I have returned!

Okay, only sort of.

I’m in the process of updating my blog a little bit – it really needs a good dusting since I haven’t touched it in at least six months. I have a new layout in the works, and I need to make a few tweaks to the settings, namely so that I get a notification when someone comments on a post. The good news is, I finally got a new computer, and it’s an iMac, so not only is it functional with minimal requirements for the user, it’s very shiny and cool and LOOKS cool to play with. Plus I invested in a netbook that I can take with me to blog on the go. It’s been going quite well, except I’m posting my best stuff on Tumblr, and I shouldn’t be. I have very much enjoyed my time on Tumblr, and it’s helped me connect with lots of people, but it’s just not an area where I can do a lot of core text-related posts. It’s very difficult for me to get feedback, to track views and users, and to keep track of everything else I have going on. I’ll still be using Tumblr so if you’d like to follow me, my url is constantine319.tumblr.com.

Other good news is that I undertook and completed all three levels of Usui Reiki training this summer. I’ve also broadened my tarot expertise just a smidge, and I’ve definitely done some more networking. And I’ve actually been using that Kindle of mine a bit more, too.  (For those of you who don’t know, I’m a bit of a bookaholic. Rearranging the apartment this summer yielded a hefty 200+ count of spiritual books, and quite the backache the day after.) So, I’ve got a few book reviews in the process that I can’t wait to share with you. Plus I’ve acquired a few new tools – crystals, a Tibetan singing bowl, a massage table, and some new oracle and tarot decks – that I’m excited to talk about, also.

A few more things I’d like to share – I’m currently taking classes with Alice Langholt of Reiki Awakening Academy. I found Alice’s blog shortly after I began exploring Reiki this past January, and recently inquired about her Energy Healing Certification Program. I’m three classes in and I had my first Practical Reiki attunement yesterday – I am really loving the journey so far. Everyone in the class is really cool, and I’m glad to be a part of a wide spectrum of ages and experience. Alice really knows what she’s talking about, and she has a very charming way of connecting you with the material. (I think that’s a Sagittarius thing.) There are a few more classes I’ve got my eye on. I really should have been sorted into Ravenclaw on Pottermore, because this thirst for knowledge is what’s kept me going the last few weeks. (PS! If you sign up for a class, tell them Jessica Bowman sent you! I get $10 towards the next class I want to take for referrals.) I also created a paranormal investigation group with a few of my friends. We’re in the process of setting up the website, designing the shirts and business cards, and getting the organization itself all established. It’s been a bit meticulous, but being so detail-oriented, I’ve actually enjoyed the process so far.

I think that wraps it up for now – blessings!

The Price of Tarot: Pt 1

In today’s world, the dollar is the driving force behind everything we do. We may not like it, but we need money to buy food, clothes, and shelter. Some of us may be lucky to have a garden or to make our own clothes or build our own homes, but those things have to come from somewhere. Most of us rely on (hopefully) steady jobs and hobbies here and there to make our living. A few of us soldier it alone in their own businesses. Some of us slave; others play to make our living. Money is a driving force in our life and thus some people feel like we are a slave to it’s value and how much we bring in, even identifying ourselves by this number. The more pride we have in our jobs, the less this number matters – unless we feel it matches or outweighs our ‘gross annual income’.

It doesn’t take long for tarot enthusiasts to encounter the idea of selling their services as a reader. In some cases, it is inevitable. Well, can you blame us? If we love what we do for free, it only makes sense that we should be able to make our living off if it. Take, for instance, those who may see a reader but have bad luck with them, or can’t afford them, so they dig into their own resources and purchase their own deck. Eventually, they say, this is easy, I can charge x and whip out a reading and make some serious money doing this!

Or, take into consideration the skilled but sheltered reader, who reads for others and refuses payment, but is repeatedly told that she knows what she’s doing and could really make a living doing this. She probably approaches the subject very carefully and considers everything before she takes the leap into the world of business.

