Flexing Your Cards - An Exercise in Adaptation

P.S. This post has been updated to include a more complete worksheet. All links to the older worksheet have updated below to include the new material.

This post includes a downloadable resource: Flexing Your Cards - Exercise Sheet.

No, this isn't a post about how to get the most of your workout routine with the aid of tarot - though I'm sure it wouldn't be above their ability to assist with this either! When I talk about flexing, what I'm describing is a method of reading that allows you to bend and mold the card's standard meaning to fit the specific question being asked. Whether it be love, career, personal development, passion projects or anything else, a single tarot card can and should be able to provide suitable guidance, if you can adjust your lens ever so slightly. 

Of course, there are some cards that seem to speak fluent love or finances, but even if not; even if the card seems to be themed in an entirely different direction, doesn't mean it can't give you the answer you're looking for. You just need to know how to look at the card.

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Weighing Pros & Cons with Tarot

The other day, I was playing around with my method for reading probability, when I found myself asking not if something would or wouldn't happen, but what the pros and cons would be, should it occur. In that moment, I began contemplating methods to simply construct a spread that would tackle this sort of inquiry, and that was when this method for weighing pros and cons was born. It is inspired both by my "yes/no/maybe so" system and decision making method for reading the cards.

The idea behind weighing the pros and cons is that with most of what we experience and pursue in life, there are ups and downs. Sometimes those ups and downs are of equal impact, and many times the situation skews one way or another. If you're trying to determine the ups and downs or pros and cons or something, whether that be embarking on a new path, leaving a current relationship or having a difficult conversation - keep reading; this method is for you.

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King Billy and the Royal Road - The Fool's Journey Through a Child's Eyes

Part of understanding tarot for me, is taking the cards and looking at them through different lenses. Whether that be various correspondences, associations or just applying their energy through another form altogether - music, for example.

The process of doing this inevitably expands my personal understanding of the card and also helps to find real examples of it in everyday life. King Billy and the Royal Road, written by RC Ajuonuma and published by Silverwood Books is a piece of creative art that does just that. It is this beautiful and unique translation of the Major Arcana, in a way you've not seen it yet. 

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Making Picture Magick

I get asked every now and then for photo taking tips or about my process. I am always happy to answer these questions, but I thought it might also be fun to write a little post about how I transform the objects I love into pleasing photos for either this website or my Instagram. And while that may sound superficial, the fact is that taking photos to me is both a sacred and creative act. The energy and love that goes into the process of taking something I adore and capturing its essence, is every bit as spiritual as sitting with that object in other respects. It is both artistic and expressive, not to mention a satisfying outlet.

Quick Disclaimer: I am not a professional photographer (duh) and I have had no training in this field, so I'm not a subject matter expert. These are simply techniques that I utilize, found through trial and error, that you too may find helpful. However, I did work in a photo lab for a few years, many years ago, and colour correction did become a bit of an obsession. Fun fact: I still have nightmares about it! 

Oh, and one more thing, in case you're wondering, I use my camera phone for all photos. Most were taken with a Google Nexus 6P, but I've recently upgraded to a Google Pixel 2 XL.

Okay, on to the tips!

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Embracing The World: A Tarot Spread

When we arrive at The World, we’re coming full circle. Similar to the card’s traditional imagery, arriving at this state is much like closing the loop on the Major Arcana, encompassing all its lessons and learnings, and reaching a sense of completion orsuccess. It carries sentiments which mimic The Magician in some ways, with the elements present again. But, rather than laying on the table in front of us, they have been assimilated and now take a more lively form; a water bearer (Aquarius) to represent water, an eagle to represent Air, a lion to represent fire and a bull to represent Earth. These essences now all live within the seeker who remains naked, like the 2 cards which precede her, through draped in an elegant scarf and handling two batons. She is both poised and balanced; no longer commanding heaven and Earth, but rather one with them.

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Decision Making With Tarot

Tarot is such a versatile tool. My use of the cards is hardly limited to divination and even within the confines of divination as an approach, there are still so many practical applications. Today, I'm going to break down the different ways you can use tarot to help make decisions.

Before we get into techniques, I want to share with you a few instances where I've been able to navigate different life situations to arrive at a desired outcome. One of my first experiences with tarot as a decision making tool, was when I was house hunting. The market was (still is, really) a seller's game and options seemed not only limited, but not ideal. In a series of readings that spanned a couple of hours, we explored many different possibilities, all looking dismal, until we arrived at the one - the one we ultimately went for and couldn't be happier with. I write more about this experience on another blog post, if you want to read more!
While this was a major decision, I've also used tarot to help me make decisions where selling my home was concerned, making changes to my spiritual business and helping me navigate certain dealings with our builder. Yes, tarot has basically helped me navigate every part of buying and selling a home!

