I have fond memories of the countless hours I poured into content for this website during October-December of 2020. It was such an obsession and I was working hard towards the goal of being ready to teach online tarot classes. I had eight decks selected for the year to really focus on. Tarot Esoterica podcasts were going to happen every week. Esoteric Tarot Lessons were going to happen twice a month.
The really good news is that I haven’t lost my passion for esoteric tarot. I’m still spending quite a bit of time reading, writing, and listening to others about tarot-based topics every day. There has just been a couple of big changes.
For two months, I’ve been going to the gym/swimming pool on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. This is a 3 hour outing. Then on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I’ve been going to the dermatology clinic downtown for UV light therapy in a big tank. This is a 2-3 hour outing. I’ve lost weight, I’ve shrunk a clothes size, I’m in better physical health.
I’ve also weathered through a complete depression side of my normal Bipolar 2 cycle in weeks vs. months this spring. I’ve dealt with some unexpected arthritic pain developing in my wrists, gotten a beautiful King Charles Cavalier spaniel named Sissy, and managed to keep up (mostly) with daily social media on Twitter (as the Loracular), Facebook (as Laurel to ~100 friends and family). There have been consistent posts from me at both Cult of Tarot and Tarot,Tea & Me – including a personal journal at CoT devoted to deep delving into Qabalistic Tarot by doing some critical analysis of specific authors and texts so far, but paving the way to start writing up something major of my own.
What I haven’t been doing is teaching tarot in lesson format to others. I’ve also really slowed down on getting Tarot Esoterica episodes written, recorded, and posted. Those morning hours now devoted to being out of the house are one of the biggest factors to that. Tarot Esoterica #14 script has been written for over a week but I just haven’t found a good window to record it, when I have the quiet, privacy, and spoons all at the same time to make it happen.
My current plan, however, is to make a huge push over the next 28 days to get a lot of Tarot Esoterica done and finish off the series specifically on Eliphas Levi’s Doctrine & Rituals of High Magic done dramatically fast, starting with some heavy lifting on it tomorrow.
And then, rather than tackling Wirth or Waite or Crowley, I’m going to instead jump to Dion Fortune and the Mystical Qabalah and then modern authors who’ve published books on Qabalistic tarot since the 1980s forward.
The Pride Tarot articles are going to end with the Major Arcana. Blog posts on more general tarot-flavored esoterica and psychoterica are going to become much more consistent come June.
At least that is the plan for now! I will take a look at things again around Samhain and make adjustments from there.
Mage the Ascension is one of the World of Darkness TTRPGs which helped shaped the paradigm of 25-35 year old me well beyond roleplaying. There was a great deal about it that I didn’t enjoy about MtA when sitting around a table, dicing with friends or typing in-character posts inside a roleplaying chat room. However, when it came to applying its metaphors and arcane theorycraft to how magick actually worked? Some of it was pretty good, I thought at the time. I still do.
One of the most useful things that MtA teaches about the efficacy of magick – aka the success in creating your intended effect through the application of True Will upon a situation via a personalized rite or ritual- is your success in overcoming Consensus.
MtA is just a game about mage politics and hubris in a reality that can be much more definitively shaped by True Will than our actual one. However, it uses Consensus as a gatekeeper over what the PCs and NPCs can successfully accomplish.
Mages know that all humans shape the world with their wills, but Sleepers do so unconsciously – reality is what the majority of people believe it to be. For any individual willworker to work magic, he must force his belief on the world, fighting the billions of minds whose beliefs shape the Consensus. – White Wolf Wiki
There is a lot of nuance to The Consensus and there’s a war over it going on in the United States these days. A war that looks like it is only going to become more vicious and brutal from here. It wouldn’t be wrong, in fact, to use the MtA factions as a metaphor for #BLM and QAnon as examples. Just about every ideological truth of one is repudiated by the other and both are fighting hard to seize control of the Consensus. Alt-Left and Alt-Right are convinced that the leaders of the opposing side are fascists who will destroy everything sacred and precious. Everyone outside of their own paradigm is either crazy or simply calculatingly exploitive.
I’m pretty biased myself towards #BLM and a world where a progressive, humanitarian, environmentally-sustaining ideology becomes the Consensus. I find it daunting as a psychoteric magician to apply rituals and workings towards this cause. I also feel a Calling from something beyond my own singular consciousness to do so. However, I think the most practical and successful way to create magickal change is to focus on the macrocosm vs. the microcosm. When your own Self is what you are throwing into the alchemical crucible and putting through all the stages of tempering into a Magnum Opus, you have a whole more control over the environment. The only “believers” you have to get into agreed ideology are the dwellers in your own psyche.
