Tarot Community

Introducing The Melanated Classic Tarot!

I feel like I start every single tarot creator interview with the phrase, “I’m so excited…” It’s always true, but today it feels especially accurate, because I am completely chuffed, utterly thrilled, exceedingly delighted, so excited, that I got to pick the brain of a new tarot creator whose work has captured my heart.

Oubria is one half of the vision behind the newly released Melanated Classic Tarot. Produced in collaboration with artist Julia Goolsby of Blaque Penn Comix, the Melanated Classic Tarot reimagines the classic Waite Smith deck with all of its archetypes and characters depicted as people of colour. As the creators say, representation is vital, and especially in matters of powerful, archetypal magic, so I’m very happy to be able to share Oubria’s story below, and to have this awesome deck in my shop!

Melanated Classic Tarot Australia.jpg

Tell us about you! What’s your spiritual story, and what kind of work do you do?

Wow! That’s a big question. My spiritual story started at birth. I’ve always been super sensitive to people’s feelings and moods. I also grew up with a violent and angry father & and an emotionally repressed mom, so I think I learned to read feelings as a barometer at home. I had to know how people were feeling so I would know whether to talk to them or stay out of their way.

And of course getting older and being an outcast, and a black sheep, and the one who made wild choices that people whispered about. If you’re being taught to use your intuition and trust your inner voice, I’ve learned the universe will consistently put you in situations where the only person you can trust in yourself.

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The work I do now is just the work of being myself, and I’ve worked really hard to be able to say something so simple. I am a stay-at-home entrepreneur mom of five; this deck is my first really successful financial endeavor but it’s definitely the whole ten-years-to-become-an-overnight-success sort of thing. Growing up I always thought I would become a poet or fiction writer. My parents thought that was cool but steered me toward teaching so I would be sure to eat. I have a bachelor’s and master’s degree in creative writing; if you google me right now you’ll find hundreds of little information articles I’ve written for ehow. com and the like. I’ve taught English at the community college level, I’ve taught after school programs, I’ve worked retail, reception, production (my mom was a producer & my dad is a cameraman and my mama was big on nepotism). But the thing I’ve always been best at is listening intently to people, permeating their metaphysical space, reading their feelings and giving sharp but loving advice. It’s like a chiropractor in the spirit- I know what to adjust. I know how to make a soul pop, crack and release. I asked the universe over and over to show me a way to make money doing that one thing, without having to go back to school be a minister or therapist. Eighteen months ago I picked up my first pack of tarot cards, and the store where I bought my first deck hired me to be a reader a couple of months later. Things just took off from there.

How did you come to tarot, and what part does it have in your personal and professional practice?

I came to tarot slowly, with a side eye at first. I was raised black girl, south side of Chicago Christian, so tarot cards and fortune telling and psychics are all spirits from the devil, according to my family. I didn’t even get my first tarot card reading until 2014, when a woman I was in a fb group with put up a 3 card, $5 reading sale. My reading was so positive but scary. It said I would lose everything but that I shouldn’t worry about it because everything I lost would be restored, and it was necessary to shake me free of some toxic ties, and then I would be wealthy and perhaps go into publishing. Just typing that now - it's crazy to realize every word of that reading came true. Except for the “wealthy” part, but honestly I do feel richer than I’ve ever been, but it’s in my spirit, not my wallet. A month later I got another reading from her because I was pregnant with my 4th child unexpectedly, and even though I was grown, married, and working as a salaried teacher on a fellowship, I was scared to tell my mama. I was scared of what people would say. And that reader told me to grow the fuck up! Ha!

When I first started reading cards I started putting tarot-scopes on facebook (I’m a writer, I can’t help it) to practice reading better. I had advertised a bunch of free readings but people stopped taking me up on it so I was just looking for another way to practice. My aunt emailed me reminding me that tarot cards are from the devil and our family doesn’t do this. I told her it felt alright with God to me. God didn’t feel mad at me.

And the only reason I felt strong enough to say that was because I’d been through the hardest year of my life, including being pregnant and homeless in San Francisco with my husband and four children, and no one in either my or my husband’s family stepped in to save us, or offer us a place to live. We got through that all on our own, trusting ourselves and trusting God. So I knew that if I felt called to tarot cards after everything I’d been through, then that’s what the fuck I was supposed to do and I was grown and I didn’t care what anybody said. Tarot cards was a big step in using my own mind and thinking for myself in every way. I’ve read for myself nearly every day since getting my first deck. It’s actually connected a lot of dots for me, concerning what the bible teaches. The tarot is very practical and common sense wisdom, like the book of Proverbs. It also teaches that the most important element in life is a sense of inner value. I had really low self esteem, but the tarot has worked with me to recognize that if I am connected to the source of life, how can I possibly have low self esteem? And the more you realize you are inherently worthy, the more you will be financially worth. The tarot and bible are both practical tools to removing the issues blocking your abundance and pentacles.

How did you arrive at the decision to make your own deck?

My first three decks were Rider Waites - two Radiants and then a borderless. I love the Rider Waite deck because I felt it told a story. I didn’t know what the story was, but those pictures were so… alive. You know I’m a writer, lol. I know when there’s a story afoot. Except nothing I read told the story. They tell the individual meanings of the cards, but I needed the story. I don’t know how I came across this but there’s a website that talks about the astrological and cosmological designations of the cards- for example, two of cups as venus in cancer, five of wands as saturn in leo, etc.

So I put the cards in order according to the way the signs appear. I emptied out a closet in my house and turned into a tarot chamber, and I used pushpins to arrange the entire deck on the wall, as a grid, with the sun signs across the top (not in order but as they appear in the tarot), Aries (Emperor), Leo (Strength), Sagittarius, (Temperance), and then coming down in a row from the major arcana cards were the minor arcana cards, two of wands (Mars in Aries), etc. I was trying to see the story. And all these faces were staring back at me, telling the the story.

And I just felt like I would hear them better if they were black, like me. I just sort of casually mentioned it to my husband and he was like, yo, you should do that. He knew a couple of artists and and messaged them on fb to ask them what they would charge per picture, to just replicate it but make it black. The first dude flaked out but Julie didn’t. Julie is AMAZING. A-MA-ZING.

Melanated Classic Tarot Australia Suit Cards

What was that process like? And what was it like to collaborate with an artist to realize your vision – or was it a shared vision?

The process was shockingly easy. We first asked her to replicate a coloring book page and her drawing skills are just freaking phenomenal. There ain’t nothing Julie can’t draw. After that, I sent her a non-disclosure agreement. After she signed it, I explained the project and negotiated a work/ pay schedule. We started in June 2018 and she finished in January 2019. We worked in batches of ten cards roughly every three weeks. I would send her photos of the original deck and she would send back the melanated version. And we became friends in the process. It’s crazy because we’re both from Chicago and she still lives in Chicago, but I live in California. We have hella mutual friends but we’ve never met face to face. We’ve done this amazing thing and we’ve never met. Isn’t that crazy?!

And wait -- let me say it was easy on my end but not on Julie’s. She worked while going to school, taking care of her daughter and other relatives, deaths in the family, her computer breaking down… but she’s such a positive person and just always came through. She even gave me pep talks! She’s dope. I feel like I said that already but I want to say it again.

The deck shows so much love and homage to the Rider Waite Smith. How did your relationship with that classic deck inform the process of creation?

I feel like I sort of answered that already but, I already felt super drawn to the Rider Waite because other decks are sort of based on it. And then I don’t know what made me look it up but when I found out Pixie was biracial it felt meant to be! Also if you look at the High Priestess in the original Rider Waite, her features look black. That’s a black woman if you ask me. I think Pixie snuck her in.

I feel like more black people would read tarot cards (which is great for spiritual AND entrepreneurial growth) if there was more representation. I love the basics, the fundamentals- because you can build anything you want from a solid foundation. I just really, really, really, really wanted a solid foundation that looked like us.

Melanated Classic Tarot High Priestess Australia

We’re arguably in the beginnings of a very fertile moment in terms of representation of varied identities, bodies, and experiences in tarot, but of course there’s still so far to go before we can say that our decks and vocabularies and spiritualities are decolonized and inclusive. How do you feel your work sits in this moment? Any thoughts on what work still needs to be done, or where this might all go from here?

I feel that our work sits perfectly in this moment, and I think that’s one of the benefits of being psychic actually, is being mystically drawn to where things are most fertile. I think this deck is just the tip of the iceberg. I would love to see somebody draw an Asian Rider Waite, one that represents Latin and Southern Americans, etc. I think there is room for EVERYBODY. In fact someone emailed me and said they were glad to see this deck and there needed to be one for brown people. And I thought, you right, so do it lol. It’s not my responsibility to do that for you. I did this for mine, now you gotta do it for yours. That’s the point. The tarot teaches you to do shit for yourself. The tarot cuts co-dependecy away in the five of pentacles. From there on it’s about standing on your own and marvelling at your own strength. Like the bible says, when I was a child I thought as a child. Once I became an adult, I thought as an adult. I think this is the moment where other races begin to realize nothing is stopping them from doing this and this market is WIIIIIIDE OPEN.

How has working with your own deck (assuming you do!) informed or shifted your own practice, whether for yourself or for clients?

Not really. But it’s made me really happy and it feels like a dream come true. If anything, it makes my readings more clear, because Julie is so good at drawing facial expressions that the cards are more detailed. The emotions really come through, which translates to the reading.

Apart from your own creation, are there any decks you’d want to be stranded with on a desert island? What are your faves?

I love the Rider Waite borderless, and the Isis Oracle, and this weird little amazing deck I got in San Francisco called the Tarot of Personal Experience.

Finally, do you have any advice, guidance or insider tips for working with the Melanated Classic Tarot? Is there any way you would like to see it used or shared, now that it’s out in the world?

My deck has a lot to say. It likes to be asked questions, lots of them. If you see someone holding a cup, say, what’s in that cup? and pull another card. If someone’s holding a sword, say, what are they saying? and pull another card. With wands ask, what’s he/she doing? and pull another card. Ask what the pentacles represent. Ask what the Empress is creating. Ask the High Priestess her secret. Ask what the Emperor is warding off on his left and holding onto with his right. Ask what the Hierophant’s rules are. Ask what will come between the lovers. Ask what the Strength is holding herself back from. Ask, ask, ask.


What better imperative could a tarot reader hope to hear? Ask, ask, ask.

The Melanated Classic Tarot is in stock now right here in the shop!

You can also pick up a copy, find out more about Oubria, and book a reading at her website, or on Instagram, and see more of Julia Goolsby’s Blaque Penn Comix on Instagram.

Readers in Profile: Siobhan of Radical Tarot

If you've been around these parts for many moons, you might remember my interview series, Readers in Profile, in which I sit down with some of the many cool cats in our tarot community to talk shop. It's been a while since we've had an instalment of this series, but I'm very glad to be breathing some life back into it with one of my favourite radical cardslingers, Siobhan of Radical Tarot.

Siobhan's one of those readers who inspires me in my own practice, because she never takes a boundary or brick wall as a given. Siobhan's writing and thinking about tarot always, always stretches this old art form into new shapes, and her compassionate, curious, and expansive approach always manages to find new ways of seeing the cards. It's pretty magical! 

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Let's get to it, shall we?

Hi Siobhan! Tell us a little bit about yourself as a tarot reader and a human person. 

I'm a person that both starts with and rallies against a series of labels. Black. Poor. Anxious (or crazy depending on who you ask). Empathic (or crazy depending on who you ask).

I came to the cards with a great deal of fear. Growing up where I grew up there were doubts or questions about my place in the world. I never fit. There was a constant question about my worth. Metaphysical differences complicated these issues. 

When I was younger, I saw and heard which were not of the physical world. And I knew back then to keep my mouth shut. Because I was raised in a family that while very Christian and relatively conservative, still acknowledged the unseen. They had to, there were too many unexplained incidents shared between us. 

What is your tarot origin story? 

By the time I handled the first tarot deck, I was searching very hard for a way to feel safe. I wanted to believe that there were mechanisms through which I could wrangle my own intuition. I wanted to make peace with the part of me that whispered me bits of information that I shouldn't know about myself and others. 

I wanted to turn my gift off and on at will, and I had a hunch that the tarot was the way. Even if the cards themselves did nothing, I thought they might at least train my mind so that I might get a say in when I would pick up on things. I hadn't met anyone like me other than my grandmother and other relatives.

I set out to learn about my premonitions at all costs. Even if it meant studying witchcraft and things I was raised to believe came from the devil. I came to the cards out of kind of psychic desperation. I would come to learn as I got older and met more metaphysicians and practitioners that this isn't a typical way to come to the craft. Most come looking to tap into more, not less. 

I used the Tarot not to contact spirit realm but to limit contact. I felt that if I could give myself a spiritual outlet, time and space where it was ok to deal with the unseen, maybe the unseen would stop flooding the rest of my life and my dreams. And sure enough, things got better. 

The spellcraft I did, and the cards that I pulled signaled to my brain that there was a time for such things and that it wasn't all the time. I could sleep easier, and I had substantially less fear. 

The only reason I ever even laid eyes on a tarot deck was through a dear friend. Through school, I was exposed to media that my family couldn't afford, anime, comics, and of course, tarot. My best friend showed me her mother's Morgan Greer deck. 

There was a definite weight to the cards. Even though I don't remember the art blowing me away. I don't remember fear or trepidation handling the cards. Even though I had been raised to be afraid of them. 

How does tarot fit into your life day-to-day – what are the regular practices you use to connect with and learn from the cards?

I notice myself pulling cards in waves. When I feel like I would be put at ease by knowing how something is going to turn out, when I'm anxious or stressed about the future or when I notice that I'm fixating on something from the past and I want to let it go. 

I pull my cards when I'm biking through a particularly beautiful trail, and feel at peace, and when I am visiting places of power. Geographical locations where I feel strong spiritual presences or a spike in energy for whatever reason. 

