Vol. 8 #4 / June 1, 2016
In this Issue:
- Tarot Tip: Relationships — The Thorny Question: What if a client can’t find love?
- Tarot School Aphorism
- What's Gnu?
- PsychWise: Using Multiple Decks for A Single Reading (Part 2)
- Best Practices: Repairing Damage From Unethical Spiritual Practitioners
- Upcoming Events
Welcome to a new issue of Tarot Tips!
And a special welcome to our new subscribers.
This year's Readers Studio was out of this World!
The picture to the left is just one example of the
wonderful and wacky time we had there. To share
your memories or see what you missed, visit our
Facebook group here...
There's absolutely nothing like the tarot community!
And anyone who is part of any community knows
how important it is to connect with others and develop
lasting relationships. This issue takes an in-depth
look at how tarot can help with relationship issues.
It all starts with a tip from one of the 2016 Tarot and Psychology
Conference presenters, Jenne Perlstein! Jenne joined us all the way
from Oz (Australia) where she has been doing some fascinating
work with tarot. In the Best Practices Column, Gina takes a look at
what can be done to help your clients when they have bad experiences,
and Dr. Elinor continues sharing her techniques in Part 2 of using
multiple decks in a single reading.
And one more thing...
One of the extra-special things that happened at RS16 was a
surprise visit by Stuart Kaplan, the founder of U.S. Games
Systems, Inc. – and the man responsible for making tarot
decks available in the United States. It was quite moving
for him to see first-hand what a vibrant, creative and
thriving community he spawned from his initial business
decision so many years ago! He and the USG crew generously
gifted everyone in the room with a copy of Rachel Pollack's
Tarot For Magical Times and Stuart's own Blue Bird Lenormand.
We offer them huge thanks for everything!
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!
RELATIONSHIPS – THE THORNY QUESTION:
What if a client can't find love?
by Jenne Perlstein MBBS BSW AASW Grad OSIS CMC Cert 4 TAE
Often clients come asking this question, or it emerges
during the Tarot consultation. While there are many reasons
why someone can’t find love, some of the most common
ones are related to early childhood experiences. Most parents
do their best at the parenting process. But clients will
sometimes say ‘I had a good upbringing,’ then tell you
about significant early difficulties of a psychological
/emotional nature. For example, a recent client told me
her family rarely went out, she wasn’t allowed the usual
childhood experiences like riding a bike, and she had to
‘tip toe’ around her mother so as not to upset her.
Parents often replay the patterns of parenting that they
experienced as children, or as a consequence of other
events/traumas in their lives such as war, Holocaust,
economic hardship, etc.
When questions of love come up in a reading, I may ask
about the client’s family of origin, specifically their
relationship with their mother, father and siblings, and
about the relationship between their parents.
The first few years of life, from birth to three years of
age, are crucial for attachment and the development and
imprint of emotional experiences in the brain. The client
will often say they can’t remember details from that
period of their lives, but you might be able to extrapolate
from how they experienced their parents during that period.
Ask questions such as:
• If you were upset could you go to your parents for support?
• Could you talk to your parents about what was troubling
you? Could you express anger? Could you cuddle with them?
• Did you have to be the ‘parent’ for your parents or
their pseudo spouse?
• What happened if you were naughty?
Often these experiences emerge during the process of the
consultation, with just some prompts.
Here’s another question to ask:
• What number sibling position are you in the family?
Youngest are sometimes ignored or given too much attention,
the middle child could feel lost and sandwiched between the
others. The eldest is often the more ‘parent-identified’, overly
responsible child, sometimes taking care of the younger ones
or the parent(s) themselves. That care maybe emotional /
psychological and subtle, where the child’s needs were
secondary and the parent’s needs came first. While I can’t go
into all the possibilities here, themes like these often emerge
and give clues to the client’s relationship issues.
How Tarot Can Help
With a sense of some of the theory, a Tarot spread can be
useful in adding clarity and detail. Use a 3-card triangle
spread of the client plus two parental figures or caretakers.
(Even if one of the parents is absent, they still play a role.)
