Inspiration

“To learn to play seriously is one of the great secrets of spiritual exploration.” ― Rachel Pollack

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It isn't often you get to interview your hero. 

The second tarot book that I ever bought was "78 Degrees of Wisdom". I'd been reading cards for about a decade at this point, and although I could read the cards, I didn't really understand them. Not entirely. Rachel Pollack's book introduced me to my cards in a way that made me feel like we were old friends. I could talk to the cards and for the first time - clearly hear what they said. Magical.

Because the Universe seems to conspire to shower me with blessings, I was invited to present with Rachel Pollack, Mary K. Greer, George Koury and Liz Dean at the Masters of Tarot weekend at the Omega Institute. (August 3-5, sign up here)  

As part of our preparation for the event, we're interviewing each other. I jumped at the chance to talk to Rachel. 

Melissa:  Rachel, with your writing of novels, comics and divination texts, your work has a theme of offering the readers self-discovery. Is this a conscious decision, or did it just work out that way?

Rachel:  I was always a writer of fiction first, and actually wanted to write comics long before I did so.  In fact, I was teaching years ago at a college in New York State, and gave a talk one evening, and one of the students asked how I became a teache.  I began by saying I had tried to get a job writing for Marvel Comics but they weren't hiring, so became a college teacher instead.  Well, that made me a kind of mini-celebrity with the student body!  The faculty, not so much.  But the big thing that happened during those two years came on a quiet, bitterly cold afternoon in early 1970, when a fellow faculty member said if I gave her a ride home she would read my Tarot cards.  They completely fascinated me, and I knew I had to have it.  I also remember thinking they reminded me of comics.  There were mysterious pictures of people and actions (early Rider deck), and a book--one of Eden Gray's works--that seemed to explain the pictures, but was really just another layer of mystery.  As for self-discovery, I'm not sure I consciously set out to make that the theme.  Wonder and adventure are really the common themes of most of my work.  But what greater adventure is there than discovering the mystery of yourself, and that of the world?  And being queer (I like to joke that I'm half of LGBT, the beginning and the end) self-discovery became almost basic survival.  Because if you allow the outer culture to define you, you're lost.  I think one thing I've learned from being intimately involved with the living oracle of the Tarot is to make the subtle shift from "defining yourself" to "divining yourself."

Melissa:  Your work - from comics to tarot has been a huge inspiration for myself and so many others. So, who inspires you? 

Rachel:  So, so many people!  Tarot readers, poets, novelists, artists, scientists, people who struggle for justice, so, so many.  Just within the world of Tarot, I've been inspired for so many years by Mary Greer--and consider myself so fortunate to have taught with her for nearly 3 decades.  Two others are Caitlin Matthews and Camelia Elias.  And I have a special connection with David Schaar.  Many won't know his name--yet--but that will change when he publishes his remarkable work on traveling the Tree of Life.  And I find working with Robert Place--on the Burning Serpent Oracle and more recently, The Raziel Tarot--very exciting.

Melissa: What else excites you about the future of tarot and divination?

Rachel:  There seems to be a great new wave of decks, both Tarot and oracle, featuring very exciting and explorative art.  At this recent Readers Studio there were so many wonderful new works.  It feels almost as if Tarot has been re-discovered as an art form.  Both the quality of art and the sense of mystery have jumped to a new level.

Melissa:  Some of my tarot buddies have said that your work seems to take a literary analysis approach to reading the cards. Which authors influence you? What do you read for enjoyment? That's a lot of questions at once. 

Rachel:  First of all, I think "literary analysis" sounds too academic and intellectual.  I approach the Tarot as a living being-maybe a storyteller--and try to discover just what that story might be.  The authors who influence me are again a very wide group, by no means all Tarot.  riters on myth and mystery have been vital to me, books about prehistoric art, Australian Aboriginal art, esoteric practices and beliefs, heresies, books of tribal and ancient poetry in daring translations.  Here are some titles that have meant a lot to me--"The Gate of Horn," by Gertrude Rachel Levy, a book on the history of religion, and a kind of founding text of the Goddess revival--"Shower Of Stars: Dream And Book,< by Peter Lamborn Wilson, a work about dream initiation, divination from Ancient Egypt to China to 19020's Harlem, and the idea of a magical book,that is, a book that is itself magical rather than just information about magic--"Awakening Osiris", Normandi Ellis's gorgeous poetic rendering of the Pert Em Hru, aka the Egyptian Book of the Dead--"Flash of the Spirit," by Robert Farris Thompson, a great work on African art and spirituality--"Boneland", by Alan Garner,the third book in a trilogy, written 50 years after the first two--"Major Trends In Jewish Mysticism", by Gershom Scholem, a work that almost single-handedly brought Kabbalah back into cultural consciousness, "Shamanic Voices", edited by Joan Halifax, a series of first-person accounts of shamans from around the world (one of the most beautiful, and scariest books I've ever read), and on and on.  As for pleasure, I'm not sure there's a sharp line between reading for pleasure and for inspiration, but I do like mysteries and fantasy.  Lately I've been very excited by a couple of fantasies that probably are considered Young Adult (72 is young, right?) "Every Heart A Doorway," by Seanan Maguire, and a trio of novellas by Nnedi Okorafor--"Binti," "Binti Home," and "Binti The Night Masquerade."  And then there's "Tropic Of Night," a book I've read four times, and will certainly read again.  it's a thriller about African sorcery in Miami, and explores a kind of shamanic psychology that I find very powerful.

