Newsletter of The Tarot School
ISSN: 1529-0565 
Vol. 8 #7 / September 1, 2016
 In this Issue:
- Welcome
- Tarot Tip: 5 Traps to Avoid When Reading for Yourself
- Tarot School Aphorism
- Community Outreach: When "What If?" becomes "What Now?"
- What's Gnu?
- PsychWise: How to Use the Four Tarot Suits as a Personality System
                      Part 1: An Introduction and the Suit of Wands
- Best Practices: Business Hiatus
- Upcoming Events

Welcome to a new issue of Tarot Tips!
And a special welcome to our new subscribers.
Back to Tarot School


It's September –– and that means the start of
another school year or semester for many students.
We like to call it "Back to Tarot School" season!
Learning keeps us young. It boosts our brain
power, and can add joy to life -- especially if
it's something we love, like tarot. The Tarot School
has many in-person and distance-learning
opportunities to start your September off right!
Check us out at We look
forward to welcoming you as a student!
This issue's tip gives you a set of traps to bypass in
reading for yourself, Dr. G offers the start of a 4-part
series on the tarot suits a a personality system, and
although it may be challenging to fathom time away
from tarot, The Best Practices column talks about
how to approach a hiatus away from your professional
practice. There’s more too, so keep reading!         
And one more thing...

The Hidden Face Intensive -- Beijing, China

Wald had a great time teaching in Beijing, China
last month! 110 students turned out for his
intensive on our Hidden Face tarot technique and
an introduction to The Green Deck, which Wald
created with his father.

The Hidden Face is one of our Tarot Psychology
techniques that primarily uses the backs of the
cards to examine the flow of energy in the moment,
and show how that energy can be manipulated to
the querent's best advantage. The cards are then
turned over for more detailed information.

The Green Deck is comprised of red, white, and
black solid color cards, with a single green card
symbolizing that which is unique. The students
used these cards to create a personal portrait.
We were delighted with their creativity!

The event was lovingly produced by Giselle Gao.
If you're curious to see what it was like, we put
together a slideshow here:           

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!

Tarot Tip

Should I read for myself? This resounding question can be
heard across many tarot groups and forums. The rule for
reading for oneself does not conform to any standard in the
craft of reading the cards.
There are many pros and cons to reading tarot for yourself,
but is it not true that learning tarot begins with insights
about your own life? Interestingly, many seasoned readers
choose to read tarot for themselves only for introspection
and, in some cases, for personal ritual.
The best thing to hope for in exploring insights for
yourself is that you can remain objective in the process.
At the outset of a self-read, the goals and reasons should
always be considered. That way these traps can be avoided:
1.    Losing control or focus. If you feel out of sorts and
experience lack of clarity, put the cards away until you
feel more in touch and can focus.

2.    Reading under duress. Stress or anxieties around
pressing matters are always cause for seeking advice. It
would be best to avoid reading for yourself during these
times. But if reading the cards helps you to cope, enlisting
the help of other readers could prove worthwhile.

3.    Card Exchanging. Don’t cheat the process by
exchanging out cards that you don’t like for cards that
are more agreeable.

4.    Readings about serious health/mental concerns,
dangerous environments or personal safety.
This one
is a no-brainer! If you are concerned about these situations,
seek professional help.

5.    Reading when not prepared. This means there is lack of
knowledge about the cards and using spreads, and possibly
being too new to the art of divination. 


 Tarot School Aphorism
            "Contemplation is a soft and gentle technique. Anyone can do it. Just let a question or an image arise in your mind and hold it there until a message concerning it comes to you from deep inside, where your mind's normal chatter doesn't disturb the silence. Contemplation is listening and remembering, not thinking."

Community Outreach
At the 2016 Readers Studio, Wald teamed up with Theresa Reed
(aka The Tarot Lady) to lead an incubator session on how we
as a community can deal with the difficulties that often pop
up as we go through life. They also produced an excellent
podcast series on the topic, which they called “What If?…” 

You can find the episodes on The Tarot Lady’s website

One of the episodes deals with the importance of community.
That support is never more crucial than when one is facing a
serious health problem or other disaster.

We now have an opportunity to come together to support
Beth Owl’s Daughter, one of the tarot community’s bright
lights, as she battles an aggressive form of cancer. Beth is
grateful for any prayers and healing energy you wish to
send her. 

