“Out of the Tarot Closet” by Ménage A Tarot


The amazing folks at Ménage A Tarot, David Dear, Kate of Daily Tarot Girl, and Ronda Snow, put out an amazing podcast, “Out of the Tarot Closet” that I’d like to talk about. Click here to hear the podcast.

The group has put out several podcasts already and let me tell you– these people are going to rise very quickly in popularity among tarot folk. My only complaint is that they don’t put out enough podcasts! I love them so much, I get very impatient in between each podcast waiting for the next!

Their most recent one is about coming out of the tarot closet. It’s a topic close to my heart since in significant ways, I’m still in it.

Continue reading ““Out of the Tarot Closet” by Ménage A Tarot”

Review of the Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Set

box set front 1

If you’re a Rider-Waite-Smith reader and you can still get your hands on the Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Set produced by U.S. Games, then do so. I  believe it came out in 2009. It’s an incredible set with two books, postcards and prints of Smith’s artwork, and an RWS replica called the Smith-Waite Tarot Centennial Edition deck. It is just a beautiful, beautiful deck. Get it.

deck with topcard

I’m not going to show all the cards because, um, I am pretty sure I don’t have to. You all know what the cards look like, I’m presuming. So let’s just talk about this amazing set.

Continue reading “Review of the Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Set”

Fees, Math, the Startup Tarot Professional, and Why You Need Goodwill


So you want to start a tarot reading business from scratch, huh? Well, before you do, here are some numbers you might want to confront and, after confronting them, understand why goodwill is critical to success in this profession.

Also, why should you have numbers in your head? Because once you have a solid idea of the number of tarot readings you need to do to make a certain amount, your break-even point, etc., then the more defined your goals are. When you have clearly defined goals, you are a lot more likely to succeed.

Now, granted, you’ll have to start by assuming U.S. jurisdiction only. I’ve found that Americans are a lot more conservative and even more resistant to the idea of tarot than, say, their neighboring Canadians, the Brits, Europeans, or Australians. So there’s that. However, Americans (generally here) seem to be willing to shell out more money for a tarot reading than some Asian countries. What you can realistically charge for a tarot reading in China, India, Indonesia, or the Philippines is going to be less than what you can charge in the US, and what you can charge in the US is less than the going rates in the UK. At least those were my informal findings.

Surveying 113 people (across the United States only), the average lay person will risk $10.00 for a 15 minute reading from a tarot professional who the lay person is not familiar with. However—and there is very large and bold “but” here—if you, the tarot professional, have loads of positive testimonials, good reviews, are referred by word of mouth from a friend, or have established your professional credibility, then the dollar amount risked goes up exponentially, and that is a very important point that I will get to later.

What that means for the beginner tarot professional who is hanging out that shingle for the very first time is this: if you are a complete unknown with no established credibility, then according to my findings, you can start at charging $10.00 for a 15 minute reading and make money. If you charge more than that, the chances of securing clients goes down. However, as you build credibility and develop your reputation, then your rates can go up respectively.

If you’re asking me, the following would be my thoughts (and really, I’m not the one to ask for oh so many reasons, ranging from I stink at math, have zero background in accounting or finance to I’ve never actually launched a professional tarot business before; however, for whatever little it’s worth, I am a business lawyer and have counseled numerous startup businesses with their launches).

[Warning: This is a very long post. Unless you are, like, super crazy serious about going pro and have been thinking about the numbers for going pro, I don’t really expect you read the whole thing.]

Continue reading “Fees, Math, the Startup Tarot Professional, and Why You Need Goodwill”

Holistic Tarot is Tarosophy’s Best “Mass-Market Book Published in 2014”

Tarosophy Award

Holistic Tarot won 2014 Tarot Book of the Year in the category of “Mass-Market Book.” Thank you so much and all my gratitude to those who voted for Holistic.