Melissa: And now my "books to read list" has doubled.  Thanks for that!  Ok last question. What is something that you wish more people knew about you?

Rachel: You know, I'm not sure!  I kind of just try to be myself in most situations.  I guess I could say that everything I do is about sharing what excites me.

Melissa: Thank you - this was an absolute treat. 

Rachel:  Me too, Melissa.  I hope it's okay.

Melissa:  *dies from a severe case of fangirling*

"Gertrude is a spider, weaving a web of funhouse mirrors" - Taisia Kitaiskaia

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I found Taisia Kitaiskaia in the Hall of Fame for amazing names, but also in my friend Sara's instagram feed. Literary Witches - what an amazing title and concept. The book is a beautiful little hardcover with a subtitle of "A celebration of magical women writers". That's like all of my favorite things in one title. 

Each woman is featured in the book with a small drawing, a magical portrait, a small fairy tale and a short bio. They're just beautiful - the artwork alone would make this a great book, but the playfulness and warmth that the author feels for each woman is palpable. 

Some of those listed are Forugh Farrokhzad, Audre Lorde, Virginia woolf, Marabai. Some of the stories you've heard, and some you've need to hear for a long, long, time.

The OTHER book is "Ask Baba Yaga". Amazon was all, "Bitch, you know you need this book" and I was all, "Duh." If I'm honest, I'll get anything that appeals to my witchiness, and I love the fierceness of Baba Yaga. It's like Ann Landers, sucking the marrow out of a bone before shaking it at you and telling you to stop asking questions that have already been answered before she tells you to beat it so she can take a nap and her house ejects you and wanders off on chicken feet.  I've posted some of my favorites here, but honestly the whole book is a treasure. 

xo!

Lis

Laughing is the only way to deal with the bleeding walls - Michael Bodine

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If you know me at all, you know that I’ve always been fascinated by psychics who grow up in a family of psychics. From me, to my friend, Terry Iacuzzo and her siblings, there seems to be a theme in the upbringing of gifted kids. We’re a little weird, we’re a little isolationist, and we carry that weirdness into adulthood.

I’ve recently found an exception to this rule. Michael Bodine was raised with two psychic siblings and a mother who read tarot cards and took him to psychic camp. He would rather have played football and hung out with his friends. Being a normal kid in a weird world is a switch, but he’s such an interesting person, I can’t say that it didn’t work out well.

I first read about Michael in the book, “Psychics, Healers, & Mediums by Jen Weigel”. Michael and his sisters Echo and Nikki are some of the psychics mentioned by Weigel, and the earnest feel of their story (and Michael’s inherent silliness) made me want to get to know him better.

The gifts in his family became active when he was around 7 years old. His cousin was downstairs playing the drums (poorly) when the banging became music. Good music. He ran upstairs and said he was possessed by the spirit of a drummer. This started a series of odd events - things moving in the house, lights going on and off, lots of weird shit that kept getting worse. Michael’s mom went to a Baptist minister for answers and was sent to a gynecologist (of course). When that didn’t work, she was sent to a shrink. She finally found a lady, Mrs. Olson, who took the onus off of mom and predicted that three of her four children were psychic. This began a series of new adventures for the family that included psychic camp, meetings with groups of mediums and psychics and the beginning of a life dedicated to honing their gifts.

Michael didn’t like it. There were weird people in the house, he saw ghosts all the time and they scared him when he was younger. For Michael, it was work - he had to learn how to read. He also had to figure out how to get through school - it became pedestrian to learn math and science when he was doing professional readings in bars and restaurants. He started to get famous for it and had to get over his fear of ghosts to start ghost hunting and exorcisms. One of my favorite parts of our conversation was when Michael said, “I mean, walls bleed all the time. It’s not that big of a deal. It’s boring”.