Parent 1 Parent 2
Have the client shuffle and draw a card for each position.
You may decide to use Major Arcana only. Interpret with a
view to 1. Exploring the relationship between the parents
and 2. The relationship of each to the child.
Given the original information gleaned from the client,
further information may come out as you interpret with your
usual tarot skills. For example, wands for mother might
indicate a fiery, passionate, self-involved mother.
If the father is pentacles/earth, maybe there was some lack
of understanding, a focus on practical/financial matters, or
dominance of the mother over the father.
Use the client’s impression of the cards to aid the
interpretation. You might also look at whether or not the
figures are facing each other. Bring your skills and your
style as a reader to the interpretation.
The relationship between parents is crucial, as this is the
model to the child of what intimacy is about. If it is a
poor parental ‘marriage,’ the child may conclude that
“If this is love/intimacy, then I don’t want it!”
Thus we begin to answer the original question and get a
sense of what is going on for the client. Often this is
unconscious and new to them, but some have awareness of
these issues and can integrate these insights with the
Inner Child Work
Inner child work is another area to explore. It is possible
to answer the question, “What does your inner child need
to enable openness to a relationship?” with a simple,
non-positional 3-card spread, that focuses on needs and
action to be taken.
Insights drawn from the cards in this simple standard
reading may enable a client to cast some light on the
connection between their family of origin and their adult
relationships, and why finding a partner seems elusive. By
getting in touch with their inner child, they may recognize
subtle patterns of relationships like avoidance by choosing
impossible partners, or by choosing avoidant types who
can’t commit, when they tend to be anxious and insecurely
Attention to the inner child can enable self-love and
attention to needs that the inner nurturing parent can
address, thus lessening the pressure to have those needs met
by another. A healthy relationship can ‘top up’ our
emotional and intimacy needs.
As a Tarot reader, you may be able to offer some
‘predictive’ possibilities as well, but this
insight-based approach can give clarity and direction for
the client, and lead to an overall deepening of the reading.
About the author:
Tarot reader, astrologer and counsellor, Jenne Perlstein,
combines her conventional counseling practice with the
spiritual and esoteric, “aiming for balance and integration
of the psyche and soul” by bringing the unconscious into
the light. Jenne integrates clinical and educative experience
as a Social Worker (29 years) with knowledge of Medicine,
and a passion for the esoteric and psycho-spiritual.
Tarot School Aphorism
A podcast series for Tarot professionals about illness,
death, divorce, income loss, retirement, and other
uncomfortable topics that most of us don’t want to talk
about – but need to discuss.
As a professional Tarot reader, are you setting aside
savings for retirement?
If your business partner could no longer work with you,
could you run your Tarot business on your own, or would
you be paralyzed?
Do you have a plan in the event of an illness or death in
your family? What if you become ill or disabled – what
happens to your Tarot business and your clientele?
If your spouse lost his or her job, or if you suffered some
other type of income loss, could the two of you survive on
your Tarot income alone?
These are the big, uncomfortable questions that most Tarot
professionals don’t want to discuss. But as a community,
we’ve got to start talking.
We can’t bury our heads in the sand and pretend that these
types of issues will “resolve themselves” or “go
away.” We need to open up about the big issues in our
lives so that we can share ideas, support, and strategies.
WHAT IF? is a new podcast series – hosted by Theresa Reed
and Wald Amberstone – that delves into some of the big
“What if?” questions that many of us are privately
While we are covering scary topics, this is not a scary
Our goal is to dissolve some of the “shame” surrounding
these big questions and provide encouragement and
We want you to savor this podcast series and finish up
feeling invigorated, ready to take practical steps to create
a more secure future for yourself and your family, feeling
empowered to handle whatever life throws your way.
No matter what has happened in your life or career up until
this point, your story is not over yet. You get to write the
next chapter – and you are definitely not alone.
There are a lot of “What if?” questions and dilemmas –
but there are a lot of solutions, too.
We hope this podcast series reveals some new solutions for
you – or gets these necessary conversations rolling with
you and your loved ones.
