Tarot Workout: How’s My Timing?

“Beverly” has surprised herself by getting excited about someone new very shortly after a breakup. She asks:

“What potential does this new relationship have, especially given my timing?”

Using the Golden Tarot by Kat Black, you draw a 4-card spread for Beverly. What do you tell her when you see these cards?

Present Day Tarot Spread


******** Tarot Students, pause here to create your own interpretation of this reading. Then read on to compare my response to yours. **********

Continue reading “Tarot Workout: How’s My Timing?”


Tarot Connections

I see tarot cards in the world around me.

I do it for sport, like the time I got Pete to pose as the 4 of Cups as we endured a long airport layover.


The card spoke to the moment. Boredom, dissatisfaction, and being too caught up in tedious expectation to welcome in the unexpected. Cup #4: a ukulele! Did we take the advice of the card and play it? Energetically, yes. We had fun staging my vignette and eventually had to run to catch our plane.

Another pip card moment: I happened upon some large-scale groundskeeping when I visited the MIT campus last week. I suppose they were preparing for graduation. Continue reading “Tarot Connections”

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”

Tarot Workout: Speed Dating

‘Silvia’ writes in with the following question: “I have several dates planned in the next few weeks. How can I find the best guy for me?”

This Tarot Workout shows a common question asked of tarot readers, and is based on an actual reading I did some time ago. I’ll just set you up for now, and ask you to leave comments with your thoughts for Silvia. I will post my written response in a few days. You do not need to consider yourself a tarot reader to weigh in. Simply find your intuitive response to the pictures, and go for it.

Using the Rider-Waite-Smith deck, you lay out the following spread:

Present Day Tarot 3-card spreadCARD 1 (Sylvia’s ideal romantic partner): 9 of Cups, upright

CARD 2 (Helping energy): 6 of Cups, reversed

CARD 3 (Blocking energy): Ace of Cups, reversed


Together, the spread looks like this:

Present Day Tarot image for Silvia

Upright in 1-2-3 order, the cards look like this:

What do you tell Silvia?

(Stop at this point if you’re doing the tarot workout. Put out your cards and come up with your own interpretation. Then read on to see the answer Silvia got from me — Y)

Continue reading “Tarot Workout: Speed Dating”

Struggling Lovers

Civil Rights, Art, and Tarot together at the Seattle Art Museum

They say the Lovers card is about choice, which means it is equally about consequence. That often overlooked corollary of this tarot card is, for me, the central take-away from Robert Colescott’s paintings currently on exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum. (The exhibit, Figuring Historyruns until Sunday, May 13th 2018). Thanks to Colescott, the American struggle for civil rights will forever more inform my understanding of the Lovers card, and vice-versa.

A Visual Parallel

Because of the composition, the connection is most obvious in Natural Rhythm: Thank you Jan Van Eyck, from 1976 (below, left).

Continue reading “Struggling Lovers”

Tarot Workout: A Longing Heart

My Tarot Workouts are based on real-life readings, minus the identifying details. Add them to your Sunday puzzle routine! If you want even more exercise, search for “Tarot Workouts” on my blog.

A Longing Heart

‘Candace’ asks, “Will I ever reunite with my ex?” You design a simple 4-card spread, which loosely mirrors the center of the Celtic Cross:

4 card visual alternate cropped

CARD 1 (Overall energy between them): Knight of Wands, reversed
CARD 2 (Opportunity for better or worse): 10 of Wands
CARD 3 (What direction are they headed?): Death
CARD 4 (Lesson from the universe): Queen of Wands

Using the Modern Spellcaster’s Tarot, you draw the following cards, placed all upright here for you to see clearly:




What do you say to Candace?

Continue reading “Tarot Workout: A Longing Heart”

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.