Michael had to read for ten years before he was allowed to read professionally, and after a while, he got a little cocky. He was on a radio show, and suddenly, every single thing that he said was wrong. He took his gift for granted and just like that - it was gone. For a year. He learned the lesson that you are not the gift -the gift comes through you.

Luckily, it came back, and Michael has been working ever since as a reader and as a ghost hunter. The biggest frustration that he runs into is when he gives a client a reading and can already tell they’re not going to listen. As a reader, I understand this frustration. Michael has a book that you can find on Amazon, and has another book coming out soon. He’s also putting together a tv show, so keep an eye out for that as well.

I found Michael (and his book) funny, grounded and smart. I rarely hit it off so quickly with someone, but honestly, having someone who isn’t into (in his words) the “My 3rd eye is bigger than your 3rd eye” competitiveness in this community is just fantastic.

You can find Michael here.

Xo!

Lis

Augenblick - from Middle High German *ougenblick* meaning "Quick Glance" - Shannon Loftis

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A couple of years ago, I was sitting next to the as-yet-unknown-to-me Shannon Loftis a the Northwest Tarot Symposium. We were told to take our tarot decks out for the exercise and she pulled out this gorgeous, square tarot deck that I'd never seen before. What the hell. I began annoying her immediately. Where did it come from? What do you mean you can read it sideways??

WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU MADE IT? Like, created it? What magic is this?

The Augenblick tarot was created with images from the Library of Congress. It can be read reversed, right side up, and on either side. This is mind-blowing for little old me. The idea that the cards can take on two new dimensions is just fantastic. Is it the Devil you know, or a new one sneaking up on your left? Or is the Devil getting in your way and forcing you to push against it on your right? 

Luckily, Shannon was (and is) incredibly patient with my geeking out all over her. And here's the thing - the deck is going to be available on Kickstarter on October 1st. I'm going to be posting the bejeesus out of this deck and I hope it sells like crazy. I love new ideas in tarot. I love beautiful art. I love decks that challenge me. I love Augenblick. (and I just adore Shannon) The Kickstarter is here!!!

Here is more about her!

 

LFT Questionnaire

1.  What you appreciate the most in your friends.

Honesty (to yourself, about yourself, to others), Kindness and allowance, skilled use of puns in any and all situations.

2.  Your idea of happiness.

Cold weather (48 degrees is my most perfect temperature), comfortable clothes, as close to silence as I can get, books, tarot decks, crystals, solitude, no bugs.

3.  Your idea of misery.

Bugs, any temperature higher than 65 degrees, noise, sticky humidity, karaoke.

4.  Where would you like to live?

On the edge of a forest, maybe by a lake.  But lakes mean bugs.  Maybe if I got the forest and the lake bit I could make peace with the bug part.

5.  Your favorite colors and flowers.

Blue is pretty much the favorite color.  That deep blue the sky gets before the blackness of midnight – that shade. And flowers? Um, lilacs for scent, Ranunculus for looks.

6.  Your favorite poets.

Rainer Maria Rilke. So much. Ohmygod. Like, maybe I knew him in a past life. Maybe I WAS him in past life. It is like someone reached inside me and pulled the words out of my soul when I read his stuff.

Mary Oliver and William Stafford are also solid favorites of mine.

7.  Your heroes/heroines in fiction.

Kate Daniels (from the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews), Adam Parrish (from the Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater), Bonnie Torres (from Laura Anne Gilman’s Paranormal Scene Investigations series).

8.  What role does divination play in your life?

I’m not sure I know how to vocalize that.  It has, at this point, become so intrinsic to my sense of self and my exploration of the nature of life that I can’t quite single it out enough to say what kind of role it plays. It’s religion, it’s self-talk, it’s counseling, it’s analysis, it’s a way of thinking. *shrugs*

9.  Your heroes/heroines in real life.

Maggie Stiefvater, Christine Payne Towler, nurses, anyone who has survived cancer

10.  What is your present state of mind?

Mentally exhausted and longing for rain.

11.  What is your favorite tarot deck or divination tool?

Favorite divination tool is definitely tarot. I’ve recently come to terms with the fact that I will never have a definitive “favorite” tarot deck.  I love them all so differently and can never choose one over the other. Some of my most cherished decks, though, are: Mary-el Tarot, Daniloff tarot, Slow Holler Tarot, and the Tarot of Durer.

12.  Your favorite songs?

Whiter Shade of Pale by Proco Harum
Flowers in December by Mazzy Star
Sweet Thing by Van Morrison
O Magnum Mysterium (performed by the Los Angeles Master Chorale)
Calm Like a Bomb by Rage Against the Machine
I Am Not Okay by My Chemical Romance

13.  What is your favorite word?

See answer for #19

14.  What is your least favorite word?

Dollop.

