Happy Star Wars Day 2019

The Force, vital force, life energy, qi (chi), Tao, ki, prana, magick: so many words with such similar meanings. No wonder the Star Wars mythology us so beloved by so many.

“I am one with the Force. The Force is with me.”

– Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) in Star Wars Rogue One

Today’s Tarot 23 April 2019

When I saw #Neo from #TheMatrix was #Magician, I knew #heartofstarstarot by Thom Pham was a deck for me. The Matrix ‘s #cookie #baking #Oracle was a big part of the inspiration for my first #Tarot #blog and website, #ModernOracle. I love the part where Neo wakes up and says with a note of awe in his voice “I know kung fu” It always motivates me to practice and reminds me of those rare moments when something your sifu taught finally clicks and for half a second you feel like you might know some tiny molecule of sompin’ sompin’

Knowing means you gotta DO. DOing means in time you’ll know. They are connected, and they are both balanced with a sense of BEing without need of activity, without intellectual judgements.

Heart of Stars Tarot Copyright Thom Pham. Used with permission.

Today’s Tarot 22 April 2019

InkMagick Sigil Tarot (both email and paper versions) are still at a special price until the end of April. Each one card meditation style reading includes a sigil element given by intuition that you may use to inspire your own sigil crafting plus a positive affirmation based on your reading.

Please visit the home page to order

customized artistic service, for entertainment and personal enrichment only

The Power Grows

The more digital becomes the norm, the more power handwriting gains as it slips into the realm of the quaint, the old-fashioned, the arcane.

I’ve seen it called both a day and a month of commemoration, but April has been dubbed “National Letter Writing Month” here in the US. It isn’t about pretty callegraphy, it is about heart to heart communication in written form.

In honor of the month, my favorite format (writing) and my Tarot specialty (distance, e-mail, mail) “InkMagick Sigil Tarot Readings” are $1 off the regular price until April 30, 2019. Order yours on the home page.

Each reading, both paper and digital, gives a sigil element, a symbol or doodle given by intuition. You are welcome to use it in your own sigil crafting. In the me pictured above, the pinaform (feather) shape symbolizes a pen or writing. the line paper, plus our connection, the circles hint at electrons, distance communication.

If you are interested in sigils, writing, and magick (yes, I use the k, it just looks cooler and I’m no Penn and Teller, you know?) I suggest reading Sigil Witchery by Laura Tempest Zakroff and Write Your Own Magic by Richard Webster.

TaoCraft Tarot is on YouTube! Please visit, like and subscribe: https://youtu.be/nfV6eP_G4RM

Q&A: How do you know if a psychic is ethical?

This is one of the very first posts I wrote for Modern Oracle / Tarotbytes blog way back on March 31, 2009. I’ve made a few edits today for spelling and grammar. Oops!

Q: There are a lot of crooks out there. How can you tell if a psychic is for real or not?

A; This question more complicated than you might think. “Real” could mean a lot of things, but in this case they were talking about ethics. They wanted to know how to tell if a psychic really wants to help people or just make a bunch of money.

Good question. One everybody should ask before they pick up a phone or get online or drive to a “psychic”

We are all in this business for one reason or another. It is fair, legal and right to pay for an artistic service like a psychic/Tarot reading. It is no different than buying a ticket to a concert, or buying a book, admission to a museum, paying a therapist or donating to a minister for performing a wedding ceremony. In all of these cases you are paying for all the same things that a Tarot session or a psychic reading gives: entertainment, inspiration, personal enrichment, personal growth, insight…you get the idea. You are compensating the reader for the time they spend with you plus their years of experience and learning. Fair price for a fair service is, ahem, fair for everyone – the same as any other artist or counselor.

The key word here is fair. Honesty is hard to gauge outright. The hard truth is that there are a lot of people who use spirituality to trick gullible people out of large sums of money. It isn’t just psychics. Some churches arguably do the same thing. (2019 me: hell, we put a corrupt con man in the white house…it definitely isn’t just psychics!)

These are some of the positive traits I believe a good psychic should have:

HONESTY: An ethical psychic will tell you what intuitive work can and can not do. No one person has all the answers for everything. I never take medical or pregnancy questions. You should handle those with a doctor. No one is “100% accurate”.  Phrases like “100% accurate” or “guaranteed results” always make me run, not walk, in the opposite direction. If it sounds to good to be true…it probably isn’t true. To guarantee results is to rob you of your freedom and free will. Even if it were possible, it would be wrong to do. An ethical psychic will give you a realistic idea of what to expect from a reading, and respect your choices about the information they give.

