t forgiven himself for not going to his mother, he could not, and now, waking with a headache and needing to be sick, he decided this time, he would not turn away, to betray his vision. He would trust himself and carry out his own shipbuilding project. He did not tell anyone. Who would have believed him, and there was no-one he cared to confide in. But if a shipwright wasn’t up to the challenge, who was?
His decision made, Joe now had a plan, and was in oddly high spirits, negotiating the purchase of a little boat and two dinghies, spending every penny of his redundancy money. Linda spat fury. She even threw things, but Joe did not explain, didn’t make any attempt at trying to enlighten her, just stayed out of her way in the garage, customizing the boat, a seventeen-foot Arran, adding an outboard motor, a petrol tank and an automatic pump. He extended the tiny day cabin, and carpentered drop-down stabilizers, enabling the boat to function as a trimaran.
He applied himself, learning to use a compass and maps, he followed the shipping news. He took to hanging around the trawlers at Tynemouth until a skipper agreed to take him out as an unpaid pair of hands and he threw up all the way out and back again. Meteorology classes came next, and geography field trips with the Workers Education Institute.
Joe became a man of singular education, and though he had few certificates to show for it, he knew he was going to be put to the ultimate test, and he didn’t know when, but it would be soon. Meanwhile, he stopped seeing the few friends he’d kept in touch with after the thing with Linda, and kept his own counsel – the thing was too big, anyway, he wouldn’t have known how to set about telling people. He avoided Linda and he made the evening meal without fail every evening, his tribute for the uneasy peace between them, and was mixing a vinaigrette for a salad when the slam of the front door said Linda was home, and not in a good humour.
Linda Steel had one of those upside-down mouths that said she rarely smiled, and she was almost entirely sure she hated her husband with a passion. She would look at his lean, rangy body, and then his soft eyes, his soft mouth, almost flower-like in its softness, and think how deceptive were appearances. Joe was hard and cold, merciless and unyielding. He’d never touched her since that day. He barely ever even looked at her, never mind talked to her but he’d driven her to it, not listening to her about the baby. They ate in silence, rain oozing down the window panes, thick as dog slobber.
‘You do know it’s the Great Flood again, Linda?’ Joe said suddenly, over a forkful of tomato. She goggled at him, ‘You what?’
‘The Great Flood,’ he said, and took another mouthful. He had debated whether to say anything and had decided not to, but it seemed something within him had a different idea, some vestige of a love long dead, or just pity, ‘coming soon to a town near you. Want to ride it out with me, come with me on the boat? I’ll be taking it down to Tynemouth day after tomorrow.’
Linda spluttered and began to choke. Joe watched impassively. Her eyes were like gooseberries and he didn’t like gooseberries. Why did he used to think she was so pretty? It wasn’t until Linda’s face began to go purple that he scraped back his chair and slapped her back for her. Slap, slap, SLAP.
‘Water,’ she croaked, flapping her hand. He fetched it and sat down again. ‘You know,’ he went on as if nothing had happened, ‘we’ll need to be well out to sea when that wave comes in, not to get caught between it and the river. Then if we make it, if we can get clear, we’ll sail up to Hexham. Or mebbes the Cheviots. Whatever – Noah used the dove, Suzette’ll help us find the best place.’
‘I’d laugh,’ she said, still wheezing, ‘Except I’m not sure you’re joking? What have you been up to, Joe? Been at the wacky baccy, have we, out there in the garage? This isn’t Bangladesh or Japan. We don’t get tsunamis here.’
She drained the tumbler of water. ‘Aye, well,’ he said, clearing the plates. ‘We do actually. Ever heard of the Bristol tsunami, 1607? Ever heard there was a time once, you could walk from here to Denmark, till a tsunami drowned the land bridge? But never mind. Cassandra couldn’t tell them either.”
‘The wooden horse,’ Joe explained. ’She knew it was bad news, but you can’t tell people, can you? But I had to try. You’re still my wife, for what it’s worth.’
‘Oh, I see,’ she said, not seeing at all. ‘Well, thank you, kind sir, you bloody loony. I’m very grateful, I’m sure.’’
The Dream came to Joe again that night. Linda heard his whimpers through the wall, and thought, serves him right, turning over and pulling the duvet past her ears. Many a night she had cried herself to sleep.
Next day the boat was ready. One of the dinghies held provisions, while the other was for Linda, kitted with a week’s iron rations. Suzette perched on the rim preening, while Joe checked the inventories. Next evening he led Linda into the garage for instructions. She listened, arms folded, tapping her foot. ‘And how long may we expect this little jaunt to last?’ she said bitingly, ‘may one venture to ask when your lordship will be coming home?’
He sighed. ‘You don’t get it, do you, Linda?’
It was sausages and mash for tea, and Linda found sausages a lot easier to swallow than Joe’s prophecy, but watching the evening news, she was bound to agree things were getting alarming. ‘But it was as bad as this, almost, last year,’ she fretted, sitting alone with her coffee. ‘Nothing but rain and everyone ranting and raving about global warming. But August wasn’t too bad, and September, well, it was pretty good.’
Next morning they exchanged the barest of farewells. Linda spent the day at work dodging dripping ceilings and strategically positioned buckets, and came home to find he’d gone, the crackpot, just as he’d said, and so had the boat and that bloody useless bird. The silence boomed as she peeled off her sopping tights, and looked in the fridge. She couldn’t be bothered to cook. She made a cup of tea and cheese sandwiches instead, eating on the prowl, uneasy and unexpectedly lonely without her old enemy in range.
‘Well, pardon me for pointing this out’, she said to the empty room and the invisible Joe. ‘I’d hate to contradict you, Joe, but the world still appears to be here.’
But then in the small hours, something woke her. Strange noises in the street. She dashed to the window and looked out but the street was dark, the street lights were all out. A power cut again! She flung up the window and shrieked. Her car – everybody’s car – was heading down the street, borne on a rising tide. Other heads came poking out of windows, voices ascended, shrill with alarm. The street was a river. The river was growing. The rain was stabbing the earth to death.
Linda flew down the stairs and was met by water. She dragged the garage door open; a cold rill flowed round her thighs. Wading to the dinghy, her effort was impeded by the dark, and the ballooning of her pyjama bottoms. Linda sobbed, teeth chattering, as she flopped in bottom first, and fumbled to untie the mooring rope. Thank God she’d left the outer garage doors open as per Joe’s instructions. You’ll be trapped like a rat otherwise, he had warned her, and despite herself, despite everything, she had listened. Thank God.
‘Oh, Joe,’ she whimpered, and remembered all the ways she’d ever loved him, and he had loved her. And Joe had wanted her to make it, he had, sincerely, but she did not, all the same.
His vision was both correct and not. It was a point of technicality. Not the dam. The monstrous wave that came racing across the North Sea from Norway, the fatal collapse of a fjord wall, would have scuppered Linda’s frail chances for sure, but Joe’s pet had already secured the ultimate negative outcome. Rubber might not be tasty, but shredding it was a small amusement for a little bird in a moment of boredom, and now the idle activity of Suzette’s tiny beak slowly but surely laid waste Joe’s careful planning for his wife’s separate survival. Linda’s dead body went spinning down Church Street to St Peters, where her ankle got hooked in railings, and she was trapped there, a dancer graceful in eternal pilgrimage.