15.  What sound or noise do you love?

The sound of rain.  If I could hear nothing but the sound of rain for the rest of my life I would be happy.

16.  What sound or noise do you hate?

The sound of snoring makes me murderous.

17.  What turns you on?

Intelligence, Competency, Kindness.

18.  What turns you off?

Lying.  People being dicks. Gloating.

19.  What is your favorite curse word?

Fuck.  Just because it’s so utilitarian. Noun, verb, adverb, etc. It can be everything. I grew up in a conservative Christian household and I was a “good girl” so I didn’t start swearing until I went to college and was no longer supervised but boy howdy, let me tell you how much I swore when 18 years of repression tried to flee my body all at once!

20.  If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

You don’t have to go back there ever again, I promise.

These decks allow us to confront what we know with what we think we know. - J. Ryan Kent

Jake has a kickstarter for this wonderful decks - The Queer Community Tarot Deck.  We spoke with Jake earlier about his Queer Street Tarot business, and I'm happy to have another questionnaire about his new decks. These decks are focused on all aspects of the queer community, and are dedicated to making sure that people see themselves in their cards. 

You can visit the Kickstarter at the link above, and find out more about the deck below. 

xo! Lis

Earth - tell me how this deck makes you feel at home

These decks combine all that I’ve learned about myself, about others, and about community. Queer culture doesn’t usually come with a ready made home for everyone, more often than not it is a shake and bake hodgepodge of people coming together to live their lives. These decks embrace that idea at their core.

Air - how does it challenge you mentally?

Within each of these decks, the queer meaning is in there, among everything else, and the esoteric aspects of human sexuality make these enriching decks that allows people to explore concepts and ideas they may not have stared at too long in public. These decks allow us to confront what we know with what we think we know.

Fire - what is the connection to Self?

I feel that these decks will share something special with people. Especially those directly associated with the deck, i.e. the queer community. It can be easy to find tarot decks but one that speaks to you as a being, rather than just a few cards thrown in here or there is harder. With these three decks, it will be easier for more people to find themselves in some form within the cards.

Water - How will it connect to people emotionally?

Working from my previous answer, this deck is about fulfillment, about exploration, and about growing an understanding of community around you outside of media, the many voices that can sometimes feel monotonous when it comes to social justice work. There should be space for everyone at the table and that is what this set of decks aims to create.

Spirit - What is this deck's connection to Spirit?

Human beings have always been had a complex relationship with sexuality just as they have had with spirituality and religion. While these decks don’t have a set of religious beliefs tied to them, I am hoping that people have their own experiences with them. These decks are an evolution in the way we think of tarot, in the way we interact with decks, and the way in which we study them—I feel. I want to blur the lines between traditional meanings and other disciplines. Jung did it with psychology, I want there to be one deck that really focuses on human sexuality to give voice to a non-heterosexual perspective.

Watch for me by moonlight - Alfred Noyes

Lovely Rosemary

Lovely Rosemary

Rosemary Wise is one of three outstanding siblings. Her brother, Frank Andrews, has been reading tarot professionally in New York City for over 50 years. Her sister, Terry Iacuzzo, also in the City, has been reading tarot for nearly 40 years. Rosemary has been reading in her quiet corner of upstate New York quietly for almost as long.

Rosemary has a skill called psychometry. This is the ability to pick up psychic impressions from touching or seeing an object. Show Rosemary the pictures and she’ll tell you who the people are. Hand her your your watch and she’ll tell you its story – and yours. Once, a crime occurred in her neighborhood. The detectives were sent to her house by neighbors because of her gift. She started getting names from the photos, and the detectives thought that she knew the crooks and was involved. She didn’t want to work with them again because they became suspicious of her.

She never really been a professional reader– just really liked doing it. She found clients through word of mouth and worked as a volunteer at an art gallery doing fundraising. She never really had a dedicated job as a reader, but it was always a huge part of her life. She craved beauty around her. No darkness.

She would pick up psychometric readings of the artists while walking through a gallery.  She said that she’s tried to have a balanced life but the divination is always there. She sees the different layers all the time. She gets pulled into other people’s stories.  We both have experienced that oftentimes, what we tell our clients happens to us, too. Not every reading, but enough to be noteworthy.  It’s almost like a parallel life.

We also both find that we’re pulled toward people with gifts like ours. Rosemary called them Moon and Stars people.

Rosemary is currently going through treatment for cancer. She’s gone through brain hemorrhage, and an earlier bout of stage 4 cancer. She’s tenacious and optimistic and hopes to be doing readings again when she completes this round of treatment. She imagines the medicine as golden light pouring into her and uses meditation to assist her healing.