If you’d like to connect with Beth and follow her journey,
she’ll be posting periodic updates on her CaringBridge
page at:

Also, please consider contributing to the GoFundMe drive
that has been set up to help her and her family contend with
the medical bills:

Don’t know who Beth is? Swing by her website to see: 

                    Beth Owl's Daughter
Let’s come together as a community to help this very
special woman! 




Wald has been working on a Birth Card
correspondence course. It's a long project
but he just finished writing the lesson for
the Star-Strength Birth Card pair!

There's a special mailing list for people
interested in this course. We'll be sending out an update soon.
If you're not already on the list and would like to be, you can
sign up here:


PsychWise – Tarot & Psychology Q & A
with Elinor Greenberg, PhD, CGP, CPTR


Part 1: An Introduction and the Suit of Wands                                   

My PhD psychology major was Personality Systems,
but none of the ones that I studied in graduate school
worked as well for me as the one embodied in the four
Tarot Suits—Wands, Swords, Cups, and Pentacles.  
My interest in using the Tarot Suits as a way to describe
different personality types emerged rather organically
as I studied Tarot and practiced psychotherapy at the
same time.  I would be sitting in clients’ sessions
listening to them tell me about their lives and find
myself thinking about them in Tarot terms.  

For example, one client was perpetually starting new
projects, but lacked the detail orientation necessary to
ever finish them.  I found myself thinking: “This guy is
really high on Wands, but definitely needs to develop his
Pentacles.”  Another client was always falling in love,
getting hurt by something her lover did or said, and then
backing out of the relationship without ever expressing to
her lover what she did not like.  As she told me yet another
story that ended the same way, I thought: “She leads with
Cups (her heart) but has trouble verbalizing negative
feelings (Swords) and standing up for herself (Wands). 
Perhaps we should work on the verbal dimension of
Swords and how she can use her fine mind and verbal
acuity to confront what she does not like and ask for changes,
instead of just fleeing the situation.  

All of this was intensified when I learned the Tarot
School’s projective technique that uses the four
Aces—“The Elemental Array.”  In brief, this technique
involves removing the four Aces from the Rider-Waite-Smith
deck and making a small pack of them that you give face-down
to your querent.  Your querent shuffles the pack and then
turns over each Ace one at a time and quickly decides
whether he or she likes or dislikes it.  By the end, the
four Aces are arranged from left to right in order of most
liked to least liked.  The first two Aces represent the
innate talents and approach to life that the querent uses
most of the time, the third spot is an approach that is
desired, but challenging for the querent.  The last spot is
the least liked or least energized card. This is a very
simplified version of this excellent technique. I recommend
that you look at the Tarot School’s website for more
detailed information.  You can also find an article there 
that I wrote about how to use The Elemental Array in
psychotherapy: “Move an Ace: Change Your Life.”             
My Personality through the Lens of the 4 Tarot Suits

When I did The Elemental Array for the first time,
my Aces from most preferred to least preferred
were Wands, Swords, Cups, and Pentacles. When
Wald and Ruth Ann Amberstone explained what this
meant, I realized that It fit me perfectly. My tendency to
initiate and boldly charge into new projects (like this
column) is typical of Wands’ behavior. I knew that I
could rely on my analytical and creative ability
(Swords + Cups) to come up with something to say. 

Overall, although I am creative (Cups), I am more
involved in my projects (Wands) and thinking about
things (Swords) than I am in my emotional life (Cups is
third and in my Challenge position), but I am still
interested in love and friendship. I sometimes think
that I am sort of like a very warm alligator: cold-
bloodedly analytical (Swords) + friendly and happy
(Cups) + able to move forward on new projects quickly

I have always known that I have little interest in the
details of concrete reality and engage at that level
very reluctantly (Pentacles). One of the things that
delighted me about my husband of 39 years was that
he is very high on Pentacles. When we first met, he
was an accountant. Oh Joy! He wanted to take over
all my bookkeeping. Oh Shit! He wants me to pay
more attention to keeping the house neat and what
we are having for dinner. Oh Well!  That is Pentacles
for you. 

