Writing and Publishing Nonfiction: The Complete Course

FREE

For those who follow the blog, you’ll know that I had been releasing the Writing and Publishing Nonfiction course module by module. This post provides all five modules of the course on one easy-access page.

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In this five-module multi-media course, learn about writing and publishing nonfiction books in the spirituality, New Age, occult, metaphysical, or mind-body-spirit categories. Through audio lectures, handouts, and workbooks, this course is a wealth of resources and information that the aspiring author must have in his or her arsenal. Learn how to get started on your book writing aspiration, how to establish an author platform, how to finish your book, how to prepare a book proposal, all about both traditional publishing and self-publishing, and how to promote and sell your book.

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Overview

In this workbook-centered course, I’ll cover the writing and publishing process of nonfiction books and impart what I know about both traditional and independent (self) publishing. The focus will be on nonfiction under the Spirituality category. That includes books on New Age, New Thought, alternative religions, and esoteric or occult topics. However, the core of the course content applies to any nonfiction book that is seeking either placement with a small to medium size publisher or through print-on-demand channels. We will also cover basic legal knowledge, from author-publisher contracts and entity formation for independent publishers to intellectual property law, which every author should be familiar with.

The course material will be multi-media in format, but focused on the workbooks that will guide you from outlining your idea for a nonfiction book to querying traditional publishers, preparing your manuscript for independent publishing and even marketing and promotions.

Course Objectives

  • To provide an aspiring author with insights into publishing nonfiction books in the Spirituality category and the day-to-day logistics of finishing your manuscript
  • To provide an insider view of both traditional and self-publishing
  • To provide an aspiring author with the beginner tools needed to complete a first manuscript and take it to publication, either by traditional or independent channels
  • To get personal and share my thoughts and experiences from an insider’s perspective
  • To be realistic, and give you real information and hard numbers, not the glossed-over, polished, and exaggerated fluff you often get from would-be insiders

BW Old Chunky Necklace

About Your Instructor

benebell wen is the author of Holistic Tarot: An Integrative Approach to Using Tarot for Personal Growth (North Atlantic Books, 2015) and The Tao of Craft: Fu Talismans and Casting Sigils in the Eastern Esoteric Traditions (North Atlantic Books, forthcoming September 27, 2016). Wen has also served as the editor-in-chief and managing editor of various literary journals, assisted authors with line-editing, formatting, and releasing self-published books in the categories of spirituality and religion, and has represented independent artists and writers in both the traditional and self-published categories. Wen is also a full-time practicing corporate attorney who specializes in business organizations, business law, corporate mergers and acquisitions, venture capital, and intellectual property law.

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Key:

  • AUD = Audio File (M4A)
  • COMM = Commentary (PDF)
  • WBK = Workbook (DOCX, PDF)
  • HDT = Handout (PDF, DOCX, XLSX)
  • WEB = Website Reference (LINK)

Note: Whenever possible, work off the DOCX file, not the PDF. Sometimes the conversion from my original DOCX file to PDF causes the PDF to look a bit wonky. The PDF is provided here just as a backup, in case you want a quick view for reference (since they load more efficiently on a computer or smartphone than DOCX files).

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Module I: Introduction

Let’s start at the very beginning.

Module 1 is an introduction to the world of publishing nonfiction books in the New Age and Spirituality category. Let’s start by talking about you and what you want. Workbook A covers the elements of successful nonfiction and walks you through prompts to help you establish a strong foundation for your book. We’ll talk about what it is exactly you want to say through your book and who you want to say it to, or your target audience. We’ll also cover current trends and together, reach important deductions about the authors publishing in this market category. Even at this early stage, you need to be thinking about your author platform. Workbook B will help you brainstorm and build your author platform. Handout 1 dovetails on Workbook B that walks you through the process of structuring, preparing for, and organizing public speaking engagements to help you establish your author platform.

There are four audio files that consist of lectures (total play time just shy of 40 minutes), two workbooks, and supplementary handouts. Follow the work in the order noted below.

