U.S. Immigration in 3 Tarot Cards

“Show me U.S. immigration policy in 3 tarot cards.”

I ask the question, then shuffle and cut my deck as usual. Like so many of us, I’ve been focused on the news of children being separated from families at the US/Mexico border. I’ve just smudged my room with white sage and energized it with sweet grass. The sun is shining through my studio window. I feel present.

I place the first card in the center to represent the central theme.


Cards two and three go to either side to represent clarifying details.

4 of Pentacles and 2 of Wands. Both are upside-down.

Present Day Tarot Immigration Reading

In the most neutral interpretation, these cards say, “There is a battle for fairness (Justice) regarding two groups. One is looking for a home (2 of Wands). The other is holding the doors shut (4 of Pentacles).*

Continue reading “U.S. Immigration in 3 Tarot Cards”


Father’s Day Tarot Spread

Dad with macrame beltI was lucky to be raised by the guy on the right. The one with the macramé belt.

My dad was a high school French teacher for 35 years, well known in our hometown and in towns across France, too. The two French gentlemen in the photo? Who knows? My dad probably asked them for directions and ended up getting the insiders’ tour of the town. For my dad, a walk down a street is above all a chance to make friends. Bonus points if you do it in a foreign language!

This post features a different way to use tarot cards. I’ll call it Tarot on Purpose. For this kind of reading, choose the cards deliberately rather than at random. Place them down and let them talk to each other. What do the cards say about your subject? How does your experience of the subject teach you more about the cards?

Here’s my Tarot on Purpose tribute to you, Dad, using a 3-card tarot spread specially designed for Father’s Day:


Continue reading “Father’s Day Tarot Spread”

My Tarot Travel Agent

I was holding plane tickets to Philly for the day the area was due to be hit by a big storm. I turned to my Fountain Tarot deck to ask what might come of my travel plans, and got:

Present Day Tarot Reading

  • Delay and waiting (Hanged Man)
  • Boredom and more waiting (The Hermit)
  • Standing up for myself, fighting crowds (7 of Wands)

The cards ultimately fit the situation to a tee. As I arrived at the airport just before dawn the next day, I learned that my flight, along with many others, was canceled due to snow at our destination. I joined a long line of unhappy travelers all vying for nonexistent flights to the East Coast. 

My reading had a small but significant detail. All 3 of the cards had appeared upside-down. 

Continue reading “My Tarot Travel Agent”

Business Advice for the Metaphysical Practitioner

Chakra to-do listEvery self-employed person I know struggles to get structure into their workday. It can be even harder for the metaphysically inclined, because at the same time we try to get stuff done, we want to maintain a balanced energy system. To keep myself going as a professional tarot reader, I categorize my to-do list according to the 7 chakras. At any given time, I try to have something to engage each chakra. For instance:

Version 21st Chakra – Something Grounding

Start your day with 15 minutes of grounding introspection. Then, rather than have it hang over your head, let some of your home life into the workday. Garden, walk the dog, get groceries, exercise. File when you need to. Tidy your work place. Walk barefoot.

2nd Chakra – Something Rigorous

This creative chakra makes things happen. Make something with your hands. Deliver your product to your client. Put up flyers or do other outreach. Make nervy cold calls. Do something you can’t be shy about to push your intention outward.

3rd Chakra – Something Fun

Third chakra joy is the kind that makes you feel great about yourself. It’s playful and delicious. Hop on the bike to visit a gallery as fodder for an essay. Have lunch with a friend. Identify your favorite work activity and schedule it to recur multiple times this year. (I’ve done this with the Tarot Salon and Tarot Tuesdays).

Rider Waite Smith 4 of Wands4th Chakra – Something Interactive

This chakra reminds you to connect to your community. Do something for someone else’s good. Allow generosity into your day, and accept it when it is offered to you. Do a free reading. Donate an auction item. Contact a local business with a partnership idea. Respond positively when someone reaches out to you.

5th Chakra – Something Vocal

The keyboard is a tyrant! If you work from home, make sure you speak with someone about work every day. Blogging and posting to social media are poor substitutes, but if that’s what you’ve got, read your words aloud before hitting ‘send.’ Feel the sensation of saying what you mean.

Version 26th Chakra – Something Intuitive

If this is your craft, tarot reader, you are in luck. Get a reading in every day. Offer short, free readings if your client base is small – these are like weight lifting for intuitives. Schedule time to daydream and journal about the direction you want your business to go. Act on your intuition.

7th Chakra – Something Inspired

Meditation is where the 7th and 1st chakras meet. Write down your dreams. Quiet your mind so that you can converse with your subconscious. List your gratitudes. Study the work of a mentor. Let your 7th chakra take you somewhere unexpected.

