Psychics Are Human Too

There is a lot of pressure that comes with working in a spiritual field. You have people who pass judgment on you constantly… either your being laughed at because you believe in such kooky things, or your being judged for being in league with the Devil, or you are considered a scam artist. It’s sad that there is so much hate and judgment sent toward such a beautiful thing. But they say that the darkness seeks to dim the light.

Recently spiritual teacher, author and psychic/medium, Sylvia Browne, passed away. She was such a beautiful light in the vast community of spiritual leaders and teachers. Her candor and wit were unparalleled and her writing touched many. She was often under fire for her matter-of-fact style and her abrasive tone. And also for her highly publicized inaccurate predictions.

What is so sad is that she dedicated her life to helping people. She did readings for years for public audiences, she wrote so many books on the subject of the after life and lectured all over the world…. All in an attempt to lesson the blow of being on this earth! But in the end she has been mocked and degraded by people claiming she is a fake and that she, “Should’ve seen it coming!”

I want to say that there is no psychic/reader/medium/intuitive who is 100%… not one! There are some readers who are better than others. There are some readers who are better at certain subjects than others. And there are some readers who are just having a bad day! Readers are human… they are not infallible, or all knowing. To put that pressure on someone is ridiculous and it takes away your personal power.

And the fact is… a reader can only access the information that 1.) They are meant to share at that time, and 2.) That you allow them to see because it’s your energy they are tapping into… you are the key to your personal universe. A reading is not meant to map out your life and tell you how to live. A reading is meant to affirm, guide and direct you… and you should always test it against your own intuition.

Now, I will not say that I know Sylvia Browne’s heart or her personal intentions. I don’t know if she had people’s best interest in mind, or if she was being deceptive. I don’t believe that she was… I met her and she was warm, inviting and extremely loving. But I cannot speak for anyone else. I can say that I find her writing very inspirational, and a very good place for people to begin their spiritual journey.

The lesson we can all learn from her passing is that we need to empower ourselves and use our own intuition and judgment whenever asking anyone for advice… and that we are all human and prone to mistake… and sadly, that people like to focus on the bad and completely negate the good.

My prayer is that all the hate and judgment dissipates and that people see things with brighter more loving eyes. I know she is probably living it up on the Other Side…

And, Just remember that psychics are human too!

© Shaheen Miro 2013

Just Like the White Wing Dove: R.I.P Sylvia Browne

I was devastated to learn that Sylvia Browne passed away this morning. I slept horribly last night, woke up many times, and eventually found myself sitting up in bed with a pounding headache. The day began with an “off” feeling that persisted thought the course of the day. When I finally heard the news about her passing it all made sense!

Sylvia has been a beautiful influence in many peoples lives, including mine. Her books, lectures and teachings have touched on so many deep and moving things. I know that I devoured her books when I was younger, and even now I reference her work in my own. Though some people have a negative view of her, I’ve always found her wit, candor and wisdom to be uplifting and insightful.

I met Sylvia at one of her lectures when I was still in High School. Her warm eyes looked into me, and she pulled me closer and listen as I spoke. She signed my books and conversed with me… for those few minutes she gave me her undivided attention. I gifted her with a journal I had bound for her. A few months later I found a letter in the mail written to me from Sylvia, thanking me for the gift, the conversation and apologizing for the delay in responding. I will never forget that.

Sylvia, I know you are having a wonderful celebration wherever you are. We will miss you, but your spirit, your work and all your love will still carry us through for years to come. And if you ever need to chat… you know how to find me ;-)

My prayers go out to Sylvia, and her family. I am sorry for your loss, and I know we are all deeply saddened by the loss of such a legend. All of prayers are lighting her path back home.

All the best,

Shaheen

The Art of Intuition: Interview with Sophy Burnham, Part Two

Here is the second part of the magical interview with, Sophy Burnham author of, The Art of Intuition.

Check out the review of, The Art of Intuition!

Shaheen: We are receiving conflicting messages. We are being told to be independent, self-reliant, and separated. Yet we want comfort from all the things happening in the world. Some people think they are being brave by disconnecting, but really they are cutting off source. But people are beginning to ask questions. They are wanting more. Spirituality is rising.

Sophy: I want to say one more thing about the fear, Shaheen. I think that fear is a part of the human condition, anxiety is a part of us and the way to conquer it, if I can use that term, is to not resist it, but to go very deeply into it. What does it feel like in my body? Go physically into the fear. And try to feel it more and more deeply. And the more you do that, the more it disappears.

That’s another aspect of how we are not taught to trust the language of our hearts. Here comes fear, it is a gift that is being given to us. What is it about? Can I look at this gift, or do I want to run away? Or do I want to get out my Glock pistol and shoot the fear dead. But if we can just face it, it vanishes. And it will tell us something very important if we allow it to. And that’s a little piece of what intuition does. Intuition tells us things that are really important.

Shaheen: So where do you feel like that comes from? How do you know what is a creative hit, what is imagination, what is intuition? Are they the same thing? Are they different things?

Sophy: Well, first let’s make some definitions. Creativity is the basic nature of the healthy person. And there are many, many forms of creativity. You could be building a garden or playing the piano or drawing a picture or writing a book or doing a flower arrangement or raising your children or cooking a wonderful meal. All of those things are aspects of creativity. And they come out of the central life force. And when we’re healthy, you cannot help but be creative. Now when you’re recovering from surgery, when you’re in chronic pain, number ten pain, you cannot be creative, because you don’t have the resources. And this is why I add this caveat of health. But even there someone like Proust, who was very, very ill most of his life, was intensively creative.

