the next step in making sure that your tarot readings are unbiased is journaling your initial thoughts, feelings, and responses to the cards.
There is no wrong way to do this. Seriously…….
The only wrong way to engage with the tarot is through not engaging. It is important, especially in making sure that you are giving yourself an unbiased reading, that you are taking notes or documenting the way you work and interact with you cards.
This doesn’t have to be some long poetic diatribe on each and every card. It can be a list, bullet points, pictures, connections to things like colors, songs, or memories.
Why is journaling the initiation?
Journaling is the initiation between you and the cards because it shows the natural and free-flowing thoughts and emotions that come through in that moment. It shows the nuance.
Each day that you engage with the tarot there is a difference in energy, and in connection. It may not be exactly “correct”, but as a tarot reader I believe that correctness should not come before perfection. That is why every reader, no matter how many books, courses, or workshops they attend will have those slight differences in their own interpretation and understanding of the cards.
If you journal in the morning, at night, during a moon ritual, return to your latest journal entries and then write down how the card came forward in actuality. This is why I think it is important not to strive for complete correctness. That can create expectations of the ways that the cards are going to flow in your life, and when they don’t adhere to that expectation (and they never will), you find yourself questioning even more.
So, return to your latest journal entry, and check in. Write down how the card(s) actually came forward. Document how your initiation contained similarities, differences, complete out-of-the-blue surprises with the cards. This is the connection forming in real time. What a beautiful thing!
Some things to consider when journaling about the cards:
It is important to date each entry. That way you have a roadmap of your personal path with the tarot. How beautiful is that?
No matter the format (handwritten, electronic, art-inspired), keep your entries. Return to them, read them again, see the similarities and the differences between you and the cards from that space now in the past, and the present moment.
You can use your journal entries to compile a set of notes that form a clear-running connection with the cards.
After you have engaged with your latest entry, and some of your earliest ones, you will start to see the threads forming that encourage a deeper understanding of how the cards come forward for you. You will see the ways in which your free-flowing initiation was spot-on. These are the times when your intuition (whether felt or not) was speaking to you. Other times, you will see that your entries are completely out of alignment. This could be a time when ego was present, when a feeling was not fully worked through, or any other situation that could have altered the understanding.
Don’t get discouraged at these moments. These are the ways you really learn the tarot. It isn’t in some book or course. It is in the precious and intimate unfolding each day, seeing where you are truly in alignment, and where you need to connect more deeply to intuition.
Thank you for reading. Stay tuned for the next blog post in creating an unbiased connection to your cards. Don’t forget to sign up for the Trust the Tarot booklet which is designed specifically to help you engage with the tarot in this way.
It is true that reading your cards is one of the best ways to tune into yourself, your situation, your life to gain a deeper understanding. It is also true that the tarot can be used both creatively and analytically to engage this understanding. The tarot provides an outlook that, while scoffed at by many, can create an intimate moment of connection. All of these things are true, and yet, it is also true that reading your own cards, objectively and without bias, can pose an obstacle to an honest analysis.
I have been reading the cards for five years now, for myself, friends and family, and clients. There are still days that I have to really sit in my reading and make sure that I am not pulling a meaning out of ego, need for comfort, or an effort to assuage some deep feeling I haven’t fully worked through completely.
Over the years, I have found some tips and techniques that have helped me reach for an unbiased and honest understanding, no matter how uncomfortable or called out I may feel. I would like to make this a bit of a series, otherwise this would be a hella long blog post because your girl can write and talk about this until the cows come home.
Tip #1: Don’t keep pulling cards, clarifying or otherwise
The Wild Unknown tarot deck
This first tip comes with an asterisk. If your intuition is clearly saying that you should pull another card, honor that voice. Your intuition is paramount to any reading, and comes first. The reason that I place this tip at number is that it can be really easy to get sucked into what I call the pull-reflex (where something isn’t clear initially, or may present an edge, and another card is used to assuage the message, but it’s wrapped up in the context of clarity).
I have always said that more cards doesn’t mean a better, more clear reading. Some of the most profound readings are single cards. If you’re in a reading for yourself, pulling with a spread or intuitively, one of the most profound ways to have an unbiased reading is to the let cards chosen speak for themselves. It can feel easy when pulling the Tower or the 10 of Swords to reflexively pull another card for clarification, but that may diminish the biasness of the reading. Let the Tower talk to you. Let the cards that come forward be heard.
The reason I place this technique at number one is because it is important to get a connection with the cards that isn’t about what you want to hear. If that is what you are searching for, the tarot is not for you. Sorry, it just isn’t. Even cards like the Star, the 2 of Cups, the 4 of Wands can present an edge or challenge in reading. There are no good or bad cards. Some cards feel better than others, but that doesn’t diminish the nourishment that comes with each and every card.
Every card is of benefit, even when it feels heavy and hard to bear.
Going into the pull-reflex is honestly like fishing for compliments. It is an impulse reaction to ease the ego, or seek to gain comfort in some way. Again, if your intuition is knocking on the door, telling you to pull another card, than do so, but that presents the need to clarify if it is ego or intuition talking. This speaks to another tip that I will discuss at a later time.