However, that is a whole lot harder than it sounds.
One of my favorite new spelunkers of the psyche is Anne over at ThirdEve. who wrote a very good article on Jung’s Model of the Psyche a few years ago. One of the big takeaways from it is:
“The Self can only be seen through images we call archetypes such as hero, king, queen, wise old man, orphan, savior, divine couple, etc. in dreams, myths, fairytales, and the like. When a person is at an impasse developmentally, it is through trying to break through to the hidden life of the unconscious that she may find the way to her true Self.”
One of my personal truths is that within the self we don’t have a singular archetype to draw on, but at least sixteen of them (The MBTI archetypes). Then there are our individualized inner demons, qlippothic or shadow archetypes that serve the Adversary Within. This would create 32 archetypal voices in my personal paradigm for the psyche: gasp just like there are 32 paths of Wisdom in QBL philosophy!
If you view your inner Self as a chorus of competing spin doctors, each wanting to establish dominance over what you feel and how you behave? You can appreciate why, even magicians and mystics, have so much challenge in making meaningful, sustainable self-change. One of the benefits of being a life-long “gamer”, however, is that attacking challenges and seeking creative solutions is sure a lot of fun.
I have great antipathy for The Kabbalah Centre and its commercial exploitation of Jewish mysticism. I have great antipathy for the New Age/Wellness Industry as a whole. But the founder of the Kabbalah Centre, Philip S. Berg, was a Jewish scholar and rabbi albeit now a very controversial one. At least one of his books, Kabbalah For The Layman Volume I used to be in my collection and I’m sure I read others. I would say that the Kabbalah Centre, while not culturally appropriative (since the Bergs are Jewish), it isn’t very respectful towards conventional Jewish mysticism.
Jack Chanek (@jack_of_wands) tweeted the other day that he is taking a lot of community backlash over the title and premise of his debut book with the working title of Qabalah For Wiccans. I immediately watched in YouTube video on Qabalah, Wicca, and Appropriation. My empathy for him immediately switched on. I’m not going to cover the same ground as he does but I do not put his book in the same category as merchandise from the Kabbalah Centre. Not at all. Watch that 16 minute video and then read my thoughts about the topics it raises below. In no way do I view Jack’s future book as belonging in the same category as the Kabbalah Centre. It is something that definitely should be published and read by those interested in Qabalah, Wicca, or both.
Because of the easy confusion in topics, I specifically use Kabbalah to mean the closed Jewish mystical tradition, Cabala to mean the pre-Lévi closed Christian mystical tradition, and Qabalah to mean what started in the Lévi/Golden Dawn era and evolved from there into the open esoteric philosophical system it is now. I’m going to toss in a lot of links so anyone unfamiliar with certain names can get some quick reference.
Should non-Jewish occultists use the Hebrew alphabet in their occultism?
I have put a lot of thought into this since returning from my last hiatus. I recently, synchronistically, made the decision that in my personal magickal practice I would no longer use Hebrew alphabetic script (any of them) while drawing glyphs, sigils, or anything ceremonial and evocative. If I make my own tarot deck, Hebrew letters won’t be included there. I don’t chant in Hebrew and I refrain from uttering the Tetragrammaton by its actual Hebrew pronunciation out of respect to the belief it is too sacred to be uttered except under very specific religious situations.
Can I continue to be a Qabalist with these changes where respectfully retreat from Hebrew as a tool from my non-Judaic magickal/spiritual practices? Absolutely and easily. Qabalism is an underlying philosophy and cosmological/psychological paradigm, it isn’t the practice of ceremonial magick itself. You don’t have to be a ceremonial magician to be a Qabalist; you don’t have to have a Qabalistic worldview to be a ceremonial magician.
Should Gentiles Read Books of Jewish Mysticism?
I don’t consider it disrespectful to simply read and contemplate published works. My feeling is that once a sacred text has been published for public consumption, the reading of it doesn’t interlope on a closed practice. I think all non-hate-based sacred texts should be respected and appreciated for what they provide people of faith, even when it’s not your faith. Reading books written by mystics won’t by themselves provide you with your own mystical experience, however. At best, they might give you some insight into how to dedicate your life to having one. Reading comes from a place of Air/Swords/Intellect; Faith comes from a place of Fire/Wands/Belief.