Which category do you fall under?

I never anticipated charging for my readings. But lately, I’ve become aware that the service I provide does tax me. It’s not something I want to just give freely now. I’m looking for people who want to take me seriously – and are thusly willing to pay me for my time – so that I can practice my art seriously. I have had tools at my disposal for some time now, even especially lately, thanks to a wonderful Theresa Reed, and now… now I am ready, I think, to slowly ease myself into the pool of professional tarot readers.

This is the first in what I hope will become a substantial series about the dreaded, the often misunderstood, the rarely used and abused, money & tarot issue. I want to take this blog on a journey as I build and prepare myself for the future career I dream of.

Below I’ve listed just a few of my concerns I have about what I’m doing. These are small snippets around which I’ll be building the continued series, so take them as sneak peaks for the future. I’ve also got a few people I’ve asked for advice in this area so there will be mini-interviews as I trek onward and upward.

  • I currently have a small website set up that offers 3 different reading options. I sell a $5 reading that uses between 3 – 5 cards but I feel like I still give an awful lot of information, about the same that I’d give for a $15 or 9-card reading. I’m not sure why I feel this way because although I narrate what the cards mean and how they influence each other, I have way more to talk about with a bigger reading than the smaller reading. I don’t want to cut out my customer and not give them the answer they’re looking for, but at the same time, I feel like I should charge a bit more. I definitely haven’t got the right prices in place for my services.
  • Which brings me to my next area of unease. I’m not out to make a buck – but I’d certainly like to pad my income a bit. Honestly, I’d be really happy right now if I could use the proceeds from my reading service to pay for my internet usage, so that I can start saving for school. I don’t have the experience to justify $100/hour like Christine does, but I don’t think I should be selling myself short. I LOVE my work but I don’t want to grow weary of it because I feel like I’m not making enough. I’m also not satisfied with the mentality that people will pay me above and beyond my set prices ‘because I’m worth it’… I’m certain SOME people will tip me, eventually, but I can’t plan on it.
  • Reading in public. Whoamg. Huge personal issue for me. I did a reading for my dad this weekend and I was so nervous it took twice as long as it normally did because I was hesitating about everything I said. I really would benefit from having people I can practice in person with so I can work over my fear of people judging me while I get my tarot groove on and get those questions answered. So what I’m hoping to do is to try reading at my local New Age store – but I’m not sure how soon I can try that because I’m going to spend most of this month working overtime at my day job.

Tarot Reading Exercises Pt 1 – A reading for Bella Swan

When you’re learning how to read tarot cards, many of us are warned to not read for others until we have a good understanding of the cards. But on the other hand, we’re told not to rely on memorized definitions for the cards, because every time we flip a card over, the meaning changes. Also, the surrounding cards can influence the meaning of a card. So – if we’re not encouraged to read for others, how are we supposed to get a good grip on how tarot works in an actual reading situation? How do we develop techniques to help us read effectively from the beginning?

There are a couple different techniques for this – today I’ll just be sharing one so that I can keep these segments from getting too long. Continue reading

Memorizing Isn’t The Answer

I recently purchased a tarot reading on eBay. As I opened the email containing the reading, I was originally impressed with the length of the document, considering I paid less than $15 for it. The reading itself was introduced by a couple of paragraphs from the reader – how she apologized for the delay, how she did two spreads, and in the second one, she had noticed a positive career change. She then went on to notice that I had sold a few tarot readings on eBay some time ago, and one particular card in the reading reminded her of this.