The main point here is that no matter how you read, that you create a container, or a boundary around the reading. This means that your reading may go slower, may have fewer cards, or may take some time to really let the messages sink in. That is perfectly fine. I would wager that no one, myself included, always knows the deeper underbelly of a tarot analysis on every reading.
So, to sum up, the first tip that I can give you is to create a boundary so that you don’t get sucked into the pull-reflex. It is very hard, I know. However, the pull-reflex can diminish the capacity of the guidance of a card because it has been taken over by others. Let the cards pulled guide you towards creative and analytical observation and connection. Check back in for the next blog installment of tarot tips for an unbiased reading.
As each day begins to bring us closer to March, distancing us from the shortest month of the year, it is therapeutic, dare I write it…….even cathartic to write my workings with this card onto the public page of my platform. In working with the 6 of Pentacles, and as I mentioned in the podcast episode (click here to listen), it is important to see and work with the 6 of Pentacles beyond an act of charity. I don’t like to work with the 6 of Pentacles based on a capitalistic narrative that puts money in the form of hierarchy between people. Instead, I am going to discuss how the themes within this card open the space for sharing for the bigger picture, and what that means. I am also going to discuss how abundance and generosity make magick and reality a fluid cycle, ending within the metaphor of pollination- and how it relates to this card.
When talking about sharing for the picture, I cannot help but reflect back on 2020, and the beginning of this year. I know…I know, we have discussed about the last year to the point that it has become a trope of itself. However, when I look back on the last year, I see that our lives are communally based. We may not be the most social of people (I am definitely not overly social) but the good of the individual enhances and elevates the good of the community. The good of the community leads to the good of a society.
This is not merely related to health, although 2020 showed how health is not a individual issue. When discussing the theme of sharing for the bigger picture, it is about all of that, and more. Sharing for the bigger picture means that we do not seek to shut ourselves off or away from the world. Instead, we open ourselves to the goods that abound with gratitude and companionship. We share with the community, with our spirit guides and ancestors, with our friends and family, so that the layered energies become enriched with stability and support.
From the Herbcrafter’s Tarot, the 6 of Pentacles is shown as Pine. Pine offers it’s medicine, resources, and support all year. This consistence supports all living things.
The Herbcrafter’s Tarot deck shows the layered meaning of this card. When we share for the bigger picture, it is not merely monetary or based on someone’s altruistic acts. This card speaks to sharing in ritual and magick and community because that is how the bigger energies change for the better. When working with this card, we are being asked to commit to sharing in the ways that we can, so that the community, society, and the very Earth experiences more stability, more support.
Building on this narrative, when we look to generosity and abundance, we are being asked with this card to be generous with all the layers and faculties of ourselves. We can use our hearts, our minds, our bodies, and our spirits to direct the bigger picture towards more support and stability. By offering out and being generous with ourselves, we charge the Universe to send back to us what we have put out. We merge into the large and small cycles of what is, was, and will be with more direction being paid towards wider description of abundance.
From the Hush Tarot deck, the Meadowlark is the only bird that sings while flying, indicating joy and bounty. Meadowlarks are a symbol of abundance and good harvest.
When we look to generosity, prosperity, and sharing it is important to find the space to really sit with what abundance means to us. Abundance and prosperity are not terms and themes that exist in a vacuum. They are around us all the time. It requires that we take notice, be part of the collaboration for prosperity’s own sake. Being part of the abundance for the bigger picture means that we actively choose the ways we are fulfilled continuously, constantly.
When abundance and prosperity move and guide us, we are freer to offer out our internal truth more. We are freer to find the small and subtle layers that bring abundance into our days. With all of this glorious energy, it can be easy to see this card as all love and light, sunshine and rainbows shit. Not true.
This card is a positive card, and indicates quite beautiful themes, but this card also points to work that needs to be done. It points to what is out of alignment with prosperity. It can also indicate our attention to money, the privilege that many (me included) hold and how that privilege has created deep, systemic imbalances. This card indicates and guides us toward move and bring abundance into spirit, but it also shines a light on where the balances of power are tilted.
When we work with this card, it is important to look at how we build and collaborate from a space of prosperity. When we take abundance and prosperity into our spirit, and then give it out to the world along with our truths, it is vital to see and reflect on how these systems, resources, and guiding forces can be called on and cultivated in times of hardship. In short, this card encourages us to not see and work with abundance as some fleeting, charitable influence. Rather, it is a form of stabilizing and ensuring that all things have a seat at the table of abundance.
From the Wild Unknown, we see the 6 of Pentacles as a form of growth, symbolized by the seed. Through pollination, more and more living things thrive.