Part of why I’m a forever tarot student is because of people like Rosemary. These folks who share our paths with us. Rosemary grew up weird and quiet (and liked being called a witch!) Just like me. She found a friend in her gift and in her runes, and instead of running from her magic, she embraced it. We have always existed. We have always been here, and we will always be.

LFT Questionnaire

1.       What you appreciate the most in your friends.

Honesty.

2.       Your idea of happiness.

Being able to travel and having interesting weather. A lot of times when I do travel, there is often a big storm, an earthquake or a blackout.

3.       Your idea of misery.

Illness. Rosemary is going through cancer treatment currently.

4.       Your favorite colors and flowers.

Purple, all shades of blue. Peonies, roses and lilies. Star gazers

5.       Your favorite poets.

Christina Rosetti and  Alfred Noyes “The Highwayman”. Edgar Allen Poe – Annabel Lee

6.       Your heroes/heroines in fiction.

La Femme Nikita – there’s something about her. I wish I could be like that.

7.       What role does divination play in your life?

It guides me. It always has. It’s always been consistent in my life and I always receive good, sound advice through intuition. I realize that everything I look at, I see or hear a message. Everything changes what it is. I see faces and patterns. Everything becomes something else. It wasn’t overwhelming, really. The imaginary life was more interesting. I see faces in the trees, ancient gods.

One time I came upon a ring of blue butterflies – blue morphos – and they’re usually found in South America. I’m always looking for things like that. My husband was with me, so he saw it, too. I’m glad I wasn’t alone. I pay attention to the un-seeable. It’s always around us. If you know what to look for you can see.

8.       Your heroes/heroines in real life.

Joan of Arc – we went to France not too long ago. We were in her village and the chateau where she first told the king she could win the war. Abraham Lincoln – very wise.  Ben Franklin.  My husband, brother, sister and daughter, Diana.

9.       What is your present state of mind?

Cloudy

10.   What is your favorite tarot deck or divination tool?

I use the runes and do psychometry. I receive information when I hold objects. I also like the Visconti tarot deck. It’s golden and sparkly – just beautiful. I only do tarot for myself. I read for other people with psychometry, runes and palmistry.

11.   Your favorite songs?

I love Paris – Ella Fitzgerald

Autumn Leaves. The shadow of your smile.  Bruno Mars and Pharrell

12.   What is your favorite word?

Telemetry – receiving information from a distance. Received the word in a dream.

13.   What is your least favorite word?

Dead. I believe that everything goes into the spirit world so dead feels wrong

14.   What sound or noise do you love?

Sound of birds chirping. You don’t hear birds in the winter in Buffalo because of the cold

15.   What sound or noise do you hate?

Construction tools. High pitched whining

16.   What turns you on?

A good tv series. Just finished Dexter. Loved Breaking Bad. House of Cards

17.   What turns you off?

People who are too political and go overboard. Some folks seem like they’re going to have a stroke about it and it’s not worth it.

18.   What is your favorite curse word?

Crap

19.   If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Hello and welcome. Your friends are here.

             **You can find out more about Rosemary in the book Small Mediums at Large by her sis, Terry.

AFFIRMATIONS: you are valued. you are never alone. you are deserving. you are a bulletproof pegasus who drinks acid rain. you are enough - Maggie Stiefvater

She is a very teeny bucket of sass.

She is a very teeny bucket of sass.

I found the the series "The Raven Cycle" by ruthlessly judging a book by its cover. I got the audiobooks from my library, and listened to them like it was my job. Only once before have I read a book that portrayed tarot readers as something other than stereotypes. (The Grift by Debra Ginsburg) There is a house full of tarot readers and psychics, a young, awkward but brilliantly smart and funny protagonist, four earnest young men, and a story that weaves in and out of socioeconomic issues and magic. It's urban fantasy at it's best.

Here are some questions that I had for Maggie about her books and the cards:

If you get this from the library, save yourself some heartache and get the rest of them lined up, so you don't have to wait. Trust.

If you get this from the library, save yourself some heartache and get the rest of them lined up, so you don't have to wait. Trust.

1.     How long have you been reading the cards?

My origin story is a fairly common one: a friend gave me a deck over a decade ago with the vaguely threatening warning “cards only work if they’ve been given to you instead of purchased,” and then I found that they didn’t work for me anyway. I tried to memorize the meanings and smack some sense into them, but they remained a pile of cards. I didn’t touch them for years after that until I got a very, very intuitive read from a friend probably five or six years ago. It was the sort of read where she would say “this card in this position means you’re an asshole, this card says this is what to do with that information.” I didn’t realize the cards could be like that — just raw, honest weather reports instead of nebulous, prognosticating wisdom. I could get behind a ritual that told me whether or not I needed an umbrella in the upcoming week instead of waggling its eyebrows and saying I might be traveling over water sometime in the future. I like wise mirrors, and that’s what this kind of read seemed to promise.
 