The reader set up the first reading which was advice from my ‘angels’, or a spread done largely with an angelic oracle deck. She listed the 5 positions and their meanings, and then proceeded to list the cards and their meanings – without any reference to their position. At first, this didn’t concern me. Until I noticed that the second spread was a 12 card spread – done the same way, just reciting what the cards mean and not working off of how the combined cards worked together. In fact, several of the cards contradicted themselves; one card in the second reading said ‘You are in communication with your Angels, and the messages that you are receiving are very real indeed. Trust them,’ and later on it said ‘(this) …is also a sign from your angels. They are trying to get through – please notice!’ With no narration from the reader, I was (and still am) stumped at how I’m supposed to use this to help me. Either I’m paying attention, or I’m not. It’s possible that I’m listening to them but not trusting them, but this is a distinction I would have expected to be shown to me, not one I’d have to suss out myself.

Tarot reading – or, in this case, oracle reading – is not about merely pulling cards from the deck and parroting what the book says about the cards. Relying on definitions from the book won’t help you answer questions, and they certainly won’t help you answer the querant’s questions if they’re the least bit complex. The books merely serve as a guideline for interpretation. It’s also important to consider the surrounding cards, because they can influence the meaning of other cards. And, to top it off, the position in the spread plays a key role in the meaning of a card.

How does the Archangel Michael card in the ‘what I’ve learned’ position relate to my question about what I need to know about my career? “I will help you” doesn’t exactly make sense. I’m ‘currently learning’ about a ‘move or new job which is in the works and will usher in a positive new energy’. And the last card in the sequence was supposed to represent my life’s purpose, but I was told the card ‘represents a deceased loved one who loves me very much and doesn’t want me to worry about them’.

I don’t mean to ridicule because she does have the makings of a great reading here; she has all the pieces because everything she said COULD be applied to me. I mean, let’s be honest; I have recently gotten a new job, I have been wanting to move; I am studying mediumship, I have been told by several that I have ‘an ear for the dead’, so to speak.  However, because she was vague and didn’t pull that one thread joining everything together, to pull that thread tight and keep everything centered around my question, she fell short. The reading felt cold, rehearsed, and disjointed. It’s all just information, observations; nothing substantial.

My point isn’t to ridicule the reader, because I do think there is hope for this lady and it’s possible she doesn’t know any better. (And let’s be honest – the reading was cheap. I didn’t expect it to be life-changing.) But I am really, really glad that I set myself up for this opportunity, because it’s given me a lot to think of in terms of how to keep customers happy. I’ve recently started to set up my online business, so I’ve been trying to focus on a system I can follow to ensure I’m doing the best job I can to help the people who turn to me.

Here’s a few things I wrote down for myself as I as going through this reading. You might find some of these helpful.

  • Always help the querant ask the right question. Tarot is a tool for insight and information, so it’s best used that way. When you formulate your questions with this knowledge, you are setting an intention to receive information that will help you with your decisions.
  • Tell/show the querant the cards. Provide an opportunity for them to see the same thing you’re seeing, so they understand how the visual appearance of the card is integral to it’s meaning.
  • Share your internalized process. I always remember one of the first readings I did, and how I explained why the Strength card made me think of a friend of mine; how tough this friend of mine is, no matter what comes her way, and how sometimes she was so tough she couldn’t back down. The amazing thing is that the woman I was doing the reading for understood exactly what I meant when I shared a story about how I saw my friend turn prideful one day because of her inability to back down. Turns out the woman was in a similar situation thought that resisting was the only way she could survive with her dignity in tact. She walked away with a new curiosity about what it really meant to be strong. Would reading the book to this woman about that card had the same effect?
  • Communicate well. It doesn’t matter how well you read the cards; if you can’t communicate their meaning to the querant effectively in regards to their question, you negate the point of the reading. The querant doesn’t have their question answered, and you have an unhappy customer on your hands, which is certainly not good for advertising.
  • Don’t over draw. We’re often tempted to have a really long, drawn-out spread to search for our answers, but resist the urge to draw card after card. This tends to taint a reading because it becomes more about looking for a specific card than being open for guidance.

…or maybe I’m wrong about what it means to be a tarot reader? Mm, unlikely. Possible – because, well, even though I don’t like to admit it, I’ve been wrong before – but not likely. What do you think?

