Friday, July 29, 2011

Taking a step back...

Hello everyone,

It's been about a week since I've written my tarot book. My cat, Josephine, was in for surgery earlier this week and the house has been kind of crazy. She's doing well, and thank you for all of the Reiki, positive energy, and good wishes that were sent my way this week.

I wrote another card or two tonight and hope to get one in maybe tomorrow morning. We shall see. But I've definitely slid backward on the progress, and that's not good. It's almost like Saturn himself is throwing obligations in my path to keep me from writing; at least he hasn't slowed me down in the act of writing, so I'm grateful for that.

Anyway, falling asleep in front of a keyboard does not make for great blog material. So I hope to have another more filling blog for you soon.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

ROW80: Progress Report

Hello everyone...

Things are moving along fairly well with the tarot book. I'm 26 cards in now and feel like I'm just starting to get the rhythm of it.

I'm hoping to be a little bit ahead as we hit the 40-day mark because August and September for me will be very busy--reading cards and teaching classes with the Tradition of the Witches Circle ( will occupy quite a bit of my time.

Without really thinking about it too hard I've been writing what I'm feeling. That seems to be working so I'm not going to mess with it. I'm also trying not to come up with the idea of what the whole book will look like, which has gotten me into trouble in the past. Those details will have to be sorted out later.

Anyway, I wish all of my ROW80 colleagues good luck as we head toward the halfway point in our journey.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Giving Metaphysical Professionals a Bad Name is Too Easy

Hello everyone,

As a professional in the metaphysical field, you figure out there are a lot of hurdles to overcome. I'm not just talking about tarot readers, of course--we are astrologers, mediums and other psychics, Reiki masters and herbalists, and Ministers without brick-and-mortar churches. We're all lumped into the same category.

Many people have negative opinions of these professions, and sadly, they are well-earned. Years of people posing as "psychics" fleecing people out of their hard-earned cash, removing bogus family curses and casting spells to remove bad omens from desperate clients leave a bad taste in many people's mouths. And if you're not part of a religion that people aren't familiar with and are a Minister, they think you paid some fee through an online church that must be disreputable. Of course at that point you're just pretending to help people, right?

In some cases I can't say I blame them; like any stereotype there is an element of truth. Of course, we're not all crooks...many of us are hardworking, ethical professionals who want to earn an honest living helping people. You'll get assholes in every line of work, but those people are remembered and we are all tarred with the same brush. So that's one big hurdle. The only consolation is that many other professions--lawyer is the first one to come to mind--have as bad if not worse reputations than we do. [As my dad used to say, "All lawyers are assholes until you need one."]

Get over that one and you've got religious discrimination to deal with. I'm not talking about the overt kind that makes headlines; I'm talking about the behind-the-scenes stuff. People who feel the need to come up to you to "save your soul" because they feel you're on the road to hell or other such nonsensical arguments. There are lots of different scenarios but it comes down to people who are closed-minded, and there are plenty of them out there, especially in small-town America.

Once you're over that hurdle you begin where most other professionals begin: Trying to earn the trust of their clients. You build a nice practice and love your work and you feel like maybe, just maybe, you've overcome the hurdles through your persistence, dedication to others, and ethical conduct.

And then you see crap like this:

WARNING: Please ensure that if you go to this site you do so in the privacy of your own home, because 1) You will likely laugh so hard that your colleagues at work would wonder what you were doing, and 2) There are pictures of naked asses on this page. (Don't get your hopes up about this, either.)

The fact that it's a Regretsy post should tell you something already. Regretsy is not known for pointing out the good and noble things it finds online.

I saw this and all I could do was sigh and shake my head. RUMPOLOGY?? Come on now, people. And people think that telling the future with cards, crystal balls, and tea leaves, as well as consulting astrological charts, is bizarre? What do you think the average person will think when seeing RUMPOLOGY? I'll give you a hint: It starts with "They are all crackpots!" and goes downhill from there.

I wish Regretsy hadn't pointed out this lady's site; it is probably getting a lot more hits now since they did it. The fact that Sylvester Stallone's mother is the "expert" on this form of predictive metaphysical analysis is also scary. How many people will look at this site and say, "They are all just freaks anyway!"?

