5 Beginner Tarot Courses for Free

Deck pictured: Giant Rider-Waite-Smith Tarot by AGM Muller

If you go searching for free tarot resources on the interwebs, you’ll go down a deep rabbit hole of content and for the beginner, that itself could be just as daunting as the process of having to learn tarot. Which one do you really start-start with? Isn’t there an easy linked “Lesson 1” and then you can just go from there?

Here I’ve compiled for you a list of five (5) beginner sources that are essentially free online tarot courses. These courses are self-paced, yet guided by a tarot master, structured, and with substantive content I’ve vetted, reviewed and felt, wow, yeah, okay, this is good stuff. Also, in assembling this list, I tried to look for resources that had some nice polish to them, were well-designed, well-produced, aesthetically-pleasing, and not too smarmy with any efforts to sell you something.

So, to be fair, there were several pretty good sites that I’ve left out from this list because ultimately, it was geared toward selling you something. An important criterion was the site had to be, overall, leaning more toward “educational purposes” than toward “promotional purposes.” Another important criterion was that the tarot lessons were well-organized and easy to follow.

Given those parameters, here are my top five for you. Continue reading “5 Beginner Tarot Courses for Free”

The Ostara Tarot: A Beautiful Deck for Year-Round Use

I didn’t receive my copy of Ostara Tarot until well after the spring (or vernal) equinox this 2017, but I am looking forward to taking the deck out again in March of 2018 to tap in to the equinox energies through this deck. However, really, this deck is perfect for year-round use. A case can be made that the expressions from this deck can apply to any spoke in the wheel of the year.

For me, the spring equinox is a pivotal moment in the year because my fruit trees are in blossom. Many of our flower plants are also beginning to show signs of reemerging life. It is the time of the year when my yard is a wash of pinks, purples, whites, and yellow. It’s breathtaking to see.

Home photos in the spring.

There is a Seven of Pentacles vibe around my place during the spring equinox. The garden work you put in the past year begins to show and you can count the blossoms to get a sense of the fruit harvest to come this summer and autumn. However, it also is a time to check yourself and remember never to count your chickens before they hatch because I’ve definitely been duped before! I think I’m about to get quite the harvest for the summer and then an icy rain kills all the blossoms overnight, or you just never know what might happen between this moment and the next sabbat.

Continue reading “The Ostara Tarot: A Beautiful Deck for Year-Round Use”

Bonnie’s #WhoAmI Tarot Spread

Tarot OG Bonnie Cehovet and an awesome human being (I know, I met her) shared a really cool tarot spread that I now must re-share. Check out her article here. It’s a ten-card “Who am I” spread where you ask your tarot deck to tell you about you. You’re going to want to try this one out for yourself, too, and when you do, be sure to share it and tag Bonnie Cehovet. (Twitter handle: @bonnie_cehovet).

And you know what? This would be a great spread to try today, during the Total Solar Eclipse. For those of you of a Chinese Taoist bent, Ghost Month also begins today, so you can modify this tarot spread and bring in mediumship. Use tarot to contact someone who has passed on who knew you well. Think of someone you would have gone to for life advice, perhaps a relative you would have had a heart to heart with, who knew you well, and so would have been able to see you more objectively than you see yourself and thus answer these questions for you.

Okay, here are the questions. Set out the cards in any arrangement you like, but with the intention of these ten points:

  1. How do I see myself at this point in time?
  2. What are my passions?
  3. How do my passions sustain me?
  4. What are my fears?
  5. How can I best deal with my fears?
  6. What are my fears here to teach me?
  7. What are my goals?
  8. How can I best support my goals?
  9. What do I fear about my goals?
  10. Where are my goals taking me?

Continue reading “Bonnie’s #WhoAmI Tarot Spread”

The Badgers Forest Tarot: Animal Lovers Rejoice

The Badgers Forest Tarot by Nakisha Elsje VanderHoeven, who is also the creatrix of The Rabbit Tarot, The TaRat (Tarot of the Rat), The BlueDogRose Tarot featuring domestic animals, and The Riderless Tarot, a horse-themed deck. I think she is an animal lover, but I’m not sure. You’ve got to check out all her tarot decks, which are self-published and listed through Etsy.

This is my favorite animal spirit deck, for sure. When I read with this deck, it’s less tarot and more oracle deck, and more specifically, I’m checking out the animal spirit depicted on the cards drawn. Typical tarot card meanings come secondary. And if you’re looking for an animal spirit oracle deck, even though this is tarot–and it does fit what I consider to be the parameters for a tarot deck–this is really a great one. Continue reading “The Badgers Forest Tarot: Animal Lovers Rejoice”

Llewellyn’s 2018 Tarot Calendar

Llewellyn has just come out with its Tarot Calendar for 2018 and it is a thing of majesty. Tarot nerds, enthusiasts, and aficionados: rejoice! This is your monthly calendar that you’re going to want hung up on your wall at home or in your reading space. It’s simply marvelous.

The calendar features cards from so many tempting decks that just gives the calendar such magic. It’s vibrant, well-produced, and after 2018 has gone and passed, you’ll want to hold on to your calendar for memory’s sake.

Continue reading “Llewellyn’s 2018 Tarot Calendar”

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.

Continue reading “General Readings and Specific Readings”

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?

Continue reading “My Go-To Knick Knacks in a Reading Space”

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.

Continue reading “Book Review: The Fortune Teller by Gwendolyn Womack”