Vol. 8 #2 / February 1, 2016
In this Issue:
- Tarot Tip: AM/PM Tarot
- Tarot School Aphorism
- What's Gnu?
- PsychWise: How to Use Tarot Cards without Knowing their Meaning
- Best Practices: Charging Like A Pro
- Upcoming Events
Welcome to a new issue of Tarot Tips!
And a special welcome to our new subscribers.
Today is the 21st Birthday of The Tarot
School! In business terms, that's a
venerable age, but we like to think of
ourselves as young and sassy! :)
A lot has changed in the tarot community since we opened
our doors in 1995. Over the last two decades, there's been
an explosion of interest and creativity — books, decks,
classes and conferences galore! It's been very exciting to
see. We're happy to be an active part of this growth, and
we're grateful that you have chosen to include The Tarot
School as part of your personal tarot adventure!
If you'd like to wish us a Happy 21st, leave a comment
on our Facebook page. We'd love to hear from you!
In addition to our own celebration, this month is
Valentine’s Day. This day most notable for celebrating
the love between two romantic partners has also found
its way into representing affinity in a variety of relational
connections. In tarot, there are like-minded people from
all over the globe who form thriving and growing communities
online and offline, all influenced by their love of and
dedication to tarot. In our corner of the world, we bring
people like these to our Readers Studio event, who some
say feels like a kind of family reunion. We hope to see
In this issue, we are delighted to have a special tarot
enthusiast grace Tarot Tips with an article. The lovely
Arwen Lynch-Poe shares a great tip on incorporating the
meanings from the LWB (little white book) that often
accompanies a tarot deck. Dr. Elinor gives her take on using
the tarot when you don’t know the card meaning at all, and
In the Best Practices Column, Gina tells you how to charge
for your professional reading services.
And one more thing...
On this special birthday, we have a special gift for you --
our entire Will and Intent audio course!
Here's Wald to tell you a little about it...
"It will not surprise you that the world is not as it seems
and that you are more than you know. Tarot is famous for
showing the truth of these words.
But tarot is becoming famous in our times for possessing
secrets as well as truths. It points beyond wisdom,
understanding and knowledge to a life of personal power.
These things are not for everyone, but for some they are
Will and Intent are secrets buried in tarot, engines of
personal power. They are tools of awareness that…
• make you more effective in the context of every day
• give you access to the context of infinity
• permit a shift of awareness that accomplishes amazing and
• extend every moment of your life by intensifying it
They are warrior's tools, part of a warrior's life. This
course will introduce you to vocabulary and technique from
such a life, and where to find them in tarot."
To get all 8 mp3s and the full set of class notes, simply
click on the birthday present below and you'll be taken to
a special dropbox with the download links. It's completely
free -- our gift to you!
With love on the tarot journey,
Ruth Ann, Wald, Gina & Elinor
Tarot Tips is here to help you with the practical side
of your Tarot journey. In order to take the greatest
advantage of this newsletter, please send us your
questions regarding any aspect of your tarot study
or practice and we'll do our best to answer them
in an upcoming issue.
Spread the experience of tarot - share this newsletter
with other Tarot Enthusiasts!
by Arwen Lynch-Poe
With so many ways to learn Tarot, I wanted to toss one more
out there. This is my tried-and-true AM/PM method. It
emphasizes an intuitive style of reading while incorporating
the meanings from your little white book. This works for any
deck. There are four steps to this method.
Step One: First thing in the morning, draw a card at random
from your deck. Take three to five minutes to just look at
the card. See what pops out first. Is it a color? An
expression? A figure in the card? Now write down your
observations. I find it best to have a dedicated Tarot
journal for this. I also advocate using a simple spiral-bound
notebook. This is because a pretty journal can be a bit
daunting to write in at first, but no one seems to
have a problem scribbling in an ordinary notebook.
Step Two: Go about your day as you normally do. You can
carry your notebook if you like to jot down anything that
turns up in connection with the card you drew for the day.
