Newsletter of The Tarot School
Vol. 13 #14 / October 1, 2021
In this Issue:
- Tarot Tip: Cooperative Readings
- Tarot School Aphorism
- Meet the Reader: Joanna Powell Colbert
- Diviner's Corner: Gyromancy
- Best Practices: Navigating Sole Proprietorship
- Upcoming Events
Welcome to a new issue of Tarot Tips!
And a special welcome to our new subscribers.
We're excited to announce that
the World Divination Association
has named Wald Amberstone as
Best Divination Teacher 2021!
The awards ceremony launched
their new YouTube channel and
you can watch it here:
Thank you to everyone who voted
for him. Wald is deeply honored.
After a several months-long hiatus,
we're happy to welcome back Gina Thies!
Always on the lookout for guest submissions
and interesting topics, Gina's Best Practices
for Professional Readers column has been a
valuable resource for those of us who have
chosen to make tarot a career. This month
her focus is on insurance.
Also in this issue...
Sometimes a reader and querent may disagree
about how to interpret the cards. This month's
Tip suggests a way to resolve the conflict for
a more productive reading. There's an
introduction to reader, teacher and deck creator,
Joanna Powell Colbert, a dizzying look at
Gyromancy, a new Tarot Aphorism from
Wald, and the schedule of upcoming Tarot Salons.
(Join us –– they're lots of fun!)
We have been issuing refunds to everyone
who rolled over their 2020 Readers Studio
and/or Divination Day registration since
we will not be holding the event in 2021
To facilitate the process, if you have not
yet received your refund, please send a
request with your current PayPal email
address to email@example.com.
Requests will be honored in the order
in which they are received.
Wishing you health and bright blessings,
Ruth Ann and Wald
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
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I am fairly new to Tarot and recently
enrolled in your Tarot Correspondence
Course. My question concerns the way
in which the cards present themselves
in a reading if both the reader and the
querent are familiar with tarot but each
has a very different viewpoint regarding
I have only one friend who is also
interested in tarot. She spent a long time
taking lessons from a teacher who is no
longer in our area, and her method of
reading a card never varies according to
what deck she uses or its relative position
in a layout. She learned particular keywords
and phrases, assigned to each card and never
I respect the differences in our approaches.
I feel that whatever works is appropriate,
and it is my understanding that the cards
will present themselves accordingly. My
own approach is very different.
Let me give you an example.
If The Magician card were to come up
in a reading, her ironclad interpretation
is that it represents Fear and the Creation
of negative potential realities. Reversed,
it represents Belief and Negating the
creation of negative potential realities.
I would view that card as reflecting
self-confidence rather than fear. I might
also see this card as reflecting skills in
occult areas, or perhaps as representing a
particular person in the life of the querent.
My interpretation would also take into
consideration the position in the layout,
the surrounding cards, and the question
that was asked.
My friend recently gave me a reading though
and it is what prompted all of this. She did
the shuffling (until I said it was enough)
and then I cut the deck and she proceeded
from there. When she did the reading I
noticed that I would have read it very
differently. It's not that I don't think
she was accurate or that her method lacks
validity. I have a lot of respect for this
person and she is a close friend, so I
didn't mention anything, as I didn't want
her to feel I was being critical. But it
made me think.
I copied down the cards that came up and
their position in the Celtic-Cross layout.
When I got home I spent some time with it,
looking at each card and the overall
differences and similarities between our
interpretations. I felt it would add some
depth to my understanding.
That was when I began to wonder how the
cards come up in the first place. She did
the actual reading, but we both had a hand
in the way they came up, with her shuffling
until it felt right to me and then with me
cutting the deck. So, in this case (or any
time both people are familiar with Tarot yet
have very different viewpoints) which one
of us influenced the cards that came up?
Do they present themselves for the Reader
or the Querent?
You'll notice I gave this Tip the title
"Cooperative Readings." There are actually
several questions in this question but I
think that expresses the core of my answer.
Any time one person does a reading for
another person, it's a joint process. The
ideal is for it to be cooperative –– where a
real dialog can occur. To answer one of your
last questions first, both the reader and
the querent put their energies into the
shuffle. BUT... the INTENT is that the
cards drawn should be specifically for
Once the cards are drawn, however, their
interpretation is often a matter of viewpoint.
A reader can only read from his or her own
state and knowledge base. Your friend's
approach then, will tend to be constricted
because she is apparently not open to
learning beyond what she has already been
taught. (And don't forget that a teacher can
only teach from his or her own state, too!)