What I can tell you from my long personal experience in reading sacred texts, including Kabbalistic ones? Reading the Zohar, the Bahir, the Sefer Yetzirah, or any text of Jewish mysticism without coming at it from decades of cultural and academic study within Judaism isn’t going to give you the right context to appreciate their nuances. Also? They’re really hard to read and understand. Books of Christian mysticism like those of John Scotus Eriugena and Hildegard of Bingen are just as hard. So is Aggripa’s Three Books of Occult Philosophy. To read texts these old and truly appreciate them, you need to know a lot of things about the authors and their life and times.
Do you need to read these sorts of texts to learn Qabalism or Qabalistic tarot? No. Absolutely not. As a beginner, you will want the kind of book that Jack has written. I’m out of the loop of what is currently in print and an ideal place to start.
Is Qabalah An Example Of Cultural Appropriation?
So, after doing a lot of research on what this term means to different people who are using it, I have decided to personally use the definition for cultural appropriation covered at VeryWellMind. I have a lot of respect for VeryWellMind as a website.
Therefore, in my current lexicon? “Cultural appropriation refers to the use of objects or elements of a non-dominant culture in a way that doesn’t respect their original meaning, give credit to their source, or reinforces stereotypes or contributes to oppression.”
Therefore no, the philosophy of Qabalism in Western Occultism is not cultural appropriation. It is really important as a modern person to realize that while Qabalism is about 150 years if we date it beginning as a philosophy with Éliphas Lévi and the publication of Dogme et Rituel de la Haute Magie in 1864 and 1856, what he based his system off of wasn’t directly the works of, for example, Saadia Gaon, Elijah ben Solomon Zalman and Isaac Luria. In my opinion, what Levi began to publish and bring into public view was Christian Cabala. He didn’t create Christian cabala, he just created his own magickal system and philosophy that introduced tarot as a definitive magickal tool. Then he published his work and it went viral. Tarot was transformed into something new as part of that.
Cabala originated hundreds of years before during the Renaissance. Giovanni Pico della Mirandola is attributed with being the founder of Christian Cabalistic philosophy. Mirandola appears to have respected the Kabbalists whose work he studied- among the copious other things he studied-, gave credit to his sources and did not reinforce Jewish stereotypes or encourage/contribute to their oppression to the best of my knowledge.
I am very sure that a better historian than myself can articulate the multiple ways that the Jewish and Islamic peoples of Europe were victims of systemic racism in the late 1400s and 1500s by the White Christians of Europe. But my personal research spanning from the life of Mirandola to Antoine Court de Gébelin (1725-1784) suggests that cabalists were typically more inclusive, open-minded, and devoted to hate-free spiritualism than less esoteric Christians in the same era.
What About The Tree of Life glyph?
So. The Tree of Life as a concept was borrowed by early Judaism from Assyrian mythology; a lot of things were. Judaic law, philosophy, tradition, ritual, myth, and literature evolved and included a lot of cultural assimilation and also a lot of diversity of religious practices between sects. Very few people of the Jewish faith traditions were ever exposed to esoteric Judaism until recently. Kabbalah is actually only one flavor of Jewish mysticism but it is the best recognized by name just as the Tree of Life is so widely presented now its almost mainstream.
Esoteric Judaism played around with all kinds of Tree of Life diagrams and how to apply the concepts of the Sefer Yetrizah and other Kabbalistic writings to them. Different Kabbalists presented it all in different formats. They played with it as a conceptual framework.
The specific Tree of Life glyph that is now the convention for all forms of QBL? That is not Kabbalistic in origin. It is Cabalistic in origin. It is now generally attributed to German-born Catholic humanist Johann Reuchlin for the Latin translation of the Sha’are Orah (The Gates of Light) in 1516 and then borrowed and expanded upon much later by the German Jesuit scholar Athanasius Kircher as an engraving in Oedipus Aegyptiacus in 1652.
So you are not stealing directly from Kabbalah to use it. If using Hebrew letters for pathworking feels appropriative? Don’t use them. Substitute something like the Major Arcana or the astrological planets, signs, and modalities instead and don’t do it in a way that links to the Hebrew alphabet at all.
How Could Qabalah Be Useful To Wiccans?
