A One-Card Spread

“I’m struggling with my self-esteem,” a friend declares. “Where is my goodness?”

She pulls the 2 of Pentacles, reversed.Version 2

Continue reading “A One-Card Spread”


Tarot Workout: Reconciliation

Tarot Workouts are short, real-life case studies to help you exercise your tarot-reading muscle. Enjoy this as a sample reading. Or, if you are a tarot student, read the question, check out the cards, and then step away from the essay to formulate your own response. Read the end later to see how my response compares to your own.

The Question

A man — I’ll pick the name Xavier — wrote to ask if his ex would return to reconcile after a fight. He gave me no more information than that his ex is a man whom he loves dearly.

This is the kind of question that often brings people to a tarot reader. It is wonderful because it is heart-felt, and tricky because it is a yes-no question largely focused on someone other than the questioner. I opened up the question and gave it a twist to allow for Xavier’s free will to enter while honoring the spirit of his inquiry. I asked, “show me this relationship’s most likely next stage, with a guidance card for Xavier.”

The Layout


  • CARD 1 (Covering energy) This is like the card in the center of a Celtic Cross spread. It represents the overall feeling of the time in question.
  • CARD 2 (Crossing energy) This is like the second card at the center of the Celtic Cross. We often say that it “represents the opportunity that shows itself for better or worse.”
  • CARD 3 (Guidance) What it sounds like.

The Cards

  1. 10 of Pentacles, reversed
  2. Princess of Pentacles
  3. The Empress, reversed

Present Day Tarot reading workout

I used the Light and Shadow Tarot deck by Brian Williams and Michael Goepferd. I love the bold block prints and energy in this deck. However, the cards are oversized and printed on very tacky card stock, which makes them unusually difficult to handle. I reserve this deck for email readings to avoid the inevitably awkward situation of having a client struggle to shuffle the cards.

***** Tarot students, stop here and formulate your own answers ***** Continue reading “Tarot Workout: Reconciliation”

Tarot Workout: Play it Safe or Jump?

Tarot Workouts are short, real-life case studies to help you exercise your tarot-reading muscle. Enjoy this as a sample reading. Or, if you are a tarot student, read the question, check out the cards, and then step away from the essay to formulate your own response. Read the end later to see how my response compares to your own.

The Question

I did a distance reading for someone who was finishing up a teaching certificate and had mixed feelings about the road ahead. “I’ve invested in this program and have no regrets, but I don’t feel like jumping straight into the classroom. What do my tarot cards say?” She summed up her question beautifully: “How can I best contribute to the world with the skills I have now?”

The Layout

I pulled a simple trio of cards from the Golden Tarot by Kat Black. I asked for the first card to show the main energy of her best option, and for the next two to show clarifying details.Present Day Tarot workout

  • CARD 1: (Central energy of best option) Knight of Coins, upright
  • CARD 2: (Supporting detail) The Fool, upright
  • CARD 3: (Supporting detail) 4 of Coins, reversed

***** Tarot students, stop here and formulate your own answers *****

This was my written response to the client (with details altered for anonymity). Did you see it in a different way?

“The first impression I get from these cards is a sense of being open-minded and curious – both you and the people you work with in your next chapter. I feel like the best path for you, as you suspect, is not the status quo, but something that captures your sense of possibility and wonder. My overall feeling is that this shows you pursuing a very specific project next, once your program is complete, and that this chapter will be a halfway point in your best career path. I feel the cards are saying that this experience – which may seem like a temporary fling at first – will lay the groundwork for new inspiration.

I don’t see what I consider the traditional teacher cards in this spread. Instead, I associate these cards with projects and tangible products. I also see a fair amount of inspiration (and some naïveté) on the part of people around you. I feel like your educational skills will be in high demand, but that you will aim them more toward advancing a product rather than, say, educating students in a classroom.

Version 2The Knight of Pentacles is the main energy in this reading. This card can be interpreted in several ways. My first feeling is that it represents another person (possibly someone younger than you) who invites you to be part of a project. (In her feedback to me, the client verified that she was already speaking with a younger potential collaborator). This can also represent the project itself, which I see as a for-profit company, or some other kind of tangible, earthy endeavor. (Again, this was verified by the client). The Knight can also be your spirit of daring and curiosity as you move toward something that is intriguing and new.

Two of these cards show you challenging the status quo. The Fool shows inspired play, which I feel may grow with time out of the work you pursue next. In this deck, she is literally dancing to the beat of her own drum! The 4 of Pentacles, when reversed, is about letting go of your security blanket. This can be uncomfortable, but with a school book in her lap, the figure in this card seems to say that your learning has given you valuable skills that you can bring with you even if you apply them in a different way than you originally thought you would.”