Here are the other amazing winners:

Tarosophist of the Year, 2014

Lonnie Scott

Young Tarosophist of the Year, 2014

Lisa Boswell

Best Tarot Deck (Mass Market) of 2014

CHRYSALIS TAROT by Toney Brooks & Holly Sierra

U.S. Games Systems

Best Self-Published Lenormand Deck of 2014


Best Studio/Self-Published Tarot Deck of 2014

THE ALICE TAROT by Karen Mahony & Alex Ukolov

Studio: Baba Studio (Magic Realist Press)

Best Individual Self-Published Tarot Deck of 2014


Best Self-Published Majors-Only Tarot Deck of 2014

TABULA MUNDI by M. M. Meleen

Best Tarot Event/Installation/Experience of 2014

Wheel of Fortune – Burning Man 2014 by Anne Staveley & Jill Sutherland

Best Reproduction of a Historical Tarot Deck of 2014

Le Tarot Noir, by de Matthieu Hackière & Justine Ternel

Best Oracle Deck of 2014

Sacred Rebels Oracle by Alana Fairchild & Autumn Skye Morrison

Blue Angel Publishing


Congrats to all the winners. Holistic Tarot (North Atlantic Books) came out January 6, 2015, so I’m definitely surprised, humbled, and above all else, grateful to have on this 2014 award.

The Deck of the Bastard Tarot: Review

The Deck of the Bastard 01 Card

The Deck of the Bastard Tarot is a self-published tarot deck by Seven Stars and you’re going to love it. You can purchase it through Etsy or at the proprietor’s website, Tarot by Seven. It’s a “bastardization” (her words, not mine) of several traditional decks– you’ve got Etteilla, Grande Jeu, Soprafino, Rider-Waite-Smith, and I swear I see Sola Busca influences in there, too. The design of the deck conveys a vintage feel, and I love that. Artwork wise, it’s a blending of many traditions, but you would read it the way you read RWS. This deck is fantastic to whip out during public readings, and is quite easy to read with for any RWS reader.

I’ve already decided that this deck has become one of my go-to “workhorse” tarot decks (terminology I’ve stolen from Jenna Matlin over at Queen of Wands Tarot). Really. It’s up there with the Golden Universal for professional reading decks. I don’t think this is an ideal deck for beginners on the RWS system, however, as it may get confusing at that stage of learning (even though the version with the keywords would make an excellent gift to a beginner), but intermediate and onward, you’re going to love reading with the Deck of the Bastard. I think it’s a great deck for pro readings.

Continue reading “The Deck of the Bastard Tarot: Review”

Interview on Christiana’s Psychic Café

I chat with tarot grandmaster Christiana on the Psychic Café about the process of writing Holistic Tarot, using the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, a little bit on the I Ching, and, of course, my signature discursive splattering of chatter.

Christiana’s Psychic Café is aired every Sunday at 9 p.m. Eastern time. If you miss it live, you can watch the recording on Christiana’s YouTube channel. She has interviewed some amazing people in tarot and the spiritual community. I’m a loyal follower of the Café. Also be sure to check out Ms. Gaudet’s tarot blog, Tarot Trends.


Holistic Tarot Free Study Guides: For Intermediates


My first book Holistic Tarot was released in paperback this past Tuesday, January 6, and I am grateful for the overwhelming support I have received. First, thank you.

To demonstrate how the book can be used as a textbook for independent study of tarot, I’ve created these study guides that will help you navigate the book at a beginner level, intermediate, and advanced. I talked about the Beginner Level here and we’ll get to the Advanced shortly.

The following Study Guide is for an Intermediate student in tarot learning under the Rider-Waite-Smith system.

You are Intermediate if…

  • you have a working tarot journal of some sort;
  • you can draw any one of the 78 cards and interpret it with semi-confidence;
  • you have a basic, working knowledge of all RWS card meanings;
  • you’re familiar with the Celtic Cross spread and read proficiently with it;
  • okay, you don’t want to brag, but you’re kind of a pro with the three-card reading (or some other simple spread equivalent);
  • you’ve dabbled with different tarot spreads before and have a strong sense of what works and doesn’t work for you; and
  • you’ve done a minimum of 50 tarot readings (closed book, that is!).