Maybe you meet a person with that same expression you
noted earlier. Maybe you see that expression on your own
face in a mirror. What synchronicities occur? Don’t forget
to write down anything significant, even if it isn’t associated
with your initial observations.
Step Three: Just before you let your head hit that lovely,
welcoming pillow, pull the card out again. If you didn’t
have time to write about it during the day, do it now. See
what pops out at you in terms of symbols on that card.
You may see it in a whole new way now. Take three to five
minutes to just write. This is a free-writing exercise so
don’t stop to edit. No one else will read this. It’s
Step Four: Take out the manual that came with the deck.
This can be a LWB (Little White Book) or a full-sized book.
Read what the author/artist has to say about this card.
See what keywords they attribute to your choice. Now
integrate that with what you saw in the morning and how
you felt the card applied to your day. This final entry is
the one you may wish to transfer to a more formal Tarot
The whole process is to engage your subconscious with your
conscious mind. You are synchronizing what you see with the
meanings of the cards. This gives you a way to connect to
your cards in a personal way. The next time you see this
card you may be reminded of what you first learned. As you
grow as a reader, you will find that this method can help
make you see Tarot cards everywhere you go. I use this
method on new decks that I am planning to use in my
Arwen Lynch-Poe is the past president of the American Tarot
Association. The Fairy Tale Lenormand (art by Lisa Hunt)
will be released 2016 by US Games. She is presently working
on an oracle deck by another artist for US Games. She
teaches writers how to use Tarot, and Tarot enthusiasts how
to write, with her eCourse: 33 Days To Finish Your Book.
She also has a YouTube channel.
Tarot School Aphorism
RUTH ANN'S HAIKU GRAPHICS
I've been having a great time generating
interesting graphics with a program called
Amberlight (how could I not?), and then writing
a haiku to go along with what the image suggests.
It's not specifically tarot-related, but you might
enjoy seeing them anyway.
In addition to this one, you'll find more on my Pinterest board at
(There's tarot content on some of our other boards that you might
want to look at and share.) I'm just getting started with these, but
I hope you like them.
PsychWise – Tarot & Psychology Q & A
with Elinor Greenberg, PhD, CGP, CPTR
HOW TO USE TAROT CARDS WITHOUT
KNOWING THEIR MEANING
QUESTION: I am a psychotherapist
who is just beginning to learn Tarot
and I have not yet memorized all the
meanings of the cards. I would like to
begin to use Tarot Cards with my
What do you suggest?
That was exactly my situation when I started learning to
Dr. Elinor Greenberg, PhD, CGP, CPTR
read Tarot Cards. Here are a few ideas that I found useful
that do not require you to know the deck very well.
Experienced Tarot Readers can use these methods to
spice up a classic divination reading.
1. Illustrate the Issue
Have your client describe their psychotherapy issue by
looking through the deck face-up and picking cards that
appear to relate to it. Ask them to explain to you why they
chose each card.
Benefit: Many of our feelings and ideas are subtle and hard
to put into words. Sometimes they are just below the surface
of our awareness and seeing the pictures on Tarot cards
allows us to access them.
An Example: A new client started his session by complaining
about his girlfriend. Then he started complaining about his
mother. Then he started talking about how he would ideally
like his girlfriend to treat him. He then went on to talk
about what he wanted from his mother. I said, “I am
starting to get confused. Are you willing to try an
experiment using Tarot cards?” He said that he was.
I suggested that he pick four cards:
Card 1: Represents the girlfriend when she is behaving in
ways that he doesn’t like.
Card 2: Represents his mother when she is behaving in
ways that he doesn’t like.
Card 3: Represents his ideal girl friend.
Card 4: Represents his ideal mother.
My client had no trouble picking the first three cards.