Joe came sailing in over her head some days later, coming in from the sea, following Suzette as they headed west under clear and sunny skies. The sea was blue again after the months of grey, and sparkling in the sun, but there were things in the water that did not bear looking at and Joe was careful not to look. What good would it do? The past was dead and gone. His new life started now.
First Published in ‘More Tonto Short Stories,’ by Tonto Press, 2007 . Performed at The Durham Book Fair, 2008 and & later, revised and published on-line with ‘Litro’ Magazine, 2014
Oh no! Oh, yes, I’m afraid. I wish it wasn’t so, but I undertake to demonstrate divination at work in the real world. Sometimes it’s fun, at least for me and I hope it is for you but sometimes it just can’t be. The title gives fair warning. Pass by if you can’t bear it, but if you’re learning Tarot, try to stay with it and not flinch. You may one day find yourself faced with someone in deep distress, hoping to find not solutions or advice, but some kind of sustenance, or at least meaning in their situation. The Tarot will rise to these occasions, if you will. because the Tarot is you, yourself, your deepest, archaic and arcane self.
Her Golden Tarot is another favourite, but one likes to ring the changes now and then.
It’s duckling time again out on the pond, and Nature is wreaking carnage, red in beak and claw. The most relentless predators by day are the sea-gulls. There are two duck mothers this season; one with an excellent track record of rearing and one with a dismal record. The successful mother has for the past 3 years, the neighbours downstairs tell us, reared at least 6 ducklings to independence from a brood of 12-15. The less successful mother loses them all and cries loudly. Anyone who says animals don’t feel what we do doesn’t watch closely enough. If they forget more quickly than we do, if they do, and I have my doubts, well, they need to, and it’s a blessed mercy.
It was cold, and the dismal duck was down to the last of her twelve ducklings on Monday night when Il Matrimonio went over to the pond to feed them, watching as the last duckling ran calling after its mother and she ignored it, eating and then wandering off. Maybe she had given up, and decided it was just no use, and all was lost.
A gull alighted, lingering near the duckling as it crouched shivering, calling for its mother. Seeing this Il Matrimonio could bear it no more, and it was not a ‘good’ thing to do; he knew that; we’ve watched enough David Attenborough, but there it is. The HUMAN animal, male as well as female, is hot-wired to respond to the cry of an infant in distress, and to the immediate, the personal and the particular.
Therefore, enter Il Matrimonio with one shivering duckling. By bedtime it had eaten enthusiastically (not bread; proprietary duck food) It had drunk lots, splashed about in a shallow dish and done much sitting in cupped hands, clearly regarding these as a warm place and acceptable brooding alternative.
It slept on a towel in the bath, curled into the lap of a large teddy bear. Next day it ran around, ate, drank, paddled, pecked my bare feet, calling for its mother, and was incessantly demanding of Il Matrimonio’s cupped hands for brooding.
‘What’s the plan?’ I fretted, ‘it’s been warmed and fed; it needs other ducks; it needs its mother, to go back as soon as possible and take its chances along with the other ducklings. Maybe the other duck will take it.’
Ducks can count, of course. There was no question of her being fooled by the appearance of an extra duckling.
‘It would be murder,’ said Il Matrimonio. The other duck was unlikely to accept it.
The one hope, and it was a long shot, was to get little D big enough to be safe from gulls, then return it in clement weather, and let it take its chances then. And indeed, it seemed to grow bigger even overnight.
But after Il Matrimonio brought D in on Monday night, I had drawn The Devil card, The Four of Coins and Death.
The Devil shows Pan/Nature in violent aspect. This is the truth, that Nature is full of violence. One creature or many creatures must die for another to live.
The Four of Coins represents holding on, a holding action, a brooding of money or other material possessions or objects.
Death speaks for itself. Many Tarot readers today won’t have it that the Death card may actually represent Death. Too unpalatable. Sorry to disagree. Call me old-fashioned, but the oracular mind is not susceptible to convenient reinvention.
The Death card does not always mean physical death, it is true. It may mean an ending in any other sense, or a transforming situation such as the ending of a job, or other situation, but to say it never does is to create the most enormous elephant in the room. Sometimes it has meant exactly what it says. Death as represented by this card is usually natural, often timely, rarely cruel or violent. There are worse cards the Tarot could use if it needed to communicate a sensing to do with such a terrible picture as that.
Last night at bedtime, little D looked so tired, head drooping as she sat in Il Matrimonio’s hands I felt a misgiving. I said, ‘she looks like she’s dying.’
‘Just a very tired little thing,’ he said, ‘aren’t you? Bed time! Yes!’
Little D passed away very early in the morning, found lying with her eyes shut, still warm, head snugged into the lap of the teddy bear.
Tears in my cup of tea.
Sick? I asked the Tarot? Had she got too cold? Stressed?
‘Strength Reversed’, replied the Tarot.
Little D had no strength left. It had all been just all too much.
She was too dead tired.
Read here for Mallard Duckling Rescue information.
A tale of two cats ( and there’s another Miaow Tarot Tale or two in the archives.) Daughter Numera Una, an Animal Care Assistant, and a brill one; rang one evening, ‘we have lost Elsa- cat. Will you look in your cards about it? We’ve been searching and calling for the last three hours.’
She had recently moved address and had two cats, both girls, Elsa and Salem. Elsa was very gentle, borderline dozy, Salem’s practically a genius. Here they are. Elsa top, Salem below with RT. You might be forgiven for wondering which one is the thickie and vice- versa. All I can say is, Salem was being seriously disrespected, being made to wear that pink combo which was actually Elsa’s.
Where might Elsa be? Let me say loud and clear I had no idea, how would I?
I drew the Moon card first, look at the picture, and put it to my daughter, that Elsa-cat might have been frightened from returning by a barking dog living only a door or two away.
She confirmed there was a barking dog Elsa didn’t like.
Other meanings for this card: lies, hunting, danger, tricky travel, infection, fertility, psychic dreams,paranoia. But this immediate pictorial association was most I felt was most relevant to Elsa’s absence. Often this is how a Tarot reader works, look-and-speak-and-sod-the-book-meanings.
Next, I drew The Four of Swords; a knight entombed. This card signifies isolation, sickness, hospital visits, chapels and tombs and raised the obvious question, had she got stuck or trapped? I thought of wheelie bins and asked was a collection due next morning? Artemis was horrified, thinking of a notorious incident in the media where a woman had maliciously swiped a kitty into a wheelie bin but the refuse collectors had already been that morning, and I decided Elsa was not trapped inside a wheelie bin, but might well be hiding behind one.
I drew the Five of Wands and asked RT had she been to Number Five to ask if Elsa had been seen there? Yes she had, and the woman had kindly checked her out-houses.
She asked, was Elsa coming home that night?
I drew three more cards, all upside down and said no, I didn’t see that, but I tended to think it would be all right. Elsa was not dead. She was not hurt. She was disorientated by the move, and hiding, no more than three properties away.
Animals may be the primary department of St Francis, but that former librarian, St Anthony, patron saint of lost things, has kindly helped us with lost beasts before, and I suggested she ask him for help in bringing Elsa home.
Next morning I received this message.
Elsa-Smellsa just found 🙂 Could hear plaintive meowing when we called from the back garden coming from property to our rear so walked round and found her cowering down a little ginnel! She was very hungry but none the worse for wear. Salem was behaving very strangely this morning. I think St Antony acted through her somehow…It was her lead I followed when listening out for the meows!
