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Back at it: Exploring the Tarot with the Tarot

tarot spread - back at itIt has been roughly five years between blog posts in this space.

During that time I hadn’t stopped using the Tarot, but did so from a more private space. I became quiet in online groups, stopped client work, stopped teaching classes & leading workshops & shut down my website. In many ways, I tucked Peter White & White Sage Tarot into the back of the broom closet. 🙂

Recently, and within a short period of time, I had a renewed web presence when ‘Peter White Tarot’ came online. I joined a Tarot class. I attended a Tarot & Tea group. And decided to blog.

Thus reemergence seemed sudden and unexpected. I was curious. So, I turned to a familiar tool; a place I often go for guidance. I asked 4 questions. I drew 4 cards. And I decided to write about it.

Here is the spread I constructed and the questions I asked:

1. Why now?

This was the biggest question hanging over me. This resurgence in ‘public’ interest seemed to come out of nowhere. In response to this question, I drew the 8 of Swords reversed. It self a blindfold has been removed. Any restrictions that were binding me, however loosely, have fallen free. The signs leading me in a particular direction and may have gone unseen are now visible. Whatever was restricting me, for some reason, is no more.

2. What may support me?

First off, I didn’t feel the need to ask if this reemergence was a good idea. It seemed to be happening regardless. So the next 2 questions were of greater relevance to me. I wanted guidance around possibilities for support & opposition. I also placed these cards in an ‘above (support) & below (obstacle)’ configuration.

I drew the 9 of Pentacles first. Support will come from a place of hard work & discipline. It will also come from a place of abundance. The woman in her garden is enjoying the fruits of her labour. It looks like the fruits of my own may provide me with the support I’m looking for.

3. What may get in my way?

The 3 of Pentacles caught me a little off-guard here. Then I thought of my own creative work and my propensity to get stuck when things are not perfect. I can labour over the most minute detail instead of letting it go ‘as is’. This might be a reminder that good enough is at times good enough. Thanks 3 of P for the reminder! 😁

4. What may come of it?

The King of Pentacles, reversed…so it doesn’t look like becoming the Jeff Bezos of the Tarot world is ‘in the cards’. 😉 Non-material gains maybe? Leadership in other non-material areas, perhaps intellectual or spiritual. Or maybe this is an indicator of a more passive role. A more “non-King” like place. Or, perhaps the outcome of this journey is less positive and more likely to be unsatisfactory. In the end, not knowing is what makes the outcome of the journey interesting, isn’t it?

As always, the Tarot for me is never a tool of absolutes. It is instead a place for a perspective, drawn through the random process of shuffling and dealing a deck of cards, that I would not likely have come to otherwise. It is the food in my ‘food for thought’.

I’m glad to have re-embarked on my learning journey and to start sharing it again in a public space. Follow along, join me and participate in the comments section, if you like.


Peter White

The New Year and The Fool’s Journey

The beginning of the calendar is a time when we often start on a new path. It could be one of self-improvement, self-discovery or enlightenment. It may last a day, a week or a life-time but it is very common for people to pledge major change on January 1. It is also usually preceded by a planned night of unrestrained behaviour and planned excess. This beginning of the calendar makes me think of the Fool’s Journey.

The Fool

I found it somewhat coincidental that, just a few short days ago, while reading Alain de Botton’s “Religion for Atheists” that I came across a passage describing the festum fatuorum, or the ‘Feast of Fools’.  De Botton describes this as a medieval Church custom in which clergy acted in ways that were in opposition to their regular behaviour. Some of the behaviour he describes involved farting to hymns, speaking nonsensical sermons, attaching phallic symbols to cloaks and gambling on the altar. It allowed a letting go or cleaning of the slate. It acknowledged the playful, chaotic side of human behaviour. It made chaos and debauchery sacrosanct. (I think I’ve had a New Years’ party or two like that!) 🙂

The Fool is about beginnings but it is also about cleaning the slate. It is about jumping off the cliff and letting the journey take us where it may. When we jump, we take very little, if anything, with us. When teaching tarot classes, I often use the term tabula rasa to describe the essence of The Fool. She is associated with Uranus, and is thus the card of liberation, awakening and independence, characteristics often necessary for a successful new beginning.

And, as my Tarot focus shifts and I move into year four of ‘A Magician’s Musings’, so begins a new year and a new Tarot adventure. On a time frame that suits my schedule (very Fool-like), I am going to spend my blog posts this year exploring the Fool’s Journey. I will highlight some common knowledge around this often explored theme of the Tarot but also (hopefully) some new learning as well. I hope you choose to join me on this journey.