Finally, we can work with the 6 of Pentacles by calling to mind the role of pollination, both metaphorically and physically. If you really want to be share in the totality of abundance for the bigger picture, go thank a pollinator! metaphorically, we can use pollination as an analogy for the 6 of Pentacles. Through the act of pollination the plant can grow and thrive, and others plants can grow and thrive. Pollination contributes to the whole ecosystem, with each living thing benefitting and offering their own abundance to keep all things in equilibrium. For us, on a spiritual scale, we can see pollination as a way to encourage our spiritual thriving, as well as the thriving spiritual ecosystem for all things.
I would love to hear how the 6 of Pentacles has benefitted you. I really love this card, and see the prosperous blooming in all things. In you, in me, in all things, we bloom together or we wither together. Thank you so much for reading.
I am one of those tarot readers that rejects the idea of reversals meaning bad, no, or anything opposite of joy. In fact, some of my best tarot medicine has come from reversals, reminding me to tune into the subtle vibrations within me to elevate my heart and my spirit. However, I had an experience pulling a tarot card the other day that has not left me alone. When that happens, I know I need to give it a bigger and broader voice to let these messages be of service.
I have been slowly rebuilding my routine of pulling a tarot card every day. Actually, right now it is about every day, but what is one or two more days, right? I sat out in the suddenly chilly Colorado air Saturday morning, and pulling a card over, I asked for guidance. I pulled the Page of Wands reversed. Immediately, I felt a tightening and gripping sensation with this card. My intuitive way of confronting the challenge.
Tarot is NOT all rainbows and butterflies, and any tarot reader who tells you that is selling you a bill of goods. I am sorry, but it’s true. Tarot can be incredibly challenging, and also incredibly healing. With tarot, you are getting all the energies that come with the cards. Some days that energy is beautiful and radiant. Other days, it is a struggle to meet the energy on solid ground.
That is how I felt pulling the Page of Wands reversed. So, in the spirit of meeting this energy with grace and love and honesty, let’s dive into what challenges can come from the Page of Wands. First, a quick reminder about this card. The Page of Wands is the dreamer and initiator of spirit movement. The Page of Wands is the one who calls into being the outline and calling of spirit manifestation that the Son will then move and shake and stir into action. There is also the elements to consider.
These two elements come from the elemental association of the card, and the Court Title of Page. The wands represent fire. The Pages (as their own identity) represent Earth. These two energies stand at polar opposites in many ways, mostly in movement. Earth growth is often shockingly slow, with some exceptions. Fire growth burns hot and quick and it feeds. This means that the fire energy within wants to move, but the earth energy needs time to stir and dwell and hold.
Passion and growth are not on the same time table: My passion for tarot is a ferocious fire that will never go out. However, growing into this process is like the growth of a tree. It is happening, but it is hard to see or feel it in the moment sometimes. If there is something that you are passionate about, and you feel it so deeply in your bones that it almost hurts, but it is slow to rise towards the vision you hold within, that is Page of Wands energy in its shadow form.
One of the reasons that these two energies are so opposite of each other is that both passion and growth work with visions and dreams and wants. Passion sees everything through rose-colored glasses, while growth is met by the ego, who wants everything to be kept safe and comfortable and understandable. Growth needs time to stop, pause, reconsider, and thrive. Passion wants everything to unfold beautifully, organically, passionately.
This can be a huge challenge for the ego. It can be hard to remind ourselves that growth is happening, especially when it seems like it happens so quick for other people. Sometimes it does, and that is just the luck of the draw. Other times, it is important remember how you are seeing someone else’s growth. Are you seeing it through the lens of social media or a website, or are you seeing the real and raw energy that comes with growth?
When the pages are in their shadow element, and the dreams and visions become cloudy, it can be hard to keep your head above the metaphorical water. It can be hard to see the forest for the trees. It can be hard to hold the burning desires of the wand’s fire, while moving with the vibrations and rhythms of the earth. If this resonates with you at all, I invite you to take time to see where your passion can be directed, mindfully. Where can you place some energy so that it feels like you are merging these two elemental spaces?
One of the best ways I know, is that when I deeply feel the passion of the wands, but my growth is that of a tree, I tend to my physical space. I tend to my body. Movement, exercise, food, and tending are all beautiful ways to give your passion purpose. Move your passion back into alignment by redirecting it. Also, take a look at where you are putting your energy. Are you getting caught in the scroll-hole of comparisons? Are you getting caught up in drama because it’s exciting? See where your passion may be meeting forces that could compromise it.
Finally, remember that patience will allow this energy to pass. Practice patience and stillness. The Page of Wands never wants to be still. By practicing even a little bit of mindful slowing, you may be surprised how the pace that many people set for themselves is based more on output and expectation that need and control require. I wish you many blessings. If you would still like some help setting this space into alignment, consider my spiritual wellness coaching sessions. At $40 for an hour, we will look at how to use these confrontations and contractions towards your purpose and higher alignment.
Sometimes the most poignant lessons come from the ones you have already written. Sometimes the words that you wrote ages ago can reveal to you how far you have come, and how much you have offered before. These old teachings have the honor of coming from you, and following through you to become again.
