P is for the Prairie Tarot #atozchallenge

A long time ago, I got a copy of the Prairie Tarot from a boyfriend. I loved the deck, and then the boyfriend went away and I couldn't use it anymore. It had Ex all over it. So I gave it away. (To Ryan! Hi, Ryan!)

Then I dreamt about this deck. I saw my friend Ellen reading with it and got all kinds of jealous. The deck is beautiful, but that's not really the best part of it. I grew up in Kansas in the 70's. What this means is that I grew up watching Little House on the Prairie while clutching my Holly Hobbie doll. We drove past sunflower fields and beautiful prairie and I had a crush on Little Joe from Bonanza.

This is an American deck - the first I've seen. It speaks to the pioneer spirit and of folks who did NOT die of dysentery. There are a few people of color, mostly Native Americans, and the Lovers card could be a dude and a lady getting married, or two ladies getting married. Hard to tell. I dig it. 

All pictures below are part of the Prairie Tarot by Robin Ator. He's a hell of a guy. I know this because my dog ate one of my cards and he sent me another one for a few bucks. That's cool.

xo Lis

O is for Oath #atozchallenge

 It isn't hard to doooooooo....

It isn't hard to doooooooo....

A lot of the folks that read my writing are learning to read tarot. I would like for you guys to take an oath for me. We'll call it the LFT Ethical Reader Oath. You ready? 

I solemnly swear to use my books and tools until I am truly a competent reader. I will not call myself an expert until I honestly am. 

I swear to be honest with myself and my clients, even when the truth hurts us.  I will not take advantage of those looking for answers by telling them what they want to hear. 

I will learn my history, but look forward to those changing the way. I will realize that we all do better when we all do better. 

I swear I will treat my cards and person with respect, so that all of my readings ring with integrity.

I swear I will not be a dick to other readers, because gossip is stupid and says more about me than it does about others.

I swear I will charge for my readings - even if it's barter. Even if it's for a Coke or a dinner, because my time is valuable and I will treat it as such.

I promise, on my cards, that I will do my best to hold the metaphysical flashlight high for my clients and myself, so that we might see a little further down the road.

So mote it be. 


N is for Nervous #atozchallenge

 omg so anxious

omg so anxious

I'm a nervous kind of girl. When I was a new reader, I remember having a mild freakout before each reading. That my readings were going to suck, and none of them would be accurate, and the client was going to rise up out of their seat and point at me, shouting, "J'accuse! Shenanigans!" I swear to god, every time. I had to call my friend Kitten before my gigs to get talked out of my tree. It was ridiculous.

This lasted until like five years ago. I still get a little nervous, but not in the same, gut punch kind of way. I think that a little anxiety is good for you - it keeps you on your toes, and it makes sure that I remember to grab everything before I walk out of the door. 

Too much anxiety, though, can make you doubt yourself, and who needs that? Here are some things that I do to help me chill out before readings.

1. Put on your armor.  I make sure I have on my amethyst bracelet, my mala and my crystal earrings. These help keep me grounded.

2. Grab some rocks. I walk around the house and stuff my tarot gig bag full of whichever stones want to come with me. Labradorite is a favorite. So is citrine.

3. Shuffle the cards. Before your client arrives, shuffle your cards a bit. It's repetitive and calming and helps you relax. 

4. Prepare! Pack your gig bag the night before. Bring gum or mints, two or three decks, whichever rocks want to come, a notepad and a pen, business cards, the address of the gig, phone number of your contact, and money for parking just in case. 

5. Remember that you won't turn into dust. Honestly, you are allowed to screw up a reading. If you're off track, just ask the client to shuffle again and start over. It happens. This is the worst thing that could possibly happen. It'll be ok. 

Remember that you've been practicing for a reason, and that you're meant to read for that person for a reason! It's going to be fine. Just breathe.

xo Lis

M is for Magician #atozchallenge

This is from the Pagan Otherworlds tarot by Uusi. Yes. You should get it.

The Magician card in the tarot is about sass and competence. It's important to remember something about magicians. They practice a lot. Each trick that looks effortless took hours and hours to perfect. There is no magic without a hell of a lot of hustle. 

When the Magician shows up in a reading, it's your client's time to shine. Their hard work is going to pay off and they're going to be able to make all this look easy. 

Clues in the card to help you remember are that all of the magical tools are on the table but he's not using them. Sword, Wand, Pentacle and Cup are all within arm's reach, but he doesn't need them. He's got one arm pointing to the sky and one to the earth - he's the master of all. He's also got an infinity symbol somewhere on his person (usually above his head) showing that he's got infinite possibilities. 