What did I tell you? That Salem cat’s a genius. Yes, and of course, thank you too. Thank you very much, St Antony.
(You don’t have to be Catholic to ask him; we’re not, but sainthood is a state of grace and they won’t hold it against you)
I had a wisdom tooth removed on Monday. I had been putting it off for a long time, five years in fact, on the principle of letting sleeping teeth lie, and following a r-a-t-h-e-r lengthy, nasty and in fact cack-handed previous extraction that left with me with mild parasthesia lasting a year and a half, haunted by a mental picture of a fractured jaw and maybe total and permanent facial paralysis next time.
Anyway, the tooth began to show signs of giving trouble in March and I decided next time I saw my lovely dentist, Catriona, in April, I would instruct her to just go for it and do the deed. She’d been a bit anxious about the tooth for some time, tactfully tending it at check-ups while awaiting my ‘green for go’.
We’d agreed we wouldn’t agree when to do it. We wouldn’t pencil the extraction in ahead of time. Some time when I came in, I’d just tell her to take it out right now and we’d go for it, thus sparing me a wait with the appointment looming like some little Sword of Damocles. She is what I call a properly skilled and emotionally intelligent medical professional.
But *gulp* how would it go this time? The day before my appointment, marked in as a check-up only, I pulled a single Tarot card and drew The Queen of Swords from my Universal Waite deck. Here she is, by kind permission of U.S Games Systems.
Here are the book meanings for this card: The Widow, or necromancer. This card symbolises independence, at its best. Power, intelligence, tactical thinking. The ability to streamline a problem, and find the solution without fuss. At worst, The Queen of Swords can represent isolation, depression and cruelty.
I looked at her and thought, hello there, Catriona. So many times in the past, when this card has shown up in readings for others, it has represented, literally, a woman doctor, dentist, surgeon or lawyer.
Here she was, and on fighting form. Here I was too, another Queen of Swords in the sense that I had made my mind up and Swords is the suit of decision-making.
I put the card back into the deck, shuffled and pulled another card.
And I drew The Queen of Swords again. The card had come up dignified (right way up) and not ill-dignified. I therefore decided it would be fine this time, as done by Catriona.
I took homeopathic arnica 6 beforehand, and afterwards to reduce swelling. It works.
And, a little esoteric detail for those interested in these sorts of associations, the moon was a waning gibbous moon (click the link to view) So much the better for an extraction, some would say, who study these things.
One smooth, though startlingly forceful tug, numbed to the gills, just one, and it was farewell to the devilish dentition, and with no nasty aftermath, either.
Il Matrimonio said how lucky I was, lamenting only that my mouth couldn’t stay numb for three months and not three hours, thus earning himself a swipe to the head, and I think that he too, was lucky.
A sample reading demonstrating these cards in action.
Anonymous Question on Quora: Can Anyone Help, Please?
The person’s question was ‘Is My Boyfriend a sociopath?’ I drew The Ace of Pentacles.
Their Second question was “Will I ever get pregnant?” I drew Ace of Pentacles again.
Their Third question was “Is my bf being truthful to me?” I drew The Hermit.
Images from The Gilded Tarot by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti
Goodness. These are loaded questions with much anxiety attached. And no- one likes to bear discouraging news but these questions reflect discouragement, to say the least. Hearing what you don’t want to hear is the risk you run in consulting with oracles, while sometimes, in reading for ourselves we might be too close to the question, and struggle to see the wood for the trees.
Based solely on these cards, no further cards drawn; I sense this man is not a sociopath. Very far from it. He seems a quiet person. Perhaps cool, withdrawn and ungenerous in communications. How kind or loving a person he is, or how good under pressure I can’t assess based on these cards alone. He’s probably OK with animals, at least. They don’t demand conversation.
Whether he is generally truthful, a card from the suit of Pentacles is not generally indicative of deceit. It may still denote a charmless misery guts or control freakery; someone who may be aloof, mean, miserly, grumpy, greedy or selfish at times, but it is not associated with deceit or active, purposeful malice or cruelty. And sociopath is a strong word indicative of cruelty, whether verbal or going beyond that.
This person, based on these cards, tell the odd lie to safeguard what he feels is his necessary space. He may fib if if he feels pushed.
The question you have not asked, but which is an elephant in the room would seem to be; do you want to keep him, and and if you do, why?
The Hermit clearly suggests it may be wise to take time out, let go, go silent, quietly release him to go his own way. No need for a scene, no need to spell it out. Just see if it does a natural death once you step right back.
That way you will get to see what he then does or does not do to retrieve the situation. And then you can decide how to respond.
At the very least, have a change of scene, go somewhere quiet, a walk in the park. There seems to be a substantial money issue between you; whether this is out in the open or not, with one or the other of you possibly not grasping a basic nettle; a financial nettle. Do you both work?
The Ace of Pentacles suggest there will very likely be a child for you at some future time while The Hermit warns you against pregnancy at this time, and certainly in these circumstances.
You are being warned here, and very clearly, not to set or fall into a trap, forcing any issue between you. If he isn’t forthcoming, won’t meet you half way, it may be that he doesn’t want the same things you want, at least, not at this time. If he says that he doesn’t, believe him. If he is withdrawn, there is some problem.
Your questions do not bode well for your confident future together. What is coming across is your doubt and mistrust. He may be a sociopath, he may be a liar, you suggest. These are angry questions. Why do you want him? The Ace of Pentacles suggests not only a money issue but perhaps an age or maturity issue, especially in conjunction with the Hermit. Is he quite a bit older than you?
The Ace often signifies a new job, sometimes a new home. I sense you will have the home you wish for one day, but you may need to walk alone awhile between now and that time, and if so, it will be all to the good, even if it does not feel that way right now.
I hope there is something here that you can use for the best.
The cover image for this post is the Three of Cups from the Gilded Tarot by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti. It signifies rejoicing, parties, friendships and news of weddings and births.
Now the first dust has settled, I look back at my Tarot’s sensings. Tarot Readers were in much discussion online about this great event as you can imagine, solitary birds huddling together sharing their findings; I received a couple of messages from fellow readers beforehand asking what I felt about it, two telling me they judged it a ‘yes,’ two other judging it a ‘no,’ like me.
Reading for a mass event is like trying to read the hive-mind, which is not at all the same proposition as reading for an individual. What I try and do, while shuffling my cards is to imagine myself further on in time, hearing what the result was. Later I may have a go at the next General Election the same way.
16 June 2014 I tweeted that the signs via the Tarot were consistently a ‘no’ vote for Scottish Independence.
The morning of the polls, before the polls opened I looked again to see if anything had changed, and shared on Facebook via the thread of respected fellow tarot reader Richard Abbott that in favour of a ‘yes’ vote I had drawn:
The Tower Death
In favour of a ‘no’ vote I had drawn
Ace of Wands Reversed (upsdie down) The Four of Cups The Wheel of Fortune Reversed.
Richard messaged to ask for my further interpretation.
To get at the odds I use card counting.
I drew two cards for ‘Yes’ and three for ‘No’. Therefore it read as 2:3 and I read this as a NO.