Despite all of these hurdles, I sincerely thank those of you who consult metaphysical service providers on a regular basis and treat us with the respect that we deserve. As we've seen, it's way too easy to be down on us.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

ROW80: Update from Neptune

Dear Old Man,

Your departure has left both John and I happier than we could have ever hoped for! Oh, damn...I'm sorry...I made part of that up. John is pining for you, and can't wait another day for your return into his life. Yup...I made that up, too. I've got to keep polishing my title of "Great Deceiver"...I know how important titles are to you.

Seriously, though...John's making great headway. He's 23 cards in now and really figuring this shit out. I'm sure you'll be happy to know that his work will not be polished without your nitpicking, critical, overbearing...WHOA I got carried away. I'm sure his work will be well-polished when it needs to be. Just so we're clear, Saturn, that time is NOT now.

I've told John he can take the rest of the night off to play Civilization V. He's over 30% done now so he's earned it. He's going to play as the Japanese tonight since they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat earlier today in Frankfurt. And you can't even complain about the ref, can you, you rules nazi? Ooops...maybe considering where the game was held that wasn't very PC of me.

I hope you will wait longer for that $100. We started off doing great at the casino but then Jupiter told me to put it all on 7. The number didn't come up 7. So I'll see if I can scare you up that C-note soon.



Friday, July 15, 2011

Shameless Marketing and a postcard from the edge of Neptune

Hello everyone,

Neptune has allowed me a brief respite from my creative activities to let you know that I am doing well and making lots of progress on my book. He's carefully watching how much time I spend writing to you--at least I think he is--or he may be contemplating his true essence. Who is to say? All I know is that I'm glad I don't pay his bar tab. That man can put away his Patron.

Anyway, I've found a new perspective on writing that is serving me quite well, thanks to Neptune. I've been writing a lot--almost 20% of the rough draft of the tarot cards is done--and I haven't gone back once to edit what I have done. I couldn't be more pleased and I'm making the most of Saturn's vacation, wherever he is.

Luckily Neptune is not a difficult taskmaster so I get to take breaks. If you want to find me reading cards at 13 Magickal Moons in Occoquan, VA, here's when I'll be there:

Saturday, July 16 11:30am-5:30pm

Wednesday, July 27 6-9pm

Saturday, July 30 11:30am-5:30pm

Wednesday, August 3 6-9pm (Open Lammas Ritual)

Saturday, August 13 11:30am-5:30pm

Saturday, August 20 11:30am-5:30pm

Wednesday, August 31 6-9pm

Saturday, September 3 11:30am-5:30pm

Saturday, September 10 11:30am-5:30pm

Wednesday, September 21 6-9pm (Open Mabon Ritual)

Saturday, September 24 11:30am-5:30pm

I'm going to have to continue to make headway on this manuscript, since I'll be teaching Witchcraft 101 for the Tradition of the Witches Circle starting on September 2. It's going to be an amazing class that I am very much looking forward to teaching!

Anyway, come on out and see me soon! I'll keep you updated on my progress on this book.

Brightest Blessings,


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

ROW80: Update from Neptune

Dear Saturn,

I hope this letter finds you well. John's continuing to make progress on his book; he's written 11 of the 78 tarot cards as of tonight. Overall I'd say he's doing well, and you would be impressed with his focus, which is, as much as I hate to admit, one of the things he gets from you. He's also been very disciplined about writing regularly. He knew that you would like to hear that even though you're on vacation from him, he still keeps some of your good qualities in mind. He wouldn't tell me what those good qualities are, though.

You should try coloring outside the lines yourself sometimes. This has done John a lot of good and maybe you would find it liberating as well. Oh, wait a sec...I forgot which planet I was talking to. Never mind.

Anyway, Jupiter and I are spending tonight in a casino, and I believe I'll come back a winner. I'll check my cash situation afterward and see if I can pay you the $100 I owe you; I know how you are about when people owe you money, you piker.


Neptune, The Great Deceiver

Sunday, July 10, 2011

ROW80: Saturn Shoots Back

Dear Neptune,

Greetings from Dresden, Germany! I'm here consoling the referee who practically gave away the Women's World Cup game between the United States and Brazil to the Brazilians with some really poor officiating. Looks like she definitely needs to take another look at the FIFA rulebook again.

I heard that the ROW80 thing that John is doing is going pretty well. From what you tell me, he's over 10% done. I'm happy for him, but I still miss him a lot.

I think the reason I've been so much in John's face for so long is that I know that I've been integral to many of his successes. I got a nastygram from the Sun reminding me of my place in John's life, and he was right; I was definitely over-reaching a little bit. But I wanted to be helpful in this, too. Can't you see that I was just trying to make his book as awesome as it can be?

