This article from Lisa Frideborg over at Love Dove Tarot is all about why she doesn’t read with reversed cards. I always like hearing other readers’ reasons for avoiding reversed cards. Mine is pretty simple: I think that the language of the Tarot is rich enough without adding a whole set of 78 additional meanings.

To make up for not reading reversed cards, I also make sure that my spreads include “negative spots,” where cards can show off their less-than-stellar aspects. For instance, see my favorite nine-card spread.

My Favorite Nine-Card Spread

If you’ve had a full-form reading from me in person, then you’ve probably seen my nine-card spread. It doesn’t have a name, but I’ve been working with it for about a year now, and I really like it. This description will be very useful to those of you who like to take a photo of your readings to reference later. Read on to see the meanings of the positions in these nine cards.

Arnemancy 9-Card Spread
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Tarot for Brunch at Crush Bar

I will be reading Tarot cards for brunch this Sunday, August 17th! Come and see me at Crush Bar from Noon until about 4pm. Crush Bar is located at 1400 SE Morrison Street in Portland, Oregon. They’ve got an amazing brunch menu and delicious drinks.

Mention this post and I’ll give you 50% off your first reading!

Don’t Forget: Wine and Tarot!

Two events in one week might seem like a lot, but don’t forget that I’ll also be at Pairings Portland¬†this Friday, August 15th, to pair Tarot cards with delicious wine. Read more about it!

I’m really looking forward to seeing you soon!

Great suffering for brief pleasure.
The Bruegel Tarot

image

I love this new deck! Before I get  into  the rather straightforward message of this card, please take a moment to look at the image and enjoy the great variety of imagery, both comic and macabre. There’s a man in this card who appears to be the main character. The top of his head has been removed and his brain appears to be flying away while he stumbles cluelessly, grinning like an idiot. In the background, a couple is cupcaking1 beneath a tree, while a card game has been interrupted by a man having chest pains.

True to the classic imagery in this card, a sneaky ruffian is lurking with three of the swords. Oh, and look closer: Behind the upturned card table, some kind of green monster menaces the lovers beneath the tree! What does it all mean?

Prudence is a Good Idea

This card shows lust, gambling, too much excitement, thievery, idiocy, and greed. These are all behaviors we engage in when we lack the foresight of prudence. Short-term pleasures need to be measured carefully. It is far too easy to indulge in them while forgetting their long-term consequences.

The message of this particular card is pretty simple: Don’t trade in your long-term happiness for immediate pleasures. This is a card that urges you to plan for the future, to step cautiously, and to temper your pleasure-seeking in exchange for easier times to come.


  1. My younger brother informs me that this is the new hip term for public displays of affection. 

My apologies for the lateness of this post. I found myself in a place without Internet access and was unable to finish uploading what I had.

Avid Tarot student Russell asks:

How much should the client interpret the meaning of the cards? In other words, how much should the client decide what each card means for them in their situation or question? How much should that come from yourself as the expert reader? How do you know where to draw the line if the client is going to far astray?

I’ve given Tarot readings to clients with all levels of skill with the cards, from the completely ignorant to the seasoned reader. I’ve also received readings from readers of various skill levels. Personally, I try to avoid interpreting the cards for myself when somebody else is reading for me, but it’s difficult to avoid. My opinion is that if you’re paying somebody to read the cards for you, you’ll get the best value for your money if you listen to what they’re saying.

If you’re a student of the Tarot, the biggest benefit to getting a reading from somebody else is that every reader approaches the card in his own manner. A seasoned reader has a unique relationship with the cards. His interpretation of the symbolism is not going to be the same as yours. The value comes from a fresh, outside perspective. After all, if you are a client and a student of the cards, then you can always read them for yourself later.

Reading as Conversation

An exception to the rule is when you approach a reading as a conversation. You should be upfront with your reader beforehand, though. In this case, the client and the reader build a composite view of the reading. I’m not sure that it will offer the same insights, but it can be a great learning experience for both parties.

I’m guilty of second-guessing readers when I’m the querant. It’s a fault that I’d really like to work on. For me to get the most out of a reading, I know that I need to spend more time listening. Letting the reader read means figuring out how to let go of control and accept information as it comes. That can be hard for a lot of people.

Free Email Readings

Russell will be getting a free email reading, and you could, too, if you ask a question that I answer in this column! Feel free to email me or leave your question in the comments.

The Festival of Thoth

This post is just marginally related to Tarot. Today I’d like to talk about Hermeticism and the Feast of Thoth.

ThothHermeticism describes a poorly-understood school of mysticism from the early centuries of the Common Era. It arose in northern Egypt, around Alexandria, and was contemporary with the early Gnostics. We don’t know a whole lot about the early Hermeticists. Their religion seems to have evolved from the ancient Egyptian religion. It definitely had an initiatic element and was deeply entangled in mysticism, gnosticism, and Neoplatonism. Most of the surviving literature from the movement can be found in a collection of short texts called the Corpus Hermeticum.

Hermes Trismegistus and Thoth

The Corpus Hermeticum relates a series of lessons from teachers to students, beginning with the lessons of Hermes Trismegistus to his son Tat and his student Asclepius. In later books, Tat and Asclepius have become the teachers. Hermes teaches about the nature of the Cosmos and human consciousness. His lessons are profound, mystical, and sometimes obscure.

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This weekend, I met with Jeff Weissler of Pairings Portland and we came up with a novel idea: Pairing wine with Tarot cards. Join us on Friday, August 15th, from 2pm to 8pm as we experiment with crossing the exotic world of wine with the esoteric world of the Tarot! You can learn more about it on the Facebook page for the event. I will be offering 10-minute Tarot readings for $10, and each reading comes with a bonus wine pairing reading. In addition, Jeff will be serving a $15 flight of wine specifically paired with five of the most delicious Major Arcana.

5% of all proceeds will go to Pacific Pug Rescue.

Pairings Portland is located at 455 NE 24th Ave in Portland, Oregon. The shop looks really amazing, and you’re going to love the way Jeff pairs wine with just about anything you can think of, including your astrological Sun sign and favorite cult TV show. You can find your way there using the map below.

Card of the Week: The Sun

“Everyone plants their own happiness, everyone sows their own joy, and everyone holds their own destiny.”
The Bruegel Tarot, by Pietro Alligo and Guido Zibordi Marchesi

XIX The SunThe Sun is the 19th Major Arcana, and the third of the celestial Trumps.1 This is perhaps the happiest card in the Tarot, and indicates that things are going extremely well. This week, I’m giving myself an additional challenge by looking at the Sun as depicted in a deck that’s brand new to me: the Bruegel Tarot.
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  1. I drew it randomly. It’s a weird coincidence to have the Moon last week and the Sun this week, but sometimes that’s how the Tarot works. 

Since launching this website a few weeks ago, I’ve been catching up on all of the Tarot material that’s available online. There’s a lot of it. One of the websites I’ve been enjoying is Tarotize, by the prolific Lisa Frideborg. She recently linked back to an older post of hers called Top 10 Tarot Tuition Tips in which she lists a number of ways that one can get started reading cards. The list is interesting in that it lists a few things that I certainly have done and have recommended to others, and a number of things that I’ll probably never do.
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