So now going to the other two things, imagination and intuition. I think they’re slightly different, and I’d be interested in what you think. I can go into daydreams and in my imagination I can have the most wonderful life. I can make things happen. I can have lovers adore me who actually in real life don’t. And I can have tons of money and spend it the way I want in my imagination. But it’s not the same as having an intuitive gut feeling, a hunch, the hair rising on my arm with information that is coming to me not through the senses necessarily, but through some mysterious heart. I keep going back to the idea that we know this with our spiritual eye or we know it with our emotional eye. We don’t know it with our logical and analytical mind. And so you see someone enter the door and you think, boy, I don’t want anything to do with him. This is not your imagination. This is information that has come to you.

And creativity uses both intuition and imagination. They’re wonderful gifts and all three of these qualities that you name, all three are enhanced and increased by meditation, by just sitting quietly and breathing. And allow a thought to rise up in your mind and fall away. If we first, before meditating, send out a request, ask for the solution to a problem, we will get it in the meditation. Just as if you ask for the solution, go to sleep on a problem, you say, and in the morning you’ll know the solution, because the subconscious mind knows everything. And it will present it to us. And many, many of the things that I write I find the solutions in…to the creative process, if I’m blocked, I find it more in meditation than by sleeping on it. Give it to the subconscious mind. Turn it over and walk away and let the divine center of my being bring it up out of the deep depths of this ocean of information. And it will present itself to me.

Shaheen: I’m fascinated by the concept of creativity being something that you do as a healthy human. It seems like intuition and imagination are the channels that bring creativity to life.

Sophy: I am so struck by the quotations in my chapter on creativity in The Art of Institution that I’m sure of even what page they’re on, but Mozart being quoted and Tchaikovsky and yes, it’s on page 59 of the hardcover of the book. And Tchaikovsky and then the playwright, Neil Simon, “I dip into a state, I don’t write consciously. It’s as if the muse sits on my shoulder.” And we all have this idea of being guided by something greater than ourselves. How did I ever write that? Or you look back at something that you wrote 20 years ago and you think, my God, I don’t even know that now, this is just amazing.

I loved what Mozart said about how, if he can’t sleep, or if he’s traveling in a carriage, his ideas start to flow abundantly. Where they come from, he has no idea and he can’t force them. “Nor do I hear in my imagination a part successively, but I hear them as it were all at once. What a delight this is I cannot tell.” I have often found that, for me, creativity is enhanced if I am rocking in a train or on an airplane and if I can give myself a pad of paper at that time I can write brilliantly, there’s something about the rocking motion that is very encouraging to the creativity. Anyway it’s something we all want. And when the muse goes away, it’s terrible. And sometimes, the muse goes away and then you’re left on your own.

Shaheen: That leads me to my next question, is there ever a time when you think that people should tap out of their creative channels or their imaginative channel or their intuition? Is there every a time when you almost should disconnect from that? And I know that there are experiences as someone who is very intuitive, who is very psychic, there are psychic experiences that people have, whether it be seeing things or picking up on too much.

Sophy: I don’t know about should. I can really only speak for myself and I find that I go through long periods sometimes of lying fallow in which nothing is engaging me. I do not want to be creative. I may at that time go and do other things. Things that I can’t do when I throw myself into writing a book and when I’m writing a book I don’t see my friends, you know, I’m completely absorbed in this creative project and not a good friend at all. And then there will come a period where I finish it and it’s like I’m woken up and I don’t want to be writing right then. I can’t just continue it that way, like Dumas, who, when he had finished writing The Three Musketeers, he drew a line midway across the page and he wrote The Count of Monte Cristo and continued writing on a new book. I can’t do that. I can’t do that. Now, he did have a whole host of researchers working for him and plotting and laying out the book so he knew what he was going to say next and he was writing on deadline and for money, and needed the money desperately for his addictive elements. So what I have discovered is in these periods when I’m lying fallow, I never know if I am lying fallow or if I will never write again. My kids…my kids tease me that I always say this, “Oh, I’m never going to write again.” “Oh, we’re heard that before, they say.” And in another few months, or in a year, there I am doing something again. But it always feels as if you never will.

You need to unplug. You need to go live. And get out of the state of readings and intuitives, of right-brained hemisphere; it’s too great…it’s too much for you. And then I start doing chess puzzles or writing or doing crossword puzzles and playing Scrabble and doing things that feed the left hemisphere, the logical, analytical part, because I’ve just gone too far along the other side.

And I think that’s helpful, I think that’s good. We’re supposed to use all of our gifts.

Shaheen: I think that’s a great point though, because some people go to one extreme or the other.

Sophy: And it’s all about balance, it’s all about balance. If you’re too intuitive, you’re going to start imagining things. And then…

Shaheen: That’s interesting. That’s a really great way to understand the difference between intuition and imagination.

Sophy: And yet, on the other hand, I’m not knocking intuition at all. Whether it comes with the external voice or whether it comes with the hair rising on your arm or your gut roiling or your heart beating faster, this is information that is being given to you. And it’s very meaningful; you have to pay attention to it. I know some people who are so unintuitive that they have to practice being intuitive. They are so smart; they are such Mensa scholar, scientific, mathematical types that they have almost no intuition. And they’re very hard to be around because they’re not sensing anything. They can come into a room and not have any idea the energy field. They’ll go out of a party and not have any idea that the host and hostess are having a quarrel at that moment and splitting up and you think, how could you not have picked up this information energetically. But they’re so closed, or narcissistic, that they can’t get it.