If that sounds like you and you want to continue your studies with Holistic Tarot, then download this study guide and the recommended supplements.



Click on the radio button below to download the PDF.


Supplemental Downloads

Reading with Signifiers


First Operation Practice Log



Court Cards Practice Exercises


Elemental Dignities and Affinities


Daily Readings



Ruminations on the Major Arcana



The Three Septenaries


Card Counting (Majority View)


Worksheet for Devising Your Own Spread


You can order your copy of the book on Amazon, through the publisher’s website at North Atlantic Books, or through the distributor, Random House.

All Holistic Tarot study guides and supplements are available for free download here on this website at HOLISTIC TAROT STUDY GUIDES. I hope these study guides are helpful in your learning and if you do use the Intermediate’s Guide, please let me know about your experience with it!

Holistic Tarot Free Study Guides: For Beginners

Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen Beginner Study Guide 2

Holistic Tarot is now out in stores! You can order your copy of the book on Amazon, through the publisher’s website at North Atlantic Books, or through the distributor, Random House.

I hope you will find the book to be a timeless go-to reference source for all your tarot needs, but I also know that the sheer size of it can be intimidating.

So. I’ve created study guides and supplements for free download that will help you navigate the book and learn tarot. These study guides and supplements contain additional exercises and information that dovetail on the contents of the book.

The guides are subdivided into sessions with suggested reading, practice work, ruminations, and supplemental downloads that will help you learn tarot on your own and at your own pace. They will help you navigate the book, whether you’re reading at the beginner, intermediate, or advanced level.

Holistic Tarot by Benebell Wen Beginner Study Guide 3

If you’re just starting out, I recommend following the Study Guide for the Beginner Tarot Student, a syllabus for learning tarot on your own with the Holistic Tarot text.

You are a Beginner if…

  • you are not sure exactly how many cards are in a standard tarot deck;
  • some of the imagery on the Rider-Waite-Smith deck seem a bit intimidating to you;
  • you’re kind of wondering what all this Rider-Waite-Smith tradition talk is all about;
  • when I say “tarot journal,” you draw a blank;
  • you are not familiar with the Celtic Cross; and
  • you find it incredulous that anyone in this world could know from memory the meanings to all those cards.


Click on the radio button below to download the PDF.


Supplemental Downloads

Rider-Waite-Smith Flash Cards for Rote Study


Log of Celtic Cross Practice Readings (Version: Waite Cross)


Tarot Spreads Practice: Quick Reference Sheets from Appendix A (for printing convenience)


Log of Readings



Morning Routine Reading Practice (Template) DOCX

Beginner Guide Created: 12/17/2014

All Holistic Tarot study guides and supplements are available for free download here on this website at HOLISTIC TAROT STUDY GUIDES.

I hope these study guides are helpful in your learning and if you do use the Beginner’s Guide, please let me know about your experience with it!

Mental Disposition and Reading Tarot Card Reversals

From the Oswald Wirth Tarot.
From the Oswald Wirth Tarot.

Let’s talk about card reversals. No, not how to read card reversals. I mean why some practitioners read with card reversals and some do not. There’s the succinct answer of “to each his or her own; since we’re all different, we all approach tarot differently,” but I mean beyond that, why?

Some practitioners would feel remiss to not consider the energy of card reversals in a reading. For others, an upside down card image drives them mad and thus interferes with their intuitive abilities. You end up with a camp of tarot readers who read with reversals and a camp who does not, leaving beginners who are entering the tarot forum for the first time wondering what the heck they should do. When “just do what feels right to you” sounds too vague of an answer, let’s try to get down to some specifics.

So like reading with reversals vs. reading without reversals, we’ve got two camps of mental dispositions: the left-brained and the right-brained.


Continue reading “Mental Disposition and Reading Tarot Card Reversals”