Getting the band back together

Thom Pham’s Heart of Stars Tarot is hands down one of my favorite decks. The colors and artwork are beautiful plus his writing on each card is adept and thought-provoking. Best of all, most of the images are based on movies and television.

That is exactly how my intuition often works. Almost every reading has a movie or song reference tied to one or more of the cards. Those kinds of references have multiple benefits. Not only does it communicate the message more clearly to me so I can do the best possible reading for the client, a pop culture reference is something that we might have in common which makes it very easy to describe the energy to them. I always mention any pop-culture references that come through when I ‘m doing a reading. Not only does it clarify the current message and improve overall communication, the client may have some private connection to the reference that gives extra background context that the card alone couldn’t give.

Pop culture references by way of intuition keeps Tarot relevant to our time at the same time that it’s connecting us to timeless wisdom.

Today’s motion picture feature is the Blues Brothers. I’ve been earworming “we’re getting the band back together” the whole time I was writing a post by that name on my personal blog. I’m getting the band back together, except Tarot is singing lead this time.

A long time ago in a blogisphere far, far away, I started doing Tarot readings to help finance my tuition and dissertation. After I finished getting my Ph.D off the internet like Dr. Duffenshmirtz, I tried to bundle the Tarot under a holistic health consulting practice I was trying to start on the aforementioned blog. It didn’t work. So I put the natural health work under my name, kept the Tarot separate on what was then ModernOracleTarot.com with its Tarotbytes blog and added Quirk & Flotsam on Etsy which again combined the meditation tutorial supplies with Tarot readings.

With all of those names and scattered focus, it was a little bit of a hot mess.

BUT it was a hot mess that I learned a tremendous amount from.

One of the most pivotal things that I learned was that I am not a healer.

I. Am. NOT. A healer.

As much as I may have wanted to think of myself as a healer at one point in time, I’ve come to realize that it was an aspiration that came from an unhealthy place, not an authentic one. Psychic advisor, spiritual guide, coach, tutor, Taoist, Buddhist, atheist, witch, knitter, hockey fan – sure, why not? But healer? No thank you, not any more.

I never set out to be a teacher, but that is largely what the natural health has always been about. Old school naturopaths in every discipline and culture used education as a way to make a lasting impact on their patient’s overall health and well being. By teaching and encouraging a healthy lifestyle, these tutorials can give you the tools to build a healthier lifestyle for yourself. They call it complimentary care for a reason. I’m not here to heal you any more than I’m here to predict the future with Tarot.

I’m here to encourage, inspire, facilitate processes and spark ideas. Healing implies fixing a specific something which equates to giving a person being given that one proverbial fish. I’m here to teach you to fish or at least give you some ideas how to improve your own fishing net, so to speak.

It wasn’t my intention to become a coffee sipping yoda, yelling suggestions and encouragement from the cave opening while Luke fought his dark side, but here we are.

Cue the yoda related pop culture song reference.

That is why this time around I’m calling them natural health tutorials. I give you information so you can decide if you want to pursue ongoing in-person treatment with a practitioner near you or just generally help you craft a healthy lifestyle for yourself.

Whatever you name it, this time around, all the original band members are back together under one Tarot themed roof, or at least under the Reiki menu tab. Click HERE for more information or to schedule.

OR Tarot is always here, no appointment needed. It’s all here for you to explore.

The choice, as always, is yours.

Today’s Tarot: I’m Proud of You

If you are serious about living an enriched life and being a better person, then stepping outside of your comfort zone – even for a moment – is inevitable. That happens a lot in Tarot. The cards will nudge you toward a better path even if that means kicking you entirely out of your comfort zone in the process. This post might be one of those moments. It is for me. Today’s card uncomfortably pokes at some old issues, but imma just say what intuition gives anyway.  This post is a little sweary and political. If you are not up for that, no worries, just skip it and come back for the next post. I’ll be back to my usual religion and politics avoidance policy by then.


Evangelical dogma and connotations around the word pride is reason nine thousand ninety-nine hundred and eleventy-one why I ran screaming from my family’s religion.

I was raised in the American evangelical subculture by the church deacon and Sunday school teacher who helped found the town’s first Southern Baptist affiliated church. (Yeah, THOSE Southern Baptists in the WaPo article) That kind of thinking turns the innocent word “pride” into something wrong and guilt-riddled. They turn pride into a sin (as do Catholics, so I’m told.)

If being happy with who I really am while proudly celebrating the authentic selves of the people I love is a sin, then hail Satan and pass the asbestos underwear! See you in hell, frens!

