Newsletter of The Tarot School
ISSN: 1529-0565 
Vol. 8 #8 / October 1, 2016
 In this Issue:
- Welcome
- Tarot Tip: 13 (Busted) Tarot Myths
- Tarot School Aphorism
- What's Gnu?
- Guest Article: The ‘Other” Oracle Card – Lenormand and Semiotics
- Best Practices: Marketing Online – Putting Your Best Face Forward
- Upcoming Events

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



October has arrived and it typically means a busy season
for readers. For many of us during this month we celebrate
Halloween/Samhaim. If you’ll be reading at parties, you
might be interested in an article on the Tarot School
website: 22 Suggestions for Offering Readings at Parties,
Expos & Psychic Fairs.
It’s full of great tips! 

We have two special guests participating in this month’s
newsletter. Arwen Lynch-Poe has contributed a Tip on
busting popular myths around the tarot, and Monica
Bodirsky takes a loving look at Lenormand. The Best
Practices column talks about putting your best face forward
in your marketing efforts, and we have news of an upcoming
Tarot School Intensive on the Court Card Array.

Psych-Wise is taking a break this month as Elinor has been
overseas teaching at a major Gestalt conference in Taormina,
Sicily. But be sure to check out the What’s Gnu? column
for news of her brand new book! 

And one more thing...

K. Frank Jensen (1933-2016)

We'd like to take a moment to mark the passing and 
celebrate the life of K. Frank Jensen of Denmark, a 
legend in the tarot world. A tarot researcher, author 
and archivist, his epic tarot card collection is believed 
to be the most complete in existence. To find out what 
happened to it, read Lyn Howarth-Olds' memorial post 
on Mary K. Greer's Tarot Blog at:

We had the good fortune to meet Frank at a World Tarot
Congress back in the '90s. We remember his delight in
sharing his knowledge. A true Tarot King, he will be missed,
but his legacy lives on.           

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

by Arwen Lynch-Poe

Here’s an Arwen secret. I do not like the rules that I
can’t understand. To that end, I never liked all the
do’s and don’ts of Tarot that I kept hearing.

Such as:
• Do wrap your cards in black silk ONLY.
• Don’t buy your own cards.

In fact, I wrote up thirteen Tarot myths and busted them.

MYTH #1: The Age of Tarot

Tarot has been rumored to be as old as the pyramids and
connected to Egypt but there is no solid fact for that. This
rumor seems to have begun along with the first mention of
Tarot as a mystical tool by Antoine Court de Gebelin. De
Gebelin was a French occultist who linked Tarot to ancient
Egypt in his book published in 1781. Many other major
influences in Tarot also followed de Gebelin. This included
names like Eliphas Levi, Arthur Edward Waite and even
Aleister Crowley. There simply is no factual basis to this
thought. There is evidence of cards being used for
divination as early as 1540 in a book called The Oracles of
Francesco Marcolino da Forli
. And Casanova noted in his
infamous diary that his Russian mistress often did
divination with a deck of playing cards.

What we do know is that the first deck can be traced to
Italy in the 15th century, between 1410 and 1430 in Milan,
Ferrera or Bologna. This first deck was when an artist added
trump cards, “carte de trionfi” or “triumph cards”
featuring faces of the Visconti and Sforza families as a
wedding gift.
MYTH #2: The Gypsies invented Tarot

Historical evidence and Gypsy tradition indicates that their
point of origin was somewhere in India or Egypt which
precludes them from inventing Tarot. However the nomadic
nature of the Romany did help spread the Tarot. 

An interesting Romany timeline can be found here: .

MYTH #3: Church banned Tarot cards

This is somewhat the truth. The Catholic Church actually
banned Tarot cards, along with playing cards (known as the
“Devil’s Picturebook”), dice and board games in the
16th century primarily because they could all be used for
gambling, and not because of some magical secrets. The
Christian Bible has passages against divination of any type.
A much used passage is Deuteronomy 18:10-12.

MYTH #4: You must be psychic to be a Tarot reader

Patently false. I happen to be a psychic reader but I know
plenty who are not who are excellent readers. I believe that
everyone has some psychic abilities but most of us close
ourselves off to them early in life due to the popular but
oppressive thought that it is of the occult. I also think
this myth has basis in others trying to keep others out or
make Tarot some ooky-spooky mystery cult.

MYTH #5: You are doomed by what the Tarot cards say.

