Tarot Elements: Five Readings to Reset Your Life by Melissa Cynova

Melissa Cynova, author of Kitchen Table Tarot, which I’ve reviewed before on this blog, has now released an intermediate sequel: Tarot Elements: Five Readings to Reset Your Life. She updates the esoteric tarot tradition of expressing facets of the human condition through the four elements and adds a fifth, Spirit.

The text is written in a casual conversational style, and reads like a letter written to you from an old friend. The five elemental readings are configured to a trinity of questions:

  1. What can you hold on to?
  2. What can pull you forward?
  3. What gets in your way?

Through a well-curated process of divinatory tarot reading, journaling, and craft activity, these three questions are read through the framework of each of the five elements. The early chapters offer tips on working with elemental dignities in these readings, plus a step-by-step discussion of how to read the cards.

“You bought this book because you want a change in your life.”

Continue reading “Tarot Elements: Five Readings to Reset Your Life by Melissa Cynova”

Court de Gébelin’s Tarot Reading Method (1781)

Skill Level: Intermediate & Up

This video and supplemental written post comes after “Tarot and Geopolitical Divination (Antoine Court de Gébelin, 1781).”

Tucked into one of Court de Gébelin’s essays on the tarot is this gem of a tarot reading method he instructs. I read the essay in French and in several English translations, hoping to confirm that I understood his instructions correctly, but there were still a few points here and there open to interpretation, so bear with me.

Court de Gébelin describes a fortune-telling method for either tarot or ordinary playing cards where you shuffle the deck, cut, and then proceed to draw the cards, one by one, as you call out a number (or card title) for each draw.

When the number (or card title) you called out matches the card, set that card aside. You’ll be reading all such cards in a free-form narrative string.

Cycle through the deck three times to cast three free-form narrative strings.

Here, I’d also like to note that I didn’t find any explicit direction from Court de Gébelin about reading with reversals (if there was, then my apologies; I missed it), so for kicks, if you’re following the video’s guided reading, then position all the cards in your deck upright and proceed without reversals.

Compare Court de Gébelin’s approach to the earlier historic episodes on MacGregor Mathers (1888) or Papus (1889) where reading with reversals was explicitly instructed.

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Tarot and Geopolitical Divination (Antoine Court de Gébelin, 1781)

Skill Level: General (All)

This video is closed captioned with American English subtitles.

If you’re interested in the geographic and regional correspondences for the cards that I cover in the video, then you may want to turn on the closed captioning so you can read the country/region names while I say them.

Around 1781, a French pastor, historian, scholar, and Freemason, Antoine Court de Gébelin published an essay on the Tarot and what he believed to be ancient esoteric knowledge encoded into the cards, namely, the magical traditions of the Egyptian high priests and high priestesses.

The essay was part of a documentary compendium he worked on between 1773 and 1784, Le Monde primitif, analysé et comparé avec le monde moderne (The Primeval World, Analyzed and Compared to the Modern World).

Continue reading “Tarot and Geopolitical Divination (Antoine Court de Gébelin, 1781)”

Changing a Negative Reading: Create a Tarot Mandala

Skill Level: Intermediate & Up

When the future outcome as prognosticated by your tarot reading is negative, is there anything you can do to change it? One powerful, effective, and yet very easy to implement technique is taught by Rachel Pollack: create a tarot mandala.

This technique comes from Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, first published in 1980. A new and updated edition of this tarot classic was released earlier this year, in March, 2019.

Although working with a tarot mandala is by no means limited to changing the outcome of a negative tarot reading, I framed the title of the episode in that way since it’s one of the frequently asked questions I get: Is there anything you can do to change the negative forecast of a tarot reading? Yes, there’s plenty you can do! And casting a tarot mandala is one such method!

Continue reading “Changing a Negative Reading: Create a Tarot Mandala”

Tarot Business Spotlight: The Five-Minute Party Reading

Skill Level: Advanced

Today’s installment of Sightsee the Tarot will walk you through the choreography of a five-minute party reading and some incredible tips on choreographing party readings, straight from one of the most renowned tarot professionals in the country, Jenna Matlin. But even if you’re not interested in being a pro reader, mastering the five-minute party reading is a great skill to have.

Since footage for this video was filmed after 10 pm, I didn’t have any human bodies to be my extras. =) Hence, our little stuffed friend Q-Ball is the stand-in.

I wrote up a quick book review of Have Tarot, Will Party here if you want to learn more about the book.

Post-edit, I realized I didn’t cover everything I wanted to cover (and certainly nowhere close to covering all the juicy bits in Matlin’s book!), so this companion blog post is my personal add-on to the video.