But it’s all balance. Because the other person who is so intuitive has trouble, the trouble with that is they can’t separate their feelings from the feelings that they’re picking up from other people. And therefore the boundaries become so merged and permeable that they don’t know what is there’s and what belongs to someone else. And they’re constantly being depressed or elated or dismayed or fearful without knowing that they’re just picking it up from people around them.

Shaheen: Yeah, that is really a good point; I think that speaks to the idea of fear.

Sophy: It really comes back to that fear doesn’t it. I was talking about how we pick the fear from the television or the newspapers or whatever. But it’s all around us and if you’re intuitive, you’re picking it up from them. And enhancing it, because if you pick it up and they are picking it up, you’ve just exponentially increased the fear level in that room by not being able to say, oh, this is their fear, well, I can counter balance it with my trust, with my calmer energy. It’s all about energy, isn’t it, Shaheen?

Shaheen: It is, it truly is about energy.

About Sophy:

Sophy Burnham is the author of twelve books, eight plays, and numerous essays, articles, profiles, and pieces of investigative journalism. Her books have appeared on the New York Times, Washington Post, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists, and she has appeared on such esteemed television shows as Oprah, Larry King Live, The Today Show, and Good Morning America. Burnham currently divides her time between Washington, D.C. and Taos, New Mexico.

© Shaheen Miro 2013

 

The Art of Intuition: Interview with Sophy Burnham, Part One

Last year I happened upon a book that really struck a chord with me. I reached out to the author wanting to know more! Luckily she agreed! So I had the pleasure of speaking to author, Sophy Burnham about her book, The Art of Intuition. What a fascinating interview it was! Sophy is such a delightful and generous person and I believe we can all benefit from her timely information.

This is part one of the interview. I hope you enjoy her wisdom and candor. Check out the review of, The Art of Intuition!

 

The Interview: 

SB:        

Okay. I’m ready for you.

SM:        

Perfect. So when I read your book, I thought it was such an amazing piece. I found, The Art of Intuition by accident. I was in the library and I was actually working on another writing project. One of the striking was that you approached it in a way that had a lot of scientific studies that explained and supported intuition but you weren’t trying to convince anyone that that was all that intuition is. And I thought that was so brilliant.

SB:   

Actually, we don’t have any idea what it is.

SM:    

Exactly. But some people want to explain it in a scientific sense and let it be purely that. And other people think of it in this very mystical, magical sort of way. I thought you took the middle ground and you gave bits and pieces to both groups. The other thing that resonated with me is the idea of intuition and creativity are connected to each other.

SB:      

Oh, because they’re intimately linked, yeah.

SM:   

I want to begin with, why do you feel that people have forgotten how to tap into their intuitive selves?

SB:    

You mentioned this in your first question to me. Is it more a matter of remembering was the way you put it. And in my experience, it’s not always remembering because a lot of the time I get information I didn’t know about at all. So I couldn’t possibly be remembering something. It’s a totally new moment, as it were.

Now, I did have an experience the other day that was just remembering. But I had it so precisely that I think, there it is, there’s my higher teacher, my guide, giving me information. And it was very simple. I’ve had some surgery and when I came back from the hospital, I was very, very, very ill. And I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know if vomiting was just part of what happens at this phase and I couldn’t reach anybody and I didn’t want go rushing back to the hospital. And I remembered that about nine months earlier, I had gotten in the mail a little card which gave me the name of a nurse…practicing nurse on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week, call this number. I remembered that out of the blue when I had just sent up this little prayer, what do I do. And then, even more remarkable, I went in my office and I put my hands on it immediately. Which is not the way my filing system works. And she was fantastic. I got this woman in Ohio who listened to my symptoms and said get an ambulance and get to an emergency room immediately. And eventually that’s exactly what I did do.

Now, that was a remembering in a way, but it came with such suddenness on the part after having sent up this little heart message, help, what do I do. Maybe the intuition was merely remembering. For me, it has the sense of an angel, or my higher self, or that spark of the divine that we all have, coming to the fore and saying, get that piece of paper, call that person.

SM:        

I have learned that there are symbolic things sort of looming and floating and presenting themselves to us in everyday life and we have to learn to see that string, that thread, that kind of pulls them all together.

SB:

Absolutely. And then you can enhance this ability. Meditation is the most obvious. Turn off the television, turn off the iPad, stop playing with your Smart Phone and go take a walk in the woods and you will know things that you will never get on the internet. And you’ll know how to solve your problems. But we have to be alone to do it. You have to take the dare of being in solitude at least for a little while and be comfortable with yourself.

I’m a big believer in the divine nature of human beings and I have to say, Shaheen, that after this latest Colorado massacre, it shakes me to the core. But I know that we have within us the spark of the divine. And that we have all of the God-given abilities to know everything and to be able to solve the problems if we can just trust ourselves enough to do it. Now it might take a little while to get there, and some people are better at it than others. Not everyone is a medium. Not everyone is able to give someone a reading. But I have certainly trained many people to do it, or trained is the wrong word. Opened them up to discover, one, I can do this, look at that. How did I know all of this about this total stranger? Because it’s part of our innate nature to know this information.

SM:        

That’s a powerful thing to be aware of. In an interview you said people are more afraid now than they have been in the past twenty years. Do you feel this is because people are not connected to their intuition? Or for instance, this massacre, do you think people are serving a higher purpose?