Here’s your course outline:

HDT Introduction PDF
AUD Current Market Trends M4A (10:18)
AUD Why Write and Publish a Book? M4A (09:46)
WBK Workbook A – Examination of the Seed DOCX | PDF
AUD What Are You Sharing? M4A (06:44)
WBK Workbook B – Establishing Your Author Platform DOCX | PDF
HDT Handout 1 – Brainstorming a Speaking Engagement DOCX | PDF
AUD Birthing a Book: My Story M4A (10:20)
HDT Note Taking Template (Cornell Method) DOCX | PDF

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Module II: Completing Your Manuscript

Module 2 helps you grow your seed of a book idea and walks you through the process of nurturing that seed to full bloom, achieving a completed book manuscript. Let me tell you how I managed to stay on track and finish my books while working full-time and tending to family responsibilities. Let’s talk about the daily grind. How do you structure the chapters of your book? How do you schedule your weeks to make sure you get your target writing done? What are some of my personal tips and tricks? The handouts in this module will help you to track your progress. Also, how can you tell if a work is in the public domain? What exactly constitutes fair use? I’ve got handouts for both questions.

There will be four audio lectures (for a total of about 35 minutes play time), two workbooks for you to complete, and supplementary handouts that you will want to go through in the order noted below.

Here’s your course outline:

HDT The Logistics of Writing Your Book DOCX | PDF
AUD Does Word Count Matter? M4A (09:43)
HDT Manuscript Progress Log DOCX | PDF
AUD Basic Theory: The Form and Function of Nonfiction M4A (08:38)
AUD The First Sentence M4A (09:59)
WBK Workbook C: Profiling Your Book and Getting Started DOCX | PDF
WBK Workbook D: Outlining Each Chapter DOCX | PDF
AUD Making Time to Write & Tracking Your Progress M4A (04:27)
HDT Getting Started DOCX | PDF
HDT Flowchart for Determining Public Domain Works DOCX | PDF
HDT The Basic Considerations for Fair Use DOCX | PDF
HDT Sample Permissions Query Letter DOCX | PDF
HDT Word List DOCX | PDF

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Module III: Traditional Publishers

Module 3 accompanies you from drafting your book proposal to querying traditional publishers. We’ll cover the big publishing houses (and how you’ll need a literary agent if you want to approach these publishers) and also the small to medium publishers (where you won’t need a literary agent).

There will be 5 audio lectures (total run time about 40 minutes), 3 workbooks, and supplementary handouts that you will want to go through in the order noted below.

Here’s your course outline:

AUD Preliminary Notes for Module III M4A (04:43)
HDT Who are the traditional publishers? DOCX | PDF
AUD The Book Proposal M4A (04:18)
WBK Workbook E – The Book Proposal DOCX | PDF
HDT Log of Publisher Queries DOCX | PDF
HDT Sample Manuscript Submission in Standard Format PDF
AUD The Submissions Process M4A (11:39)
HDT Template for Submissions Query Letter PDF
HDT My Query for Holistic and Publisher Responses PDF
HDT Book Proposal for Holistic Tarot (Sample) PDF
HDT Evolution of a Manuscript PDF
HDT Traditional Publishing Timeline (Query to Release) PDF
AUD Revisiting Why We Write and Publish M4A (08:07)
HDT Theoretical Earnings Comparison Chart PDF
WBK Workbook F – Publishing Contract Review LINK
AUD Traditional Versus Self Publishing M4A (09:29)
WBK Workbook G – Deciding Between Traditional and Self DOCX | PDF

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Author Publisher Agreements: Understanding Your Publishing Contract

If you’ve just received a book deal offer from a traditional publisher and you are not represented by an agent, then you had better get your hands on this document.

Read more about the workbook here.

