Vol. 8 #1 / January 1, 2016
In this Issue:
- Tarot Tip: Freedom from Spreads
- Tarot School Aphorism
- What's Gnu?
- PsychWise: Four Elements Tarot Counseling Spread
- Best Practices: Top 5 Ways to Measure Business Success
- Upcoming Events
Welcome to a new issue of Tarot Tips!
And a special welcome to our new subscribers.
January offers us a chance to wipe the slate
clean. Often a new year signifies a chance to do
something different with the hopes of improvement.
The interesting thing about tarot is that it
offers a variety of ways to explore our inner
selves. Over time, this use has becomes
increasingly flexible and as varied as each user.
The talented Angelo Nasios has crafted a superb tip on
freeing oneself from the dependence on tarot spreads.
Angelo’s new book, Tarot: Unlocking The Arcana
(Schiffer Publishing) now available for preorder, will soon
be gracing the shelves of your favorite tarot bookseller.
We are delighted to have him contribute to this month’s
edition. In the Best Practices Column, Gina points out
ways to measure your business success, and Dr. Elinor
Greenberg explores issues through the elements.
And one more thing...
Are you a fan of New Year's Resolutions?
Even if you're not, you can choose to make
this a year filled to the brim with tarot.
Be sure to check the Upcoming Events section
at the end of this newsletter for all the ways we
can get 2016 off to a great start — including
our annual "Keep the Holidays Going" party!
Happy New Year!
Ruth Ann, Wald, Gina & Elinor
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FREEDOM FROM SPREADS
by Angelo Nasios
Spreads, there are countless numbers of them. Small spreads,
big spreads and everything in-between. Some readers have
“go to” spreads for questions on love, career and so on.
Spreads are mostly built on predefined positions, such as
past, present and future, or problem, advice, outcome.
What if you could use three cards without positional
meanings, and you could give a reading on just about any
question? This method of free-form reading is my go-to
method and is an adaptation from Robert M. Place where
I learned to read in this way.
Ask a question, and pull three cards, placing them in a line
as you normally would do in a three card reading. Reversals
are not used in this method. With this method you want to
see the images on these cards as a single whole image,
rather than three independent images.
When looking at your three cards consider the following:
Primary & Secondary
Look for the primary card. This can be done intuitively by
choosing whichever card your eyes are drawn to, or you may
designate it to always be the card in the center. When you
find the primary card the other two become secondary. The
primary tells you what the focus is, the subject, the issue
or main influence.
The secondary cards gives support to the primary; they may
provide advice, resolution, direction, development or interaction.
For me, Majors are automatically the primary card. If you have
more than one Major, the highest ranking Major could be the
primary or use all the Majors as a combined primary.
Sometimes two cards can be primary. This happens when
one card “is not like the others.” Then the third card supports
the prime two. The above rules of primary and secondary
Courts play important role. In addition to their normal
meanings the way they face can indicate agreement or
argument. When the courts are face to face, it can mean
communication, meetings, commonality and/or agreements.
When the Court Cards are back to back (faces not meeting)
it can mean different ideas or argument.
When a Major appears between two cards, it can have special
implications. For example, if the Wheel of Fortune appears
in the middle, the card on the left may indicate what is
rising in importance, while the card on the right may
indicate what is waning in importance. Temperance in the
middle may indicate that the two side cards are elements
which need to be blended or harmonized together.
Overall, this system of reading is open to your interpretation
and intuition. Working outside of predefined positional
meanings can be fun and exciting.
Angelo Nasios is the author of TAROT: Unlocking
The Arcana (Schiffer Publishing), which can now
be pre-ordered on Amazon. Angelo is Tarot
Professional’s Tarosophist of the Year (2011)
for his contributions to Tarot through his series
of videos on YouTube. Subscribe to his channel.
Amazon listing http://amzn.com/0764350374
Tarot School Aphorism
The possibilities are endless!
PsychWise – Tarot & Psychology Q & A
with Elinor Greenberg, PhD, CGP, CPTR
EXPLORE THE ISSUE THROUGH THE FOUR ELEMENTS:
A TAROT COUNSELING SPREAD
I already use the Tarot School’s
“Elemental Array” with some of my
clients. How do the four Tarot suits and
their associated elements fit into your
Tarot Counseling approach? Is there an
insight oriented Tarot Counseling
reading that I could do that utilizes
the four elements and their suits?
