Tarot as a Spiritual Tool

by Monte Farber & Amy Zerner

Divination systems, also known as “oracles,” based on tarot, astrology, love, prosperity, rune stones, serenity, alchemy, The Goddess, voodoo, Native American spirituality, and almost every other subject that you can buy a book about, continue to be one of the strongest selling items in bookstores. It is easy to see why; people have questions and they want answers, especially in this frightening and uncertain time, and a well-designed oracle is designed to help people find answers to their questions.

The Tarot can be used for the purpose of divination by using the images on the cards and their meanings to trigger insights from your Higher Self, the part of us that provides guidance by supplying us with those ‘irrational’ hunches, intuitions and flashes of inspiration that can make everyday life sometimes seem so extraordinary.

By shuffling and selecting one or more cards from the deck as you calmly and sincerely ask for guidance about your situation, you cause your Higher Self to guide you to select the proper card. Your state of mind at that moment implies a future course of events in regards to the situation you are asking about. Shuffling the cards of The Tarot at the same moment you are concentrating on your question causes your question and the cards you select in answer to your question to be linked together by the power of your intention and concentration. They are connected in a meaningful way because they are happening at the same time.

This may or may not be the Age of Aquarius or The New Age, but it is certainly The Now Age; everything has to be done now. Cell phones, computers, texting, and the Internet have destroyed the cushion of time that used to enable us to thoughtfully consider our situations. Here in The Now Age, information overload overwhelms. How can we find and stay on the path to a life of quality and meaning in The Now Age? How can there be time to pray when there’s hardly time to play?

Like prayer, a well-designed divination system reminds us of our seamless connection to All-There-Is. As an added bonus, using an oracle with sincerity and regularity ads a needed element of ritual to our lives. Approach all your readings with a sense of ceremony, sincerity and humility and all will be revealed.

Our Instant Tarot system has been designed to help you properly access the tarot’s ancient truths and put them to immediate use. It is our sincere desire that our book, the first and only one of its kind in the tarot’s long history, will help you to better understand your own inner voice and its ability to direct you.

The user-friendly layout of Instant Tarot allows individuals to also ask any question using a one-card, three-card or full eleven card “Celtic Cross” spread to get revealing, inspiring answers to your burning questions about life. It’s great to do with small groups of friends and especially by yourself where, undisturbed, you will often see subtle and formerly hidden meanings emerge from the text.

The tarot helps you to be more mindful by helping you tune into a deeper, inner level of awareness.  It is a way to journey into yourself and discover your spiritual center.  The 78 cards portray all the cycles of human experience – it is a “book” of knowledge.  Using the tarot, a focusing mechanism, also helps in the development of your psychic abilities and empowers you to make the best choices in your life.


Monte Farber and Amy Zerner are the authors of 45 popular spiritual books and oracles, with more than 2,000,000 books—including Karma Cards, The Psychic Circle, Quantum Affirmations, Sun Sign Secrets, and The Enchanted Tarot—in print around the world and in 14 languages. They are bloggers and conscious-content contributors to several websites and blogs. Visit them at www.enchantedworld.com.

Tarot and Astrology Travels in Italy

by Marcia Masino

There are some “must see” locations for the Tarot and Astrology enthusiast planning a trip to Italy. My suggested itinerary will take you to Florence, Milan and Bologna with a stop at Garavicchio in the Tuscan countryside to experience the world-famous Tarot sculpture garden. I’ve also included an excursion to the world’s most famous zodiac cathedral in the hills outside Florence in the “gotta go there” category along with a Tarot themed restaurant, museum and rare bookshop.

Italy is regarded as the birthplace of the Tarot. The first recognised Tarot decks were recorded between 1430 and 1450 in Milan, Ferrara and Bologna. The oldest surviving tarot cards are from the mid 15th century and painted for the Visconti-Sforza family, the rulers of Milan. Cards are documented in a written statement in the court records in Florence, in 1440 for the first known time.tarot-and-astrology-travels-in-italy

Tuscany and The Tarot Garden

The Garden of Tarot is a sculpture garden based on the 22 Major Arcana cards created by the French artist Niki de Saint Phalle. Location – In the Italian village of Capalbio located in Garavicchio in the Maremma countryside Tuscany. St Phalle, along with love and collaborator Jean Tinguely designed and produced this architectural and archetypal masterpiece.