I hope he understands that I've meant him no lasting harm, and I'm doing my best to make it up to him by staying away, even though I keep picking up my iPhone and wanting to call him. Hopefully he'll get done with this thing so I can come back and edit it. But luckily I'm the planet who can keep his emotions under control the best so I've managed to stop myself before doing anything stupid.

Keep me posted on how John is doing, and give him my regards. Don't be too emotional about it, though...I don't want him to think I've gone all soft or anything.



PS: Speaking of the World Cup, Germany lost so you owe me $100. Believe it, bitch!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Here Comes the Sun...and I Say It's NOT Allright!

Dear Saturn,

I’ve been hearing a lot about you lately, and to be honest, I’m pretty unhappy with the information I’ve received. So I wanted to discuss it with you before it sprials any more out of control.

It’s come to my attention that you have been—well, shall we say, asked to take a vacation from your duties by an aspiring author named John whom you have favored in the past. I also understand that you are claiming credit for his life successes and for having much more influence over him than you should. I believe the statement was, “I’m the cock of the walk for him.”

I’m not one for sugarcoating the truth so hear me well, Saturn: You’re way out of line on this one. You call yourself controlled and responsible? How about controlling that ego of yours before you start criticizing others. Disciplined? You haven’t shown much of it recently in the way you’ve tried to control this client. And I’m not even going to address your remarks about the “gender” of other planets, or the fact that John's life partner is NOT a Capricorn woman, which are wholly unacceptable. In this day and age, Saturn, your conventional, traditional nature can sure get you into trouble if you can’t discipline that mouth of yours.

You may rule John’s chart, but I took a look and there’s a hell of a lot more going on than you. I hope you’ll allow me a little ego feed here. Did you see what house I’m sitting in here? It’s the 9th house. John is fantastic at languages, spent some time abroad, is an inspiring teacher, and is interested in spiritual and philosophical topics. Textbook interests for my placement. Do you know what else the 9th house rules? Publishing! You think that I’m just going to allow you to manipulate John to the point that he can’t achieve one of MY directives because of you?

Mark my words: He will write that book and he WILL get it published. I have Mercury in Scorpio sitting across the way in the 10th, assuring me that John’s career success lies in writing and speaking. He’s not happy at all with your behavior, either. You’re not making a lot of friends on this committee of planets, Old Man.

So where does that leave us? Well, I think it’s safe to say that I outrank you, and that since I am in Scorpio in John’s chart, I can choose at any time to use my stinger to make you extremely uncomfortable. I’ve spoken to John and while a Scorpio should NEVER show his weak underbelly, he’s got a soft spot for you, which is why I haven’t started stinging your stubborn ass. He asked me not to unless you get out of control. I leave it to him to tell me what is necessary. But I will NOT allow you to impede the progress of his literary career one second longer.

I hope you’re as good at following directions as John says you are. If you open your mouth before I transit into Libra you’re going to be up your ass in alligators.

Warmly (HAHAHAHA! Like that? Warmly! Sometimes I kill myself!),

The Sun

PS: You’re a brave man for betting on the Libyan Government in Uranus’ pool. Not even Mars was that brave!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Letters from Neptune

Dear Saturn,

John asked me to send along periodic updates to let you know that you have not been forgotten during his quest to finish his book. He still really does like you, although some days I wonder why.

Anyway, so far he’s done four of the 78 tarot cards. That’s a pretty good start. He’s completely changed how he’s writing this book: No formula, no structure, no nothing. Just writing. And that’s what he needs to do. You’re doing a great job of—well, doing nothing. So keep up the good work.

I have another more personal reason for writing. I know you and I are opposed and we’re never going to agree when it comes to John. But at least we can act civilly. Your sense of responsibility is strong with John, Old Man, but you’ve got to let go of him sometime. Ask Uranus how he feels; for the first time in John’s life, Uranus is in Aries, opposite of where it was when John was born. He’s as unpredictable as hell, and with him sitting in Aries—the ultimate ME ME ME sign—it’s a great time for John to push the envelope.

You can sit there on your high horse and you can go on and on about how important you are to him. But don’t forget that when John was in college, he thought about me an awful lot—at one point he was doing like four different musical groups—and I know I don’t have the pull that you have, but it’s nice to have him back for a while.