SB:        

You know, it’s such an interesting question. It’s a really important question. I don’t know if people are more afraid now than they ever were. I know that we are blasted with information. We are a very dysfunctional society at the moment, in part because everything is slamming us with terrifying information. If you read the newspapers, if you turn on the radio, if you turn on the television, it’s all bad news and it’s all being delivered at high scream velocity. And everything has the same quality as everything else, so they’ll say, there are more car crashes than ever before because more people are driving cars. This is a terrible thing and we have to… The next moment they’re saying, just in the same breathless way, the next horrible thing you have to be afraid of.

Everything has high-pitched terror in it and it is a deliberate function of the media to make the reader or that listener uncomfortable enough so that they want something of comfort. And they will rush to buy something or eat something or make a phone call or pay some money to this particular non-profit. Everything is about grabbing our attention and the way they do it is through fear. And then I think, you know what? People were afraid from the beginning of time. You have only to look at the Bible to realize how frightened people were in 3000 B.C. There would not be the need for the Twenty-third Psalm if people were not frightened.

So maybe we just recognize somehow when we come down into this plane of existence, on this pretty little, and very strange, planet, we’ve lost our connection to the divine and we’re aware of being alone and frightened. Maybe that’s part of the human condition unless you connect with your own inner heart, or with God, or with the divine in whatever way you reach it. This is why I say a walk in the woods is so good for you. There you are in God’s world instead of the human, man-made world. And you unhook for a few moments and you realize, you know what? Everything’s okay. And things work out for the okay. They don’t always work out the way I want, but they often work out better than I had imagined. And when I examine my life and I listen to the stories that other people are telling me, I can see in hindsight, always, how I’m being helped at every stage of the game.

In front of me everything is black. I am walking blindfolded and barefoot down a dirt road and I can only see my way by feeling the stones and dirt under my bare feet. So when I go off onto the gravel on the shoulder of the road, if I’m sensitive I move off the side way and get back into the center. If I’m not sensitive, I wander into the briars on the far shoulder and then I need a spiritual cattle prod to force me back into the road and I probably lunge too far over and throw myself into the briars on the far left-hand side, until I learn that I am being guided by silken reins and I don’t need the cattle prod anymore.

About Sophy:

Sophy Burnham is the author of twelve books, eight plays, and numerous essays, articles, profiles, and pieces of investigative journalism. Her books have appeared on the New York Times, Washington Post, and Publishers Weekly bestseller lists, and she has appeared on such esteemed television shows as Oprah, Larry King Live, The Today Show, and Good Morning America. Burnham currently divides her time between Washington, D.C. and Taos, New Mexico.

© Shaheen Miro 2013

Exploring the Gypsy Palace Tarot: The Devil with Nora Huszka

Very excited to have a visit from my fellow gypsy friend, Nora, artist and creator of The Gypsy Palace Tarot. She has such wonderful vision and insight. Check out her perspective on The Devil. And be sure to help bring her dream into fruition… this deck is stellar and needs to touch lives. Much love, Shaheen 

The Devil from The Gypsy Palace Tarot by Nora Huszka ©

The Devil from The Gypsy Palace Tarot by Nora Huszka ©

Dear Readers, welcome Everyone!

I am Nora Huszka and I am here to share my ideas about a certain card, The Devil. I created The Gypsy Palace Tarot from my art, my experiences and this card is one of my personal favorites.

So, you would like to know more about the Devil? First of all… who is The Devil? It is not a religious question, no, although most religions have an answer to that. I neither want to talk about clichés… We have always been told the Devil is bad, mean and disgusting… but let’s s admit it, we do love him and we still suffer from him at the same time.

And why? Easy- the way to addiction is the sweetest way. It is so good, you don’t even notice you got fettered, until the handcuffs start to hurt your wrist: but at that point of realization it’s no way back, the Devil already got you.

No wonder, this card follows Temperance in the Major Arcana. It is a great lesson to learn in life: You can only explore your borders by going beyond them. But when you go beyond, the promised price disappears and you may burn yourself a bit. However smart you thought are, it was an illusion, what directed you to the unwanted direction, when You follow the call of The Devil.

We like the nice things about ourselves, but our bad habits- we just love them. But this love or joy is definitely different than the true love what the Ace of Cups shows us. This love is materialistic, creates dependence and a burden of suffering. That is definitely the Devil.

We are getting on the right track! Let’s dig deeper! 

In The Gypsy Palace Tarot I show You the moment, what I found most fitting to The Devil. I believe, You always have one moment before giving in to the Devil. You must have one sober second before you dedicate yourself fully, just a slight whisper, a smooth light, or just the weird feeling in back of your mind, that it is just not right, turn back- and after the sweet smell of temptation takes over the weak. 

There are four characters on my picture, frozen in a moment. On the right, yes, it’s the Devil. Next to him is a girl (just between us… that’s me) naked, with closed eyes, hands crossed on her chest. The two other characters behind the girl are the symbols of the girl’s imaginary situation, motivation, possible future: there’s pink, chubby lady with a suffering grimace on her face, holding a lamp with one hand and a green one, coming out from the furry background cloth, grabbing her hand to its face with strong desire. You can also notice the barrel in the background, that’s the symbol of pure emotions, referring to Cups… This time it is just in the background. 

Let me show You where the point of action is heading on the picture from my point of view.

The Devil holds the girl’s head with both his hands- his grab is violent, but also firm. He directs the girl’s face to his face, and his eyes are open and glowing with hypnotizing white light to the victim. Their body is facing each others, the legs are slightly stepping towards the girl. And his confident smile seems almost charming.