Lately, I have been stirring the energies of my old writings. Between my blog and many, many journals I am able to see and remember the path that I have taken with tarot. I want to share an old blog post with you, one that I wrote on December 5, 2016. This time was right at the infancy of Tea and Tombstones, and my initiation into the tarot. I began to read tarot as a mere hobby, but my writings (at least I hope) show how quickly tarot settled into my very bones, changing my internal narrative, as well as the words that I offered out into the world. I want to share how I see this old post, and this card.
I started learning tarot very slowly, pulling a card once a day, but really committing to writing about a card weekly, which highlights one huge change. I don’t do a weekly pull anymore. Why? Because I believe that tarot has so much to offer that I could spend a whole life time on one single card. Now I do the monthly ezines to explore more deeply the resonance with each card. In between the texts I have included the 5 of Cups from all my decks, highlighting the many images that I personally have with this card. The old text will be colored in yellow to highlight the breaks between my past post, and this current one I am writing now.
The first card in this weekly series is the 5 of cups. This is perhaps not the most inspiring card to begin the week, but there is a lot that can be gained from this cup, and understanding the energy behind it. With this card there is disillusionment, depression, a feeling of loss, or focus on the negative aspects in life.
I find both truth and also a novice simplicity to this card. The 5’s all represent confrontation, conflict, or challenge of some kind. The fives are not easy to deal with, but they offer a deep pull towards the spectrum, towards the communal nature of your beautiful spirit. It isn’t always easy. I do still believe that the 5 of Cups speaks to disillusionment, loss, grief. But, I think that the 5 of Cups also speaks to what it means to feel courage. To reveal the truth of your heart brings the other side of the spectrum. It brings the fear that keeps us stagnant, retreating towards safety. When the very nature of the heart brings opposition, confliction, or doubt, our heart beats more rapidly. We feel like we must choose between truth or freedom. In reality, they are one and the same. They are the embodiment of what it means to feel into emotional vulnerability at the very moment we are seeking security and safety.
This card speaks to what every person feels in life at some point. It is not always a joyful ride. With joy comes grief, with changes come emotional turmoil, with relationships comes setbacks or breakups. There is so much going on in the world politically, socially, and individually. It is normal to feel the weight of changes and uncertainties. Human are messy creatures that can hurt or be hurt. Hurt comes in many forms. Even just this time of year brings out a sense of isolation and solitude.
I felt the 5 of Cups stir in me when I turned on the news, tapped into any social event, or felt into what it meant to be a person, living and breathing, during the times of 2016. I feel the 5 of Cups now. I feel the 5 of Cups now when I look at my platform and my business. There is so much I wanted to do with this blog, and looking back on it, on all my previous posts, I realize that I kept myself looking into the dark abyss, feeling inadequate, feeling not good enough, feeling like I wasn’t worthy of having the platform I desire.
That is what the 5 of Cups teaches us. It teaches us that emotions can be a predictor for how we show up in the world. That is not to say that we should never feel any shadow emotions. All emotions are valuable teachers, but when we dwell on those negative emotions, those fears and vulnerabilities, it can stagnate us. It can halt us in our tracks when all we want to do is run.
What can be gained from this card is a personal, emotional check- in. If these feelings are present, the best thing right now can be restraint and reflection. Hasty decisions can make situations worse. It is ok to disengage. It is ok to say not right now, and it is ok to sit with these emotions for a while before reaching conclusions.
This is still one of my biggest action-points with the 5 of Cups, and what I speak to with clients. The 5 of Cups should teach us that acknowledgment is not the same as dwelling. Dwelling, as mentioned leads to stagnation. But acknowledging our discomfort, our troubling emotions, and letting it move us towards reflection can create a beautiful window that lets all the light in. If you find yourself in the 5 of Cups, it is important to lean into self-care and restraint. Reactive emotions can create more problems. Reflective emotions can create great change.
Pulling this card today reminds me that energy is cyclical, but actions don’t have to be. This time of year, whether it is the holidays, the election, or the general nature of things, is already a hard time. Focus on what is positive, and what deserves that positive energy. Expectations and actions can be improved. Reflect and move forward when the time is right.
I also fully believe that emotions can be cyclical. Frustration, hurt, guilt, shame, discomfort, and more will surface again and again. Each time they do, we have are given the gift of choice, so that our actions are not the same as before, if those previous actions were not helpful, or led to further hurt. We have all been the receiver and giver of these hard emotions. Letting reflection come through by acknowledging the emotion can show us what can bring us back to center.
Overall, I feel into this card much like I did years ago. There are obvious nuances and subtleties that will grow and change over time, but the paydirt of this card still holds me the same way. I cannot say I love this card, but I love that it reminds me that I am human, and that I can be messy even when I am ascending spiritually. I love that this card shows me the way out is through, and that my, and your, courageous heart can flourish towards personal and communal good.
If you read tarot cards, chances are you know about the classic spreads. These are the spreads like the Celtic Cross, the Horseshoe Spread, Past / Present/ Future, and so on. These are the spreads that have stood the test of time. They are iconic because they are bring in and cover such a broad base of messages. When I first started reading tarot, I turned to these spreads, and any others that accompanied the beautiful books of my teachings. I felt these spreads would last with me through my whole tarot journey.