If you enjoyed this Tarot Workout, these other offerings may interest you as well:

  • Come to my August classes! No tarot experience is necessary — just curiosity. If you live in Seattle, this is a great chance to do something different for yourself this summer. Check out the details here!
  • Contact me for a reading. For a short time, I will offer distance readings (via email) for a discount price of $25 per reading. This price will only last through August 2017, so email me today if you are interested. (yetta@presentdaytarot.com)

Tarot Workout: Should I Change Jobs?

Tarot Workouts are short, real-life case studies to help you exercise your tarot-reading muscle. Enjoy it as a sample reading. Or, if you are a tarot student, read the question, check out the cards, and then step away from the essay to formulate your own response. Read the end later to see how my response compares to your own.

The Question

My client explained that she had been offered a job in a different company. With very few details, she asked whether switching jobs looked like a good idea. Her precise question was, “Which position would be more advisable for me to take?”

The Spread

3-card tarot spreadI chose a simple 3-card spread:

  • CARD 1 (Highest potential at current job): 3 of Cups, upright
  • CARD 2 (Highest potential at job #2): 2 of Pentacles, reversed
  • CARD 3 (Most advisable move): 9 of Wands, upright

I used the Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative deck for this reading:

Present Day Tarot Reading 1.jpg***** Students, stop here and formulate your own answers *****

My Response

It’s always noteworthy when a reading points in a different direction than my logical brain. If I’d been asked this question from a friend, I most likely would have said, “go for it!” My personal inclination is to try new things and err towards risk-taking. However, for me these cards painted a different story. Below is my written response to the client.

“It looks like staying in your current job will be easier and more enjoyable for you, while job #2 will be a challenge and possibly too much to manage. The overall advice from the cards is to sit tight, rely on your strengths, and be on the lookout for better opportunities.

I always give advice with a grain of salt, and strongly encourage you to look at each card and check it through your own intuition. A card-by-card description may give you insight as to the choice you ultimately want to make:

Version 31) The 3 of Cups is a card that symbolizes a supportive group of friends. It may be that your co-workers at your current job offer this for you, and/or that while you are there, you have access to fun and support (even if it comes from friends outside of work). You are relatively stress-free in this setting. The other side of this card is that it is not particularly challenging or rewarding. You might be bored and looking for something more.

Version 22) The 2 of Pentacles is a card that shows stress and change. It can be dynamic and exciting. However, when shown upside-down, I see it more as simply chaotic and unenjoyable. That doesn’t mean it would be a bad decision, necessarily. You may be looking to shake things up. If this is appealing to you, I would wager that you would not stay at job #2 very long, but that it might advance you to a different scenario and set of choices.

9 of Wands PCS3) The 9 of Wands is about strength and protection. I believe it says to be cautious and not to act impulsively. It reminds you that you have strength and knowledge that will serve you in either situation. The figure in this image looks outward, as if being open to change but wary of nonsense. The advice that I see from this is to stay put for now and keep your eyes open for opportunities that will be a better match for you.”

Following this reading, the querent gave me the feedback that my input squared with her intuition, and that the reading encouraged her to believe that there could be a third, more promising option waiting in the wings.


If you enjoyed this Tarot Workout, these other offerings may interest you as well:

  • You, too, can get an online reading from Present Day Tarot! I offer written answers to your questions with a 3-day turnaround. You can contact me via email for clarification following the reading. Email me to make arrangements:  (yetta@presentdaytarot.com).
  • For Seattle locals, I offer classes in my South Seattle studio. To learn about my 2017 Summer Series, follow this blog or my Facebook page, and/or email me to get on my mail list.
  • Read other Tarot Workouts in my blog.

Tarot in the Waiting Room

Present Day Tarot SpreadThe Surgery Pavilion waiting room at University Hospital is hopping.

I expected something heavy and morose, but instead there’s laughter and activity. Just one person from a group can accompany a patient to their room, leaving a large number of friends and family behind to comfort one another and pass the time.

I am here today for a friend, waiting with others for what is expected to be a long day of surgery. She disappeared down the hall in her wheelchair 10 minutes ago to be prepped. Eventually, we will be able to track her progress on the monitor overhead.

Since the room feels so different from what I was expecting, I decide to do a 3-card reading of the environment. I get:

  1. The King of Cups, upright
  2. The Empress, upright
  3. The 3 of Pentacles, reversed

Version 2The card that catches my eye first is the smallest, the 3 of Pentacles. Reversed, it says: The medical team is at work in the other room. You can only imagine what your loved one is experiencing right now. You have no hand in it. Concern is lurking in the periphery of your mind, but with effort you can keep it at bay, and keep it small. This card sits to the side like the monitor we try not to stare at.