It’s a stretch, but I’m guessing the “pride” they are talking about is maybe a language artifact. Language shifts and evolves over time, even when fundamentalists don’t. Bronze age manuscripts filtered through medieval translations and bent to contemporary evangelical ends frames their version of “pride” as being unbridled ego. It makes sense that, in a world before psychology, a mental state like that would be attributed to a more common word like pride. If you define it in those terms “pride goes before a fall” isn’t wrong. Out of control narcissism leads to poor choices and risky behavior (like, for example, the former president who was supported by 80% of white evangelicals according to NPR)

Whatever the reason, it is still a shame that the newer, healthier connotations of the word pride is often haunted by these older, negative, derogatory undertones.

It’s June, so it’s not psychic or paranormal for my thoughts turn to Pride Month.

With the Four of Wands today, the words “quirk” and “celebrate” step forward. “Quirk” is the name for superpowers in the anime My Hero Academia that we’ve been watching lately. Superpower or not, socially acceptable or not, “quirk” here means anything that makes you unique and is a key part of your individual, authentic self. “Celebrate with pride” comes strongly to mind.

This is where it gets uncomfortable. I am reminded of reason number 1 why I ran screaming from the evangelicals: bigotry. Rampant, pervasive, intractable bigotry including overt homophobia. Not every single individual certainly, but the words that pour from those they collectively elevate to their pulpits speaks for everyone in a congregation. Loudly.

The ministers are literally in front of and above everyone else when they speak. Imagine the heartbreak as a teenager when they would nearly yell bigoted bullshit about “the homosexuals” when I had friends in the community who where some of the kindest most compassionate, open, inclusive loving people I’ve met to this day.

The Four of Wands is about community celebration. It is about lifting others up.

And it can be about embracing those who were rejected by their birth families because of who they authentically are. I love those “I’m your mom / dad now” memes supporting lgbtqia kids who are rejected by their own families. Anybody the evangelicals reject is prolly my kind kind of people.

The Four of Wands is about celebration. Authenticity is something to celebrate. People living their truest life is a profoundly happy thing. A lack of self esteem can make us more prone to bias or worse (a 2011 article on psychologialscience.org is one quick example) Confidence is fuel for compassion. Pride in ourselves breeds compassion for others which leads to pride in those around us which creates acceptance which seeds even more self esteem and so it goes. Pride not only isn’t a sin,  it arguably makes the world a better place.

Pride month is a lesson for all of us. It is hard to hate others when you are comfortable with yourself. Those of us with privilege are exponentially more responsible to protect and celebrate and uplift Pride Month.

I used to think that my experience of leaving evangelical religion and coming out as a tarot reading, science loving, Taoist, atheist and witch gave me a teeny tiny partial keyhole glimpse into what it is like for the lgbtqia+ community on both sides of the closet door.

If there is anything at all I’ve learned from Pride month about being a good ally, it’s that being an ally doesn’t have any fucking thing to do with me. Pride month for an ally is about being proud of other people – proud of the people we care about.

If you are living an authentic and kind life – I am proud of you.

Celebrate who you authentically are. Celebrate everyone else’s authentic self too. But don’t let the celebratory pride slip into the self-centered pride. Pride and a safe and welcoming place is something for every month, not just big business June advertising. Although I kinda like all the rainbow tshirts. And the one big burger place donating a portion of their chicken sandwich profits (including Sunday sales) to a lgbtqia+ organization to troll the anti-equality uber christians that run that other chicken place. I’m all the way down with that particular cororporate move.

I celebrate with you because I’m proud of you and who you really are.

All are welcome here.

Related: The Niggles: What’s In A Name

gif images via giphy.com, nope via bitmoji free app, Tarot card image from the public domain. Rainbow photo by the author.


Normal hours are back! Email readings are available to order 24/7 and Live phone/online meeting readings are available by appointment.

Philosophy

Tarot doesn’t tell you what is going to happen in life; Tarot helps you figure out what to do when life happens.

Today’s post is my philosophy about Tarot in a nutshell.  It’s still kind of a big read, but I hope you will stay with it. By the end you’ll know if I’m the right intuitive Tarot reader for you or not. The full version of TaoCraft Portfolio will cover all of this in detail. The free download version tells you about the practical side of readings (formats and such.) You can get the free download HERE and visit the other links on the “about” page for more details

Predicting The Future

It’s impossible.

I’m not going to hand you a platter of easy answers. I’m not going to blow a lot of feel-good smoke at you. This is advanced Tarot and spiritual work intended to inspire you, to empower you, to expand your horizons or best of all, to validate the things you already know.

If all you want is 100% accurate predictions, then you should find someone else. If you want razzle-dazzle mentalism and someone to fix everything then [Jedi hand wave] I’m not the psychic you are looking for.

BUT if you are ready for growth and self-discovery, if you are ready for imagination and exploration and possibilities, then this style of Tarot can help. I hope we can work together soon.

Related post: 100% accurate predictions and a big cube of jello

Relationship Questions

Your reading will focus on you, and you alone.

Why not? You are paying for it. A reading should be something special just for you.