I notice that even on the days when I don't pull a card, I'm thinking about the images. This is how I really came to embrace pulling cards face up. I was doing in my head anyway, so it made sense to pull the cards this way as well. 

I reach for my cards when I need to make a decision where I would normally second guess myself or look for someone else to tell me what to do. I'm recovering from a time in my life where I didn't have a lot of confidence in my decision making or even my perception of reality. I have an old habit of looking for reassurance outside of myself. 

The cards help me to remember that I can look to the unseen for answers and also that there are parts of myself that I can draw from. That I almost never need to look anywhere further than my own judgment.

Do you integrate tarot into any other aspects of your spiritual or creative practice? 

One of the most unlikely spiritual combinations in my life is tarot and sexuality. I’ve pulled cards Face Up, consciously rather than at random, for Tantric rituals before. And lately, I've been drawing cards for my kink. 

This is partially due to one of my decks, Manara's Erotic Tarot. It's a hard deck to read. It's one of those made of images that weren't intended for tarot. I don't usually like decks like these. But it's comic art. And I do like comics, so it ended up being one of my first decks. But it's a dark and obscure deck. 

It focuses entirely on the male gaze, something that was interesting to me when I was younger but in the last decade or so, underwhelms me. It has some pretty kinky images. At least, at the time, indie decks have pushed the envelope in recent years.

I was already interested in kink when I bought the deck, but I wasn't so experienced at the time. I hadn't been exposed to the range of fetishes and kinky activities that I have at this point. So I used the deck but didn't really hear it, you know? 

Years after I bought it, after much more kink play, I recognized one of the images on the card as something I had (almost) done. There were cobblestones in the picture and a partially nude woman flashing traffic at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. This card really came alive for me after I'd seen the Arc in person for myself AND after I'd done a brief stint modeling for fetish photography. 

I'm outside with a photographer one day wearing this corset and these heels and not much else, and it's a real struggle balancing on these cobblestones in 7-inch platforms, and I was cold and nervous about being so scantily clad in the middle of the financial district. I had to use the restroom and the photographer, being a bit of sadist suggests I go right there in the middle of the street. 

I tell him absolutely not. 

But I go ahead and imagine what it would be like, the relief, the release. I imagine what it would be like to be a person who has no shame about doing this very private act in a very public place. It would feel free. The kind of freedom and bliss you can only get doing something extreme. 

This is the image on the nine of cups in the Erotic Tarot. It has this puddle beneath a woman in the photo. And after this fetish shoot, I realized it's not rain water underneath her. It's not the exhibitionist flashing that causes her to bite her lip. 

Once I could understand this deck, it changed the way I looked at all the others, opening up a world of interpretation concerning all kinds of sexuality that had never occurred to me. 

In your professional work, are there any pro tips or insights you’ve picked up along the way that you’d like to share? 

At least two things stand out to me about reading tarot for others. Both things that it took me a long time to realize. The first is whether or not the reading is about you. The reading can be about you. Many people read tarot this way. Some realize it. Some don't. Some do it pro this way. 

They read tarot to fulfill a need that they have, and this is the primary focus. And I suppose on some level this will always come into play. Any interaction between humans will involve, hopefully, the needs of everyone getting met. The difference I am focusing on is one of primary-ness. 

Some people never bother to ask themselves the question of what is primary to their tarot practice. Are you looking to feel wise? Magical? Holy? Caring? Useful? Are these needs primary? Are you looking to be of service? 

And even if you think you mean to serve, it can be tricky to see the root of why we do the things we do. Until we face something annoying. The no-brainer. The stupid or infuriating things. These things are the clues. The pregnancy questions. The questions about a third party. The questions where some people feel the ethics are plain as day and not even worth looking at. 

These are the places where we find out our real motivation. Are we drained or are we angry when we receive the less-than-ideal questions? If we feel any heavy charge when reading, there's something we're taking personally or a need that we feel is not being met. 

If we don't happen to have the awareness to notice moments like these, we may spend our entire practice thinking we are doing one thing but in actuality doing another. This comes back to a question I've asked before on my blog that I got from Betty Martin, an educator that I love: "who's it for?"

The second thing is what a reading actually entails. We all know it can take days, months, or years to learn the cards, the symbols and their meanings and our own personalized interpretations of the archetypes. We all agree on that part. But what about communicating the reading to the querent? What about doing so without unintended triggers, microaggressions, miscommunication? What about how we listen? 

Many of the people who want readings may not have another outlet to express their issue. What about recognizing when to refer someone for services outside the realm of tarot? And if you read tarot professionally there are several more layers of expertise that it wouldn't hurt to cultivate the same as with any business. What exactly does it mean to be spiritual or emotional triage for someone? 

Having a business is its own journey without even considering the part where we learn to use the cards. There are so many ways to both run a business and use the tarot that it really behooves a person to know why they do what they do. What their values are. And yet there are so many who don't know these things about themselves. Discernment is key. 

Discernment of the teachers that we choose to learn from, the words we use, the attitude with which we approach other humans. It takes a lot of actions, daily habits, and work to handle all those things with grace and integrity. And not everybody will want to invest what is needed, and not everyone will realize that they don't want to right away. 

I just have to ask – what would be your five desert island tarot (or oracle) decks? Which ones couldn’t you live without?

If I were on a desert island, I'd honestly really focus on my God-given divination tools, words, breath, and dreams. One day you ask me this question I might say the Margarete Peterson. One day maybe the St. Croix. One day Thoth (No really, it might just have to be Thoth. That deck seems to scream at me.) And maybe that means I'm a bit ambivalent about the decks I've seen so far. And maybe there's room for me to fall in love and for this to change. 

The further down the rabbit hole I sink toward minimalism and toward letting go of objects, both of which are pretty important to me lately, the less I notice preferences that I used to hold so strong. I sometimes think about a year-long ritual I could do that involves getting rid of every deck I own, til' I own one or maybe even no more decks. To test myself and see if I could remember the impermanence of everything. 

I read a book years ago, I don't remember which one in it said, "a witch has no possessions." And me, with my Aspie-leaning heart, took it quite literally. That I couldn't call myself a witch until I had nothing or until I did not consider my relationship to things one of ownership.

I don't identify as a witch anymore. But this concept works well with my more recent Buddhist approach to things and so still serves. And when we think about the earth, isn't this for the best? The mindset that is the most sustainable is to be attached to absolutely nothing, not even the bones we breathe through. Not the most fun way to look at this question I know...

Where can we find you? 

You can find me blogging at radicaltarot.com. It’s a good idea to sign up for my newsletter. Between my column on Little Red Tarot, random publications, free monthly tarotscopes, and seasonal professional readings, there’s kind of a lot to keep track of. 


You can probably tell now why I love Siobhan's tarot brain! I highly recommend her Little Red Tarot column, and do make sure you get on her mailing list so you never miss your monthly tarot scopes!

On Art & Cards: An Interview with Jennifer Dranttel of the Nomad Tarot

The hard-to-find Nomad Tarot has long been a favourite here at Two Sides Tarot. I cherish my personal copy, and every time I have it in stock in the shop, it gets snapped up within weeks. It's been a little while since this cult favourite deck has been available, but if you've been longing for a copy, your prayers are about to be answered! 

Nomad creator, Jennifer Dranttel, has just announced that, to celebrate the fifth anniversary of this deck, a new edition is on the way, seeking funding now through Kickstarter. Can I get a HELL YES, please?! 

I had a chat with Jennifer about her tarot origin story, her art practice, and what's new with this edition of Nomad. Read on for all the juice!

Nomad Tarot Interview Jennifer Dranttel

Image by Yulia Volchok

Hi Jennifer! Welcome to Two Sides Tarot. Could you introduce us to yourself, and to your work, tarot and otherwise?

Hello! I’m Jennifer, I’m an artist, illustrator, educator, mother, and traveling nomad. I’m American, but am currently living and working in the UK. My whole life I’ve been drawn to creative fields- my undergrad degrees are in Architecture, Graphic Design & Printmaking, and after a decade-long career as a professionally exhibiting artist and curator, I decided to go back to school to get my MFA in Textiles (from Savannah College of Art & Design) because I wanted to be a teacher at the University level.

I always begin my creative process with tons of research, and am inspired by a pretty wide (and wild) range of material from scientific journals to botanical gardens to poetry. I am drawn to both high-tech and low-fi materials, processes, and ideas. The history, layered imagery, and ties into traditions of folk healing, witchcraft, and other religions made Tarot a natural draw for me.

Tell us about your tarot journey - how did the cards first find their way into your life?

I had friends who read the cards and for years they were just always around at parties, dinners, and lazy sunny afternoons in the park. I never really identified as a reader myself, but always really enjoyed using them as a lightly fun way, like a horoscope or a palm reading.

I had an art show booked in 2014 and randomly decided to start looking into the Tarot, and illustrating the Major Arcana as large silkscreen prints. After about six months of research and development of my own interpretations, I became obsessed with having the entire deck in my hands, and illustrated the remaining cards. I really only set out initially to create the deck I wanted to use- with imagery drawn from my life, from the specific things that are inspirational and evocative to me- and I have to admit I’m still amazed every time a stranger wants to use it as well. So I initially began the Nomad Tarot project looking at it from the point of view of an illustrator, but in the past five years they’ve really become a part of my everyday life, and now I frequently do readings for myself and friends, have lectured on Tarot, and have sold this deck to customers all over the world.

Nomad Tarot Interview Jennifer Dranttel

Image by Holly Penikas

How did you come to be inspired to design your own deck? What was the process of creating the Nomad Tarot like?

After the initial research, I have to say that most cards I had an immediate reaction to how I wanted to interpret the material in my own way, and the artwork came quickly to me. Some (The Emperor! Ugh!) still haunt me because I don’t feel I’ve gotten them just right yet. I drew all the artwork by hand, screenprinted them at double size, then scanned in the artwork and added text, borders, and numbering digitally. I prefer to work in that way- combining the high-tech with hand drawing, because I appreciate the quality of the hand that can never be perfectly replicated by a computer. I wanted to cards to be very obviously hand-drawn, not to feel too slick.

How has creating your own deck influenced your tarot practice, or your spiritual practice in general? And what about your art practice - do you feel that working with tarot has informed your creative process at all?

I have to admit I’m still a bit of a novice when it comes to Tarot. I’m not a super experienced reader who has felt a connection to this tradition for years, I found my way here mainly through the art first and then have fallen in love with the spiritual aspect of Tarot. It was always a fun tool to self-reflection when I was younger, but since I created the Nomad Tarot I’ve definitely deepened my practice. I now try to really connect with the cards several times a week, both as a reader- as someone looking for that connection to Universal energy- and also as the creator of this deck- to keep checking in and making notes about how the cards are working and feeling, so I can make slight improvements to them to improve their use.

I think that working with the Tarot- reading and using it now for myself, as well as the result that illustrating the deck had on my career- has made me more confident and focused in all areas of my art. I think it’s made me feel more dialed-in to the world around me, tapped into a larger reservoir of creative inspiration, and more sure in my gifts as an artist.

Nomad Tarot Interview Jennifer Dranttel

Image by Fern Gray

Tarot geeks can't help themselves, so I just have to ask - what are your favourite tarot or oracle decks? What were the decks that helped to inspire or influence the creation of Nomad?

I love the spirit of the Wild Unknown Tarot, though I was pretty conscious as I was illustrating the Nomad Tarot to not look at a lot of other indie decks, because I wanted to keep my interpretations original and not be influenced by what was already out there. And I’m currently crushing on the aesthetics of the Wooden Tarot and the Ophidia Rosa Tarot.

The Nomad Tarot has been through a couple of editions now, and this relaunch looks like it'll be an exciting new chapter in this deck's story. How has your relationship with Nomad evolved since you first conceived of it? What can we expect from this new edition?

As I said, when I began this journey with the Nomad Tarot nearly five years ago, I just created the deck I wanted to use. I was new to Tarot, didn’t have a lot of experience reading, and I think that really influenced the type of deck I created. I wanted something that felt modern and fresh, that would appeal to people like me- who had dipped their toes into the Tarot pool but hadn’t really connected with a deck yet or felt slightly offput by some of the more typical and traditional Tarot imagery. So I used imagery drawn from my life, and drawn from my specific interpretations of the cards that were mostly very personal.

I’m interested in creating a new edition of the deck because after actually working with it for five years, I have a lot of new insights and small changes that will improve the Nomad Tarot for readers everywhere. There are some cards that made complete sense in my head, but after receiving tons of feedback from customers, they’re not responding to them in the way I’d intended- and I can see slight shifts that will improve their clarity and the ease of using this deck. I think the biggest improvement for this relaunch will be in the guidebook, however. I am working with a professional Tarot reader, Sara Galactica, to add new insights and make it both more specific by including way more information about using the Nomad Tarot, as well as including a lot of general ideas about how to use the Tarot as a tool for self-knowledge and realization. It’s going to be worlds better, with beautiful full-colour photographs, more ideas for spreads to use, and inspirational words from Sara. I can’t wait to get it into my hands!

Nomad Tarot Interview Jennifer Dranttel

Image by Jennifer Dranttel

How can we help get this new edition of Nomad out into the world? Where can readers find and support your work?

Well, if you don’t yet have the deck, buy one through the Kickstarter! There are also some options in there for items like limited-edition screenprints and the new edition of the Nomad Guide to the Tarot, for those who already have the deck but still want to help us get it out to a wider audience. And of course, word of mouth is the most important way to support an indie deck. The success of this deck so far has always depended on the tight-knit community of tarot fans, who have shared it, gifted it, and used it in their readings for years.

You can also follow @thenomadtarot on Instagram, and tag pictures of the deck if you’ve already purchased one with #nomadtarot. The more pictures we have out there the more people will fall in love with and want to support the project! If the funding goal is met, the deck will be available through Two Sides Tarot (Australia) [THAT'S ME!], Little Red Tarot (UK), and Altar PDX (USA).


You heard that right, Two Sides Tarot will have the new edition of Nomad in stock later in the year, but only if we all band together and get this Kickstarter campaign funded so Jennifer can send the deck to print!