Qabalah is a philosophical framework that can be integrated into any spiritual or magickal practice. The modern authors of the Qabalah (most of the books on that table are from modern Qabalistic authors) have made that extremely clear. It is inclusive, it has no inherent racism, bigotry, sexism (even if there were/are plenty of racist, bigoted, sexist occultists). There are plenty of authors and books on the Qabalah that I disagree with; I’ve shaped my own Qabalistic paradigm but I had to spend a lot of time in contemplation about other people’s personal truths in order to develop my own.
I self-initiated into Wicca at age 14 (back in 1983, three years before Wicca was recognized as a religion in the United States) and was a voracious reader of Wicca, historical witchcraft, and folklore from 1983 to 1990. Trying to read tarot books during those years by folks like A.E Waite and Aleister Crowley failed miserably because I didn’t have the context for what they were talking about. That came in 1990-2000, post-Wicca.
Wicca taught me to love myself, humanity, the living planet and deities plural. It taught me how to be a magickal girl and then a magickal woman, unashamed of her sexuality and beliefs in spirits great and small. It didn’t provide me the appreciation for the psychology of spirituality and magic that I picked up from the places that Golden Dawn-style occultism took me next. It didn’t introduce me to the metaphors of alchemy, the power of the laws written into the Kybalion or the powerful message of tikkun olam as a metaphorical mandate for all human beings to take personal responsibility for making the world better by being better.
If you like what Isaac Bonewits had to say in Real Magic? You will like Qabalah as a philosophical system. And if you haven’t ever read Real Magic? Go do that. Isaac Bonewits was not only brilliant but he had the same eclectic background like mine in all flavors of occultism and neo-paganism and brought the wisdom of the many paths into one in a very understandable way.
So in closing, I hope this was a helpful and interesting read. I truly think adopting at least some Qabalistic principles into a Wicca-based practice could bring a lot of insight and some new tools for self-empowerment and emotional resilience. I would say the same about Qabalah and any faith tradition.
Today, I didn’t make it to Medium. Instead, I read an article offered by a friend who listens to me babble about magick and psychoterica on my especially hyper-manic days. Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ Myth Reaches Its Catastrophic Conclusion by Paul Blumenthal is found on HuffPost which is actually more left than I like my news and commentary. I actually get my political news/commentary from The Hill, the Washington Post, the Atlantic and AllSides.
There was a specific reason this article was sent to me beyond my Rage For Democracy (and trust me, -if- it had been a Far Left group who did the same behavior on 1-6 I would call it terrorism and be just as engaged in seeing them torn asunder as a group and the perpetrators jailed). It was because this gets to the heart of Mind Magick and what can be done by a skilled Mental Magician or better still, a cabal of them.
I was -NOT- planning on going anywhere near the topic of the Trumps, MAGA/QANON with this blog. Heck, the whole reason I was waiting for 2021 to go live was to put the Trump era behind and focus on Biden-Harris USA and just stop giving the ex-Potus power by mentioning him/his name.
1-6 and the machinations before, after, and yet to come had to get in the way of my intentions. Lightning Hit The Tower. And so here I am, not at all ready to be wading forward into topics this complicated and messy. I wanted to be teaching the basics of occult philosophy in a way that fit for a 2020+ paradigm!! Helping novice tarot readers feel more confident in how to interpret cards and getting into theorycraft on self-development and interpersonal relationships, how to improve those without jumping into the consumerism of the Wellness and Pop Psychology Industry.
I was a 52 year old lady with a plan that was going to gently ease people into the topics near and dear to my heart. But no. Because I was intentionally blind to just how BAD things REALLY were. I’d spent 7 years pretty self-absorbed in my personal pain and pleasure (like most folks) and it had taken 2020 to wake me up, taken until mid September of 2020 for me to do more than watch, listen, think.
What is gut-wrenchingly important about this specific article listed above is what it has to say about political myths. Political mythology and the creation and belief in them is very psychoteric stuff. The creators of political mythologies are mental magicians. They craft a personal belief and project it in a way that it expands, person by person, to include an entire social group. As the belief expands, egregores develop. I am not sure I am capable right now of explaining what egregores are except they shape themselves accordingly to their creator’s emotional state: they take the form of what we truly love or fear- according to which state we are experiencing when we bring them into manifestation in the realm of mind-spirit.
I wasn’t even ready to start writing about mind-spirit and my take on the Qabalistic four worlds!