Does that mean that your friend's readings
are inaccurate? Not necessarily. However,
they probably don't represent the whole
One of the reasons I am a big fan of
"cooperative" readings where both the reader
and the querent offer their input, is because
the querent will often see things in a way
that is uniquely applicable to them. Even
people who have never seen a tarot deck
before can have valuable insights when they
look at the cards.
For example, a number of years ago I did a
reading for my daughter who had only a
basic familiarity with tarot. Her question
involved choosing a major in college. She
was considering Anthropology, a subject in
which she had not yet taken any courses.
The first card that came up in her reading
was The Chariot reversed. I interpreted it
in a way that I didn't think was totally
appropriate but when I admitted to her that
I felt there was more to it, she said,
"Oh, I know what that is! Three times my
advisor told me I'm putting the cart before
Now, I've never seen The Chariot reversed
that way before and when I related the story
to Mary Greer, who had written a whole book
on Reversals, she told me she'd never seen
that either. My daughter's viewpoint was
very valuable to the reading process even
though she wasn't an expert. Readings
between two people who do know tarot can
really look at an issue in-depth. The key
here though is to have a give-and-take
approach and for both parties to be open to
the other's insights.
In cases such as yours where that doesn't
happen, working on your own can, as you
said, add depth to your understanding.
Your question also implies the bigger
question of what to do when your own
interpretation is diametrically opposed to
that of the reader. The main thing to
understand in this situation is that the
querent is ALWAYS responsible for deciding
the applicability and appropriateness of
what a reader says. It is, after all, your
life and you know it best. Also, you're the
one who is going to be acting on whatever
advice you are given so the decision has to
rest with you. It's not just a question of
opposing interpretations, this is true in
Where your interpretations are different but
not opposing, chances are good (unless the
reader has ignored your question) that both
viewpoints are valid and bear contemplation.
~ Ruth Ann
Running The Tarot School with Wald keeps
me pretty busy, but I still love giving readings!
If you would like to book a private reading
with me over Zoom, send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll discuss it.
Tarot School Aphorism
Meet The Reader
JOANNA POWELL COLBERT
By Sharonah Rapseik, Ph.D., CMAP
Joanna Powell Colbert is a sacred artist,
soul guide, earth mystic, beach walker,
moon lover, and caller of circles. She is
the creator of the Gaian Tarot and the
Pentimento Tarot, and the co- creator of
the Herbcrafter’s Tarot. Her work as a
teacher and guide is grounded in earth-
centered spiritually, seasonal contemplative
practices, creativity as a devotional path,
and using the tarot for inner guidance and
She was named by SageWoman magazine
as one of the Wisdom Keepers of the Goddess
Spirituality movement. She lives on the edge
of the woods and lake near the shores of the
Salish Sea in Bellingham, Washington in the
Joanna, what makes your tarot practice unique
and how do you express it?
Joanna Powell Colbert:
My relationship with the tarot is threefold:
as a deck creator, as a reader for self and
others, and as a teacher. Underneath those
three roles, I am always a seeker with the
tarot, returning to “The Fool” time and time
again, to learn new practices and new ways
of interacting with the cards.
I decided to ask The Herbcrafter’s Tarot
to help me answer your question.
How is my tarot practice unique? - Adelitia
of Earth / Yucca (Knight of Pentacles)
( The Adelita of Earth crafts a Brigid’s
cross out of yucca, a common plant in her
own bio-region, marrying her blood ancestry
to the spirit of the land where she lives.)
I am always fascinated by deck creators
who put a new spin on the time-honored
traditions of the tarot. I’m especially
excited about the intersection of an
earth-based spirituality and the tarot, which
is my particular niche, as you see in the
Gaian Tarot and The Herbcrafter’s Tarot.
How do I express my unique tarot practice? -
Ace of Water (Cups) / Plantain
(Plantain is a common weed that is prolific
and easy to dismiss, yet it is a powerful
When I see plantain growing everywhere on
my walks, I often think “Love is everywhere!”
We just have to be careful not to miss it.
My tarot practice is unique in that it is
rooted in devotion and expressed through it
–– devotion to the land, to the Sacred
Feminine, and to the community of tarot
lovers and seekers to whom I’m connected.