Everyone is complex and the four Tarot suits are in all
of us.  What is different is the degree to which a
particular suit is expressed and how natural and
immediate its expression is by us. And, of course,
different situations and people may “call out”
different sides of us. For example, even though I am
low on Pentacles, as compared to Wands and Swords,
I can finish projects, such as my PhD and this column. 
However, when I look closely, most of these projects are
in the realm of Swords—mental work!  My house can be
messy and I have to make a real effort to know today’s
date.  I find the types of details that I am assigning to
Pentacles difficult and not very interesting. Therefore,
when I speak about “Wands people” here, I am
oversimplifying the issue to look at one set of traits
that are always found in combination with other traits
as well.  
Some additional thoughts: The four Tarot suits by
themselves do not say anything about the morals or
likability of the person being described by them. There
are things to like and dislike about the characteristic
attributes of each Tarot suit. Our experience with
someone who embodies a particular suit or suits depends
on more than just the traits of the suit. It is often the
result of how well our preferred mode of action and
style (Wands, Cups, Swords, and Pentacles) blends with
theirs. And it is important to remember that you can be
bright, beautiful, smart, desirable, witty, and talented
in every suit. The preferred suits may affect the style
in which the above is expressed, but not the possession
of the traits themselves. 

A caveat: I am writing about how I use the Tarot Suits
as a personality system and what I mean by them. Other
Tarot theorists may think differently.          



The traits that I most associate with the suit of Wands are
expressed by these words:  Bold, energetic, enterprising,
forthright, open, ambitious, brave, impulsive, competitive,
and sexy. I use the Wands’ Court Cards to refer more
specifically to the level of experience and type of activity
the person is displaying. Below are some examples of what
I mean by Page, Knight, Queen and King of Wands

• Page of Wands 

In my personality system the Page of Wands can be a
description of three types of people: 

1.  Any young person with pronounced Wands traits
     (1-18 years old),  

2.  A person of any age with Wands traits who is beginning
     a new project in a new area where he or she is now a
     beginner again,

3.  Someone who is beginning to develop their latent Wands 
     traits who usually utilizes other elements more easily. 

Example 1: A Young Person with Wands Traits

I was at a friend’s 30th birthday party doing Tarot
readings as my birthday gift to my friend. I had read for
a few adults when a young boy, about 9-10 years old,
approached me. He was serious, bold, and direct.  He
asked me to read for him. This was the first time a child
ever showed an interest in Tarot and asked me for a reading.

Key 1 The Magician came up in the center of the spread
signifying that he was well described by that card.  He
listened attentively as I explained the meaning of the
cards, particularly Key 1 The Magician. I was struck by how
self-possessed he was. Even though this was his first Tarot
reading, he didn’t seem at all surprised by the process. 
My overall impression of him and the reading was that he was
a very unusual child who was likely to be successful at any
endeavor he chose to approach seriously.  Or in my terms:
“Wow! That was one Wandsy kid!” (And probably also high
on Swords).

Example 2: A Wands’ Adult Beginning a New Type of Project

Jim wanted a reading because he was about to quit his job in
a big company and strike out on his own. He had an idea for
a new way to manufacture something, had gotten a patent,
and now for the first time was going to be his own boss.
The Page of Wands came up as central in his reading.  I
interpreted it as he was at an early stage of learning about
running a company.

Example 3: A Non-Wands Adult Starting to Develop
                    her Latent Wands

Maria had always led with her heart (Cups). She tended to
choose men who bossed her around and she usually fell in
line with whatever her current man suggested. She was
loving, receptive, somewhat passive, and had difficulty
asserting herself. After her last breakup, she realized that
she wanted to take charge of her life and identify for
herself what to do and where she wanted to live. All of
that was new to her and she was not sure how to even
identify what she wanted and pursue it directly. She
entered therapy with me with the goal of being more of
a “self-starter.”  I told Maria about the suit of Wands
and the traits that I associated with Wands, and she agreed
that she needed to work towards developing these traits in
herself so that she could function independently of the men
in her life. 

• Knight of Wands 

A Knight’s key characteristic is that he or she is in
motion and active. The Knight is always on a quest seeking
something. What he seeks varies with the suit. A Knight of
Wands is pursuing his project. He may be searching for a
new project or he may be in the middle of one. Unlike the
King of Wands who is at rest (for now or permanently), the
Knight of Wands in my system represents action in the suit
of Wands. This Knight is not content to rest on his laurels.
 When he finishes a project, he quickly finds a new one that
interests him.

