The Mystical Tarot by Giuliano Costa

I am absolutely charmed and captivated by the Mystical Tarot, a deck by Giuliana Costa and published by Lo Scarabeo in 2017. The artwork is going to be reminiscent of the art style in the classic Sola Busca Tarot, timeless, painstakingly detailed for maximum sign and symbolism intuitive work, and just all around an incredible deck to work with. It lends itself perfectly to a professional tarot reader’s go-to “workhorse deck,” and essentially reads like a Rider-Waite-Smith.

The artwork is magnificent to behold. At the bottom of the Majors, as you can see in the photograph above, are glyph references for the astrological correspondences. The world that these characters in the cards inhabit is both familiar as our world but…also not. It seems to be an other-world as well. The above glimpse of Key IX starts to give a hint as to what I’m talking about (look up in the sky), but as we progress along, you’ll see exactly what I mean.

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I Ching and the Practitioner: A Course on the Book of Changes

$45 USD

ABOUT THE I CHING SYSTEM

Considered one of the oldest divination systems in world history, the I Ching is, at its core, a sacred text that empowers a practitioner. When you understand the I Ching as philosophy, you attain wisdom both of your inner self and of the cosmos. When you understand the I Ching as an expression of the Divine, you attain access to an incredible tool for communing with that Divinity.

The objective of this course is to impart a heightened level of proficiency with I Ching both as a divinatory system and as a magical system, so that a practitioner will be able to use the I Ching to divine for the self, for others, and integrate components of the I Ching into spell-crafting.

For the course and its enrollees, the Lady of the Ninth Heaven (Jiu Tian Xuan Nu) has been evoked for guidance and support. The Lady of the Ninth Heaven is likened to an archangel, originating from the Chinese Taoist pantheon. She is a protégé of the Empress Mother of the West (Xi Wang Mu), a dark goddess of war, magic, and spell-crafting.

According to myth, the Yellow Emperor, considered the legendary father of the Chinese civilization, evoked the Lady of the Ninth Heaven, who became his patron deity. She taught the Yellow Emperor military strategy and magic, which he used to defeat his enemies and establish the first dynasty.

The Lady of the Ninth Heaven is venerated as a goddess (or archangel) of high magic and intellectual prowess. Her symbols are the sword and a gourd of healing: she is a warrior and she is a healer.

I’ve dedicated this course in such a way so that all enrollees will be endowed with her guidance and support in all manners of their craft with the I Ching.

I Ching Divination Method 1: Yarrow Stalks

This course teaches several approaches to I Ching divination:

  • Yarrow stalks

  • Rice grains

  • Coin toss

  • Cartomancy

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On Tarot Reading Ethics, Part II: Third Party Readings and Onerous Clients

Deck Pictured: Russian Tarot of St. Petersburg (US Games)

I started a post series on tarot reading ethics last week and if you missed it, here is Part I on health, legal, and financial readings. I’ll be subdividing the discussion of tarot reading ethics into three parts. These posts will explore some of my personal thoughts and also professional opinions on certain oft-adopted ethical rules.

This is Part II of III, in which I’ll be tackling third party readings and reading for an onerous client.

7/11/17 Update: This is Part II of II only. I’ve decided against publishing Part III. Explanation at the end of the post.

7/18/17 Update: I’ve decided to proceed with sharing Part III, but it is a password-protected post. Please do not ping me with requests for the password. It is made available in closed circuits to those who have access to those circuits.

Continue reading “On Tarot Reading Ethics, Part II: Third Party Readings and Onerous Clients”

On Tarot Reading Ethics, Part I: Health, Legal, and Financial Readings

Deck Pictured: The Awakened Soul Oracle by Ethony

Not one to miss a tarot bandwagon, I figured I’d work in my own thoughts, or at least a few of them, on tarot reading ethics. If you’ve been out of it all month and would now like to catch up on what the heck I’m talking about, check out this recording of a live episode of Spread This, Witches (STW), “The Ethical Tarot Reader,” featuring Allorah Rayne, Chase from Two of Owls, Nico of Scarlet Moon, Ethony, and hosted by Avalon. Ethony then put out this educational video, “Is Your Tarot Reader Scamming You?” to continue the conversation on tarot ethics. Chase also talked independently about the topic, starting a discussion vlog here, “Discussion: Tarot Ethics.” Allorah Rayne added more from her perspective here, on “Red Flags of Unethical Spiritual Practitioners.”