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The High Priestess & Justice: Two Side of the Same Coin

Preface: If you've found this article (or others) helpful, or have enjoyed the resources that I create, please consider joining me on Patreon. Even at $1 a month you are helping me sustain my work here while also unlocking access to content that has never been and will never be published in this space. Thanks!

Full disclosure - I am of the camp that believes Justice has found it's proper place as the 11th Arcana, though I know there are many who prefer it as the 8th and I am sure there are plenty of valid reasons why that makes sense. However, I'm here to discuss one of the reasons why the latter resonates more with me, and that is because in the 11th spot, based on numerology, it vibrates in line with The High Priestess.

While on the surface, Justice and The High Priestess appear to have little in common, I actually consider these cards to be two sides of the same coin and the secret to reading the tarot. A bit of a bold claim I suppose, but stay with me and we'll get to that...before we do though, let's explore the visual similarities and differences.

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Learning To Read Tarot

I recently watched a video by the ever fascinating Kelly Ann Maddox around the ways in which people approach their learning of tarot. There has been some contention in the community, which I've opted not to comment on, regarding certification and whether or not it's necessary or whatever. I'm not here to tell you how to learn tarot. But if you're asking me, no, I don't think certification is necessary. No, I don't plan on ever being certified to read cards. But, I also don't care what other people do with their money and am happy for those who chose this route and those who chose to supply it as an option. It's not necessary, but it may be the right thing for some and there is nothing wrong with that.

And this all made me think back to my own journey with the cards. How did I come into it? What were my struggles? And how did I ultimately come to understand them in the way I do today? The truth is, I don't remember how tarot specifically landed on my radar, but I grew up in a home that was very open to these sorts of things and so when I requested a deck, around the age of 10, it was met with a swift visit to the book store to peruse what was available.

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2018 By The Numbers: Personal Year vs. The Collective

My introduction to personal year numbers was a few years ago at a psychic fair. I sat with a skilled intuitive for a reading, and the first thing she did was very matter-of-factually inform me that I'd be heading into a personal year 7. While I was familiar with life path numbers and other facets of numerology, I had no idea what a 7 meant in the context of my year ahead. She went on to explain: The coming year for me would be less about the stuff and more about solidifying my connection with myself and the divine. It was a time for introspection, reflection and receptivity. Man, was she ever right...

Since that introduction to the personal year number, it's become a bit of a ritual to spend some time in December calculating my year ahead on both a personal and collective level. And that's what this post is really all about. Calculating your year ahead number, embracing the collective shift, and providing a brief overview of what it all means.

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In-Depth with the 3 of Swords
Someday you’re gonna look back on this moment of your life as such a sweet time of grieving. You’ll see that you were in mourning and your heart was broken, but your life was changing. -Elizabeth Gilbert

Last month's In-Depth had us exploring the Page of Pentacles, and when I posted about the article on Instagram, I received a request to cover the 3 of Swords next. Since I have just about zero agenda as it comes to these pieces, expect for the hope that I can produce them at a rate of one a month, I was open to the suggestion.

So here we are, my third In-Depth and in it we'll be taking a deep dive with that sometimes dreaded and often difficult 3 of Swords. I say sometimes dreaded and often difficult, because rarely do you pull this card to a rave reaction or sigh of relief. No, 3 swords piecing a heart doesn't exactly conjure up those warm and fuzzys. But, that's not to say there is nothing positive to be gleaned from its presence, but we'll talk more on that later.

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In-Depth With The Page of Pentacles
"Never stop dreaming, never stop believing, never give up, never stop trying, and never stop learning." -Roy T. Bennett

It's been over a year since I've done an in-depth, but today I felt compelled to pull together another. I'd love to eventually have a full section on this site devoted to card meanings - but this will be a slow process and I'm not setting any tangible deadlines.

For today's selection, I threw it to spirit and asked what card I should focus on. Spirit responded with the Page of Pentacles and so, that is the card we'll be tackling! So, who is the Page of Pentacles and what may his presence indicate in the context of a tarot reading? Pages are typically considered one of three things. 1) An actual physical person in the seeker's life (or the seeker themselves) 2) Attributes that are symbolically relevant to the reading or 3) A messenger (more on that one later).

