Starchild Tarot

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

Gemini New Moon: A Quick Tarot Spread

A new moon cycle is nearly upon us! The moon renews herself in Gemini at 12:05 am on the 17th in my timezone (check here to find your local time). Even if you're not big on astrology, observing the cycles of the moon can be a good way to pause, reflect, and mindfully set your course for the weeks ahead. Why wait for something big, like the New Year or the changing seasons, to make a plan, set a resolution, or align yourself with the cycles of nature?

I have a few different readings I use for the New Moon, depending on whether I have a particular intention for the month ahead. The one I want to share today, though, is short, sweet, and appropriate even if you don't want to set an intention. Although it's nice to plan ahead, I'm also a big fan of just going with the flow, being open to whatever happens. This month, I don't have any particular goals or intentions, apart from listening to and following my whims as they arise, and being open to whatever comes up! 

This simple, three-card spread offers some insight into the energies that are coming and going during the moon cycle (peaking and receding are the key rhythms of the moon's influence - think of the tides), and how we might best work with what arises during the month. Who knows, you may find that this spread inspires you to make a plan or set a goal. If not, that's ok too. Sometimes it's nice to just to ride the wave and see where it takes you!

1. What energies are waning in my life at the conclusion of the previous moon cycle?

2. What energies will be waxing in my life during the coming moon cycle?

3. How can I best collaborate with these energies during the month ahead?

Using The Starchild Tarot, here's what I came up with for myself.

The Page of Wands is skipping out of my life for a while, so I think the intense creative energy I experienced during Mercury Retrograde, the constant stream of ideas and whimsical notions, are going to take a break during this moon cycle. Instead, it's a chance for me to take a cooler, more analytical approach with the Queen of Swords. Whimsy is wonderful, but at a certain point it's important to let it mature and grow into something more grounded and useful. Certainly, when it comes to creative work, there must be room in the process for editing and self-evaluation. I'll be borrowing the Queen's critical eye this month. This is validated by the Eight of Crystals, which says a new task is at hand. The best way to take advantage of this energy is to take everything I've learned, practiced and envisioned so far, and put it to work. The theme of maturation is definitely strong in this reading, so I foresee less playfulness, and more serious, solid, and conscientious work in the month ahead. 

Now your turn! How will you mark the new moon?

(Psst! Don't forget, you can subscribe to the Two Sides Tarot blog by email, and never miss a post!)

June's Deck of the Month: The Starchild Tarot

This month, I'm doing some interstellar astral travel in my daily Weather Report! The recently published Starchild Tarot is the glorious creation of artist and tarot reader Danielle Noel. As soon as I saw some of the early images pop up on Instagram in 2014, I knew I just had to dive into the mysteries of the universe with this deck! Imagine my excitement to be holding the finished product in my hot lil' hands! 

You may know by now that my first port of call with any new deck is my birth card, The Hierophant.

Firstly, I must say, I love a lady Hierophant! This card is so often associated with patriarchy and oppressively masculine energy, which for many readers and querents overrides its more helpful messages of connecting with tradition and finding the divine down here on earth. Playing with the gender of this card blows all of that wide open, and allows us to get past some of the limitations of this card that more traditional decks might get stuck on. 

Another thing that totally floats my boat with this Hierophant is the background - a beautiful wild and natural scene. The Empress may traditionally be the card of sacred nature, but The Hierophant also guides us to find the holy in the worldly, and what better place to look than under a tree or a stone? It doesn't get more worldly than that.

Finally, the gesture of offering. This Hierophant holds a glowing orb in an outstretched hand, as if to say, "Here is the whole universe. Take it!" She isn't an unapproachable pope on a throne. This Hierophant is down here amongst it, ready to engage with you and help you find your place in the rich tradition of spiritual seeking. What a beautiful take on this card!

Now, let's see what this deck has to say for itself. Here, I drew two cards, asking, "Starchild Tarot, what do you have to tell me about yourself?"

I drew the Seven of Crystals, and surprise surprise, The Hierophant. 

The Seven of Crystals (traditionally, Pentacles) suggests this is a hard working deck, ready to go the distance and see things through from start to finish. The Starchild Tarot may be beautiful at a glance, but its true depth and application can only be understood with concerted attention. It will take some perseverance and study to fully come to grips with the complex ideas and symbols in this deck, but close attention and continued engagement with it will be more than worthwhile! 

Study seems to be the name of the game here, reinforced by our ol' pal The Hierophant. This deck is obviously steeped in tradition, and filled with knowledge and insight just waiting to be unlocked. As the student of the Starchild Tarot, all we need to do is be ready to ask the right questions, and that glowing orb of wisdom and divine connection will be ours. Bring it on, I say! 

What do you make of the Starchild Tarot? I'd love to know! Share your thoughts in the comments.

*

Before I sign off for the week, there's one more thing to share. The Agony Augury, a new regular column, is coming soon to the blog!

Think a trusted agony aunt armed with tarot cards, the Agony Augury is here to throw some cards, dispense advice, and solve your most pressing problems! Each week, I'll select one quandary, concern, or question and answer it with a tarot reading right here on the blog. Got a difficult dilemma? Send your questions to readings@twosidestarot.com. I can't wait to hear from you!

Oh, and remember, you can subscribe to the Two Sides Tarot blog by email, and never miss a post!