How to use tarot to know what your lover is thinking

Short answer:


Long answer:

Last week I was approached by a fellow reader (not a professional, but a devoted cartomancer) with a question. She said that when she read for other people, she felt her intuition was spot on. No question too big, no spread of cards too small. But when she read for herself, about other people, she found the cards gave her muddled, confusing and sometimes contradictory messages.

You can imagine me cocking my head to the side. Reading for yourself, about other people, eh?

I’ll give you three guesses as to the nature of these readings. You don’t need three though, do you. Of course, she was reading about a love interest.

It’s so tempting to go to the cards when you’re crushing on someone. What does he think of me? I get this question all the time. And if only we knew, really knew what other people were thinking of us. Open up their heads and poke around in their mind a bit. Divination would revolutionize dating. No more second guessing. No more awkward friend-zone-or-more conversations. Or sitting up all night clinging to the hope of a drunken sext.

The issue really breaks down into two parts. Ethics and Practicality.

In terms of ethics, how much into someone else’s future is it permissible for us to peek? Is it ethical to ask what someone else is thinking?

I’m in the camp that we don’t exist in a vacuum, and the Tarot specifically, is set up to acknowledge our relationships with others (Lenormand too, for the record, and perhaps to a larger extent). I think it’s unavoidable to read about our relationships when we’re reading about ourselves—as other people’s thoughts, feelings, and actions affect us every day in every way. But do I want someone opening up my head and poking around in my mind? Hells to the no. It’s really uncool.

On the practical side of things, is it useful to ask what someone else is thinking about you? Or are there better questions?

I try to guide my clients in asking the best possible question for whatever conundrum they find themselves in. And sometimes just knowing the question is enough of an answer. To this end, I often counter their questions with:

Why do you need to know?

If you knew, how would that change the course you’re on?

If you knew what your lover was feeling, would it change the way you feel? The answer to that is usually no. So some more useful questions might look like:

  • Why do I feel anxiety about his feelings?
  • How do I channel my insecurities about this relationship?
  • How should I communicate the doubts I have to my lover?
  • How should I initiate a love-relationship with this person?
  • What should I be aware of when interacting with my love interest?

Can you ask the Tarot what someone else is thinking? Absolutely you can. Should you? That’s questionable. Is it the best course of action for a healthy relationship that’s based on mutual trust? Probably not.

Love is patient, love is kind, sure. But sometimes love is messy and makes you feel like you’re going to hurl. Not knowing is part of the fun of uncovering a new relationship.The best use of the tarot in these situations is to help you understand these feelings and give you direction on how to work with and through them.

Where do you grow from here?

On Tuesdays, I let the cards do the asking. The question I’m pondering today, “Where do you grow from here?” Featuring the Seven of Pentacles from the Victoria Regina Tarot by Sarah Ovenall.


What question is this card asking you?

How do you answer it?

On Wheels and Fortunes

A girl from Indiana cannot compute the word hurricane, even as it’s barreling toward her. I’ve heard tornadoes happen, while they’re happening even. Been spared the flying cows, the roofs blown off houses, the red shoes under uprooted foundations, knock-on-wood. And for a moment, it seemed that something might actually happen — around four in the morning on Tuesday, the windows bracing against the wind. It wasn’t quite tornado loud, but it was close enough that I put a pot of water on the stove, my keys and a lighter in my pocket.

We didn’t even lose electricity. And so I sat rapt to twitter, watching my friends and colleagues in the City post updates and photos of the faces torn from buildings and washed out streetscapes; Manhattan in the dark like a horror movie.

Blessed be! We made it through. Praise G/g o d/dess! My friends and family are safe, dry, unbroken! That is the news now. The other side of the coin — the displaced, damaged and devastated — those visited by death — they don’t tweet.

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The mystical elephant in the room

I was sitting on the arm of a sofa at a neighborhood dinner party. We were all new — to each other, though I had already spent a few hours with the hostess and she knew at least who I was and what I did. I don’t hide out. Usually. I’m pretty up front about the fact that I’m a card reader when someone asks. Though in the midwest, in potentially mixed company I might say something like, “Oh, I’m a freelance writer,” which is true enough for me. I’m writing this blog post right now, right?