The sculptures and dwellings are huge, modern, recognizable, trippy, thoughtful and playful. They were made from soldered steel covered with cement then decorated with mosaics of ceramic, mirror and glass. The artist resided inside and worked on her sculpture garden for over twenty years.

St. Phalle stated that her Tarot garden was inspired by a dream she had about creating a sculpture garden. Motivated by faith and her love for humanity, she saw the garden as an “esoteric stroll “and viewed the cards as philosophical trials of self awareness and connection with the Universe. For St. Phalle her large than life Tarot constructions created a direct encounter with the archetypal world and it’s potential to heal and transform those who interact with it.  It is truly a tour de Force and something the Tarot world has to celebrate from this incomparable Scorpio artist.

Address: Pescia Fiorentina, Capalbio (GR)Opening hours:1 April to 15 October from 2.30 to 7.30. Closed: Closed from 16 October to 31 March, one free Saturday per month in winter. Ticket Full euro 12,00, Reduced euro 7,00.

Florence – Il Tarrochi Restaurant

My favorite eatery in my neighborhood in Florence was, ironically, Il Tarocchi, or The Tarot. I received the first copy of the first Tarot book I wrote when I was living in Florence and we went there for a celebratory feast.  The restaurant has Tarot card paintings on the walls above the booths and good pizzas. Very authentic and you’ll find close-by Gelaterias  ( Gelato joints) too. I Tarocchi I tarocchivia dei Renai 12/14r.Florence 50125.

Hillsides of Florence- San Miniato al Monte

Known as the Medieval Astrological Church, with secret symbolism and mystical healing energy. The celebrated basilica was designed with underlying astrological context in 1018 – the 13th Century and is, some believe, dedicated to esoteric sun or solar healing. Think – The Sun Card and The Hierophant when you spend time there and of course the Three of Pentacles.

San Miniato’s relationship with the sun mysteries is profound and my advice is to visit with your head and your heart. The expected elements of arcane design are present in this space – the idea of the interplay of sunlight shafts that illuminate secret meaning within a sacred space through the use of occult symbolism only known to initiates, astrological characters, zodiac wheel and much more await your exploration. If you go with an open heart, you’ll feel the energy of the hermetic wisdom ensconced there and be touched by it.

One is greeted by a zodiac mosaic floor in the main entranceway of the church. A Latin inscription lies on the pavement nearby and when translated it states the time, date and names of the planets involved with a rare celestial event that the astrologically informed founders used for the date to set the mosaic onto the cathedral floor. It was a rare constellational astrological event of a new crescent Moon with the planets Venus, Mercury, Jupiter with Saturn hidden behind the Sun in the constellation of Taurus in May 1207. At sunrise in May the sunlight aligns with the Taurus sector on the zodiac pavement and illuminates it. For those who love an occult mystery this church is a must see.

Bologna – Tarot Book shop and museum. Museo Dei Tarocchi – Via Arturo Palmieri, 5 40047 RIOLA di Vergato, (Bologna) Italy.

Milan –  Tarot Museum Milan, il Meneghello Via Fara 12, 20124 Milano, Italy. Italian Artist Osvaldo Menegazzi has art, decks, rare items, and more at his shop. By appointment.

Best times for travel – April, May, September and October, avoid the summer months if possible. Each of the locations are places to savour so allow ample time to really engage with the energy each offers. You may find significant memories, dreams and thoughts are evoked by these very special locations and a second inspired visit may end up on the agenda.

Good Journeys or Viaggio Sicuro!


Marcia Masino is a certified Grandmaster of tarot and author of the tarot classic Easy Tarot Guide. She has lectured at numerous tarot conferences and is a popular speaker for the Lily Dale Assembly workshop program. Her articles on metaphysical subjects have appeared in Fate and on the Web at http://mmasino.wixsite.com/tarotbooks. She lives in Pickering, Ontario, Canada.