Episode 1 – Age Old Questions
Episode 2 – Tarot Business
Episode 3 – Technology
Episode 4 – Just in Case
Episode 5 – Lone Wolf No More
Episode 6 – Staying Power
Free Recordings and Resources are all posted at:
PsychWise – Tarot & Psychology Q & A
with Elinor Greenberg, PhD, CGP, CPTR
HOW TO USE MULTIPLE DECKS IN A SINGLE READING
PART 2: DIVINATION TECHNIQUES
Today’s column is Part 2 of my
elaborate rationale to justify all the
Tarot decks that I buy, but rarely use.
Last issues’s column dealt with how to
use multiple decks in projective Tarot
If you missed Part 1, you can read it here:
This time I discuss what multiple decks
can add to a traditional Tarot reading.
USING DIFFERENT VERSIONS OF THE SAME CARD
At the recent Readers Studio 2016 Tarot Conference, I fell
Dr. Elinor Greenberg, PhD, CGP, CPTR
in love with a new deck called “The Timeless Tarot” by
Tara Winstanley. It is a sweet deck of pictures collected
from a variety of sources arranged in the Rider-Waite-Smith
tradition. My last year’s favorite deck was the very
different, but equally wonderful, Ellen Lorenzi-Prince’s
“Dark Goddess Tarot.”
I have an important decision to make about a recent book
that I am almost finished writing on Borderline,
Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations. I decided to do a
reading about it, first using my trusty R-W-S deck and then
using the other two decks as commentary. I won’t give the
whole reading here, but I will show you how looking at the
three different versions of one of the cards in the spread
was practically a whole reading all by itself!
Outcome Card: 2 of Swords
I got the 2 of Swords in the R-W-S deck in the outcome
position (Card 10) in the Celtic Cross spread. This card in
that deck shows a blindfolded woman sitting on a stone bench
with her arms crossed on her chest. She holds a sword up in
each hand. It is night and behind her you can see water with
rocks in it. Between her swords the crescent moon is
visible. The astrological attribution for this card is the
Moon in Libra. The name of this card in the Golden Dawn
system is “Peace Restored.” The usual Tarot meaning in a
reading is that there is a decision to be made, but the
querent is not yet ready to choose. She is delaying choosing
for the moment because she cannot see which decision is best
(hence, the blindfold). However, the swords are too heavy
to hold indefinitely and she will eventually have to make a
choice, whether she likes it or not. The “peace” illustrated
in this card is definitely a temporary one.
I decided to see what the 2 of Swords from “The Timeless
Tarot” had to say. This card shows a man whispering in the
ear of the blindfolded woman who he is hovering over and
gently touching. I immediately understood what this meant.
I was getting confused by all the advice I was getting from
other people. However, I still did not know what to do or
what approach to take towards my issue.
I then said: “Let’s see what the “Dark Goddess” has
to say to me.” The 2 of Swords in that deck is the 2 of
Air and is called “Athena.” It shows the Greek Goddess
of Wisdom and War at the top of a mountain looking down,
wearing her helmet and holding an upright spear planted in
the ground in her right hand and cradling an owl in her
left. It took me longer to parse out how this card related
to my issue. My first thought was that it meant that I
should fight for my view of my book project. My wisdom
would help dispel the confusion that listening to other
people’s opinions had created. I decided to “google” Athena
and see what I might be missing that could be helpful.
Wikipedia (the free online encyclopedia) added that Athena
is slow to anger, only fought for just reasons, and would
not fight without a purpose. This card led to me making a
decision: I would wait two more weeks, consider my options,
then, having listened to others’ opinions, I would calmly
decide the issue. If necessary, I would certainly fight for
my own vision of my project and not trust other people to
know better about what to do.
Let’s look at this as an actual 3-card reading:
Card 1: The Issue
2 of Swords from the R-W-S deck
Message: You have a decision too make but you can pause
for the moment and stop worrying. You have a little time
before you have to actually make it.
Card 2: The Problem
2 of Swords from the Timeless Tarot deck
Message: Some of your confusion is due to listening to
someone else’s opinions.