Here’s a Model Code of Ethical Conduct you can download and use in any way you like. A text version for you to edit and revise, and yes you are free to use, copy, or modify in any way whatsoever for your own personal or commercial uses is here, on my Holistic Tarot Study Guides page, under “Advanced.”

I’ll be subdividing this topic into three parts. These posts will explore some of my personal thoughts and also professional opinions on certain oft-adopted ethical rules.

This is Part I of III, in which I’ll be tackling the question of reading for medical, legal, and financial concerns.

7/11/2017 Update: This is Part I of II only. I’ve decided against publishing Part III. Explained at the close of Part II.

7/18/17 Update: I’ve decided to proceed with sharing Part III, but it is a password-protected post. Please do not ping me with requests for the password. It is made available in closed circuits to those who have access to those circuits.

You often hear readers say that it’s against tarot ethics to do readings on health or legal questions. But why? Why are tarot readers discouraged from reading on health and legal issues?

It’s for legal reasons and, as far as I understand it, that’s pretty much the only reason. In most jurisdictions, there are codified laws against the “Unauthorized Practice of Medicine” and the “Unauthorized Practice of Law.” At best, it’s a misdemeanor and a fine of thousands of dollars. At worst, either one could be charged as a felony and carry several years of jail time. To get charged with such an offense would be the worst day of your tarot reading life.

Continue reading “On Tarot Reading Ethics, Part I: Health, Legal, and Financial Readings”

General Readings and Specific Readings

Deck Pictured: The Dark Tarot

The issue of general readings versus specific readings is pertinent to most divinatory forms, whether we’re talking tarot, astrology, the I Ching, or even in terms of configurations for feng shui analysis. Rather than frame this post as general commentary, I want to talk about my personal approach, and since most of the divinatory work I do for people are in the modes of tarot and astrology, that’s what I’ll focus on.

Let’s start with my definitions.

A general reading is when a seeker doesn’t have a cogent, cohesive question to present for divination, but just wants insight for moving forward at the particular juncture point the seeker is at. For example, a seeker sits down in front of a tarot reader and the reader simply begins casting cards and reporting back what the reader interprets from the cards. Another example is a solar returns or birthday chart reading in astrology. A reading service such as a twelve-month forecast is also considered a general reading. In theory for a general reading, any subject matter that comes up in the reading is game.

A specific reading is when a seeker has a question in mind that is narrowly tailored and will require a direct, responsive answer. For example, the seeker wants to know about romantic prospects up ahead, or which career path to take, or which of three possible office site locations would be optimal for setting up a business. Here, even a broadly-cast inquiry such as “just whatever comes up that’s money related in my life” is an inquiry I’ll tuck under the category of a specific reading.

One more point before we proceed. To debate which is better, general reading or specific reading methods, is absurd. Readers also come with different strengths. No reader is all-powerful. Some excel at the general reading. Others excel at the specific reading. Play to your own strengths. That’s all there is to it.

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Promotional Tactics That Worked and the Ones That Didn’t (For Me)

When you’re running a personal venture that’s heavily reliant on e-commerce, and you’re a small potato like me operating said venture out of your home in your pajamas, with a full face of makeup and nice shirt on only when you’re making a video, choosing which promotional tactics to work on can be hard and–for my fellow professional tarot readers–a very Seven of Cups sort of inquiry. You can’t do it all, because it’s just you. So how do you channel your marketing energies in the most productive way? I can’t answer that question for you, but I’ll share with you my experiences on what worked and what didn’t.

This post will address sponsored ads on Facebook, advertising via your own social media platforms and social media in general, blogging or vlogging content, newsletters or direct mailings, local bulletin boards, and giving away free stuff.

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My Go-To Knick Knacks in a Reading Space

Sandalwood mala prayer beads and a smoky quartz cintamani stone.