Here are a few of my favorite Magician cards. Enjoy!

xo Lis

L is for Learning #atozchallenge

 Can't be a good tarot student without a dinosaur hat.

Can't be a good tarot student without a dinosaur hat.

I used my handy dandy tarot book for readings for a decade. Even for paid readings. Even for new clients. I told them that I was still learning and it was ok! I relied on it less and less, but the damned Two of Wands looks JUST LIKE the Three of Wands and it's helpful to grab the book and have a reminder sometimes. 

The two shelves pictured are only part of my tarot library. It's more of a tarot lending library, and Amanda and Potter and Ellen and Sarah Kate still have some of my books on loan. I read every book that comes with every deck that I get. I read every book recommended by fellow readers or written by my people. I have been reading cards since 1989, and I will never ever finish learning about them.

SO - here is a list of my favorite books and tarot sites. Enjoy!



Tarot Visions Podcast

Coffee and Tarot

xo! Lis






K is for Kitchen Table Tarot #atozchallenge

 Oh, hey there. I wrote a book. 

Oh, hey there. I wrote a book. 

I wrote this book! It's a bit surreal, actually, but it's out! I've gotten a lot of questions since it was published, so I thought I'd answer them for you. 

1. What inspired the book?

My friend, Suzanne, wanted me to teach her the cards. She lives in Canada, though, so it was tricky. I started a blog so I could teach her, and it got a following of sorts. Then, I turned it into a business, and then I turned my blog into a book. So it's all Suzanne's fault, really.

2. Who is this book for?

I wrote it initially for beginning tarot students, but have since found that readers of all experience levels dig it. I've been told that it's got some interesting perspectives on the cards that helps everyone. So that's cool. 

3. What is the publishing process like?

I was really lucky in that I only sent the manuscript to three folks. The first, a local publisher, ignored my email for seven months. A literary agent was very complimentary about my writing, but told me I wasn't famous enough to represent. Which was odd. The third, Llewellyn Publishing, turned me down at first. They gave me a few things that I could change to make it better, though, which was amazing. I fixed the things as soon as I could and then it was accepted for publication! That was so cool. I cried like crazy when I found out. There were a few months where nothing happened, and then the editing process began. I made some suggestions for the cover, and they came up with a great one. I got to know my editor SO well because it's a LONG process. It was honestly my least favorite part because I got sick to death of reading my own stuff. My editor, Lauryn, was AMAZING though, and made the process almost fun. (almost) After the bajillionth round of editing, the graphics were added and approved and then I was finished! 

4. What are you doing next?

I'm writing my second book, Elements, which is about a holistic approach to tarot readings that includes five specific readings for your home, mind, body, heart and soul. 

I'm also working on a tarot deck with the wonderful Cate Anevski! Tentatively titled The Tarot of the Forest Floor, it includes badass pictures like this.

 Four of Cups (sketch) from the Tarot of the Forest Floor - by Cate Anevski

Four of Cups (sketch) from the Tarot of the Forest Floor - by Cate Anevski

5. Where can we find it?

Locally, you can find it at Pathways, and I'll be doing a reading and signing there on June 10th! You can find it at Left Bank Books, as well! And thanks LBB for hosting my book release party!

Online you can get it from Llewellyn, Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble and Half Price Books. I'll also be doing book signings in Chicago at the American Library Association conference, and in Dallas at Barnes and Noble. Dates and times TBA.

Thanks to all of my friends and family for your support and love!  This has been the most fun.

xo! Lis

J is for Jaded #atozchallenge

I used to do readings for folks at the drop of a hat. I could use the money, or I wanted the practice, or I just wanted to play with my cards again. A few summers ago, though, I found myself dreading the readings. I was tired, I'd been sick, and my life had gotten really busy. I'd also found that I was the Tarot Monkey at parties. I always had a deck with me, of course, so whenever I'd go to a friend's house I would end up hearing, "Hey, Melissa reads tarot cards..." The rest of the party was me doing "Just one more reading." 

In short, I was burned out. I was starting to resent the cards that I adored. So, I decided to take a break. In May, I put down my cards and closed up my website. I didn't touch a deck of cards for three months. It was awesome. I didn't miss it and I filled the time with my family and friends, reading books and taking naps. It was fantastic.

After the three months, I hung my shingle out again and found that I was once again in LOVE with the cards. My readings were super accurate and energizing, and I loved reconnecting with my clients.

