# Beginner Learning and Teaching of Tarot: A Socratic Method

I often get asked how I would teach tarot to a beginner, what Lesson 1 would be, and also how to learn tarot if you are a beginner with no past exposure to tarot.

Recently I had an encounter where I gave my version of Lesson 1 of beginner tarot and I’ve been granted permission to share a transcript of it. Of course, this is paraphrased, but my memory for details is pretty good. I dare say this is a pretty accurate representation of the conversation and discourse that took place. I taught by the Socratic Method, though I wonder if she realized that.

The cards drawn and as identified are the actual cards from the Lesson 1 reading experience. For those who are more familiar with tarot techniques, basically what I did was first have her select her significator card, perform the Opening of the Four Worlds from the First Operation of the Opening of the Key, and then from the card pile she found her significator, draw three cards at random and perform a three-card past, present, and future reading.

If you’re at all curious how I might teach Lesson 1 of Beginner Tarot, here it is, as a downloadable PDF.

# Waite-Smith Tarot Keywords Study Deck

10/06/2016 Update: I have exciting news to announce soon enough! For the time being, I’ve de-activated the zip file download link in anticipation of the cool news to come! All my love.

#### 10/08/2016 Update: Read about the exciting announcement of a new deck to be released here.

I don’t know how you feel, but I really like how this deck looks.

And the card backs. I love the card backs. Oh, wait you probably can’t see it that well in the above pic. Here you go.

Two versions. Two different card back designs. Two different sizes. I like the big one better. That’s the black one above on the left, at 3.5″ x 5.75″.

This is the second version. Can you spot the difference? One has astrological/elemental correspondences in the top corners and this one above does not. There is a third version, too, but we’ll get to that.

September 20. That morning I pulled the Ace of Wands from the Tarot of the Holy Light and thought it pertained to this book I’m working on at the moment. So to heed the divinatory message, I was outlining and note-taking for the manuscript. For some reason (won’t talk about it now) I needed to look up card images from the Grand Etteilla. Then a bunch of loose ends connected with each other in my head. Now I wonder if maybe the Ace of Wands had nothing to do with that book I was/am working on and instead has to do with this, what this post is going to be all about.

A few days prior I had a conversation with a friend who was lamenting about how she wanted to learn to read tarot with reversals but she found the upside down images visually distracting, so much to the point that she couldn’t get over it. I then thought about how the card layout of the Grand Etteilla would work quite well for someone like her, if the larger box featured the card image upright and the smaller box had it going in the opposite direction.

Let me explain.

# Magical Parenting: The Metaphysician Mother

Or father. I’ve been hearing a lot about parenting for pagans and wanted to add my own thoughts. However, I won’t be talking about it from the perspective of the parent. I want to talk about it from the perspective of the child.

Now, my parents are not pagan, mostly because that word is not in their vocabulary. They’re Taiwanese immigrants. However, my mother is a metaphysical practitioner, though she wouldn’t see it that way. What she thinks she does is as natural as cooking, praying, dreaming, meditating, and just using what you have within reach to manifest what you want.

I think that is an important point. Growing up, I never saw what she did as “occult,” though living in the Western society has made me realize that Westerners would define what she does as totally occult. Paying attention to equinoxes and solstices, knowing when the veil was thinnest, when to honor the dead, what to do when there was heightened spirit activity, calling upon the elements of nature and combining it with recitations to make things happen, understanding the phases of the moon– these weren’t seen as pagan.

“After their deaths, in my dreams I went down to the realm your late auntie and uncle were trapped in and it was so cold and dark. They told me they were hungry. So we burned offerings and chanted prayers for them and then many nights later I visited them again. I saw that they were now in a different, better realm, very happy and at peace.” (Mom, paraphrased)

I’ve come to understand that in the Western society, that is absolutely bonkers, but in Mom’s world, that was perfectly normal. And accepted at face value. After a death in the family, she’d relay her dreams and all the relatives would just nod. Yeah, that makes sense, they’d confirm. Okay, let’s burn offerings and chant prayers. And then they’d all wait for Mom’s post-dream-shamanic-travels to verify that the offerings and chanting worked. Mom always said that dead people liked to call to her from the post-mortem realms they were in, and so she’d go to them in her dream state to bring back messages for the living. God, growing up when that happened, I’d cover my ears and run out of the room and make it clear to all who’d listen that I thought all of this was batshit crazy.

# The Cartomancer Magazine: What we’ve all been waiting for.

The Cartomancer is a quarterly journal just released this year. Its debut, the Summer 2015 issue was a huge hit. The only reason I’d heard of the magazine was because everyone I knew was buzzing on about it. The above is the Autumn 2015 issue.