Head over to the campaign to secure yourself a copy of the deck, pick up a print or book, or make a donation to help make the new edition of Nomad a reality!

5 Tarot Myths That Need Busting Like, Yesterday

I know many of my readers are keen tarot enthusiasts, and experienced and even professional readers. We have a whole lot to say to each other! Today's post, though, is for those of you lurking in the wings.

Maybe you stumbled upon my blog by accident, or while doing a little research into a subject you don't know too much about (yet!). Perhaps tarot has just appeared on your radar and you want to learn more, or you've been curious for a long time but haven't yet taken the first step on your tarot journey. 

Image via The Lioness Oracle Tarot

For the newly tarot-curious, the very word “tarot” is evocative, summoning up images of psychic priestesses in their temples, fortune tellers glimpsed through clouds of incense smoke, and secret ceremonies conducted by moonlight.

All of that is seductive and magical, but I know when you're just starting out, it can feel a little unapproachable. The arcane, occult trappings of tarot can be part of its appeal, but from the outside, all those rumours and rules can also feel like impenetrable obstacles!

Over the years, I’ve encountered so many people interested in the art of tarot, who felt that it wasn’t accessible to them because they weren’t psychic enough, or because they hadn’t been initiated into the Secret Psychic Tarot Readers’ Club (we have a secret handshake and everything!).

Sure, I’m the first to admit that one of the most alluring things about tarot is that it has its own mythology and mysticism. But popular culture and occult tradition alike tell a lot of stories about what it means to be a tarot reader, and way too many of those stories suggest that tarot is only available to a certain kind of person, for a particular kind of use.

I’m all for embracing arcane traditions if they make things a little more magical, but all that stuff that holds us back? Let's take a hard pass on that! The gates are open. Tarot is for everyone who chooses to make it their own.

Let's break down some barriers, shall we?

1. Your tarot deck must be a gift

We’ve all heard it said that in order to be a real tarot reader, you must be given your tarot deck as a gift. Over the years, so many aspiring tarot readers have said to me that they’d love to start reading tarot, if only someone would give them a tarot deck.

The origins of this myth are hard to pin down. Many of the occult aspects of tarot as we know it originated with the esoteric society, The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, so it may be that this myth was cooked up to reinforce the idea that becoming a tarot reader required initiation and secrecy (the Golden Dawn were definitely big on ceremony!). It's possible, too, that secret initiations were necessary to keep occult practitioners safe at times in history that were less tolerant of alternative spiritual practices.

Fortunately for today's readers, though, this myth is just not true. Just think, if it were, how few tarot readers there would be in the world!

If you want to start reading tarot, I have good news. You don’t need permission. You don’t need initiation. You don’t need to be given your deck as a gift. And don’t let anyone tell you that your deck should be stolen, either – theft really sucks for bookshops, new age stores, and your bestie's carefully cultivated tarot collection, so please don’t do it!

All you need to get started on your tarot journey is an interest in tarot and willingness to get going. Treat yourself to the tarot deck of your choice, and get reading!

2. You can't start reading tarot until you've memorised all the cards

A standard tarot deck contains seventy-eight cards, which is a lot to take in, especially when you’re starting out. So many tarot-curious folks have expressed anxiety to me about how much there is to learn before you can get started, and I know there are plenty of people out there too daunted to even begin. What a pity!

Tarot is a rich, many-layered esoteric tradition, which pulls symbols, ideas, and beliefs from all corners of the Western occult and philosophical canon. From Hermetic philosophy to Kabbalah to numerology to astrology, there’s certainly plenty you can investigate to enrich your understanding of this beautiful discipline.

To begin with, though, all you need to do is shuffle, and pull a card.

Seriously, I mean it! Take out your tarot deck, and draw a card. Look at the image. What feelings does it provoke? What does it remind you of? Are there any colours or symbols that are significant to you? What would it be like to be in the situation on the card? What could you learn from this situation?

If you answered these questions, congratulations! You just read a tarot card. Well done!

When learning tarot, it is important to bury yourself in the books and drink up all you can about the symbolism in the cards. Theory is nothing without practice, though, and so it’s just as important that you give yourself time and space to play with your cards, to respond to them intuitively, through the lens of your own experience and subjectivity. In time, you’ll learn to draw your book learning and your intuitive reading together, thus transforming yourself into a tarot reader extraordinaire.

And as for memorisation, well, it’s a little overrated. Even the most seasoned tarot reader consults the books from time to time, because there’s always more to learn. Let memorising the cards be a natural side effect of your intuitive play with tarot, and not an overwhelming goal that stops you from ever getting started!

Image via the Spirit Speak Tarot Reversed

3. Tarot is only used for telling the future

This myth probably doesn’t need too much busting among the seasoned tarot readers, but if you’re new to tarot, this might be an assumption you’ve inherited. In the popular imagination, tarot readers are psychics, predicting when and where that tall, dark, and handsome stranger is going to come along and sweep you off your feet.

In practice, the turban-wearing, crystal ball-toting tarot fortune tellers are few and far between (although Two Sides Tarot has nothing against a good turban, don’t get me wrong!). There are great readers out there who offer predictive services, but this is certainly not the only way to use a deck of tarot cards.

Many readers – myself included – are more interested in the present than the future. When it comes to the questions and conundrums we all face, we want to know what’s going on under the surface. What extra information can we glean? What perspective should we take? What approach will help us make a good decision? What skills or tools should we use for this or that situation? How can we challenge our perceptions and ignite our creativity and move towards our goals, starting right now?

Sure, a good tarot reading equips us with tools for what’s to come, but I believe that the cards are most useful when we focus our attention on what’s happening now, in the present moment. Chances are, it’s more than you might think!

So, don’t be fooled. A tarot reading doesn’t have to be all about sitting back and waiting for a pre-destined future to come to you. A good tarot reading explores your inner and outer worlds as they are now, so that you can use that information to shape your own future. Knowledge is power, after all!

4. You have to be psychic to read tarot cards

This one is definitely intimidating for beginning tarot readers! Of course, in pop culture, tarot readers have long been associated with mediumship and psychic revelations and, well… a certain kind of spooky knowing. You could be forgiven for thinking you need to have prophetic dreams or communicate with the dead in order to read tarot cards.

Sure, there definitely are some folks out there who feel blessed with The Sight and who have no qualms identifying as psychic. Many of them make great tarot readers.

For a lot of us, though, “psychic” isn’t really a word we throw around. Personally, I don’t believe I’m psychic, but that’s ok, because I’ve found that there are other, even more valuable skills that make a great tarot reader.

For one, a willingness to practice. Tarot is a skill anyone can learn, and like any skill, it takes a little time to learn and a lot of time to master. Any person who picks up a deck of cards, psychic or not, will get the best from this art form if they’re dedicated to honing their craft. Practice, practice, practice!

The next thing that will help you on your tarot journey is intuition. Believe it or not, we’re all intuitive. Maybe some of us have spent more time honing that part of ourselves than others, but everyone has the ability to take information and experience and instinct and use it to make cognitive leaps in understanding about our situations or environments. And like any skill, practice only makes our intuition sharper!

Finally, it’s important to remember what we call ourselves. That is, tarot readers. Tarot is a language of symbols and associations that beginners simply need to learn to read through study and practice. Your tarot skills will grow and flourish if you focus on reading what you can see with your own eyes on the cards in front of you – no Second Sight required!

5. Tarot decks don’t reflect real people’s identities, backgrounds, and lives

This last one is really important!

A look at some of the most popular decks from the last hundred-odd years might lead you to believe that tarot is only representative of certain kinds of people. I.e., slim, able-bodied, gender-conforming, straight, white people.

Like so many types of media, tarot has been historically poor at giving a voice to the truly diverse and often marginalised types of people, relationships, and lived experiences that we actually embody and see in the world around us.

Tarot readers and creators, like people from all walks of life, come from many genders, cultures, sexualities, and ethnic groups, and in all shapes and sizes, and of course, we want to see our true selves represented in the decks we read with. For a long time, though, decks like that were few and far between.

The good news is, this paradigm is slowly changing. When second-wave feminism got hold of tarot in the 1970’s, woman-centered, and queer decks – like the Motherpeace Tarot and Thea’s Tarot – began to appear. Court cards were renamed to reflect family and social relationships, rather than feudal hierarchies, and figures on the cards were liberated from at least some of their traditional and gendered roles.

There was still a ways to go, though, and fortunately, in the last few years, this shift has really picked up in pace and scope! In the midst of tarot’s current renaissance, more artists than ever are creating tarot decks that better represent diverse lives and identities. 

They may not yet comprise the majority of decks on the market, but if you go looking, you can begin to find decks that give voice to people of colour, differently-abled people, gender-diverse and queer people, and roles and relationships that don’t conform to so-called traditional norms. And thank goodness for that! It’s so, so powerful to draw a card and see our own, true stories reflected back to us, whatever they may be.

For help on your quest for truly diverse and representative tarot decks, check out Asali Earthwork’s wonderful labour of love, the Tarot of the QTPOC list. Therein lies goodness! And for broad and inclusive tarot discourse, you really can’t miss Little Red Tarot.

We’ve come a long way, but the world of tarot publishing is by no means perfect, so let’s keep this conversation going! And if you value inclusive and expansive tarot decks and resources, vote with your dollar and support the artists doing this vital work. 


So, tarot novices, lurkers, and babes who got lost here via google search, take it from me: tarot is for you, if you want it to be! Forget about the rules and restrictions. If you want to embrace this beautiful, intuitive, dynamic, weird art form, you don't need permission. All you need is a deck of cards. Good luck out there! 

Nature or Nurture? An Interview with Marcella Kroll

Today, we're talking about one of the newest additions to the Two Sides Tarot stable, the beautiful and powerful Nature Nurture oracle deck. 

Marcella Kroll 2.jpg

If you've been around here for more than a few minutes, you probably know that I'm a big fan of artist and intuitive, Marcella Kroll. "Big fan" probably doesn't quite cover it; maybe over-excited fangirl gets a little closer!

A few years back, Marcella created the iconic Sacred Symbols oracle deck (I talked to her about that deck here), and since then she's been reading cards, changing lives, and working her ass off to raise funds and awareness for several vital environmental and social justice concerns. Marcella is the kind of spiritual leader who walks her talk, always ready to speak up in service of love and justice, and this shines through as much in her divination work as it does in her work as an activist.

Yes, ok, I am fangirling. But look at this beautiful, radiant angel! 

Earlier this year, Marcella created a new oracle deck, Nature Nurture, a sort-of follow up to Sacred Symbols, but very much its own beast. Of course, I wanted to hear all about it, and so Marcella kindly offered her time to tell us the story of how Nature Nurture came to be.

Brace yourself, there are psychic crystal skulls!

Congrats on the publication of your new deck! Could you tell us a little about what the Nature Nurture oracle is and how it works?

The Nature Nurture Oracle is a divination deck featuring animals, nature, and archetypes that might soon be extinct if humanity continues consuming and abusing our resources, as well as forgetting where we come from.

So the cards have a dual purpose. While one might get a personal reading and benefit from the messages, the subjects painted in the cards will also be given some recognition and healing as well.

I've heard that you had an unusual champion for the creation of this deck! Could you tell us a little about how the Nature Nurture oracle deck came to be, and what the process of creation was like?

In the spring of 2016 I received a psychic hit (aka message) informing me that I would create another deck. I had no idea at the time how it would happen. So I just let go of the idea since it wasn't something I had been planning. Also since I was having some health challenges that needed to be addressed, it hadn't become a priority.

That summer I was psychically pulled to a metaphysical shop in Los Angeles (where I live). It felt like I was energetically summoned to go to this place, even though I had no intention of going there that day. When I arrived I was greeted by an ancient crystal skull 💀 named Einstein. He was there giving readings with his guardian Carolyn.

In the reading they informed that I was to not give up on my creation because it would help contribute to the Earth's healing. It was powerful to say, but it took me another 6 months to get to work. After a gruelling few months of getting my health on track, getting sober, and becoming heavily involved in organising raising funds for a couple of key political movements I crashed.

Over the course of January and February 2017 I hand drew all of the cards, wrote the booklet meanings, and taught myself photoshop to graphically lay them out and design them. To get them printed I applied for a loan through Kiva.org which is a fantastic non-profit that allows others to support small business and creators all over the world. Through that generosity I have been able to print the first edition and get them out into the world. A magical and humbling experience.

Nature Nurture Oracle Australia

Your previous deck, Sacred Symbols, is very much a favourite here at Two Sides Tarot! How would you say your art and your ideas have evolved between Sacred Symbols and this new deck?

Well for one, I'm not homeless. Sacred Symbols happened without intention really. I was homeless and bouncing around trying to figure out my purpose. I never imagined it would be something that would completely change my world. Part of creating that deck was to get these symbols that I would see repeatedly in my psychic readings out of my brain and onto paper.

I knew it was some kind of language that needed to be translated but wasn't sure how or why. Also because with the growing revival of the mystical and the current fashion trends of all things witchy, I felt it was important to offer some kind of educational aspect to the symbols and those connecting to them. The booklet is very simple, but I wanted to include a source of imagery. So folks knew what they were connecting to on a more conscious level.

Has working with Nature Nurture influenced or changed your personal spiritual practice, or your work with clients? If so, what has it brought to the table?

I have found that the Nature Nurture deck has become a staple in my readings with clients and my daily practice. It commands me to give it my full attention. Not in a bossy way, but just in a "please respect this energy message" way.

It allows me to connect in a way with clients and they connect with the cards in a more relaxed way. Most folks can recognize the imagery and have an instant sense of how to work with the energy. Allowing them to stay present moment and get the information they really need for their growth and evolution.

How would you recommend that readers work with the Nature Nurture oracle? Any pro tips?

Take your time, court it, or dive right in. I would say connect however the hell you want. Honestly I'm not a big traditionalist when it comes to divination or anything for that matter. I mean I'm self taught and don't play by rules. So do what works for you. Yes by all means read the booklet but find your own connection, and meanings if that resonates more. After all you are the interpreter.