Card 3: The Solution
2 of Swords from the Dark Goddess Tarot deck
Message: Stay calm, use your own wisdom, and be
prepared to fight for what you believe is right.
You have two weeks to think about it and gather
information, then act. (I got the 2 weeks from it being
a 2, and “thinking about it” from it being the suit of
Air or Swords, which is mental activity and the “act”
from the presence of Athena).
This method is easily adapted to any position in a spread
about which the querent wants more information. It is also
useful when you, the reader, feel as if the last card is
either overly negative or inconclusive. I find three cards
to be ideal, but you might want more. I do recommend that
you use decks that in the R-W-S tradition to illustrate the
suit cards with evocative pictures and not just repetitions
of the suit sign.
MIXING CARDS FROM DIFFERENT DECKS
One of the reasons that I own so many decks is that I tend
to fall in love with a few cards in the deck, buy the deck,
and then find that I end up disliking a lot of the other
cards in the deck. For example, I fell in love with Key 0
The Fool card in Ciro Marchetti’s “Gilded Tarot” when
it was passed around in a Readers Studio conference before
the deck’s publication. His art is amazing and The Fool
popped out at me in an almost 3-dimensional way. I rushed
to buy the deck when it became available.
As I eagerly looked through the deck for the first time,
I marveled at Key 1 The Magician. However, next came
Key 2 The High Priestess, I was shocked to see her portrayed
as a naked sexy woman who was leaping out of the water.
My understanding of the Major Arcana images comes from the
Western Mystery Tradition in which Key 2 The High Priestess
represents (among other things) “Isis Veiled” and Key 17
The Star card is “Isis Unveiled.” A naked and leaping
High Priestess felt extremely jarring to me, so jarring that
I found it difficult to use the deck for readings. As I
continued looking through the deck, I found other jarring
cards. Most of the cards that I found disturbing depicted
what seemed to me to be over-sexualized and inappropriate
pictures of women that often contradicted the traditional
meanings associated with the card. The men in the deck were
depicted more traditionally.
I love the “Gilded Tarot” but I hate many of its depictions
of women. I decided that I needed to find a solution: a way to
use this and other decks that were beautiful, but had too many
cards that I actively disliked or found boring and uninspiring.
If you are a promiscuous deck buyer like me, you too probably
have a variety of decks that you semi-like and rarely use in readings.
My Solution: A Craft Project
One of my projects this Summer will be to gather a bunch of
these semi-liked and rarely used decks that are approximately
the same size (or could be made the same size with a little
judicious use of the scissor), take out the cards that I like best
from each, and assemble a new deck from these cards. If
trimming a deck makes you nervous, you can either stick with
decks of similar size or compile a deck of different size cards.
After all, where is it written that a Tarot deck needs to have all
cards be the same size? If you find the different backs jarring,
you can do a little extra work and cover them with “contact paper”
or glue a backing of your choice to all of them. By the way, I plan
to restrict my project to commercially produced decks that are
still available. My art decks are sacrosanct.
Any number of decks can be used for this project and the
resulting Tarot deck will have the benefit of being totally
unique and a perfect reflection of your taste in Tarot.
THE GRAND TAROT SPREAD
This is a good method to use when you have a lot of time to
fill and want to do something impressive and very dramatic.
You will need a good amount of table space for it to work
well, a few beautiful Tarot bags containing different decks,
and some crystals and candles as props. This method is
likely to work best for experienced readers who are
confident reading with different decks and have a flair for
the dramatic. This way of using multiple decks came from my
experience during an hour-plus Tarot reading that I received
at the Enchantment’s Resort in Sedona, AZ.