You can buy each issue as an e-zine for \$5.00 or the hard copy for \$10.00. It’s worth the \$10.00. The quality of the print magazine is spectacular, with heavy paper stock, vibrant colors, and absolutely stunning graphic design and layout. These are collectibles. A complete set of all printed issues of The Cartomancer is going to be worth something someday.

Setting aside the materialist reasons why this magazine rocks my world, check out the table of contents for Issue 2, the Autumn 2015 issue. You’re going to want to order your copy. Plus, your order goes toward supporting an awesome independent publishing house run by people who are passionate about tarot and working hard at making a living out of their passion! You’re supporting the very community that supports your tarot studies.

# Blue and black, white and gold? The parable of the elephant, witness testimony, and the relationship of artist and critic.

One summer in my childhood I was forced to attend a Buddhist camp at a monastery where we woke up at the crack of dawn to do shaolin and meditate, ate vegetarian, prayed our gratitude to everyone we knew and ever met before we could eat said vegetarian food, and had to sit in uncomfortable cross-legged positions while listening to lectures.

There was one lecture I remember when a monk told us the parable of four blind men who came upon an elephant, felt it, and were describing the elephant based on what they were perceiving. I’m totally paraphrasing the details here, based on memory, but the point remains the same. One blind man came upon the elephant’s trunk, another the belly, another the leg, and another the tail, and each one concluded matter-of-factly about the whole character of the elephant based on that one part they were feeling. The elephant is long and cylindrical… No, are you crazy? The elephant is flat and wide… No, no, the elephant is like a column or pillar…

# I was a guest on “Out of the Fog,” hosted by Karen Hager

Karen Hager, an intuitive guide and psychic channel, hosts an impressive radio show, “Out of the Fog” that airs every Tuesday at 9:00 a.m. PT (12:00 p.m. ET) on Empower Radio station, with syndication on both iHeartRadio and Stitcher. She has interviewed William Gladstone, Chris Saade, Melissa Virtue, Suzanne Mathis McQueen, David Meltzer, Bob Sima, Dr. Michael Lennox, David Christopher, among many others who represent the modern spiritual movement.

So imagine my surprise when I was on the lineup for “Out of the Fog.” What a wonderful experience! I enjoyed every minute conversing with Karen and once you hear her show, you’ll have it bookmarked on your iHeartRadio app., too!

# Triggering Creativity with Tarot: Free Webinar this Saturday, Feb. 21

Join me on February 21, a Saturday, at 10 am Pacific Time (12 pm Central or 1 pm Eastern) for a free webinar sponsored and hosted by North Atlantic Books and NAB Communities.

There is also a handout that goes along with the webinar. Please be sure to download it as reference for the techniques and exercises discussed during the webinar.

* * *

Albert Einstein attributes his most ground-breaking insights not to logic or mathematics, but to intuition and inspiration or, as artists and writers often express it, to the muses. However, the one trait believed about the muses, about how intuition and inspiration hits us, is that it comes only when it comes, almost divinely, and the artist or writer cannot call upon it at will.

Yet through tarot, learn how to harness intuitive-creativity at will. Tarot facilitates the transcendent experience needed for the muses to speak to us. Learn how to use tarot to trigger your intuitive-creativity and apply the tarot fundamentals taught in Wen’s new book, HOLISTIC TAROT to remove creative blockages.

In this 45-minute webinar that will be invaluable to any artist or writer, I’ll be lecturing about how to use tarot cards as an intuitive and inspirational tool for creative and artistic passion projects. The lecture will cover attunement, how to exercise the intuition muscle, and specific techniques for using tarot spreads to read about your creative projects.

When I say “intuitive-creativity,” I’m talking about the muses, about divine inspiration, about that “a-ha” moment. Learn how to use tarot to identify your creative focus, mind-map your project trajectory, perform character analysis if you’re writing a novel, explore the themes of your project in greater depth, and generally trigger your own inspiration with tarot card imagery.

2/27/2015 UPDATE:

Watch a replay of the webinar HERE:

So the actual webinar on Saturday (2/21) had a video camera of me yapping away at the corner of what would have been your computer screen as the PowerPoint presentation played, which I would assume would make the webinar more engaging. (Maybe.) However, in the upload, the video camera of me is no longer there. (Also, now I will never get to see how I looked during the webinar. If there were boogers hanging out of one nostril throughout the thing, now I will never know.)

Yikes, now watching this replay (without the webcam of me, which I really don’t know whether it added or took away from the webinar), this looks kind of boring. So sorry. Thank you even more to those who stuck it out with me to the end!