Tarot can’t read minds or tell what other people will do. Tarot doesn’t know what other people think, feel or want. Out of respect for everyone’s privacy and personal dignity, I never read anyone’s energy without their direct knowledge and consent. So no, my readings can’t tell if you and your ex will get back together. Instead, a reading can explore how you can heal, if that is what you need. It can help you discover the path to being your best and happiest self. Loving life and feeling at ease right here, right now, is the most powerful way to the discover the right relationship for you.

In some very rare and very special times, the other person will lend a little energy to the reading and give us some vague sense of them. Again, it is very rare and a loving gift from them to you. It is a special experience that should always be respected but never expected. If it does happen for you in a reading, please be careful about talking about it with the person who sent the energy. Many times they are unaware of what happened on a conscious level. Finding out about the reading after the fact is a pretty big intrusion. It may make them feel uncomfortable or hurt. Discretion and kindness are always the best way to handle such things.

Medical or Pregnancy Questions

No. Nope. uh-uh. Not happening.

It isn’t about some fancy Tarot “ethics.” Taking medical questions is a big liability in a litigious society like ours, but that is only part of why I won’t touch medical or pregnancy questions. The main reason is that Tarot is wildly ineffective at dealing with medical concerns.

It. Just. Doesn’t. Work.

I’ve worked in mainstream medicine. I’ve worked with holistic and natural health. You have to have the right tool for the right job. You wouldn’t use your cell phone to hammer nails. You wouldn’t use a hammer to make a phone call. By that same token, you don’t use Tarot to deal with health and healing. There are lots of tools in the wellness toolkit: Diet, exercise, Reiki, meditation, aromatherapy, herbs, acupuncture, acupressure, ayervedic medicine, hypnotherapy, physical therapy, art therapy, music therapy, and yes, mainstream medicine too.

Tarot is not one of these health tools. It is true that some physical ailments heal quicker once you discover their emotional or spiritual roots of the disease IF there are any. Tarot might help that process to a limited extent. Sometimes there is no deep spiritual connection. Some health issues are random and out of our control. Medical issues might be a product of injury, environment or genetics. Tarot can help manage the stress these kinds of problems cause, BUT AGAIN, Tarot is not the best option. Reiki and meditation are more effective tools for discovering the spiritual roots of illness and managing the stress health concerns can cause. As for Tarot….

None of the books, blog posts or services offered on TaoCraftTarot.com can diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or illness whatsoever. Nothing offered here can take the place of professional health or mental health care. I accept no liability of any kind real or implied. Use these books and services entirely at your own risk. Scheduling any session with me indicates that you have read, understood and accept these terms and the policies listed HERE.

All Are Welcome

I want my readings to be comfortable and welcoming for everyone.

To do that, I avoid divisive topics like politics and religion. If anything like that comes up in a reading, I will give the message as I get it. Beyond a few references to religious rituals and practices, I have never had religious or political ideology come up as a message in a reading. I will not allow antagonistic or inappropriate conversation to mar a session. I reserve the right to terminate a reading at any time at my sole discretion with no refund  in order to maintain a safe and respectful reading environment.

I shouldn’t have to say these things, but I want to be very clear about a few things: I am a LGBTQIA+ ally, and all are absolutely welcome with me – as are secular people and those of non-mainstream religions. Like I said, I don’t do religion and politics. I believe humans are wonderfully complex, like a faceted diamond. Many facets coexist just fine, in all of us. I’m atheist, spiritual, Taoist, Buddhist, witchy, and Reiki-y all at the same time. All the parts of you are welcome here too.

Interested? Please visit the home page to order a distance reading or please contact me at TaoCraftTarot@gmail.com to schedule a live phone or skype reading.

It’s all magick now

InkMagickPen1

It’s been half a year since TaoCraft Tarot’s official launch on Halloween, 2018. Today is half-o-ween (halfway to Halloween) or, if you want to be traditional about it, Beltane. This is the first spring that I have been open with all of you about my Taoist / witchy tendencies. If TaoCraft can launch on Halloween, it is only fitting to do something for Beltane.

It’s all magick now.

In honor of days of light and summer fire, I’ve made all the readings InkMagick Sigil Tarot. All of the readings now feature a sigil element and reading-based affirmation. Lucky for you, these won’t be handwritten unless you specifically order a pen and ink snail mail paper version from the Shop. The photo of your layout and the typed explanation part will stay the same. So will Zombie Cat with all of his snark and sly advice in the form of yes/no readings and the new Ask Zombie Cat page

I’ve thought of making layout changes, but it doesn’t feel right. The layout and position meanings are going to stay the same, in the old, reliable, trusty “Modern Oracle” layout that works so well. If it ain’t broke, far be it from me to fix it.