The only other advice I would offer would be: Respect the cards, Respect your practice, Respect the space that comes with offering insight, and Respect yourself.


Now that is some good advice!

You can find out more about Marcella at her website, or follow her on Instagram

Purchase the beautiful Nature Nurture oracle from Marcella (US only), or from right here at Two Sides Tarot (worldwide shipping available). 

Introducing the Minimalist Oracle: An Interview with Rachel Lieberman

You might have noticed things have been a little quiet over here on the blog - and by a little quiet, I mean, yikes, I haven't posted since November. What's up with that? Well, I'd always rather save a post until I have something truly epic to share, and while that might not have been the case for the past couple of months, I definitely have something epic for you today! 

I'm always on the lookout for new, independently published tarot and oracle decks that exemplify beautiful design and interesting, original ideas, so naturally when I came upon the Minimalist Oracle, I knew I had to have it! As is usually the way when I find a gorgeous new indie deck, I get a copy for myself, and a truckload for the shop, too. 

What better way to get to know a new oracle deck than to chat to its creator? Today, we're joined by mystical creative person, Rachel Lieberman (clearly "mystical creative person" is the best descriptor of any artist I've interviewed so far!), who's here to tell us a bit about marrying up minimalist design and divination for deep soul work!

Welcome, Rachel! Tell us a little about yourself as an artist and oracle/tarot reader and human person.

Hi! Thank you so much for having me, Marianne, and for supporting what I have created. Let’s see – I live in Portland, Oregon, where I was born and grew up, though I’ve traveled and lived in lots of different parts of the USA and world. I have a very “normal” non-creative corporate day job as a Project Manager at a large translation company. 

I live a sort of double life as a corporate employee and a mystical creative person, which I love. I am really inspired by aesthetically beautiful objects that also hold wisdom and meaning, so it would make sense that I would be drawn to tarot and oracle decks.

I actually knew absolutely nothing about tarot or divination or the mystical world until about two years ago when some unexpected life events introduced me to some unseen things I didn’t know existed. I wanted to make sense of what I was experiencing, so I turned to tools like tarot to help me process. This journey for me has turned out to be about self empowerment, self love, and some very painful but rewarding deep soul work, and the tarot was a very important guide for me.

Tell us a little about your creation, the Minimalist Oracle. Where did the inspiration for this deck first come from? What was the process of creating the deck like?

I knew I wanted to create this about a year and a half ago, but I wasn’t ready. I didn’t know how I would possibly translate the vision inside into something physical. By January of last year, the inner whisper to do it had turned into a scream, and I knew I needed to drop everything and make it happen, so I pretty much did literally that. Last minute I took a week off from my job, and spent the whole week shut in my apartment formulating what this might look like. I’ve always been attracted to minimalist art. I also loved tarot and oracle decks but wasn’t seeing something that I felt really reflected my aesthetic. So, I figured I would create it. That week I only accomplished a fraction of what would be the final deck, but at that point I knew I couldn’t stop. The art I put in the deck is a combination intuition and precise calculation. I would typically sit down and let myself go wild with the color, shape, etc. Then I would carefully edit it until I felt that the emotion I wanted to convey was distilled to the most simple and powerful form possible.

It took almost exactly a year to finish creating it, printing it, and launching it, and a lot of edits and changes took place along the way, but I made it happen! It’s exciting to do something completely new.

Backtracking a little bit, could you tell us a little about your artistic background, and how that has informed and influenced the way you envisioned and created your deck? What does your art practice look like, day-to-day?

To be honest, when I set out to create this, I really didn’t consider myself an artist. I’ve always felt the desire to create, but as an adult I didn’t make it a priority. In a way I think I had a fear and judgment of that impulse in myself, which actually has made this process even more powerful, so I’m thankful for it. Two years ago, I randomly found myself at a point in my life where I had a lot of solitude and space from the rest of the world. I started asking myself the big questions – what do I NEED to do with my life? The answer was – create something visual. So, I started painting, drawing, making paper cut outs, everything I could, just for the sheer joy of it. I had no direction or idea what I was doing, but I came home every night and worked a little bit. Eventually I found that I was getting better at taking what was in my head and finding some way to make it real.

Even now, I don’t create art everyday. Sometimes I don’t create anything for months at a time, though I think that is changing. I make sure to leave the space in my life for it, and when I feel the visceral need, I go for it. However, everyday I consume images through tumblr, instagram, blogs, pinterest. There is something inside of me that feels hungry for it, so I take a little time everyday to “feed” myself. This inspiration helps refine, expand, and stimulate my aesthetic sensibilities.

As much as you feel comfortable sharing it, what role (if any) does reading cards have in your own spiritual practice, and how has working with your own art - both making the deck and reading with it - in this setting influenced and shaped your personal journey?

This deck is, in many ways, based on my own personal journey. The cards I chose to create were themes or feelings I experienced in my own life as I decided to start overcoming fear, limited beliefs, and old patterns. Creating the deck actually helped me define and gain perspective on how I saw both myself and the world, which was really beneficial. In a way, tarot and oracle decks are an organization system for the most chaotic thing in the world – the human growth journey, in all its messy glory. To see my journey in a more objective way was helpful.

Holding my own physical deck for the first time when I printed a test copy was such a magical feeling. Then, I worked with the deck everyday on my own for months before finalizing it and printing it to be released to others. I wanted to make sure that every card’s message was clear and expressed exactly what I wanted to say. Creating this deck was a huge victory for me – it made me feel powerful, free, and confident. It has changed the way I view myself and the way I operate in the world. I’m so glad I get to share it with others but my own desire to make it and use it was really my motivation.

Because we at Two Sides Tarot can never resist a good deck recommendation, what are the tarot or oracle decks that you love to read with? Are there any decks that have been a big influence on the Minimalist Oracle?

The Osho Zen Tarot was my first deck and I would say it was my biggest inspiration for the Minimalist Oracle. It’s a quirky, playful deck with a lot of personality, and I love that about it, though I rarely use it anymore. All of the independently published decks are my favorite now – I met fellow Portlander and tarot deck creator Coleman Stevenson of The Dark Exact during this process, and I love her everything she creates, including her deck The Dark Exact Tarot. Right now I am loving Rachel Howe’s Small Spells Tarot, Spirit Speak’s Iris oracle deck, and the After Tarot.

Finally, how would you like to see the Minimalist Oracle used? Any pro tips for working with it?

I really wanted this deck to have a friendly, loving, but direct personality. It will tell you the truth, but in a thoughtful way. So, I hope that the owners of this deck develop a relationship with it as a companion. It’s a deck that can be used everyday, since it helps connect with emotions, and those are constantly changing. It’s also a great addition to tarot spreads, partially because the clean lines go nicely with almost any aesthetic, which was my intention.

I designed the packaging specifically so that it could withstand being thrown in my bag everyday and come along – it travels well. I bring mine with me everyday to work and draw a card or two for inspiration that day, or use it as a journaling aid. For me, personal growth is at its best when its practices are integrated into our day to day lives – not as something that is limited to any one time or place. Use this deck to turn anywhere into a sacred space for you to connect with yourself!


You can find out more about Rachel at her website, and I'm so happy to say that the Minimalist Oracle is in stock now at Two Sides Tarot

Thoughts? Questions for Rachel? Reflections on these beautiful cards? Leave us a note in the comments or come and say hi on Twitter!

10 Questions Every Tarot Reader Should Answer

Well, it's been a little while, hasn't it? I took an unofficial break from blogging for most of this month, so if you've been wondering what's become of me, I apologise! Perhaps I'll write about what's been occupying me (or, even better, my terrible, chronic procrastination) at a later date. For now, though, let's ease back into it with a little tarot talk!

Oh - before we kick off, a bit of exciting news! The Small Spells Tarot, by the inimitable Rachel Howe, is now in stock! You can pick up your copy here. Expect to see more of this unique deck in weeks to come. 

A reading from the archive, featuring The Starchild Tarot

Dana of Lavender Moon first brought this questionnaire to my attention a couple of months ago, and I've been wanting to tackle it ever since. There are so many kinds of readers in the world, especially now that tarot's popularity is growing so quickly, so it's more important than ever for us readers to speak up about what who we are and what we do with the cards. If you've been wondering whether I'm the reader for you, I hope my answers to these questions illuminate that for you!

1. Were you mentored or self-taught?

A little of both. For the first year or so that I read cards, I worked on my own, reading as much as I could online and in books (which make great mentors!), and reading for myself and friends so I could make my own associations with the cards. I reached a point where I felt like I needed more support in my learning, so I took Biddy Tarot's Tarot Circle Live course, which I have to credit with helping me recognise that I could trust what I was seeing in the cards. I don't think that course exists anymore, which is a shame because it helped me build so much confidence in myself as a reader. I later went on to do Tarot Foundations 1 and 2 with Brigit, and although I was already reading professionally at that point, those classes really helped me to cement my grasp on the fundamentals.

Over the years I've done a few other classes and collected a reasonably sized library of books and decks, but I think the magic lies in synthesising what one learns from mentors and books with what one discerns from one's own experiments with the cards. By which I mean, do a class by all means, but don't forget to also play with the cards for the sake of your own curiosity. You don't need permission to read. Your own experience and inquiry can teach you so much!

2. Are you a psychic or a tarot reader?

I most definitely fall into the latter category. I'm certainly intuitive, but psychic? That describes an entirely different field to the one that I operate in. My true skill lies in being a reader of signs and symbols and stories, a skill that has been honed as much in my academic background as it has in my tarot study. When I read cards, I do open myself up to intuitive hunches, but what I'm working with is the story that's on the table in front of me, not in information I receive from anywhere else. Perhaps the lady doth protest too much, but I think reading well is an equally magical skill!

3. Are your predictions accurate, and is accuracy important to you? 

There are two things I want to bring up in answer to this question. Firstly, my style of reading is not predictive, although it is oracular. By which I mean there is a magical process at work when I am discerning meaning about your life from the cards I've drawn, but my focus in comprehending that meaning is rooted in the present rather than the future. In my own life I've found it's far more useful to look at what's going on right now than it is to worry about what might happen later. So, my readings will necessarily be focused on the information you need and the action you can take in the present, rather than hard and fast predictions about what's coming down the pipe. 

Because I don't make predictions, accuracy is not important to me; however, resonance is. It's always my goal to create a reading that strikes a chord in the querent, that presents a version of the story that harmonises with who the querent is and what they know to be true. That's not to say that my readings will always give you what you want to hear (if only tarot worked that way!), but I hope that a reading with me will offer something that feels true to you, even if it is surprising or challenging.

4. Is there anything you can't predict in a reading?

Since I don't read for predictions, I guess the answer to this is technically everything! While I don't wish to pass judgement on those who offer or those who seek predictions, it's my personal belief that the best thing we can do for our wellbeing is learn how to be comfortable with uncertainty (and hey, it's not like I have that all figured out or anything, when I reach enlightenment I'll be sure to let y'all know). When I read cards for a client or friend or myself, it's my aim to help the querent open up to what's happening right now, in the present. We often lose sight of the present because we're so fixated on trying to pin down the future, but the present is where the magic happens! The present is where we have agency. It's where we can begin to create the future, whether we get the outcome we desire or not. 

5. Do you use only tarot or are you multidisciplinary?

Tarot is pretty much always my drug of choice! I will occasionally throw in an oracle card or two, but generally my readings are entirely tarot-based. You could say that tarot in itself is multidisciplinary, since its structure and history incorporate numerology, hermetic philosophy, magical practice, astrology, kabbalah, and so on, but I only draw on these systems as they relate to the cards on the table. I do have a dream of one day becoming more knowledgeable about astrology, but I haven't found the right time to pursue that - yet!

6. Is the message in the cards or in your head?

This is an interesting question, and I've been chewing over it for a couple of days now. My answer may change, subject to further rumination, but I think where I stand now is to say, both. We need both story (cards) and storyteller (mind) equally to make sense of a tarot reading. I tend to see the cards as the tools we use to excavate the message from the mind. They help to illuminate and elucidate messages that we can't access or understand on our own, even if those messages do ultimately come from within us. 

7. Are you a priest or a fortune teller?

I don't identify with either of these monikers, really, but if I had to choose, I suppose I would be a priest. Although it can have purely worldly applications, tarot is a spiritual activity for me, and a reading with me is a kind of ritual pause, an opportunity to step out of the flow of everyday life and take a look around. I approach the cards like a ritual and an opportunity to connect with my community, which I think could both be considered priestly activities!

8. Are you a fixer or a looker?

A little of both! Part of the value of a tarot reading is the chance to pause and take a look around. It's also always my goal to make sure that the querent retains their sense of agency - I might offer some advice, but the decision about whether and how to apply it should always stay in the querent's hands, so in that sense I'm a looker. What you do with the information I offer is always going to be entirely up to you!

But, then again, there's not so much point taking a look at what's going on if you're not able to do anything with what you see! I don't think it's enough to take a look, and then send the querent on their merry way. A tarot reading is a great opportunity to strategise and make an action plan, so why not take that opportunity? Whether I'm reading for myself or someone else, I always include cards for suggested courses of action or advice.

9. Do you read for free or for a fee?

One on one, I read for a fee, from big, detailed readings at the more expensive end of the spectrum, to short and speedy readings if you're on a budget. You can find all my personalised, paid offerings here. I also offer a free daily reading for my community, the Weather Report, which you can find on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr, depending on your fancy!

10. Is there anything you won't predict in a reading?

I've already covered my feelings about predictions in question four, but it's important to add that there are some topics I don't feel comfortable reading on - for example, medical and health questions, legal and financial matters, and anything that might infringe the privacy of a third party (which is to say, if you want to know whether your ex is coming back, it's my advice to save your money and go ask them!). 

