Temperance: Patience on Steroids

Version 3Tarot’s Temperance card has been showing up a lot in my readings lately.

I mostly read for other people, so my hunch is that Temperance energy is in the air — or perhaps should be. Because Temperance is generally one of the more difficult cards for me to articulate, I also wonder if my deck isn’t giving me a kick in the pants, saying, “Figure it out. Write a post, already.”

Temperance. A poised angel. Gorgeous wings. A halo that matches the promising sunrise in the distance. This tends to be one of the prettiest cards in the deck. And like many unusually pretty people, this card is easily misunderstood.

It is too easy to sell this card short by equating it with ‘patience.’ Being told to have patience is like being told to suck it up. Control your desires now and someone else will give you what they think you need when they are good and ready. But a patient stance doesn’t have to be a passive one. In fact, you can bring all your force and moxie to a situation and still be patient, as long as you strategically mix in the element of time. Patience on steroids.

Version 3Aleister Crowley likened Temperance to alchemy — the art of turning lead into gold or, more generally, of creating something that is greater than the sum of its parts. In his deck, Temperance is called “Art,” and is not passive at all. Rather than being placed in a bucolic scene, his angel is flanked by creepy creatures and is clearly in the midst of making a witch’s brew. Like witchcraft, the action here is both process- and outcome-oriented. One dark arm and one light arm (and two faces, as well), remind us to honor both the dark and light sides of ourselves as we make something out of the world around us.

Temperance Dreaming Way TarotAnd what a world is around this lady! Numerically, she’s sandwiched in between the Death and the Devil, with the promise of the Tower just ahead. She better keep her cool and gather her resources if she wants to survive. She is the calm at the eye of the tarot storm. However, in another ordering of the Major Arcana suit, Temperance rules the element of Water. While water has the power to buffet, infuse, undercut and overwhelm its subjects, Temperance has mastery over it. She can pour the liquid from jug to jug slowly, even sideways, hardly even looking at it.

When I got this in the center of a love reading recently, surrounded by pip cards that looked tumultuous and challenging, I said: “This relationship requires you to navigate emotional forces without losing control. You’re the mature one here — or, you are learning to be.”

As a ‘highest potential’ card in a birthday reading, Temperance says: “You are moving up a notch in your ability to take command of your life, rather than simply coping with things as they happen to you.”

In the business reading: “Play the long game.”

None of these interpretations says: “sit down and be patient.”


Tarot is more than a deck of cards. It is a way to examine the world and the choices we face. It is a tool for strengthening intuition and finding one’s inner voice. If you are interested in studying tarot with me, contact me to let me know!


The cards shown here, from top to bottom, are from the following tarot decks: Pamela Colman Smith Commemorative Deck, the Thoth Tarot Deck by Crowley and Harris, and the Dreaming Way Tarot.


Examine the Water You Swim In with Tarot Cards

In tarot algebra, the Suit of Cups = the Element of Water = Human Emotion. Multiply your Cups by the numerological values of 1 through 10, and voilà! …you have a definition for each Cup card.

As in life, what makes sense logically in tarot is often a far cry from the full picture. I made a leap in my own understanding of the Suit of Cups when I realized that these 10 pip cards are less about cups per se, and more about the mood-altering liquid inside.

To convey feeling over words, I’ve had some fun dressing up my cards (with the help of Pamela Colman Smith of Rider-Waite fame). May this entertain you and further enhance your understanding of the Suit of Cups!

xoxo – Yetta




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Learn tarot with me! Check out my Tarot Salon if you are in the Seattle area. Or simply contact me for a reading if that’s more up your alley. I wish you the 10 of Cups and much more!

Presidential Portraits and the Tarot

You had me at “archetype,” Amy Sherald.

Michelle Obama High Priestess

After watching the unveiling ceremony of the Obama presidential portraits for the third time, I have to sit down and record my tarot-based impressions.

In tarot, the Major Arcana cards are known as archetypes, and the one that most closely matches Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama is the High Priestess. The High Priestess is: Purity of intention. Universal integrity. Eternal presence. No nonsense. The High Priestess also happens to be Michelle’s tarot birth card*.

Version 2In accordance with the character of a High Priestess, Michelle was not interested in having a portrait be all about her. Instead, she chose an artist who, in her own words and by their contract, made something “bigger, more symbolic… an archetype.”

For the comparison, I bring out the High Priestess from the iconic Rider Waite tarot deck of c. 1910. The otherworldly teal in the background of Sherald’s work is the same color that is so prevalent in this tarot card. Tarot artists often paint themselves into their decks, and I suspect that the face on this card is that of its creator, Pamela Colman Smith. (Also an artist of color, by the way).

Barack Obama Papa Coin

As for Kahinde Wiley’s portrait of the president…

I see it matching a Court Card rather than a Major Arcana archetype. It’s not that Obama isn’t capable of encompassing archetypal energy, but his desire for this portrait, as he explained in the ceremony, was to “take it down just a touch.” Though Obama didn’t knowingly speak in tarot terms, he did get a laugh by making the point that he did not want to be portrayed as an Emperor. “I have enough political problems,” he said, “without you making me look like Napoleon.”

(The Emperor, by the way, is Major Arcana card number 4, which is Donald Trump’s birth card by the numbers. If you want to go back to a juicy prediction about this figure in American politics, check out my post from August 2016).