Version 3The grander cards of the King and the Empress dominate the spread, explaining the upbeat feel that caught me so off guard. They – we – are the loved ones who are in the tough but well-defined position of supporting our people through difficult times. We are purposeful but powerless. Stuck to a chair! Our only choice is to love.

Tarot EmpressThe King, who reins over the suit of emotions, is determined to keep his sea-tossed throne upright and not allow one drop to spill from his cup. He is masterful, but today I can see that it takes effort to stay composed. He stares at a fixed point like someone trying to keep balance in a yoga pose. The Empress is the great nurturer – a role we all can step into when circumstances require it. Breathe deeply and have faith in the big picture. Allow yourself to be nurtured by the hospital, too, which is the result of collective Major-Arcana-scale nurturing energy. The goal is health and balance. The way to get there now is to love. And everyone in this room seems to know it.

(As always, my gratitude to Pamela Colman-Smith for painting these images for the Rider-Waite-Smith deck in 1906, and to the Gods of Time for bringing this deck into the public domain.)


Contact me for readings and classes: Yetta@presentdaytarot.com

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A Beautiful Question

A client asked me a beautiful question:

“Any positive life changes on the way for me? I have been going through tough times for too long.”

I love this question for so many reasons. While it’s about the future, it isn’t a fortune telling request. The person asking it is looking for empowerment, which is perhaps the highest purpose of the Tarot. Even though it’s worded as a yes/no question, it invites a descriptive answer from a wide range of possibilities. Mostly, what makes this question so suitable for a good reading is that it was asked from the heart rather than the head. 

When people prepare for a reading, I recommend that they bring an open-ended question that matters to them and that they are able to share with me. In general, the more heartfelt the question, the more meaningful the reading will be. We will spend time upfront fine-tuning the question, so that we can return to it as a landing place if needed during the reading.

For the questioner in this case, the response was as elegant as the question. The World card – the final Major Arcana card in the deck – is a message of earned wisdom, mindfulness, and wholeness. You can’t get there without hardship, and you can’t be there without peace.

The 21st Major Arcana Card images shown here, from left to right, come from the Fountain Tarot deck, the Thoth deck (renamed as the ‘Universe’), and the Golden Tarot deck. Feature photo above is the classic Rider-Waite-Smith deck.

Find your own inner world! Book a reading today.

Promotions and Progressions

A client of mine was promoted to lead a large division of a new company – a big and very welcome career move. She’d been at the new job for 5 months when she came to me for a reading. Things were going well, but she was impatient to see more progress. Despite herself, she was feeling the start of a crisis of confidence, and hoped that a reading could help guide her forward.

To the left, I drew several cards to represent her situation now. To the right, a parallel spread would answer, “How can I best get to where I want to be?” I have shown the key cards in the images here, from the Rider-Waite-Smith deck.

The progression of the overarching cards was crystal clear. To the left, the World card, and to the right, the Queen of Pentacles. I translated: “You are on the top of the world! Now bring it down to earth.”

It was an encouraging start, which helped us ease into the more challenging cards that showed up next.

Version 4In tarot dictionaries, the 7 of Swords is associated with dishonesty, and the 8 with feeling trapped. Those traditional definitions were not resonating with me. How could the 8 of Swords be a helpful, something she would do well to embrace?

The key was to get a handle on the 7, which characterized her present. My client was adamant that “dishonesty” did not feel like an issue at her work. The connection she made with the image was one of running with scissors, going too fast and risking a sloppy accident or injury. She identified with the feeling of being on the move. She felt she basically knew where she was headed, but had so many possibilities to choose from that it was as if she was grabbing at swords, knowing that she couldn’t get them all.CCF30112015 copy

Version 2Her description has a lot in common with another 7 card – the 7 of Cups, which is associated with daydreaming and failing to focus. I wondered why this card hadn’t come up instead. Well, she was hardly daydreaming. She was leading a highly complex, heady activity. Rather than daydreaming, she was multitasking. Though inspired, she was not being particularly strategic.

Another reason the 7 of Swords was so fitting is its direct progression to the 8 of Swords. In the light of this nuanced definition of the 7, the 8 now looked more like discipline than entrapment. It said, “put those swords in a row. Limit your own options for the time being. This will enable you to move from the inspiration of the World to the practicality of the Queen of Pentacles.”

My client said this reading felt like an invitation to slow down and embrace her new authority, and that she couldn’t wait ‘till Monday.


Do you have a work problem the Tarot could help you work out? Use my scheduler to book a reading, or email me at yetta@presentdaytarot.com.

Please note that when I publish accounts based on actual readings, I alter all identifying details to fully protect the privacy of the people I read for.