But Midwesterners aren’t nosey. They keep their business to themselves. My experience of New York has been strange. There are assumptions made when I introduce myself that I never considered in Indiana. In the rural midwest, women who have children as small as mine don’t work. Or if they do work, they work someplace miserable. You don’t ask a woman what she does for a living. It’s unlikely she has a career anyway. In Ithaca, New York, everyone has a career. Everyone has a Masters degree. Everyone is living here because of some attachment to a certain Ivy-league college. If they don’t, they have dreadlocks1.

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Hello Kitty Tarot redux (or if you dream it, it will come)

You know the one. You wait for it to come around. Thinking, once I’ve found my IT deck, I’ll finally be able to read cards.

The IT Deck is sort of a myth, I’ve discovered. I didn’t actually take to the cards until I spent a great deal of time focusing on ONE Tarot deck for a while — that was the Morgan Greer. The Aquarian is a very close second, and I recently was able to procure my optimum version of that one — the Morgan Press edition with the orange Ouroboros backs (I see a new horrible tattoo in my future…).

Tarot people look out for each other. That’s one of the biggest advantages to networking in this field. My beautifully aged Morgan Greer was a gift from someone who knew of my tastes. My dream Aquarian came from a dealer who had caught wind that I was stalking around for this particular edition, found one and gave me a deal. People begin to learn your tastes; even your BAD ones. Actually, I’ve been sort of infamous for my bad taste in most things most of my life anyway (music, men, tattoos, tarots…). So it’s no surprise I get sent a great deal of adorable kawaii stuff.

I’ve posted on this subject before. Somewhere in the late 90s or early 00s (I couldn’t track down an exact date, though I found a review by Wicce on that was dated May ’00), an artist named Joe Rosales drew and printed up a 78 card Sanrio-themed Tarot. I can’t imagine what the reception for the cards was like (I was busy graduating high school and only vaguely aware of the internet in 1999). Eventually, from what I gather, Sanrio shut down sales of the cards. The bootleg was bootlegged and you can still see clones floating around and ebay from time to time.

I was gifted one of these clones, a colored, highly laminated version from probably four years ago. It was so awful (organza bag. Pointy corners) that I deemed it unusable. Highly indestructible though, I gave it to my then one-year-old daughter, who eventually gummed it into oblivion.

Freyja’s first Tarot reading

Shortly thereafter, another Tarot-friend in Japan sent me a copy of the official Sanrio-produced Hello Kitty Tarot. Though overjoyed I was, I do admit to a bit of disappointment about the size, stock and imagery selected for the cards. To say nothing of the fact that it was Majors-only. And try as I might, to this day I still can’t get anything good out of a Majors-only reading. These decks were obviously not designed by Tarot readers for Tarot readings though. They were created by marketers and hired illustrators to move HK merch. If you’re a collector of Hello Kitty Krap though, you may be interested in adding this to your collection (I also have the Little Twin Stars Majors set that Sanrio did — it is equally disappointing and equally precious).


Which brings us to last week, when an art student in *personal information redacted* of all cute-forsaken places, emails me. Turns out she found a bootleg copy of Joe’s deck, redrew and recolored the cards and had some copies made at her university print shop and would I be interested in one? It’s in a shimmery purple bag, she mentioned.


Hello, you had me at shimmery purple bag.

Compared to the official Sanrio cards — well, there really is no comparison.


Because aside from the Majors, this deck has 56 minor cards, beautifully rendered and totally usable.



Bootleg of a bootleg aside, the deck is lovely and I finally have in my hands a working, 78 card Hello Kitty deck. The artist behind this version of the cards says she used her Thoth tarot as inspiration for coloring — which is apparent in a few cards (the High Priestess especially) and may be the best thing to come from the Thoth EVER (I’m expecting hate mail now from you Thothy-types now!). The cards seem bigger than the other bootleg HK deck I had and the paper is a lovely, UV coated stock that shuffles like a dream.

IT Deck? Hard to say. While it’s the perfect size for my purse, I’m having a hard time imagining myself sitting across from a sobbing querent, spilling the contents of her tormented soul and begging for divine guidance, and then busting out some Hello Kitty on her.

How happy am I to have it though?