I often use the four Tarot suits and their associated
Dr. Elinor Greenberg, PhD, CGP, CPTR
elements in Tarot Counseling. One of the virtues of using
Tarot cards for personal growth is that the four Elements
(Fire, Water, Air, Earth) as expressed by their associated
Tarot suits (Wands, Cups, Swords, Pentacles in the
Rider/Waite/Smith deck that I use) allow us to talk about
people and suggest new approaches without seeming too
critical or judgmental. I always say that I would rather
someone tell me that I am low in Pentacles, and need to
work more on developing the traits associated with that suit,
than hear that I am too scatterbrained and impractical!
Having said that, we all come into the world with our
preferred approaches for dealing with situations. We tend
to use whichever approaches come most easily to us, even
when a different approach might be better suited to a
particular situation. Modern neuroscience has shown that
whatever we do regularly gets ingrained in our brain as a
group of interconnected neurons that tend to fire together
almost automatically. These well-functioning neuronal
networks then compete with ones that could have been
developed but were not. The natural result is that the
familiar approach usually wins out and it becomes less and
less likely that we will use other possible approaches that
have not been practiced nearly as much. The late Gerald
Edelman (1927-2014), a Nobel Prize winning neuroscientist,
called this idea “Neural Darwinism” and elaborated on
it in his 1987 book, Neural Darwinism: The Theory of
Neuronal Group Selection.
If we simplify this idea and put it into Tarot language,
we could express it like this: Highly practical, detail-
oriented people who are able to complete things in an
organized way can be said to be “high” in Pentacles.
The skills associated with the suit of Pentacles either come
naturally to them or were encouraged by their early
upbringing. As they use these same skills over and over
again, the brain’s neurons in the areas that relate to
these skills develop into smoothly functioning neuronal
networks. As a result, other potential neuronal networks
(such as those utilized by people who are naturally high in
Wands, Cups, or Swords) become less likely to be used and
do not get a chance to fully develop. This further increases
the likelihood that the person who is high in Pentacles will
choose to use a Pentacles approach to life’s problems,
rather than some other suit’s approach that does not feel
nearly as “natural.” Most of us tend to have a couple
of favorite approaches to life problems that we utilize
over and over again.
The above is equally true for those of us who prefer to use
the skills and approaches associated with the other three
Tarot suits—Wands, Cups, or Swords. Those of us who
depend on our well-developed mental abilities (the element
of Air) to plan, categorize, judge, reason, and verbally
express ourselves can be said to take a Swords approach.
Those of us who instinctively lead with our emotions (the
element of Water) and who tend to be romantic, idealistic,
dreamy, and creative can be described as preferring a Cups
approach. Those of us who initiate (the element of Fire) new
projects, relish competition (or at least not mind it) and
who can be quite energetic, brave and single-minded in
pursuit of our goals can be said to take a Wands approach.
We are all equally likely to get stuck in a rut of our own
choosing and dig that rut deeper and deeper unless we
consciously decide to try a different approach to our life
issues, and by doing so develop the underlying brain networks
that support the new approach.
Wald and Ruth Ann Amberstone’s Tarot Psychology technique,
“The Elemental Array,” helps us quickly see which
approaches we instinctively use most and which we might
choose to develop in the future. It gives a great deal of
useful information very quickly. If any of you reading this
article are unfamiliar with “The Elemental Array,” I
suggest that you go to the Tarot School’s website and read
my article, “The Elemental Array: Move an Ace and Change
Your Life.” You can also purchase very detailed lessons
on how to understand and utilize “The Elemental Array”
on the Tarot School website.
It is not only our querents who rely too much on familiar
approaches, but also Tarot readers. Most of us tend to use the
same spreads over and over because we know them well and
can read them quickly and easily. (Translation: our brains
have developed a smoothly operating group of neurons which
fire together, that underlies our ability to do our favorite
spread quickly and easily). Although I have my favorite
spreads, such as the Celtic Cross or my basic Tarot
Counseling spread, I also like to shake things up a bit and
invent new spreads that encourage me to do something
different with my querent’s question.