However, when he went to choose a card to represent his
ideal mother, he realized that he wanted to choose the same
card that he already chose to represent his ideal
girlfriend. This was an “aha!” moment for him. He said
that this exercise made him realize that a lot of what he
wanted from his girlfriend was unfair to her. It was really
stuff that he resented his mother for not giving him. The
rest of the session was spent talking about this topic.
2. Who do you want to be?
Many of us do not give much thought to how we want to
think, feel, and act in the present moment. We are reactive,
not proactive. It can be very useful to look through a face-up
Tarot deck for pictures that illustrate qualities that we
admire and choose one that we would like to work on
Benefit: This can be a very powerful tool in helping us take
charge of our own growth.
An Example: Some years back, I found myself seated in
a circle with about twenty other participants at a
psychotherapy workshop. The leader, a well-known and
charismatic male therapist, started to criticize one of the
women in the group. Other people said things as well, but
most of us were simply silent witnesses to her humiliation.
I was shocked that this was happening and I wanted to stand
up and say something to stop this scapegoating, but I was
too afraid to do so. At that moment I realized that I needed
to develop some new qualities in myself.
Although I had not yet learned Tarot, I had the clear idea
that I needed to be more “Emperor” like: I needed to
learn how to stand my ground, fight for what I believe in,
and defend other people when I feel that they are being
unfairly attacked. I kept the idea of the Emperor as an
archetype (the personification of a group of qualities that
all went together in my mind) and planted the seed thought
that I would grow in this direction.
When I started to learn Tarot, I was delighted to see that
Key 4 The Emperor was drawn so as to emphasize those
characteristics that I wanted to develop. Then, I had lunch
with a friend of mine who I had not seen in thirty years.
He was a member of The Builders of the Adytum and he
spontaneously showed me a colored copy of the Emperor
card from that deck. I remember being strongly affected by
the bright red of the Emperor’s cloak. I did not yet know
Tarot symbolism, but I was not surprised to learn that
“red” was associated with “Mars power,” action, and
the breaking down of structures that were no longer needed,
or were built on faulty premises (as in Key 16 The Tower). I
took his showing me that card as a Cosmic validation that my
choice of The Emperor as a developmental model for me was
a step in the right direction.
3. Where do you want to go?
Seneca, the Roman philosopher, once said, “If you do not
know which harbor you are headed for, no wind is a good
one.” I keep that in mind and periodically ask myself the
question: “Where to now?” By this I mean, “What are my
goals for myself right now?” I have found that looking
through a face-up Tarot deck can clarify this for me.
Benefit: Another powerful tool for actively taking charge
of one’s life.
My client Sharon complained of feeling as if she was
drifting through life. She tended to go along with whatever
her friends wanted to do, but then was left feeling vaguely
unsatisfied. She had difficulty identifying her own goals
and the direction that she wanted to take in her life. Even
her sessions with me tended to be unfocused. I had begun
to feel as if I was drifting along with her.
To change the energy and give us a clear focus, I asked
Sharon to look through my Tarot deck with the cards face-up,
and choose two cards: one would represent her current state
and the other would picture something about where she would
like to end up. After she chose the cards, I laid them down
in front of her and asked her tell me about her choices.
Then I asked her to choose a third card that would allow her
to connect the two and tell me about that. Below are
Card 1: Her Current State – 7 of Cups
Card 2: Her Current Desired State – 8 of Cups
Card 3: The Connector – Key 18 The Moon
Here is what Sharon told me:
I am the person in the 7 of Cups. There are all these
choices that I could make. Any one of them would give my
life direction and meaning. But I am too afraid to choose.
In the 8 of Cups I am the person in the red cloak looking
for my heart’s desire. I have already chosen my path and I
am eagerly pursuing it, despite the rockiness of the path
and the lack of bright illumination in the card. My problem
is Key 18 The Moon, the Connector, what I have to do to get
from being stuck to bravely forging ahead. In the Moon card,
everything is dark and there is this very, very long path
ahead of me. I am the little lobster sticking my head out of
the water. I see the path, but I am too afraid to start.