And I remember what you said about being disappointed that Jen wasn’t a Cappie girl. Let me tell you that I was THRILLED when John started dating Jen. Now there was a fantastic musician. What a singing voice she had, and she used to play Chopin on the piano too. And the creative streak on this girl is a mile wide—she crafts, she sews, she designs jewelry, she writes books—and that makes me feel all warm inside. But she’s got Capricorn rising so she puts all of that to good, solid, practical, Saturnian use. Yes, she’s no goat girl, but she’s the perfect combination of both of us, and she’ll make sure he gets this book done. So you have no reason to be disappointed.

I’m sure we’ll have plenty of time to chat over the next few months, so I think I’ll sign off and go embrace my feminine side. Or do tequila shots. Or meditate. Or maybe all three.



PS: If you want to get in on the betting pool Uranus has cooked up, he’s giving decent odds that the Libyan rebels will overthrow Gaddafi; the over under is a year. Think about it!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Saturn vs. Neptune: Letter of Intent

Neptune: Greetings, Revered Elder. Might I have a word with thee?
Saturn: So formal, Neptune? That is a very nice gesture.
N: Don’t get used to it, Old Man. I’m about to ruin your day, but at least I’ll be out of here quickly. I’m just here passing on a message.
S: Oh crap. What government needs fixing this time? Tell me it’s not the Quebec separatist movement again.
N: It’s more personal, I’m afraid. John asked me to deliver this letter to you and see that its instructions are carried out. I told him that since you follow instructions well, that shouldn’t be a problem for you. I’m not the most responsible astrological planet, you know.
S: Of course you’re not. That would be ME. You can’t even figure out what gender you are.
N: Yes, well…let me read this to you.

Dear Saturn…I hope this letter finds you well. After much thought, I have decided to follow through on my plan to write a book. I’m using a program called “A Round of Words in 80 Days” ( where I can set my own writing goal. I want to have a rough draft of all 78 tarot cards of my tarot book written when this period is over.

Regretfully, your past detrimental influence on me in the act of writing requires me to cease all contact with you for this time period so I may successfully attain this goal. I appreciate your understanding, and please be assured that you will be my guiding influence to edit the hell out of this book once created.



PS: Any attempt to contact me during this time is most unwelcome, and will result in negative consequences, like me telling people that Capricorns are boring, unemotional, and overly cautious. Just sayin’.

S: I remember our past discussion, but I never thought there was any way he’d tell me to get out of his life.
N: You don’t do well with “temporary”, Old Man, but you can come back. Just take the rest of the summer off! Aren’t there some organizations that need new org charts or a government who needs more bureaucracy? Once the Sun moves into Libra again, then you can think about coming back.
S: I’m really disappointed in him. He’s always been such a reliable person, and now this? It’s so UNFAIR.
N: I need to give John an answer, Saturn. Do you understand what I have just read to you and agree to abide by its conditions?
S: [SIGH] Yes, of course I do. Tell John I’ll miss him.
N: I will, Saturn. Once we’re done, you can have him back. See you in a few months. John will be posting status updates on his blog twice a week so you can see his progress.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Book Review: Tarot Talismans

Tarot Talismans: Invoke the Angels of the TarotTarot Talismans: Invoke the Angels of the Tarot by Sandra Tabatha Cicero

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Tarot Talismans is an introductory book on using the tarot in spiritual practice, but you wouldn’t know it at
first glance. A casual leaf through this work may leave you feeling slightly intimidated, as I was; there are lots of charts,graphs, and diagrams, and I suspect that many tarot enthusiasts may have dismissed it as just another list of tarot correspondences. But I looked deeper into the book, and I’m very glad that I did, because while it does provide an extensive amount of correspondences, it’s an excellent reference in harnessing the power of tarot imagery in your personal spiritual practice.

The first part of the work explains how talismans and amulets work, as well as a section on magical ethics. Elemental, astrological, and kabalistic correspondences of each tarot card are also given, and can be very useful if readers would like to go beyond the rituals provided in the book and design their own.

For those unfamiliar with working with the tarot in this way, the authors provide detailed instructions for performing the rituals, from preparation to completion, with explanations of why each particular tarot card was chosen. The rituals themselves are used for various purposes, such as protecting a home, enhancing psychic ability, and prosperity. I was very pleased to see a ritual to consecrate a tarot deck, which is essential before using any deck for spiritual, rather than divinatory, purposes.