And, that hasn’t been entirely incorrect. Every now and again I will turn to one of these tried-and-trues, but to be honest, once I got a handle on how I read tarot, and what I want the messages in the cards to offer me, I stopped relying on most of these well-known spreads. The main reason is that I like spreads with a little more direction. To me, the Celtic Cross started to move me in circles. Like I was driving to a new location that I have never to before. I know the zip code. I know the general location I am in, but the side streets and landmarks are not leading me anywhere helpful.
I started to write my own spreads. It may seem easy to write a tarot spread, and there are days where the needed messages just come flowing forth, from somewhere within me that I cannot name, only feel. Other days, I feel like I am on the right track, but still getting nowhere. So, if you want to write the perfect tarot spreads for yourself, or for your business, keep reading!
To make it easy, there are three key things that I feel should be considered when writing a tarot spread, so that it includes everything to make your tarot experience beautiful and empowering….
Those three key things are:
Knowing the insight or clarity you / your client’s need from the reading
Knowing what is reasonable (within your ability to ask)
Being mindful of receiving the whole truth
Let’s begin with needed insight or clarity. It is vital to understand and be able to articulate what is being asked of this spread. For a spread like the past, present, future, the insight being gained is an understanding of what has passed, what is coming in, and what is within the present moment. If the spread is stop, start, continue, the spread is giving insight into actions that help or hinder.
So, in writing your spread ask what and where you need insight. Do you want your spread more general or specific? Do you want options or choices in your spread, or are you open to receiving concrete messages from your cards? Are you looking for a more spiritual or a more psychological approach, or do you want both covered in your spread? Your spread can include anything you want, as long as it includes the second part of the key themes.
A great way to gain full clarity of what you need from your spread is to do a freewrite journal exercise. Write down whatever you are feeling, thinking, experiencing, or considering. Just write. After you feel you have written down everything that honors and captures your point of view or your needs, put it aside for a day. Let the words sit for a moment. Return to your writing and highlight what you feel the key words or key themes are within your words. These highlighted passages are the bare bones of what you can explore in your spread.
Once you have decided what you need your spread to speak to, it is time to move on to the second key theme: what is reasonable to ask of the cards. This theme is open to interpretation, as everyone has a different style of reading. Your style of reading will dictate and determine what is reasonable to ask. For example: my way of reading is intuitive, but not predictive. Therefore, while I have spreads that speak to possible outcomes, I do not in any way instruct or inform my clients that a certain circumstance or series of events will unfold. If you read from a purely spiritual point of view, your spread positions will speak to spirituality.
Once you know your reading style, consider what is reasonable to ask the spread. It is reasonable for you to ask about 3rd party readings? Is it reasonable to ask about financial matters or health issues? Only you can answer what is right for you and your reading style. Once you have decided what is reasonable, your spread will reflect that truth. If you find it reasonable to read for others, include in your spread questions that speak to this. If you feel it unreasonable, keep all questions in relation to you, or whomever is the seeker.
After you have decided what is reasonable, or unreasonable to ascertain from your spread, we move on to the final key theme: honesty, brutal honesty. If we think about it a tarot spread as a dinner plate, the insight and clarity is the main course. It is what is going to probably benefit you the most because you are getting to the bedrock to what has been elusive. The ability to discern what is reasonable to ask is the side dish, which makes honesty the bill.
The bill (brutal honesty) is the exchange so you can have this glorious plate of energetic beauty. It is needed, but it may be hard at times to recognize that this exchange is paramount. Just as you could not have a lovely dinner at a restaraunt with paying the bill, you cannot have a truly profound spread that is of service unless there is an exchange. In all tarot spreads it is useful to have specific position that highlight the positives, the love and light if you will. These positions can include: strengths, resources, gifts and offerings to the world, lasting energy, and more. These positions are beautiful, and can highlight the beautiful nature of your / your client’s unique self.
However, it is also important to be willing to have a thorough exchange with the card and include positions that speak to the shadows. These can include: fears, weaknesses, obstacles, things to change, things to let go, and more. It is important to include spread positions like this because your tarot cards are your ally, and the spread is the conversation it is having with you / your client. It is important to go into not just the love and light, but also the shadows and the blockages, because that is how we grow. We don’t grow within the comfortable, we grow with the full spaciousness of possibility, which needs to include that which we may not want to hear.
Obviously, these three focuses are, in my opinion, needed to create a badass tarot spread. You may have a different take, and that is totally fine. You need to find what works for you. If willing, I invite you to utilize these focuses while writing your own tarot spreads. They have never led me astray, and I am confident it will be of service for you as well.
