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What I can see in tea

Tea Leaf reading
Tea Leaf reading

On Wednesday, July 21st, 2010, I attended a divination workshop at The Reiki Centre in Alliston, Ontario. It was led by Angel Lanthier, a local Raising Energy practitioner. She led an engaging workshop on different forms of divination. But more importantly, she gave us an opportunity to explore with Tarot cards, pendulums and tea leaves. Although I always enjoy Tarot activities regardless of the audience they’re geared towards, I really found the opportunity to play with tea leaf reading fascinating. As Angel explained it (and I am paraphrasing here), tea leaf reading explores the symbols that show up at the bottom of a tea cup after it has been drunk. It is helpful  to have the ‘imbiber’ focus with intent on a pressing question or issue.

And I find this to be the key.  Symbolism combined with intentional focus is also the key to working successfully with the Tarot.  I find time and again that symbols, wherever they may be, emerge when and where we need them. The images in the remnants of tea are not meaningful by themselves but, when they draw on the symbolic knowledge locked away in our subconscious, they can be quite powerful.  Symbols draw on our existing knowledge, be it individual or collective. Why did that bird at the bottom of a tea cup, in a cloud just over the horizon, in the folds and crevises of a crumpled piece of paper or in the background of the Rider-Waite-Smith Star card jump out at you today yet you missed it yesterday? Did you see it as a dove? Or perhaps a sparrow, an eagle, a pigeon or a vulture? Each of these birds brings significantly different associations to mind. Or why not just a meaningless smudge of tea at the bottom of a cup, wisps of water vapour against a clear blue backdrop or an insignificant image on the background of a printed card?

Food for thought: In what symbols can you find meaning today? When you see one, whether it’s the man who crossed your path who bears a striking resemblance to your late father, the way the dust bunnies you’re about to sweep up look a lot like an olive tree or the shape that colourful spilt liquid forms at the bottom of the Tarot card you just drew , take three breaths and ask yourself, ‘How can what I truly see in this moment be of assistance today? What is it that I need to know from what I’m seeing right now?’

I am hosting a Free Tarot Talk on Thursday, August 19th, from 7:00 – 8:30. It will be an open discussion. I will share some activities I learned at the Readers’ Studio 2010, talk briefly about my upcoming article but mostly give people a chance to play (so, as always, bring your deck if you have one) and ask/answer questions. Please RSVP at or at 519-217-7243 if you have any questions or are planning on attending. Tea, coffee and snacks are provided. Although not required, a small donation to help cover the costs of refreshments is always appreciated.

World Tarot Day – May 25th

I am now in Sydney, Australia and available for in-person consultations from Tuesday, May 25th until Friday, June 4th, 2010. Contact me at for  more information.

As I wrote this post on the morning of Monday, May 24th (and realize it is still Sunday, the 23rd at home), I did so in honour of World Tarot Day. I was also visited by a cockatoo as I woke to greet the day. That doesn’t happen in Canada:) 

World Tarot Day is on May 25th and was created almost 10 years ago, in a means of promoting the Tarot and its uses worldwide. As I do most m0rnings, I drew a card. The two decks I brought with me were the DruidCraft deck and the RWS commemorative Pamela Coleman Smith deck. This morning, I used the former (since I think I’ll save the latter for my upcoming client work). I didn’t ask a particular question but hoped that the one-card draw would bring forth a question or two.

Today’s draw was the six of pentacles. It shows an older man, staff in hand, with alms for the outstretched hands below. His surroundings are both vibrant, as in the image of a majestic green tree, and sparse, as in the image of the hibernating branch.

The questions this brings to mind are: What can the Tarot offer in times of abundance and vibrancy? What can the Tarot offer up in times of scarcity and hibernation? How can the Tarot demonstrate it generosity? How can we help share it with others?

If your curious, google World Tarot Day. You’re bound to find all sorts of interesting articles, blogs and musings.

Turning in

Four of Water - Osho Zen
Four of Water - Osho Zen

Today’s brief post is a quote from the LWB (Little White Book – a term that often refers to the small ‘manual’ that accompanies most Tarot decks – although, in this case, it is neither little nor white) of the Osho Zen Tarot.

This morning, I drew my ‘daily’ card. Funny that I drew the Four of Waters. This card invites us to stop and listen to the antics of our mind. I have felt so busy the past few days that I have even skipped my daily morning practice of drawing a Tarot card, a practice that I treasure as sacred.

“All journeys are outward journeys, there is no inward journey. How can you journey inwards? You are already there, there is no point in going.” I just needed a reminder. My new mantra for today: “Hey mind, you’re not the boss of me!”

Happy journeys.  🙂

‘World’ by Five for Fighting and a Saturday morning reading

The song “World” from Five for Fighting has been my ‘earworm’ for the past few weeks. It has been begging me for a Tarot reading. J Just as an FYI, this song was also used in an episode of the apocalyptic and short-lived series ‘Jericho’ (one of the best modern series in a long time, IMHO).