As a psychotherapist, I find the same things hold true.
Therapists and clients can get into their own rut where each
therapy session becomes an all too predictable dance. In
therapy, as with Tarot reading, I find it useful for both
client and therapist to occasionally break out of the
familiar. New approaches are more likely to lead to new
The following Tarot Counseling spread is designed to expand
the Tarot reader’s way of approaching the querent’s initial
question. It also inhibits querents from relying only on their
preferred approach to their problem by forcing them to choose
a face-up card from each of the four suits. The Major Arcana
card that is chosen from the face-down stack of Majors allows
a bit of mystery to enter the process.
Step 1: Before beginning the reading, sort your deck into
5 piles; one pile for each of the 4 Tarot suits including their
associated Court Cards (the Minor Arcana ) another for the
Major Arcana. Put each of the four suits face-up and the stack
with the Major Arcana cards face-down. Make sure that all
the cards are upright. I do not use reversals with this spread.
Step 2: Have your querent ask his or her question.
Then have the querent look through the four face-up suits
for a card that represents the basic issue that the question
involves (Card 1).
Step 3: Place this card face-up. It will become the center
of the spread and the other cards will be arranged around
it. Notice which of the four suits this card is from.
Step 4: Now ask the querent to go through each of the 4
suits piles and pick a card from each that relates to their
question. This encourages querents to go beyond their usual
way of thinking about their problem. I sometimes introduce
this step by saying: “Let’s see what the four elements
as represented by their Tarot suits have to say about your
Step 5: Lay out the cards as follows:
Put the Wands card above the center card, the Pentacles card
below it, the Cups card to the left of it, and the Swords card to
the right of the center card.
Ask the querent to tell you how each of these relates to the
central issue. (Take notes).
Step 6: Have the querent shuffle the face-down group of 22
Major Arcana cards and choose one card from this deck
without looking at the picture.
Step 7: Place this Major Arcana card so that it crosses the
central card that represents the issue with which the
querent’s question deals. This is Card 6. The Major Arcana
card’s meaning and its associated attributes suggests the
basic approach that the querent should take to the issue.
Card 2 (Wands)
Card 6 (Major Arcana)
Card 3 (Swords) Card 1 (Issue) Card 4 (Cups)
Card 5 (Pentacles)
RECORD OF READING:
I always try out any new spread on myself first. Below is
a reading that I did for myself about an issue that concerns
me right now.
Background Information about my question:
I am in the process of publishing my first book: Love,
Admiration or Safety: Collected Papers on Borderline,
Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations. Book publishing is
very new for me and I am working with other people and do
not have full control over the entire process. My part of
the work is essentially done: I have written all the papers
and also an introduction to each paper. Now I have to work
with other people, primarily an editor and a publisher, to
bring the book into being. There are lots of decisions to be
made, ranging from the look of the book (font type and size,
line spacing etc.) to how the book should be marketed.
I realize that all of this is making me very nervous, and I
would like a Tarot Counseling reading to give me greater
insight into this whole process and what approach would be
most useful. By the way, the one thing that I am no longer
nervous about is my book’s cover. The wonderful Robert
Place (artist, deck designer, jeweler, alchemist, Tarot
teacher and Tarot historian) designed a fantastic cover for
my book and I look at it whenever I want to be cheered up
about my project.
My Question: I would like to feel calmer and more competent.
What is the best way that I can approach my book project
CARD 1-Issue Card: Knight of Swords
Why Chosen: I was surprised that I wanted to choose this
card. I thought I would choose a card that was more
traditionally associated with worry, such as the 9 of Swords.
However, the Knight of Swords conveys my concern that
I have to rush in and get the book done and make a lot of
decisions quickly based on limited knowledge.
CARD 2-Wands Card: 5 of Wands
Why Chosen: I am used to working alone and writing and
teaching whatever I choose to. Now I have to work with
other people to get my book done. I am worried that our
energies and ideas about my book may not always align
easily. In the Rider/Waite/Smith deck, this card shows five
people with long staves. Their intent is ambiguous. They
could be fighting with each other, competing, or they could
be trying to build something together. It is unclear.
