20 Days Until Readers Studio

The Hermit from The Serpents Tarot

Ah, The Hermit. The wise wonder who lives alone, and seeks the council of the voices within. Twenty days left to prepare and pack for The Readers Studio. It’s time to go within and discuss the goals and plans I have for this year. I should keep a list of all the items I need to bring. I need to read over my class notes for Inspiring the Muse. I have to book a bus to get me to the airport.

I need to sit in the stillness of my mind, as well. It’s time to listen to my body and the universe, and really hear what they have to say. Calm my nerves, keep my energy level up. All so I can really enjoy myself when I arrive in New York that Wednesday. I am looking forward to coming home, to seeing my tribe once more.

21 Days Until Readers Studio 2017

The Hanged from The Serpents Tarot

Today’s card is The Hanged Man. This is a card of new perspectives and sacrifices. I’m doing a lot of both these days. I’m focused on two goals, get my body back in shape and revision my tarot dreams. Last year I destroyed my ATFL and while western medicine says it’s healed, it’s really not. I have a wonderful support system of a massage therapist, trainer, and friends who are cheering me on to my body shape goals.

On the Tarot front, I’m hungry. I’m hungry to get my book manuscript done so I can find it a publisher. I’m hungry for more events to read at. I’m hungry to help people like you get through your own challenges. Getting clients is rough. I’m here, and I want to help. I’m hungry to continue the Tarot Visions podcast and have fun dialogues with Rose Red and those we interview.

Going to conferences boosts my sight and lets people know I’m available. They teach me new techniques which make me a better reader. In the end, I sacrifice some free time to read or watch tv… but in the end, I’m driven towards my goals.

22 Days Until Readers Studio 2017

A few years ago, I started a tarot draw countdown for heading to The Readers Studio in New York City. I didn’t do it last year, but I think I’ll start it back up. For the next 22 days, I’ll pull a major arcana card and see how it fits into my “journey” to New York.  I’m using The Serpents Tarot majors only deck for this because it’s my go-to majors deck. I’ll be writing more posts about my own deck, the Triple Goddess Tarot later on.

Strength from The Serpents Tarot

The first card for this journey is Strength. In this image we see a multi-armed goddess dancing with a serpent at her side. Strength is about taming the wilds within, so you can understand the power you have. I see this card being auspicious as a start to this whole travel.

I’ve already started packing. And what I mean by this is that I’ve started laying out the decks, goodies, journals, and my class materials. Yep, you heard it right… this year I’m teaching Inspiring the Muse, using tarot to create stories, characters, and settings. So, yes, I’m gathering my strength in many ways for this year’s conference.

Review: Freeks

Freeks by Amanda Hocking Cover

Disclaimer: I received an eARC from netgalley in exchange for a review. This review is spoiler free.

Come one, come all, to Gideon’s Traveling Sideshow, a roving carnival traveling to their latest destination where the payout proves to be grand. As long as they make it to the vernal equinox. However, this isn’t your typical side show filled with cons and shenanigans. No, many of the members of the troupe have real supernatural powers– pyrokinesis, telekinsesis, speaking with the dead, are among the few gifts the novel mentions. No matter where Mara turns, everyone seems to have a special ability. Except for her. Even her fortune telling mother has secrets. Because of this, Mara dreams of having a normal life, free from the only show she’s known. Their latest town may be more trouble than anyone bargained for.

As a tarot reader, I was insanely curious to read this book; I love books that include tarot in their plots. Which is why I wanted a copy to review. I wanted to know how Hocking treated tarot in Freeks. I’m happy to report she doesn’t disappoint. Right off the bat we’re created with a hand drawn tarot card image section divider. Which instantly made me long for a real purchasable deck. I hope they do, the images were fun and fresh.

Mara’s mother is the carnival’s fortune teller, which meant the cards played a more prominent part in the book. Whenever Hocking brought the cards up, I took notice. I’m happy to report that Hocking knows her stuff. Lyanka has her own reading rituals and has a good grasp of modern meanings. Even though the cards are treated more as a prop for her powers, the readings done are easy to read and flow well.

Death DOES show up in a reading, which always makes me flinch. I quickly relaxed however because the card was treated almost exactly in the same way I introduce it to my clients when they draw it. It was almost spooky, and I wondered if somehow Hocking remote viewed in on some of my readings.

Overall, this is a fun young adult novel.  At it’s heart it’s a coming-of-age story for Mara, who wants love and a normal life. In this new town she meets a boy whom she thinks she can have a short relationship with before the Sideshow moves out. She learns to deal with relationships as a young adult and she talks through the difficulties of being a freak and wanting to be normal. However, the main gist of the book doesn’t happen till well after half-way through. Which meant I wanted a longer book, to learn more about Mara’s past and where she came from.

Bottom Line: Freeks is an easy read. I stayed up all night long to finish it. The book’s twists and mysteries kept me guessing– which is the mark of a good book for me. The world is fantastic and I found myself wishing I could stay in it for longer. Freeks reads as a stand alone book, but I’m hoping Hocking continues the adventures of Mara.

Review: Llewellyn’s Complete Guide to Tarot

Llewellyn’s Complete Guide to Tarot Cover

Disclaimer: I received an eARC from netgalley in exchange for a review. I also purchased a copy for my library.

If it’s one thing I know in reviewing books it’s “don’t judge a book by it’s cover.” I’ve said this before and I’m saying it now. Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Tarot by Anthony Louis is a great book, filled with wonderful tarot tidbits for all tarot enthusiasts. However, this is NOT a complete guide. Louis even states this very clearly in his preface. Instead, this book takes the approach of guiding readers of all types into the broad spectrum of topics tarot contains. Louis sees the book as a complete course in tarot. Topics covered include: why study tarot; tarot history; tarot structure and the differences between RWS, Marseille, and Thoth; card uses; and the various meanings and correspondences the cards have.

What I liked: Louis has a great voice in his writing. There are many areas in the book that he made me laugh with his vernacular. The chapters are chock full of good information. As I read through the book, I found myself thinking about how “scientific” Louis makes tarot sound. He captures the essence of why we use the cards and has answers for many questions people ask about the origins. Louis isn’t afraid to talk about the cards’ Christian influences either (very few books touch on this subject). While describing each individual card, most books stick with meanings laid down by AE Waite or Aliester Crowley. Not in this tome, Louis includes a history of interpretation that dates back to Etteilla. Which is great for those of us who love doing meaning comparison and want to know how card meanings transitioned over time. Another aspect I enjoyed was the fact that Louis references many other authors and their works in the book. It’s like you are also getting to know the wider tarot community while learning about the cards.

What I didn’t like: There is so much in this book that it’s a quick catalogue of topics. Louis doesn’t go too deep with any one subject. Which is fine because otherwise this book would be huge. So, if you were looking for a true “Complete” guide to tarot, then look elsewhere.

Bottom Line: Llewellyn’s Complete Guide to Tarot is a great starter guide to the world of tarot. There’s a lot of good information in this book. I loved how it went towards the sciencey side of the divination tool. Louis. Anthony has a friendly voice which invites you into learning tarot and becoming a member of the tarot tribe.