Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Value Of Uncertainty

I was having a conversation with a friend today about "being sure of yourself" and I remembered a great article in Shambhala Sun. Written shortly after the infamous September 11th 2001, it was by Margaret Wheatley and was about the value of uncertainty.

She starts by saying;
"In a changing world, certainty doesn't give us stability; it just creates more chaos. "Now," is the time for far less certainty and far more curiosity."

The full article is at:

Shambhala Sun is a monthly magazine about Buddhism and meditation, I always find it's articles insightful and thought provoking:

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tarot Music

Being a child of the '60s, and being greatly influenced by my older brother's taste in music, I had Tarot symbolism around me before I even knew what tarot was.

Like many people of my generation I first saw "The Hermit" inside a Led Zeppelin album.

One of the albums I adore from that era (that was inspired by imagery from the Tarot) is Steve Hackett's "Voyage Of The Acolyte". Check out the following Youtube link (particularly "the hands of the priestess" and "the hermit")

Recommended Reading -Tarot

There are a number of great recommendations on the Aeclectic tarot website as well as forums etc. with excellent reviews.

Along with the names you will hear again and again (Stuart R. Kaplan, Crowley, Waite, etc. etc. ) , the following are a few of the books that I have particularly found useful.

For Beginners:

"Choice Centered Tarot" by Gail Fairfield
More info on

"Easy Tarot Guide" by Marcia Masino

More info on

For Serious Study:

"Qabalistic Tarot" by Robert Wang. For in depth background on just about everything you could ever want to know, the systems from which tarot originates, the symbols, associations and the transformative experience of working with and creating a deck and what would probably be the most important reference manual I go back to again and again (and is helpful in understanding Crowley, Waite and all the others). This author is not afraid to debunk some big tarot myths (the tarot itself is not ancient for instance, but rather has always borrowed from symbolism far older than itself). I have found a number of books by R. Wang helpful and his own creations in terms of decks are articulate and work well.

More info on

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Paintings by Dan

Most of the original art in my reading room is by my brother Daniel Thorkelson. He has been a big influence in my life. His deep appreciation of nature, his humor, sensitivity and perspectives on life show in his work.
Once he gets his blog up and running I'll post a link (hint, hint, Dan!).

Friday, July 17, 2009

One of my favorite Tarot decks

This is a sample of the Aquarian tarot by David Palladini. It is actually the first style of deck I ever worked with. It has an art deco feel to it and interestingly it has more of a "pull" than a deck the same artist released afew decades later (the Palladini tarot). It is based very closely on the Waite Smith deck of course which is what I use 99% of the time in my professional work, but I love the artwork on these. The Priestess card is perhaps one of the most beautiful images and interestingly he has chosen to "lift the veil" behind her. The butterfly on the flower seems to suggest that inner wisdom and transformation come in quiet contemplation, lovely.

I'll include a link to a review of this deck on Aeclectic tarot:

A great site by the way if you are looking for information on decks. One thing I find annoying about how tarot cards are often sold is that there is usually no way of knowing what all of the cards look like as they are sold in a sealed box. This site lets you peruse some images and the reviews are great.

A Favorite Author

I am not a Buddhist but I do appreciate lot of it's teachings. One of my favorite authors is Pema Chodron. She is the Abbess of Gampo Abbey in Nova Scotia, a Buddhist retreat and monastery. I'd love to go there someday (my grandfather was from Nova Scotia too).
Her book "Start Where You Are" is one that I have read many times. It is about meditation, mindfulness and working through life experience rather than trying to run away from it. I also recommend "When Things Fall Apart".
The following is a clip from a Bill Moyers interview on why she became a Buddhist:

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

About My Practice And Standards

* Update* - for my disclaimer on what a reading is and isn't, please see the footnote that appears at the bottom of this article.

The Picture at left of course is the wonderful Frank Morgan in "The Wizard Of Oz". A humbug with a heart of gold. There are a lot of different kinds of readers out there and, like in any profession, there are good ones, bad ones and there are a lot of people who want to paint us all with the same brush.

I was asked recently to describe what I do and how I operate. My standards have evolved over the years, as well as my own professional boundaries and areas of specialization. I always point out that intuitive or psychic reading is very individual in it's expression and practice and readers usually develop their own style (and reputation) over time.

My sessions are generally a half hour in length. I have done fairs and parties (and still do occasionally) and particularly when I read in restaurants the format was quite a bit shorter ( I sometimes had as many as 30 people waiting). When I established my independent practice on an appointment basis, I moved into a longer format and found that I was usually able to cover pertinent information and provide insight quite comfortably within the half hour, also allowing time near the end for the client to ask questions verbally.