The Tarot Lovers

In which I sound like some kind of professional intuitive instead of the Sassy Sibyl you all know and love… This was written last year for Flock. I’m sharing here now, since I’m no longer there. 🙂 I’ve updated the post with some photos of different Lovers cards from my collection. I purposely chose some lesser known and strange ones. What is the oddest Lovers card you’ve ever seen?

February is the month of Lovers. Well, it’s the month of Valentine’s Day, and for a tarot reader, that means being inundated with questions about couplings. Does he love me? Will she marry me? Will we end up together? What kind of love will I find? What kind of love do I need? How do I attract a lover? I don’t mind answering these kinds of questions; the desire to find and maintain fulfilling love-relationships is one of the human experiences that we all share in common. It’s so big in our lives, that the Major Arcana of the tarot has a card devoted specifically to it.

The Lovers card from the Victoria Regina Tarot

The Lovers card in a tarot deck is the sixth card in the Major Arcana. In the Rider-Waite-Smith tarot, which is arguably the most common tarot in the Western world, the card is illustrated with the archangel Raphael bestowing a blessing of prosperity over a nude couple (presumably Adam and Eve). Behind the woman is the Tree of knowledge of Good and Evil and the snake – which persuades the female to choose her own destiny. Behind the male is the Tree of Life, set aflame with twelve leaves, which represent the signs of the Zodiac – which he uses to make informed decisions. The woman looks to the angel for divine inspiration, while the man looks to the woman. They are partners, two halves of a whole, but they play very different roles in their relationship. The card is commonly illustrated with two or more figures, embracing or reaching out to each other. Some decks include the third figure (or snake) to introduce the aspect of choice in union – that is to say, the innovators of the tarot understood that the relationships that we enter into are by choice, and that our choices have the power to hurt others.

The Lovers from The Prairie Tarot and the Bohemian Gothic Tarot

When the Lovers card comes up in a reading, it can be interpreted as an external relationship – one that is either romantic or platonic, depending on the context of the card in the reading – or it can refer to dualities within the sitter (the person whose cards are being read). Often the card refers to two opposing forces at work operating within our lives and the card directly speaks to our interactions with other people.

The Lovers from the Deviant Moon Tarot and the Paulina Tarot

I have been long fascinated with the masculine/feminine duality/opposites aspects of The Lovers card. In the tarot, “masculine” cards tends to exert outward influence on their environments. They deal in the conscious, practical, the mundane, and the theoretical. While “feminine” cards in a tarot focus on the unconscious, internal, intuitive, emotional, whimsical or dream realm and the possible. Both of these forces are present on this one card.

The take away lesson of The Lovers card though, is that balance is needed in order to achieve harmony. For example, we fall in love based on feelings, but we enter into relationships consciously. Relationships can be messy, hurtful, or divinely blissful – but if they’re going to be successful, they come with the understanding that there’s compromises and choices to be made and maintain. We can embrace the differences between us and be lovers, or we can ignore or fight about it. And everyone knows that in order to love fully and in a way that will satisfy the emotional needs of any other person, we must first learn to love ourselves.

The Lovers card from the Fantastic Menagerie Tarot

Let’s spend some time examining the dualities we find within ourselves and in our interactions with others. Try these exercises:

1. Ask yourself: if I were a pack of tarot cards, which aspects of me would be “masculine” cards? Which aspects of me would be “feminine” cards? For example, I tend to dominate in personal relationships, but I have a very deep, strong, intuitive well that I draw from when I need to make important decisions.

2. What is your intuitive sense about what kind of energy you will need to invite into your life in order to bring balance to your life right now? Look through a tarot deck and find a card that you feel is representative of that energy and use it as a jumping off point for journaling or meditation.

3. Imagine yourself if your perfect relationship. What do you bring to the table? What does your ideal partner bring to the table? How do you two balance each other out? What compromises does the balance require? What choices do you need to consciously make in order for the relationship to work? Try this five-card spread when working with the tarot to discern the nature of personal relationships:

1. the signifier (choose this card intentionally to describe the nature of the relationship)
2. Person A – what is conscious | 3. Person B – what is conscious
4. Person A – what is unconscious | 5. Person B – what is unconscious

Love should be cultivated in all corners of our lives – romantically, platonically and within ourselves. While love may be based in what we cannot understand (the unconscious), true, lasting and satisfying relationships are formed when we carefully cultivate an understanding and acceptance of the true nature of ourselves and others. Using the tarot is one way to arrive at that kind of understanding.