Again, a falsehood-- a very very dangerous one in my
opinion. If you go to a Tarot consultant who tells you
something the cards say is set in stone, I want you to do
two things. One, laugh in his or her face. Two get up and
walk away and never go back. The cards are a way of looking
at patterns in our lives and tendencies. Think of them as a
map for the journey of life. If you were in your car and the
roadmap said “Bridge out ahead” would you keep driving?

I didn’t think so.

It is the same for the cards. If something dire is in the
future, you have all the tools to make changes now to
redirect that energy. Certainly if a Tower event is in front
of you, you may not be able to completely alleviate that
eventual collapse, but you can certainly start climbing down
so you don’t have quite as far to fall. 

MYTH #6: Only you can touch your cards.

This is not true, but some consultants prefer to be the only
ones to handle their cards. This is due to the energies a
person has. It can also be due to the fact that some people
are very hard on the cards physically. And sorry, but some
folks don’t think about what was on their hands before
they touch the cards. Jelly and butter do not go well with
pasteboard. I normally let others handle my cards, but I
also have specific decks relegated to public use. I also
cleanse and clear my cards on a regular basis.

MYTH #7: You must wrap your cards in black silk and keep
them hidden away.

This myth probably comes from a practical teaching from the
Dark Ages when you could be burned at the stake for being a
heretic and a witch. There is no basis in fact for this. I
have over 450 decks and none of them are wrapped in black
silk.  Well some are wrapped in silk but I prefer colors.
True story, my mother’s scarf is in use as a Tarot wrap.
She would have loved that! Some of them are hidden away but
that is because I can’t figure out which box they are
currently packed in.

MYTH #8 You must receive the cards as a gift.

This one makes me laugh. I’d be a sad Tarot collector if
this were true. This, I think, ties into the Wiccan tenet of
not haggling for your tools. However, I have bought the
majority of my decks (although I am always open to receiving
gifts hint hint wink wink) and have not had any problems
other than when I bought a deck I simply didn’t like.

MYTH #9: You should not read your own cards.

This has basis in truth but not because it is bad luck.
Truthfully, reading for yourself is difficult because it is
hard to remove yourself from what you want the cards to say.
I often have others read for me because of this. Getting out
of your own way is not easy.

However I can and do read for myself! I would recommend
using the cards for self-introspection rather than
divination. I have spreads specifically designed for that

MYTH #10: The Tarot is always right.

Wouldn’t this be fabulous if it were true! Sadly, just
like the fishing tales, not everything you hear is fact. As
I said before, the Tarot predicts possibilities and points
out tendencies. Free will comes into play as does informed
choice. The minute you lay the cards out, you are changing
your future because you are looking ahead. Go back to that
driving analogy. When you look at a map, you are changing
your path because you are making informed decisions about
which way to go. 

MYTH #11: You must have set rituals to read properly.

I actually do have a few set rituals but that is for my own
benefit, not the cards. I have a set way I shuffle and cut
as well as a set way I read. The only need for this is my
own need to do things a certain way. In my chat with other
readers, it seems many of us have rituals that put us into
the right frame of mind to do a reading.

MYTH #12: There is only one way to interpret the cards.

And it would be so nice if this were true! Everyone would
have one meaning. Then again, that’s not such a good
thing. Groupthink is a dangerous thing. Not only does it
takes away diversity, it also eliminates the personal touch.
Luckily for us, the Tarot cards are tools that help you
access your intuition or, perhaps, the collective
unconscious. Each card’s meaning comes into play with the
card next to it which can alter the interpretation. I can
read the same card for six different people and depending on
what is around that card, the meaning will change.
One thing I teach my students is that symbols don’t mean
the same to everyone. A dog may mean companionship and
unconditional love to you while someone who was attacked by
a dog could see it as a danger sign.

MYTH #13: The Death card means someone is going to die!

Absolutely not. It *can* mean physical death, but in my
thirty plus years of reading, Death usually means painful
change in the querent’s life. This is actually one of the
few cards that I consider unavoidable because when change is
necessary, you have to do it or suffer the consequences.
Have I actually seen death in a Tarot reading? Yes, but it
was not the person I was reading for. It was a relative they
needed to visit—an elderly relative.


About the Author:

Arwen Lynch-Poe is the past president of the American Tarot
Association. The Fairy Tale Lenormand (art by Lisa Hunt)
has recently been realeased by US Games. She is presently
working on an oracle deck by another artist for US Games.
Check out her blog and YouTube channel.