The reader, a former actor, was very dramatic. When I
arrived for my reading, I walked into the room and found him
dressed head to toe in black, standing beside a long table
covered with a black velvet cloth. The room lights were
dimmed. At the corners of the table he had laid large lit
candles and a few beautiful crystals. On the table was a
selection of opulent Tarot bags made out of brocades and
velvets, each containing a deck within it. The reader asked
me to meditate for a moment and then select the Tarot bag
that I felt most drawn to. I did not know what deck would be
in the bag. He had me shuffle the deck while thinking of my
question. Then he laid out the cards in a 10 card Kabbalah
spread in the form of the Tree of Life. These were full size
Tarot cards and this spread took up most of the table. The
bright colors of the cards against the velvet cloth, the
sparkling crystals, and the flickering light of the candles
made the whole affair seem very important and mysteriously
After interpreting the first spread, he left it down, and
then asked me to choose another one of the remaining
Tarot bags. He took out the deck from inside it, had me
shuffle it, and then he overlapped the cards of the first
spread with entirely new cards from this second deck.
He interpreted this second set of cards as additional
information about the cards in the first spread. Then he had
me choose one of the positions in the spread that I wanted
still more information about. Again, I was asked to choose
another Tarot bag. This time he asked me to choose only one
card from that deck and put it down on the spread wherever
I wanted clarification.
At the end he summarized the reading for me. I was really
impressed that he could summarize the reading, because by
then I was thoroughly confused, but definitely impressed by
the whole thing. I left feeling as if I had participated in a
Because this particular multiple-deck reading style is a bit
complicated to duplicate without having seen it for
yourself, I have included step-by-step instructions on how
to do something similar below.
Step 1: Prepare your table ahead of time. You will need a
cloth, candles, crystals, and some beautiful Tarot bags each
holding a different deck.
Step 2: Wear something appropriate to the mood you want to
set in the reading. Be consistent. If your table looks like
Madam Blavatsky is doing the reading, don’t dress as
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm.
Step 3: Choose a Tarot spread that you are VERY comfortable
with. However, I advise you to pick one that uses at least
six cards. This is not the time to do a simple 3-card
reading! I would probably use a Celtic Cross spread.
Step 4: When your querent enters the room, allow a moment
for him or her to feel the effect of the atmosphere that you
have created. Then invite your querent to take a moment to
feel the energies of each Tarot bag and choose the one he or
she feels most attracted to now.
Step 5: Have the querent tell you the question and then
proceed as you normally would.
Here is how I usually do it:
• I hand my querent the Tarot pack that she has chosen
with the cards face-down, and ask her to shuffle the cards
while thinking about her issue.
• I ask the querent’s permission to say a silent prayer
that our energies to be joined together during this reading,
with the cards, and with Divinity for the purpose of getting
clear and useful information about her issue. I invite her
to say a silent prayer in her own tradition or to simply sit
quietly and form the intention, while she shuffles, that her
issue would be illuminated by this reading.
• I then ask her to cut the deck into three piles with
her non-dominant hand, put the cards back together, and
give me the deck.
• I lay out the cards in my spread and do the interpretation.
Step 6: Have the querent choose a second Tarot bag. Take out
the deck, have the querent shuffle, cut, and again hand you
the deck face down.
Step 7: Overlay the cards of the first spread with this
second set of cards and interpret them in terms of how they
shed further light on the original reading. You can pick and
choose here and only read those cards that you think are
Step 8: Have the querent choose a card from one of the
remaining Tarot bags and have the querent put it down on the
spread wherever she would like additional information. I
like to have the querent lay this card down herself to
increase her participation in the reading.
Step 9: Read this final card and relate it to the rest of
Step 10: Summarize the important parts of the reading for
the querent. Obviously, with a 10-card Celtic Cross laid
down twice (20 cards), plus a final card (we now have 21
cards on the table), it is wise to pull the whole reading
together in a fairly succinct manner. Otherwise, it will be
too much information and the person is likely to go away
confused, rather than enlightened.
I have purposely chosen three very different methods that
take advantage of the many decks that most of us already
own. My hope is that this will inspire you to invent new and
creative ways to actually use your collection of Tarot decks.
I will leave you with a fourth method that you can think about
for next year. Bring your unwanted or little-used decks to the
next Readers Studio Tarot Conference and put them out on the
swap table for someone else to take and enjoy. Doing so gives
you the right to choose new decks from the ones that other people
have left there. Of course this will still leave you with just as many
multiple decks, but at least you can feel virtuous about not
having spent additional money to get them.