As ever, I welcome any questions about my tarot work - leave me a comment or drop me a line if your curiosity is getting the better of you! And hey, if you've got a pressing problem or a tricky dilemma and you want some cards thrown, you can book a reading with me here

Tarot Goes Galactic! An Interview with Tarot in Space! Creator Laura Douglass

Today on the blog, we've got a visitor from outer space! Animator and artist Laura Douglass comes to us from another dimension via Savannah, GA, to talk about her forthcoming tarot deck, Tarot in Space. You can support the creation of this geeky awesome deck by sharing and backing Laura's Indiegogo campain. Now, from the interstellar traveller herself!

UPDATE: I'm so happy to say that Laura's crowdfunding campaign was a success, and Tarot in Space is now out in the world. Happily, it's also in stock here at Two Sides Tarot! You can pick up your copy in the shop

Hi Laura! Tell us a bit about yourself - as an artist, a tarot reader and creator, a human person, etc.

Hello! I’m a student of animation with an interest in spirituality and teaching. My primary goal is to empower and inspire people, to raise them to their highest vibrational level. I hope to accomplish this through accessible and fun art, animation, and writing. Humor and story telling are my favorite tools to use, people may remember stories well but they remember funny stories even better! I hope to attract people to meditation, deep thought, and raised awareness through characters and stories.

Creating a tarot deck from scratch is no mean undertaking - how did you find yourself inspired to create the Tarot in Space deck? What has the process of making the art and creating the deck been like so far?

My good friend and mentor Dame Darcy created her own Mermaid Tarot Deck in just 3 weeks so I thought, hey, can’t be that hard? Well here I am one year later eating those bitter, bitter words. Darcy is a maniac in the best of ways, because, holy hierophants! I can’t even imagine having done this in 3 weeks. It might have been easier if I didn’t have to take three 3 month long breaks over the year in order to focus on classes at SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design). As for process, well I basically replaced my blood with caffeine on my off days and chained myself to a table in my favorite local cafe, Foxy Loxy for hours at a time. It’s all kind of a blur.

Looking at the deck itself, what can we expect to see from the Tarot in Space deck? 

Alright here we go. This is Rider-Waite-Smith meets Futurama meets the Jetsons meets She-Ra meets Hitchhiker’s Guide meets Steven Universe with a heavy sprinkling of my own brand of stardust. The main difference is that you’ll see recurring characters with names throughout this deck. Characters that you’ll get to know in depth and explore in different ways the more you use the deck. They bring a whole other level of story and meaning to the cards, when you’re connected to the character in the card you feel the emotion of the card and the subtleties more. This is why I’m writing up a pretty extensive booklet that goes along with the deck. So many stories to tell!

What kind of experience do you hope readers might have when working with the Tarot in Space deck? Any pro tips or advice to offer to users of this deck?

This deck wants to show you things, to help you look at your life through a different lens. Every card is eager to speak with you and has something to share. Though there is a good helping of mystery in the deck it really is an open door, simply open up to it and allow tradition to go out the window for a moment and you can explore so many new things! Pro tip (I do this with every new deck I get, honestly) look through the deck and find the card that really hits you hard. That one card that speaks to you. This is going to be your card. Whenever you are representing yourself in a reading find this card, it’s your compass. It’s you and what you have learned and what you will learn. It’s your soul card! And don’t worry, soul cards can always change over time as you change.

How can we help Tarot in Space come to life?

Ah yes, the call to action! Alright, so, as you now know I am a poor college student with two part time jobs and still no money (there’s this weird adult thing called rent and bills and I’m not sure I’m okay with it). Printing and shipping these puppies is going to get expensive. Like, thousands of packs of Ramen expensive. So I’m running the campaign in order to give everyone a chance to get a deck at base cost. No profit, no nothing. I’m literally just covering the cost of the deck and shipping it out to everyone who pre-orders! Any left over money (from people who donate but don’t get a full deck) will be spent on a small stock of decks that I will sell after the campaign ends for $42 (the answer to life, the universe, and everything). I never drew this to make money, I just really want everyone to enjoy it. I would give it away if I could afford to haha! Maybe someday I will :)

If you can’t buy a deck please do share the campaign with everyone you can. The more people who see it the more I can afford to purchase! I would so appreciate Facebook shares, twitter, Tumblr, whatever you can do to get the word out would mean a world of good for the deck <3


Thanks so much for stopping by, Laura! You can find out more about Laura's work at her website, YoutubeInstagram, and Tumblr.

Good news! Tarot is Space made it into print and is now available right here at Two Sides Tarot. Grab your copy here

Ethereal Visions: Explorations in Tarot and Art Nouveau with Matt Hughes

If there's one thing I like as much as discovering new and interesting tarot decks, it's having tarot artists come and visit me on the blog and talk about their work, so today, I'm pretty stoked!

Artist Matt Hughes is undertaking to create the lush, Art Nouveau inspired Ethereal Visions Tarot, which looks - if I do say so myself - delicious

This deck is currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, and with just a week of the campaign to go, Matt is stopping by to share a little about his art practice, Art Nouveau, and how the tarot deck came about.

Hi Matt! Before we talk tarot, could you tell us a little bit about your artistic background and your work?

I hold a BFA but am a self-taught fine artist. For the past few decades I have been exploring various mediums and techniques focusing mainly on the work of artists from the late 1800s to early 1900s. Their methods for conveying the human form and emotion are fascinating and I feel this time period has showcased some of the most provocative exploration of the subject to date. I first began researching this time period using mixed mediums such as watercolor with colored pencil. My first art book from 2001 showcased this technique of mixed media. Then I began to explore traditional Oil painting techniques and focused on the works of artists such as John Singer Sargent, Herbert Draper and John William Waterhouse. This period of my research culminated into my second art book that came out in 2014. For the past few years I have been focused on refining my technique and have returned to mixed mediums in an effort to practice the methods used during the Art Nouveau movement of Europe. I feel every step that I have taken in the past has led me to this style and I am enjoying the pursuit!

Tell us about Art Nouveau - what is it about this unique style and philosophy that has captured your imagination?

The Art Nouveau movement was spawned from a need to express beauty to all walks of life in a way that moved art from the gallery into the home. Their approach of “art is beauty and beauty is art” is an important message for today’s world. From a personal artistic endeavor, I see their work ethic, craftsmanship, and approach to the limitations of the printing medium of that area to be an inspiration. In today’s digital world it has become far too easy for an artist to take the quick approach to art (especially those practicing Art Nouveau). The majority of Art Nouveau work that I see today is approached as novelty or a “disposable” form of art. Some artists do produce their work by hand but then bring the line work into the computer to colorize it.

If one were to look at the original works of the Art Nouveau artists of the past one would see mistakes, mistakes that make that piece of art personal and real. We have lost that to a degree. The approach to Art Nouveau today has become a sort of puzzle game in which commonly recognized elements of that movement (circles, arch ways, flowers, macaroni hair) are incorporated into standard poses in an effort to create Art Nouveau. I feel it is important for artists to recognize, much like the Symbolism movement or the Pre-Raphaelite movement, that these elements were used with purpose for the piece. For example – the archway behind most of Alphonse Mucha’s figures represents the Female or the Divine. The wings or feathers so common in Mucha’s work represented enlightenment or spiritual connection. Then add to this the basic elements of design used in Art Nouveau (mainly the 3 to 5 ratio and the desire to convey nature’s balanced perfection in all aspects) and you can quickly see that Art Nouveau is far more than a simple seated figure covered in cloth sitting in front of an archway. It can be that if done correctly but it also has so much more potential that I am still in the process of learning. This is why I am so devoted to studying Art Nouveau.

How did you happen upon the notion to bring together tarot and Art Nouveau, and how have these two art forms informed and fed off each other during this creative process?

The catalyst for this project was my wife, Hope. For years she has been asking me to produce a tarot deck for her that was more artistic and original than what she was finding currently available. I listened but felt I was not ready to approach such a task as a full 78 card deck until I was more comfortable with a chosen technique. Then last year I began working more with inks and found a technique that I wanted to explore further. I tried a few tarot cards in this style and received a great response so I decided to explore it further with this Kickstarter campaign. The symbolism in the tarot cards lends itself perfectly to Art Nouveau. This is a journey for myself as well since I was unfamiliar with tarot cards prior to this campaign. Every card that I approach has to be researched and developed so that I stay as true as possible to the cards as the community understands them. The meanings of each are very helpful when developing the concepts. Thankfully my wife is helping with this exploration and is teaching me the meanings as we go.

Looking at the deck itself, what can we expect to see from the Ethereal Visions Tarot?

The ETHEREAL VISIONS TAROT DECK will be a full 78 card deck based off of the Rider-Waite deck and style. With my experience in the publishing industry I knew I wanted to do something more unique than a “print on demand” approach with the deck. Therefore, the cards will be high quality in every way – upgraded card stock with premium “snap” when shuffling, easy size for handling, larger text for readability, and finally gold foil stamping as opposed to gold ink or prism-paper. To be honest, finding a printer capable of handling this deck was a challenge in itself. Many printers wouldn’t even quote the job! But it was essential to me to produce a deck that I can be proud of years from now – not just in regards to the art but also the quality of the product.

The process for producing each card was originally a challenge but has now become second nature. Each card begins with a concept sketch that I then send to a small private group I have put together – an advisory board if you will. This group of tarot card enthusiasts give me pointers and catch any elements that are off or missing. Then I enlarge the sketch and begin work on the refined line drawing. Next I transfer the line drawing to the illustration board via carbon paper. Next comes the application of color with soft pastels and ink. Once that stage is complete I apply the 18 karat gold leafing to the design. Finally, I scan in the original, color correct it, clean up any issues and hand select out the gold leafing areas (this will be needed by the printer). Then I share with the community with my figures crossed!

I have been asked if this project will continue regardless of the success of the Kickstarter. Unfortunately, if the Kickstarter is unsuccessful I will have to move on to other projects. The time involved in such a project would not be possible if unfunded.


On that note, if Art Nouveau is up your alley, please do consider backing this project before Monday, 1st August, and helping to bring this beautiful deck into the world!

You can also find out more about Matt and his work at his website.

Readers in Profile: Ashley of Story By Tarot

Welcome to the latest instalment of my series, Readers in Profile! In this series, I talk shop with some of my favourite tarot readers about their origin stories, approaches to the cards, and their pro tips for fellow readers and professionals.

Today, my visitor is Ashley McElyea, from Story by Tarot. Welcome, Ashley!

First,  tell us a little bit about yourself as a tarot reader and a human person.

Thank you so much for having me! My name is Ashley and I am a tarot reader + tarot writer over on Story By Tarot.

As a human person, I am a queer witch, wild introvert, coffee drinker, and book addict. And if I am being completely honest, a Netflix binger, currently binging Leverage and Ghost Whisperer. As a magically inclined person who dabbles in astrology, I also claim being a Scorpio Sun, Libra Moon, and Aries Rising. I love being a home-body, unless I need to take a road trip. I love doing nothing but reading or writing, unless I need to do yoga or an intense work out. I literally feel like a walking contradiction most of the time, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

As a tarot reader, I am honestly of two minds. I love the traditional, “here are what the cards say about potential circumstances” and “here is what you can do” approach. Just super straight forward (but with my own flair) and use it as a preparation of what is to come. But I also love using the cards in a non-traditional way for myself, using the cards for writing prompts, journal prompts, or as a storyboard. Nothing serious, but more creative. 

What is your tarot origin story?

Ooh, yes! I love origin stories! Here’s the quick and dirty version:

I picked up my first deck in January 2015. So a little over a year ago. I have not been reading long, but it feels like I have read forever. I picked up my Rider Waite deck at Earth Bound Trading Company and the day after was referred to Beth Maiden’s Alternative Tarot Course. And I have been reading ever since.

On a personal note:

I grew up in a super religious household and all my natural inclinations to the occult, the witchy, and the woo were basically squashed so I wouldn’t go to hell. So cards like The Devil and Judgement come with a very religious overtone that I have spent a lot of time deconstructing in order to become the reader I want to be. It’s a process, but I’m getting there.

How does tarot fit into your life day-to-day – what are the regular practices you use to connect with and learn from the cards?

In my day to day activities, I pull a card (or five) every day. I like to get a sense of where my energies are and how the day can be best spent.

In terms of learning, I find that each new deck brings its own learning style. For example, the Hidden Realm tarot was my second deck and I connected with it immediately. So much so, that I rarely need to read the guidebook. Each person comes alive as I lay them out in a spread and they craft their own story, all I have to do is write it. On the flip side of that, my recent tarot deck The Hermetic Tarot, is like learning all over again. It’s filled with symbols, mythology, astrology, and occult goodness. I really am taking my time with this one and feel like I’m starting over. I absolutely love it. When it comes to tarot, I never want to stop learning.

Do you integrate tarot into any other aspects of your spiritual or creative practice?

I use it in almost every spiritual practice that I use. I have a chakra deck for when I’m tapping into my energies to see what is happening. I have a few decks for shadow work (I typically don’t use these for other people’s readings). I also have an astrology deck for when I am studying current star and planet patterns. And I have several decks that I use for creative writing.

If you read professionally, are there any pro tips or insights you’ve picked up along the way that you’d like to share? If you’re not offering professional readings (or even if you are!) we’d love to know, what killer piece of wisdom have you picked up along the way that has transformed your tarot journey?

Oh, I do not consider myself a professional reader just yet, but I have done several readings. And side note: I am working on opening a shop, but I do $5 and $10 flash sale readings on my social media sites whenever I am inspired to do so until I open the shop.

But this one piece of wisdom, I can absolutely share!

Don’t sling the cards when you aren’t feeling well. I think this is so essential and readers can forget to take this into account. If you’re sick, if you’re upset, if you’re tired, you need to be resting. Don’t take on more clients, tell current clients you will follow up when you are feeling better. You need to take care of yourself first, otherwise you will be no help to anyone else.

I just have to ask – what would be your five desert island tarot (or oracle) decks? Which ones couldn’t you live without?

