Tarot Questions

If you could know the answer to all your questions, what questions would you ask?

Version 2“What’s going to happen to me?”

That would get old fast.

I bet you’d move quickly to “how can I…?” questions. How can I get the most from this situation? How can I understand what’s going on? How can I make the world a better place?

Not that all tarot questions need to be lofty. Personal curiosities are a huge part of our every day, and are often what draws people to tarot. But try shifting a question like, “will she go out with me?” to, “what can I do to better my chances?” Then see which question yields the more empowering information.

Creative and empowering questions make the best use of the Tarot and distinguish it from fortune-telling. And — the truly beautiful thing! — the more you explore what questions you really want to ask, the more likely you are to find rich, meaningful answers that will have a positive impact on your life.


The World card is the final Major Arcana card in the tarot deck. It is generally said to stand for awareness, completion, and earned wisdom. The World isn’t all-knowing; she just knows what questions to ask. The image above is from the Fountain Tarot.


Do you have an empowering question in mind? Contact me for a reading! Email yetta@presentdaytarot.com and check out my website for more information.

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Writing about Reading Tarot

The best tarot readings are felt, not thought. We all know what a big challenge it is to step away from our logical brains for a moment to feel the meaning of the energy around us. It’s a trust exercise that, happily, gets easier with practice and promises an exciting payoff when achieved.

I live that challenge in reverse when I write about readings afterwards. It means having to translate the felt experience back into a mental expression. It can require a lot of words and page space to record a momentary sensation. Thank goodness in-person tarot readings allow much more efficient, quick, and intuitive communication.

Here are some tarot cards that represent “writing” for me:

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The Page of Wands is an earnest blogger. (Visconti-Sforza deck, c. 1450)

 

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The Queen of Cups writes from the heart. (Golden Tarot, 2003)

13043405_1359126760767870_7468058497902526890_nThe Ace of Swords is the start of a brilliant analytic essay. (Antiquarian Tarot by Maree Bento, 2015)

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The 4 of Pentacles describes writer’s block. (Rider-Waite-Smith deck, 1906)

 

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The Hanged Man is an embedded journalist. (The Fountain Tarot, 2014)

There are so many writers and muses waiting to introduce themselves to you from your tarot deck. Which one best represents you when you write?

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If you live in Seattle and study tarot, there may still be time to sign up for my 2-hour course on Thursday, May 4th, 2017 through the Field Trip Society. Check it out! (Edit 4/30 — the class is sold out. To learn about future classes, follow me on Facebook.

Tarot Workout: Who Will I Marry?

Tarot Workouts are short, real-life case studies to help you exercise your tarot-reading muscle. Tarot students: read the questions, see the cards, and then step away from the essay to formulate your own response. Come back to check out how my response compares to your own ideas.
A Tarot Workout is an academic exercise, not a true reading. It is an opportunity for you to practice putting card meanings together. Since the questioner has no energetic connection to my essay, you will not have the benefit of an intuitive interaction – except, perhaps, with me! Of course, I alter all identifying details to respect anonymity.

Tarot Workout Question

A man asks: “What kind of person am I going to marry? Will she be someone who loves and respects me, or….?” I devise a 3-card spread and draw the following cards from the Pamela Coleman Smith commemorative deck:

  • Card #1 (Kind of person you are most likely to attract right now): Page of Cups, Reversed
  • Card #2 (What you should be on the lookout for): The Lovers, Upright
  • Card #3 (What you should be wary of): 9 of Swords, Upright

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Yetta’s Response

  • My overall take on this reading is that it cautions you to beware of your attraction to lesser people than you deserve. It says that you are capable of finding a forever and respectful partner, but that it may not be your first impulse. The key to knowing the difference is being able to admit when things are going wrong.

Version 2The Page of Cups shows upside-down as the person you are most likely to attract in your current state of being. If this card were upright, it might be a childhood sweetheart and soulmate at the same time. Upside-down, I see this Page as cute, affectionate, and fun, but also emotionally immature. She may also be younger than you. This is not a ‘bad’ person at all, but it is someone who is not a capable partner in the long run.

Version 3Your Major Arcana card, The Lovers, shows upright as “what you should be on the lookout for.” To have such a big card in this position makes me feel that you are entirely capable of attaining this outcome if you, ahem, play your cards right. The challenge will be to listen to your inner wisdom. Despite its name, the Lovers card is not as romantic, in my view, as the Page of Cups. This card is about long-term commitment, choice and consequence. When you look at the Page you might say: What fun! When you look at the person represented by the Lovers you might say: I could see myself growing old with this person. The way you worded your question to me makes it clear that your inner voice is pointing you to the energy of the Lovers and not the Page.