Example: The Knight of Wands comes for a Tarot Reading

My querent Craig came for a reading to see which of the two
new jobs he had been offered was likely to work out best for
him.  Craig is in his late 20’s and very ambitious. One job
offer was from a large, established firm that would give
him a generous signing bonus and a fixed salary that he
could count on with guaranteed raises every year. The other
company was a start-up where he would get stock options
with a lower starting salary and fewer guarantees. However,
the “start-up” offers Craig the chance to control his own
hours and the opportunity to make much more money in the
future, if he brings in new business and the company does
well. He would be getting in on the ground floor of
something that might be big. My Tarot reading confirmed
Craig’s own instincts and he took the job with the
“start-up.”  Unlike my typical “Pentacles” clients
who would not be able to sleep at night with that sort of
uncertainty, Craig felt the opposite: “I am young and have
very little to lose by taking a gamble on myself and the new
company. I would regret it forever if I didn’t take this
job and this company became a success.”
• Queen of Wands 

The Queen of Wands is bold, sexy, and feminine. She embodies
mastery over the fiery and willful energy of Wands in female
form.  Just as Knights can be male or female in my Tarot
personality system, you do not have to be born female to be
a Queen of Wands.  All who identify with her are symbolized
by her. 

Some famous Queen of Wands people are: Mae West (1893-1980)
the movie and stage star, Gertrude Bell (1868-1926) the
explorer, Beryl Markham (1902-1986) the aviator and author
of West with the Night, Marie Laveau (1794-1881) the Voodoo
queen, Billie Jean King the tennis champion, and Madonna the
singer.  And, of course, me!

Example: The Queen of Wands at Work and in a Relationship

My client Janet typifies the Queen at Wands in the work
place and in relationships. When I first met Janet she
already had her own consulting company. She said that she
had always preferred to be her own boss and was good at
initiating new projects. These are typical Wands traits. 
Very few “Wandsy” types like to be told what to do by
other people and they are capable go-getters who can both
envision their dream job and make it happen.  

In her personal life Jane was the typical Wands woman: Jane
liked men, appeared feminine and sexy, and usually was in a
relationship. Her presenting complaint for therapy was also
typical: her current relationship was in trouble because her
boyfriend found her too much “to handle.” He complained
that she was too bossy, too overwhelming, and too independent.
He also accused her of flirting with other men and not even
realizing when she was doing it! 

• King of Wands 

A King’s main characteristic is mastery over the energy of
his suit. The King of Wands is a master at initiating and
(at his best) successfully completing projects.  He is not
the person who waits to be told what to do and he is
certainly not afraid of a little competition. As King, he
has demonstrated his mastery over and over again.  This is
not his first time at the rodeo.  Unlike the Page of Wands
who is just starting out and learning how to use his fiery
energy, or the Knight of Wands who is in action mode, The
King of Wands describes the master of Wands masculine energy
as temporarily at rest. You do not have to be born male to
resonate with the King of Wands archetype or be described by
it. The main difference between the King of Wands and the
Queen of Wands is that one seems overtly masculine and the
other seems overtly feminine. 

Example: A Progression from Page of Wands to Knight of Wands
to King of Wands and Back to Knight of Wands

When John first entered therapy with me, he was in his
20’s, newly married, and working for a technology company
learning the business (Page of Wands). He was smart,
independent, ambitious, a risk taker, and curiously
indifferent to other people’s feelings (low on Cups). 
After he left therapy, I did not see him again for over
twenty years.  Then I got a call from John saying he would
like to return to therapy with me to work on some issues.  
I learned that since the last time I had seen John, he had
started his own technology company (Knight of Wands),
ran it successfully for a number of years (King of Wands)
and recently sold it for enough money to ensure he never had
to work again (King of Wands).  Many people would have been
satisfied to stop working at that point and John could have
relaxed and spent the rest of his life on vacation. However,
John said that he was feeling too restless to stop now.  He
wanted to develop a new project and was pursuing some
ideas that he hoped to turn into another successful business
(Knight of Wands).  

Example: Dating the King of Wands

My client Susan came to therapy because the man in her life
was quite literally driving her crazy. Paul was the head of
the company that she worked for and their relationship had
progressed from working together to being in love.

