Tarot Thursday Three: February 2, 2017

Here we are again!  Thursday, the day before Friday, the almost-there to the weekend day, the #tarotthursdaythree day.  Today is a little extra special because it’s also Imbolc, and the day that my tarot shop is officially open!  Check out the page above titled “Book a Reading” if you’re interested in my philosophy, fine print, offerings, and if you want a reading!

Ok, anyway, back to #tarotthursdaythree — the questions are by me this week, which is exciting!  They are pretty basic questions, but the answers are gonna be tough for me… So let’s get going, shall we?


1.  What is your favorite tarot card and why?

Alright, alright.  First question and I already kinda hate myself — like, how am I supposed to pick one favorite tarot card?!  Should my favorite be a card that I pull often and that means a lot to me, or should it be one that I love the message of and wish that I pulled more?!  Those two groups tend to be exclusive in my reading experience.

But when I think about what my favorite card is, generally two quickly come to mind (one will be the answer to this question, and one for question three).  The first is Strength.  This card was the inspiration for my new logo and header: the woman and the lion.  The lion is special to me because there are three lions on the “O’Brien” family crest, and in high school a math teacher used to rhyme my last name with lion — “O’Brien the Lion.”  I’m particularly drawn to the lioness, though, hey, any lion is good by me.

I thought about selecting the Moon or the Star, my significator (Queen of Swords), or the Four of Swords which always means a lot to me, but Strength is a card that I can consistently and easily identify with and align myself with the message.  It should be noted that I rarely actually draw Strength, not sure what that could mean.  She combines the messages of the High Priestess and Empress (which I don’t often identify with well on their own), and rolls them all together and adds a sash proclaiming “Badass.”  Strength reminds me of courage, inner power, and mastering your emotions.  Strength has got her shit together and she’s going places.  I want to be that badass.  In a way, she reminds me of the Queen of Swords, because of her sense of self and discipline.

2.  What is your least favorite tarot card and why?

So, like other posts that I have read, I do agree that all cards are necessary in the spectrum of tarot.  I’ve written briefly about the cards that I struggle to interpret, and that automatically kind of puts them in the “not-as-favorite” category.  But, I wanted to pick a different card for this prompt.  I don’t like the Five of Pentacles because this card is straight up sad, and though it’s message can provide hope, it ultimately provides little.  When this card shows up, it’s like saying, “Well, you’re in it.  Shit sucks, but stay hopeful because it’ll get better….some…time….”  And the fact that, in the RWS, these poor people are standing helpless outside a brightly lit church puts a bad taste in my mouth — why is no one helping them?  This card is my least favorite because it just makes me feel without hope.

3.  If you could be a tarot card (live in/personify/experience), which would it be and why?

Nine of Pentacles!  After the Queen of Swords (my significator), I identify strongly with this card (in conjunction with Strength).  This card is like what happens to a person after they internalize the message of Strength.  The Queen of Swords is strong, and fierce, and powerful to be sure, but she is lacking some warmth that I would like to embody.  The Nine of Pentacles is, again, about being a badass.  The Fountain Tarot writes that this card says “life is beautiful,” and I really love that.  I love this independent, successful woman, and I want to be her.  She’s worked hard to get where she is, and she has co-created a life that she loves.


Through writing this post, I’ve noticed that the Five of Pentacles is like the antithesis of the Nine of Pentacles and Strength.  The Fountain Tarot (I keep referencing it because it’s my favorite LWB to work with) uses the keywords (among others) “self-discipline” for Strength, “self-mastery” for the Nine of Pentacles, and then “self-pity” for the Five of Pentacles.  The Five of Pentacles is like a warning, to not let life and my ambitions to get too far away from me, because a substantial loss could be experienced.  A lot of our life comes from our perception, or internal experience.

However, there are substantial external circumstances which shape and determine our lives.  I realize that I’m privileged enough to be able to sit here and analyze these cards.  I realize that I’m privileged enough that my life can be considered a product of my own determination, in which I don’t have multiple, toxic systems working against me.  I’m privileged enough that I can see myself in the Nine of Pentacles, the woman who created her own life.  I’m privileged enough that I do not anticipate the Five of Pentacles as my fate.  But, that’s the very lesson of the Five of Pentacles.  Do not become so prideful, so unassuming, that this fate couldn’t be yours.  Circumstances change so quickly.  Be ever mindful.

This also reminds me of the movie Life is Beautiful — have you seen it?  It’s about an Italian Jewish family that is put into a Nazi concentration camp during World War II.  The movie is gorgeous, and it’s all about hope and how beautiful life can be even in the most horrendous circumstances.  I always think of the movie when I work with the Nine of Pentacles, because the quotation “life is beautiful” is in the Fountain’s guidebook.  The stark delineation between the Five and the Nine becomes more clear when they are next to each other.  The Strength needed to get from the Five to the Nine is apparent.

And, if you’re privileged enough to sit here and analyze this, to analyze meanings assigned to cards, then you are privileged enough to get out there and help others move from the Five to the Nine.  Why is no one helping the couple in the Five of Pentacles?  Because no one has gotten up to do it.  Be that person, use your privilege to lift others up, be that Strength for others.

Well that escalated quickly.  Thanks, Julia, as always for putting these prompts together.

At the time of publishing, here are the other posts that I’ve seen around…




What is your favorite/least favorite tarot card?  What card would you love to be?  Did you make a post answering these questions?  Comment below and let me know!