**One side note that I wanted to mention was writing a spread with a specific deck in mind. All tarot / oracle decks can be of service no matter the reading (unless there is an energetic block that has nothing to do with the spread), but sometimes it might be useful to write a spread with the focus through one certain deck. I love using my Mystical Dream Tarot deck for a more psychological, symbolic feel. If I want tangible and of this earth, the Herbcrafter’s Tarot has been it for me. For all things relating to spirit and wild reclamation, The Wild Unknown decks have never done me wrong. Again, all decks can be interchanged, no matter the spread, but if you are really struggling, or really wanting to connect to a certain deck, try writing a spread specifically for the artwork and themes of one particular deck.**
The Devil card is quite a loaded tarot card, in fact, the mere mention or turn of this card can change the whole tarot reading, especially for someone just beginning to read to tarot for themselves, or for other people, but this card doesn’t have to the dark little cloud that rains on a beautiful tarot reading. In fact, this card can be a wonderful, amazing teacher, if we are willing to shed the archetype as we have known it for so long. Many religious texts and teachings place Lucifer as the direct anti-thesis to God, to purity, to ascension. I believe that the Devil card can provide the space to create some great work in this world, and I wish to add new narratives to this card. If you view and work with this card in a different way, I respect, but if you are open to a different interpretation, I gladly invite you into this space. I also highly recommend that you look to Lindsay Mack’s Tarot for the Wild Soul podcast with the Devil as one of the great liberators of the tarot. I love her work, and this episode really struck me when I first heard it.
Let’s first get started by talking about the meanings of the Devil tarot card. The Devil card is all about finding your autonomous center, or your own autocracy. This means that the Devil card is all about responsibility, accountability, freedom, and spaciousness. When finding your autonomy, you step into your power. You are the creator of your life, free to make it what you will. That also means that you need to take accountability for actions and movement and choices. This is a not a card of bad omens or terrible evil. It is a card that is inviting the seeker into a space of rebirth, but requires that you confront this space with a willingness to move and shed the former self. You are being asked to be your own light-bearer, willing to step into the transformative fires.
The Devil card is about the cause, or the why, and not the what when it comes to circumstance. This is why I don’t read this card in relation to addiction, vices, toxicity, or attachments. Those are consequences of a deeper cause. It is within that cause, that why, that the Devil is asking for understanding and merging. For example, for two monogamous people who are in a committed relationship, an affair or adultery would not be the focus of Devil energy, it would be the why. It would be the trajectory off-course between these two that would be where Devil energy is.
Another meaning about the Devil is about finding freedom from expectations, dogmas, or external forces that do not serve you. The Devil as a means for rebirth means that the self needs to shift away from perceptions and energies that do not serve you. If you are not hurting anybody else, or forcing your will on anybody else, there is nothing you owe to anybody in terms of reasoning or explanation. Your body, your spirit, your personal light is yours and it is within you that balance and pleasure and indulgence and pain and understanding sit. What you promote within and outside of your body is your choice, again as long as it does not infringe on the autonomy of another person, or as long as it does not incite violence or promote harm to another person.
Now that there is a little bit of an overview of what the Devil card represents, let’s go to some key themes when reading the Devil card. When working the Devil card, I think there are three things that should be present in order to fully work with this card. These three things are:
Release judgment, for yourself and others
Let go of the need to see external proof of this card
Allow for the human space to be present, step into your creature self
I believe that the first thing when working with the Devil card is to release judgment. Judgment creates bias and a hierarchy that does not serve this card, or the reading. When the Devil appears, there is an invitation to move into the source so that great work can be done for rebirth. The card that immediately follows the Devil is the Tower. This means that by finding that autonomous center, and shifting attention to the cause and not the consequence of circumstance, you are creating the space for the Tower to fall, disintegrating that which does not serve.
This requires confronting the cause, finding understanding, and shifting perspectives back to self with honesty. This is not easy to do. The Devil may be one of the great teachers in the card, but it is not easy work. That is why it is important to remove judgment from yourself. If you judge what comes forth, you will be fighting an uphill battle. Judging what comes forward honestly and authentically will stifle growth and intuitive guidance. It will shunt what the Devil is asking you to do, which is to find your own power, take accountability, and move into a spacious freedom that releases external narratives.
The next thing I think is important when reading this card is to not try to find external proof of this card. This card, as mentioned, is often considered the card of addictions, vices, or toxic attachments. Those external manifestations further judgmental thoughts and behaviors. The need to see and point the finger to something external is exactly the kind of narrative that shifts the energy of the Devil away. It is within you to take control and accountability. It is within you to step fully into your beautiful power. It is within you that your autocracy lies. These energies do not always have an external shape or outline to point to and say, “there is the Devil.” They may, and it can include those listed entrapments, but it could also be found in so many other things, things that may be little and hard to miss.
So, when looking to Devil energy, it is important to remember that the Devil can be in the smallest of details and moments, and they do not have to be bad in any way. Coming into your autonomy, and creating a spacious space for freedom within you can be as simple, yet profound, as saying no to an energetic vampire. It can be in seeking answers, and doing the research, not believing everything that you are told. Devil energy can be found in taking accountability and apologizing. In reading this card, let go of the need to see or speak to external embodiments becauce Devil energy is so much more complex than that.