 Tarot School Aphorism
            "In tarot, things are bigger on the inside. Every image, every name, every number.  Everything of value in tarot is found by entering the interior of a symbol through its physical representation."


The Tarot School's Monday night
Tarot Salon has a new, cool and
easy-to-remember domain name!


Dr. Elinor Greenberg is psychology consultant to The
Tarot School, a regular contributor to this newsletter,
and a Readers Studio favorite. Her new book, Borderline,
Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love,
Admiration, and Safety
, is a much needed resource. She’s
able to take a complex subject, explain it clearly, and even
have some fun. 

Robert M. Place, renowned tarot deck creator, author and
scholar, designed the fabulous cover.  

Borderline, Narcissitic, and Schizoid Adaptations by Dr. Elinor Greenberg
Learn more and buy at 20% Promo Code at (Code #AFWRKHX). Also available on
Amazon and Amazon Europe. 

Congratulations, Elinor! ✨👏 


Guest Article
by Monica Bodirsky, BDEs

Lenormand and Semiotics                                   

Semiotics or sign making as meaningful communication is
vital to me as an artist and cartomancer. When creating any
visual art or design, I need to ensure that I am
communicating as clearly and effectively as possible to a
diverse range of people. When I travel, I note whether
street signs are clear or if red always means no and green,
yes. Even though the washroom signs can be confusing when
I’m not wearing a skirt or dress, I generally find my way
around thanks to the image, especially when I have no idea
what the word for woman is in a multitude of languages.
Despite small differences, I am grateful for the universal
language of symbolism to help me navigate internationally,
and locally as well.

One example of a symbol I enjoy in my own neighborhood
appears on a lawn sign I pass daily on my way to the subway.
It depicts a stylized silhouette of a squatting dog, who is
clearly defecating. The dog is portrayed in the center of a
circle with a red line surrounding it, and through it, an
emphatic red diagonal line. I grasp this image faster than
words and it inspired me to think of all of the other
pictographic lawn signs that might be equally valid: loose
garbage with a single diagonal red line through it,
obnoxious people, a leaf blower, and anything else that may
irritate you or me. Our ability to use non-verbal
communication effectively was crystal clear with this sign.

American philosopher and writer Susanne Langer (1895 -1985)
proposed a distinction between verbal discursive
presentational symbolism, and, non-discursive visual
symbolism. She was one of the first female philosophers and
she specifically explored art as a means of conveying human
emotions as well as the need to create meaning through

Langer’s research has helped me forge a link between
psychology and cartomancy, and I also apply her philosophies
within my own art practice. I agree with her theory that
symbolism and art are a means of self-expression and a way
to seek meaning in our lives. I am also sessional faculty in
the design program at OCAD University in Toronto, and
‘Experience Design’ is the class I teach during the
winter semester. It is primarily for designers who create
material goods but it is a contextual theory course in which
we discuss visual media that ranges from brand appeal in
advertisements to iconography as a means of communication.
We talk about the power and influence of symbolic imagery
and how, as a society we quickly assimilate and respond to
these concepts. The underlying objective of this class is to
gain an understanding of the way objects are designed to
have an immediate visual impact within a socio-political,
cultural and economic context. The students’ assignments
include making short autobiographical videos, and, it is
amazing to see their immediate grasp of visual icons. 
Langer’s theory, this class and my own reading practice
have led me to question the effectiveness of on a strictly
intellectual level. My own reading style is both shamanic
and learned visual language, and I’ve noticed that some
card symbols and styles of cards, whether aesthetically
pleasing or not, are more effective than others.

I’m not certain if Mrs. Langer ever picked up a tarot deck
or Lenormand cards, but I’m sure she would have recognized
them as conceptual and representational art. My own use of
Lenormand cards in the 1970’s began my journey of
appreciation. I tried several decks that friends owned
during this time, everything from the “Gypsy Witch Fortune
Telling Cards” to the ever-present Blue Owl with it’s
verses, to the several interpretations by Piatnik. They all
have their own style and I enjoyed their simple iconography
and immediacy. 

Offering Clients a Choice

Looking through my current collection, I noticed which decks
appeared most worn and used. When I began offering
professional readings twenty-five years ago, I only used the
Morgan Greer deck, but over the years I started offering
clients a choice of four to six decks to choose from. This
seemed to encourage ownership of the information by the
seeker and acknowledged their role in choosing their own
destiny. I also began to notice which decks they chose most
frequently. Some were thematic; some brightly colored,
others borderless. From here I decided that there might be
components in some of the infrequently chosen decks that
made them more difficult to read. I could see it wasn’t
simply a matter of bright colours or theme.