Oh goodness, I would have to have my Rider Waite Coleman Smith deck. It was my first deck and when I can’t figure anything out, that is the deck I turn to. I would also take my Tarot of the Hidden realm so I could continue to craft stories. That deck is just filled with so much magical energy for storytelling. Hmmm, definitely the Arcana of Astrology so I could stay connected to the sky. The stars really teach us so much and I would be so sad if I couldn’t find a way to connect. And my last two would be the Deviant Moon and Green Witch tarot, both of them to represent my two “sides” : shadow magic and nature magic.

Finally, where can we find you?

You can find me on my website Story By Tarot. There I post spreads for tarot writing, personal magic posts, fellow readers stories about their favorite cards (Stories By Tarot – I’m always looking for submissions!), and currently I am running a series called A Retelling – my take on “difficult” cards that I craft into new stories. As far as social media, you can find me on Instagram and Twitter.

Thank you so much for having me on, Marianne! I look forward to finding more readers via this series! Thank you for creating it. ☺


I hope you enjoyed hearing from Ashley as much as I did. And I have to second her piece of extremely sage advice - if you're not feeling up to it, put those cards away and take a break!

What's your number one piece of life-saving tarot advice? Let me know in the comments, or share it on Twitter!

Readers in Profile: Carrie Mallon

Welcome to my new favourite blog series, Readers in Profile!

In this series, I'm sitting down to virtual tea with some of the folks in the tarot community to talk approaches to tarot, origin stories, and more. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I love our community, and it's such a pleasure to hear from the readers who inspire and challenge me to go further in my work with the cards. I really hope you find your possibilities expanded, too!

In case you missed it, here's last month's interview with Cameron Ayers of The Tarot Parlor. You can also find my interview with reader and deck creator, Mary Elizabeth Evans, here. And now, to this month's guest, Carrie Mallon. Hi Carrie!

Nice to meet you! Tell us a little bit about yourself as a tarot reader and a human person.

Hi, thank you for inviting me to the Two Sides Tarot blog, I’m very happy to be here! I use tarot as a framework for self-discovery, creative expression and spiritual growth. Tarot is one of the most useful tools I’ve found for digging into the psyche and integrating meaningful lessons. Exploring tarot has given me countless ‘aha’ moments and brought me more in touch with magic. Tarot really makes me feel more alive and mindful. That’s what I try to bring to my clients, as well. I’m here to be a sort of guide, using tarot to give people new perspectives and help them align with their most potent selves. 

As a human person I am a jumble of things, as most of us are! I studied human development in college, I am a proud cat lady, if I’m not doing something tarot related I’m likely cooking, I’m silly and ridiculous but also quite serious. I’m a Cancer and an INFP and although those can’t completely describe me, I do fit many of the personality traits they’re associated with!

Could you share your tarot origin story?

I discovered tarot when I was in the thick of a quarter life crisis. I’d done everything I thought I should do – I went to college, I graduated, I got a corporate job. Up until then there had always been a clear next step in front of me, but when I reached that point I had a kind of existential crisis. I knew I wanted to be living more creatively, I knew something felt hollow in my life – but I couldn’t figure out what to do next. There wasn’t a clear next step, and I felt confused, apathetic and disconnected.

And then, one day, I felt a sudden urge to go buy a tarot deck. I was sort of familiar with tarot – I had a good friend who had been reading for years – but I can’t tell you why I suddenly felt I NEEDED to get a deck of my own. But I followed the inclination, and as I began to work with the cards, things slowly started to click into place. I began to feel more alive, more plugged in and connected to something mysterious and awesome. Tarot helped me engage in a process of growth and creativity that I’m still continuing to this day.

How does tarot fit into your life day-to-day – what are the regular practices you use to connect with and learn from the cards?

This isn’t wildly unique, but as many readers do, I almost always do daily draws. How I frame my daily draw depends on the day. Usually I’ll just pull a card to show general energies I can be aware of as I go through the day. Sometimes I’ll do a more in-depth reading for myself around a specific situation.

Aside from that, I can’t help but see tarot in everything I encounter. This isn’t even something I try to do, it just happens! I think this is the way we get the deepest relationship with the cards: when we start to connect the ways their archetypes underpin our everyday experiences.

Do you integrate tarot into any other aspects of your spiritual or creative practice?

Yes! At this point, tarot has weaseled its way into basically every aspect of my life, ha! Occasionally I meditate with a card, especially if I can sense I need to tap into that card’s energy within myself. I blog every week, and if I need inspiration on a topic, I pull a couple of cards and use them as prompts. I also use tarot for creative writing – in fact, this was one of the first things I started doing when I first got into tarot. Last year I wrote a three part blog series on using tarot to prepare for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

As you're a professional reader, are there any pro tips or insights you’ve picked up along the way that you’d like to share? 

I do read professionally, and there’s a couple of things that come to mind that have been HUGE for me. When I’m reading for other people, I have to remember to get out of my own way. What I mean by that is to try, as much as possible, to put my ‘ego’ on the back burner. The number one way to give an unhelpful reading to a client is to be fixating on if you sound dumb, if you’re not good enough, blah blah blah. That ego stuff mucks up the real magic a tarot reader can bring. When I focus on being a conduit for messages and illumination for the client, THAT’S when I’m of the greatest service, I think.

It’s also been important for me to remember that readings are most transformative when they are actionable and empowering. What tangible steps might help the client get unstuck? Are their specific tools or exercises I can recommend for their unique situation? What messages will inspire the client to activate their own magic and walk away feeling courageous? Those are the things I really try to bring into a reading.

Where can we find you?

My cozy lil' internet home is carriemallon.com. Anyone is welcome to come hang out there! That’s where you’ll find my weekly blog post as well as the details on working with me. I give tarot readings through email and Skype, and for deeper level work I offer a six week mentorship.

I also spend a lot of time on Instagram: @carriemallon, so come hang out with me there, too.

Thank you again for the interview, it was a pleasure!


Thanks so much for stopping by, Carrie! 

I really hope you enjoyed hearing Carrie's tarot story. Both Carrie's blog and instagram are up there on my list of favourite spots to visit around the internet, so I do recommend checking them out! 

Questions or comments for Carrie, or me? Burning questions you'd love me to ask future interviewees? Leave them in the comments, or come and chat to Carrie or yours truly on Twitter!

Readers In Profile: Cameron of The Tarot Parlor

Today, I'm super duper excited to announce that a new series has arrived on the Two Sides Tarot blog - Readers in Profile!

There are so many wonderful things about being a tarot reader at this time in history, but I must say, one of the things I hold the most dear is our incredible community. There are just so many wonderful readers out there, sharing their unique skills, styles, and perspectives on tarot, and I love nothing more than hearing other readers talk about their craft. In this new series, I'm so lucky to be hosting some of my favourite cardslingers here at Two Sides Tarot, as they share their tarot stories. I really hope you enjoy hearing from them as much I do!

First cab off the rank in this series is Cameron from The Tarot Parlor. Thanks so much for stopping by, Cameron! 

Nice to meet you, Cameron! Tell us a little bit about yourself as a tarot reader and a human person.

Nice to meet you too and thank you Marianne for inviting me to participate in the Readers in Profile series! My name is Cameron. I run The Tarot Parlor blog and website.

I have a lot of identities that I claim. I'm a tarot reader, a writer, a gender-fluid queer person, an entrepreneur, a business student, a bookkeeper, a dandy, and a hermit, just to name a few. My favorite activities are reading tarot, writing fiction, going on road trips, playing Super Mario World on SNES, hanging-out with my community, and ingesting ungodly amounts of coffee (me and the Nine of Cups are on the same page in this regard.).

As a tarot reader, whether I'm reading for myself or others, my focus is to bring clarity to the current situation and provide practical, actionable guidance to help manage it.

Could you share your tarot origin story?

I started reading cards in 2012. Before that, I spent years being curious about tarot, but I was too scared to pick up a deck. I grew up in an extremely religious household which basically taught that any form of divination or magic was a oneway ticket to fiery eternal damnation. It took a lot of work deconstructing that religious conditioning before I felt comfortable working with tarot. Fear based conditioning is no joke y'all.

My first deck was The Collective Tarot, an independently published deck created by a group of radical queer artists from the Pacific Northwest. The creators sought to deconstruct the traditional tarot structure, which tends to emphasize things like gender binary and social hierarchy, and make it accessible to people of all genders, all sexual orientations, all levels of ability, all classes and all ethnicities. This departure from the traditional structure of tarot made it a very interesting deck to learn on. The Collective Tarot is out-of-print now and it's near impossible to find used copies, so I treasure mine and feel very fortunate that I got my hands on a copy while it was still available.

How does tarot fit into your life day-to-day – what are the regular practices you use to connect with and learn from the cards?

In my own life I most often use tarot to get a “second opinion” or to do “troubleshooting.” For example, sometimes I have an understanding of a situation and I just want confirmation that I'm on the right track. Tarot can do that, or tell me when I've actually veered off course. Similarly, if I'm feeling too close to a situation, the tarot can point out things I may not have considered or give me an objective picture of what's going on.

In terms of learning the cards, I like to simply spend time with my decks. Most often I just sit on the couch flipping through them, enjoying the pictures, connecting with the imagery and the symbols. Journaling is another way I get to know my cards, also regularly using a deck for readings.

Do you integrate tarot into any other aspects of your spiritual or creative practice?

I do a lot with tarot and creative writing. I am in the process of finishing my first novel and I have a whole collection of spreads that I use for plot development, character development, brainstorming and getting over creative blocks. It's one of my favorite things to do with tarot, incorporating it into my writing practice.

I've actually started developing a workshop on the topic of using tarot for creative writing because I'm so passionate about it and because it has worked so well for me. I also have a slew of blog posts about tarot and creative writing on my website.

If you read professionally, are there any pro tips or insights you’ve picked up along the way that you’d like to share? Also, we’d love to know, what killer piece of wisdom have you picked up along the way that has transformed your personal tarot journey?

In terms of pro-tips...You don't need to offer every type of reading. I don't do relationship readings because I prefer to focus on areas like career path, creative development and personal growth. I find that by being specific like that, I end up reading for people who I connect with better and who I'm excited to work with.

On a more personal-tarot-journey note, these are the lessons that helped me the most:

Don't over-think or over-analyze the cards. When you start trying to consider every possible interpretation it leads to confusion and second-guessing. Trust your intuition and your gut impressions to guide you towards the correct interpretation for the occasion.

Take the time and space to ground yourself before starting a reading. If you are frazzled because you've been busy all day, or you're still cranky about the guy who cut you off in traffic, or you just feel anxious because you're doing a reading for someone else and it's scary (or one of any number of other things that make us feel agitated), take a couple deep breaths and try to find some inner-calm before you start.

Practice, practice, practice. The more you practice, the easier it is to interpret what you are seeing when you throw a spread. You are exercising and building the strength of your intuitive interpretive muscles.

Finally, where can we find you?

You can find me at my website, thetarotparlor.com. The site includes my card-ofthe-day readings, a collection of original tarot spreads, tarot and creative writing exercises, and a list of the tarot services I offer. If you are local (Portland, Oregon, USA) you can use the contact info on my site to get in touch, if you want to connect in-person. I also hang-out on social media @thetarotparlor, if you want to follow what I'm up to on any of those sites.

Thanks again for having me, Marianne! Hope to see you all around the internets! -Cameron


Thanks again for stopping by, Cameron! It was such a pleasure to have you. 

I really hope you, dear reader, enjoyed today's guest to Two Sides Tarot. Stay tuned for more posts in this series, as I've got more fabulous and interesting interviewees lined up. What would you like to know about your favourite tarot readers? Leave your pressing questions in the comments, so I can quiz future guests!

Hearts Like Vessels: An Interview with Mary Elizabeth Evans

People, I am super jazzed today - like, spirit fingers level jazzed - for two reasons. Firstly, the Spirit Speak Tarot and the Vessel oracle deck are now live and ready to ship in my little shop! Huzzah! I love both of these wonderful decks and I'm so happy to be able to share them with you through Two Sides Tarot.

The second reason for my spirit fingers is even more exciting, if you can believe it possible! Today on the blog, we are visited by the creator of Vessel and Spirit Speak, Mary Elizabeth Evans. The woman herself! Mary very kindly took the time to share the story of her new oracle deck, the ins and outs of her creative practice, her favourite deck recommendations, and some tips for working with Vessel - not to mention, some unmissable insights about creativity, judgement, and artistic freedom. Pull up a pew, make yourself a cup of tea, and dive in to the world of Mary Elizabeth Evans!

First of all, congratulations on the publication of Vessel, your new oracle deck! I know I'm not the only one who has been eagerly following its development and waiting for publication! Could you tell us a bit about where the idea for Vessel first came from?

Thank you so much Marianne! It’s interesting, after all of the work to make and self publish Vessel, it came out and felt like a dream. Almost like I didn’t make Vessel, it used me to make it. Haha.

At the time when I decided to start working on an oracle deck, I had been very influenced by Doreen Virtue’s “Magical Unicorns Oracle Cards”. I really look up to Doreen Virtue and her oracle decks had become a big part of my practice in teaching and with my clients. Spirit Speak had been the soul focus of my artistic practice and I was applying all of my creative energy into it for around five months. And then after, I was learning how to self publish for the first time. Once the dust settled, I knew I wanted to start working on a new project.

My creative work is truly the most important thing to me. I need my work to process my life experiences, to calm down my anxiety, to ground myself, and to reflect. So, little time goes by before I am itching to start on something new.

I knew soon after making Spirit Speak that I wanted to make a second tarot deck. However, I wasn’t quite ready to jump into that undertaking right away. With a tarot deck, everything is somewhat laid out for you. It has a specific traditional form that it upholds. With oracle decks, they can be wild cards, a free for all. When I decided to start working on an oracle deck, I wasn’t sure where to begin. I did know I wanted them to be easy to understand so people could feel their meaning and intention quickly upon pulling cards.