Reading this card now for my issue, it expresses my fear
that I will have to fight very hard for my vision of my book
and get everyone else’s energy on board with my ideas.
CARD 3-Swords Card: 2 of Swords
Why Chosen: The picture on this card shows a seated and
blindfolded woman holding two swords with her arms crossed
on her chest. There is turbulent and rocky water behind her
and it is night. There is a crescent moon in the sky between the
two swords. This picture expresses my sense of indecision
(the two swords) and my current lack of knowledge
(the blindfold and the darkness) about what is best for my
CARD 4- Cups Card: 2 of Cups
Why Chosen: The loving couple shown on this card expresses
how I want things to go with the people that I work with on
my book. I want a harmonious exchange of good feelings.
CARD 5-Pentacles Card: 10 of Pentacles
Why Chosen: This card shows the Kabbalistic diagram called
the “Tree of Life.” One of the things that this diagram
represents is the complete path of an idea from first
inspiration through all the steps necessary until it is
finally completed and manifested in physical form. Also,
there are three generations of people present on this card.
The different generations represent my wish that my ideas be
accessible to a wide variety of people, not just experienced
CARD 6-Approach: Major Arcana Card: Key 1 The Magician
Interpretation: I was really relieved when Key 1 The Magician
turned up. It immediately clarified for me the approach that I
need to take towards my book. I find this card very empowering.
The message that I am taking from this card is that I hold all the
power that I need to manifest my project. (In esoteric Tarot one
of the attributions of this card is the power of Life and Death.
In other words, whatever, we pay attention to, we bring to life;
whatever, we ignore is as if dead to us.)
The book is my project, I am willing it into existence, and I need
to stay in charge of what happens. As the Magician, I am a
vehicle for Divine Energy that flows through me and makes
flower whatever I point to in my garden. This card also
suggests to me that whenever I feel anxious about the book
or a decision that I need to make, I can empty myself of
egotistical concerns (in esoteric Tarot the Magician is associated
with the Transparent Intelligence) get out of my own way and ask
God to work through me for the best outcome for all.
"The Elemental Array and Psychotherapy: How to Move an Ace
and Change Your Life" by Elinor Greenberg, Ph.D.
The Elemental Array - mp3 audio course
is an internationally renowned Gestalt therapy
trainer who specializes in teaching the diagnosis
and treatment of Borderline, Narcissistic, and
Schizoid adaptations. She has been studying
tarot since 1995 and is psychology consultant to
The Tarot School, where she earned a Third Degree
in Tarot. She is a member of B.O.T.A. (Builders
of the Adytum) and has been certified as a professional
tarot reader by the American Tarot Association.
Best Practices for Professional Readers
TOP 5 WAYS TO MEASURE BUSINESS SUCCESS
By Gina Thies
As I write this column I am thinking about what I plan to do
in 2016 to top my 2015 business. Most businesses, if not
all, measure success in quarterly or annual profits. Of
course, not all successes need to be measured by the zeros
in the bank account. No matter the size of your practice or
what you do as a practitioner, here are some ways to measure
the success of your thriving tarot business.
1. New Clients. Adding new clients is important to
measuring your success because it can mean your marketing
efforts are working or some part of putting your services
out there is benefitting you by bringing new customers your
way. Take a look at the number of new people you have worked
with and perhaps try to increase that number by the end of
2. Supply and Demand. Are you selling out seats to your
webinar? Are your products easily sold out or repeatedly
demanded by your client base? There is no need to reinvent
the wheel. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it!
3. Adding Services/Products. This goes along with supply
and demand. Are your clients requesting that you offer
something they want that is not a regular part of your
repertoire or on your menu? It may well be worth it to start
4. Drop a Service/Product. This may be something that was
not a success. You may have to discontinue something because
another product or service is more successful or you no
longer have a need to offer it.
5. Price Increase. There are so many reasons to increase
your prices, and I say if the question “Should I raise my
prices?” enters your mind, the answer is likely yes!
These are just a few of the ways you can measure success in
your practice. I wish you all a busy and profitable 2016!
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January 24, 2016
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