I also noticed that my own choices were very much in line
with my clients and, though I adore tarot and have been
using it for forty years, I must confess I also love using
Lenormand cards. Several years ago, my husband and I found a
Piatnik Nr. 1941 Mlle. Lenormand deck in a tobacco shop in
Harvard Square, I purchased it and immediately began
including it in my readings. I was surprised at how quickly
my clients made the transition, and now I often give only
Lenormand readings. I even created my own deck - The Lucky

I frequently offer talks and workshops about the art of
tarot, and about my own Lucky Lenormand oracle deck. I share
information not only about the history of tarot, but also
about my own art deck from inception to completion and the
impact of its symbolism. Usually after the talk someone
approaches me to inquire about switching from tarot to
Lenormand readings and wants to know about the difference,
or whether to use both. Many people seem hesitant to use
Lenormand cards, have the wrong idea about them, or know
nothing at all about them. In what I hope does not appear as
a feverish sales pitch, I often speak passionately about
Lenormand cards and the directness of their communication. 

The feedback I hear most frequently about this style of
oracle deck is that it is too blunt. Others argue it isn’t
a master system of ancient alchemy and occultism. But I see
as many layers within the iconography of Lenormand as I do
with tarot, and they seem equally descriptive. 

Why I love Lenormand

Each year I see new decks on the market and am amazed at the
depth and breadth of their styles and their innovative use
of symbolism. After I reconnected with my Lenormand deck
years ago, I pondered. Here is a partial list of why I enjoy
this style of deck. 
1.    Their simple, straightforward messages cut through a lack
of objectivity I experience with tarot when trying to read
my own cards. Once I asked the tarot about future prospects
and prosperity for the next month and received the
Temperance card reversed with the Star card. Well yes, I was
indeed hoping for balance and success and the suggestions of
how to achieve this were implied and helpful with the
reversed Temperance card. Time to regain balance to
transform and I will achieve success. Or was that because I
am imbalanced and I am only dreaming of success? Perhaps it
meant I would never balance! This was fine but a bit squishy
for me. I realize you shouldn’t read when anxious or when
things aren’t clear, and most of us seasoned readers
understand that the question is often key in achieving the
best answer, but I also know that at times I am not
objective - period. The Lenormand reading for this same
question produced the Scythe and Fish cards. OK
well…“NO! Sudden cutting off of prospects!!!” That was
clear. Sometimes I need no wiggle room, or I’ll wiggle. 

2.    I enjoy how single words can suddenly become full
sentences, like the Sun - House - Dog combination which
might read “Happiness and loyalty in your home and
‘hood, yay!” This simplicity makes it easy when trying
to analyze complex and intense proximity combinations using
all thirty-six cards in a ‘Grand Tableau’ or ‘Big
Table’ reading. The Grand Tableau illustrates the ‘big
picture’ literally and figuratively. I encourage clients
to take a photo and use it for later reference. 

3.    Lenormand cards are easier to shuffle for those of us who
are not quite as ‘handy’ as others. Seriously, I love
big cards but shuffling is a real anxiety many clients have.
They often feel that they need to handle the cards with the
skill and expertise of a well-trained casino croupier, yet
sort of mess them up with a pseudo-shuffle, which can
begin the reading with feelings of ineptitude. I made my
own cards poker-sized for shuffling comfort, and several
clients seem to appreciate it.

4.    I have had very accurate readings with Lenormand cards.
Some feel they are less accurate than tarot because of their
simplicity; however, they have playing card and numerical
attributes to add an extra layer of interpretation if needed.
If the visual of the card isn’t enough, I also explain the
numerical significance of the card as well as the playing card
equivalent to add clarity. For example, if the number 30 card,
the Lily appears, I read it as maturity and letting go a bit,
perhaps ageing gracefully. But when I add the King of Spades
symbol which accompanies the Lily card, I am reminded of
the depth of wisdom, the nobility, diplomacy and resilience
required to rule and stand your ground fairly. For me, the
Lily’s number 30 means manifestation of thought, will and
action amongst other positive trinity combinations. 

5.    Lenormand cards have a broad appeal across age, gender
and cultural differences. Even if your house doesn’t look like
the house depicted, we all grasp this card as a symbol of home.
Whether you are a psychologist who wants to read this as a
metaphor for the psyche or someone who simply recognizes
it as their immediate, physical home, it’s accommodating in
its clarity. 