Continue reading “Tarot Business Spotlight: The Five-Minute Party Reading”

Prosperity Planning with Tarot

Skill LevelGeneral (All)

In today’s installment of Sightsee the Tarot, we’ll be exploring Mary K. Greer’s Tarot for Your Self: A Workbook for Personal Transformation and working through journaling prompts to self-reflect on our relationship with money and what we aspire for in terms of prosperity.

We’ll then work through my reinterpretation of Greer’s Prosperity Mandala for an integrated approach to tarot journaling, self-reflection, and intense divinatory work.

For six days after casting your Prosperity Mandala, you’ll revisit it daily and when you sit with the tarot mandala, you’ll receive additional insights, new ideas, come up with solutions to problems that have been hindering your progress, work through productive brainstorming about your personal financial situation, and positively shift yourself toward greater prosperity.

Continue reading “Prosperity Planning with Tarot”

Jailbreaking Tarot of the Bohemians by Papus

Tarot, Astrology, and the Four Seasons. Reference diagram from Tarot of the Bohemians (Papus). Click to download high-res image file.

This is a two-part installment of Sightsee the Tarot as we take a tour of Tarot of the Bohemians by Papus, the pseudonym of Gérard Encausse, a French physician and occultist.

Part 1 is lecture only, summarizing the entirety of the text, Tarot of the Bohemians. Part 2 is a hands-on guided workshop of a reading method taught by Papus.

You don’t have to watch Part 1 (lecture only) to work through Part 2 (guided tarot reading method). The two parts can be standalone videos that you watch without the other.

So if you just want to try out the late 19th century reading spread instructed by Papus and don’t much care for an audio-visual summary of Tarot of the Bohemians, then skip Part 1 and go straight to Part 2.

If you’re just here for the audio-visual summary of Bohemians but aren’t in the mood to do a tarot reading right now, then just watch Part 1.

Continue reading “Jailbreaking Tarot of the Bohemians by Papus”

Rewriting Memories with the Tarot

Skill LevelGeneral (All)

After going back in time, first to the 1970s with Eden Gray and then even further back to the late 1800s with MacGregor Mathers, we now return to present day and explore a powerful journaling exercise and reading spread designed by tarot life coach Jaymi Elford, featured in her new 2019 book, Tarot Inspired Life.

Before you hit play, please be advised that this session may not be suitable for everyone. We are going to relive a painful past memory and journal through it. Thus, some individuals may not be ready for this guided exercise.

For those who feel prepared to proceed, we are going to rewrite the ending of that painful memory, one in which we take control. Then with the magic and alchemy of the tarot, rewrite the ending, which will release us of that memory’s hold over us. No longer beholden to the pain, we heal that one inner soul fragment that had been caused by the painful memory.

This journaling session will include brief guided recitations of affirmations that incorporate sound healing and may start to feel a tad New Agey to those who shirk from the New Age. Just grin and bear with me.

After this journaling session, I strongly recommend that you follow it with personal energy after-care and watch the following healing meditation video.

Even if sitting through the energy healing video feels silly and too New Agey for you, just humor me. I would much rather you conclude this session feeling like a goofball than feeling drained or depressed.

I’ve also provided the complete script for the energy healing recitations. You can download the PDF for it here:

Script for the Guided Healing Meditation

PDF Download

If you work as a life coach or spiritual consultant, then please feel free to use the script in any way you like, modify it so it better fits your own style, and yes, you’re totally free to integrate it into your client services.

Alternatively or additionally, there’s a psychic protection and shielding audio download you can use. Read all about it and then download the audio and written text of the recitation here:

Psychic Protection: Shielding Recitation

MP3 & PDF Download

I dedicated the audio and the text for the shielding recitation to the public domain, which means even though I created and wrote it, it’s no longer mine. I’ve given all proprietary rights to the collective. You can do as you will with it, modify it, make your own derivatives, and even use it within the scope of your professional or commercial work.

The recitation of affirmations and then the inclusion of sound healing, plus the recommended energy after-care are based on the instructions and guidance of Elford in her book. When guiding a client through such emotionally intense work with the tarot or when you’re working through such emotionally-charged prompts yourself, Elford recommends incorporation of affirmations or modalities of self-care, which is why I included them in the guided workshop.

With the psychic protection shielding recitation in the public domain, you can use it or modify it to create your own version freely and incorporate it into your professional tarot or life coaching work.

The Tarot Life Coach

The approach to tarot we worked with here is life coaching. How do you use the tarot in the scope of modern day life coaching?

Tarot Inspired Life covers so much ground that if you’re a professional life coach who also happens to be a tarot reader, Elford is going to offer you so many incredible and practical techniques for integrating the two and helping your clients.

Today’s journaling and reading exercise is practiced on yourself, but once the operational steps are mastered, the techniques can be worked into professional life coaching or tarot counseling sessions.