2011 Predictive Reading

Sunday morning, I stumbled upon a tweet from Donnaleigh about performing self-predictions for the year ahead. Her blog post suggested a simple six-card reading with some good tips for smaller predictions you can set up to mail yourself in the future. I’ve never done a prediction for myself for the year ahead, so I decided to give it a try. I sat down with my Legacy of the Divine deck and laid out six cards.

  1. Theme of 2011 – Ace of Swords
  2. Biggest challenges of 2011 – 7 of Pentacles
  3. Biggest perks – 3 of Swords
  4. Advice – 2 of Swords RX
  5. Outcome of the year – 4 of Cups RX
  6. Spiritual lesson for 2011 – 8 of Pentacles RX

Self Prediction for 2011

The 9 of cups jumped out while I was shuffling the cards, which I thought was very strange after I finished laying out all the cards and saw the three reversals, and three swords.

I tend to rely more on my intuition for what the cards mean than a memorized interpretation, simply because I get much more information when I’m flexible with the interpretations. However, today was not the case. With the 3 of swords in the ‘perks’ position, I am pretty stumped. And the reason is that I associate this card with heartbreak or sadness – not necessarily loss. My personal loss cards are usually the 8 of cups or the 5 of cups – often even the 5 or 7 of swords (I believe). So what is the 3 of swords telling me?

When I’m stumped on a card, I go back to looking at the card, say aloud what I see, and revisit some basic knowledge about the card. The person on this card is clearly experiencing an emotion, with the heart on their face and the tear running down their cheek. However, this is a sword, not a cup; swords represent clarity of thought, logic, and truths, while cups are about emotions and relationships. Yes, there is a dark background to the card, hinting that this may be a difficult and painful time, but again, the presence of the swords tells me this is a sadness based on facts. This is why I usually associate this particular card with sudden breakups, job changes and sometimes deaths – they are directly connected to an unpleasant fact.

Continue reading

A reflection

I have spent the last couple of weeks absentmindedly worrying about the weekend of September 18th. I have given a few tarot readings to a friend of my boyfriend’s, and she has expressed an interest in learning tarot herself. This was exciting; I’d done so well in her readings she wants to try it herself. I told her I’d buy her a deck as a late birthday present, and it sits on a bookshelf, waiting for the aforementioned weekend when I’ll travel to give it to her.

I’ve been worrying because this will be the first person I’ve taught who knows nothing or next to nothing about this world. It scares me to think that I might scare her off, or that I might not prepare her well enough for what she’s getting into. Tarot changed my life, and I’ve had one ‘failure’ of a student already. Granted, I’m positive she was interested in tarot to scare people, but still.

Yesterday, one of my successful tarot students visited with me for a while. I don’t know this girl very well but she picked up tarot really well and the readings that I’ve seen her do have been very, very good. Over the course of the afternoon, we talked about how much of a pain it is when people won’t let you make your own decisions, even if it means you might fall flat on your ass. It made me rethink everything I was going to tell P, and, well, now I don’t think I’m going to tell her a whole lot. Not like I was planning. I had a long list of things I was going to mention and bring up, I’d been rehearsing what to say in the bathroom mirror and to the cat, and now I don’t think that would be a very good idea. Yes, I want her to know things; no, I will not shove my ideas about how she should work with her deck down her throat. Should she ask… I’ll make my opinions available.

I drew three cards for insight into this situation, past and present. Considering the circumstances, I felt they were very appropriate. The 10 of swords in the past indicates I’ve been literally tearing myself up over this issue. The Hermit says I have taken the time to do some soul-searching and introspection. The Sun says I have a bright future ahead, that I’ve recognized the true source of the issue and have learned from it; from here I can carry on and do what I need to do.

This is a relief… although the presence of the Majors indicates that this is a very important thing I’ve realized, which makes me curious about the nature of this lesson. But I digress. It makes me wonder if I’m supposed to write about tarot at all. Food for thought, I suppose.