In order to keep this from happening again, I'm careful to schedule myself a few nights a week and at least one weekend a month as reading free. It gives me time to recharge my batteries and insures that I won't want to run from my cards again. 

The Point - don't be afraid to walk away from your cards if you need to. They'll be there when you come back. 

xo Lis

I is for Ipsy #atozchallenge

 Clearly, I need more tarot decks to fill these bags. It's the only responsible course of action.

Clearly, I need more tarot decks to fill these bags. It's the only responsible course of action.

So, when you first start reading and collecting tarot cards, it can be difficult to find storage for your decks that you really like. I have used Crown Royal bags (classy), banking bags, and cigar boxes in the past. I've also used scarves and once, I sewed one for myself. That went...poorly....because I can not sew. Regrettably.

A few years ago, a friend got me two makeup bags with my Little Fox logo printed on them. Genius. Makeup bags are the PERFECT size for tarot decks. They'll stay closed and keep the deck safe and sound. 

THEN I found www.ipsy.com This genius subscription service gives you a makeup bag with samples or full size makeup thingers every month FOR TEN DOLLARS. Ten. SO you get some fun makeup AND a tarot bag for $10 a month. It's flippin' awesome.

You're welcome.

xo Lis :D

H is for Hostility #atozchallenge

Oh, I'm sorry. Was that your auntie?

Tarot, like any other field, can be chock full of asshats. Both clients and colleagues alike. When you first start reading, you might feel obligated to read for whomever sits in your chair. This can lead to some seriously awful readings. So what do you do? When someone sits down and rolls their eyes at you. When someone starts praying on or at you vociferously? What do you do?

You tell them to go away. As politely as you feel you need to. I've been doing this for a while, and I'm kind of an asshole, so I just tell them I won't read for them because I don't want to. Here are some ways to communicate that you are unwilling to facilitate a reading for people without causing undue stress and conflict. (AKA - how to nicely tell someone to fuck off so that off they will fuck)

  1. Tell them you're not connecting with them. This is legit, and sometimes happens when you don't have a problem with them, but it can be awfully convenient when dealing with a jerk. Give them back their money and then take a break.
  2. Tell them that it's time for your break. Then take a break.
  3. Ask them if they really want a reading. If it seems that they're sitting with you as a joke, tell them that there are others who are in line and sincerely want the experience and ask them to make room. 
  4. Just tell them no.

As far as colleagues go, you're going to run into other readers who are scam artists, or who will try to rip you off or mooch your clients. In these instances, the best thing to do is keep your distance. Most unprofessional professionals will shoot themselves in the foot and crash and burn without your help. Do not engage, do not gossip, do not snipe at them. Just let them and their bad energy do what they're going to do - away from you.

xo! Lis


G is for Gratitude #atozchallenge

 So heckin' thankful. Gosh.

So heckin' thankful. Gosh.

What do you do when you have everything you wanted and asked for? 

You say thank you.

This year has been a bit tricky for me. I lost my job, my kid got hurt, my kid had surgery, I got really sick twice (for about a month and a half total) and I got my partner sick. I tried to be really selective finding a new job that was a good fit, but it spiraled me into that anxious place where I never find another job and we lose the house and then I die and my cats eat me - eyes first.

I mean, in the midst of this chaos, my book came out. In the background of the anxiety, my family had my back. At the end of every shitty day, my husband was there to hold me. 

Then, I got better. I got a new (fucking awesome) job. My kid is healing. I published my first book. I got everything I wanted. 

After 2.5 months of praying and lighting candles and worrying, I have this hole where the fear used to be. Yes, tarot readers have anxiety, too. It's not all rainbows and kittens, kiddos. So the anxiety left and there is this hole. What do I do with that hole?

I stuff it full of gratitude. Honestly, I was thinking about my life this morning. I have a wonderful family - my Dad and Mom drove to the CITY at NIGHT on a SCHOOL NIGHT to be at my book signing. They fucking love me. I'm married to my Person and he still gives me butterflies every time I see him. My kids are amazing. I have Plenty and I have Enough to share. I'm able to care for my friends. I'm able to donate to charities. I'm able to volunteer. I'm able to give.

I have space to fill, you guys. The anxiety is wandering away and insisting that I put something else there. Instead of greed or depression or more anxiety - I find that Gratitude fills the hole nicely. We all do better when we all do better. 

Thank you. I am grateful. More, please. ;)

xo Lis