The life coach/tarot counselor would walk through the basic card meanings and reading interpretation with the client and help the client in choosing the right card for rewriting the memory.

This episode walked you through one way a life coach can use the cards in a one-hour client session to help them reconcile a past event that’s still bothering the client, and keeping him or her from moving forward. Yet Tarot Inspired Life has so much more to offer. This was just one of numerous power-packed exercises and journaling prompts from Elford’s book.

If your client is an aspiring writer, there’s an entire section in Tarot Inspired Life on how to use the tarot to get through common writing blocks and challenges, from using the tarot to outline your plot, profile your characters, or offer creative advice. There are insights into basic meditation techniques with the tarot and using tarot in easy-to-follow personal rituals for transformation.

If you’re interested in acquiring your own copy of Tarot Inspired Life, check out my book review, here

Order your copy here via Amazon.com.

Next week it’s back in time to the late 1800s to unpack Tarot of the Bohemians by Papus. Hopefully you’re not getting jet-lagged from the crazy back and forth time travel. =)

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An “Ancient” Mode of Tarot Reading by MacGregor Mathers

Skill LevelGeneral (All)

Together, let’s walk through a tarot reading method instructed by S. L. MacGregor Mathers in The Tarot, Its Occult Signification, Use in Fortune-Telling, and Method of Play (1888). He describes this reading technique as “a very ancient mode of reading the tarot” that “will be found reliable.”

Shall we try it out for ourselves?

First, download the Reading Notes worksheet. You’ll be logging your card results on these pages (or copy the format into your tarot journal). I urge you to either use the worksheet or take really organized and structured notes on your reading here, because there are a lot of card pairs to unpack. =)

Reading Notes Worksheet

PDF Download

The Worksheet includes a final Review section for you to return to the reading later in time and give yourself feedback on whether your predictions came true or whether you may have misinterpreted some of the cards and how they actually came to fruition.

Alternative Reading Approach

In the video tutorial, we are reading the First Horseshoe as the Past, Second Horseshoe as the Present, and Third Horseshoe as the Future.

However, there is an alternative way to read these the three sets, and that’s noted in the above-linked Worksheet.

You can also opt to read the First Horseshoe as revealing of the Self, of the personality or character in question.

The Second Horseshoe reveals the environment, the plot points and situation the querent is in.

The Third Horseshoe can be read as the path forward, i.e., the future, or one’s spiritual path, or some combination of the two indications.

Inferences Made

In the selected passages of Mathers’ instruction on the reading method, he doesn’t get into any details about what each of the three Horseshoes indicate. However, I inferred the trinity and Septenary correspondences contextually, based on the preceding content in his book.

Experiment: Read Exactly the Way Mathers Would Instruct

A fun way to take this reading method out on a test drive is with a Tarot de Marseille deck and, following the instructions in The Tarot, read with reversals.

If you’re not familiar with the Marseille system at all, that’s even better, because the most entertaining way to do this is to force yourself to work off the card meanings given in the Mathers text, which you can download as a supplemental handout.

TdM Card Meanings Reference

The Tarot (1888)

In the above handout, I’ve rearranged the ordering of the card meanings. For the original order Mathers put the cards in, check out the subsequent download of The Tarot (1888). In the above PDF, I arranged it in the order that the majority of modern tarot readers are going to be used to seeing the cards. In a few places, I’ve also edited the text when the original phrasing by Mathers has become obsolete, so I included modern equivalents.

Continue reading “An “Ancient” Mode of Tarot Reading by MacGregor Mathers”

How to Read Tarot Cards: Eden Gray’s Hungarian Method

Skill Level: Intermediate & Up

This is the third video presentation of Sightsee the Tarot, a new series I’ve started on my YouTube channel.

If you haven’t watched the previous videos on a psychological approach to the tarot, the Nine-Card Open Face Spread and Self-Help Tarot Journaling (Tarot Counseling), watch those and then return to this session, or at the very least, watch the first three minutes of the Self-Help Tarot Journaling video for the theoretical model distinctions between predictive tarot reading and tarot counseling. I’ll be making reference to those distinctions as we explore predictive tarot reading.

Please note that intermediate proficiency with reading tarot in spreads is presumed. I proceed with explaining Gray’s approach with the understanding that you already know how to read the cards. Also, in terms of a tarot spread, this particular method can be rather vague, and relies heavily on the skill of reading cards in pairs. So elemental dignities also comes in to play.

Nonetheless, armed with a book of card meanings, I think this may still be a good video workshop for the total tarot beginner to work through. So do not be dismayed, tarot beginner! Still give this tutorial a shot!

Continue reading “How to Read Tarot Cards: Eden Gray’s Hungarian Method”