Well, according to my own rules, this blog post is a poor substitute for 5th Chakra vocalizing, so I should wrap it up. I’ll read it aloud, then do some 3rd chakra play to find matching images. Luckily, I have an event with readings tonight, giving me the 4th and 6th chakra action I need. I can feel and see that I’ve neglected chakras 1, 2, and 7, which is something of a pattern for me. Luckily, my boss is pretty forgiving. And there’s still time for a rigorous walk before I have to head out.

If thinking of your to-do list in this way is helpful to you, huzzah! I’d love to hear your tips for me.

(pictured above: a Present Day Tarot to-do list color coded by chakra; the Ace of Pentacles from the Light and Shadow Tarot deck; 4 of Wands from the Rider-Waite-Smith deck; The High Priestess from Tarot del Fuego).

Tarot Workout: The Deck Makes the Difference

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. Leave comments for me about how your interpretation may differ.

The Question

The question wasn’t particularly unusual. Alison explained, “I love my career but am terribly unhappy at work. I was hired because of my expertise, which is desperately needed during a transition. My supervisors tell me they love me, but I get the feeling they are keeping me on just to train the next team, and then will let me go. Should I beat them to it and just leave before they fire me?”

Something about Alison made me want to step off the beaten path. I decided to use an unusual deck – the Tarot del Fuego by Ricardo Cavolo. (I’ve written about it before). Although I love this deck, its quirkiness can make for some unwieldy readings, and I don’t use it very often. It turns out that the idiosyncrasies served me well this time, as I pulled this simple 3-card spread.

The Layout

  • CARD 1 (Overall energy of Alison at work): Knight of Swords, upright
  • CARD 2 (Opportunity crossing for better or for worse): 3 of Cups
  • CARD 3 (Tarot advice for Alison): 6 of Swords, reversed


Here is a better look at the 3 cards in their upright positions:


(To complete the Tarot Workout, stop reading now to come up with your own interpretation of Alison’s cards. Read on only after you’ve settled on your answer, then enjoy a comparison to mine).

My Response

Tarot del Fuego Knight of SwordsAlison, my first take on this is that there are more positive things going on in your work than you are seeing. The Knight of Swords – representing you – is high-energy, action-driven, and sometimes impatient. (This description made Alison laugh at its accuracy). In this particular deck, the Knight is shown as a blindfolded stallion in full gallop, while a half-dozen eyes look on from the distance. To me, this validates that people notice your hard work and are thankful for it. While it may be true that they treat you like a workhorse, I get the feeling that the emotional distance between you does not come from their direction alone.

Version 2The second card, which is an opportunity that crosses you for better or worse, is the 3 of Cups – a card of abundance and friendship. If you are working toward an urgent goal now, I could see the frenzy of the Knight being needed. However, the 3 of Cups shows an enjoyable environment around you. That is either in the future, or, more likely, available to you now, if only you choose to see it. Is it possible that you are so intent on the workload and goals that you are less likely to truly see your colleagues as peers? To me, these cards suggest that you re-evaluate to see if there is more goodwill there than you realize. (Alison explained that, besides her supervisors, she enjoyed many of the other members of her team. She said there were several people she would miss if she were to leave).

Version 3With that, the advice card is intriguing. The 6 of Swords, when upright, typically says that it’s time to move on. In your reading, however, it has shown upside-down, which tweaks the message. That this card shows up at all for advice says that moving on
is a real option. However, upside-down it cautions you to be circumspect about how you proceed. Switching jobs may be a good move for you, but perhaps not for the same reasons you have in mind. While there may simply be a great job out there for you in terms of better pay, more status, or otherwise advancing your career, you (like any other person) run the risk of importing the same dynamic into a different setting. As you keep the door open to new possibilities, why not also be deliberate in making your daily experience better by enjoying the company of the colleagues you like? You may find that it changes the parts of your work that feel unbearable now, putting you on better footing to make a well-chosen move when it is the most advantageous for you.

We left the reading there, with Alison saying she felt both validated and challenged by the cards. As I have reflected on this reading, I think how much richer it was for having been done with the Tarot del Fuego deck. The Knight of Swords showed so much more individuality than the Rider-Waite-Smith card would have in this instance. The 6 of Swords is usually shown as a placid scene of someone sailing to calmer waters, but the Tarot del Fuego card shows a much more painful transition. I associate Cavolo’s card with plantar fasciitis and the agony of indecision, which highlighted the idea that she should move forward with care. I won’t be giving up my beloved Rider-Waite-Smith deck any time soon, but I’m happy for the interesting twists provided by this other deck.


If you are a Seattle-area reader, join the Tarot Salon — a twice-monthly gathering to talk and practice tarot in the Present Day Tarot studio.

For more information about Ricardo Cavolo, he’s got a very cool website and sells his decks here. The Rider-Waite-Smith, of course, can be found in many places.

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:


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



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)


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



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?


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.