CLARITY: Does the psychic make the information understandable to you? Is the reading helpful? Can you USE it to make better decisions or make better sense out of your concerns? Psychic readings aren’t any good to anybody if they make no sense. This is why the next point is so important. If something isn’t clear to you or you don’t understand it, ask them to clarify.

WILLINGNESS TO ANSWER QUESTIONS: Sometimes it is hard to put the nonverbal images and impressions we receive into words. That is where the real skill of a psychic lies. We all have intuition and ‘psychic’ ability. The real “gift” is in being able to communicate the information in an understandable, helpful way. If you are in a reading, and you don’t understand what is being said, ask. If you are working with an e-mail reading…send a follow up question (but not a dozen – be fair to the reader) Someone who really wants to help will be willing rephrase and make an effort to make the reading understandable to you. Don’t take what a psychic says at face value just because it sounds fancy, esoteric or educated. Ask them to use plain language. If they won’t or become angry or offended, you may want to re-think if this is the best psychic for you.

OPENNESS ABOUT PRICES AND BUSINESS POLICIES: The reality is, whether the psychic approaches the readings as counseling, spiritual guidance, entertainment or what have you – it is still a business. Especially if that is their sole livelihood. Prices, policies about returns, scheduling, cancellations all should be as clear and up-front as with any other professional practice. By the same token, it is important for you to know and respect their guidelines and disclaimers as well.

PROFESSIONALISM AND COURTESY: In my opinion, Psychic and Tarot work is all about helping people. I give Tarot the same level of professionalism and ethics that I gave patients when I worked in mainstream medicine, and that I give my Natural Health clients now. More often than not, if someone seeks out a psychic reading it is because they have some very real problem. Often they are emotionally upset and more vulnerable than they usually are. Some psychics exploit that vulnerability, but the majority seek to help and heal it. An ethical psychic will not take advantage of a situation like that. A reading should never make you feel more vulnerable. If you feel intimidated, taken advantage of or belittled in any way, that should be a warning sign to you.

RESPECT FOR YOUR DECISIONS AND BELIEFS:  You should be the one to decide when, if ever, you go back for a reading. Getting too many readings in too short of a time can get confusing and ultimately do more harm than good. Intuitive readings shouldn’t ask that you believe certain things or not. Skepticism will not scare away or block “spirits” and lack of ‘believing” won’t keep you from getting a good reading. You should feel as if you are being treated with dignity and respect…not blamed if a reading doesn’t go well. 


If you don’t feel comfortable with a psychic it doesn’t automatically mean they are doing anything unethical or illegal. Just like doctors and ministers, we all have our own specialties, our own styles, and our own belief systems.

For example, some people love to go to dramatic, flamboyant psychics – it makes the reading more interesting and fun. Some people need the extra drama to ‘believe’ and let themselves be helped by the reading experience. Other people like a more practical style. My goal is to be the “no drama”, calm, reassuring type of psychic.

Different kinds of problems need different kinds of psychics. Some psychics work very well with medical concerns ( like the Carolyn Myss and Edgar Cayce, for example). The same is true with bereavement, or issues of life after death. Some are mediums and connect with crossed loved ones very easily, while it happens less often for others psychics.


This is a tricky one. Just because a psychic doesn’t share YOUR particular beliefs doesn’t mean they are unethical or criminal. (looking at you evangelicals) The key is if they have some sense of ethics. Usually the easiest way to see that is their business practices and disclaimers. If they have it together enough to write those, they have it together enough to treat you fairly.

(2019 me: In my practice, the guidelines go both ways. It keeps us all safe. When we both know what to expect, then giving you a good reading takes top priority. I expect my clients to treat me with the same respect I give them and reserve the right to terminate any session or appointment for inappropriate comments or behavior. If either of us need to cancel or reschedule, it isn’t a big deal, but we should give the other person notice…that sort of thing)

As for negative traits….

