For the Father of a Teen


“Help me understand how to relate to my kid,” a father said to me. “He’s a teenager, his lives with his mom, and I’m worried that he has no direction in life. He plays video games, is on his computer all the time, and gives me no reason to believe he’s got any thoughts for the future. I’m afraid that if I don’t teach him better, he’ll just drift through life and waste his potential.”

The most common advice he heard from his friends was difficult for him to accept. They told him, gently I imagine, to back off, cut the kid some slack, and recognize his actions as controlling. He suspected there was some wisdom in that advice, but he was not willing to surrender completely to their assessment. Regardless, he knew he and his son were stuck in an imperfect pattern.

Slide1 (1)What did the cards have to say?

He shuffled and cut the deck for a simple 3-card spread:

  1. 6 of Swords, upright
  2. 2 of Wands, reversed
  3. Page of Swords, upright

Version 3

The 6 of Swords as a covering card was a refreshing surprise for me. Rather than saying “back off,” this card validates the man’s role as a guide. It also acknowledges that his role is complicated, and that the journey is not simple. The 6 of Swords is commonly said to be about the journey from rough to calm waters. (I’ve written about it before). In the Golden Tarot deck, it clearly shows a trio. Examining their family roles would have been a bigger and different reading, but the important message for this reading was that his guidance IS necessary to help his child navigate his adolescence. He has a place in the boat. It saw it as a vote of confidence for him. He has a prominent place in this boat.

Version 2But the qualifying cards gave a slight twist. I felt that both qualifying cards referred directly to the teen. Card 3, the Page of Swords, was upright, looking outward. The words I connected to at the time were: True, Stalwart, Sincere, Healthy. The Page is a lovely teenager with great potential. In the same way that the first card was a vote of confidence for the man, I saw this as a tribute to this boy’s strength and curiosity. I let the dad sit with this image. Can you see your son in this card?

CCI16032017_2To the left was the only reversed card in the bunch: the 2 of Wands. In this card, a figure stands looking at the horizon with a globe in his hand. This card is about setting plans, seeing the big picture, and imagining the future. But the card was upside-down. Reversals rarely indicated a lack of something, but rather a presence that is qualified in some way. I read this as saying that the energy of the 2 of Wands was emergent in the teen. The skill was growing, but was not yet strong enough to be visible to others.

The message I left this client with was: “You are an important guide to your son. He is learning from you if he shows it or not. And, at the same time that you help steer the ship, you can hold steady to your belief in your son’s goodness. He has more going on inside than he is able to show at this time. In the same way that these cards validate your role as a guide, they also validate your son’s strength and developing maturity. Does seeing that in the cards make it possible for you to improve the dynamic that has been bothering you?”


For more about Present Day Tarot and Yetta Snow, go to or You can also book a reading directly online.

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.

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!”

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


In the deck of tarot cards, nothing says lies and liars like the 7 of Swords. Since lies are in the air, let’s take a closer look.

Version 4

                                    1907 drawing by Pamela Coleman Smith (Rider-Waite)

The suit of Swords is the air sign in the deck, representing thoughts, truths and facts. The person who controls the swords commands the power of persuasion. This particular liar looks like a nimble lightweight who enjoys the act of deception as much or more than the items he procures. He finds his drive in the compulsion to get away with something, and he does it with abandon.


                               Tarot del Fuego was published in 2014

A newer version of the 7 of Swords (right) by Ricardo Cavalo places emphasis on the moment when the lies come back to bite the blustering, blindfolded liar. The liar here has more force than finesse. He has lost control of his temper as well as the lies he spewed into being.

Orange and yellow are 2nd and 3rd chakra colors, where our will, ego, and drive reside. The sevens are high energy and off balance, just like other orange-and blond-headed liars in the news.


                             “Envy” by Giotto, 1305

My favorite depiction of a lie is in Giotto’s early 14th century fresco of the vice, Envy, which is a small part of the amazing Scrovegni Chapel in Padua, Italy. Old Lady Envy grabs a money purse while being engulfed in the flames of her own bad humor. Her ear is distorted by paranoia, and the snake – her lies – emerge from her mouth only to turn around and bite her between the eyes.