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Tarot Tools for the Holiday Craze

by Courtney Weber

A number of years ago, I was dragging a heavy suitcase to my job, prepared to head home for Christmas at the end of the work day. It wasn’t until a security guard asked me if I was all right that I realized I was yelling at that suitcase, and crying.

“I’m fine,” I said. “It’s just Christmas.”

I don’t remember why I was yelling at my suitcase. I’m sure it was heavy. I was probably sick of hauling it up and down subway stairs. But I may have also been angry at a loved one, fighting with some boyfriend, or frustrated with having to buy a present for a work party on an overstretched holiday budget.

Such a typical story. The holidays can be joyous, exciting, and Magickal. But they can also leave you yelling at your suitcase on a cold morning.

As a Tarot reader, I often consult the cards during the holidays—not so much for prophecy as situational navigation. Pulling a single card a day is a common practice for Tarot practitioners (and one I include in Tarot for One), but this time of year may require a few extra “pulls.”

I have posted some samples below, along with their interpretations:

What do the holidays hold for me and my loved ones?

7-of-cups
7 of Cups

 This card represents a lot of everything: things lovely and challenging—and all coming at you at once. No holiday will be perfect. People will need to be flexible, limit expectations, and focus on the beautiful things. There will be plenty of lovelies, but nothing will ever be 100% Hallmark-worthy (I’m not paid to say that.).

How will the office party go?

Page of Wands
Page of Wands

If the Page of Wands encourages attention to detail, thoughtfulness will be key. Is the boss focusing on who participates in the Secret Santa as a sign of team-playership? Maybe this is a sign to pay attention to how much eggnog you consume (Someone might have spiked it beyond an appropriate level….)? If this is the card you pull in response to a work event, it’s not going to be the kind of event where you can let loose and be a crazy person. You’ll need to be mindful of yourself and others around you.

First time getting together with the family since The Election…how will it go?

Judgement, Reversed
Judgement, Reversed
Nine of Cups, Reversed
Nine of Cups, Reversed

Sometimes, two cards flip out when you’re only trying to draw one. This can highlight a “hot topic,” and given the nature of events this year, many family gatherings will land somewhere on the scale between smoldering and inferno. These two cards, particularly the 9 of Cups Reversed, urge sensitivity. In the best of times, the 9 of Cups represents a whole heart and lots of love. It being reversed does not indicate an absence of love at your family gathering, but it might mean that feelings will be easily hurt—imagine this card as the “open blister” omen. As for Judgement Reversed, the message might be “Leave your judgements at the door.”

What to get the niece/nephew who has most things and hates everything else?

The Moon
The Moon

Gift card.
The Moon represents fickle feelings, so don’t get one for a single store. Visa or Mastercard Gift Card (I’m not being paid to say that, either…).

How can I best practice Self-Care during the Holidays?

Queen of Pentacles
Queen of Pentacles

Make sure to keep yourself on your list this year, too. Keep even a sliver of your budget available to gift something to yourself. If you don’t have any budget at all, imagine your personal time as your holiday gift to the world. Carve out a slice of that time for yourself: go look at lights, listen to your favorite holiday album with no one around to tell you to take it off repeat, indulge in a tasty treat you normally wouldn’t have. The holidays may encourage giving to others, but this doesn’t mean you should leave yourself out.

Good luck, and whatever you celebrate at this time of year, make it as Merry as can be!


Courtney Weber is a Wiccan priestess, writer, Tarot advisor, and activist. A Tarot reader with over 20 years’ experience, Courtney produced and designed Tarot of the Boroughs, a modern tarot deck set in New York City, composed of original photography. She is the author of Brigid (Weiser Books, 2015) and Tarot For One (Weiser Books, Nov 2016). She has been published on Huffington PostThe Wild Hunt, in Circle Times magazine, and elsewhere.

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The Power of Tarot Symbolism

by Marcia Masino

I recently received an inquiry from a woman who asked, “Do you have to know the Tarot to do the Ten of Wands meditation you described in your blog? A brilliant question.  She’d read the visualization instructions from my June, 2016 post and felt moved to perform the meditation because she related to the ideas I presented. However, she was concerned it wouldn’t be effective because she wasn’t a student of the cards.