However, the good news is that in this card, I have already
chosen my path. That is the step I need to take before the 8
of Cups is a reality and I am pursuing a particular goal.
Sharon and I spent the rest of this session exploring
everything the little lobster feared about getting out of
the pool and onto the path. Now at least we had a focus
for her therapy.
As a therapist, I have found that many clients have
difficulty finding the words to describe what they are
feeling and what they want. Giving them pictures, such as
Tarot cards, that they can sort through and relate to
themselves, helps them articulate their issues more clearly.
It also brings to the surface things that were out of
awareness until they had to choose a card.
As you can see, no real knowledge of Tarot or divination
was needed to use the above techniques. I used the
Rider/Waite/Smith deck in the exercises, but you could use
any illustrated deck, even multiple decks to increase the
choices. These methods can be interesting learning tools for
therapists who are just starting to memorize the meanings of
the cards. The client’s spontaneous associations can
vividly bring to life a particular card’s meanings in a
way that simply reading a book cannot.
If you do know Tarot meanings and divination, it is easy to
combine the two techniques. You could do one of the above
exercises, face-up, and then do a more conventional reading
to elaborate on the information. For example, with Sharon, I
could have done a Celtic Cross with Key 18 The Moon as the
center of the spread.
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
One of the most important decisions you’ll have to make
after deciding to read professionally is how and what to
charge for your readings. I know seasoned professionals who
after years of professional readings still struggle with
charging what they are worth.
Let’s break it down and think about standard forms of
employment and employment for profit. In the private and
public sectors of business, some are paid on an hourly basis
for employment, while others are salaried employees. How
employees are compensated, and classifications of exemptions
are outlined in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This act
requires that in addition to paying at least the minimum
wage, employers also must pay overtime to employees who,
with certain exceptions, work more than 40 hours in a given
Most spiritually-minded professionals operate as
non-incorporated business owners, and often are classified as
independent contractors who own their business as sole
proprietors and have to pay their own taxes. Without a lot
of options to earn as an hourly employee, many readers who
want control of their own hours, fees and other freedoms
operate under the independent contractor umbrella. Charging
like a professional boils down to being able to cover the
costs of operating, plus what it would take to comfortably
live on if readings or the other services you offer are your
only sources of income.
There are two main ways that readers charge for their
services – hourly and flat fees. Some readers opt to
charge a flat rate, since that suits their particular
reading process. Time-based options are helpful for certain
clients, allowing them ways to affordably work with a reader
where budget is an issue. For others, a flat fee guarantees
that they will get their questions answered without having
to look at a clock.
Either way, most professionals set their pricing according
to their competitors. This can be a problem when you want to
raise or lower your prices. Cheaper does not necessarily
mean more clients in the door.
To help you get an idea about charging, let me give an
example of earning potentials for reading consultations.
In the following example, the amounts are based on doing
one-on-one client appointments without anything additional,
such as events, fairs or classes.
So let’s say a reader charges $100 for one-hour sessions
and books 3 clients – 1 hour each on one work day. If the
reader works 5 days and books 3 slots each day, he/she would
earn $1500 for the week, 15 billable hours for one week. But
let’s say it’s really not 3 hours that are just being
used for the day. It is the 45-minute drive to the office
and back home, the 30 to 60 minutes of time spent booking
the appointments, another 30-60 minutes to check emails and
return other phone calls, 1 – 2 hours on Facebook or other
social media accounts.
Now you are looking at approximately a 7-8 hour day, which
is 35-40 hours a week, with only 15 of those hours that can
actually be billed. This cuts the $100/hour considerably
when you tally the 24-25 hours for which you are not getting
paid. Nor does this take into consideration the taxes,
merchant account fees and other costs of operating needed to
run your business that in reality reduces earnings to as
little as $600 for the week. So, by playing with figures and
staying grounded in reality, you’ll have a better idea of
what you should charge to make it a win for you!
Resource: Handy Reference Guide to the Fair Labor Standards Act
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