Here are some things about psychic readings that make me uncomfortable. I wouldn’t feel comfortable with a psychic that shows these things. Most of the ones I’ve met fortunately don’t.  It is your choice of course, but I suggest being on the lookout for:

  • claims of 100% accuracy
  • promises of a specific outcome: like “fixing your love life” or what have you
  • anger or agitation at questions
  • doesn’t let you take notes or make recordings of the reading for later reference
  • unclear pricing … free times, holding you online in a per-minute reading etc
  • demanding regular or “faithful” return visits or frequent readings
  • demanding that you believe certain things or the reading won’t “work”


Most of all, the best way to know if a particular psychic is a good match for you or not is to use your own intuition and street-smarts. If you feel like something is wrong, it is.

Ghost of Zombie Cat

First published 17 May 2015

“There is more in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophies” – William Shakespeare

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” Arthur C. Clarke

“I ain’t afraid of no ghost” – Ghostbusters

In the first Zombie Cat post we talked a little bit about the intersection of Tarot and science. Now lets shift gears yet again and add in the  spiritual, fringe, and frankly, “woo-woo” aspect of things. Tarot intersects all of those, too.

When I’m not looking at the world as a giant Taoist Taijitu (yin/yang symbol) I tend to see a lot of things in terms of a Venn diagram. That’s why I chose a triquetra as the main symbol in my old Modern Oracle logo. This “trinity knot” is essentially an excerpt of a three circle Venn diagram which in turn symbolizes much in my work…mind/body/spirit (for holistic health) or mother/maiden/crone (for the stages of life) or sea/sky/land (our connection with Nature) and many more such groups of three. I see Tarot as overlapping with self,  science and spirituality, again giving us that lovely triquetra shape.

So, back to Tarot and spirituality. Any good thesis defines its terms. In this case we have to define spirituality. I’ve noticed a tendency for people to use spirituality and religion almost interchangeably. They aren’t. As I see it, they are totally different, damn near opposite things. I define spirituality as internal and individual. Spirituality is how we as individuals engage with the wordless, intangible aspects of the universe and our existence within it. Religion, on the other hand, is external, codified, ritualized, other, outside of our individual self. Religion is how a collective of people over time has engaged with the wordless, intangible aspects of the universe and pronounced them to be. We express our spirituality in out external lives. Spirituality goes from the inside out. Religion structures our external lives as a way to instruct the internal. Religion is outside in. Tarot is intuition – it is inside to inside. It has everything to do with spirituality, nothing to do with religion.

Spirituality is unlimited. It is in this vast inner world where Tarot applies and finds its usefulness. Yes, the cards are external. But they don’t instruct our inner world from the outside in as a religious practice might. They are a mirror to reflect out inner world back to us and lens to help us understand what we see there. They reflect and shine light in the dark corners, allowing that inner world of spirituality to illuminate and expand, grow and thrive. 

The cards are nothing more than just pieces of paper. It is centuries of projected wisdom and symbolism written on the cards combined with the intuition and insight of the Tarot reader’s living modern mind that leads the way to enlightenment…not the pieces of paper alone. The cards are the Venn diagram intersection of mind and matter that lets us catch glimpses of the possibilities and probabilities afforded to us by the physical/quantum universe of which we are an intimate and inseparable part.

Tarot cards are our portal into the trinity of humanity, science and spirituality. They are a magnet that draws wisdom, guidance, insight and empowerment out of a melange of known, unknown, explicable, inexplicable, and the heart that seeks to know more.

There is more in heaven and earth than we have yet to dream and discover. There is more inside ourselves as well. There is more than just a dead or living cat in Schrodinger’s box. Woo-woo as they may seem, disappearing cats and zombie cats are part of the bigger multiverse of the human heart, mind, imagination and spirit.

Zombie Cat is in the house! Yes-or-No Tarot is now available to order on the home page. These 3 card Tarot readings answer any ONE yes-or-no question. Fun, lighthearted and tongue in what’s left of his cheek, Zombie Cat’s readings are 100% guaranteed to have words in them and a 50% chance of being dead wrong. Order HERE.

Zombie Cat

First published 27 April 2015

“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff.”

– Doctor Who in “Blink” episode, written by Steven Moffat.

There are two words that make me inwardly cringe when I read (or hear) them in a Tarot reading question: “Will” and “When”.

Predictions and time are knotty subjects in this work. Predictions are actually a scientific thing. A scientific prediction is, in essence, expert opinion about what should happen based on existing data and past results. For example, we can predict where in the sky Mars will be a year from now based on laws of gravity, planetary motion, existing observations and so on.  As I understand it, that is the kind of “prediction” that a law of physics or scientific principle has to be able to make in order for the principle to be considered valid within the scientific method.