Unfortunately, in the process Susan had changed from her
normal happy, placid, uncomplicated self into someone who
was very anxious and insecure. What had disturbed her is
that Paul was treating her the same way that he treated the
new companies that he took over: he was trying to remake
her to match his image of perfection. Now that they were
officially a couple, he wanted her to dress sexier and show
more leg and be more ambitious at work. He started to groom
her to take a higher position in the company that involved
running a department, instead of simply working under her

In Tarot speak, Paul wanted to remake her in his image of
the perfect Wands’ woman!  Susan, however, was a very
sweet and unambitious Cups’ type (more about Cups in
a later column).  Her idea of a new project was knitting a
sweater.  She found Paul’s demands overwhelming. She was
uncomfortable wearing the outfits that he bought for her and
could never live up to Paul’s ideas about who she should
be at work. She did not have the temperament, ambitions,
or education for the position he wanted her to fill. Susan
also hated confrontations and did not know how to get out of
this situation. Worse, she was in love with Paul and thought
that he must be right and that she was somehow wrong and
a failure. I call this “Torture by Wands.”

All of the Court Cards in each suit can be viewed as a cycle
in which we repeatedly go from being a beginner (Page), to
active seeker (Knight), to attainment (Queen or King), and
then often start over again with a new object of interest. 
I will use myself as an example of how this works for me in
my life. As you will see, my Wands side is inextricably 
intertwined with my Swords side, which is why I describe
myself as a “Wandsy/Swordsy” sort of person. And, while
I tend to always appear feminine in person, my own sense of
femininity varies depending on what I am doing and who I am
relating to.  

Example: Although I often describe myself as a Queen of
type, in many ways I am also a very good Page of
Wands, Knight of Wands
, and King of Wands (and ditto for
Swords). For example, I set out to learn Gestalt therapy
while I was still in graduate school (Page of Wands, Page of
—Wands for the self-starting behavior, Swords for
the mental activity involved).

Gestalt therapy does not follow a set script, as some
psychotherapies do.  This meant I had to think on my feet
and react quickly in the moment to whatever was going on
in session (Wands and Swords again!). I studied it for years
with different teachers, even after I started my own practice
(Knight of Wands). I never worked in a clinic or hospital.  
I always wanted to control my own hours and the environment
in which I worked (King of Wands).  Eventually, I felt a sense
of mastery and started to teach my own version of Gestalt
therapy, and publish original papers on the topic of personality
disorders (King of Wands and King of Swords).  I became an
acknowledged expert on this topic (King of Swords).  

Why so many Kings here?  Mainly because I noticed an odd
thing. When people met me in person, my femininity was
evoked and I exuded Queen of Wands—sexy, bold, almost
flamboyant. When I write, I feel much less typically
feminine and those who read my writing without meeting me
first, tell me that they never imagined me as the warm,
feminine, light-hearted creature that I appear to be in person.
As an expert, my Wands style femininity was not foreground
for me or for those people who read my work.  

After mastering Gestalt therapy, I went on to repeat this
process with other types of therapy, and so on till this
day. I am full of projects. For me this is a hallmark of
Wands. Writing this column (a short, continuing project) 
is happening in the midst of publishing my book, Borderline,
Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love,
Admiration, and Safety
, which itself is the culmination of a
very long project.  Elinor without a project would not be
Elinor.  And there you have the essence of Wands!        

Dr. Elinor GreenbergDr. Elinor Greenberg, PhD, CGP, CPTR
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. 


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Best Practices for Professional Readers
A business hiatus is more that just taking a few days off to
rejuvenate or to go on holiday. Most people would not dream
of being away from their business for an extended period,
nor could they afford it.
Taking extended time away from your tarot business can
happen for many reasons. Burnout is one of the top causes
for readers taking a long break. For some, the decision for
hiatus is due to personal reasons and for still others, it
is not by choice. Often practitioners take a hiatus due to a
change in their professional direction or career, and for
other life purposes.
In making the decision to take a hiatus from professional
readings, examine the affordability of being able to do so.
This may also determine how long a time away is practical.
Also consider the dependability of your clients or other
professional contacts and the impact on your immediate
Keep in mind that the intended duration of a hiatus will
depend on many circumstances. The length of time is best
decided once you’ve had enough time to gain insight about
next steps for your life. 

Additional Reading:

Preparing For a Long-Term Hiatus
From Your Solopreneur Business

How to Plan a Sabbatical-Style Career Break      



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