In the ‘Yes’ lobby, The Tower and Death were powerful cards; very powerful indeed. Both cards of the Major Arcana and The Tower card indicates a shock, a crash, the fall of a tower of babel, and this was an emotionally violent campaign, while Death signifies an ending as in the end of the Union
In the ‘No’ lobby’ The Ace of Wands Reversed signifies a departure not made, a flame that fails to ignite. The Four of Cups signifies dissatisfaction, it’s nickname is ‘bored boy’ – but there is not either the means or will, or both, to start again from scratch. The Wheel of Fortune card emerging upside down suggests that the people of Scotland sensed the timing was not, is not favourable, and for reasons beyond individual control but also national control. It represents an anticipated downward turn in fortunes should an action be taken.
From this I sensed that the vote would be no, but that those who wished to vote ‘No’ had better not rely on other ‘No’ voters to carry the day.
They had better actually go to the polls and vote; they were the majority, but this was a vigorous and determined minority and I tweeted that same morning to that effect.
I feel, having no particular vested interest in the outcome, though dear family in Scotland, the people of Scotland made the right choice for Scotland at this time. Had the ‘No’ campaign not become anxious, had the turn out been poor…it might just have gone differently. The story is over for now, but probably not for good.
‘Psychics should be licenced,’ Katie-Ellen’s response.
The Question: We require hairdressers to be licensed, why not psychics? They should have to demonstrate actual psychic powers, by some process such as JREF (James Randi Educational Foundation) could design.
A Reader’s Response:
I follow the questioner’s reasoning. As it stands it is ‘caveat emptor.’ How best to protect consumers of such services? The solution proposed however would be neither meaningful nor workable. It demonstrates a lack of understanding.
The best, and in fact, only true judge of value in a psychic reading is the client. Readings generally, though not necessarily, takes place in private and in confidence, which the client is free to break, of course.
Stage psychics are up there to stand or fall for everyone to see; brave souls, whatever your view of them. They are unusually and genuinely gifted communicators for the most part, I would say. But whether a medium is communicating with the minds of the dead, OR is telepathically communicating with the living minds of those who knew the deceased, I would not presume to pronounce. Either way, it is a wonder what can emerge. I am myself, not a medium, but clients have sometimes told me I’ve said something a dead loved one used to say, using exactly their turn of phrase, when there has been no spirit in the room that I have been aware of. I have tended to think, myself, that this happened out of my intense connection in that moment, with the living person sitting right there with me.
The Moon Card from the Universal Waite
To perform at his or her best, the psychic needs to relax on the one hand, and concentrate on the other. The ‘best’, most startlingly accurate insights arise from reading in this state. I once read for two volunteers off the street, reading for them individually in the presence of a journalist. It was for a feature in a magazine. The volunteers were pleased with their readings, but the presence of the journalist was off-putting for me. I said less than I would otherwise have done, because it wouldn’t have been right for these volunteers to have seen their privacy breached in a national circulation magazine.
In this work, the quality of the reading you get will reflect the reader’s own personal and professional capabilities and background, while no resting on laurels is possible and reputation is everything. The client can judge at once, the accuracy, relevance and meaningfulness of what the psychic is saying to them, about them, and their present situation. In respect of forecasts, only time will tell as to accuracy. Confidence in forecasts is based on what is said about the clients present circumstances, and past events.
Often the client provides feedback. Sometimes they don’t, or might do so a long time afterwards. Many today leave feedback on-line, as well as by word of mouth. Free advertising is invaluable to the psychic, while negative feedback can offer a clear warning to potential clients. Do some research before booking a reading and trust yourself in choosing a reader you feel you could relate to, offering a clearly stated service that matches what you are looking for.
A visit to a licensed premises such as a cinema to see a film licensed for release is no guarantee of satisfaction or entertainment. Visiting a trained and qualified counsellor is not any guarantee either, of any meaningful result, and may not be cheap. (I have myself, received training and certification in counselling, to know the difference between a reading and a counselling session.)
One lady I read for had been paying for counselling for six years, and said she felt she had got more help from a reading than from the counselling. The counsellor was qualified and suitably professionally endorsed and indemnified, no doubt. What nail did that counsellor not hit on the head? The reading might not have helped either, but you see the point.
A problem here is that James Randi is not an impartial, disinterested party. His interest is in prosecuting an agenda. This is not compatible with advancing understanding, nor with promoting excellence of customer service. Who would be qualified to do the licencing? The Office of Fair Trading?
The self-avowed ‘committed skeptic’ is not, I think, a true sceptic. They have taken up a stance, and this is not compatible with genuine inquiry. They are more a new, secular kind of Missionary; these come in many guises, including the rational and secular.
If you’re uncomfortable with the idea of psychics, more uncomfortable than you are interested, well, it is not everyone’s cup of tea and it’s fair enough. Do not risk your valuable time and money.
Il Matrimonio dreaded the schlepp from Lytham to Dover one Wednesday afternoon. He particularly dreaded the return journey on Thursday evening much as he loves and worships his car. I call her Black Betty. Skip if you don’t like this rock classic.
The journey down proved tedious in the extreme, starting with delays at Luton, which persisted one way and another the whole of the rest of the way down.
He rang on Thursday morning to ask me to look in the cards for clues as to the optimal time to set off on his return journey. This was shaping up ominously. An accident at the Dartford Tunnel had been backing up the roads all the way back to Sevenoaks.
He thought he might wait until 9.00PM before setting off, what did the Tarot suggest?
Tarot felt he should set off earlier. ! had my cards beside the phone, loose in a heap and all facing down. I swirled them about with my free hand and pulled out four cards.
Card 1 represented outcome of Departure at 6.00 PM
Card 2 represented outcome of Departure at 7.00 PM
Card 3 represented outcome of Departure at 8.00 PM
Card 4 represented outcome of Departure at 9.00 PM
Against 7.00 PM I drew the Two of Swords. A lady sits, blindfolded, holding two crossed swords. If you leave at 7.00 I told him, you’ll have a largely clear run, but there will be one slower patch, maybe roadworks.
If you leave at 8.00, I said, looking at the Ace of Swords, you should have a straight clear run, or at least, the best you’ll get.
That was because this card represents a) a good decision and b) represents a sword that cuts a Gordion Knot, or to put it less politely, cuts through the crap.
Il Matrimonio by no means acts on all such suggestions coz we all have free will, innit?
On this occasion, he had a nap, set off at 7.40 PM and arrived home at 00.20 (Two of Swords)
Although as he had set out, Tarot’s rival, the great god, Tom-Tom, had predicted an arrival time of 00.45.
There were no jams or problems whatsoever during the 330 mile drive home. Tarot beat Tom-Tom. Yay.
No, it doesn’t, really. The oracle of Tarot would never be so uncouth as to bellow like that, sniff. But I bet you know what’s coming, you bunch of psychics, you.
Yes, I’m talking about last night’s footie: England v Poland and I was in mighty good odour for saying to Il Matrimonio twenty minutes BEFORE kick-off that I thought England would win, though it didn’t look as if they’d have an easy time of it against our Polish friends.
As you may already know, England won 2-0; goals scored by Wayne Rooney in the first half ,and captain Stephen Gerrard in the final moments.
England going one up didn’t stop Il Matrimonio screaming at one point that the goal-mouth was too narrow, in his terror that Poland would manage to equalize.
Poland’s goal-mouth was too narrow, was what he meant. England’s goal-mouth was far too wide, of course.