But as the girl is not able to move her head, the only way she can avoid the Devil’s takeover is to close her eyes. But look at her red cheeks- she has intense feelings, and although her hands are crossed, her left leg is lifting and can not stop her hips from moving closer to the Devil. She can not deny her attraction to him, it draws her just like a magnetic field. She is naked. She cannot hide anything from the Devil, not even her sexuality.

The lamp softly lights their face, gives an intimate atmosphere to their big scene. 

The other scene is connected to them by the lamp. The pink lady tries to show the girl what is going on by giving light, but she can hardly warn her, as she is also stuck in her miserable position. She seems to shout and tries to kick that barrel as well to wake up the girl from floating further and further in the arms of the Devil. The green character on the left doesn’t want the trouble of waking up and stops her by grabbing the other hand. He just wants to stay hidden, comfortable, with the company of the willing-less, chubby lady.

I think these two characters symbolizes the essential background components of the state of addiction and acting against our will, which are the main meanings of the card, The Devil. Even if we talk about a situation connected to love, work or usual behavior. 

And what is the outcome of this picture? Will she give in or she wakes up? I can’t tell you that… I let You play it through with your own Devil. I picked this card for us – so keep your eyes open!

You dear, do you see something else or more?

Do you have experiences like this? We all have.

Your comments are welcome!

Let us know. 

Love, Nora

Nora is an independent artist, and Tarot creator. Please support her independent effort to produce The Gypsy Palace Tarot deck. This will be a truly special deck for anyone who experiences it! Hurry, hurry, quickly! There is only one month left to make this deck a reality!! You can contribute to the cause, here!

And make sure you join The Gypsy Palace on FB!

20 Things You Should Know About Tarot -Guest Post by Janet Boyer

Get the skinny on things you should know about Tarot from Janet Boyer! Janet is one of my favorite Tarot goddesses… her unapologetic, in your face teaching style really kicks things into gear. Here’s some sound advice for Tarot newbies! 

Because I’m a published Tarot author, reviewer, blogger, teacher and reader, I often get emails asking about prevalent superstitions surrounding the cards, as well as questions on the best books, decks, techniques and modes of learning.

Here are twenty of my top suggestions for those new to Tarot, those struggling to learn the cards and gain confidence, and those wondering if they’re “doing it all wrong” or confused by all the advice swirling around:

1. Your first deck, or any subsequent decks, does NOT have to be given to you as a present. That’s just ridiculous (and probably an old control tactic by “those in the know” to keep the cards out of the hands of the masses).

2. Tarot does not conflict with any religion, nor does it advocate any spiritual path. If the Christian-looking images of the Rider-Waite Tarot decks (and its clones) offend your sensibilities, you can view such depictions as symbolic (after all, we all have “moments of judgment” or karma, in case of Judgement, or must confront “spiritual leaders” or traditions represented by the Catholic-looking Hierophant—to use two examples). Alternatively, you can pick a deck that does support your spiritual path (Wicca, Paganism, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Elementals, Sufism, Buddhism, Mayan, Druidism, Norse, Native American, etc.)—or a deck without any spiritual connection.

3. There’s no wrong way to read Tarot. I don’t care what anyone tells you, there is no wrong way. You imbue the cards with meaning, which you then absorb for your own edification or for the benefit of those you read for. Yes, there may be archetypal patterns, symbols and motifs that may be mined for extra information, but using those for interpretation doesn’t make a method any more “right” (or wrong) than just “saying what you see”.

4. Studying esoteric subjects like Astrology, Numerology, Kabbalah, Hermeticism or Crowley’s writings are not necessary to learn, understand and use the Tarot effectively and accurately. They may supplement and enrich your understanding, but they are not required.

5. Each person has different learning styles. What works for someone else, or is touted as the “best way”, may not be suitable for your own style. For example, learning rote keywords never made sense to me, nor did they enhance my way of experiencing the cards. However, making the Tarot “mine” by associating real-world examples and pop culture with the cards helped me make friends with any deck (this approach turned into my BIT Tarot Method, the subject of my book Back in Time Tarot). Find out your preferred learning style, and approach Tarot from that strength. For example, when talking to someone you may say, “I see what you mean” (Visual learner), “I’m not following you” (Kinesthetic learner), “Let me think about it” (Analytical learner) or “How does that sound?” (Auditory learner). When learning, you may prefer hands-on exercises (Kinesthetic), reading text (Visual) or studying with music, surrounded by noise, or by listening to audio classes or podcasts (Auditory).

6. You are not required to meditate, say a prayer, do a ritual or invoke anyone/anything before doing a Tarot reading. If one of these helps you create a sacred space or center your energy, do it. However, it is not necessary. Some people, consider their life a “living prayer”, so doing something special just isn’t relevant most times.

7. You do not need to store your cards in a special cloth, box or bag. Nor do you need to “cleanse” it with crystals, moonlight, sage or any other accoutrement. Again, you may if want to, but it’s not a requirement and will not affect the cards or its messages.

8. Shuffle the deck, and cut it, any damn way you please. “Shuffle with your non-dominant hand, cut into thirds and do the hokey pokey” is nonsense. Do what you feel is best—hand over hand, poker style or “finger painting”. Know, though, that some shuffling methods are harder on the card stock, which may shorten the life of the deck.

9. Choose a deck with an animated Minor Arcana. That is, for the number cards (Ace-10s), make sure the images show people or animals doing things. This will help you come up with meanings and cement card associations. A deck that just shows “pips” alone—four swords, three cups, ten coins, etc.—will be more difficult for you to pair with relevant associations and meanings.