What else? - 10 of Air (Swords) / Alfalfa
(A scythe cuts into a field of alfalfa,
which adds nutrients to the soil as it
My professional tarot practice as deck
creator, reader, and teacher has been laying
fallow for the last year or so. During the
pandemic, I turned my attention to other
generative creative projects that kept me
going. Compost engenders fertility in
addition to this personal reading of the
cards for myself. I also see the tarot as a
powerful tool when it comes to helping
people make it through the most difficult
times of their lives.
Thank you Joanna, it’s a pleasure to meet you!
Follow Joanna Powell Colbert here:
You can purchase The Gaian Tarot or
Sharonah Rapseik is an Artist / Designer,
Author, Tarot Reader, Radio Host and
Producer for Psychic Talk Radio.
Visit her at:
Gyromancy is a method of divination in which
a person spins around inside or walks the
circumference of a circle drawn on the ground,
the perimeter of which is marked with the
letters of an alphabet. The divination is inferred
from the letter at the position where the person
either stumbles or falls across the circle's edge.
The person would repeat the practice "...till he
evolved an intelligible sentence, or till death
or madness intervened."
The dizziness brought on by spinning or
circling is intended to introduce randomness
or to facilitate an altered state of consciousness.
The word gyromancy is derived from Medieval
Latin, gyromantia, which is derived from
Greek gyros (circle) and manteia (oracle).
Gyromancy can be combined with other fortune
telling methods such as astrology or tarot.
The circle can be divided into the zodiac
signs, astrological houses or planets. Walk
or spin around the circle continuously until
you fall into the house, sign or planet that
has a message for you. For example, if you
fall into the Fourth House, perhaps future
events will be focused on your home.
Similarly with the tarot, you could divide
the circle into the 22 cards of the Major
Arcana and see which character "catches"
you when you fall. Dividing the circle into
four sections of earth, air, fire and water
will show you whether future events will
affect your physical, intellectual, energetic
or emotional nature respectively.
Gyromancy is an extremely energetic form
of divination and, therefore, a certain degree
of health is required to perform it. It would
be advisable if you are aware of any
contraindications to performing gyromancy,
such as asthma or epilepsy, that you avoid
this method. Instead, consider using a
spinning top on a small board or poster
marked with the the letters of the alphabet
or another system of your choice.
There is a curious connection between the
practice of this divination and the familiar
technique of psychic circles or ouija boards.
In this practice all siting in a circle place
a finger on a glass surrounded by letters
of the alphabet. The glass will touch letters
in turn to indicate words or messages.
 Arthur Edward Waite: Occult Sciences: A
Compendium of Transcendental Doctrine and
Best Practices for Professional Readers
NAVIGATING SOLE PROPRIETORSHIP
By Gina Thies
www.tarotadvisor.com / www.facebook.com/tarotreaders
www.tarotcoupling.com / www.oraclesoup.org
Being a business owner can deliver so many
advantages in terms independence and
flexibility. The frightening part of being
your own source of income is to think about
the “what-ifs”, especially if something
No business owner when starting out wants to
shell out more money than they are earning
to cover expenses. It may be wise to keep
overhead costs to a minimum but the area of
insurance is one that you’ll not want to cut
corners on if you can help it.
Here are insurance types a sole proprietor
will need to consider for purchase:
Health Insurance. This is possibly the most
costly of all insurance premiums to cover.
Business Insurance. Covers a wide range of
losses that may not be covered under regular
insurance such as homeowners.
General Liability. This covers personal
liability and can be purchased with business
Income Protection or Disability Insurance.
This is protection for lost wages due to not
being able to work.
Workers Compensation. This is typically not
required for self-employed people but could
be if you are a sole proprietor who
subcontracts. For some who contract with
universities or schools for events it may be
You don’t want to second-guess about
business insurance needs and you’ll want to
contact a local insurance specialist. There
are some organizations and clubs that offer
insurance for a variety of needs for single
or self-employed individuals.
The National Association for the
Self-Employed - https://www.nase.org/
Entrepreneur - https://www.entrepreneur.com/
US Dept. of Labor - https://www.dol.gov/
• Monday, October 4, 11, 18 and 25
• Monday, November 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29
Tarot Salon on Zoom!
7:00 - 9:00 pm EDT
Our popular Monday night classes are
now online so you can attend no matter
where you live!
Do you have a question or comment on anything tarot?
Suggestions for future topics?
For information on tarot classes, courses,
events and more, go to TarotSchool.com
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Directors: Ruth Ann and Wald Amberstone