How did I arrive at this opinion?
I used a 3 card counting spread, giving them a 75% chance of a win. I actually drew the same odds for Poland which made it tricky, but the last card drawn for England was a positive one, and the last card for Poland was drawn upside down.
Poland had a really good supporting crowd, as foreseen by the Six of Pentacles (a strong, supporting community)
So, England has qualified to play in The World Cup in Brazil starting in Sao Paolo, June 2014.
Whether I get this right or wrong, is it SAFE to say what I glimpse? : )
If I do, it’s not to try and poop anyone’s party. It’s by testing themselves continually, even if they frighten themselves in the process, that a reader hones their craft, and if you don’t like the answer, just decide it’s wrong, and maybe it will be. What does your instinct tell YOU?
It’s no better than possible they will reach the quarter finals, despite some inspired moments and sterling teamwork. Alas, I see no World card, and in this instance, the card would do what it says on the tin.
I’d better go and hide, before Il Matrimonio sees this…
Mind you, he had decided where he wanted to open an easy access savings account, in which to deposit the proceeds of a recent house sale. He wouldn’t say which of three accounts he had in mind, but asked me to select the best choice for us, using Tarot, to see whether we were in accord. I chose Potential Account A, and put it to him that this was the Option he’d already selected, himself. He confirmed that this was the case. How did I know?
Well,because I drew the supremely numerate King of Swords when looking at Potential Account A, and this, for me, is the card which represents Il Matrimonio, who is a Libra ‘king’, only 3 days shy of Scorpio. The image below is from The Gilded Tarot, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.
Not only did my Tarot’s findings accord with his inner accountant, but we were on the same page about the best place to put the money, therefore, no need for shouting or plate throwing, and, it is he, I assure you, who would be the one to throw plates. I only throw fruit bowls.
I recently returned from an overseas family vacation driving in Europe, marginally more relaxing than crossing the Alps with Hannibal. OK, it was intense, but let’s keep a sense of proportion. It was nothing like marching with Hannibal. I had scrambled eggs for breakfast every day, once with chopped chives. The sun shone all week. It was instructive, it made a change, and my husband, Il Matrimonio, was in seventh heaven; king of the road in his lovely new black shiny car that he, ahem, loves.
Below we have the The Chariot card from The Gilded Tarot, representing progress, teamwork, ambition, and literally, a vehicle. Image by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.
Yes, it was Chariot time. What else could one do, but belt up, pray not to need the loo in a hurry; no joke if you’re having to use a wheelchair for any reason, and look and learn?
There was plenty to see; Reims Cathedral, the snowy summit of the Eiger, the battlefields of Ypres. No goats in Switzerland. Perhaps because it was still hot, they were still up on the high pastures. No ghosts in Ypres, or in Polygon Wood, where Kiwis, Aussies and Brits lie, all brothers together, though I wouldn’t have been surprised to have seen one, standing waist high in the tall green fields.
No risk of mal- de- mer, we had gone through the Channel Tunnel. Quick and easy, no fuss, sitting, working up our best French, and in some cases, spoof French, to be spat out 25 minutes in La Belle France.
On the return trip, however, there occurred a minor delay. We had made the crossing. The train had slowed right down. We’d had the announcements thanking us for travelling Euro-Tunnel, and were doing up our seat-belts ready to stop and drive off, when abruptly the train stopped, the lights went out and we were trapped in the dark in the belly of this vast tin-can underwater snake.
We heard announcements and apologies to the effect that power had been lost, preventing us from reaching the platform at Ashford, but hopefully it wouldn’t be long before power was restored.
How long would it be, I wondered? My tarot cards were in my suitcase, but I had my pendulum in my handbag. I held the pendulum, suspending it over my lap and asked, ‘how long till we move? Will it be 5 minutes?’
The pendulum dithered, then began to move in a circle, anti-clockwise. For me, that always means ‘no.’
It wasn’t the answer I was hoping for. So what. That’s the risk in consulting oracles.
‘How long till we move?’ I asked again. ‘Will it be 10 minutes?’ The pendulum hesitated, then began to swing clockwise. For me, that always means yes.
‘Only ten more minutes, with any luck,’ I said to Il Matrimonio, as he sat, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel, in-between kissing it, or wishing he could.
‘Are we there, yet?’ the teen piped up, stirring it from the back of the car.
Il Matrimonio glanced at his watch, to monitor the prediction, and this is why I am able to tell you, the lights came back on, the power was back, and the train began to move, 9 minutes and 50 seconds later.
Anyone can learn to dowse. It’s not magic. OK, it is. It’s everyday human magic. You won’t always get it right. I don’t, but it’s one of those things you get better at with practice.
There are lots of books on the subject, and plenty of how-to articles on-line. No need to spend money to mobilize this magic. You don’t even need to buy a pendulum. You can use a ring on a string, or even a threaded needle, stuck into a cork. You need a cord or string for there to be that crucial swing, when gravity gets hold of the body twitch, when it comes, that’s the answer needing translation, the non-verbal reply coming from your central nervous system.
What you need to do is decide in advance what movement shall mean ‘yes’, what movement shall mean ‘no’, and what shall represent ‘don’t know’, or ‘ask again later.’
Then ask your question, relax, and trust yourself. Learning to trust yourself, that’s the hardest thing you have to teach yourself, if it doesn’t come naturally. It is the challenge in learning Tarot, it is the challenge in using the insights provided by dreams. It is the challenge in learning to believe yourself, and not beat yourself up when you take an instant ‘unfair’ like or dislike to someone or something. Have you ever felt like that and reasoned yourself out of it, only to come full circle?
Your first feeling is the one to trust. It can save much time, energy, heartache, or even money.
You know more than you know you know. Why don’t they teach this in school?
The use of divinatory tools is largely a means of silencing the counter-arguments of the know-it-all front brain. The conscious attention goes to the tool, creating a tiny oasis of stillness in which to more easily connect with the silent voice of the body’s primary intelligence; instinct.
It trumps tunnel vision, any time. Unless, perhaps, it’s a vision in a tunnel.
Has anyone ever foreseen a lottery win with the Tarot? Yes, you will find a link at the bottom of this post, but I haven’t, at least, not yet, for myself or anyone else.
Someone, a friend of a friend whom I don’t know, personally, messaged me via the friend to ask – light-heartedly, this was not a consultation- could I see him winning the Euro Millions Lottery? A big win? Because if I couldn’t, he had apparently said, perhaps he wouldn’t bother to continue buying tickets.
Now, I might not have bothered, but this is a question I have often been asked about. Amongst some readers there is the superstition that this question should not be asked. I can see no ethical or karmic reason why not, so long as you don’t shoot the messenger when you don’t like the answer. Tarot reading is divination, not magic, though Tarot is sometimes used as a magical tool for trying to bring something about.
I understood the man’s question to refer to a BIG win, and I drew three cards,
This was a counting spread where I counted to assess the probability of a yes answer. In the spread I used each flanking card represents 25% and the centre card represents 50%.
The odds were therefore 50: 50 ie the odds you would expect, BUT reading the card literally, and since the King of Pentacles suggests a money king, and he had come out upside-down, as seen below in this image from I think, the Radiant Tarot, a Rider-Waite based deck, the odds reduced.
The final card is like turning over the last page in a storybook to get the ending.