Exploringly yours,
Alaina x

Tarot Thursday Three: January 26, 2017

Phew!  Like others have noted, where does the time go?  Wasn’t it just last Thursday?  I suppose between last Thursday and this Thursday we live in an entirely new world with you-know-who’s inauguration and all the ensuing political and social justice fallout…… *cough* Anyway, that’s another topic that I have been, and will continue to, explore on this blog.

But now, the fun stuff!  Another #tarotthursdaythree, hosted by Julia with questions from Vanessa (links at the end).  As I was reading the questions I couldn’t help but notice there are eight this week instead of three (hehe).  Here we go!…..

1.  What was your first time like giving an in-person reading?  Where were you?  How did you feel?  Spill the deets!

Well, the first time I read for someone other than myself, I read for one of my best friends.  I read for Hilary, who I met my freshman year of college — we lived on the same floor.  She was visiting for the weekend and had seen me and my cards on Instagram and asked for a reading.  I was armed with my trusty The Wild Unknown, crystals, and, like Vanessa, my guidebook.  I hadn’t been reading for very long at this time, but I was keen to try it out with friends (and now, typically, I do a reading for each of my besties when we’re together).  Anyway, that experience wasn’t that great (nerves!!  awkwardness!!) but it was fun and my friend seemed to get something out of it.  Though I’m still pretty terrible at in-person readings, I’m working on it.  The photo below is from that day — the 7 of swords and 5 of swords in one reading?!  To this day, two of my least favorite cards to interpret.  Oh, and since Vanessa asked, we did this reading in my bed (if that wasn’t already clear :)).

2.  Have you ever had a negative client response to one of your readings?  How did they react and why?  How did you respond back?

I have not.  I mostly do my readings online and, like others, have received no feedback at all, but haven’t had anyone disgruntled.  One person asked for further clarification, and, when given, was perfectly happy.  When reading in person with my friends, it’s more back-and-forth, conversation-like, so we hash out anything that doesn’t make sense.

I will say that since starting to read for others, I realize how valuable feedback is.  I’m one of those people that just kinda forgets to send feedback, or would send something like “oh that really resonated, thanks!”  But now I understand how helpful and validating feedback can be, so I’ve been making more of an effort there.

3.  Have you ever been challenged by a skeptic regarding tarot?  What was your experience like?

Hmm, not really.  My mom doesn’t super support tarot, so we just kind of don’t discuss it.  After seeing my Instagram for the first time, my coworkers will sometimes ask “so what’s this tarot thing?”  Like Dianna, I explain primarily how tarot is about archetypes and themes, and avoid the other woo-woo stuff.  My partner was uninterested for the longest time, but recently asked for a reading (his first!).  So, generally, everyone’s a skeptic, in my opinion, just because they don’t really know/understand what tarot is all about.  But I haven’t encountered any nasty behavior because of tarot.

And that’s it!  Make sure to check out these other posts *at the time of publishing*…





Did you answer these questions?  Did I miss your post?  Let me know below.  Otherwise, feel free to answer in the comments.  Until next Thursday!

exploringly yours,
Alaina x

Tarot Thursday Three

Hey all!  Julia over at Spiral Sea Tarot has created this awesome writing exercise called the Tarot Thursday Three.  This essentially boils down to three questions that she will post every Thursday for us tarot-y bloggers to answer and share.  Anything that gets me blogging is a good thing, and I’m excited to dive right in…

1. How do you know when to stop shuffling?

So, to be honest, I don’t remember how I shuffled when I first started learning tarot.  Eventually (months later…), I thought to ask someone (Julia, of course) for her input on shuffling (see her response on her blog, linked up top).  From her advice, I devised my own little system which, as Julia says, is essentially my shuffling ritual.  I just felt like if I kept “waiting” to know when to cut the deck or when I was done, I would be shuffling forever.

What I do is shuffle the whole deck nine times, and split it in three piles, shuffle those piles nine times, and then put the deck back together.  I shuffle with my left hand (as I’m left handed), and put the deck back together left pile on to the middle, and the right pile on top of it all.  Then, I ask my question, repeating it (usually in my head), and shuffle nine times.  I do the final nine shuffle for each question in my spread instead of turning up all the cards at once (unless there is one question that requires more than one card).  I’m generally a sloppy shuffler so I don’t acknowledge jumpers because cards be flyin’ all over the place when I shuffle. Aaand that’s about it!

2. Have you ever had a spooky or supernatural experience while working with the cards? 

I don’t view the cards as spooky or supernatural so I haven’t noticed anything crazy.  While I do consider card reading as part of my personal spiritual practice, I’m pretty adamant that the cards themselves are neutral (i.e., cannot allow for anything cray cray to come through), mostly because my mom views them as tools of the Devil (not joking) and….they just aren’t.  Though I have had a couple jumper cards that I put back in to the pile that end up as my card, which I just mostly view as happy synchronicity.

3. Is there a card that you still struggle to interpret at times (maybe even dread when it pops up!)?

Hmm… I always have a hard time with the seven of swords.  Deceit and, uh, deceit, and secrets?  I haven’t had it come up too often, though.  Most swords I find hard to interpret for others in general, though….

That was fun!  Thanks, Julia!  Make sure to check out Julia’s blog for her answers.

And Vanessa’s blog

And Ania’s blog

I haven’t noticed any other #tarotthursdaythree posts but share in the comments if you come across any more!  Especially make sure to comment if you’ve made a post yourself!

exploringly yours,
Alaina xx