Science spends so much time and energy bashing and demeaning “psychic predictions” when they are, in essence, the same as the scientific kind of predictions.  The psychic reader is an objective observer, knows human nature, and can see trends that the person involved may not see. A Tarot reader can predict where things are going in a relationship just like a scientist can predict where Mars is headed over the next year. The only real difference is psychic predictions are based on right-brain, non-linear logic and de facto  psychology instead of left-brain, linear logic and hard data.

And that is looking at it from a very superficial, everyday experience point of view. This is Isaac Newton kind of stuff. It’s like predicting that when an apple detaches from the tree, it will fall down. What if we go a little quantum about it?

Think Schrodinger’s Cat.

In theory, once the experiment is set up and started, the cat could come out of it alive or not. But why not both if you are into zombies? Or neither one if the cat suddenly ceased to exist? Disappearing / Zombie Cat could happen…it’s just extreme magnitudes of unlikely as I understand the BBC Horizon Series’ program “Parallel Universes” (hosted by Dr. Michio Kaku, based on his book “Parallel Worlds”)

When the moment of discovery is still in the future, the possibility and attendant probability exists for all outcomes. In the mysterious and undetermined future, all four conditions exist, even our unlikely disappearing / undead pet. Can you predict which way THAT is headed using nothing but your brain and handful of Tarot cards? If you “predict” the most likely of the potential outcomes (meaning the cat is still there and not  a zombie) is that psychic or science? If you predict Zombie Cat, is that quackery, or was the vision just dialed into a very different part of a far flung multiverse?

The Zombie Cat may well exist out there. We don’t know, because multiverses, as the video says, is unproven. No-cat and Zombie Cat might be out there, but they just don’t make the jump from possible to probable to IS. At least not in this world. All potentials exists until “the wave collapses” and the moment becomes NOW instead of future, and then slips instantly into the past. Now and Past are fully collapsed probability waves. They exist – ska-doosh! – done deal, nothing to predict. The future on the other hand, that’s a different animal still.

Now, just to make things really interesting, let’s introduce Zombie Cat to Alice the Vampire.

In the movie Twilight, the psychic vampire Alice could see the future, insofar as people have decided what they want to do. If someone changes their mind, or changes their action, then her vision changes. She can predict, but with uncertainty. Her predictions are predicated on the course people are on, not any one fixed outcome. Alice the vampire’s visions and Zombie Cat’s existence are a matter of probability, not “accurate prediction”. And so it is with Tarot and psychic readings.

Let’s say our cat has human-like intelligence and a choice rather than being a victim of circumstance as in the classic thought experiment. What if there was some choice the cat could make or some action it could take that would keep the gunpowder from going off. What if it could blow out the fuse? Now how do you make predictions under that set of conditions?

Imagine your psychic vision was of a dead cat? (a 50% probable outcome in the original experiment)  What if the cat heard you make that “psychic prediction” and blew out the fuse when it otherwise wouldn’t have? Was the prediction wrong? 

Let’s shift gears again to Zombie Cat, Alice Vampire and Tarot readings.

Will you get that job? I dunno. Did you apply for it? Update your resume? Schedule an interview? Check the classifieds for other options? (What has the cat done to keep the powder from exploding) Has the person doing the hiring made any decisions or taken any actions? (collapsed the probability wave)

On the other hand, a reading can give you advice that maybe can help you get that job: be flexible (4 of swords), emphasize your skills and experience (The Emperor) or show you’d be a caring team player (5 of coins). A good advice reading is like the psychic yelling at the cat in the thought experiment bunker to blow out the fuse to improve the chances that it won’t blow up.

When will you get married? I dunno. The future is just as wibbly-wobbly as the Doctor told us. But Tarot can give you ideas about how to bring love and happiness of all sorts of things into your life. Intuition can help you make the best possible choices along the way, not predict what lies at the end of the road.

If you do nothing, take no advice, make no choices, then your chances of getting the future you want moves closer to the chances of a Zombie Cat coming out of that experiment. But who knows? Meeting a friendly Tarot advising Zombie Cat might be a lot of fun.

Next time: The Ghost of Zombie Cat

Videos by Minute Physics, via youtube.com creative commons permissions Please watch! I highly recommend them!
Inspired by “Test Tubes and Tarot Decks” episode of Menage A Tarot Podcast April 2015



2019 update: Zombie Cat is in the house! Get a three card Tarot reading that answers any ONE yes-or-no question. Tongue in what’s left of his cheek, these readings are lighthearted and fun with just a little bit of snark. Be Warned! Zombie Cat’s readings have 100% chance of containing words, but a 50% chance of being dead wrong.