Her traditional Tarot knowledge was very limited, she could tell a Wand from a Pentacle, could identify some of the Major Arcana and understood that the cards relate to people, life circumstances, spiritual themes and past, present and future. Her concern revolved around the meditation helping her if she didn’t know all the relationships between the intricate card symbolism and interpretive meanings. The woman’s intuitive self recognized the significance of the visualization; she wanted to do the practice without learning the entire Tarot.

the-power-of-tarot-symbolismThe visualization exercise I described focused on the idea of self empowered choices when handling burdens and this felt very relevant to her current life circumstances. She was unable to release the beliefs that no longer helped her and manage those that served her best and higher self. In truth is that not the challenge we all face?  The opportunity to chose which burdens she carried and how to release others appealed to her. The idea of choice was revolutionary; as was engaging with the psyche aspect of the Tarot visuals as a pathway to a better life.

Yes, you can participate in creative Tarot visualization without a full understanding of the nuances of a card’s symbolism. When a Tarot image “speaks to you” or resonates with you it is a sure sign that you are meant to create an imaginative dialogue with it. Another reason to contemplate a specific card is its appearance in a helping placement in a reading’s layout.

I told her to go for it. What she didn’t know was that the Tarot symbolism will teach her what she needs to “know” about the card via the pathway of meditation. A person may not consciously comprehend all the symbolic card meanings (who does?) However, through the contemplation practice the individual’s soul will present knowledge in the best way for her to understand it’s messages. This experience parallels how the cards function during a reading as well as how symbolism appears in a significant dream.

My blog’s focus was on the Ten of Wands, a challenging card that depicts an overburdened figure bent with care. Who would want to meditate on that image and why? Contemplation of a perceived negative card is really the courageous ability to face a test and remove obstacles. By facing the imagery, choosing to take back her power and realigning with her best self my reader is inaugurating a positive future unencumbered from resistance and destructive beliefs.

In my book, Best Tarot Practices, I include empowering meditations for a number of the undesirable cards. This practice requires looking at the chosen card, then following my instructions to interact with the character and scene. By performing (or even reading about them) you can start the process of turning a negative into a positive. Simply focus on a negative card that appears in your spread or as in this example, your attraction to the image.

Contemplation of a negative card is less traditional than the classical utilization of positive Tarot imagery to evoke and or invoke a specific spiritual power. In the early Florentine Renaissance, a scholar named Marsilio Ficino developed a contemplation method to alleviate his own suffering of “saturnine” depression. Ficino used uplifting positive images as talismans and a therapeutic tool to “cure “his self-described melancholia. He taught the elite members of his Hermetic Academy that harmonization with the refined aspects of our spiritual nature can be achieved by viewing and interacting (creative imaging) with beautiful images.

Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli was a member of Ficino’s Academy and would’ve understood the value of inner harmony and self cultivation when he painted his Primavera masterpiece with allegorical characters’ familiar to Tarot students. He included figures of Mercury (The Magician) Venus – The Empress, The Three Graces aka the Three of Cups and also alludes to The Lovers in his painting. No doubt his intention in part, was to capture the elevated qualities of those planetary Tarot figures as both talismans and for therapeutic contemplation. I believe the influence of Ficino’s esoteric teachings and the creation of the first Italian Tarot decks may have experienced some cross pollination since both happened at the same time, place and within the same elite group.

Ficino’s arcane practice of utilization of images to attain spiritual knowledge and well being still exists today. Many of the early 20th Century Tarot decks as well as the modern packs have symbolism designed with this experience in mind. The technique is a threefold process; first you chose the image, then you merge with it in meditation (my Best Tarot Practices book features meditations for all the Major and selected Minor cards as well as the Court.) The third stage is when transformation occurs as the harmonious energy aligns with your nature.

The Tarot symbols are a soul sourced universal and archetypal language that connect you with the spiritual aspect of your subconscious or the Divine Mind. You do not have to know their meaning to have a meaningful meditation experience. However, as you explore symbolism and visualization you will discover significant aspects of yourself while attaining a better understanding of the Tarot. Ultimately this is a way for you to open the path to the universal mind, a plane of consciousness that once tapped facilitates soul purpose, gifts of the spirit and alignment with the Higher Power of your own understanding.