I say what I see, no dissing the oracle, and my reply was therefore no, I did not see any significant lottery win, but I saw other good stuff. The Devil Reversed and The Lovers.
I sensed he had a passion about to be fulfilled, maybe to do with music or entertainments, then I learned he was a musician and amateur DJ.
The friend joked that now I was out of favour, telling him this bad news, (sigh, well this goes with the territory)
He asked, could a prediction not be overturned?
Another possible response might have been to say, oh bah. Well, that chimes with my gut, and that’s a few quid saved on buying tickets. But the risk in asking oracles anything, is that you might not like the answer, so the bargain is, not to shoot the messenger should you not win the Tarot Lottery of hearing what you long to hear.
The Emperor Tiberius used to ‘shoot’ his messengers. He had his soothsayers hurled off the cliff tops on Capri, if he did not like their sooth-ing, except for one called Thrasyllus who made him laugh by sooth-ing that he could feel his life was in danger at that very moment. And indeed it was, but Tiberius was so tickled he decided to let him off. I can’t help feeling, that their terror in reading for Tiberius is not likely to have increased their accuracy.
But, in answer to his question, yes, it might be that a prediction can be overturned. The future is subject to change, apart from the certainty of physical death, and readers can misconstrue the cards. I offer forecasts, not predictions.
What’s the difference? A forecast is a sniffing of the air, sensing prevailing and coming weather, an intuiting of trends, and a qualified reckoning of odds, unlike predictions which make flat statements about the future as if it is a done deal.
Therefore, to the friend asking whether my forecast that he will not win the Euro Millions Lottery can be overturned, I’d only say, I see it’s a ‘no’ by all means, chance your arm if you feel you can afford to. You can’t win if you don’t buy tickets (remembering that the original question was, did I see a big win, because if I didn’t, he might not bother to buy tickets.)
What were the chances of him overturning my forecast?
I drew positive cards, but no actual money card. This did not imply future poverty to come, but was a symbolic with-holding of that particular jackpot. The question as stated is the context to stick with.
Hope as they say, springs eternal, and I for one, am not knocking it. There is ALWAYS the chance of the wild card. And that card is the Wheel of Fortune, as illustrated in this newspaper story.
I told him he had good news coming. Not a Lottery win but a lucky break.
His good news was not long in coming. The tarot had given a 50:50 answer for its own good reasons, not just to do with the laws of chance, because in a sense he DID woin the lottery.
A few weeks after this he was made DJ of his very own radio programme.
How about that for a jackpot. AND he had earned it.
Il Matrimonio had gone out, Dad’s taxi service, collecting Brat No 2 from the pictures. Or maybe it was the pub, because 35 minutes later, it had taken a r-ather long time for this errand. What was occurring? I pulled a card from my Gilded Tarot deck and drew The Ace of Pentacles/Coins/Disks.
OK, They were just arriving home, then. And so they were, I heard the front door open at that very moment. We had also, the previous day, returned home from a long trip. You look in the Tarot to find out what you don’t know, but often what you see is what you do know.
The message here is I suppose two- fold. To obtain an accurate reflection of what you already know is to have a benchmark for the accuracy of forecasts. And, you might think you don’t know something, when actually, you do. The answer is just lodged too deep for you to recognize it, and Tarot digs to fetch it out into the light.
The Ace of the Earth suit, signifying or forecasting home, a new home or house, often with a green garden, a new contract or job or other new source of income, is considered a most fortunate card unless it’s drawn reversed. The best things of earthly life. It may also refer specifically to a physical object, I’ve known it flag up a lost ring and a lost briefcase, and in both cases, the items were recovered as foreseen.
There are the book meanings for tarot cards, then there are the meanings you add through working with them, but last night, the Ace was just doing what it says on the tin.
Shame there was no wild stoat, or ferret, ahhhh. A ferret went to sleep on my arm once, tail hanging down, and it snored nearly as loud as does Il Matrimonio. It was funny when the ferret did it, such is the unfairness of life.
The Tarot is a cosmic ferret. Great fun to send it down rabbit holes, and hold it when it snores, but it needs handling with care. The teeth are sharp and…. my God it can stink.
I have had the cards out on a few football questions recently, out of interest. Not my interest, particularly, but Il Matrimonio’s.
This is such a poisoned chalice. When I get stuff like this right, he’s intrigued and chuffed, but he’s likely to turn round next day and say it was a good guess, or deny I’d told him what I’d told him, the treasonous reptile. If I get it wrong, he’ll jeer, whereupon I beat him back into his vivarium, and would throw a cockroach after him, if I could find one.
I’ll have a go at these questions anyway. I’m not charging for this work, it forms no part of my professional service, not directly. It’s to benefit my own study. How else does may one study the workings of intuition except to test it on those questions where one has no emotional stake?
I looked and said I thought it was Wigan Athletic to win this match. I assessed their chances as 75% likely to win (but I did not see them winning their next match, I tweeted to this effect, and sadly, they didn’t)
He said this was impossible, that none of the pundits agreed. Why not, I asked? Because, he said, Man City were second in the Premier League, Wigan Athletic were in the bottom three, and Wigan hadn’t scored against Man City since 2007.
His objections to the forecast were based on trend, but a pattern may break at any time. Right or wrong, that was what I saw. The odds were in Wigan’s favour plus, I’d got The Magician as the outcome card, and The Magician is Mastery of Skill.
By means of a counting spread, and by using reversals (allowing upside down cards) as a way of qualifying the odds numerically.
I shuffled (which I do abominably) asking, ‘Wigan Athletic to win?’ Then I drew three cards and laid them out in a row. How many upright (‘dignified’) cards did I have? Two out of three. the middle card counted for 50%, the flanking cards for 25% each. The middle and final cards were upright, and the final card was The Magician. This was a wonderful card in the circumstances. It is the ultimate card of Skill and Mastery.
This forecasting method has proven highly reliable. Not infallible, I ‘m no such thing and would never claim to be, but I’d expect to get it right 90% + of the time and am perplexed till I understand why I miss the mark when it happens.
Today, however, I was asked another football question, and arrived at a response very differently.
This time I did not reach for my cards. I was preparing lunch, I just said ‘wait,’ and paused, knife suspended fatefully over an imperilled avocado.
‘Crystal Palace?’ I said aloud to myself, and upon saying this felt a mild but distinct spasm on the left side of my neck which ran down my left arm into my fingers. It was mildly unpleasant, like the crawls you might get, pedalling your feet in bed at night when you’re low on magnesium or other salts.
Noting this reaction I said, ‘Crystal Palace to win’.
‘They’ve just scored,’ he said. ‘Fifteen minutes to go, let’s see if Watford pull it back,’ and off he wended, sidewinding his way back to the television.
Result: Crystal Palace 1: Watford 0.
For many it will only be stating the obvious to say that the physical and the psychic are one and the same. The very subtlety and sophistication of the Tarot’s vast reference library may be a weakness as well as a strength; a temptation to intellectualizing, which is NOT what is wanted, in trying to obtain a true result on Divination.
There is Tarot you learn by book study. Then there is the Tarot you develop through experience, in which you discover or allocate new meanings for the cards via association and your own intuition. An example from my own experience is in readings featuring the Eight of Swords.