If you would like a reading in the new “InkMagick Sigil Tarot” format, you can order on the HOME page. If you want the handwritten version using my increasing beloved and magic wand like ink dip pen, those can be ordered from the TaoCraftTarotShop on Etsy, along with all the e-books, mala and jewelry (pssst….check out the necklaces. Mother’s Day is coming soon).

To those who celebrate, Merry May and Blessed Beltane, and to everyone else, Happy Tuesday! It’s all good. It’s all magick now.

The Niggles: What’s in a Name?

A lot.

Sometimes, a whole lot.

“Re-branding” seems to be a thing lately. “Ghoulish Delights Bath Shop” is becoming “Balefire Apothocary” (fingers crossed she’ll still carry my very most favorite hand cream) and ” Hearts Peace Healing” is becoming “Hygge Lightwork”.  One personal trainer is becoming a Tarot reader, while a musician is becoming a personal trainer and a martial artist is shifting to being a musician and life coach. Modern Oracle Tarot is now TaoCraft Tarot.

My sense is this is growth, evolution, and expansion is a very good thing for all of us. The new name isn’t just a marketing ploy. There is no ill will or negative feeling about our old names or identities at all. Shedding our old “brand” is like a snake shedding its skin: It’s necessary for growth. We are re-naming, re-imagining, and re-building in order to embrace more things and to become more fully ourselves. I can’t speak for the other folks, of course, but after brief chats on social media, I get the feeling we are all very much on on the same page.

Expansion and deeper authenticity is certainly my aim in abandoning Modern Oracle and building TaoCraft. As I write this, Modern Oracle feels like something that happened ages ago to someone else. Time passes. I’m not the same person who started Modern Oracle. TaoCraft is me, now.

That doesn’t mean I have to abandon EVERY single little thing. “The Niggles” are still here. Those posts are about ideas that camp out in my head, and niggle there until I write about them. Yeah, I know. That sounds more like a brain parasite than creative inspiration. Some ideas are like that.

Since the very beginning of this re-branding process, I’ve felt pushed to talk about TaoCraft as a name. I have no earthly idea why, or even what to say, so I’ll follow that spirit, inspiration, call of the muses, or brain idea-parasite such as the case may be.

Let’s start with the obvious. “TaoCraft” is a made up word, and I’ve stuck a capital in the middle. Why? I like it. As two words, it is a description. As one word it is a NAME. I threw the capital in because 1. it works as a humpback web address and 2. “Craft” is an integral part of the concept with a dollop of double meaning.

Tao, as many of you know, is from Chinese philosophy; Taoist, Taoism, Tao Te Ching. Just to be pedantic, Tao and Dao are the same thing. Tao is Pinyan westernization of the Mandarin word, while Dao is from the Wade-Giles system. The few minutes I studied Mandarin back in the 90s, I was taught using Pinyan, so there you are. Tao it is. Tao is usually translated as “way” as in a “way of life” or a “way of doing things.”

What does Taoism have to do with Tarot? A surprising lot, actually.  “Magical Tarot, Mystical Tao” by Diane Morgan explains it best. It was an enormous influence in the early days of my Tarot career because it connected two great loves. Time and time and time again, Tao and Tarot were philosophies, a way of looking at the world, that I could rely on. I could lean on them in turbulent times without them crumbling to dust and nothing as religion and other philosophies always, always did. When your life puts your beliefs to the test, they shouldn’t fall apart. Taoism and Tarot never did. No matter what I would learn or explore, I always circled back to them and found them reliable, trustworthy. Tao and Tarot belong here in this new mental and spiritual living place. They are very much authentic me. This re-branding is, as is highly valued within Taoism, an exercise in deep authenticity.

Craft is also a bridge. As Tao and Tarot bridge east and west, craft bridges old and new. When I see the word, “arts and crafts” spring to mind. My grandmother taught me to embroidery when I was 6. Embroidery, cross stitch, knitting, beading have been a part of me since then. I like to create and make. That embraces the meditation mala and assorted stuff I make and put in the TaoCraft Tarot shop on Etsy. Craft connects to a fond memory of a cherished Grandmother – a wise woman whom I swear was magic. Which brings me to the new craft. THAT craft. THE craft. Not the movie, although it is one of my favorites. TaoCraft expands my Tarot cyber-world to include, mala, meditation, Reiki, and my own brand of magical craft. It took half a century to even flirt with the notion of associating with magic or witchcraft, but dammit, I’m claiming it now. And I’m defining it on my own terms. This is my own non-diestic, non-ritualistic, natural, energy reading WAY of engaging with a solitary sort of witchCRAFT. I’ve finally found words for what I’ve been doing all along in Laura Zakroff’s excellent book “Sigil Witchery”. A “modern traditional witch” is one who “does what needs doing when it needs done using whatever is at hand.” That. So that.

There you have it. That is what is in THIS name. Welcome to TaoCraft Tarot.