Mobile Tarot

I’m curious. I keep a RWS clone deck in my car. I draw a card from my ‘mobile’ deck almost daily. Since the card is still there, just below my console, at the end of my day, it allows me to reflect on several questions for that day. Where did I see the card? In whom did I see the card? How did I work around challenges? How did I support myself and others? I find it a simple tool that increases my practice of self-reflection.

Anyone else using a ‘mobile’ deck?

SOTA Astrology Conference – 2012: For those interested in astrology, tarot and other means of divination, check out both the astrology tracks and the new ‘Spirit’ track at this year’s SOTA Astrology Conference.  The conference takes place from October 18th – 21st, 2012 in Niagara Falls, NY.  I will be opening the Spirit track with a one-hour overview of the tarot on Friday, October 19th.  Hope to see you there!  More information can be found here.

Tarot and the MRI

Tarot and MRIs not related? I beg to differ.

On Friday, I had one. It was to further explore the recurrence of old shoulder injury. The doctor’s office and the hospital had given me a little overview of the process. When I arrived, I waited 90 minutes – they didn’t explain that part – and, upon registration, they informed that I would need to be injected with an X-Ray dye prior to the MRI. The fluid would be inserted directly into my shoulder joint, guided by an X-Ray and a 2 1/2 inch needle. They didn’t explain that part, either.  Understand that, although I am not claustrophobic, my greatest fear is being buried alive so I was already less-than-comfortable with the upcoming MRI experience. The X-Ray preparation did not help the situation.

I knew I’d need to remain still. That was explained ahead of time. No one mentioned just how still. My doctor knows that ‘idle’ is not a speed at which my engine typically runs. When the technician informed me that I’d need to remain perfectly still for 25 minutes, I smiled.  This could be a long afternoon. After the first few minutes, I could sense my muscles twitching. My need to take deep breaths increased. My shoulder began to throb. I became aware of my restricted mobility and wanted to do something about it.  “Stop moving, please!” is barely audible through the sound-blocking headphones she had placed on my head. Although I couldn’t feel myself move, I knew I was struggling and was strongly considering pressing the ‘panic button’ resting in my closed fist. Then I started to picture the four of Swords in the Rider-Waite-Smith deck. The image came to me out of nowhere. It has been an image I’d conjure up if I was having a hard time relaxing but, as the length of time since my last post will attest, I haven’t made much time for the Tarot lately. I immediately entered the card in the same way I’d enter the home of a close but long-ignored friend. I looked around and took in my surroundings. I’ve been here before. My movement ceased almost instantly. A sense of calm came over me. Even the technician noticed and I heard a muffled “Thank you”. The rest of the procedure took place without difficulty.

I had forgotten the impact of those 78 little images I know so well. They have a place in even the most insignificant or unexpected situations; even after what seems like a significant amount of time away. On my way through Erin I stopped by Treehaven and bought the Llewellyn edition of the Gaian Tarot deck to complement my limited edition.

Welcome back, old friend. I’ve missed you.

Toronto Tarot Symposium 2012

My blog has been quiet. It’s simply because the writing bug hasn’t hit. I’ve still been heavily involved in Tarot. I’ll be updating the site with a wonderful piece on the New Year’s Astrological Mandala, a wonderful goal-setting exercise based on the 12 houses of the zodiac. I spoke and consulted at the SOTA 2011 conference and will be part of the Spirit Track for SOTA 2012. And, I am thrilled to be one of six practitioners at the Toronto Tarot Symposium, working with several of my Tarot faves.  See below for information!

Are you passionate about the tarot?

Tired of top-notch tarot workshops being offered in far-off locations?

Looking to expand your tarot skills and connect with like-spirited people?

Join Southern Ontario tarot teachers and practitioners Monica Bodirsky, Bev Haskins, Peter LeBlanc, Andrew McGregor, Marilyn Shannon, and James Wells at the

Toronto Tarot Symposium Saturday, March 10, 2012 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the social room at 40 Homewood Avenue, Toronto, ON (Level B1)

This is a day for you to:

* gain practical tarot skills through six experiential workshops * learn through a panel Q & A time

* mingle with your tarot peers

* have your name entered in a draw to win a cool prize!

All of this for ONLY $78 (pre-paid by PayPal, cheque, or cash) What you’ll need to bring:

* a tarot deck(s) of your choice * a notebook (or laptop, iPad, etc.) * a brown bag lunch or money to purchase lunch nearby * anything you require to feel comfortable (journal, blanket, cushion, water container, etc.) * a willingness to explore

Your commitment and pre-payment ensure that this truly Ontarian tarot event takes place:

Call or email James Wells (416) 966 – 2685

Send payment ($78) to James by PayPal, cheque (address will be given upon contact), or cash (in person).