Marcia Masino is a certified Grandmaster of tarot and author of the tarot classic Easy Tarot Guide. She has lectured at numerous tarot conferences and is a popular speaker for the Lily Dale Assembly workshop program. Her articles on metaphysical subjects have appeared in Fate and on the Web at http://mmasino.wixsite.com/tarotbooks. She lives in Pickering, Ontario, Canada.

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The English Magic Tarot – Weiser’s First Major Tarot Deck in Over 40 Years!

October marks a very important month for Weiser Books with the release of our first major Tarot deck in over 40 years.  The English Magic Tarot, available everywhere books are sold, is a unique Tarot deck based on the English magical tradition.  This turbulent period of Henry VIII to the Restoration provides the perfect setting for this deck. The contributors, artist Rex Van Ryn, colorist Steve Dooley, and writer Andy Letcher provide a dynamic graphic style and plenty of twists and turns, riddles and more.

englishmagictarot_setup_web

The English Magic Tarot is Weiser’s first major Tarot deck since our involvement with Aleister Crowley’s Thoth Tarot in the 1970s.  It has so much going for it, that’s it hard to know where to start.  What drew me into the project at first was the art by Rex Van Ryn and the coloring by Steve Dooley.  It immediately reminded me of a graphic novel, and I knew that it would appeal not only to our traditional Weiser audience but to fans of Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore as well.  Then as I began reading Andy Letcher’s text, I knew for sure it was something that only Weiser could publish. Setting the cards in the Elizabethan era allows for magician John Dee to play a central role in the deck, bringing in elements of the Cabbala, Alchemy, Enochian Magic that foreshadow the work of Eliphas Levi, A.E. Waite, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, and even Crowley. In many ways English magic is Weiser magic.  The Foreword by Philip Carr-Gomm is an added bonus, and I haven’t even mentioned the riddles, arcane symbolism, and hidden messages encoded in the cards — but you’ll need to discover and decode those for yourself,” Michael Kerber, president of Red Wheel/Weiser, said about the deck.

Now for a little background on where the deck originated. The creators, Rex, Steve and Andy, all reside in a magical little town called Chagford, in Dartmoor, England. Rex and Steve met over ten years ago while walking, and Andy moved to Chagford more recently. Steve describes how they all became involved with this project as “fortuitous” and they “were all bound to meet and work together.”

The English Magic Tarot has been the subject of Tarot forums and websites well before it was released. Now available, the praise continues to flow in. It’s proving to be much more than just “another Tarot deck” and claiming its spot as a distinctive deck that many admire.

Tarot has become wildly popular over the last couple of years. Many collect decks for the often unique artwork and to add to their ever growing collections, while for others, it is about utilizing the Tarot as a form of divination; performing daily readings for others and themselves.

Judika Illes, Tarot reader and author of The Weiser Book of the Fantastic and Forgotten, The Big Book of Practical Spells and many others, had the pleasure of using The English Magic Tarot deck for readings during the SIBA 2016 show.  Her experience with them was certainly a positive one.

“I recently had the opportunity to read with The English Magic Tarot in a professional setting. This was at a conference and people I had never previously met lined up for readings. Experienced card readers know that there are brilliant Tarot decks and then there are brilliant Tarot decks that work. I was so pleased and delighted to see how well The English Magic Tarot works as a divination tool. It offers new and insightful perspectives, while maintaining the reliability of its RWS roots.”

Courtney Weber, author of Tarot for Oneutilizes the Tarot for her daily practice, and teaches others to do the same.

“Tarot has always carved lines of understanding in chaotic, transitory periods. In the kind of tumultuous, uncertain times we are currently experiencing, I believe people crave perspective. I also think people are finding more spiritual fulfillment in private, personal outlets. The Tarot provides all of that, offering direction in moments of confusion.”

The English Magic Tarot is a deck for all, whether you’re brand new to the Tarot or a seasoned pro, this deck offers something for everyone.

A Conversation with Rex, Steve & Andy – The English Magic Tarot

Are you interested in learning more about The English Magic Tarot? Here is a great interview with the creators, Rex, Steve and Andy!


Why did you become interested in the Tarot?