9 of Swords Colman SmithThe third card, indicating what you should be wary of, is the 9 of Swords. This card is about stress and concern, and basically says that it will be abundantly obvious when you are on the wrong track. In your next romantic relationship, look for signs of worry and anxiety. Do you have a nagging feeling that this isn’t right? Do your friends express concern? Does that person live stressfully, and in a way that transfers stress to you? My sense from these cards is that it should not be a subtle sign, largely because it is in the upright position. However, the challenge is always (in my experience) to trust yourself enough to act on your best judgment.

When I look back at your question, it strikes me that — like Dorothy! — you had the answer before the reading even began! “What kind of person will I marry? Someone who respects me, or …?” You know yourself well enough to recognize that you have a weakness for people who are not the best for you. So know this as well: Tarot works as a reflection of your intuition. The correspondence is illuminating and not accidental.

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Follow this blog if you are interested in doing more Tarot Workouts in the future. I have a growing number of offerings for students, including a Tarot Explorations class in Seattle on May 4th, 2017. To find out more and to sign up, visit my partners at The Field Trip Society.

If you want a reading, email me (yetta@presentdaytarot.com) or go directly to my scheduling software.

Give Me a Name Like a Ring

By Yetta Snow

My mother recently distributed some old family jewelry to my siblings and me. I now have this sweet amethyst ring, which belonged to my great-great aunt on my father’s side. The note is written by my grandmother in script I recognize with my whole heart. It reads: “Birthday gift to Belle Estelle Snow from her father on her 16th birthday. She was my mother’s sister and lived with us many years.” My grandmother was born in 1899.

IMG_7099The Snow family name did not come directly to me. It is my given name only because I gave it to myself. This ring was handed down the maternal branches of my father’s side, and links me, via my grandmother Mary Snow Norton, to my chosen namesake.

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By the way, my birthday is September 1st

 

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A particularly nice grave marker in my home town

I am proud to claim my connection to these relatives. My grandmother was an artist and genealogist who kept great details of our ancestry. She inspired gravestone-rubbing excursions to small northeastern towns looking for members of the Snow, Norton and McIntyre families. When she died in 1987, I had just moved to Seattle from the Northeast. I was on a first date that turned awkward when I inexplicably burst into tears and felt compelled to tell my date all about my grandmother. Returning home that evening, I learned that she had died that same hour. It’s funny to become even closer to someone on the occasion of her death, but this is true about my bond with her.

And now I have a ring that she held, saved, and documented so carefully. Once I get it cleaned and checked for durability, it will become part of my tarot-reading rituals.

The best purpose of tarot ritual is to define your intention. It is to allow yourself to fully open to your consciousness while reading, knowing that when it is over, you will return to a normal level of skepticism and psychic protection. This is particularly important for empathic professionals who make use of their sensitivity, but also need to be able to turn it off. Come to think of it, I could have used a special ring in my Social Work days to protect myself from burn-out.

IMG_4935My rituals include keeping my cards wrapped in cloth and storing them on shelves higher than my shoulder. I do this to keep away the curse of losing my cards on cluttered counters. I use candles to remind myself and my clients to honor the space. I display a chakra-rainbow of crystals on my reading surface, and keep a humble garden rock in my pocket to help me stay grounded. This isn’t superstition. In my old work world, we would have called it “best practices” and put it on a PowerPoint slide.

So, thank you, Mom, Grandmother, and Great-Great Aunt Snow for my lovely new gift. I promise to wear it well.

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I see a tarot class in your future! If you are reading this from Seattle, come to my Tarot Explorations class with the Field Trip Society on May 4th, 2017. If you cannot make that date, contact me to get on my email list for future events. And be sure to follow this blog!

 

 

 

 

 

Death Beckons the Tarot Reader

I recently came across the record of my very first Celtic Cross tarot spread, scribbled on the back of a brochure from a rental cabin I stayed in long ago.

My extended family was together for Christmas. I had been given a tarot deck, as I’d been hoping, and I secluded myself to explore this most compelling gift. I asked, “How do I fit into this family?” Within the first 10 cards, all 4 queens popped up, and although I couldn’t grasp a full message, the uncanny coincidence of it caught my breath. Over the course of the months that followed, queens showed far more often than chance would have allowed, as if hollering to get my attention, to tell me that my identity was, indeed, in these cards.

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Death, waves to catch our attention in the 1789 Book of Thoth (above). At top, the Crowley-Harris version of 1943 looks like lead rock guitarist enjoying a good riff

Years later, I was reading for guests at a party. One woman wanted more to talk about tarot than to have an actual reading. She asked why I thought the Death card kept showing up whenever she consulted her cards. She wasn’t afraid of the message, just captured by it. Why Death, she asked?