The authors dedicate a large portion of the work to describing tarot angels, which represent the specific energy that each card embodies. For each card, specific angels, keywords, and other information, like suggested invocations, is provided. For example, one of the angels representing the Five of Pentacles is Mibahayah, who “helps one receive consolation” and “rules over morals, religion, and piety, and grants protection in one’s spiritual endeavors.” This information could be used by a tarot enthusiast to work with the energy of the Five of Pentacles and understand the wisdom it is trying to impart.

The ecumenical nature of this book makes it appropriate for use by those of any spiritual persuasion, and the authors make a concerted effort to exclude no one. The techniques in this book are magical in nature but can be easily applied to a particular spiritual path. While the book describes angels and has invocations taken directly from the Bible, equivalent gods and goddesses from Egyptian, Greek, and Roman pantheons, as well as work with pentagrams and many other symbols, are provided.

What I was surprised and pleased to find was a short comparison of card meanings from five different tarot decks. While many of today’s tarot card meanings come from the Golden Dawn, the authors show that even the choice of tarot deck used when performing rituals with the tarot can make a difference. They compare the Lovers and the Six of Swords from the Golden Dawn Magical Tarot, the Thoth Tarot Deck, the Universal Tarot, the Babylonian Tarot, and the Tarot of Marseille. This will send the reader back to the Little White Book or paperback for his or her favorite deck
to see how it might best be used spiritually.

Tarot Talismans is perfect for those tarot enthusiasts who want to take their knowledge of the tarot to the next level and make it an integral part of their personal spiritual practice, and it fills this role admirably.

Tarot Talismans: Invoke the Angels of the Tarot by Chic Cicero and Sandra Tabatha Cicero, Llewellyn, 2006.
ISBN-13: 978-0-7387-0871-3; ISBN-10: 0-7387-0871-2. $19.95

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Book Review: Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings by Rachel Pollack

Rachel Pollack's Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper MeaningsRachel Pollack's Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings by Rachel Pollack

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Tarot Wisdom: Spiritual Teachings and Deeper Meanings
Rachel Pollack
Llewellyn, 2008
ISBN-13: 978-0-7387-1309-0
By John Marani, CPTR

Rachel Pollack’s Tarot Wisdom is a book that I was incredibly interested in reading as soon as I heard of its existence. One of Pollack’s earlier works, Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, is a personal favorite of mine, and so I was excited to see this new work, but at the same time, I was afraid to read it.

I realized soon after I opened Tarot Wisdom why I had been concerned about reading it. For me, Seventy-Eight Degrees is a book that I hold in such high regard that I was nervous that it wouldn’t live up to the reputation of its predecessor. Thankfully, I was wrong: Tarot Wisdom is an updated version of Seventy-Eight Degrees and is every bit as valid.

In the Introduction, Pollack states that she has provided “a detailed interpretation of the entire deck, card by card”. Pollack delivers what she promises the reader in spades. Each of the cards is not only explained, but the imagery and meanings from many different decks are compared. In looking over these meanings, I was able to pick out another book for my tarot bookcase, Mystical Origins of the Tarot by Paul Huson, which is liberally cited in Pollack’s work.

Pollack goes beyond the standard meaning lists that grace many tarot books and links her narratives on each card to different spiritual teachings. As I read through the book I found myself broadening my spiritual horizons; the author draws from many different spiritual traditions to illustrate the underlying archetype of each card.

One of my favorite parts of this book was the addition of one or more tarot spreads for each of the major arcana cards, which explore in depth the major theme of the card. This makes it easier for a tarot student to work with one card at a time on a very deep level.

The minor arcana cards and the court cards have smaller descriptions--usually one page--compared to the major arcana descriptions, which go on for several pages. This precedent was set in Seventy-Eight Degrees, but I was really hoping to see more information on the minor arcana overall. Nevertheless, even seasoned tarot veterans should be able to find something thought-provoking in each description of each and every card.

The book ends with a short section on tarot readings and an extensive bibliography, but you’ll want to spend your time on the card descriptions. I found myself comparing the meaning descriptions from the different little white books of each tarot deck, and I was truly fascinated by it.

If you are serious about your continued study of the cards, you’ll want to have Tarot Wisdom at your fingertips. I found that because of the dense layers of meaning of each card that Pollack evokes, I had to read this book one small piece at a time and really assimilate what I was learning. So just take your time and enjoy.

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