I feel like Vessel reflects emotions and experiences that I had been going through or mediating on during that time of my life. Looking through my drawings after I was finished, I was a little concerned that they didn’t reflect enough about the human experience being incredibly vast. But, they reflect my own experience, and as that grows, I can continue to make works that show that.  

The name “Vessel” came after the cards were all complete, just like with Spirit Speak. The idea is that our hearts are like vessels that contain our emotions and feelings. Looking at it that way makes me feel less consumed by one feeling because there is space for them all. Some feelings or emotions just need to be acknowledged or worked through and call for our energy.

As my readers are probably aware (because I'm constantly going on about how great it is!), you are also the creator of the Spirit Speak Tarot. How was the process of developing Vessel different - or not! - to your tarot deck?

The process was a little different in ways. Spirit Speak was truly such a gift to me as an artist. It was a way for me to accept my work for what it is. To use my art to make a tool, to connect with others. During that process, I tried my best not to fuss over my drawings, not to re-draw, but just to feel the meaning of the card and let it come out as it may. Looking at my drawings then was like hearing the sound of your own voice. My naive line work, lopsided drawings, the wiggly odd-ness of my forms, honestly made me cringe sometimes. But with making Spirit Speak, I tried to let go of that, to focus on it being a tool, not a “fine art” piece that was going to be under strong critique. That made all the difference because I forced myself to accept the way that I draw. It’s a little sad writing about this now. My art gives me so much, and it’s disappointing that I was so mean and unloving to it for so long.

Anyways, I was going through some deep work with myself as an artist with Spirit Speak. When it was time to make Vessel, I felt much freer from that heavy self judgement. I think you can feel that in Vessel’s attitude too.

As far as my actually physical process went, it was fairly similar. Even though I feel like a free-spirit and my work is wiggly and wild, my process as an artist is very organized and timely. I work best when I make a timeline for my work and a schedule. I like to decide how many drawings I want to make total, how many a week, how much paper will I need?, What kind of pens?. Maybe this is in result of my art-brain being this crazy thing that I am trying to communicate through the tangible world, implicating order keeps balance.

I know you've also been using both decks in your own tarot work with others - how have you found they differ when put to use in readings?

Oh yes! That is the most fun part of a project like this. It is a little indescribable how it feels to read with your own deck. It is such an amazing feeling. How it communicates with you, how it communicates with others. It’s something that is so deeply from you, but also becomes it own little creature at the same time. To me, when I use my own decks, I feel like I am connecting with something very deep within me, and not only seeing a reflection of myself, but having that resonate in my spirit and body. Using them in readings gives them life and I think they appreciate that so much :)

I am having a lot of fun using Spirit Speak and Vessel together. I realize, that each one is like a spiritual portrait of me at the time. I like to see how they are both different but still cut from the same cloth and that they communicate with each other in a really lovely way. 

Backtracking a little bit, could you tell us a little about your artistic background, and how that has informed and influenced the way you envisioned and created your decks? Are there any other disciplines or practices you enjoy that you see as related to your work with tarot and oracle decks? What does your art practice look like, day-to-day?

I have been drawing since I can remember. I drew on my baby dolls, on myself, on my parent’s walls and furniture (which was not always appreciated, haha). My parents kind of let me do my own thing, they gave me art lessons, bought me art supplies, and even gave me dedicated areas to paint on their furniture and house. Making marks is something I have loved since the very beginning. I continued to focus on art through high school and college. Although, I did try to do other things that I felt like might be a more responsible career choices. But, I was never able to convince myself to continue any of those educational avenues and was miserable when I wasn’t making art.

I grew up being a rather unpopular weirdo in a very conservative and religious town. I think a lot of my work comes from this pull. Being in an area that is so highly spiritual has a particular feeling. I went to church growing up, but never felt acceptance or love from the church. I think its grand stories of miracles and its rituals influenced me regardless. What I think now as I revisit these ideas, is that deep down I probably wanted to participate in something spiritual, and it was frustrating that I felt pushed out by my difference in opinion or the fact that I believe in feminism. I don’t feel like the church itself is directly responsible for this, but perhaps the communities it created at the time. Exploring my own spirituality through art has been a positive way for me to heal my past.

I love to explore other mediums. I majored in printmaking and it is one of my artistic passions. I also like to paint and sew. Painting was something I put a lot of energy into during my high school years. Currently I have been focused on metal smithing. Working with gems and metal to create wearable art has been such a joy. In the past year I have been working with the majorly talented and multifaceted artist, Lise Silva. Amongst her many creations, she makes lux and elegant fiber jewelry. We combined her Sacred Knots collection with the brass pendants I had been making at the time to create bold and intricately made art-to-wear necklaces. Each piece had a particular meaning inspired by our mutual love for mysteries of ancient rituals, and for films like The Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal.

This year I will be acquiring my bench jewelers certification, learning how to properly work with gold, platinum, and, fine gems. I can’t wait to further explore how my work translates through these mediums & can’t wait to share what I come up with!

My day-to-day art practice changes with what I am working on and what my schedule looks like. But I have little artistic rituals that I do everyday. Costuming and adornment are ways that I honor my creativity every morning. Currently, I have started a new project with a new schedule and have been trying to make 1-2 drawings everyday. It a loose schedule though, it doesn’t align with a certain time of day. Sometimes after I make my tea, answer emails, and send out orders, I will continue to draw. Other days, I will work in the morning and in the evening when I wind down I will start working on my drawings. It makes me the happiest when I have completed at least one drawing for the day. Sometimes I will do a short meditation before I start drawing, other times I will just close my eyes and ask for an image to appear. Other days it’s not so spiritual and I am eating pizza and watching bad TV dramas while I doodle. I mean, who ever said that eating pizza wasn’t a spiritual experience? (Can I get an "Amen", people?)         

As much as you feel comfortable sharing it, what role does tarot have in your own spiritual practice, and how has working with your own art - both making the decks and reading with them - in this setting influenced and shaped your personal journey?

Tarot is a huge part of my spiritual practice. Being a visual artist, working with images through tarot and oracle decks has been so helpful for my own self discovery, healing, and reflection. Working with my own art and decks has brought me to a place of power within my spirituality, to have authority on what it means for me. Before I made the Spirit Speak deck, I kind of felt like the meanings of tarot cards were like a special club. That you needed to study, and be taught, and learn for years before you could practice. And also I felt like I wasn’t able to hold that knowledge for myself, I needed permission or confirmation that I was correct in my understanding of the cards. When I made Spirit Speak, it opened up the idea that my own understanding of spirituality and tarot is just as valid as anyone else’s. And that I could honor other’s opinions and also include mine as well. Not only that, but that all of our understandings could work together to create a rounded view of these cards that illustrate the story of life.

Reading cards for clients as well has very much shaped my spirituality and my personality. Being able to deeply connect with someone you might have just met, to take time out of daily life however crazy or peaceful, to hold space for someone, to listen and to talk. It has given me a wider view on people in general,a less judgmental, more compassionate, and peaceful way of looking at the people around me. Not just the people I love and often interact with, but strangers too. I understand that everyone is here trying to navigate what it means to be them, what it means to walk this earth. It’s not always easy, so I try to give grace to people as much as I can. I think I was a lot more angsty and impatient before I started using cards.

Apart from your own wonderful creations, are there any other decks that you love to work with? Have they been an influence on your own tarot and oracle art? We always love a good deck recommendation around here!

Yes!!! I have a large collection of cards and I love using other decks in my practice. In fact I feel like getting to know other decks has been completely instrumental in my learning of tarot in general. I have a few decks that I am really fond of at the moment and have been using frequently. I have a lot of love in my heart for The Starchild Tarot Deck, by Danielle Noel. Not only is Danielle a huge sweetheart herself, but her cards give a very soft and dreamy interpretation of the tarot. They are able to show you the deep truths and ancient themes of the tarot in a way that feels serene and calm. The artwork itself is also super beautiful. It means a lot that Danielle and I have been able to show each other support as deck makers. Supporting and feeling support from other woman owned, created, and self published works means the world to me. Danielle is coming out with a new deck soon called The Moonchild Tarot and it’s intention is to be the shadow side of the Starchild, I can’t wait to play with that deck as well!

 Two very special Bay Area makers also recently came out with oracle decks. Both are beautiful and unique and I have enjoyed getting to know and play with them recently. The Moon Angels Oracle Deck by Rebekah Erev and Visions: A Crystal Oracle Deck by Jessika Fancy. The community of readers and makers in the Bay Area is so strong and wonderful and I was really happy to meet both of these angels while I was there and acquire their decks. The Moon Angels is unlike any deck I have seen before. Rebekah’s artwork seems very intuitive and her interpretations of the cards are poetic, the deck leaves a lot of room for me to develop my own spiritual understanding of the cards. The Visions deck consist of stunning water colors picturing crystals from Jessika’s own collection. Her voice in the descriptions of the cards feels so warm and encouraging while also confronting the hard stuff. I just feel really lucky to know the makers of these decks and also be able to apply them in my own practice.           

One of my all time favorite decks is The Secret Dakini Oracle by Penny Slinger. I have turned a few friends onto using this deck as well. It was actually the deck that the first person to ever professionally read my cards, Dreamy Eves, the owner of Psychic Sister in Olympia Washington, used in my first ever reading! My mind pretty much exploded that day, and the artwork really affected me. In my experience with the deck I have found that it works from a more cosmic point of view, eliminating the material and humanness, and working from a karmic and deeply spiritual place of reference.

Finally, do you have any advice, guidance or insider tips for working with Vessel?

Vessel has changed the way that I use oracle decks. Before, I would just pull one or two cards, either after a tarot reading or by itself. I still do that, but with Vessel, I started doing 5-10 card readings with them. I think I am always being shown, to play, to experiment, and have fun!            

I think my best advice, and what I am always telling my students, is that you know best what the cards mean to you. Look at the images, what do they make you feel? Are you hearing any words come to mind? Is there something about that image that brings up an event or emotion? Before you grab the booklet, ask yourself first.

There are things that someone who just picked up the Vessel Oracle could say in their understanding of the card that could blow me away and be so accurate and I’m the maker! But that is because their understanding of the card means just as much as mine. Hearing their experience with the card can educate me on what that card wants to say.

The Vessel Oracle wants to help, love, and heal, and you are the one guiding it <3


Mary, thank you so much, to the power of a zillion, for sharing all of this with us! I really hope, dear reader, that you've enjoyed finding out a bit more about Mary's art practice and the behind-the-scenes adventures of The Spirit Speak Tarot and Vessel. I think you can see why these decks pack such an energetic punch, coming from the mind and pen of such an intuitive and thoughtful creator!

Both Spirit Speak and Vessel are available from Two Sides Tarot now, and shipping is free within Australia! If you're in the UK or Europe, you can now purchase The Spirit Speak Tarot and Vessel from Little Red Tarot. Readers in the US can find both of these wonderful decks at Mary's website. Mary also has one of my favourite instagram accounts - if you're looking for some beautiful photographs and more images of these decks in action, I recommend following her

Shop all Spirit Speak decks here!

Trimming Borders, New Acquisitions, Podcasts, and More

Today, I thought, rather than posting a lengthy reading or tarot-related article, I'd just stop in and say hi. Hi! I hope you're well. In case you were wondering, and I know you were, here's what I've been up to this week!

I've discovered a favourite new hobby - trimming the borders off my tarot decks! I've long loved the way borderless cards look, but it wasn't until this past week that I had the right gear (and the courage) to give it a try myself. Look out world, I am addicted! Actually, I've only trimmed down two decks so far - a misprinted edition of the Wildwood Tarot I had, and my old copy of the Cosmic Tarot - but it's through sheer force of will that I haven't taken the knife to every deck I own! They just look so good freed from their borders! The art really opens up. Before I inflict it upon any other decks though, I will spend some time reading with these and see if I still like the borderless vibe. Stay tuned!

In case you're wondering, I bought a small photo trimmer from a craft store to do the bulk of the cutting, and I ordered one of these from ebay to round the corners. I did also wind up using a pair of very small, very sharp craft scissors to tidy the edges, because the trimmer was never totally accurate. It isn't a particularly difficult task, but I would urge caution if you are a perfectionist! It seems almost impossible, to me anyway, to get the trimmed cards 100% matchy matchy. I found that a lot of the images were actually printed slightly crooked on the cards, so trimmed down they do wind up being a little different in size. Also, the backs of the Cosmic Tarot don't match up with the images on the front, so do be mindful of that if you are considering trimming a deck and you think it will bother you. I'm not too fussed, but I can see that one more picky than I might drive themselves mad with it! If you are interested in taking the plunge, Seven Card Spread has an excellent tutorial here

In other news, last week, I added a new acquisition to my collection - the Japaridze Tarot. Ooooh! So pretty. I must admit, I was super excited to bring this one home, but I haven't had a chance at all this week to take it out and play. My week ahead is looking far less busy and social than the week just gone, so I look forward to more quiet evenings at home with the cards. I also have two other decks winging their way to me from overseas. Fingers crossed they make land soon and I can start using them all! 

In book reading news, I haven't dedicated as much time to reading as I would've liked this week, but I am slowly making my way through Phenomenal by Leigh Ann Henion. It's probably unfair to say since I'm only halfway through, but so far the book isn't quite adding up to more than the sum of its parts. It's interesting enough though, and if you like reading about faraway places, it's fun. I will say, too, that her writing about Hawaii, and the experiences she describes with the volcanos, are delightful and moving. If you have any interest in... shall we say, spiritual travel, I think it's worth picking this one up for that chapter alone!

What else has been filling my head? The excellent first episode of the Modern Mystic Podcast - seriously, GET ON THIS TRAIN RIGHT NOW! These gals are major magical babes, and you want to hear what they have to say! I also super enjoyed listening to Elizabeth Gilbert on the Robcast, and I've been epically binging on the inimitable Kelly-Ann Maddox's youtube channel. It's pointless of me to recommend her, because I'm literally the last tarot enthusiast in the known universe to get on board with her amazing, playful, smart, and informative work, so you must know her back to front already. On the off chance you're from some other, as-yet-undiscovered planet, get some Kelly-Ann Maddox in your ear immediately. She's the bomb.