If you have questions or get stuck with your interpretations, feel free to leave a comment here, on facebook or send me an email!

Contemplative vs. Predictive Divination

I want to make a confession. Until recently, I almost never used spreads1 in my tarot readings.

I would throw spreads, such as the Celtic Cross, when a client would request one. In all other circumstances, I would either line up seven cards to read as a line, put nine cards in three rows of three, or simply draw card after card as I was speaking (in which case my experience was more akin to channeling than reading cards). I could never get comfortable reading the Celtic Cross because, as a spread, it sends out mixed messages.

My clients either want a spiritual tarot experience, or they want answers to whether or not they’ll get the business loan. Rarely do the two mix. But the Celtic Cross, and many other tarot spreads out there, mix contemplative tarot with predictive tarot. Does my client who wants to know about her business loan care about subconscious influences; how she views herself in the world? Does my client who wants a general reading, interested in the spiritual insights that they might garner from the cards, care about the problem/outcome cards dangling at the top?  My problem with tarot spreads is that I often felt like my predictive readings were getting cluttered up and unnecessarily complicated and long-winded because of all the insightful self-reflective stuff. And my contemplative readings were being convoluted and overshadowed by that tiny bit of prediction, often out of context, at the end.

I’ve come to accept two precepts about divination:

  1. Predictive divination is best accomplished by reading in lines or blocks.
  2. Contemplative divination is best accomplished by setting aside the expectation of future prediction.

Predictive divination is best accomplished by reading in lines or blocks.

Ok, I admit. I read tarot like a Lenormand reader. Or I read Lenormand like a tarot reader… I’ve been told both by different people ;). I guess I read cards the way I read cards and this is what works best for me.

Explanation: My son, who is four, has started to tell stories. He tells his sister stories now. His stories begin, “Once upon a time, this happened. Then this happened. Then this happened. The end.” Try to recall everything that happened to you this morning. You probably recall it like, “This happened. Then this happened. Then this happened. The end.”

Now I want you to make predictions about what will happen to you tomorrow morning. Think about it a minute, then come back… I’ll wait right here. 😉

Ok, so it probably went something like, “I will wake up. I will drink coffee. I will eat an omelet. The end.”

Clear narrative is the key to powerful predictive divination. I could write a whole book on this topic, but for now I’ll just promise to touch upon it in a later blog post. 😀

Contemplative divination is best accomplished by setting aside the expectation of future prediction.

This didn’t occur to me until I was writing in my journal one morning. See, I’m a compulsive journaler. Journaling, for me, is a totally indulgent experience. I write all about ME ME ME. I write about my deepest, darkest, inner desires, dreams, impulses, fantasies… In my journal, I’m really a 14-year old girl – because that’s about how much awareness of any world/connection beyond my self makes it to the pages.

And then one day, I thought it would be fun to mix that up a bit — and combine one of my Goddess-care routines with something a little more “Godly” — that is to say, I yearned for an exercise that would prompt me to dig deeper in my journaling. So I picked up my cards and sat around trying to fathom a way to use them. It occurred to me to try a tarot spread! Ah, finally, a use for that pesky Celtic Cross! But then, when I was working through it, I got to that pesky problem/outcome at the end and it suddenly made no sense in context of my reading.

To that end, I started collecting and creating tarot spreads to use in my journaling. And starting later this week, I’m going to be sharing some spreads I’ve created for contemplative divination with you. Wait, it gets better! The spreads I’m going to be sharing with you are Halloween themed! And wait, wait it gets even better!!! I’m illustrating it with an adorable little Halloween tarot I’ve whipped up for just the occasion (preview at the left)!!!! Just because I love Halloween that much! Aaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!! (*dies*)

I’ve already written six entries for the series, so there will at least be that many posted before the end of October, but perhaps more, since I have a grand total of 28 Halloween-themed spreads in my notebook at last count… 😉

You can treat this series as a free e-course, because that’s really how I’m writing it. And you won’t want to miss it. So if you aren’t subscribed via RSS in some reader already, do that now. I’ve also set it up with my new mailing list provider to send out blog updates once a week via email. If you want to subscribe to the blog by email, fill out the form below. NOTE: this is a different list than my email list — this form is for blog subscription only, and you will ONLY get blog updates via this email. If you’re not on my regular mailing list, you’re also missing out — and you’ll want to subscribe in the sidebar of my blog. 🙂


I’m a fortune teller. Want to know your fortune?