So…. MAGA/QAnon has a political mythology, an ideological narrative. So does #BlackLivesMatter. Political mythologies aren’t by themselves bad. Mental magicians (most of them would NEVER call themselves by this name; the most influential pundits are mental magicians by the Law of Association. What they do is a form of Mind Magick) can use their craft for activities that covered my the entire range of a human moral compass. -I- am a very altruistic mental magician and I am anti-grift and anti-excessive wealth, so I’d make a shitty celebrity or even book author. I advocate fabulously; I market poorly.
I was always Anti-Trump and what he represented as a wheeling-dealing businessman from my early adulthood on. I’m anti-billionaire. It wasn’t about him as a person, not even through his Art of the Deal era, not even during The Apprentice. And quite honestly? When he took office? I wanted to be wrong about him. But I was a little busy in 2015-2016 to fighting fibromyalgia, related health problems and the abject poverty that comes when suddenly you can’t work for a living and you are fighting the SSA system to get on SSDI. Nor could I have done anything about him and QAnon even if I wasn’t.
MAGA/QAnon had to actually perform their first overt act of terrorism for me to label them as terrorists. GOP legislators like Ted Cruz, Hawley had to step over the line of an ideology I despised to sedition against the democratically elected Biden-Harris. They all had to work together to attempt a coup on behalf of Donald Trump.
They had to take their mythology to a new level where they have become religious extremists like ISIS. Because that is what MAGA/QAnon has involved into. Not all Muslims supported Obama bin Laden and other Islamic terrorists and extremists. Far from it! Muslim extremists committed far more terrorism and war and murder on other Muslims than non-Muslims before and after 9-11. For all I know, they still are.
I have my own mythology to weave now, my own ideological narrative to build. I want to believe that mine will be actually true but I’m going to fight that hubris. Instead, I will focus on the idea that it is based on egalitarian principles, real ones.
So today’s Medium article is “The Psychology of The Magus” by Jennifer Moore which I discovered when I was looking for a picture of Magus #3 for my collection. That is the one I happened to draw for today, synchronicitly. I wasn’t able to read as carefully as I would have liked, my brain was too racing to get my own thoughts out about The Inner Magus and True Will and Weight Loss.
I have given myself the resolution to not eat grain-based food, candy, or soda for 2021. I started by giving them all up on December 26th. Today is Day 2 of 2021. I am not throwing myself at eating X number of calories, trying to balance my Protein-Carbs-Fats or any other food alchemy at this time. The ~only~ things I’ve established for myself are:
1. No grain-based foods, no candy, no soda 2. Potatoes and Legumes are my primary starches 3. I eat as much fresh produce as I can; condiments are okay.
I don’t know how much weight I will or won’t lose. I would LOVE to drop an entire 100 lbs. by my 53rd birthday (tomorrow is my 52nd birthday) but you know what? I have not, in all the years I’ve told myself “I will lose a hundred lbs. this year” come even close. I’ve lost 20, 30, even 40 lbs. over a 12 month period but always gained at least half of it back. Most years, keeping myself between 320-340 lbs. has been my biggest accomplishment.
I’m not doing it that way this time. My weight is currently 330 lbs. I’m at my average. But in 2021, I would ~like to~ lose at least 31 lbs. and I would ~like to~ feel what it’s like to be 299 lobs again. I ~plan to~ to get off my ass at least 3 times a day and take three short walks to get in at least 5,000 steps even on bad days.
But what I AM going to do, not simply hope for and plan for? I’m going to abstain and from grain-based foods (which include all cereals and baked goods and pasta), all candy, all soda.
Because this is my Will. This is my Directed Intention that I’m being and going to continue to be magickal about: I am stating to myself and the universe that I will not eat these foods with the self-understanding that what I really mean is that I will willfully and by intention not eat these foods and if I fuck up? Then I will willfully and by intention smack myself in the head, laugh, and go right back to NOT eating these foods. I will walk a set path with grit teeth, determination, and accept my human fallibility but not define myself by it.
At the end of the day (or in this case, at the end of the year)? The point should not be “Laurel weighs less than 300 lbs for the first time in 30 years!”. That is just the pay-off I hope for. The point will be “Laurel honed her True Will and mind magick to stop eating grain-based food, candy, and soda… and as a result of that and moderate daily exercise? She lost weight.”