REX: I had a reading from a gypsy woman in St. Ives when I was eighteen. Twenty years on I was struck by the accuracy with which she had foretold my life. I bought an old Pamela Colman Smith deck and was given a Frieda Harris deck and studied both intently. I loved the stories the tarot told me. It was like reading an ever changing comic book.

Did you always want to create a Tarot deck?

STEVE: No, and yet it is no surprise that I have. With my interest in consciousness and human behavior, working with archetypes was very familiar. Carl Jung had much to say on this. He is a starting point for further discussion, interest and research for many.

What do you think is unique about The English Magic Tarot — after all, there are many thousands of Tarot decks in the world?

ANDY: Three things make the EMT unique. First, there is Rex’s artwork, and Steve’s coloring that give the cards the feel of being panels from a graphic novel. The cards contain movement and depth and often feel like they’re leaping from the page. Second, our storytelling approach to the tarot means we encourage people to use the cards as a device to help them discover, and take control of the stories they tell about themselves and their lives. And finally, there is the period in which the cards are set, and the emphasis on English magic.

What is English Magic?

ANDY: English magic is a distinctive, local branch of natural magic. It has evolved through many iterations, from prehistoric times to the present day, and freely blends high and low magic. One constant is that it regards the cosmos as animate, and our place in the world as significant. It calls us to rediscover a magical connection with the land upon which we happen to live, whether that be England or elsewhere. It supposes that through practice and study (not least, of the tarot!) we can attain a greater understanding of the disparate parts of the self, and the magical connections that permeate the universe. Through English magic we can attain a state of gnosis and true knowledge of the world.

When and how did you become involved with this project?

STEVE: Rex and I met while walking across the wild landscape of Dartmoor ten years ago. We have talked and colluded ever since. The tarot collaboration was bound to happen. Rex likes drawing and he knows I like color. Andy arrived in town recently as a musician and writer. It was fortuitous. It was fortune. We were all bound to meet and work together. Things like this happen all the time in this small town.

How did you invent the card images?

REX: I meditated on the cards’ meaning using a drum beat to induce a trance state… sometimes dancing… sometimes prone. When I had imagined the “image,” I broke my trance and drew what was in my mind.

How did the coloring happen?

STEVE: After much discussion and pouring over Rex’s drawings I shut myself away. At no point did Rex say how I should color the cards. He had faith. I devised an entire palette purely on instinct. It had to work for me on many levels. Each card had to work as an individual image, yet they also had to work together. I wanted them to be earthy yet bright, old but relative to today.

Psychologically and emotionally the color combinations had to talk. Color affects me greatly and I hope this shows. I also had to listen carefully to what the cards told me to do. They spoke volumes.

We understand there are riddles and clues hidden in the cards. Can you say more?

ANDY: There are indeed riddles, references, and lore scattered through every card, such as strange writing, books with unusual titles, or letters printed in odd colors. All these are significant and have been placed there deliberately. On one level, they are there simply to encourage readers to look more closely at the cards, and to entice them into a deeper understanding of English magic. But we also wanted there to be an overarching theme to the cards, something that ran through them all and bound them together, something unique to English magic. So the riddles do all point to something. It’s a kind of treasure hunt, if you will, and there is an actual answer at the end.

Why is the Tarot still relevant in the modern age?

ANDY: We regard the tarot as a kind of distillation of Western wisdom. By using the cards you are playing with the building blocks of story. The cards allow us to make sense of our lives, the trials and tribulations we all face, to name and change the stories we habitually tell ourselves.

englishmagictarot_setup_web


Rex Van Ryn is a comic book artist who has worked for Marvel and IPC, producing strips for 2000AD and Scorer, amongst others. He has worked as a storyboard artist for numerous films and TV shows.

Stephen Dooley has worked extensively in Britain and Europe painting murals and trompe l’oeil frescoes. He recently co-produced the Wind in the Willows app for the iPad.

Andy Letcher is the author of Shroom: A Cultural History of the Magic Mushroom (Faber & Faber, 2006, UK; Harper, 2008, US) and numerous scholarly articles on paganism, shamanism, and folklore. He has been a practicing Druid for 20 years and gave his first tarot reading at age 11.