My earliest memory of a psychic reading was in Taiwan with a nun at a monastery that my aunt, who is a nun, resided at. (Do I still refer to her as my aunt if she’s now a nun? I have no idea…) When you’re an Asian kid, grown-ups, especially grown-ups of the holy variety, don’t have names. They only have titles. So in Chinese, since we only spoke to her in Chinese, she was Shi Fu, or Teacher, and in English, privately amongst ourselves, she was The Psychic Nun. The aunt who is a nun is Auntie Nun. Auntie Nun is a little bit psychic while The Psychic Nun was full-on knew-your-past-life and knew-your-future psychic plus could-speak-to-the-dead so also medium. The Psychic Nun is referred to in the past tense because she’s no longer with us. I heard of her passing a few years after my maternal grandmother’s passing. It’s okay. She was like a billion years old already anyway and with all that good karma, is off to somewhere awesome.

Anyway, that introduction was way off-track from the subject matter of this post. This post is about go-to knick knacks in a tarot or divinatory reading space. I’m not asking about what you need to get your read on (because inevitably some holier-than-thou advanced tarot reader master will pipe up and say, “I don’t need anything but the power of my mind… I am not bound to materialism… toot toot“)–right, right, we all know that. But I’m asking what kind of knick knacks do you like in your reading space. I don’t need a pink toothbrush for effective dental hygiene but I like it when my toothbrush is pink, so I have a pink toothbrush. Get it?

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Benevolence and Your Book of 1,111 Acts

What if the story of your life is told through a record of your acts of kindness, your benevolence, compassion, and personal sacrifices?

I’ve created a blank notebook that can help you to tell just that kind of story.

In fact, I’ve created three different versions of the notebook. You can either print out the notebook yourself and set it into a binder or you can have it print and bound by a third party publisher.

Keep scrolling down for the free downloads and printing instructions.

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The above video explains the premise for this notebook and the #1111acts. For those who have a copy of my book, The Tao of Craft, check out page 152, in the chapter “The Tools of Craft,” section titled, “Accumulating Good Deeds.” I’ve even pulled that section out as an excerpt, so if you don’t have the book, just check out the PDF below.

“Accumulating Good Deeds” (from The Tao of Craft)

Unlike most tags, this one is something you’ll work through for life. The idea is to log 1,111 acts within your lifetime.

Why the hashtag #1111acts? It’s my little effort to help transform the tone of discourse we see online these days. You’ll take part, too, won’t you? Any time you undertake neutralizing a negative energy in this world, even in the world of social media, especially in the world of social media, by contributing a positive energy, include the hashtag #1111acts.

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Review of the Tarot of Bones by Lupa

Animal bones have enthralled me since an early age. So I am excited about reviewing Lupa Greenwolf’s The Tarot of Bones and the deck’s companion book.

The Tarot of Bones is a photographic portfolio of assemblage art pieces by Lupa, herself a hide and bone pagan artist. The images of a tarot deck tell stories, and through those stories, our own life story is divined. Likewise, bones tell stories, and oracle bone divination is as old as humankind. From that premise comes The Tarot of Bones.

We begin with The Fool, Key 0, depicted by a coyote skull atop a field of flowers. The Magician is a corn snake skeleton formed into an ourosboros. The High Priestess is the skull of a wolf over a crescent moon formed from a mirror. On either side, an assemblage of trees. The Empress is a whitetail doe while the Emperor is the skull of a goat.

I love the stories that Lupa provides in the companion guidebook. For instance, she reveals that Key V: The Hierophant was the first card in the tarot deck she started designing, but it was also the last card to be completed. Here, by the way, we see a javelina skull amid religious texts. The Lovers is a pair of albatross skulls positioned in an assemblage to represent a mating ritual.

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Book Review: The Fortune Teller by Gwendolyn Womack

Gwendolyn Womack’s The Fortune Teller, which was released earlier last week (June, 2017), is one of my favorite novels to make reference to tarot. It is the story of a woman who unlocks her heritage as a seer, tracing her roots back to ancient Alexandria, and in doing so, reveals the origins of the tarot.

We follow the characters across many continents, countries, time periods, and delightfully, historic figures and fictional interact. Tarot enthusiasts of all stripes will enjoy this novel and I highly recommend that you add it to your summer reading list.

Spoiler Alert: In this review I’ll highlight the key features of the novel and what I loved about it, though in doing so, may give away a couple of spoilers. I promise it won’t take away from the ending or the enjoyment of reading this book for yourself.

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