This workbook is a 50-page, 19,000+ word checklist, term by term explanation, sample contract term negotiation and counter-offers, and tips written by a corporate contracts lawyer to help you navigate the author publisher agreement. Please note that this workbook is for educational purposes only and since I do not know your case-specific situation, the workbook cannot constitute legal advice. It is recommended that you seek legal or professional counsel for case-specific matters.

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Module IV: Independent (or Self) Publishing

Module 4 will cover basic pointers for self-publishing. There will be 5 lectures, 1 workbook that you should complete, and supplementary handouts that you will want to go through in the order noted below. I’m also providing a few unaffiliated external links, so you have someplace to start shopping around for printing presses, getting price quotes, etc.

In the previous modules, the lectures were provided as audio recordings, but my laptop went kaput and I’ve been recording the audio with an app on my laptop. I don’t know how to do it with my desktop, so instead of mp4 files for download in Module 4, we have text–the audio lecture transcripts I would have read off of.

Here’s your course outline:

WBK Workbook H: Self-Publishing Logistics DOCX | PDF
HDT Template for Self Published Manuscript DOCX
AUD Introduction to Self-Publishing PDF
AUD Why Self Publish Your Book PDF
WEB AuthorCentral (Amazon): Register an Account LINK
WEB Print-on-Demand Publisher: Lulu.com LINK
WEB Print-on-Demand Publisher: Kindle Direct Publishing LINK
WEB Print-on-Demand Royalties Calculator [CreateSpace] LINK
WEB Printing Press: Lightning Press [Book Printing Instant Price Quote Calculator] LINK
WEB Printing Press: Heidel Print [Book Printing Instant Price Quote Calculator] LINK
WEB Printing Press (China): Shenzhen Jinhao Printing [Minimum Order Quantity: 500 copies] LINK
HDT US Copyright Office Form-TX (Registration for Literary Works) PDF
HDT US Copyright Office Online Registration of Copyright PDF
WEB Electronic Filing of US Copyrights LINK
AUD Optional. Publishing Tarot or Oracle Decks PDF
WEB Optional. Tarot Deck Creators Facebook Group LINK
AUD Understanding ISBNs, Bar Codes, and LOC Listings PDF
WEB Buy ISBNs and Bar Codes (U.S.—Bowker) LINK
WEB How to Register a U.S. Copyright LINK
WEB About Library of Congress Catalog Listings LINK
WEB LOC PCN: Application to Participate LINK
AUD Why You Need a Copyeditor PDF
AUD Where To Go From Here PDF

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Module V: Promoting Your Book and Post-Publication Strategic Plans

The final module of this course will cover the enormous amount of work that comes after you’ve produced a book and it has been launched into the public arena aka published. If you thought that meant you’re done, then oh boy, you’ve been sadly mistaken. You’ve only just begun. Module 5 is about covering some realities about publishing and selling nonfiction books in the Mind, Body, Spirit category, the nuts and bolts of promoting a book and how to captivate the attention of your target audience. We’ll also cover post-publication strategic plans for actually making some real money off your book (you thought you were going to make money off your royalties? *chuckles to self*).

Please note that Module V is part of the Closed Circuit, and is therefore password protected. For context about what the Closed Circuit is, read here.

Below you’ll find the content outline of Module V, but none of the file extensions are hyperlinked. For full access, you’ll need to be part of the Closed Circuit.

COMM The Author Platform and Public Relations PDF
WBK Preparing Your Media Kit (Workbook A) PDF DOCX
HDT Media Kit Template DOCX
COMM Promoting a Book: What Works and What Doesn’t PDF
WBK Drafting Your Marketing and Promotions Plan PDF DOCX
HDT Template Query Letter for Market Exposure PDF
COMM Book Blurbs (or the Author Endorsement) PDF
HDT Log of Endorsement Queries DOCX
COMM The Book Trailer: Should You Create One? PDF
COMM Hiring a Publicist: Pros and Cons PDF
COMM The Author’s PR Schedule: Sample Timeline PDF
HDT Self-Publishing: Author Sales Log Debut Year One XLXS
HDT Self-Publishing: Author Sales Log Subsequent Years XLXS
HDT Traditional: Author Sales Log Debut Year One XLXS
HDT Traditional: Author Sales Log Subsequent Years XLXS
HDT Traditional: Gross and Net Sales Detail Log XLXS
COMM Dealing with Criticism PDF
COMM The Nom de Plume PDF
COMM Where Is the Money? Optimizing Author Earning Potential PDF
HDT Log of Media Contacts DOCX