There’s comfort in lasting art at times like this. In 1305 — 140 years before the first tarot decks were made and 711 years before the election of Donald Trump — Giotto knew very well that it doesn’t pay to lie. He knew that lies spring from envy, and from feelings of inadequacy and fear. He knew that the opposite of Envy is not Pride, but Charity (below), which he painted as the corresponding virtue on the opposite chapel wall. So for the thousands of people who rallied at airports this past weekend, chanting “no hate, no fear, immigrants are welcome here,” I hereby dedicate Giotto’s Charity to you. Your fierce generosity is what we need to keep the lies on their natural trajectory — however slow and perilous it may be — back to faces of the liars who lied them.


For more about Present Day Tarot and Henrietta Snow, go to or

Press Release: TxROT WOMxN’s March


“There must be, like, a thousand decks here!” delighted organizers exclaim

THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS, January 21, 2017. — The Tarot’s Major Arcana, Royalty and Pip cards gathered in large numbers on the capitol this Saturday to speak out against what many call the Shadow Side of the Trump White House. When asked to comment on the size of the crowd, event organizer Henrietta Snow of Present Day Tarot explained: “We knew to expect the Pamela Colman Smith deck and her many derivatives. But what a delight to see so many decks of every shape and size, both mass-produced and independent. Look! There’s one of our most revered predecessors,” she said, pointing to a cluster of 15th Century figures waving a sign that read, “Now You’ve Gone and Pissed off the Grand Etteilla!”

In a pre-march rally, the High Priestess, wearing a Nasty Woman t-shirt, addressed the crowd. “The cards formerly known as ‘Trumps’ will herewith be referred to as the ‘Major Arcana’ – until we find a way to de-vulgarize our good name. Now put on your pussy hats, ladies, and let the march begin!”

The Star and The World cards led the way, holding banners that read, “Keep your laws out of my uterus!” and “There IS no Planet B,” respectively. Close behind The Devil card led Justice and Judgment in a chant of “Hell Toupee! Hell Toupee!” The Hermit card walked slowly to one side with cardboard sign that read, “Not usually a sign guy, but GEEZ!

Following the Major Arcana, the Royals mixed and mingled among their elements. The King of Cups, with a sign reading “Love makes us great,” held hands with the King of Wands. The Queens of Swords and Pentacles shared a banner demanding to “Keep it Intersectional.”  There were audible sighs at the sight of the young Page of Wands, toddling along with a finger-painted sign which read, “I [HEART] TRAINS.”

Pips of every size and suit followed behind, waving signs that ranged from snarky to somber. “I am so ready to move on!” exclaimed the 6 of Swords. “If this administration has done one good thing, it’s gotten us off our butts.” Walking beside her, the 8 of cups supported the sentiment, saying, “the future is female. Point us toward the moon!”

Bringing up the rear of the march was the 8 of Pentacles, with a sign that read: “Sisters and Brothers, this is just the beginning! There’s work to be done. You know what to do – Now do it!”


For more information, contact Henrietta Snow:

Images bases are from my favorite Rider-Waite-Smith deck printed by US Games.

2017 Raffle Winner

Happy New Year, Friends of Present Day Tarot!

The winner of the 2017 New Year Tarot Raffle is Anita U, as announced on my first Facebook video production (very fancy!), in which you can get a glimpse of my tarot studio and even meet my cat, Blue.

Anita will receive a full tarot reading with me, valued at $125. The reading will happen either in my South Seattle studio or remotely via Skype, Face Time, phone or email, as she prefers. I have contacted her directly to arrange the prize.

Raffles are a fun way for me to reach out, so please keep an eye on my Facebook page for more to come in 2017. In general, I make short-term announcements and event postings on Facebook, while reserving this blog for essays and more substantive writing. If you do not do Facebook, I applaud you and envy you your privacy! You are very welcome to join my email list (lightly used and never shared) by writing to

If you prefer not to leave tarot up to chance, you can always book a reading directly or contact me for information about parties, workshops, mentoring and more.

All the best to you for a wonderful 2017!


Hermit in Love

People are never excited to see The Hermit in their love readings, but it happens all the time. “When will I meet my soul mate?” (The Hermit) “What does the future look like with my current partner?” (The Hermit!) Today it was, “Does my boyfriend really love me?” (The HERMIT!!) It makes for an awkward moment every time.

13423919_1404651042882108_1830049019912469846_nYou might as well tell someone to go kiss an angler fish. All pretense of beauty aside, this creature is what it is. The ugliest, deep water denizen dangles a lantern in front of its own face saying, “love me, warts and all.”