10. Becoming familiar with the cards takes time. Be patient with yourself and the learning process. Play with your cards every day, even if it’s just looking at them. Soak up information on Tarot (as long as it doesn’t overwhelm you). But whatever you do, do not measure your progress against others nor become discouraged if you don’t “get it” within a few weeks…or months. We’re talking 78 cards here! Cards filled with wisdom and symbols and hidden meanings! Just as if you can’t really know a person in super-short time, it will take awhile to comfortably know, and remember, what each card means for you.

11. Tarot is not just for fortuntelling. The cards can be used for creative writing, meditation, visualization, affirmations, conscious creation, dialoguing with others, brainstorming, journaling prompts, talismans, art and so much more.

12. If the idea of learning 78 cards overwhelms you, start with your memories, history, favorite movie, a book, fairytale, songs, news headline, etc.—and work outwards towards the cards. (Click here for an introduction to this technique, known as the BIT Tarot Method).

13. Spreads are not necessary. In fact, they can often be cumbersome, and give you a whole bunch of extraneous stuff that only distracts and confuses. You’d be surprised at how much information you can glean from just one card, or even three, for any given situation.

14. Acquire decks that appeal to you, not what others say are the “best” decks to use. If you love fairies and those types of decks “speak” to you, then by all means get them. Likewise, vampires, angels, flowers, constellations, herbs, gummy bears, dragons, snowmen and so on. As long as there is movement in the images, “stories” that seem to be playing out in the scenes, then pick whatever looks attractive and feels right for you.

15. Consider keeping a journal of your Tarot card associations and impressions. Many Tarot enthusiasts regret not having done so. When you start using one from the ground up, you’ll eventually have a comprehensive and illuminating personal cache of associations that you’ll be able to draw upon and, perhaps, one day share with others new to the cards.

16. Get to know one or two decks intimately before acquiring new decks. Not only will this be easier on your wallet, but you’ll also have a better idea of what kind of decks resonate with you…or will likely expand your experience in a different direction when the time comes for new ones.

17. Keep your Tarot library small…at first. If you feel you must have a few beginner or intermediate books on hand, I recommend The Back in Time Tarot Book (my first book); Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Tarot by Mark McElroy; What’s in the Cards for You? by Mark McElroy; 21 Ways to Read a Tarot Card by Mary K. Greer and The 2-Hour Tarot Tutor by Wilma Carroll. In all honesty, if you follow the methods and suggestions in these five books, you’ll never need another Tarot book. (Note: I said need, not necessarily want!)

18. Hold off learning and using reversals (upside down Tarot cards) until you have a strong grip on upright associations and meanings. You can always add them to your practice later, should you choose to do so. (My upcoming book Tarot in Reverse, out 2012 from Schiffer Publishing, will be the first book to provide extensive key phrases and pop culture anecdotes specifically for reversals, which will aid many trying to understand those cards that fall upside down in a reading).

19. If you come across a Tarot card meaning that makes no sense to you, toss it out. Remember, what matters most is the associations you come up with for the cards—meanings that make sense to you.

20. A brilliant researcher and personality system pioneer once told me “Trust Self first, last and only”. Not only was this one of the best pieces of advice that I’ve ever received about life in general, but also for learning the cards. Lack of self-confidence is the biggest obstacle to sticking with the Tarot and using it effectively. Trust that the meanings you create, and the answers you receive, are valuable and appropriate. This confidence will translate into greater self-reliance, accuracy and insight when reading the cards.

About the Author: Janet Boyer is the author of Back in Time Tarot (Hampton Roads, 2008) and Tarot in Reverse(Schiffer Publishing, 2012), as well as the co-creator of the Snowland Tarot. As a respected Amazon Top/Vine Reviewer, she’s penned over 1,000 published reviews that have also been featured in magazines and other online outlets. In addition to being a Tarot expert and professional reader, Janet is also a social media consultant, blogger and homeschooling Mom. A true Renaissance Soul, she describes herself with four I’s: Innovator, Iconoclast, Initiator and Instigator. Janet makes her home in the beautiful state of Pennsylvania with her soulmate, Ron, their son, Noah, and two fur babies (cats Stewart and Neo). You can visit Janet online and find out all about her and her latest exploits at JanetBoyer.com 

Interview With Nora the Artist and Creator of The Gypsy Palace Tarot

Ooh you don’t want to miss this awesome interview with artist and creator of the soon-to-be printed deck, The Gypsy Palace! Nora takes us into the Gypsy Palace and let’s us peak behind the curtains into the heart and soul of her creation. Read this and fall in love… this absolutely speaks to the gypsy soul.

Shaheen: Nora, It’s so wonderful to connect with you and learn more about your enticing deck, The Gypsy Palace. How did this project begin?

Nora: Thanks Shaheen! This project was very well prepared, unconsciously – I had my pictures, I had the experience from Tarot reading, however, the spark was missing to combine them. As usually the good ideas do, the idea of the card deck was born unexpectedly, in the calmness after Christmas, when I visited my family in Hungary. I was open to start a big project including more than just my pictures, but my whole spirituality- and it came to my way!

Shaheen: Your art is beautifully vibrant and ethereal, what inspires you as an artist? Where did some of these images come from?

