List of 2018 Bell Chimes In Episodes

In the Fall of 2017, I started a fun little series on my YouTube channel, called “Bell Chimes In.” Here’s a refresher of the 18 episodes that came out last year:

List of 2017 Bell Chimes in Episodes

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“Bell Chimes In” is a video series on my YouTube channel where I pick a topic that is oft talked about and chime in with my perspective. In doing so, I hope you’ll chime back. After the video, please join in conversation with me through a video response, blog post of your own, or by adding your thoughts in the comments section of the video.

I hope this series won’t be about me. I hope that it will be about us, about discourse, and the collective ideas of a community. There will be a new “Bell Chimes In” video every Sunday for the first quarter of the year.

Continue reading “List of 2018 Bell Chimes In Episodes”

Your Year Ahead Twelve-Month Tarot Forecast Reading

Selecting a significator card. Deck pictured: Golden Universal by Lo Scarabeo.

For quite a while I offered a Year Ahead twelve-month forecast reading, but I received so many requests in 2017 that the reading type burned me out. So I won’t be offering it in 2018, but it’s an incredible tarot reading methodology and one you can absolutely do for yourself. So in this post I’ll show you how you can do my Year Ahead forecast reading all on your own.

The Year Ahead forecast reading consists of the following steps:

  1. Solar Return Astrology Analysis
  2. Preliminary Four Worlds Reading
  3. Elemental Key for the Year
  4. Twelve-Month Four-Quarter Projections
  5. Six Points Revelation Spread
  6. Power Word for the Year

Now let’s address each in turn.

Continue reading “Your Year Ahead Twelve-Month Tarot Forecast Reading”

The Asian American Tarot & Read The Cartomancer

Are you subscribed to The Cartomancer? If you’re a tarot or oracle card reader, then you’ve got to check out this independent magazine. The quality of the print copy is just luxurious–definite collectible items.

Volume 3, Issue 3 is now out. You can order just the single copy or get a subscription for the year. Support your fellow tarot community, independent artists, deck creators (lots of stunning deck art in these pages), and further your own tarot education with The Cartomancer.

In the latest issue posted above, I wrote a deck review for The Asian American Tarot. You may be surprised and amused by my opinion. In a moment of irony, I can’t predict whether you’ll have expected as much from my review of the deck or whether it’ll be unexpected.

Continue reading “The Asian American Tarot & Read The Cartomancer”

The Kokeshi Tarot and Reading Square Tarot Cards

Kokeshi dolls are wood-crafted Japanese dolls that look not unlike the High Priestess kokeshi featured above on the box cover of the Kokeshi Tarot by Arlain. The Kokeshi Tarot stylizes traditional Rider-Waite-Smith tarot iconography into kokeshi dolls and the results are too cute to handle.

We’ve got reversible, symmetrical card backs, which are going to be relevant when we consider reversals and even–gasp!–reading with sideways cards. More on that later. Let’s talk about the Kokeshi Tarot.

Continue reading “The Kokeshi Tarot and Reading Square Tarot Cards”

Failing to Predict Disaster

My mother possesses an eerily keen sense for what’s to come and can feel future events in her bones. But I remember this one personal tragedy that had blindsided her. None of the talismans, trinkets, doodads, protection circles, shielding, prognosticating, or spirit guides prepared her for what happened. It shook her to her core and she had no choice but to acquire wisdom the hard way. Knowledge is one thing. Wisdom is another. If you accept that there is a greater Divinity, then sometimes our knowledge is blocked so that we can have clearer access to wisdom.

I recall once hearing an interview of a well-known celebrity psychic medium who attained fame and fortune for that ability to see what is to come, and yet when that medium’s own mother came down suddenly with a terminal illness and then passed on, that medium did not see it coming, at all. In the interview, that medium talked about the wisdom gained from that hard check to the ego.

Why is there such irony in this world? Those who seem to have the Sight cannot see coming the worst of all calamities. They’ve built a paradigm around the ability to forecast, so that we can plan ahead and prepare, and yet that one thing that needs the most planning and preparation they could not predict.

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Mid-Fall BlogHop: Birth, Death, Rebirth

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Tarot deck pictured: The Golden Universal by Lo Scarabeo (with my handwritten astrological notations)

Congratulations. You’ve found yourself in the middle of a Mid-Fall BlogHop. The Tarot BlogHop is a great way to get acquainted with a dozen or so tarot blogs and to immerse yourself in the online tarot community. By the way, if you’re a tarot blogger, please join our next round! Become a member of the TarotBlogHop Facebook group.

Jay, the noble wrangler for this Bloghop has asked us to think about the cycle of death, birth, and rebirth. This is about ruminating on where we are at the end of this Year of Saturn, and Year of the Yin Fire Rooster. We’ll be using the tarot to express those ruminations.

So, okay. I think for this exercise, we were supposed to do, like, actual tarot readings and then talk about our tarot readings. I’ve decided to do something not that. Instead, I’m going to select a card, so I’m intentionally choosing these cards. It’s not a tarot reading. And instead, you start off by interpreting the card I’ve chosen to see if you can anticipate why I chose that card. Then, well, if you want, read on to see my answer. =)

Continue reading “Mid-Fall BlogHop: Birth, Death, Rebirth”

On Tarot Certification – Redux

Italian Playing Cards (circa 15th century). From the Rosenwald Collection at the National Gallery of Art.