Finally, the last thing rocking my world this week is the Alternative Tarot Network - the most supportive, interesting, and fun tarot community in town! This incredible network is the work of Beth from Little Red Tarot, and I cannot thank her enough for creating this space! THANK YOU, BETH! As far as I know, at the moment the community isn't open for new members, but if you subscribe to the Little Red Tarot Bits and Bobs mailing list, you'll be notified when the doors open again. Trust me, it'll be worth the wait! Plus, Beth's newsletter is great, so you'll want to subscribe anyway!

Before I sign off, I just want to remind you that I am now taking questions for my advice column blog series! If you have a pressing question and want to throw your hat in the ring, drop me a line, and you could score yourself a free tarot reading on your dilemma, right here on the blog! Don't be shy, friends! 

What's rocking your world right now? I'd love to know. Share, if you feel so inclined, in the comments!

Oh, and remember, you can summon me straight into your inbox, so you never miss a post! Subscribe here.

Further Reading - 8th September 2014

Happy Monday everyone! Here's what I'm loving lately:

Sarah Von Bargen on How to Deal When People Unsubscribe/Unfollow/Troll Your Blog

Janine Prince has been sharing some tough love on coping with desire, over-consumption, and debt. Here's the latest!

I loved this interview with the creators of The Fountain Tarot over at Little Red Tarot. Fascinating to hear about the process of deck creation!

Ram Das on learning to grieve

As usual, Big Opes brings the good stuff with some wonderful additions to our spiritual vocabulary

What have you been reading lately, online or off? I love a recommendation! Share with me in the comments!

Subscribe to Two Sides Tarot by email and you'll never miss a post! 

GUEST POST: Resting In Your Centre - Exploring The Hermit's Wisdom (Part 2)

Yesterday, one of my favourite humans shared a spread she designed based on The Hermit card. See Part One of Resting in Your Centre here. This blog series is courtesy of tarot reader, poet, apprentice druid, copy editor and writer Janine Prince. Find out more about Janine at her website, or follow her on Twitter

Yesterday, I described how I was inspired to spend some time with The Hermit in these strange days after the Solstice. It's that funny time when we're compelled to notice how many months of the year have already flown by, and to wonder what happened to our intentions and plans for 2014. This spread asks us to take a little time out, to go out onto our spiritual mountainside, and to realign with our values, our hopes, and our intentions (you can find details of how I created this spread, and instructions for its execution in yesterday's guest post).

From the Crowley Thoth Tarot

From the Crowley Thoth Tarot

So how does this play out?

I did a reading for myself using the Thoth deck. Here's what I came up with.

In position One, The Hood,  I drew The Universe.
This happens a bit for me – I wasn’t too surprised to see this card. I can get caught up in the interconnectedness of things and the wonderful exhilarating everything dance of the cosmos. My boundaries are a bit loose. That’s fantastic for my sense of universal love and compassion and overall spiritual integrity but it can make practical things (like moving house) really awkward. So In this period, I need to draw my hood up against the swirling energies of union and work through my practical lists and plans. 

Position Two, the Lantern, Queen of Cups. 
You and I have never met, but I love you. We and I are part of this amazing world together and your pain, your history, your hopes and happiness, they resonate in a unique way through your life that nonetheless reinforces the deep truth that we are all one. You and I are the sisters and brothers and cousins. My life’s purpose is somehow to help you. Maybe I can make you laugh when your heart is dry or give you some light in a dark night. My guiding purpose is to manifest love, to learn how to solve problems from a position of love, to forgive those who inspire hate (include those dark parts of myself). To remember that humans live and thrive inside relationship even when we’re tired and even when we’re angry and pushing people away. That’s not always easy, but it is a light for me when I hit a difficulty. So at the moment, I am moving house and I feel very vulnerable about the change. I need to remember that love is available to me too as a resource and as a support. I can accept help, not just from family but also friends and even acquaintances and strangers. I need to create an opportunity for that to come in and *ask*. That light can flow both ways right now.

Position Three, The Staff, 2 Cups.
Love is my guide, as you will have picked up already from the previous two cards. What steadies me personally inside the maelstrom of living is the daily reality of being present in an intimate partnership. This wasn’t always the case and I am grateful every day for this opportunity. There have been some hard, and painful times earlier this year when I veered badly off course and this love held strong and steadied me. I have been very ill and wondered anything could get better. It did, and the courage to act on it each day came from this support. That reminds me, I’ll get some flowers and chocolates on the way home.

Position Four, The Legs, Death.
I laughed out loud when I turned this card over. My friend Death has been in every personal reading for the past 18 months or so, but you don’t know that, and I thought “That might spin people out a bit.”. The propulsion and motivation I have for moving house is that I was so very very stuck. I was in the rut of ruts. This October would have been 7 years in that position. You want stale energy - I was your poster child! So you can imagine that every single project and intention and activity leading up to the ability to make the decision (let alone undertake the move) required little deaths, I have died and died and I will die again soon. This series of external transformations has been liberating, terrifying and awakening. This card in this position is a very positive reinforcement for me that I am on track. Death has taught me how letting go of the right things can be a strength.

Position Five, The Mountains, Queen of Disks.
In my story I am indeed looking back over the barren past and seeing a long journey towards manifesting wealth of experience in the physical plane and learning how to nurture my body. This is a card of renewal and of fruitfulness. I love her sensual horns and her confident pose and in this position she gives me a sense that the deaths and the pain and the darkness have not been unnoticed. This journey is bringing me closer to mastery of this level. This Queen reinforces the message in the Hood too – the physical world takes physical skills and a physical engagement to effectively dealt with. A higher purpose and a greater calling still need one’s body to be fed and for the rent to be paid.

So there it is, a return to your centre via the surly old Hermit. If you like this or have any questions or comments, please let me know by either emailing me directly or through a comment here back to Two Sides. Please feel very welcome to link to this page too and share this reading if you find it useful, which I really hope that you do. My love to you.

Don't forget to catch up on yesterday's post about Returning to Centre with The Hermit. We'd love to hear your insights about The Hermit and your experiences with this spread. You are welcome to drop Janine a line or share your thoughts in the comments! 

GUEST POST: Resting In Your Centre - A Hermit Reading (Part 1)

Today's guest post is the generous contribution of one of my dearest friends and fellow spirit travelers, Janine Prince. Janine is a tarot reader, apprentice druid, poet, freelance copy editor and writer. Find out more about Janine at her website, or follow her on Twitter.

From the Aquarian Tarot by David Palladini

From the Aquarian Tarot by David Palladini

I find that the six weeks after each solstice can be awkward times. The culmination of the ‘event’ of the solstice is not a switch that turns things from one state to another (this is part of the insidious shift in our modern culture where we’ve let the idea of commoditised or oversized ‘experiences’ infest our expectations and swarm through our mental spaces). The true flow of the wheel of the year has a place for everything outside of that flow, so we experience periods of separation, listlessness, directionless, a maybe a bit of a lull. (Think about that odd time after boxing day, when you just seem to ….wait… for NYE.) Fallow times are important in a deep way, they’re the times that can lead us to the insights that turn our wheel to the next stage, the next level. Not always, maybe not directly, but there is value in isolation.

Early on in our journey, we each discover that we face many challenges alone. We are truly ‘islands in the stream. Although we have support, friends, networks for news and connection – we all face the occasional long dark night of the soul. It is a lonely night. It is good to remember that you have power in this time. You are in a part of your journey that is important in its own right.

Although you set intentions at the beginning of the year, you may be feeling that the year has gotten by you, you’ve been swept up in the general swirl of events and reacting to the unexpected. I sometimes feel that I’m so far off course that I’m a failure, and may as well just start from scratch again. If you can remember what your resolutions or goals for the year were but you wonder how you drifted from them, or if like me you remember that you kinda wrote them down somewhere but you might have to scrounge around to find them, then you know the state of mind we’re talking about. The days can zoom by but the sense of value or focus can be lacking. Am I just reacting to what is urgent rather than navigating by what is important? Good time for a check-in!

Of course the Tarot has many guides for us, and in this time I thought it would be useful to explore IX The Hermit. When I say “I thought it would be useful” what I mean is, “I asked the tarot what it thought would be a useful guide and Mr Hermit stepped forward.

From the Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot

From the Radiant Rider-Waite Tarot

This is a card I have come to value deeply and especially in these times of busy activity where I find myself questioning if I’m ‘on track’ with my bigger picture.  The Hermit reminds us that there can be a source of power in acknowledging that we’re alone on our own path – shouting out occasionally to fellow travelers – but primarily guided by our own light. In the immortal words of the American philosopher John Denver “Some days are diamonds, some days are stones.”

So we are going to access our Hermit and check-in on our search for inner fulfillment – however we’ve defined that for ourselves. The Hermit is also annoyingly willing to cast some light onto difficult and troublesome aspects of our shadow-selves and in the context of this check-in you may see some things playing out that you’d rather not see, or have been trying to dodge. 

Particularly if there are changes or habits that you have chosen to work on to move your life into a different shape, then you, my friend, will be experiencing all kinds of wobbly days and sometimes your shadows will be fighting hard for you to forget you ever had that intention! On the other hand, maybe you’ve already accomplished some major life projects out here in the year. If so, well done! That will have taken a huge amount of focus and energy. After you’ve celebrated, returning to centre will help you to send some energy back into the other areas of your life and regain balance in your new level.

I’ve designed this reading to use whatever you need to check in with as the base questions or theme. The Hermit himself is the model and source for the positions and meanings. The time frame here is roughly 3 to 6 weeks. This is a check-in, a light touch, not a deep analysis.


Review your intentions or resolutions for the year, or the plans/goals you’re feeling out of touch with. If you didn’t write/journal/draw/set to music them in the first place, now’s a perfect opportunity to do so. Reconnect to the powerful emotions and desires that stimulated the goals, and also the rational evaluation you went through to develop the plan and steps you put in place or have been working within. Honour the past you, who did the best job possible with what you knew at the time. Update and expand on these emotions and plans now if you want. You’re ready to draw the cards (use your own way).


1. The Hood – What in the world do I need to draw my hood up against and protect myself from?

2. The Lantern – What is my guiding light at this time for these activities?

3. The Staff – What steadies me and keeps me connected.

4. The Legs – What propels me, motivates me, what is the incentive in this time.

5. The Mountains – A view of attainment so far. Keep perspective, you’re in part of a big picture, you can take some reassurance form this position.

Tomorrow, Janine will share her own reading with this powerful and thoughtful spread. In the meantime, we hope you are inspired to spend some time meditating with The Hermit! We'd love to hear your insights about The Hermit card and your experiences with this spread. You can get in touch with Janine directly, or share with us in the comments!

Tarot of the Zirkus Magi

Just a quick one this evening to bring your attention to this dark and glorious new deck that has popped up on Kickstarter, the Tarot of the Zirkus Magi.

Pretty freakin' cool, eh?

Pretty freakin' cool, eh?

It's no secret that many of the decks I work with are traditionally published, but I do get very excited when I see creators and artists who are realising their vision, pushing the boundaries of traditional tarot, and going their own way with funding and producing their work. If that's not powerful manifestation in action, I don't know what is! 

The Tarot of the Zirkus Magi Kickstarter has 14 days left, so if you're intrigued by the very boss Duchess of Blades, do head over and have a look. I must stress that I am not affiliated with this project in any way, I just think it's really fancy, and as a backer of the Kickstarter, I really want it to get funded so I can have one of these decks for my very own! See, if you aren't going to do it for yourself, consider doing it for me! 

Are you lusting after any new decks right now? Are there any exciting upcoming indie decks on your radar? You know I love to add new decks to my list of things to covet, so do share in the comments!

Further Reading - 7th July 2014

The internet is filled with wise and wonderful and thought-provoking stuff. Here's what I've been enjoying of late. Happy Monday everyone!

This article about Why Being a Beginner is Awesome was very timely for me. After being terrified of learning to drive for years, I decided I would conquer my fears and get behind the wheel before I turned 30. With a few months to go, I've had some lessons, and realised that so much of this struggle has been about learning to be ok with being bad at something I haven't tried before. It's an ego-driven resistance, but I'm slowly learning to embrace the awesomeness of being a beginner, rather than the terror! 

Benebell Wen shared a wonderful post on her blog about Being Right vs. Being Insightful as a tarot reader. Her insights here really get at the heart of what it means to offer ethical tarot practice for clients and readers alike. 

This is an older post, but I can never go past a pro-journal writing battle cry! Check out some of The Benefits of Journal Writing, and pick up some ideas for getting started. Brain dumping into a notebook has long been one of my favourite pastimes, one I try to make time for every day, and it's something I am constantly recommending to my clients. Give it try. You'll be surprised at how transformative it can be!

Tarot and the Woman Alone over on TarotTrends.com is a really interesting commentary on how our ideas about a couple of the female figures in the tarot have changed. This post deals with a lady close to my heart - the Queen of Swords. Whenever she comes  up in the Weather Report, I have to pause before making my comments because, to be frank, I really hate the fact that traditionally, this bold, intelligent, weapon-wielding warrior woman is meant to be representative of loneliness and mourning. Can we do away with that association already, please? 

Finally, a snapshot of tarot history over at CollectorsWeekly.com. Plenty of interesting facts, but my favourite parts were the snaps of rare, rare, rare cartomancy decks from Caitlin Matthews' personal collection. Pretty cool!

Have you read something great lately? Share it with me in the comments!

Dipping a Toe in the Tarot Pool

Today, I'm sharing Part Two of a tarot blog series over on the very excellent TheEsns.com! Today's post is all about what to do once you've made up your mind to ask the tarot a question. How do you find the right reader? And how do you even begin to ask your question? Head over to the post to read on! 

You can find the first part of this series here. And stay tuned, because our next post will be all about how to get started reading tarot for yourself. Exciting!