2.     Would you consider yourself an intuitive reader, or pragmatic, or a bit of both?

 Intuitive. I don’t expect that’ll ever change. It’s how I run my life for the most part, anyway, why should the reading be any different?
 
2. One of the characters in the Raven books says that the tarot readings will be accurate but not specific (except for Blue), and that it's easier that way. Do you find this to be true in your own readings?
 
Most of the answers my reads provide solve for the underlying problem that is at fault, instead of the specific issue the querent has in mind, always and ever more interested in solving the person instead of the world. So they do generally seem accurate but not specific. On some rare occasions, though, particularly if I’m reading for couples, they can be wildly specific. I find those reads harder, though, especially if I’m reading for someone I have just met. You have to go out on a limb and really go for the specific message the cards seem to contain, knowing that you might be totally off-base.
 
3.     Adam's relationship with the cards was so personal, and quick. I had this exact reaction to the cards - I knew they were Mine, but had no idea what they were. Was this your experience with meeting the cards, as well?

 The first deck I clicked with was the Wild Unknown. They reward the intuitive reader, I think, and they felt primal in a way that felt appropriate to telling someone how to change their life. Is it terrible to say that I never really loved a deck until my own, though? I’m working on drawing another deck now and I’m not sure I’ll ever work with one I didn’t create myself again. It says things in a language I know.
 
4.     Adam uses the cards to connect to the magic and the ley lines - in this way, he's the Magician and the deck is one of his tools. Blue is/was the Page of Cups.  Do you have a card in your head for each of the characters? 

No — that’s the sort of thing that wouldn’t really appear unless I needed in “on screen,” so to speak. I do know my favorite card, though — the Moon. I love the uncertainty and possibility contained in it.
 
5.     One of the things I loved the most about these books was the accurate portrayal of the tarot readers. They are all unique, they all use the cards differently, each deck is personal to them, and they can be complete assholes while doing readings. The scenes in the house were literally like any night in my kitchen with my friends.  How many readers do you know, woman?

Many, many, many, and like you said, in real life, people use tarot for different reasons and in different ways. Wise mirrors, after all. One of the more unusual uses I’ve seen for them is a friend who uses the cards for intuitive plot spreads — teasing out what you mean to be writing about.
 
6.  Is there any chance of a backstory book with Persephone or Maura? I know that's an obnoxious question to ask an author, but I just can't help it.
 
Ha! I love both of them, but I don’t care for prequels — it’s not as fun for me if I know absolutely every way it turns out. But I’m sure tarot will appear again in future books. 


You need this deck.

You need this deck.

And if THAT weren't enough, she made a damned tarot deck, too! The Raven's Prophecy tarot is GORGEOUS. It reads like a mother and is so completely clever. You guys - the Magician has all of his 'tools' carved into his hand. Brilliant. She also has a new book coming out in October. I was lucky enough to get an advanced reader copy at the ALA Conference in Chicago.  It's wonderful, and I'm nearly finished with it.  I also got to say hi to Maggie, who was just lovely. She filled out the questionnaire for us and I hope you enjoy it.

xo Lis

LFT Questionnaire

1.  What you appreciate the most in your friends.
Curiosity, integrity, and self-awareness. My schedule means that I swing from acres of time to none of it, so all of my friends are the sort who don’t mind that they might go from having a lot of me to suddenly having none of me. They’re an odd sort that mostly all get along with each other even if I’m not there, and I’m fairly certain because folks who are interested at poking at the more enigmatic parts of life and personality are generally interested in other folks who are also interested in poking at the enigmatic parts of life and personality.  

2.  Your idea of happiness.
I think I’m a generally happy person. I’m happy when I’m purposeful, I’m unhappy when — wait, I see this is the next question.

3.  Your idea of misery.
Misery for me is being powerless, without a plan. Once I have a plan, I’m good, even if the situation is still just as crappy.

4.  Where would you like to live?
I live in the middle of nowhere in the Shenandoah Valley, which is my favorite place to live. I reckon I’d also live in the middle of nowhere, Yorkshire. I prefer it when the world feels empty.

New book will be released in October!

New book will be released in October!

5.  Your favorite colors and flowers.
I like yellow roses and yellow cars, but I don’t know if I’d call them my favorites — I’m just always pleased to see them. I know that I like roses because they are fussy and don’t always love you back, and I know I like yellow in general because it is aggressively cheerful. I reckon if you look at the art I’ve created over the last decade, a very clear palette comes into sight: inky blacks and browns, burnt oranges, turquoise. I like things that look like they’ve been around awhile.

