Category Archives: Tarot

Overwhelm and the Ten of Wands


The 10 of Wands star­ring the Sassy Sibyl with her OSU sock hat because win­ter is relentless.

I can’t think of a sin­gle card in the Minor Arcana of the Tarot that fits my life any bet­ter than the 10 of Wands.  What do you see when you look at the card? Your­self? What do you feel? I feel tired. The way I feel after work­ing in the office all day and then cook­ing din­ner, run­ning around to play­dates and base­ball prac­tices, before com­ing home to clean up and do laun­dry while the rest of the world is tuck­ing itself into bed.

And all while Mer­cury is ret­ro­grade!

I’m not com­plain­ing. I love the work I do. And I love my kids. But dang, I’m overwhelmed.

There are some ways to think about the Ten of Wands that may help, if you’re feel­ing the same kind of pres­sure to DO IT ALL (if I ever write a mem­oir, I’m going to call it, How to do it All). Pixie (or Art, maybe it was Art, who can know, really?) dropped key clues in this card to help us out.

First of all, 10 of Wands dude is CUT. Look at those biceps! He’s built for this kind of work. And you don’t get that by sit­ting around and then sud­denly hav­ing the world drop into your arms. He’s been prepar­ing for this moment for a long time, all his life maybe. And now that he’s got an arm­ful, he’s able and deter­mined to not drop anything.

Those sticks are sprout­ing. Look! Lit­tle green shoots. It’s not like he’s car­ry­ing this stuff for noth­ing. These are going to grow into some­thing amaz­ing. The effort put into the long haul is going to pay off.

He’s going some­where. Not only that, he’s going to what looks like a cas­tle. I don’t know about you guys, but if I get to go to a cas­tle, I’ll carry some pretty heavy shit. Let me re-illustrate for you so the goal is more obvious:


Worth it, right?

But the last lit­tle thing I’ll point out about the 10 of Wands is that our heavy lifter picked up this bur­den delib­er­ately. There was a method to the madness—see how the wands are crossed so they don’t slip out of his hands? It’s hard as hell, sure, but attack­ing your to-do list with a sense of inten­tion and an out­look for the big­ger pic­ture makes the load seem a lit­tle lighter.

Not con­vinced?

I know, you’re think­ing, “But Mel, I don’t want to be over­whelmed. I don’t want to carry heavy crap around all day long! I’m a del­i­cate Dowa­ger Countess!”

I hear you. And that’s the other side of the Ten of Wands. This card is about commitments—and while run­ning around and pick­ing up sticks, one of the things we might have inad­ver­tently com­mit­ted our­selves to, is being over­whelmed.

When you draw the Ten of Wands in a read­ing, consider:

  • What am I car­ry­ing? Just how much am I weighed down?
  • How have I pre­pared myself to han­dle this? (Don’t worry about how you’re not pre­pared, that’s not help­ful. Besides, you can make it up as you go along, so long as you keep going.)
  • What’s the end goal? Why am I doing all that I’m doing?

You’ll have a pretty good idea by that point if you’re actu­ally work­ing out of stead­fast deter­mi­na­tion, or over-committed to goals that won’t serve you. That hap­pens to me some­times. A com­mit­tee, a book club, or even a new job sounds really good in the moment, but if I’m not care­ful to exam­ine my moti­va­tions and inten­tions, I can eas­ily over­stretch myself. Then the card becomes about set­ting bound­aries and know­ing when it’s appro­pri­ate to say, “No thanks!” and walk away.

Luck­ily the Tarot has a few exam­ples we can fol­low down that route too, which I will present here with­out fur­ther com­men­tary at this point (I’m sure I’ll cir­cle back to these cards later). Feel free to use these mantras as needed.



Let’s talk in the com­ments:
How do you han­dle over­whelm? When you’re in a Ten of Wands sit­u­a­tion, what’s your cop­ing strategy?

How do you keep over­whelm at bay?

How to use tarot to know what your lover is thinking


Short answer:


Long answer:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why do you need to know?

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

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

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

Can you ask the Tarot what some­one else is think­ing? Absolutely you can. Should you? That’s ques­tion­able. Is it the best course of action for a healthy rela­tion­ship that’s based on mutual trust? Prob­a­bly not. IMG_3021-002

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freyja’s First Tarot Reading

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

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

Hello, you had me at shim­mery pur­ple bag.

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

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

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

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

How happy am I to have it though?


The Tarot Lovers

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

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

The Lovers card from the Vic­to­ria Regina Tarot

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

The Lovers from The Prairie Tarot and the Bohemian Gothic Tarot

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

The Lovers from the Deviant Moon Tarot and the Paulina Tarot

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

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

The Lovers card from the Fan­tas­tic Menagerie Tarot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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