The Hermit is a watery card, or more exactly, it is the reliable Virgo earth beneath a body of water. While other trumps – the Chariot, the Lovers, the Wheel – hold the energy of the water above, I see the Hermit as the long and still riverbed. It is the deepest part of our souls in this lifetime. Meditate in silence to connect with yourself at the Hermit level. Change on this level affects everything that happens above.

Does the Hermit sentence you to a life alone? No, that’s not how tarot works. But if you are looking for someone to love, this card insists that you look inside first. Here are some of the interpretations I’ve given in the past, gleaned from my written readings (with all identifying info omitted, of course):

• You are worried that your boyfriend is cheating. You are concerned about honesty. The lantern this figure holds represents your inner wisdom. Honor this part of yourself. Look deeply into your situation and listen to your inner voice. Use the Hermit’s lantern to help you understand how you got here and how to proceed.

• What are your deepest values for a relationship and for your expectations of another? The Hermit suggests that you will not be satisfied with anyone who is not able to meet you at the deepest level.

• If you are usually pragmatic and action-oriented, this card challenges you to bring out the other side of yourself as you look for a new partner. It says you will be well served to not rush things.

The Hermit doesn’t take loneliness for granted. It is an important part of being human, which is most often hidden by the noise and busy happenings of our day-to-day.

Tarot cards pictured above come from these decks, (from L to R): The Antiquarian Tarot, The Fountain Tarot, and The  Book of Thoth. The fish photo is from National Geographic.


This essay is a re-issue of a post from my Facebook page, written in April 2015 when I was going through one of my periodic crushes on the Hermit card. Circumstances nowadays lead me to focus on more action-oriented cards. I use Facebook to advertise Present Day Tarot’s current events, like local reading appearances, promotional discounts, and gift certificates for the holidays. Please visit me there, too!

Earth, Fire, and Clear-Cuts

The first time I saw a fresh clear-cut I was 19 and exploring the Northwest with college friends. The sight of the sharp edge slicing through a crest of trees took my breath away. I had no context in which to place what I was seeing, and got dizzy just trying to make sense of it.

That memory came to me this morning as I walked through a formerly wooded area twenty-five miles outside of Seattle. The suburb is so young you can still see the edge of the clear-cuts surrounding the snapped-together malls and houses. In the misty November air, the former forest was palpable. I could feel it between remaining trees, see it in the carcass of a sunken cottage, and hear it in the bewildered pond behind a Gold’s Gym.

The tarot cards looming large today are the Eight of Wands and the Two of Pentacles. Fire and Earth. These two cards have shown a lot in my readings recently. Together they represent the upheaval and disorientation caused by rapid change. Pamela Coleman-Smith’s iconic drawings are easy to interpret. Notice the high seas behind the pentacle juggler. See the eight wands flying through the sky and feel a rug being pulled from under your feet.

Tarot helps us understand that energy comes in waves that are larger than the details of our lives. These two cards apply to current politics as well as people’s personal situations in love and work. Upheaval seems to be the energy wave of the day. It leaves people rocky, unsure, and sometimes whiplashed in its wake. When we experience this dynamic, the natural questions are: What can I do to find my equilibrium? How can I best cope? How do I stave off the most serious damage?

A good way to find advice in the Tarot is to look at the cards that sequentially surround the cards you pick. In this case, since we are all looking toward the future, I examine the next cards in both these suits: the Three of Pentacles and the Nine of Wands.

The difference between the Two and the Three of Pentacles is that the person in the first card is trying to handle things all alone. The Three reminds us to ask for help from the people around us. We are stronger and more stable together even if, like the people in the card, we need to confer and decipher clues before knowing how best to move forward. The Three of Pentacles reminds us that people in a group have a vast pool of resources – far greater than this ragtag group might seem to have at first glance.

While the Eight of Wands evokes a helpless feeling, the Nine of Wands is about personal protection. Some decks refer to this suit as “Staves,” which I love given that the energy in this card is staving off threats. He is suspicious for a reason, but has enough experience to be able to discern friend from foe. This card advises us to keep our guards up, to not minimize the threat, and to stay vigilant.

Although I didn’t know what a clear-cut was as a child, I’ve been living on top of them all my life. We all have. And while today’s scorched earth may feel like an impossibly deep wound, we have a say in how to heal it.


On a very different note, it’s “What-On-Earth-Am-I-Going-To-Get-For-That-Person?” season again! Why not wow them with the gift of tarot? Give someone a reading, or have me read tarot at your holiday party (book quickly… my schedule is filling up).  Contact me for gift certificates, or book a reading directly online.