I got a huge kick out of this article by Kyle B. Stiff: The Occult Framework of Pee-wee’s Big Adventure. While it may seem goofy to link the rich symbolism of Tarot to a classic piece of absurdist American humor, there is a good message to learn. The concept of the transformative journey is pervasive in our culture, which is why the Tarot spells it out over and over again, both in the Major Arcana and in the numbered cards of the Minor Arcana.1
Correspondences can be found between Tarot cards and many stories, myths, and symbol sets. This is why there is such a broad variety of Tarot decks available, and why so many religious and esoteric systems have been tied to Tarot cards.
Friends, setting up this website and looking for new opportunities for Tarot reading has been a fun, interesting, and sometimes crazy ride so far. I’m glad to have so many good friends and business owners who have been willing to help me out. Since The Press Club closed, I’ve worked my first street fair and collaborated with Pairings Portland on our wildly successful Wine & Tarot Pairing. Below is a list of upcoming events, but first…
What About the Columbia-Willamette Pagan Pride Day?
The Columbia-Willamette Pagan Pride Day is on September 14th. I’ve been trying to decide if I should rent space there to set up a booth. It would get me a lot of exposure, and I’d meet interesting people and do some amazing readings. However, it’s going to be expensive. I need to get a tent and a table, which is a hefty investment if I’m only going to use them a couple of times per year.
What do you think? Should I invest in a booth at the Pagan Pride Day? Leave me a comment and help me decide.
Last week started with the end of a family reunion, and then got frantically busy. This week is starting frantically busy, and ending with a wedding. Because I’ve had so much on my plate, I decided to read from the Gummy Bear Tarot by Dietmar Bittrich. This deck will put a smile on your face even if you draw one of the unpleasant cards. It’s all about tiny adorable candy.
Love is All You Need
The Six of Cups is a fitting and reassuring one-card reading. Cups are associated with elemental water, emotion, intuition, and love. The Sixes typically represent harmony and love. The Six of Cups, therefore, is a double-whammy of good feelings, happy emotions, and love.
The Gummy Bear Tarot usually follows the typical Rider-Waite patterns and images. However, in this card, the delicious candy bears don’t look like children. They look like adults. In Bro. Waite’s excellent book, The Pictorial Key to the Tarot, he associates the children with memories of past happiness, and “things that have vanished.” Having adults in the cup-garden changes that.
Good Vibes Ahead
I really like good news. Who doesn’t? The Six of Cups is a good news card. In my life, right now, this card speaks to me as a portent for happiness and joy in the coming week. I’m looking forward to officiating the wedding of two very good friends of mine this weekend and ushering them into a new era of love and understanding.
In the past, my Card of the Week readings have been pretty generalized. This one is a happy card, and if you’d like to apply it to your week, I encourage you to do so. If only every week could be a Six of Cups week!
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.
I updated this article on May 2020 to point to the Wayback Machine archive of the Frideborg article.
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.
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!
Great suffering for brief pleasure. The Bruegel Tarot
I love this new deck, the Bruegel Tarot by Lo Scarabeo! 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.
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.
This post is just marginally related to Tarot. Today I’d like to talk about Hermeticism and the Feast of Thoth.
Hermeticism 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.