Standard Keywords: Frustration, feeling trapped or stuck, being unable to see a way ahead, chagrin, mortification, sometimes melodrama. A drama queen. One may be making a mountain out of a molehill. Passivity, the person is awaiting rescue when she only has to step forward with care and negotiate past the fence of swords, but she lacks focus, or else the nerve to try.
This is what you will read in any Tarot study guide. But sometimes, you look at a card and think, no, that’s not it. Why not? Perhaps it makes no sense in the context of the discussion. What else is the Tarot trying…
The Chariot Card from the Gilded Tarot, by kind permission of Ciro Marchetti.
I was playing with the cards, no particular question, just a few things on my mind. I pulled The Chariot card, but it was upside-down, Reversed.
I drew it with the Strength card and this was also Reversed but I wasn’t sure of the message. The function of questions in tarot reading is to provide a framework for interpretation. Sometimes though, the challenge is what question to frame, and then, the trick is to just start pulling cards, refine with further questions, or wait for an insight.
The car was behaving itself, so it wasn’t a vehicle malfunction message, which it certainly can be, drawing The Chariot Reversed. I asked my eighteen year old daughter how she was getting on with her driving lessons. She’d only had five lessons, and was loving it, or so I thought, but she replied that she wasn’t enjoying them any more.
I asked why not. She’d had a scare last time, she said, turning left. She’d struggled to steer, the wheel locked, and another driver got impatient. More than that. Furious.
‘Steer!’ the instructor shouted.
‘It won’t turn any further!’
She felt shaky afterwards. Other drivers were so aggressive, she said. Tail-gating, gesticulating, sticking their fingers up as they overtake. They could see this was a learner, learning with Mr Pass, in his mini with its big sign on top, and they were learners once.
So, her nerves had been a little rattled. Maternal counselling followed, a small bracer. Keep your mind on what you’re doing, stick your fingers right back up at them. Testosterone twats. They were learners once. We imagined a few scenarios, she began to laugh and concoct in he rimagination enjoyable ways of deliberately causing annoyance, pressing the buttons of the petrol stress-heads. Laughing draws many a sting.
So, what had the Tarot done, here? Nothing unduly dramatic, it had merely waved a flag, causing me to pay attention to something that had been passing under the radar. For her first three lessons she had been eager to go out, and she’d come in whoop-whooping, and now, waiting, she was saying, ‘I’m not in the mood.’
The shine had come off the learning. Now that the Tarot had drawn it to my attention, I could offer perspective and encouragement, the polite word for a gentle kick up the rear.
The Chariot Reversed stood for Driving, negatively aspected. Strength Rev represented the experience of intimidation. She’ ll have to turn Strength right way up, and not let into her emotional space any unmannerly Mr Toad stress-merchant who wants to go at 50mph in a 30 mph zone, and thinks they are an expert and infallible, forgetting respect.
If you’re Mr/Ms Toad. Take it easy. Poop-poop! Remember what happened to Mr Toad. Remember the hare and the tortoise.
I was looking in my cards to help Il Matrimonio. He was due to drive down to Leicester the following day, to meet with a telecom company with a view to a one off contract in Project Management. He wanted to know what hints and tips I might have for him, in consultation with the Tarot, and what was the forecast for the outcome.
I drew The Chariot Reversed, The Six of Pentacles and Judgement. This row of 3 cards represented the story arc and timeline for the next day.
Chariot Rev: Car trouble was possible, hopefully minor. I saw no injury. The following two cards were mitigating factors in deciding the problem was not too serious.
The Six of Pentacles: I felt they might not want to pay the proposed rate of £850 daily. I felt they would offer a rate in the £600’s.
Judgement: I saw a contract, comfortably acceptable as in the best interests of both parties.
I warned him to drive with extra caution and that the daily rate was the obstacle to be negotiated as the man himself did not have the final say on budget for the task, but had to refer it to committee.
There was nothing of sharp practise in respect of this to the best of my ability to detect. The Magician Reversed or the Seven of Swords would have been the signs of that, for me.
As it was a reading for Il Matrimonio I did not have long to wait to know the outcome.
The car problem was the exhaust. It pretty much fell off at Stoke. Fortunately he was not on the motorway at the time, and was able to carry out a temporary repair . He pulled in at a petrol station. He got oil on his shirt cuffs, and it was a bit fraught, but the car behaved thereafter and, getting the call, I booked it in at our local garage for next day.
The company wanted the service but already had a list of preferred suppliers in situ.
A rate of £650 was agreed and paperwork has now been signed with a contract for a few days work initially, perhaps more later. I feel there will be more because the Judgment card is like that. The Two of Swords also represnts a contractual agreement, but Judgement trumps it in terms of scale or longevity.
The Sixes in Tarot are generally indicative of something beneficial:
In honour of St George’s day, I’ll try the Tarot out as an interviewing tool, as a Translator across Time and Truth. St George’s Day, April 23rd, is also thought to be the anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare.
The Tarot tells no lies, but it stands to reason, factually speaking, there can be no getting at ‘the truth’ of St George. A legend may contain grains of fact, while representing the poetic truth of an amalgam of people or myths. As the poet, Kathleen Raine expressed it, ‘Myth is the Truth of Fact, not Fact the Truth of Myth.’
What some call fantastical, or lies, even damned lies, if they don’t apprehend poetic truth, for others is just taking a possibility for a walk, an interesting exercise with judgement in abeyance. Let’s suspend judgement just for a moment, as we enter the Tarot’s Imaginarium.
That poor dragon. Call the RSPCA. Well, that’s another way of looking at it, by way of a change.
George, if I may, if you can hear me, what can you tell us about yourself? The Six of Swords Rx:
I am the other side of The River. I hear you only faintly, your words are not my language, and yet I understand you. There must be a translator somewhere. I have forgotten many things, but I remember I was a traveller. I made long journeys over the sea as well as by land. When I was small I’d go looking for frogs amongst the bullrushes in the pebbled stream, near where I lived. It was good luck to find a frog.
I didn’t read as well as my father wished, I had some letters, taught me by an old Persian with scarred legs – I didn’t know how he’d got those. He knew about numbers and about the stars. Sometimes he would let me sit by him, and show me maps of the sky.
You’re reputed to have killed a dragon. What can you tell us about that? The Queen of Cups/Ace Pentacles Rx.
There was something once, but I wouldn’t call it a dragon. It was a water-drake, a filthy great eel, attacking fishermen, robbing nets some place I stopped off, they saw I was a military man and they offered coin and a night’s lodgings if I would help them hunt and kill it, and they were in difficulties, so I did.
What about the rescued princess?
Queen of Cups Rx
Princess? I don’t know. There was a woman, still beautiful, not young. Nothing to do with the drake. I was passing through, the problem was mentioned, good coin offered (Ace Coins Rx) I went out at night with the fishermen. One guided the boat, I saw the great eel showing silver at the surface, and threw my lance. We had to withdraw and wait. There was no question of pulling the lance out of this thing, or pulling it from the water still alive. Its mistake was in coming so close to the surface when the moon was so bright. I’d never seen one so huge. They said it had taken a child.
Another thing happened that might have become a story of a dragon. A battle chariot came down on us. A huge thing with its horse team decked out in the semblance of a beast, with a beast’s head carving. I flung a spear, it went through the spokes of one of the wheels. My farthest throw ever, they said. Maybe that’s the root of the story. It was that, or the eel. I kept a pine marten once, for a season, but I don’t imagine that will qualify.
