It’s targeted only at spiritual service professionals.
So unless you are a professional tarot reader, astrologer, life coach, divination mentor, or are engaged professionally in a similar form of spiritual business, this post will not be of much interest.
I’m posting it kind of as a PSA so that it is available to any spiritual entrepreneur who manages to find this page.
If you teach business tips and strategies to spiritual entrepreneurs, then I ask of you to incorporate the contents of this post into your educational materials. Screw credit or no credit or infringement wtf ever– just get your people informed, will you? Who the hell cares who came up with the idea first. Just get the information out there to fellow spiritual service professionals.
Lately my go-to reading deck has been the Golden Thread Tarot by Tina Gong, published by the Labryinthos Academy. Although as of this writing the deck has been sold out (giving you a sense of how in demand it has been!), if I were you, I’d write to the deck creator directly and see if you can get on a pre-order list for the second print run.
In Taoist cosmology, the Huang Tao (黃道), or Golden Path (has also been translated as Yellow Path), designates the path of the sun, representing the solar calendar. For harmony and prosperity, one should time significant life events (such as weddings, business grand openings, funerals, etc.) to the Golden Path. The Golden Path also represents the space-time continuum. Whether Gong was cognizant of it or not, the Golden Thread Tarot pays homage to the Golden Path, which is particularly poignant, given that the tarot deck as Gong has created it is purposed for divination and insight into one’s Golden Path. As modern and fresh as the Golden Thread Tarot is, it connects to a very ancient, very traditional cosmological and metaphysical principle.
Gong began the deck as an illustration project, though it evolved into both the physical deck you see pictured here and a companion mobile app. You can learn more about the app here on her website. I often say that I use tarot like a lantern, holding it up to shine through the darkness and gain you greater visibility for what is around you, so you have a clearer sense of your own path. The Golden Thread Tarot turns out to be a perfect manifestation of that concept. The opaque black background the images are set against represent the proverbial darkness and the gold line drawings illustrating the key symbols of the Rider-Waite-Smith inspired tarot imagery represent that light shining through our darkness, giving us Sight.
I also love how Gong describes the concept as inspired by the night sky and “the archetype of a single string that connected all things within the universe, threading images in a murky unknown.” Each card feels like a Jungian archetype from the collective unconscious.
When I cracked open the front cover of this book, I didn’t even know what shamanic astrology was. I didn’t even know spirit animal signs were a thing. So that’s where I’m coming from as a book reviewer– not a place of knowledge or expertise, but the place of a beginner and how this book might serve the beginner.
Shamanic Astrology: Understanding Your Spirit Animal Sign by Lucy Harmer (North Atlantic Books, 2009) introduces the twelve spirit animal signs of the Native American medicine wheel and how these animal signs correspond with our date of birth. Prominent public figures in the metaphysical community, such as Judy Hall (The Crystal Bible) and astrologers Derek and Julia Parker, Dr. Steven Farmer (Earth Magic and Animal Spirit Guides), Vicki Noble, creator of the Motherpeace Tarot, and so many more have thrown their positive weight toward Shamanic Astrology to give their endorsements.
The book is delightfully comprehensive. An introductory chapter acquaints you with shamanic astrology, the medicine wheel, and both the solar and lunar cycles. Then Harmer dives into the background of how spirit animals are interpreted, i.e., seasons, cycles, winds and directions, elements and clans, metaphysical correspondences, life paths, etc. Each of the twelve animal signs are covered, starting with a profile chart, description of personality, key metaphysical correspondences and influences, and then general insights into that sign’s luck– career, money, health, and then love. In the love section, compatibility with the other animal signs is provided. Shamanic Astrology closes with advanced material on the medicine wheel and the lunar calendars.
Now let’s take a look at the twelve spirit animal signs. Later in this review, check out Table 2.10 from Shamanic Astrology, which outlines the strengths and weaknesses of the twelve spirit animals.
It included a Read-Me document that explained exactly how you could fully customize the deck files for yourself, from selecting your own card back design while still giving you dozens of free card back design options, and even how to edit and change the keywords to reflect ones you like. I also explained that folks could do as they will with the digital files I made.
While I received many thanks and good wishes, I received an even greater torrent of messages from people kind of expecting free customer service to go along with the free deck files. It was nuts and utterly outweighed and outnumbered the thank yous.
What do I do? If I ignore them and don’t answer their messages, I’d feel like a terrible snob. If I answer all of them one by one, I would not have time for anything else in my regular life. People were asking the whole range of questions, from questions that were already answered in the Read-Me document to questions about the keywords and how they would have opted for this and that keywords instead of the ones I picked or they would ask me to provide a rationale and explain why I chose the keywords I chose. I got questions asking what I thought were the best ways to use the deck, or where to print them, how to print them, logistics, how to design a card back, which card back design was my favorite… Wow. Really? I was inundated with people wanting me to hand-hold them.
I went to sleep one night thinking that cliché thought of “gee, no good deed goes unpunished.” I hate dealing with sales and customer service and by giving the deck files out for free, I had opened up an unforeseen can of worms. I had figured folks would understand they’re on their own. I guess not. Suddenly, I was being treated like a deck creator even though I am not one, don’t identify as one, and don’t want to be one.
And yet I really liked the idea of the keywords and cut-splice card images for reading reversals. I wanted it to be made available to the public but– admittedly– I didn’t want to deal with the public…