6.  Your favorite poets.
I am not good at poetry, but W. B. Yeats (“that is no country for old men”) and Rilke (“I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone”). 

7.  Your heroes/heroines in fiction.
I like the badly behaved experts, generally speaking. Howl from Howl’s Moving Castle is a perfect example of the type — bratty, vain, accomplished, secretly noble. 

8.  What role does divination play in your life?
I use the cards more for others than for myself — it’s a great ice-breaker for people you don’t know, and it’s a great way to start a hard conversation with people you do. When my friends and I get together in groups, we’ll often spend one of the nights just reading each other’s cards, talking out plans, thinking about the future and how we connect or don’t. There’s something satisfying about the ritual of it, the making an evening meaningful. In my own life, my connection with the spiritual and the future tends to be gut feelings and dreams, instinct and insight. I’m not very structured.

9.  Your heroes/heroines in real life.
I try not to build folks up or put them down. It’s true that some of us are doing better jobs at being heroic than others, but I feel like I get along better if I just try to regard everyone as human.

10.  What is your present state of mind?
Snot. I’m distractingly ill at the moment. But beyond that, I feel both excited and unsettled. I’ve long had a sort of nagging suspicion that this year was going to change everything for me personally, and now I find myself looking at a lot of moving pieces that I don’t have control over. Ordinarily I’m good at shifting my future using my own plans and skills, but 2017 is full of things that I have to wait on instead. It’s exciting because I love chaos and change, but it’s unsettling, because I am normally the one driving the boat. 

11.  What is your favorite tarot deck or divination tool?
I read with my own a lot (is that allowed? Can I say that?) (Yes. It's awesome and I read with it a lot, too) Often when I go places and people ask me to read, they have me do it with a copy of my deck that they’ve bought), but I also like the Wild Unknown and the Golden Tarot. I’m always looking for the perfect deck which exists in my head — something subtle and archaic — but I haven’t found it yet. I’ve started drawing a new one. Maybe that’s the one I actually want.

12.  Your favorite songs?
Impossible. I listen to music nearly every minute of every day, in a wild range of genres. But it’s easy enough to say that I prefer stuff in a minor key and stuff with interesting harmonies. I listen for timbre more than melody.

13.  What is your favorite word?
Piscatorial. Of or relating to fish or fishermen.

I am spoilt. Thanks, Maggie.

I am spoilt. Thanks, Maggie.

14.  What is your least favorite word?
Chuckle.

15.  What sound or noise do you love?
Mourning doves in the evening.

16.  What sound or noise do you hate?
The sound of a television turned on but with the sound turned off.

17.  What turns you on?
Enthusiasm.

18.  What turns you off?
Small-mindedness.

19.  What is your favorite curse word?
Shit.

20.  If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
“That was touch and go, wasn’t it?”

Please don't f*ck with my shit. - Blue Q

Fancy bags for fancy cards. &nbsp;(Gaian Tarot by JPC)

Fancy bags for fancy cards.  (Gaian Tarot by JPC)

One of the things that goes along with being a professional tarot reader is the propensity for deck hoarding. Most tarot decks are delivered in either a cardboard flip box, or an elaborate cigar box style thinger. The flip boxes are flimsy and fall apart pretty quickly, and the cigar boxes are gigantic and hard to carry around.

So, what do you do? You find tarot bags. I have some that were made by friends, a really terrible one that I made myself, and a few really expensive ones that I got when I was younger. What I've learned over the years, though, is that ZIPPER POUCHES are our salvation, brothers and sisters. And they're fucking $6.99.

They're the perfect size, they are sturdy and secure, and if you're lucky, you can find some really cute ones. This is where Blue Q comes in. Along with making really fantastic accidental-tarot bags, they make socks and boxes and totes and bathroom stuff and random other things. 

I emailed them to see if I could interview them for the site and they said yes! And they sent me some swag, which is greatly appreciated (although my husband made me share)  Below, you'll find the interview with amazing Blue Q Rep who wishes to remain anonymous, but I totally know who it is because psychic, duh.

LFT Questionnaire

  1. What you appreciate the most in your friends. Self-awareness

  2. Your idea of happiness. A dirty martini

  3. Your idea of misery. Confrontation

  4. Your favorite colors and flowers. Color: a smokey blue / Flower: Hellebores

  5. Your favorite poets. Jack Gilbert

  6. Your heroes/heroines in fiction. Pippi Longstocking

  7. What role does divination play in your life? Not much

  8. Your heroes/heroines in real life. David Byrne

  9. What is your present state of mind? A little fuzzy

  10. What is your favorite tarot deck or divination tool? I have no idea!

  11. Your favorite songs? Obvious Child, Paul Simon

  12. What is your favorite word? Actually

  13. What is your least favorite word?  Probably

  14. What sound or noise do you love? Peepers in the spring

  15. What sound or noise do you hate? The buzz of a mosquito

  16. What turns you on? Humor

  17. What turns you off? Arrogance

  18. What is your favorite curse word? Fuck

  19. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? “Turn around, I’m sending you back in.”