Nora: I am a lot inspired by folk art of the Balkan or ever further to the far East, India. I love tales, fables, which are spiced with magic to move your fantasy… I love to dream away with reading stories like children do, flying with borderless imagination. The colors of nature are always giving me new ideas to explore. For example now I discovered the color orange, inspired by the orange trees here, in Italy. I never saw orange trees before, have you? It amazes me how such a vibrant, energetic color can exist. Grab an orange and stare at it, let the color, smell and texture influence you. Gorgeous! And traveling, experiences, characters. I am a very sensitive, emotional person and I find my inspiration in myself by transforming my emotions to something higher- that gives me balance. The dynamics of the images is basically my inner dynamics.

Shaheen: What challenges did you experience with the creative process?

Nora: Well, the creation of these pictures needed me to feel together with every card and still to stay objective. Now I actually struggle to talk about it, because it was not a verbal action, it is hard to verbalize it… it needs you to find the right project for you and to go with the flow of it. And when I was out of it, what happens- that was a challenge to keep myself motivated to catch to flow again! As I am my arts and my art is me, basically, any artistic challenge is about working, growing in myself. It is never easy, when I have to face and break through a wall in myself.

Shaheen: How has your relationship with the Tarot changed since you created, The Gypsy Palace?

Nora: I can read for people from my own tarot deck, which is a very special feeling, as I know a lot about the pictures, the interpretations, how they were born and changed and now they are in a completely different situation… Fantastic. It somehow feels like raising your children and now letting them live their own life, without interrupting anymore. I am proud of them! But also, I think there will be a healthy short break with Tarot after the campaign, to let it calm down in me, a time when I am not just about The Gypsy Palace Tarot, but Nora again. It is a very intense period for me.

Shaheen: Do you have any exciting methods or exercises that are unique to reading with The Gypsy Palace Tarot?

Nora: I truly say that if magic happens, it happens anyways, doesn´t matter if you make up a strict ritual or just use them as it comes. And specially with my deck I wish freedom and flexibility in reading them! The images have a lot of movement, action on them- you can see this or that way around. Like the figure of the Three of Swords- is he pushing the heart away or is he pulling it into himself? I suggest to work, play with these dynamics. I used symbols that carry personal and universal meanings as well. The only method is to be open and creative.

Shaheen: What do you want people to feel and experience when they work with The Gypsy Palace?

Nora: The gypsy-fairy tale world holds a lot of secrets waiting to be found! The cards have a spirit, what I wanted to capture with the archetypical figures, intense colors and the whole design, the excellent quality. I wish that it makes people feel they hold something unique, something royal in their hands. The origin of them is pure and full with energy, I wish that working with them can connect magic, arts and the inner self in a beautiful celebration!

Shaheen: When your deck is printed, will you follow them with any other projects, a book perhaps?

Nora: Definitely! I rediscovered writing, I am trying my wings with it. I want to travel on with the cards, and collect more experiences, using them, reading them to people on my way. I keep the idea of the Gypsy Palace Tarot book on my mind and let in grow until I feel I am ready for that. I have a lot to tell about the images- as an appetizer I share one with You in a guest post…

Shaheen: Thank you, Nora. It’s been wonderful visiting The Gypsy Palace with you. This project is so inspiring. I think it will be a gem within the Tarot community.

Nora: Thank You, indeed for this opportunity! Your warm welcome on your blog makes me feel it is the right place to share more about myself and my project. Please don´t forget to support and spread the word, we can make The Gypsy Palace Tarot happen together!

Nora is an independent artist, and Tarot creator. Please support her independent effort to produce The Gypsy Palace Tarot deck. This will be a truly special deck for anyone who experiences it! Hurry, hurry, quickly! There is only one month left to make this deck a reality!! You can contribute to the cause, here!

And make sure you join The Gypsy Palace on FB!

Forget the Crystal Ball! How Tarot Can Deepen Your Personal Insight

Today Brigit of Biddy Tarot is visiting! What a wonderful, and insightful treat. Brigit is the author of, Tarot Foundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot with Confidence and an extraordinary teacher. I hope you enjoy her contribution :-)

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words, “Tarot Card Reader”? Crystal balls? Gypsies? Psychic powers? Crushed velvet? 1800 numbers? All of the above?

Sure, that all exists, but it doesn’t have to be this way.

Many ‘normal’ people are using the Tarot cards on an everyday basis for self-development and personal insight. Crystal balls and crushed velvet don’t even come into the equation.

You want to know why you’re feeling ‘lost’? Why your relationship isn’t working like you want it to? How you can improve your work situation? How you can be the person you really want to be? All of these types of questions are perfect for the Tarot.

The Tarot has this innate power to be whatever you want it to be. In fact, Tarot can be used as a tool for:

  • Spiritual guidance
  • Understanding the present
  • Learning more about yourself
  • Exploring mythology and symbolism
  • Personal growth and development
  • Solving problems or dilemmas
  • Earning an income as a professional
  • Making important decisions
  • Validating a gut feeling
  • Daily or weekly guidance
  • Self-examination and psychoanalysis
  • Empowerment
  • Meditation and introspection
  • Developing your psychic abilities or intuition
  • Creative thinking

Using the Tarot for Self-Development and Personal Insight

One of the most powerful uses of the Tarot is for self-development and personal insight. This can be on a very deep level, such as using just the Major Arcana cards in a Tarot reading to understand your current life lessons and your inner purpose and meaning. Or it may be on a more day-to-day level as you figure out the solution to a current dilemma or problem.

To use the Tarot cards for personal insight, try some (or all) of these activities:

Draw a Card a Day

Draw one card at the start of the day asking, “What do I need to know about today?” Think about what this card is telling you – what events or situations to expect, what you can learn during the day, what you need to watch out for, where your best opportunities lie, etc. At the end of the day, reflect on how this card related to your actual experience and take note of what you have learned. Over time, you will form an even stronger personal connection with your cards and you will find that your cards offer you profound insight, even on a day-to-day basis.