Finally, when reading the Devil card, let the space for the human-ness to come forward. To go back to the need to read this card in relation to addiction, vices, or toxic connections, if that is truly what the Devil card was about, it would be pulled every time. Why? Because we are all human. We all have bad connections within us. We all have vices and things that we can’t pull ourselves away from. Again, these can be related to a behavior or a state of mind. For a comedic metaphor of this, I recommend watching the clip of Jim Gaffigan talking about McDonald’s, and how everyone has their own form or version of McDonald’s. The point is: we all have things in our life that may not be the absolute best for us, but we are not perfect beings. There is no such thing. Let the Devil invite you into the human aspect. Let it provide you with the comfort and freedom to be a human in this world, with judgment or constant need to point the finger to something external.
It is important to recognize this especially if reading for someone else. When the Devil card is pulled, as a reader, it is important to recognize that what makes this seeker a human is based on their internal, core why’s, so let the space open for them to find their own answers instead of placing this card into the evil, bad, dark space. We all have been the toxic person at some point, so approaching this card and each reading where this card comes up as a space to step into internal power rather than see it as some bad omen will completely transform the reading.
I hope this was helpful for you and your tarot readings, for yourself and others!
I received the Herbcrafter’s Tarot as a birthday present last year, and I am so glad that this deck has come into my possession. I love this deck, and will take the rest of this blog post to break down all the key details about this deck. If you would like to purchase this deck or learn more about it after this blog post, you can click this link, which will take you straight to the Herbcrafter’s Tarot website (this is not an affiliate or promotional code or link). The deck was written by Latisha Guthrie, an herb / kitchen witch, teacher, and homesteader. The artwork is by Joanna Powel Colbert. She has created the Gaian Tarot, the Pentimento Tarot, and also teaches workshops and retreats related to the craft, the Goddess, and more.
What is immediately clear about this deck is that is created with a true knowledge and love of herb-crafting. You do not need a previous knowledge of herbs in order to use this deck. You will need to be invested in learning about the herbs. Each card in this deck relates to a specific herb (the one exception being the World card, which I will get into here in just a bit), so if you aren’t invested in learning about, or using herbs, this probably isn’t the deck for you.
The Herbcrafter’s Tarot is so beautifully made. The cards measure 5″ x 3″ which makes them a decent size. The paper has a nice glossy sheen which makes them easy to shuffle. The illustration for the back of the card has a very different feel than the front of the card. To be honest, I am not in love with the illustration for the back of the card. It feels disconnected from the gorgeous artwork of the cards themselves. The artwork is reversible if your cardback to match your reversal preference. I don’t mind if the image is non-reversible because I still don’t know the particular card chosen until I turn it over, but there many who want card-front and card-back to match.
If you choose to keep the deck in its box, the material has some heft, and will keep your decks well-protected. The green string allows for easy access of the cards, and the guidebook fits snug at the top, making a substantial tarot set. If you choose to put your cards in some other container or bag, I would recommend keeping the guidebook. Normally, I tend to forget the guidebook for my tarot decks, but this deck brings in so much more information, that I find it worthwhile to keep the guidebook on hand.
The guidebook is packed full of information that speaks to the formation of this deck, the intention of the herbs used for each card, and how those herbs are handled or grown in nature. These intentionally chosen herbs also relate heavily to a more numerology-based system of reading. As you can see in the picture below, the herbs chosen do not merely reflect the identity of their corresponding tarot card. They correspond to the numerology and to the herb in nature, and how it is used. Working with this deck and this guidebook will give you a good understanding of herbology, numerology, and tarot, all within one tarot deck!
One of the other main differences is the titles for the Minor Arcana. Instead of staying with the elemental object (swords, pentacles, etc.) for each suit, the Minor Arcana are named in relation to the elements themselves: earth, fire, water, and air. The elemental token that is featured in the minors are:
Fire / mortars and pestles
Water / kettles
Earth / baskets.
Each of these tools are needed to participate fully in herb-crafting. The elements also take on an additional layer of understanding to help with learning and skill acquisition.
Air = learning, fire = creating, water = nourishing, and earth = giving.
This is somewhat similar to a more traditional understanding of the tarot and the elements.
Air / Swords = the mind: thoughts, brainstorming, ideas, and communication.
Fire / Wands= the spirit: creativity, ingenuity, perseverance, and ambition.
Water / Cups= the heart: connection, understanding, compassion, emotions.
Earth / Pentacles= the body: production, tangible, sensory, and environmental.
One of the final differences is the court card titles have also changed. Instead of Page, Knight, Queen, King, the court cards are now named Hija (daughter), Adelita (Warrior), Madre (mother), and Curandera (healer). Each of these titles bring similar energy to the more traditional court cards, but also represent the transformation of energy that comes from the different thresholds of the herb path. Each court card shows an image with outstretched hands, and shows how the herbs are handled differently as you progress through the court rankings.