What was your profession?
The King of Swords
(This ties in with known history) Oh, I was ‘miles’, a soldier, I became ‘miles’ after the death of my mother, and I went on to become an officer. A thing to be said for Rome was, it rewarded skill and service, it gave you chances. I wasn’t popular, or perhaps I simply mean, I wasn’t easy and outgoing. I was known for a certain reserve, nothing to do with rank. I was rarely the worse for wear, I laughed at jokes, but I didn’t make many. But the men didn’t give me a hard time either about getting promotion. I tried hard to be fair, always, didn’t put on airs, and few of them could see further or clearer than I could, or better me with a lance. I had a horse, a grey mare called Usa .
(Reading note: I got this name by ‘hearing’ it. Sometimes insights come this way in a real life reading. I had to look it up, and I found that ‘Usa’ is not listed as a Roman or Cappadocian name, but it is a Sanskrit name, meaning ‘Dawn’. My surprise was at finding the name actually existed, I hadn’t come across it before.)
What else, George?
Whatever I said I would do, I did. In my life I had two homes, two peoples, two purses and they were sometimes empty. I was always divided. But it was not in my nature to function divided. I looked at this, or I looked at that, the rest went into the background. I think others besides myself might have paid a heavy price for that. I could not see that at the time. Or if I did, I could not, or would not change it.
Is it accurate to say you were a Christian? The Hierophant Rx
The word echoes. I remember that I found myself out of step, dangerously so.
Why was that?
Perhaps it was just the world I had came into.
What do you remember about leaving Life?
Seven of Wands, Ace of Cups.
There must have been pain and fear but I don’t remember. I can only see blows coming at me to know it was not gentle. Then I was looking down from a height, the peace of knowing I had escaped and was free. Little else.
Did you have children?
The Three of Swords Rx
I feel I was mourned from afar. A son. I last saw him, before embarking overseas again. He had lately been apprenticed. Tooling of leather, I think. He was enjoying the work. Perhaps he continued to become a craftsman or merchant (3 Wands) I hope Life was good for him, I hope he got what he needed and wanted, but what his life path was like afterwards, I can never know.
For students of Tarot, or the just curious, a few words about The Ace of Cups.
Meanings: Inception, Awakening of Love, Creativity, Vision and the Empowerment of Intuition. It is Beauty. It is The Element of Water, it is The Chalice, The Holy Grail. Sometimes it indicates a coming birth. I have known it accurately indicate healing and recovery from illness or after an accident. It is Grace.
It is known as the Ace of Hearts in a deck of playing cards.
‘My Cup Runneth Over’ is the moment that cannot be surpassed.
Whereas the Ace of Wands, Ace of the South, refers to the primal spark, the fires of Creation, the Ace of Cups, Ace of the West, is the matrix of Life.
The Ace of Cups speaks of Source. Physically, The human body runs primarily on water and minerals. Every physiological process that happens inside the body needs water. The human body is made up of more than 70% water. The blood is more than 85%, the brain more than 80%, muscles more than 75%, and the liver is 96% water.
But beyond the immediate physical, what is our most distant physical story, back to the point of Creation, or as some might prefer to think of it, life’s origin in space, or divinity? Dust from space ultimately cross-reacted making water, an epic of chemistry which made the seas, where Life on Earth began.
We are undines, raised by evolution from the deep.
Sublimis ab unda.
The poem below, for me echoes the deeps contained within the image of The Ace of Cups. It’s from a little known contemporary poet of rare subtlety, yet also directness and integrity.
A poem, like a song, like a picture, a sculpture, a photograph, a smile, a kiss, is a manifestation of the Ace of Cups, of the moment, but eternal.
Here is a Ace within the Ace.
Small Object of Desire
I suppose I should have picked my wedding ring
but that is personal and finite to me
as is my two faced charm on a silver chain
triangular, goldstone, tourmaline
But I chose this, lifted from some shore line,
a smaller bit than I’d found and lost before;
a spindle from a whelkish structured shell
more beautiful than any sculptor’s form.
It gives only a hint of its infinite fetch,
newel staircase, ramp to raise the megaliths,
invasive toxic spirochete to invest my blood,
screw my life force with its sickening brood.
No porcelain is half so fine,
that comes from Meissen’s arcane kiln.
This is the divine, the spiral double helix.
Where else should it be but on a beach?
My small object of desire, refined by tidal pull,
inch long, white and deeply curved,
maths of all dimensions along its reach,
shape and key to life, needs only my breath to live.
So exciting! Well, maybe, if you’re interested in how psychic Tarot reading works. The Tarot’s Eight of Swords talking about…. real life damp and drains.
There is Tarot you learn by book study. Then there is the Tarot you develop through experience, in which you discover or allocate new meanings for the cards via association and your own intuition. An example from my own experience is in readings featuring the Eight of Swords.
Standard Keywords: Frustration, feeling trapped or stuck, being unable to see a way ahead, chagrin, mortification, sometimes melodrama. A drama queen. One may be making a mountain out of a molehill. Passivity, the person is awaiting rescue when she only has to step forward with care and negotiate past the fence of swords, but she lacks focus, or else the nerve to try.
This is what you will read in any Tarot study guide. But sometimes, you look at a card and think, no, that’s not it. Why not? Perhaps it makes no sense in the context of the discussion. What else is the Tarot trying to flag up for attention using the stock of images at its disposal?
Your choices when this happens in a reading, dismiss it as an aberration or try to get to the bottom of it. Stay relaxed, an idea may present itself.
CASE STUDY ONE: An email reading for a lady I had never read for before:
No background was provided, and Tarot, like Reason likes a context. Nonetheless I decided to try rather than request further clarification first, and I drew The Eight of Swords in a key position.
What I sensed and shared was, ‘no matter where you work, and I sense a kitchen table with negotiated time slots free from family use, the place of work must be free of damp. I see wet feet. Whatever that space is, that’s got the wet feet situation going on, if you recognise it, do not use that room as your workspace.’
Response: She identified herself as a psychic living and working not far from me. My reading had answered the question she had not wished to specify. She had been thinking of converting her shower room, which was in any case old and tired and in need of a revamp, into a room for receiving her own tarot clients in. Now, she was going to reconsider.
CASE STUDY TWO: A Skype reading for a family member, buying property for the first time in France. Was the flat a sound buy?
The Tarot was rather negative, pointing out all manner of defects, structural and social, some of which she made sense of right away, being aware of them already. Others however, remained to be verified. Drawing the Eight of Swords I suggested the Tarot sniffed something diabolical (The Devil card) down in the basement. Uh oh. Trouble with the drains? This, she said, was not a problem. Nor need it be her problem in any case, as the flat she was after had no basement.
The purchase went ahead, and she was delighted about the new home and remains so. However, the various problems sensed before purchase announced themselves one by one, and the drain problem declared itself almost immediately on moving in , when the floor had to be taken up in the communal entrance hallway to sort them. It didn’t matter, such is life, all the same, she was unaware of the impending work at the point of buying.
One day the Tarot is going to use the Eight of Swords to tell me about someone’s toilet. I just know it. How rip snortingly excitin’, do I hear you say? No? The point is, Tarot is merely a map key of the psyche, tattooed on card stock. Man’s soul may be a butterfly, we’ve got to sweat the nitty gritty of daily life, so the Tarot’s insights will surely go there.