Tarot talks to its readers in different ways. For me, having the Queens show up during my family reunion felt like a pinch and a wink from my deck. For this new reader, the Death card was less subtle – more like a bonk on the head saying, “Pay attention to this! There’s something big here for you! It will awaken a new way of seeing the world – keep your attention here!”

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Have you been captured by the Tarot? If you are a new reader and would like some help learning, contact me about one-on-one or small-group mentoring. I have had great fun mentoring new readers through the Free Tarot Network, an affiliate of the American Tarot Association. My rates are not set. We can decide on something reasonable together. Contact me here with a Facebook message, or email Yetta@presentdaytarot.com.

All Eyes on this Deck: Tarot del Fuego

I walked out of Namaste Bookshop in New York City last month with a petite, $22 tarot deck in my hand: Tarot del Fuego, by Ricardo Cavolo. Little did I know it would rock my tarot world.

A prolific muralist, Cavolo creates art that can be seen in cities around the world. (Sadly, his Seattle mural, once gracing a Pioneer Square alleyway, has been painted over.) In Tarot del Fuego, he has made each card its own compelling visual story. The images are bright and energetic, featuring flames, shooting stars, and eyeballs throughout.

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In the one English-language interview I was able to find online, the artist gives this helpful clue about his visual vocabulary:

I love to use symbolic details and I thought that with more than two eyes the person becomes different from the rest. And at the same time, as they are heroes in my stories, a hero is wise and intelligent, and I thought that the more you see, the more you know, the wiser. So more eyes, means you are able to see more than normal.

That insight is enough to equip you for a happy romp through his Major Arcana cards, from the Marseille-style Fool to the hermaphroditic World figure (see 5 examples above, or go to his website for much more). Stay awake and aware, tarot readers! Use all your eyes to view this deck.

Some of my favorite individual cards follow:

cci31102016_6The King of Wands. I love the treatment of all the kings in this deck. Contrary to tradition, each king has some kind of defeat built in. Each one looks world-weary and has made visible compromises on the way to achieving his position. The King of Swords uses his sword for Hara-kiri. The King of Pentacles victoriously mounts a giant gold coin but wears a devil’s costume. This King of Wands lost all his limbs to his firey drive, but if his beard could talk, the stories it would tell!

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Cavolo’s 4 of Swords, a departure from traditional decks, is a head-scratcher at first. A low, even number in the Air suit, this card is associated with a quiet rest for the mind. It is usually depicted by a person lying down in a quiet setting, asleep. Now that I see this contrast, I think how empty the typical card feels, where this one provides a wealth of associations for mental exhaustion. This screams, “I am so tired, every segment of my weary hands is complaining. Cut them off now; I never want to see them again!” The eyes, the minor hand chakras, are important to tarot readers. Our sensors are in our hands and yes, they get tired from time to time.
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How could I not call out the giant breast in the deck, a tantalizing embellishment to the Ace of Cups? It lends a wonderful Freudian association to the card representing the spring from which our unconscious life flows. My greatest interest with Cavolo’s suit of Cups – meant to represent the element of water – is how earthy each card is. The liquid in the cups creates conditions for springing roots and budding flowers, pointing out that even the elements exist on a spectrum. I read it as an unconscious artist’s statement. To me, this is Cavolo saying subliminally, “I am a master of making the imagination tangible.” I enjoy that this deck is not airtight, like our lives. It is porous and allows for a lively flow of energy across categories.

Version 3The 10 of Pentacles is the highest numbered card in the money suit. It is said to represent dynasty, family wealth, and earthly legacy. The card typically shows an aristocratic family picnicking on the plush outdoor grounds of a vast estate. As if. The Tarot del Fuego 10 of Pents acknowledges that power is money, and that family connections to money aren’t often so bucolic. This features your irascible grandma who made a killing you don’t know exactly how (but you have your suspicions), and now drinks too much (though nobody mentions it for fear of being written out of the will). Her tattoos assert her mark, and she holds steadfastly to the tangible world. Poignantly, this is the only figure in this deck with just 2 eyes.

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Tarot del Fuego is a mind-bending delight to study. It’s giving me new perspective and associations, breathing more creativity into the way I see my tarot cards. I do not know yet if it will work for me as a professional reading deck, as its strong imagery might be off-putting to clients. If anyone wants to help me find out, contact me for a reading and you can get the BRAVE GUINEA PIG discount. We’ll find your extra eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.