The picture above has the four court ranks for the element of Fire. The Hija of Fire may be my personal favorite card of the deck. The Hija sits on her blanket, adorned with incense, costume jewelry, California Poppies, and she is both witnessed and protected by her stuffed tiger. She is undertaking the path in a way that is both playful and imaginative. The Adelita of Fire carries the tradition of her people’s medicine by crushing cayenne to make fire cider. The Madre of Fire keeps a whole-hearted and fierce spirit to create and use ingredients that fill her hearth and home. Finally, the Curandera of Fire teaches the power of love and intimacy, healers in their own way.
Speaking of the imagery, Joanna Powell Colbert’s artistic rendering of each card is simply stunning. Her images are so detailed and intimate, that it really feels like a part of time was captured, not just the herb. Each image feels so heavenly, that you can almost smell what’s on the stove, feel the sunshine, or test the nearby water. The artwork is so beautiful and important, but one of the other reasons I really recommend keeping the guidebook is because Latisha Guthrie’s description for each card is informative and easy to understand. Her writings detail how you can either begin or reinforce your herbal path with each herb, and benefit from each card you turn over. It is not a mere guidebook; it is an informative text for the herbal path.
If you have a decent understanding of herbs or numerology, this may be a decent deck to learn the tarot on. If new to all practices, I personally would not recommend learning on this deck, only because there is so much information that comes with this deck. By fully learning tarot through a more standard or straightforward deck, there isn’t a need to learn both herbs and tarot at the same time. However, that is merely my personal opinion, and I am sure that for many people, this deck would create full expansion in their beginning practice.
This deck has been a recent go-to for bringing in an understanding of garden magic and kitchen medicine. I would give this deck a 5/5, it is simply that beautiful, and that useful. I am getting loads of ideas for teas and tincture I want to create. I am gaining a deeper respect for the earth under my feet, and all that comes forth from its foundation. If you want to learn more about herbs, numerology, or gain more knowledge from the expertise of two powerful women who have walked this path for decades, this is a great deck to invest in.
For 2020, I am going to switch up the decks that I use. The Wild Unknown Archetypes decks is STUNNING. I cannot get over these cards. Plus, archetypes are meant to explored, discovered, understood, and utilized. This makes them the perfect deck for doing a monthly deep dive. The
Wild Unknown Tarot is the companion card, creating a layered message of what archetypal energy is present, and how to invite this potent energy into your life. Patrons will still receive a third card in their monthly card forecast. If you would like to become a patron, click the badge on the right hand side and join the dwelling!
For reference on how to tell upright vs. inverted, I pull every card with my right hand, and then turn each card over pulling from the left side. If I were to take these cards out of the circle, and place them in a straight line, I would then grab from the right side and move left if it’s on its side (horizontal). I hope that makes sense! It can be hard to tell when it is this kind of formation.
I tried to get a picture that did justice to the imags, while keeping the names visible. For clarity, here is the monthly forecast:
January: The Desert and The Hanged Man
February: The Shadow and the 8 of Swords inverted
March: The Eternal Child and the Tower inverted
April: The Poet and the Devil
May: The Castle and the 9 of Wands
June: Eros and the World
July: The Crone and the Mother (Queen) of Swords inverted
August: The Creator and the Ace of Cups
September: The Queen and Temperance inverted
October: Thanatos and Judgement
November: Aletheia and the 10 of Cups inverted
December: The Mirror and the Son (Knight) of Wands
So, that is the forecast for 2020. I am not going to lie, when I say the card pairings for January through April, I said to myself, “Here, we go….” That is not to say that the cards are bad or that I don’t like them. Cards like the Tower and the Devil have some of the most profound blessings, but they are not easy cards to grasp and hold. Those cards, and many others, can be incredibly daunting, and speak to growth in ways that are often uncomfortable or hard to bear at times.
Some things to note about the complete forecast: the year is divided into 6 major arcana cards, 4 pip cards, and 2 court cards. Major Arcana cards speak to great forces, forceful momentum, and encompassing shifts. When a spread, or here a forecast, is dominated by Major Arcana cards, that means that the year forecast is going to see a lot of transformation that is effective more on a grand scale of life, rather than dealing with the more minute details of the day to day. The Majors are archetypes unto themselves. They represent the macrocosm. Their energies are so large that, at times, it can be harder to feel their presence.
We have the 8 of Swords inverted, 9 of Wands, Ace of Cups, and the 10 of Pentacles inverted. With the majority of the pips and court cards falling to the Swords, we can safely say that the majority of the microcosm will be focused on the threshold of thoughts, communication, brainstorming, ideas, and narration. We will be looking into the mental faculties that gauge the energies, and how that logical clarifying accompanies the larger forces at play. The Court cards are the cards that speak to us between the microcosm and the macrocosm. Side note: I do not read Court cards as other people. I read them as the threshold between the majors and the minors. That means that July and December present invitations for a more intimate conversation about how to bridge yourself between the energetic forces and shifts available, and how to make energies available.
What are your thoughts on these card pairings? If you would like to download my free monthly ezines from 2019, do so by the end of the year. After that they will be getting deleted to make room for 2020 ezines. Much love to you!