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2018 Metaphysician’s Day Planner [Pre-Order]

$25 USD

PRE-ORDER

The 2018 Metaphysician’s Day Planner

Delivery Date: December 1, 2017

The first, debut Metaphysician’s Day Planner came out last year, so if you’re curious about this planner’s origins, check out what I wrote in 2017 about the product’s conception.

This year’s day planner is better. Okay, well, I think it’s better. Who knows what you think of it all. Ephemeris tables, charting sign transits for the Sacred Seven for each and every day of 2018, and also, this year’s day planner comes with a 200 page Guidebook. Yep, that’s right. The day planner has its own operation manual.

And in that operation manual you are going to find loads of folk magic, astrological data, and also all void of course moon dates for 2018 in case that’s something you look at for spell-crafting. It’s got forecasts for 2018, step by step instructions on how you can do your own forecasts for 2018 per your natal chart and solar return chart, reference tables galore, and so much more. I’m sure you’ll find something interesting in that Guidebook that you ultimately decide to integrate into your own craft.

Short Summary (aka TL;DR)

You’re getting the digital files to a day planner calendar book that’s part organizer and part grimoire. Then you can upload the day planner digital file, along with your choice of a front and back cover design (many options provided for you to choose from!), to a third party printer (I give you illustrated step-by-step instructions on how to do that), and get your day planner printed and bound. And if you lose your book midway through the year for whatever reason, you can always print out another copy for yourself, since you’ve got the digital file.

This day planner is keyed to a metaphysician with eclectic leanings, and a keen interest in both the sacred arts of the East and the mystery traditions of the West. It presumes the importance of transits astrology in your practice, and so moon phases, ephemeris tables, and key astrological events are noted.

Continue reading “2018 Metaphysician’s Day Planner [Pre-Order]”

The 2017 YouTube Pagan Challenge #ytpaganchallenge

Now that I’ve completed the 2017 YouTube Pagan Challenge on the grimoire, I thought I’d consolidate the three videos I made in response to the challenge and also throw in some additional commentary. This year’s theme: the personal grimoire or metaphysical journaling. For your reference, here is a PDF reference to all question prompts for the 2017 YouTube Pagan Challenge that I was going off of for the video responses.

I’m going to be making references to the question prompts by number. So, for instance, when I say Question 1, I mean the “Show and Tell” prompt, or if I say Question 45, I mean, “What kind of pagans were your ancestors?” and so on. Number to question references are on that PDF.

In retrospect, Part 3, my last video, should have been Part 1, the first video, so for those who haven’t seen any of them, oh good. Now you can actually watch them in the better order. In this post I’m going to be featuring the final Part 3 first, since it makes more sense that way, and then you’d move on to Part 1.

Then, of course, it turns out there were a whole load of questions I totally missed, so I’ll try to answer any that seem relevant to my path at the very end, via blog rather than another video upload.

Part 3: Pagan Practice, Opinions, and the Personal

I start this video by addressing the question of whether I am even considered pagan. Then I address my go-to divination techniques, Question 6, how it’s not recorded in my grimoire but elsewhere in separate journals, ritual work or Question 8, my answer to Question 12 is implied in some of what I say in this video, and Question 13, where I talk about a code of ethics for spell-crafting. Here I also talk about the religions that influence my path and give glimpses of my witchy rooms or…more accurately, witchy house.