The Secret Language of Tarot (Monica Bodirsky).  Tarot can be easy to interpret at a glance but most artists include a variety of personal, universal and traditional symbols that express abstract concepts. This workshop will consist of a brief introduction followed by a few simple exercises to give you access to this often-overlooked aspect of reading tarot. Monica Bodirsky is a tarot reader who spends her spare time as an exhibiting artist, educator, entrepreneur, writer and human rights activist.

Welcome Spring! (Bev Haskins)  The cycle of the seasons is a metaphor for the journey of growth our souls take. As we approach the Spring Equinox (March 20th, 2012 – 1:14 a.m.), it is time to push the tender seeds, that we have incubated in us all winter, toward the light. In this workshop we will let the Tarot  help us define the nature of these seeds and how we can best allow them to “blossom”. Bev  Haskins is a co-creative Tarot counsellor, circle process facilitator and owner of Lakeside Retreats where many courses and workshops offer opportunities for personal growth and awareness.

Tarot and Astrology (Peter LeBlanc).  Esoteric studies have linked tarot and astrology for over 200 years.  You will explore some of those general links as well as get a chance to play with these elements using your own tarot deck and birth date. An avid Leafs fan, Peter is a tarotist, teacher and the owner/operator of White Sage Tarot who has worked in education and tarot for more than 20

Bringing the Magic Out of the Tarot and Into Our Lives (Andrew McGregor). Through ceremony and the power of the natural world, we can bring the transformative power of the cards into our daily lives. We will talk about tools, techniques, and tricks to draw in the power of plants, crystals, and places to create the life we are looking for. Andrew McGregor‘s work as a reader helps people get clear about their lives, then helps them achieve their goals.  His store, the Hermit’s Lamp, is a space for classes, practitioners, art shows and much more.

Miss Merle’s Phantasmagorical Reading! (Marilyn Shannon).  This fun, inventive way to get out of your head will prompt spontaneous brilliance in your readings as you tap into your intuition.  Originally created by Rachel Pollack, this light and lively way of reading can become deep and provocative.  Trust Miss Merle! Marilyn Shannon is a long-time reader, student, and companion of the tarot who is also known for helping people be fearless and for teaching the ancient art of scrying: crystal ball reading.

The Power of Personal Layouts (James Wells).  Fed up with unhelpful textbook tarot spreads?  The best possible layouts for you and your seekers lie in your own imagination and life experience.  In five simple steps, you’ll be able to create relevant spreads to explore life’s intricate situations through the cards! James Wells is a Toronto-based circle process host, tarot counsellor, author of Tarot for Manifestation, and the caller of many growth-oriented gatherings that encourage personal and planetary wellness.

Falling Asleep with the Tarot

Hockley Hike

Do you ever have trouble sleeping at night? Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night with your mind racing and the inability to fall back to sleep?  I use a unique combination of advice I found somewhere on the internet and a Tarot strategy referred to as ‘Entering the Card’ to help me drift back into Slumberland.

I have been contemplating writing this blog entry for quite some time now.  I have always had difficulty falling asleep. I’ve tried various homeopathic, traditional and not-so-traditional remedies (although have never ventured into the realm of the ‘sleeping pill’), meditation, change in routine but all, at some point, seem to fail. Not this latest one, though.

Mary Greer, in her book ‘Tarot for the Self’, describes an activity she calls ‘Entering the Card’. This exercise involves selecting a card, picturing it in one’s imagination, and then entering the card, taking detailed notes from the experience. I have used it many times when working with a new deck, struggling with a particular card or when teaching students.

And, while poking around online a little while ago, I came across a brief article on suggestions to deal with difficulty sleeping. One of the suggestions that resonated with me was a visualization exercise. I was to imagine a peaceful place and then enter it in my mind. It then suggested that I increase the amount of detail that I imagine. For example, if I was near running water, I could see the river and then the small waves on the surface, the small plants breaking the surface of the water, the fallen leaf that floats by. The only thing that did was make me have to go to the bathroom. 🙂
I’m not one for detail in everyday life. Those who know me would probably refer to me as a ‘big picture’ kind of person. It isn’t until I fully understand something that I’ll bother with the detail. So when I tried to visualize some of my favorite relaxing destinations (fall hikes, Hawaii, Corfu Island, the ‘Muskokas’, the ‘Kawarthas’), I had difficulty picturing detail. But I know the Tarot well. And I have worked with a few decks for awhile so I can easily visualize several cards in detail. I began picturing cards that I thought had a peaceful theme (Empress, 4 of Swords, 4 of Cups, The Hermit, The Star, and many of the cards from my Gaian Tarot deck, etc…). I would enter the cards and then stop, look around and let me five senses take over. I would pick up things, note smells, talk to people and, sure enough, sleep came.

Pick a card that you think will work for you. Try it and let me know.  And… sweet dreams!