I had just come off an amazing teaching opportunity and experience at The Tarot School’s Readers Studio. I was gifted the chance to deliver a study group on Lenormand cartomancy.

My session was set for Saturday evening. The last night of the conference, right after the formal banquet (I wore a dress. And high heels. I looked hot. I digress). The conference may have been about tarot, but I had long sensed this shift in the metaphysical tide. I started learning and then creating Lenormand oracles because my clients had questions that I wasn’t able to satisfactorily answer with a tarot deck. Of course the tarot is like a religion to me (or at least as close as I’ll probably ever poke one with a long stick…) But when I read for people and they have questions about love, money, sex, work, their kids, their pets, their parents, many of them don’t want spiritual counseling. They have no interest in enlightenment. They just want hard answers and the Lenormand is perfect for that.

I had told the class that when I stated with the Lenormand deck, I was just getting comfortable with the term “psychic”. Because I don’t read your thoughts. I have no idea (or interest in knowing) what your deepest darkest desires are (I mean, I have this idea and I’ll probably figure it out anyway throughout the course of a reading… but seriously, if that shit just ran like a feed loop in my brain I’d have to cut my head off. Really.). I’m not a medium in the sense that I channel spirits. I’m actually pretty dubious of spirits (other than Greygoose and only with a dash of tonic, thanks). And to be honest sometimes I’m even sketchy on “the future” (as in, whether or not it actually even exists). There I said it. But for all practical purposes, I’ve come to accept that psychic is as psychic does and I do the psychic thing, ya know?

At the same time, I used to hate hate HATE the phrase “fortune telling”. I even had it on my website. “I am not a fortune teller.” What do fortune tellers do? They make hard predictions about the future. Like specific things. But again, I found myself at times, despite myself, making hard predictions about the future. And still I was resisting this delicious facet of my self because of the fear of being WRONG.

I’ve since come to the realization that the future, in terms of right and wrong, exists on a plane of consciousness that is both simultaneous, experience-able, and mutable. That is, the right fortune and the wrong fortune happen whether I predict it or not (and I typically do) – because YOU CHOOSE your fortune. You experience the fortune I predict or fail to predict because YOU CHOOSE your fortune. And you have the ability to change your fortune with or without me because this is YOUR CHOICE to do so.

You come to me, the fortune teller, for answers to questions that plague you. What I do, what my capacity is as a fortune teller, is to give answers. Those answers comfort you or disturb you into action or path.

I am a fortune teller. Want to know your future? It’s YOUR CHOICE.

That is so powerful.

My experience, in New York City, in the midnight hours outside the Laguardia Hotel Marriot, having a fantastic conversation about ROLLER DERBY with an enchanting lady from the Czech Republic, was that a man who specializes in public relations happened to overhear us talking. He and his partner approached us, interest piqued about the roller derby thing (have I mentioned it’s awesome?) and we proceeded to chat for an hour and a half about life, the universe, everything and public relations. Our realization was that we’re in the same business.

And then he read my cards. Literally. I handed him some postcards I had printed up of the new deck I’m working on, the Wicked Sibyl, and he looked at the cards, looked at me and told me my fortune.

And I have to share that with you, because it’s been a theme that’s popped up for me since last year, and because what he told me completely scared the shit out of me (and he was literally some random guy on the street). And I know that when I get frightened, that’s when it’s getting real for me. That’s when I stop playing and make actual propelling decisions. I get my cards read frequently and had been the victim (willing) of so many card readings over the course of the weekend – but none had shook me like his words did – and when I realized that the soul-shaking bits of his talk were in the possibilities that he was able to unfold for me in the universe, it was revealing. I realized I was standing in front of the Magician. Le Bateleur. Il Bagatto. The Magus. He was mesmerizing. Only in New York City. Only in the deepest hours of the evening. And only outside some shitty hotel next to the airport, right?

Do you want to know what he told me? I’ll give you a little nugget.