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.
ADVANCED BIRTH CARD INTENSIVE
ENVIRONMENTS OF POWER
In tarot, the place where the powers of heightened
self-awareness begin is the individual Birth Card
Everyone without exception is a variation on the
themes of their own Birth Cards.
Each Birth Card landscape contains contexts for
living ranging in scale from the small to the
enormous, from the everyday to the inconceivable.
Coming to know those things, you begin to have a
choice of the size and shape of the stage on which
to play out the drama of your life. To pursue such
a choice is a choice in itself. What is possible
for you ranges from very little to a great deal.
The first step in the process of choice is to enter
your own Birth Card environment and explore its
possibilities and powers.
In this intensive, you will not be doing Birth
Card readings. Instead, you will open a hitherto
unseen doorway into your own Birth Card landscape
and step through for the first time. A choice will
become possible for you, and a path will open for
you that you might never have imagined.
Come and join us for the sheer adventure of it!
Dates: Saturday & Sunday, July 9-10, 2016
Times: 11am – 7pm both days
Seating Limited to 10
Location: Forest Hills, NY
Directions: Provided upon registration
Best Practices for Professional Readers
REPAIRING DAMAGE FROM
UNETHICAL SPIRITUAL PRACTITIONERS
By Gina Thies
Recently, I have experienced an influx of interesting and
complex cases. This has inspired me to look at best
practices not only in terms of business growth, but also
best practices in professionalism and ethics.
In my practice there’s hardly a week that goes by in which
I don’t hear from a prospective new client that contacts
me, often in distress caused by serious life circumstances,
in search of authentic intuitive guidance. It’s not so
much that they have trouble finding a reader, but all too
often, they report that the ethics, trustworthiness and
practices of readers they have previously worked with are
questionable. Needless to say, it’s disheartening to hear
a client say they have been through 3 or 4 readers and are
left more confused than ever due to conflicting
advice/information that does not resonate with them or is
otherwise not helpful.
Now I know that some of the blame and misdirection can be
due to the misunderstanding of the scope and/or capacity of
the experience and talent of the reader. The thing I want to
address here is the type of damage that leaves a querent
spiritually, emotionally, financially or physically wrecked,
and causes them to seek your help to get the right
information or otherwise fix a bad experience.
It’s not news that in this business we are up against many
negative stereotypes and lots of things that have given
tarot readers, psychics and intuitive messengers a bad rap.
There are many in the community striving to achieve or
maintain the high level of honor that the art of reading
deserves. But alas, it’s pretty minescule considering the
vastness of the business of spiritual or intuitive
Can you really repair damage caused by another reader?
How can you know if you’re simply dealing with a dissatisfied
client instead of someone who has been mislead or scammed?
Assisting a person to get past their dilemma begins with
your own sense of high ethics, standards and good common
sense. Be aware that some querents may be too embarrassed to
share their experience until trust is established. It may be
helpful to inquire if they have had a consultation on the
matter other than yours. Many querents are “psychically
fickle” and go from reader to reader trying to find
answers that best fit what they want to hear. Another best
practice for you is to get to the core of what they are
expecting from a session with you.
A client who is upset because they were told something they
didn’t want to hear is quite different from being told to
do something or believe something that disregards their own
personal boundaries or better judgment. In terms of
repairing what other readers have done or said, it may be a
big task. If you feel you can help, go slowly, be cautious,
and treat treat your client’s issues with delicacy and
respect. If you feel that something is beyond your range,
refer it to someone who is more seasoned or the appropriate
professional or authority.
Be well and prosper my friends!
Forest Hills, New York
June 6, 13, 20 and 27
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Readers Studio Teleconference -- Free!
June 26, 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.
Advanced Birth Card Intensive: Environments of Power
July 9 – 10, 2016
Each Birth Card landscape contains contexts for
living ranging in scale from the small to the
enormous, from the everyday to the inconceivable...
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