Get to Know Yourself with the Major Arcana

If you’re feeling ‘lost’ or directionless, then exploring the Major Arcana in relation to yourself can be a very helpful way to rediscover your direction. Use the “Get to Know Yourself with the Major Arcana” questionnaire to ask yourself some of the more deeper questions about your life path. Or, work with each Major Arcana card, tapping into the life lessons that each has to share.

Use Simple One Card Readings

If you’re facing a dilemma or you need insight into a personal situation, use a simple one card reading to provide insight. First, clearly frame your question. Ask, “What do I need to know about….?” or “Where do my best options lie?” or “What do I need to take into account when making this decision?” Then, draw one card, and one card only. Go deep into that card by exploring the symbolism, elemental and numerological associations, and your intuitive feelings. Resist the temptation to draw ‘clarifier’ cards which often only serve to complicate the reading. And resist the urge to keep asking the same question in the hope of finding the answer you want. The key is to stay focused on the one question and the one card.

Meditate with the Tarot Cards

This final activity is incredibly powerful and will help you to build a very strong and personal connection with the cards. By relaxing your mind and taking yourself ‘into’ the card, you tap into your subconscious mind and explore the Universal energies associated with that card on a very deep level. Read more about how to meditate with the Tarot cards on my blog.

So, forget about the crystal ball, my friends! You don’t need it. Instead, draw on the Tarot cards to help you on an everyday basis to develop your personal insight and guide you on your path.

Learn More About Brigit

Brigit is a professional Tarot reader, mentor, blogger and self-published author. She is the owner of the popular website http://www.biddytarot.com which features Tarot card meanings, tutorial posts and Tarot guides to help you learn to read Tarot. She has fifteen years’ experience reading the Tarot cards for thousands of clients worldwide and is passionate about delivering insight through Tarot.

Tarot Foundations: Part 5-Off to the Land of Tarot

Exploring Tarot Foundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot with Confidence has been a wonderful opportunity to connect with other Tarot enthusiast and to hear the different experiences, questions and perspectives all of you have. You can refer back to the previous post: Introduction, Part-1, Part-2, Part-3, and Part-4. Let these posts be touchstones for you on your journey. Refer back to them as often as you like, and don’t forget to ask questions 

I urge you to get your own copy of Tarot Foundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot with Confidence. The more you explore Tarot the more you will accumulate books, and resources. But remember that the best resource is experience and intuition!

A Few Parting Words:

You never stop learning Tarot! I cannot stress this enough. You will be a student for life. Tarot is never ending; it will grow, change and evolve as you do. Your practice will change, and the more you seek the more you will discover. Let the cards become mirrors to your own reflection; to your intuitive self! 

Tarot is nothing more than printed pieces of cardstock. You are the magic that ignites the cards. The cards come to life because you are brave enough to look at them. If you close off your analytical mind, and open your heart you can hear their whispers. The cards are the key, the window, the doorway into your own inner world. They give your higher self a way to communicate with you.

Tarot reading is about empowerment. Tarot reading is about love. Tarot reading is about growth. Tarot reading is about consciously manifesting the life you want. When you layout the cards you are taking on the responsibility of listening; listening to yourself, listening to the Universe. You should approach reading for another person in the same way. It is a sacred experience where minds, hearts and spirits touch!

Tarot isn’t always woo-woo. Tarot is serious, down-to-earth, pragmatic truth! There is absolutely a mystical side to Tarot. It enlivens the spirit and feeds the hunger for ritual and magic. You can approach Tarot in whatever way you want. Some people will see it as a prompting tool; others will see it as a fortunetelling tool. Tarot is a mirror…. It becomes what you need it to be. Just remember to have fun! 

Tarot is an art. Tarot can be a hobby. If you choose it can be a profession. If you want to read for others, you should practice, practice, practice. But don’t drag your feet. The best way to become a “professional” Tarot reader is to actually read for people. Find an online group, or a meet-up in your area. Tarot Foundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot with Confidence is filled with a whole chapter of resources for networking with others to learn and grow.

Tarot is a gift that allows you to connect with yourself, and others! Let this be an introduction into a special community of people who seek to empower themselves and others. This is your chance to network with others. Read blogs, write to your favorite authors, readers and teachers. Take classes. And sit in quite contemplation. You will learn so much more when you connect! 

The journey doesn’t end here, friends! We may be finished the, Tarot Foundations segment, but there will be so much more to come! I have taken not of your questions and comments and one by one I will address them. Visit here often, think of this as a community, a Tarot tribe. And make sure you visit Brigit’s amazing website, Biddy Tarot!

Tell me your experience! What did you learn? How do you feel you’ve grown throughout the post? What are you still struggling with? What would you like to learn more about? Leave comments below!

Be sure to participate in this Tarot learning journey. Remember, if you participate with a valid comment offering your point of view or asking a question that pertains to the post, you will be entered to win a free copy of Tarot Foundations: 31 Days to Read Tarot with Confidence!

© Shaheen Miro 2013

Understanding Intuition: Insight Eleven

Using an oracle, or divinatory system is a fantastic way to tap into your intuition. Oracles give you shorthand for communicating with the Universe, it’s a built in language that you can study and learn. Divinatory tools have their faults, but they are a great jumping off point for you novice intuitiors. Find a divinatory system that feels right to you, but don’t get too caught up in the system because the most powerful messages usually happen “away from the table”!