King of Pentacles RWSI digress. Back to today… “Down just a touch” in tarot takes you to the Court Cards, and the one jumping out as a match for Obama is the King of Pentacles (shown above as “Papa Coin” in my favorite new deck, Dust II Onyx). In the Rider Waite tarot deck, this king also has vines and leaves encroaching on his throne. He is the provider king, the one who makes sure that everyone has what they need to eat and stay warm. He understands that it would be ridiculous to tend only to the showiest flowers in this garden. The soil, the seeds, the shoots, and the critters all need to be nurtured first in his ecosystem. “Politics should be about not simply celebrating the high and the mighty and expecting that it unfolds from the top down,” Obama recounted about his conversations with Wiley, “but rather, that [power] comes from the bottom up.” The King of Pentacles is enormously powerful, but he distributes his power with a steady and fair hand.

Speaking of hands, have you noticed how HUGE they are in Wiley’s portrait? Nice touch! One more reason to thank the artist.

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*A footnote about numerology and birth cards:

A tarot birth card is determined by your birthdate. Add the day, month and year together, then continue to add the digits until you have a number or numbers smaller than 21 (the number of the highest card in the Major Arcana suit). Amazingly, Michelle and Barack Obama’s two birthdates reduce to exactly the same tarot cards. To find out about that, and to identify your own birth card, use this online calculator.

I am off to Tarot Tuesday and Taproot Cafe & Bar. Thanks for reading, Tarot friends. Please share this with others and follow my blog. xoxo

Tarot Gift Ideas

Present Day Tarot Frequent Reader Cards (1)Hello, Tarot Friends:

Check out these Present Day Tarot gift offerings for the season! A tarot-related gift allows you the pleasure of giving a unique, meaningful, experience-based treasure while supporting small business. 

Order before December 16th to receive printed materials in the mail, or before December 22nd to have them sent to you electronically. Place your order by going to this link, or by contacting me directly (info below).

I wish you all the best for a love-filled holiday season!

— Yetta

Moon Tarot Salon cardGift Certificates

Gift certificates are available for any of my tarot reading services, including in-person, phone, or email readings. (See my website for the full selection). You may also purchase general gift certificates for the dollar amount of your choice. Purchase using this link.

Stocking Stuffer Special

Here’s a bargain-basement special just for you: Purchase an email, 3-card reading for just $35 in the month of December. The discount certificates (down from the usual price of $75), will need to be redeemed by the end of February, 2018. Purchase using this link.

Tarot Salon Membership

The Tarot Salon is a drop-in class for tarot students and enthusiasts. I run it twice monthly at my home studio in Southeast Seattle. Purchase Frequent Reader Cards for 3 and 10 sessions, or a gift certificate for a single entry. Details and dates for 2018 can be found on this page. Purchase using this link.

A note about purchases

I am a tarot reader, not an online marketer! While I like to think that my homespun systems are quaint, if you ever run into difficulty following my links to order and pay, please just contact me directly by email (yetta@presentdaytarot.com) or by phone (206) 605-5578, and I promise to make it very easy for you. Thank you, and happy holidays!



About Studying Tarot

Version 2About the verb TO STUDY: Is this as much of your daily routine as, say, eating or sleeping? Do you study life at every turn, looking for meaning from your experiences and clarity for the choices ahead? These are among the best reasons to study tarot.

One approach to studying tarot is to learn the meanings of cards and turn the cards in constellations to find a hidden message. This is valid, fun, and — amazingly — it works! The thrill of synergy can be yours again and again, whether or not you think of yourself as a psychic person.

But like so many other studies, learning tarot is a series of plateaus and surges. That initial level of study will only take you so far, and will either lead to more study or will stop giving back. Rather than getting discouraged at a plateau, Tarot nudges you to get creative. Try new things, or revisit forgotten knowledge, to keep your practice vibrant and alive. You will find this lively dynamic of question and answer permeating all other aspects of your life.


If you live in Seattle, one way to get creative with your tarot study is to join the Tarot Salon. This is a monthly event in my Southeast Seattle studio, in which we discuss tarot, see sample readings, and practice reading for each other. Find out more about the Tarot Salon here — and please come along!


The image above is from the Golden Tarot by Kat Black. The Page of Swords is the ultimate student, drawn to ideas and energy that exist in the unseen. This student has persistent curiosity and is not bound by preconceived ideas. Bring your inner Page of Swords to the next Tarot Salon!


Tarot From the U.K. to Sicily

CCI14052017I have never been a fan of Aleister Crowley, one of the big personalities in early 20th century tarot. However, I am grateful for his contributions. His was one of the clashing egos that led to the breakup of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an occult group that was active in England until the late 1800’s. The split of that group precipitated the unveiling of its Secrets — including tarot. Crowley wrote, taught, and eventually created the Thoth Tarot deck, which adds layers of astrology and Jewish mysticism to the standard tarot platform. Without Crowley and the undoing of the Golden Dawn, tarot might still be in the shadows today.

Version 2As I prepare for a trip to Sicily, I just learned that Crowley spent a happy decade in the North Sicilian town of Cefalu, before being driven out by Mussolini in 1923. He created a school of the occult and housed it in what he called the Abbey of Thelema, overlooking the sea. As it stands today, it looks more like a dilapidated crack house than anything else, and the stories I have found support that general impression. Still, I may seek out the abandoned building while I’m there. Wouldn’t you?

Pictured here are two of my favorite cards from the Thoth deck, which was painted by Lady Freida Harris over the course of many years. It was not published until 1969, after both she and Crowley had died.

I am excited for this trip! I’m flying through London where I will attend the London Tarot Festival of 2017. (Angling for a speaker’s position in 2018, doncha think?) Then to Palermo, where I will meet up with card-playing friends who have been practicing “Scopa!” and other games played with the Sicilian deck — an obvious derivation of 15th century tarot. While I explore catacombs and ruins, and keep and eye on the rumblings of Mt. Etna, I will be on the lookout for visceral connections to my own Italian ancestors, the Caiazzo family. More to come.


While I am abroad, I am putting my readings on hold. But you can schedule ahead to mid-June and later by visiting my online scheduling software.