Blue Q's tag line is "Proud designers and manufacturers of life-improving, joy-bringing, products since 1988." Right up my alley. I hope you like them, too.

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!

www.littleredtarot.com

www.thetarotlady.com

Tarot Visions Podcast

Coffee and Tarot

xo! Lis

 

 

 

 

 

I feel 100% myself… and that authenticity translates into sessions with my clients.- Dee Fells

I started following Dee Fells on Twitter because her handle is Tarot & Snark, which are two of my favorite things in the whole universe. Since finding her, I've also found that she has a great relationship with the cards, is always striving to learn more, is political (like me) and is funny as hell. Clearly, we're destined to be friends. She has also tried to put me in right relations with Babybel cheese, but failed. Bless. I remain obsessed.

Anyway, check out my tarot sis and give her a call for a reading. She has this amazing thing. I'll let her describe it:

This year, I've launched a coaching and tarot service to change folks' relationships with goal achievement and the ever-so-icky New Years resolution. It's called For Goal Diggers only and is available for purchase by the quarter or for the year. The program boasts extensive access to me in the form of tarot readings for each quarter, a coach call or email at the end of each quarter, workbooks for self discovery, pace setting, and accountability, as well as guided meditations and affirmations. It's a lot of coaching with a ton of value and starts at $89. I'm also having a January sale of 17% off all services and readings, this one included.

Thanks, D. xo!

Lis

Ack! She's so pretty!&nbsp;

Ack! She's so pretty! 

LFT Questionnaire

1. What you appreciate the most in your friends.

Their ability to understand that my absence is only indicative of my need to recharge. That I love them no less & that they allow me to be... me. 

2. Your idea of happiness.

Is more metaphorical, I think? Happiness to me feels like warm sunshine peeking through my blinds as I lay in bed on a quiet Sunday morning. That peace and fulfillment is everything. It also feels like bottomless mimosas. 

3. Your idea of misery.

I've lived it— it's a life and existence without love... of and from others... of and for self. 

4. Your favorite colors and flowers.

Purple. Olive green. Turquoise. Black... gotta have black. Lol. My favorite flowers are peonies, orchids, & sunflowers— in that order. 

5. Your favorite poets.

Nikki Giovanni & Pablo Neruda. 

Myself. 

6. Your heroes/heroines in fiction.

Beatrix Kiddo. Maria from Maria Full of Grace. Maggie from Conversations with the Fat Girl. Albus Dumbledore. 

7. What role does divination play in your life?

A huge role. I've been divining since before I realized my ability... aka since childhood. It's like breathing to me... more natural than many could likely ever fathom. Divination helps me make sense of my world and the people within. It calls for me to ignore ego and listen to where and how I'm called.

8. You're heroes/heroines in real life.

My late grandmothers. Though only present with me in spirit now, they're absolutely my heroines. 

9. What is your present state of mind?

One of peace and happiness. Determination. It's crazy because 2016 took me to crazy lows. Yet, here I am... happier than ever. More at peace than ever. Hopeful. Optimistic. 

10. What is your favorite tarot deck or divination tool?

My favorite deck at present is the Linestrider Tarot. We are literally joined at the hip most times. 

11. Your favorite songs?

Stevie Wonder-As

Maroon 5 - Secret

Bilal - When Will U Call

Mariah Carey - Babydoll, and

Three 6 Mafia - Pussy Got you Hooked. Seriously. 

12. What is your favorite word?

Manifest. It's not only my favorite, but one of the most important to me. 

13. What is your least favorite word?

No. I'm learning to forge a better relationship with it. 

14. What sound or noise do you love?

My dad's singing. Nothing in the world like it.

15. What sound or noise do you hate?

Excessively loud eaters. It makes my fuckin blood boil. 

16. What turns you on?

An appreciation and acceptance of diversified cultures. A nicely dressed man. Acceptance of my... not so "common" lifestyle. Great taste in music and wine and food and a really good set of hands to massage me with.

17. What turns you off?

Ignorance without the desire to understand or learn.

18. What is your favorite curse word?

Such a huge toss between bitch & fuck. Man. I can't choose.  {might I suggest fuck,bitch? -LFT}

19. If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

"You've made me proud."