He told me I was powerful. And he told me that it was my choice to utilize it, or live in fear. And I know I’ve heard this before, the “you are such a strong woman” stuff that people blah blah blah. And Kate Courageous, in the capacity as my life coach last year (another Magician!) was practically spoon-feeding me “YOUR CHOICE” and I didn’t catch on. Why does it take some kind of random chance encounter to shift my focus? I suppose I’m a bit of a Pareidoliac, though everyone in my profession is. In the course of one conversation, my life shifted from “I am trying to make this work” to “I work it.”

That subtle reframing was the choice I had been pushing up against. And now I’ve been adequately disturbed into action.

The moral of my story – Your fortune is your choice. Stand in that power and move with it. Don’t let fear of being wrong dictate who you really are.


On love and leaving (or burn, baby, burn!)

May the bridges I burn light the way. by Mike Monteiro

It would be a terrible movie. The girl. The guy. They meet, fall in love. Everything is delightfully simple. They communicate well. They don’t lay blame. They don’t project their issues. They overcome molehills before they become mountains. They simply hold each other as withmates, companions and lovers, and live happily ever after.

Terrible plot. Who wants to see that right? Except I do. But not in the movies—in the lives of my clients, friends, and what the hell, even myself!

It’s the numero ono topic I read cards about. “I’d like to know about my relationship,” they start out. And okay, I really don’t mind. We all want to be in love and be loved back – it’s pretty universal. And I totally get it. But then so many of my wonderful clients are in sour relationships and I gotta admit, I cringe—it breaks my heart and deadens my soul when I hear an otherwise intelligent, independent woman say to me,

“It’s just been so hard, there’s been so much drama, it just HAS to be right. I work SO HARD for this relationship. He MUST be the one.”

These are women in pain, it’s palpable and I feel it. I’ve been there. It’s been awful and harrowing and I couldn’t stop the hurt even when I was both in the midst of it and aware of it from the outside.

I hit a wall with this sometime in 2010. Had this realization about my life, my self, my soul, which was stifled and cold. It went like this: I woke up and realized that it was my life, my self, my soul, that was on the line. That’s about all the control I can maintain over this physical world, and I was squandering it, trying to fit into this relationship that was about two sizes too small.

So I guess you’re wondering if I knew all along that my marriage would end? Did I see it? Well, I can honestly tell you that I knew that my relationship was no longer serving me. That I was no longer growing in love, but rather, my ex and I had grown apart. I guess the real question becomes, if I would have known, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that my marriage would end, would that have changed the way I felt in the relationship? And the answer is probably not. I still would have fallen in love. I still would have gotten married. I would have said, Fuck you, Fate! This is awesome right now!

And you know what? While it lasted, it really was!

And then…

Have you ever read one of those “How to make your marriage/relationship work” books that go “You can totally change someone else!”


Because you can’t.

Further more, no one can change you. You can certainly change your standards, your values, your dreams or desires to better suit your significant other, but if you aren’t willing to do that, and you’re still banging your head against the wall of love, honey, you’re just banging your head against a wall.

Here are some universal truths for you:

  • You have a soul mate.
  • If you look deeply enough, you have about 6.91 billion soul mates.
  • No one is keeping you in an unsatisfying relationship except yourself (I’m not talking about abusive relationships here, if you are being abused physically, mentally or emotionally, please seek help! You deserve better!).
  • You are not required by the Universe to love until it hurts. Or because it hurts. When you are blissfully happy, no one is going to look down on you for walking away from a past relationship.
  • You can walk away. You can run away. You can even not look back.
  • You’ll be a better person for it.

I used to be one of those romantics that went down with the ship. If I was in love, that was it! I was sunk. And after talking to hundreds of women (and hey, even a few men!) about their problems, I’ve come to the conclusion that all that attitude gets you is sunk. Better to paddle a kayak all alone through the sea of love and oh baby, there are a lot of fish out there.

I’m not saying don’t fall in love. I’m not saying don’t fall head over heels in love. And I’m not saying that if you’re relationship is troubled it’s doomed. That’s the beauty of free-will. If it’s not in the cards, you’re free to fight against it or for it all you want. And that’s what I’m saying hereyou decide all that fighting stuff. The power to fight and the power to say, nope, not gonna fight, are all in your hands.

And when you realize that, the Universe opens up to you and the answers to the “Should I stay, should I go” questions become decidedly clear.