Continue reading “The 2017 YouTube Pagan Challenge #ytpaganchallenge”

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

Continue reading “I Ching and the Practitioner: A Course on the Book of Changes”

Tarot and Shadow Work for Activating Dynamic Power

$28

At Tarot Summer School 2017

To enroll in the course for $28, click the above button or click here to go to the Tarot Summer School landing page and check out my course offering, “Tarot and Shadow Work for Activating Dynamic Power.”

Course Objective:

To strengthen your personal vitality and the reservoir of metaphysical powers you can command or control, through attunement to those inner and outer alchemical forces embedded into the archetypal tarot architecture.

Course Description:

We often hear about using tarot for shadow work. This course takes that concept a step further to address how tarot and shadow work can be utilized to cultivate dynamic personal power. The more personal power you wield, the greater likelihood of success you’ll enjoy in achieving your goals. To break vicious cycles that hold you down and to overcome that which haunts you, you need force. You can summon that force from within you and to navigate that inner landscape of yours in search of your powers, we use the tarot.

The course addresses how to source power from five specific inner reservoirs, corresponding with the architecture of tarot, which are as follows:

  • Expert or authoritative power, which we harness through Fire;
  • The power of charisma, or appeal, harnessed through Water;
  • The power of punishment to reinforce your personal sovereignty, harnessed through Air;
  • The power of reward, or building relations, harnessed through Earth; and
  • The power of change, or the power of esoteric knowledge, harnessed by attuning to Spirit.

The tarot will be used as an anchoring and centering tool for navigating the inner landscape in search of those five reservoirs of power. We can also better understand these five powers of social psychology through the Major Arcana and the four suits of the Minor Arcana.

We will cover both the psychological and the metaphysical facets of these powers and how you can activate them by navigating your shadow landscape with the tarot. Overcome lack mentality. the pain of failure, recurring underachievement, fear, inertia, and insecurity by activating these five powers that are just beyond the nether regions of your own mind and will.

Tarot, social psychology, chakra strengthening, self-reflection, personal ritual, spell-crafting, and basic East Asian Qi energy work will be covered. The course content delves unabashedly into faith-based material.

Continue reading “Tarot and Shadow Work for Activating Dynamic Power”

Limited Offer: Taoist Talismanic Kit

 $40 USD* UPDATE: SOLD OUT

* Extra if shipping internationally. All U.S. shipping is free, included in order.

Here’s what I’ve been working on for the last, oh, I don’t know… two weeks if not more. And still working on. Will continue to work on until the full moon in Scorpio!

Okay. Here’s the lowdown.

For $40 (and no more, if you’re in the U.S.; plus shipping charges if non-U.S.), you’re getting:

  1. 10 ml glass bottle of consecrated water (I’ll explain)
  2. 1 ml cork top glass bottle of consecrated powder (I’ll explain)
  3. Customized Fu sigil talisman charged during the full moon in Scorpio (I’ll explain)

Only 36 50* (fifty sets) available. Once all 50 orders have been reserved, it’s gone.

* To those who somehow managed to get on my private VIP email list and thus received a heads up about this already, I had said I only have 36. Yeah, I can’t count. I wrote that up at the office and my memory thought 36. I was mistaking it for something else. I have 50 of these. Just so you know, I had sent you photos, so you can actually look at the photos I sent you and count the number of vials lined up on my workspace. There were 50 pictured in the photos when I told you 36. Sorry for the sham.

* Oops, sorry, before I could even manage to get this blog post up, there are only 5 (five) left. So this blog post is only about filling up those 5 remaining orders. That way I can start the preparations this weekend for each of the 50 individuals.

Okay, now let’s explain each of the three items you’re getting.

Continue reading “Limited Offer: Taoist Talismanic Kit”

Announcing the Video Companion Course to Holistic Tarot

B A C K G R O U N D   N O T E S

Some of you may know of the online video companion course to Holistic Tarot already. I put out the first few video lectures for the series this past week. The videos supplement the study guides and handouts, which supplement the book, Holistic Tarot. To check out the course outline and description, click on the above hyperlinked banner. This blog post is just to offer some of the behind-the-scenes commentary.