With the exception of reading for friends (which is different), I like to go into a reading knowing very little about the person. I don't like to be led by obvious cues or clues. At the same time part of what I do does involve paying attention to and being sensitive to the state the person is in, this has more to do with the delivery of information than to the information itself.

The reading room is a relaxing environment and can comfortably accommodate myself and up to 4 or 5 other people at a time. Many people prefer to come individually or in pairs as reading is, for the most part, an intimate experience. I allow people to bring in a friend and sometimes small groups like to sit in on one an other's readings. I'm fine with that.

I allow people to use a recording device of their choice, please see Recording readings/saving spreads

I begin by explaining how I would like the person to shuffle the deck - always holding the cards over the table and face down - (a lot of people don't handle cards much these days). While shuffling I ask the person to reflect, silently of course, on any important issues they may have or to reflect as if a good friend asked them how they are doing. After shuffling I have them cut the cards and I begin to read.

The reading itself can vary. Generally I am working with a combination of what I receive intuitively ( I get very strong impressions of both the external circumstances of the person as well as the lessons they are moving through internally) and also the interpretation of the cards themselves.
I work with either a Rider/Waite deck - as seen in this sample (click on it for a larger view), or a variant there-of. I like the Aquarian tarot as an alternative, but it's usually the Rider. I have evolved my own version of the traditional Celtic Cross spread, which I will post about in the future. I tend to pay a lot of attention to card combinations and the predominance of symbols, numbers and elements. Usually there is a theme or lesson that is revealed running through the various areas of a person's life (i.e. relationships, work, security and conflicts).

Toward the last part of the session I allow for questions to be asked verbally. I prefer this towards the end as questions are often rather leading and I should have established a connection before this point as to not be as biased.

I don't recommend a person having readings too often, for most it is a yearly thing, or they may come around a specific issue then come for a follow up a few months after, but I NEVER encourage dependency on what I do. It is meant to be food for thought and an adjunct to a person's own good judgement.

For some it is entertainment and I am OK with that. Sometimes it IS entertaining, but I take what I do seriously at the same time. I do have a psychic / intuitive gift that I have to use responsibly and also a strong ability to empathise and understand which the work itself has strengthened. Communication skills and a sense of humor help too. Apart from that I do not see myself as being that much different from most people and don't purport to be, (other than the quirks everyone does have and I must admit I have a few).

I don't read for people under 18. I also will decline a reading if I feel the person is not in a responsible state to receive what I offer objectively. To me reading is a form of perception that should be received with an open mind even a bit of friendly skepticism, blind faith is as bad as, if not worse than, vehement cynicism.

In the cases of people going through major issues or crisis (i.e. abusive relationships, psychological problems, loss or trauma, addiction issues) I may spend some of the time suggesting a referral to an appropriate resource. Sometimes in these instances I will say that it might not be the time for a reading in which case I either wave the fee or only accept partial payment, it depends on the circumstances. I reserve the right to refuse service if I don't feel it is an appropriate resource.

I am not qualified to diagnose health issues and have not tried to develop my perception along those lines. I refer that to a person's doctor or an appropriate practitioner. I will discuss well being and the messages a person may be getting from their body.

I can get very strong impressions about people in the person's life or that may be coming into the picture, but I cant, for instance, give someone information on an ex they broke up with two years ago if that person is not relevant to their life anymore.

I don't identify as a clairvoyant or medium. I have had some senses about people who have passed on but more often in terms of what the living carry from that connection. I do sometimes sense presences or trace energies in environments or around people and I have had some very strong personal experiences (and also people close to me have), but I work cautiously in this on professional ground as it is not what I see as my specialization (at least at this time).

Reading is an on-going learning experience. I have to approach each day and each client with a willingness to learn in the doing. Most of the time I love my job.

Psychic readings can be many things to many people, both in what clients seek and what different types of practitioners offer. We all have our own gifts and our own unique expression.  I offer what I do as perception (which is admittedly fallible), as well as an art form. It is an entertainment that  should be taken respectfully with a grain of salt.

Readings are NOT meant to in any way take the place of your own judgement. I do not offer or purport to be an authority on medical, legal, psychological or financial matters and concerns on those levels should be directed to appropriate resources. You are ultimately responsible for your life and decisions. You must be 18 years of age to have a reading. I reserve the right to refuse service if I feel this to be an unsafe or unsuitable resource.

As a form of art, my kind of reading should be something that speaks to you, providing relevant information that encourages and inspires. As a teller of stories, a sharer of experience and as a perceptive intuitive psychic, I hope I can be of service. I welcome every reading as a new experience and an opportunity to mutually learn and share.