The point will be that I established a sandbox for shaping and strengthening my True Will in 2021. It’s that I’m making a resolution that regardless of circumstances, regardless of what events happen and how I feel-think afterward? I am not going to eat grain-based food, candy, or drink soda. Not when I’m happy and celebrating, not when I’m sad/bad/mad. I can drink juice, coffee, tea, water, milk, seltzer…anything else. I can nom on potatoes with ketchup, I can stick a spoonful of peanut butter in my mouth. I can let someone buy me a bunless hamburger with fries and ice tea when we go pick up fast food.
Because I have stated my intention and created a resolution and now I do the magick of creating the reality I want. I made this resolution and initiated this working with full knowledge that my Inner Demons will gleefully look at ways to sabotage my Inner Magus because that’s their job as my psyche-as-Adversary? (There’s some psychoteric writing for the future). The point is to Be The Magus who, like Solomon, masters the demons rather than being mastered by the demons. 2021 is going to be a Solomonic story, not a Faustian story, I have decided. I get to triumph. All it takes is me, via praxis, keeping to my resolution via True Will which I believe I can do.
My BELIEF that I. Can. Do. This. Thing and my embracing of “This is gonna be so hard some days but totally worth it and I will say this and believe this and make this my reality” is the Mind Magick. Using affirmations, rituals, tarot card readings, every tool I draw on to program my brain into consistent follow-through day by day (hour by hour on the rough days)? That’s the Craft. Because if I can say and mean and follow through on something as challenging as “no grains, no candy, no soda” for the next 364 days?
Everything else I want to accomplish is possible and probable too. But this is the sandbox and canvas for the microcosm of my Great Work for 2021. It is something I do have control over, and only I have control over, which is what makes it so useful as a sandbox. You, my readers, will get to watch as you please. While I’m doing this mental alchemical Magnum Opus (a year of abstinence from grain foods, candy and soda) for me? I am also sure that using my blog as one of the ways I hold myself accountable for thinking through and typing through this working will really, really help it happen.
Typing about my inner demons when they manifest and start cavorting about to try and sabotage my work will really help me snap my fingers and say “no” with confidence and prove that my Inner Magus is stronger.
There is most ~definitely~ some very deep delving into The Magus vs. The Devil coming in not too distant writing. Remember that I believe the entire Major Arcana is there in our psyche all the time. We are never just one card, one archetype when it comes to the zodiacal or tarot archetypes. We simply draw on certain archetypal forces and play them out in what we say-do-feel differently at different times. Educating ourselves about the archetypes and then developing the True Will and magickal prowess to intentionally manifest a specific archetype in a specific way as part of our communication-actions-feeling is the endgame. Perfection in it is an illusion. Doing it most of the time and accomplishing most of what we hope for, getting better with practice? That’s being a good magician.
I highly recommend reading it. She calls it Spiritual Bypassing, the rejection of letting yourself feel any sort of negative emotions. I am using my own verbage for it. And I don’t like the word fake. I think its just excessive, it is what happens when you create a yinyang duality out of yourself and try to banish the darkness (yin) and have only light (yang). It isn’t sustainable, not even for a little bit. You will be just as out of balance as you are when you let yourself drown in grief, fear, depression, anxiety and all those dark emotions.
Human beings need their light and their darkness. We need to let ourselves have bad moods, bad days, outrages, moments of shock and paralysis and let other people around us have them too.
Just not all the time.
Just not excessively.
UberPositivity, the stuff that too many self-identified lightworkers try to perpetuate in themselves and others? It is unsustainable and it becomes the stuff of jokes, snarks and memes by the more jaded types. UberNegativity is just as bad. And that is the point. Extremism in approach is harmful and unsustainable for us regardless which pole the gravitation is towards.
The fun (and exasperating) part of mental alchemy is learning how to temper challenge with acceptance, sorrow with joy, change with stability, chaos with order, serenity with outrage and on and on. I’m imperfect at it to be sure. But that is okay. That is the message that Vanessa Bennet is making and I’m supporting. Its okay to be not okay, as long as “not okay” isn’t the default mode.
What a deliriously good but crazy couple of months it has been. Things with both the website and Tarot Esoterica hit an abrupt stop following my last update because a couple of very amazing synchronous things happened. After all my convictions last September/November in -how- I was going to create and distribute tarot content went… Continue reading I Didn’t Die Or Get Bored!!
Querent (Kweer-ent or Kware-ent) is a fancy word for the person in a tarot reading who’s asking the question that the tarot reader will be answering. When you are reading tarot for yourself, you are the querent. I use the word client for a querent who is paying you for your service as a tarot reader.