Offering a Beginner’s Tarot Course

I have been pressed ad nauseum about offering a beginner’s tarot course. While I haven’t felt called to start production of materials with that specific intent in mind, as in an online multi-media course that teaches you how to read a deck of cards, I wrote Holistic Tarot with that specific intent (i.e., to instruct on tarot at the beginner level) in mind. Then when the book launched back in 2015, I created a portfolio of syllabi, study guides, and handouts to help people navigate the 800+ pages. That was my “beginner’s tarot course.”

Still I got pressed. Apparently that wasn’t what many of you folks had in mind when you think “beginner’s tarot course”?

Continue reading “Announcing the Video Companion Course to Holistic Tarot”

Book Review: The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings by Brigit Esselmont

The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings by Brigit Esselmont is the long-anticipated print book copy of a text on tarot card meanings she had published previously as an e-book and which formally memorializes much of what had become one of the most popular go-to card meanings site on the interwebs, BiddyTarot’s Tarot Card Meanings.

If you don’t know Brigit of BiddyTarot, then you simply do not know anything about the tarot community either– meaning, this woman has a loyal cult-like following of avid tarot enthusiasts who have propelled her to the top of the ranks for all things tarot. She defines the present generation of tarot readers and in many ways, her latest book The Ultimate Guide reflects that newfangled epistemology of divination-can-be-for-the-masses camp of thought. That has become the new wave of thought in tarot, collectively the loudest voice in current modernity, and leading that camp really is the BiddyTarot culture.

The Ultimate Guide is a fresh, contemporary voice in the body of tarot literature and will resonate more with those who embody the modern approach to card meanings. Not to be confused with The Ultimate Guide to Tarot by Liz Dean (the two titles can be confusingly similar), Esselmont’s The Ultimate Guide expresses a new consciousness of tarot, which is to integrate it into everyday mainstream, to normalize tarot, and to promote the practice of personal spirituality through living a tarot inspired life.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Ultimate Guide to Tarot Card Meanings by Brigit Esselmont”

Astrology Course for Beginners (Independent Study)

$55.  USD

This is a beginner’s course on how to read both a Placidus and a Whole Signs astrological chart with the tropical zodiac (the sidereal zodiac is not taught in this course, though we will cover the differences between a tropical and a sidereal zodiac). Yep, that’s right. Both will be taught. The mission of this course is to get you to know how to read both Placidus and Whole Signs, even if Whole Signs is my preferred system. (Meaning, there’s going to be a bias in favor of Whole Signs…)

This course does not teach chart construction and will only cover how to read a chart that you already have on hand, Placidus or Whole Signs. After covering the basics, you will learn how to read a natal chart, perform transits astrology readings, get a sense of both traditional astrology and modern astrology, dwarf planets and asteroids included, and if I’ll be damned, you are going to have one rock solid foundation in Western astrology that won’t be beat.

Competitive in content, by scope and depth, to beginner astrology courses that cost in the hundreds, Astrology Course for Beginners is intended to be budget-friendly, so everyone can learn how to simplify the complexities of Western astrology.

Continue reading “Astrology Course for Beginners (Independent Study)”

An I Ching and Tarot Divination How-To– Give This a Try

I’m going to walk you through an easy beginner’s methodology for I Ching and tarot divination. We’ll be doing a simple one card tarot draw plus casting I Ching hexagrams by the coin toss method. So in addition to the instructions here for the I Ching divination, I’m presuming you have a tarot deck and know how to operate one. If not, no worries. This doesn’t need to be I Ching and tarot. It can just be I Ching! 🙂

I use traditional coins for my personal practice, but we won’t be needing those today. Any three coins of the same value in your change purse will do. Go find three pennies, or three nickels, or three quarters–whatever pleases you. And give them a good wash.

Here I’m using disinfectant soap and water. Dry them thoroughly. You can use a towel. Anything. Just be practical.

Continue reading “An I Ching and Tarot Divination How-To– Give This a Try”