6.    They have an interesting history. Mary K. Greer brought
it to our attention that the Lenormand deck imagery began as
Johann Kaspar Hechtel’s game “Das Spiel der Hoffnung” or
the game of hope. He was a German entrepreneur from
Nuremberg who created the deck as a game in which all cards
were placed and markers and dice were used to move around
from card to card depending on whether they were favorable
or not. How the cards came to be named Lenormand, after
Mlle. Marie Anne Lenormand, who may well have used
these cards in her arsenal of decks, is speculative yet
fascinating nonetheless.

7.    I feel nostalgic when using them. These cards are a
throwback to the 1970’s pop culture era of mysticism I
grew up in, and each time I use them I am reminded of
how intriguing and fresh everything metaphysical was
when I first began to learn about spirituality and card
reading. I recall spending endless hours reading one
particularly large patchouli-soaked compendium filled
with the secrets of the ages. Now when reading these cards,
I feel a renewed sense of wonder that cuts through years of
the cynical buildup that tends to occur with time.

I adore the study and application of semiotics, and I love
oracle cards of every type.  Each day when I create art or
read cards, I am grateful for the contributions of all artists,
readers, collectors and fans of cartomancy to the collective
awareness and appreciation we share. Many thanks go out
to all of you who offer your time and knowledge to this
ancient art.

Monica Bodirsky
Monica Bodirsky is an artist, educator
and cartomancer who has recently released
the limited edition Lucky Lenormand
Oracle deck.  She will be one of the featured
merchants at the 2017 Readers Studio.

Contact her at
or visit her on FB @ mbodirsky
or go to her website


                                          2017 Readers Studio Logo by Ryan Edward Capogreco
The 2017 Readers Studio website
will be ready soon, but don't wait to register
if you already know you want to go!

Click the logo graphic above
to get on the 5-month Payment Plan!


Best Practices for Professional Readers
By Gina Thies
Websites and social media have now become top
components to online marketing efforts. One of the
biggest misunderstandings about doing business online
is that because you have a neatly designed website that
is up and running, traffic will immediately go to your
site or social media platform. Some will find this out
the hard way.
Instead of a pretty and cool website design, you’ll want
to think about functionality and effective design. Since
marketing should always be fresh, you may not want to
be eternally tied to one design for the life of your online
Some important things to do for marketing online is to:

• Choose a memorable web address and easy to remember

• Be creative in ways that draw traffic to your site or
   social media platform

• Don’t let your site content get stale

• Use colors and images that reflect the best of what you
   are offering online

• Turn lookers into buyers by using call to action buttons
   or links 


Upcoming Events:

Tarot Salon
Forest Hills, New York

October 3, 10, 17 and 24
(Note: There will be NO CLASS on October 31
 Happy Halloween / Blessed Samhain!)
Our popular Monday night Salons are the
hottest thing in tarot instruction!

Readers Studio Teleconference -- Free!
October 23, 2016 

Come hang out with us on the phone or online
at our monthly informal get-together. It's a
great chance to catch up with each other and
brainstorm new ideas.

(Note: If you click this link and it the page has the September date,
don't worry about it. Updated pages sometimes take awhile to post.
You can still fill out the roster form to get the phone number.)

Tarot School Intensives

2016 Fall Intensive
Forest Hills, New York

November 12 – 13, 2016

It has been our experience that the single biggest factor in
achieving happiness, fulfillment and all kinds of personal
power is a deep, detailed self-knowledge. Heightened
self-awareness is the key to choosing the experiences you
want to have.

The Tarot School specializes in techniques of self-knowledge.
Tarot Psychology is the main body of those techniques, and
the Court Card Array is the most detailed and specific of
them all.

Court Cards are the most complex cards in tarot. But when
they come together in the small universe of the Court Card
Array, their energy becomes nuclear.

Within the Array, Court Cards are transformed. They explain
who you are and what you can do in the normal world of
everyday life in more detail than any other form of Tarot
Psychology. They intensify normality by an order of
magnitude. And if you want more there is more, as much
as you’d like.

This is an advanced intensive. It is not for beginners. We
will share more with you here than has ever seen the light
of day before. If that appeals to you, come join us in

Click Here to register!

DATES: Saturday, Nov. 12 - Sunday, Nov. 13
TIMES:  11am – 7pm both days
LOCATION: Forest Hills, NY (address provided upon registration)

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