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Three years ago I wrote about my experience with tarot certification through the Tarot Certification Board of America, which is now defunct and any piece of paper you received from them is in effect defunct. Fortunately, the experience for me was all about the experience and that was a lot of fun for me. Going through the exercises, motions, and prompts was quite the enrichment, so I have nothing whatsoever to gripe about. I went through the process for the fun of it. Had I gone through the process for the sake of tarot certification, well then, I would probably be quite pissed right about now, considering my grandiose title of Certified Tarot Master is meaningless. (Not that I’m claiming it was ever at some point meaningful, but.. arrgh.. you know what I mean.)

Today, there are dozens of privately-held tarot certification programs out there and lately I’ve been experiencing a trend of inquiries in my inbox asking me for my opinion on tarot certification.

Then, recently…as in last week…there was a bit of a public misunderstanding where some folks thought I commercially endorsed a particular tarot certification program since my name, face, and my words endorsing a totally different thing was attached to that certification program and, well, let’s just say there was some misunderstanding that ensued and my right of publicity was put into question. Fortunately, the misunderstanding was quickly and amicably resolved and all is right with the world again. As a result, I’d like to just memorialize my take on the whole tarot certification issue.

Continue reading “On Tarot Certification – Redux”

On Initiation Rites

Presenting “Bell Chimes In” #3. I’ll be talking about initiation rites.

Slowly but surely, I’m making my way through all the fun and provocative topics for conversation that have been swimming around the online metaphysical and psycho-spiritual circuits. We covered deity in episode #1, then the placebo effect and magic in #2, and now initiation rites.

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As I commented on in the video, even if you’re a solitary practitioner–perhaps especially if you are a solitary practitioner–an initiation rite is worth your consideration. See it as leaving behind an old perspective, detaching from something that wasn’t working for you, and vowing to take a particular disciplined path in esoterica guided by particular forces you will be committing to work with, whether that’s a patron deity, a specific modality of craft or a tradition of magic, or just dedication to closer future attunement with your guides or ancestors. However you want to frame it, this is about you accepting for yourself the role of the initiate and committing to something that is going to be a dedicated, regimented way of practice from this point on.

Little needs to be said about initiation to one who is on a traditional path, following a set lineage, or who will become a member of an established mystery tradition. So this is addressing the solitary practitioners. Start by thinking about garments for dress that is going to be out of the ordinary for you. I’d even go so far as to acquire garments just for this occasion, exclusive to this occasion, and then something you’ll tuck away in a memory box, something you won’t wear again or at least not for ordinary occasions, and so this particular garment will become symbolic and sentimental to you.

Consider a local mountain or somewhere near where you live that indigenous folk once upon a time considered sacred. Find someplace where you can be alone, with open land and open sky, and if a lake, river, or brook is nearby all the better, and in that privacy, commune with Spirit, connect to the natural powers of the earth around you, and uttering carefully crafted words you’ve drafted ahead of time, send up a vow or petition in exchange for the sending down of a channel of power, attunement, connection, or access to you.

If you’re into astrology, check dates and times for the initiation rite that is going to be resonant with your own birth chart. If there are particular astrological or planetary references associated with your patron deity, then check those as well and make sure those particular astrological features are empowered at the time of your initiation rite.

Everything else about the initiation rite, all the in between details I didn’t address, is up to you.

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I’ve got a couple more ideas listed out in a brainstorm for the “Bell Chimes In” series, but I’d love to hear your requests. What topics would you like to see my talking head yammer on about in the form of a YouTube video?

This is not an educational series, meaning the topics should be ones where all I’m doing is offering an opinion. There shouldn’t be any instructional value, so don’t be like, “an episode on how to read a birth chart!” or “the history of the I Ching.” This series is about perspectives and points of view. [The “Tinkering Bell” series, in comparison, is going to be more instructional in format.]

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“Bell Chimes In” is about discourse, or at least that is my hope and intentions for the video series. It’s about me chiming in on a topic oft talked about, with my own perspective, opinions, or hypothesis, and with that, continuing the conversation on that topic. So I hope you’ll join in to keep the discourse going.

On Deity

I’m enjoying my new foray into video making on YouTube, but this one I could have taken a bit more time on. I thought of the topic in the morning, shot part of the video at that time as soon as the idea came to me, drew the doodles at work, outlined some notes, then recorded the rest of it after I came home. As a result, I don’t think I explained my thought cogently enough. The guideline I set for myself is it has to be under 15 minutes, so quite a bit of cutting had to be done as well. Sigh.

Anyway, the point of the video is I experienced deity as energy first, not realizing that was deity, and then was first taught personification of deity and monotheism through Christianity when I was nine. For most of my life I’ve been fascinated with religion and mythology, passionately inquisitive of what different people believed about deity.

Continue reading “On Deity”

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”