The chorus to this thought-provoking song is as follows:

“What kind of world do you want?
Think anything
Let’s start at the start
Build a masterpiece
Be careful what you wish for
History starts now…”

As I contemplated this chorus, the song asked me three questions. “What kind of world do you want?” is the obvious one and became the first position in this Saturday morning Tarot spread. “What does ‘Start[ing] at the start’ look like?” quickly followed. The final question focuses on the outcome by asking, “What do we need to know about our ‘masterpiece’? Each question stems from lyrics in the chorus.

I selected the Osho Zen Tarot deck for this reading. My reasons were two-fold. The Zen philosophy of mindfulness in daily practice seemed to lend itself well to such a pressing question. Secondly, the Osho Zen Tarot, as many of my long-term readers will know, is my currently study deck.

Thus, the cards fell.


What kind of world do you want?

– Transformation

We want a changed world, one which requires an overhaul. This is transformation with a capital ‘T’. The card in the 13th position in many other decks is ‘Death’, a card that screams ‘out with the old’.



Four of Fire - Participation
Four of Fire - Participation

What does ‘Start[ing] at the start’ look like?

– Four of Fire (Participation)

To “start at the start’ requires action; it is not a passive activity. Contemplation and speculation are actions of the past.




Ten of Clouds - Rebirth
Ten of Clouds - Rebirth

What do we need to know about our ‘masterpiece’?

– Ten of Clouds (Rebirth)

Our chef d’oeuvre will be something totally new, perhaps even outside of our current realm of understanding.  Rebirth is the logical next step after transformation.

Just a reminder that I am hosting  Free Tarot Talk in my space (Orangeville, Ontario area) on Thursday, February 18th at 7:00 p.m.  Contact me at for more details.

It doesn’t happen often, but to increase my own Tarot ‘energy’ in preparation for the Readers Studio in April, I am temporarily lowering the cost of a 60 and 90 minute consultation. Please see “About Peter, contact and fees’ tab for more detail.

Readers’ Studio 2010

Page of Water - Understanding
Page of Water - Understanding

It’s official! My registration is paid, my flight is booked and my room is confirmed. I am heading off to New York for Readers Studio 2010, a weekend ensemble of some of the best Tarot minds around. To say I am excited is an understatement! I am looking forward to a weekend focused exclusively on the Tarot. Kelly and I visited New York last summer with family and it quickly became one of my favourite cities. You can read more about the Tarot School’s readers’ Studio at

In anticipation of my experience at the Readers’ Studio, I drew the Page of Water (Understanding) from my study deck, the Osho Zen Tarot. The card portrays a bird, perched on the open of its cage, ready to soar. The card appears to be an invitation to leave the cage, to set my sights on the open skies ahead and soar!  The RS weekend in NY feels like its full of possibilities.  I can hardly wait!

The Big Question

At a Ministry of Education workshop for “Schools in the Middle” earlier this month, I was reminded of the pedagogy of planning based on the “Big Idea”. This is the notion of using overarching concepts such as social justice, fairness, or inclusion or values and traits such as integrity, courage and honesty during lesson planning to add relevance to lessons for students and include lessons of life in the lessons of school. This led me to think about the idea of the “Big Question” and how it could apply to the Tarot.

This concept isn’t new. Rachel Pollack explores it thoroughly in her book, “The Forest of Souls”. She asks several questions including “What is soul?” and “Did the Tarot exist before creation?”  James Ricklef’s book, “Tarot Tells the Tale”, explores the three-card reading by using fictional characters from film, literature and mythology. The characters ask big questions of relevance to their fictional lives. I’m attending a workshop in early March led by James Wells entitled “Tarot Beyond Ourselves” that, and this is my own assumption based on the description of the workshop, may be exploring the idea of the “Big Question”.

I thought about having a bit of fun with the concept. As an amateur musician (who does have one hell of a home studio set-up, mind you), I was drawn the questions musicians often ask in their work. So I thought, what about using the Tarot to answer some of those questions? Why not answer the Beatles “Do You Want to Know a Secret?” or Five for Fighting’s “What Kind of World Do You Want?” with a Tarot reading.

As a self-proclaimed, life-long learner, I also thought this would be a great way to hone my own Tarot skills in my practice. There are tons of timeless questions asked via the music that enriches our lives every day.  As an exercise, I’ll be exploring these every so often. I might even post them from time to time. If you have any musical questions that are you are dying to see answered :), feel free to share.

Out of the mouths of babes…

Hanson-Roberts 10 of cups
Hanson-Roberts 10 of cups

My daughter and I both received the Hanson-Roberts Tarot deck as a gift over the holidays. We spent a lovely couple of hours looking at McGregor and Vega’s 20-card New Year Spread over the weekend, just before she headed back to her Mom’s. As I’ve mentioned before, my Tarot time with my daughter is most cherished. One of the cards that revealed itself was the 10 of cups. “That looks like a good card, Dad”, she says, “and, I bet it’s still pretty good, even when you turn it over. See, it makes a smiley face.”

Sure enough, I reversed the card and, when you combine the two joined heads and the rainbow of cups, you clearly see her smiley face. Ah, the refreshing wisdom of youth 🙂