Order yours HERE

Alice Got It Right, Twilight Tells the Future

First Published 17 January 2010

I’m scheduled to work at a couple of Twilight themed events (2019 me: they were a lot of fun! Grateful!) so I’m reading the books and just watched the movie to see what all the buzz is about.

As an aspiring writer of sorts, I’m impressed with Stephanie Myers skill. I full on expected to hate the books. I thought it was going to be some superficial. bubble-gum popping teen angst romance. In some respects, it is. But I was sincerely impressed with her skill at using the first person. It creates enormous empathy with Bella, you experience everything intensely through her eyes. And the sudden shift to Jacob’s point of view has all the more impact because of it. Well done!!

Of course, being in the Tarot business, Alice is one of my favorite characters. Alice is a vampire with special vampire super psychic future seeing powers. She has it exactly right. Her visions change in response to choice and decision. What she sees now, might become totally wrong if someone changes their mind or actions later. Her visions shift and change as people’s actions and choices shift and change. She sees along the path of greatest probability, not some sort of fated certainty.

That is exactly how it works in my experience. Asking Alice to see something isn’t a lock. Asking a psychic or tarot reader is even less of a certainty. The web of choice, decision, intention and change is even more complex, wavering and unstable than in the fictional world of Twilight.

So hats off to Stephanie Myers for putting that idea into the mainstream. It’s going to make my life easier explaining how Tarot really works to a client who has seen the movie. It is true that fiction can sometimes tell more truth than reality. I can talk until blue in the face about how choice impacts future, how you can create your own future through the choices you make, but people will absorb the idea in an instant from the movie. The visual experience of the movie makes the concept real, and understandable.

Plus,  it is just a well crafted, entertaining story start to finish. And it predicts the future – the right way.

100% Accurate Predictions and a Big Cube of Jello

First Published 8 October 2015

Readings help you to own your choices so that fate and the future won’t own you.

ALL predictions are 100% accurate. ZERO predictions are 100% accurate. Both. At the same time. If you are a Doctor Who fan, you might say making predictions is wibbly wobbley timey wimey kind of stuff.

Time is dimension all its own. Just like space is one big thing, time is all one big thing. All of time exists all at once…right now, the part you will experience in the future, the parts you have already experienced in the past, and parts you will never experience at all. A “prediction” is an intuitive impression…a thought…a non-psychical glimpse of that non-physical thing we call time.

If the “psychic” impression connects to a point in time/space that you get to experience, the prediction proves accurate. If it comes from a point in time/space that you don’t experience first hand then the “prediction” seems all wrong – even though it is perfectly accurate for somewhere and some-when completely different from us. The multi-verse is a big place, bigger than time itself. Anything is possible out there somewhere. Just maybe not here, not in our little region of Time/Space

To borrow an image from “Star Trek”…. any given prediction might be 100% wrong for you – but 100% accurate for your goatee wearing evil twin from an alternate universe. There is no way to tell the impressions apart or to direct intuition to specifically YOUR timeline…because any little itsy witsy teeny tiny choice you make can change the course of your timeline drastically enough to point you away from itty bitty speck of tim/space that was predicted. Time/space is too deeply connected to pull out that kind of granular detail. One bit of jello is much like another.

Imagine time as a giant cube of gelatin. Imagine your life is a thread wiggling its way through the middle of the cube, moving and shifting an tiny bit with the choices that you and all who affect you make. Imagine you are a little spark of glitter moving along that thread. Time is always passing for you. Intuition and predictions can come from any part of the whole cube. The prediction comes from X location within the cube, but suddenly the thread wiggles over to Y location. The prediction wasn’t necessarily wrong at the time it was made. Just wrong for the direction you are moving a little bit after the prediction was made. Things changed just enough to put the “prediction” outside of your range of experience.

You control your thread’s wiggle…not the jello. That is what Tarot, “psychics” and spiritual advice is really all about. It isn’t about telling you exactly what is ahead on your ‘thread’ it is about helping you nudge and wiggle the thread in the direction you want it to go. 

Order distance Tarot readings HERE

Contact me to schedule in – person or party Tarot in the South Hills area of Pittsburgh PA