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Delivering A Memorable Email Reading Part 2 - The Reader's Perspective

The last time we broached this topic, it was from the perspective of how to ensure your client (or seeker) will get the most out of a reading delivered to them via email. This time, I’m turning the tables to provide you, the reader, some key points to consider to ensure that you too will get the most out of the readings you perform. Why? Because if you want to do this, with any frequency and with the goal of sustainability - you better freakin’ enjoy what you’re doing!

I learned through trial and error for myself what worked for me and what didn’t. I also learned what I could and should expect from myself and what I could reasonably do given the time and resources available to me. This, of course, is entirely personal and so rather than tell you how to structure things, I’m simply going to raise some points for your own consideration. These are things that I learned the hard or long way and so now as I reflect back, I think, “yeah, I should have thought about that from the start!".

But alas, I live and learn and today, I take those livings and learnings and I present you with Delivering A Memorable Email Reading Part 2: The Reader’s Perspective. (I need a more succinct title!)

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Dream States: The Space Between Sleep

Sleep is a funny thing. We all do it and yet, we never really regularly compare notes. Growing up, I assumed my experiences with sleep and dreams were the same as everyone else's. I'm not saying they weren't, for the most part, but it's hard to distinguish what is common with what is perhaps more unusual if the experience is everyday (or, every night as this topic would have it).

Dreams for me have forever been a spiritual experience. I was always curious about this state and thought a lot about my adventures upon waking. Even as a kid, I'd wonder what they meant and dig for hidden context. In this post, I'm going to highlight various dream states that I personally experience, and provide my thoughts both on what they mean, how they can be achieved (if desired) and what to do with them once you're there.

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Deck Impression: The Enchanted Tarot 25th Anniversary Edition

If you've been in the tarot world for awhile, and unless you've been living under a rock, you've undoubtedly stumbled upon a widely known and regarded deck called The Enchanted Tarot, illustrated by Amy Zerner and written by Monte Farber. Now I don't mean you've owned it or even worked with it, but you've probably come across some of its images in your travels at one point or another. 

It's now been 25 years since its initial release and to commemorate, the deck has been repackaged with a few tweaks to breath it new life. I'm in the camp that certainly knew of this deck and had seen it through the years, but never actually worked with it. So when I came into the opportunity to receive it for prospective review, I was thrilled to dive into without any prior knowledge and to provide, truly, my first impressions of this modern classic.

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Using Tarot to Communicate with Spirit

Tarot has many uses, and one day I intend to write a blog post detailing the ones I go to most commonly, but today, I want to tackle just one - communicating with spirit.

Before we get into techniques, I first want to distinguish this method of using tarot from regular spirit-chat when it comes to divination or reflective readings. When I'm doing a reading, especially for others, I often refer to the messages received as having "come from spirit". So, when I send email reports out, I'll have lines that read "spirit says..." or "spirit wants you to know...". This is not me specifically communicating with a deceased loved one, for example, but simply put, I use the word "spirit" to describe a large body of otherworldlyness - i.e. your spirit guide team, your higher self, the divine source etc.

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Deck Preview: True Black Tarot

I'm lucky enough to be able to write this blog post because that means I've got my hands on the prototype of a brand new tarot deck by designer Arthur Wang; True Black Tarot. It's currently being funded on Kickstarter so if it calls to you, make sure to check out the campaign!

Because I'm working with a prototype, I can't tell you how a full deck reads, but I can give you my initial impressions on what I've been able to sample. Visually, it's nothing short of stunning - but that's just on first glance. They say the Devil is in the details and if that's the case then Satan himself must have a hand in this project. Everything has been done with such care and quality, and the more you look at each card, the more you see, but there is more here than just design. The cards themselves are crafted with very thick stock using enhancements that allow some details to seemingly shimmer and glow. There are no borders (often a preference for us readers) and the edges are hand-painted black - yes, hand-painted. I'm obsessed - and I think you will be to. I mean, just LOOK AT THEM!

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How Does Tarot Work? I Don't Know, But I Have 4 Theories!

Maybe you've been reading the cards awhile or perhaps you just started - whatever boat you're in, have you ever stopped to consider why or how the cards work? The truth is, no one can tell you for certain, but I have a few theories which we'll get to in a moment! In fact, I believe all of the following ideas to be contributing factors as to why/how a tarot reading works. This means that there doesn't have to be just one answer and it also means that this is in no way a conclusive list. These theories may ring true for you or you may have your own ideas that explain how tarot works and that is all perfectly acceptable and valid. 

So, without further ado, I'll now present you with 4 reasons that may explain why/how tarot works.

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