Using Tarot Spreads
Spreads are a matter of taste. It can be argued that simply every card you lay down and look at while asking a question is a spread. I am going to be slightly more academic than that. To me? A spread is a method of laying down cards in a specific order in a specific pattern to enhance a reader’s ability to answer questions. There is an unlimited number of spreads that can be used. I don’t use anything more complicated than seven cards because that is the limit of the average memory span to remember packets of information.
I personally divide spreads into five categories based on their purpose. Having the querent decide on a category and then pick a specific spread from a list really helped us work as a collaborative team- and that collaboration made for a much better reading experience based on feedback I was given. I did not advertise myself as a psychic; I did advertise myself as a card slinging life coach.
Forecasting: Spread is intended to predictively answer a question about the future based information regarding the past and present.
Relationship Advice: Spread is intended to help the querent sort through the feelings and behaviors that shape a relationship with another person; it might address what can be done by the querent to shape the relationship differently.
Problem-Solving: The querent wants to achieve a specific, tangible goal but there is at least one obstacle in the way. This spread will advise them on how to recognize and overcome an obstacle.
Self-Development: Spread helps querent recognize current state of wellness and set an achievable goal for some kind of self-improvement.
Creative: Spread is designed for a creative pursuit like overcoming writer’s block, inspiring a new story or drawing, designing a role-playing character, etc.
Asking The Good Question
Here are some of the best articles on this topic already out there on the web. First learning how to be a good querent will help make you into a great tarot reader. Mastering the art of asking good questions is also a skill that will simplify life when you talk to anyone about anything thereafter. Really.
This is a topic I have strong opinions on. I set a high bar for social conduct on myself and want to get called on it when I fall short myself.
Don’t use slurs or hate-speech. Treat every querent with cheerful respect as your default right up to the point they lose your respect. Then cheerfully walk yourself out of the situation or ask them to leave. If they were a paying client, you don’t owe them a refund.
Recognize your own cognitive biases when they trigger. Recognize when something inside you is judging someone else too positively or negatively. Take a moment then to the best of your ability treat this person with ~impartial~ respect and goodwill.
Listen to how your querent expresses themselves. Pay close attention to make sure you understand them. Take notes if you need to. Don’t talk down or patronizingly but do moderate your word choices, tone, speech to make sure they can understand you too. The better you are communicating at the start of the reading, the better the reading is going to go from there.
Let your querent paint the canvas when it comes to how much or how little you both talk about spirituality and metaphysics. Keep an open mind. Respectively work with their personal truths as best you can. Make sure you say “This is what I believe” or “This is what I think” or “For me, I see it as...” rather than applying your personal spiritual or philosophical truth as something universal.
Do not exploit people for money or anything else. Yes, charge a reasonable rate or accept donations. Just don’t manipulate vulnerable people to your own selfish ends. Find a way to support people who support you. Be charitable towards one person less fortunate than yourself with whatever income your tarot work provides. This will help you keep a sense of humility and perspective. Also? If you do believe in spirits, guides or karma? You are probably going to learn that honesty, charity, and humility are a ~really~ good idea.
(Laurel sounds like lore-el; Loracular sounds like lore-ak-yoo-lar. Oracles say oracular things)
Thank you for visiting my site! There are so many talented professional tarot readers online seeking paying clients. I am not offering a free or paid tarot reading service at this time. I retired from reading for clients seven years ago because of health issues.
I am a theoretical magician (think Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell) and will discuss Hermetic magic, the Qabalah, Metaphysical Humanism, the Left Hand Path or any related topic freely.
I do not work spells, cast rituals or preform even “white” magick by request or for money. I do not belong to a “secret” lodge or “mystery school” at this time. I have belonged to such organizations (BOTA, Temple of Set) in the past but not in over a decade.
I am the host of the Tarot Esoterica podcast. The first episode, Introduction, launches on January 3rd 2021. My Twitch channel launches on January 20th 2021.
I will chat to and work with tarot readers of any age, level of fluency in English, hate-free ideology or spiritual faith. You can find me among the friendly denizens of the Tarot, Tea & Me and Cult of Tarot communities. Those are great places to talk tarot with not just with me but many other friendly, knowledgeable folk.
On Twitter I chaotically wax between philosophical, political and silly. Consider yourself warned.
If you like my content? I will happily accept your financial patronage. I don’t run ads or produce subscriber-only content.