Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Phrasing questions for a Tarot spread

I'm really enjoying the opportunity to respond to questions. I may not always be free to respond right away but I will where I can.  Here's another great question from the Facebook page;

Lesley wrote: 

 Hi Trevor! I read for myself quite a bit using the Celtic Cross spread. What are your thoughts about asking, or thinking, a specific question while shuffling? Is an actual question necessary? and if so how best to frame the question for optimum results?

Great question! I think formulating a question as well as some preparation before a reading is very important and can make a tremendous difference in the results we get. If you follow my blog at all you know I love to improvise in working with Tarot and although there's a part of that which can involve flying by the seat of your pants, we also need to have some structure if we don't want to just be on a wild goose chase. Forming a question or phrasing an intention or need before a reading is an important part of that. Whether we are getting a reading done, or doing a reading for someone else or for ourselves it's necessary to set some parameters before we begin.

There is a great difference between going for a general reading like what I do professionally and a reading around a specific question. I have an approach where I usually ask the person when they come in to relax and shuffle the cards while reflecting on their life, there's usually more than one question and there's usually other people on their minds but even when there is a major issue I don't ask to know this at that point as it would interfere with my objectivity and intuition. I don't try to guess what a person's questions are, rather I see the reflecting around the shuffle as an opportunity for the person to get settled and receptive. I usually cover the person's concerns in the reading without them needing to ask verbally and then I allow time near the end of the reading for other issues or anything needing clarification to be asked.

Reading around specific questions though is another kind of approach, I can usually refer back to the same spread for answers and I have my own non-linear variation on the Celtic Cross spread that I use for that (that's a whole other article). But going into a reading with a specific question is more often what goes on when we are reading for ourselves, something I still do, both for study and inner work.
Also when I read for friends or people where I would not be as objective and relying more on the cards it is good to have a clearly formulated question in mind. Here are some suggestions to that specific kind of work:

1. Write it down. I've mentioned before the immense value in keeping a Tarot journal. Some people just incorporate their reading into their already existing diaries. Being able to spend a few moments checking into how you are doing before phrasing the question can help us see later elements we may not have immediately thought of as relevant. Don't just write the question, use this as a chance to check in with you.

2. Tailor your layout. Even if you are doing a traditional Celtic Cross layout strictly by the book (now decide which book beforehand - they vary!). I find there is something about determining before hand what the flow of the reading will be. You may decide you want to go with another layout, there's tons out there, just google "Tarot Layouts", and there's plenty of great books - most good "how to" Tarot manuals have at least two or three spreads. Aeclectic Tarot (one of my favorite resources) has tons of info (type in layouts in their search function!) as well as discussion groups etc. around this and many other topics. But decide your layout beforehand. Frankly I find the Celtic Cross a bit stilted for a single query. The main thing is decide and sketch it out beforehand. 

3. Focusing and phrasing. Think of what could symbolize this question. Just as in reading for another person we choose what is traditionally called a "significator" you could also choose what I call a "signifier".  A significator traditionally can be associated with a person's physical appearance, astrological sign or any number of other attributions, it is generally a court card or in some instances where that person might fit with an archetypal role it could be a major arcana card. A signifier however is more situational, this is usually a minor arcana card for a mundane situation (i.e. conflict around work could be the 5 of wands, an emotional decision the 2 or 4 of cups). Or a major arcana card around a life lesson or something more internal. Also Aces make great signifiers, you can use an Ace to be a focal point for a particular area of your life or the part of your consciousness it corresponds with. Here's a neat suggestion too; go through the deck and visually recognize cards (that's right more than one) that could help you phrase your question. For example: Aunt Harriet (the Queen of Wands) is needing a lot of medical assistance (maybe the 4 of swords) and has worries around property and some dependant people (5 of pentacles). We could write those cards down with our question, take them out and look at them while shuffling and then shuffle them back into the deck. It could be that some of these cards actually come up in the reading!

4. I'll throw in this groovy little suggestion too: an alternate approach is to set aside a particular card (only one in this instance) go through the shuffle while looking at it, then when you have gone through the overall procedure (shuffle and cut) set aside the number of cards from the layout (10 for the Celtic cross for instance) and then (as you would traditionally with a significator) you could lay that first card of the spread down on top of that OR (and this is fun) shuffle the significator/signifier into the pile of cards (in this case 10) that are to be used. Where that comes up is where things are in relation to the question  so if the signifier comes up as the third card you still lay a third card on it but it is telling you your question is particularly relevant to position three.  This is meant to be an example of how we can further design or set up structures for insight. Have fun with it, be creative and enjoy! I've formulated a lot of spreads this way.

Hope this helps, thanks again for the question and by all means to everyone out there, post back and let me know of your results!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Instinct & Intuition

In response to a recent question about working with instinct and intuition, here is a little Youtube video. Working with instinct and intuition in doing readings requires not just perception of others but also self honesty - the ability to know what parts of ourselves are present in perception, and being able to park our own baggage to be constructive and open. I love sharing around these topics and value questions and suggestions for further articles and videos. My schedule is busy but with a fair bit of flexibility in the next few weeks. If you are planning on being in the Winnipeg area and would like to book a reading with me give me a call at (204) 504-9575 to set something up. Sorry I am not doing phone or internet readings at this time but there is some interesting growth and evolution in the works, any changes in the structure of my work will always be announced here.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Recording readings / saving spreads and symbols

Some people like to record their readings to review later, over time there can be many things that take on a different relevance. Sometimes people relate that a part of a reading may have been puzzling at the moment and then days or weeks later the information really hits home. In some instances too people may want to take notes but that can be quite distracting both for the person being read as well as for the reader. I generally suggest that if you really need to take notes just jot down key words and then after the reading, while it is fresh in your mind, jot down the greater stuff. Of course if you have a friend along for your reading - and I enjoy reading for people together (if you have an open comfortable relationship) you could take notes for each other.

Of course the best solution is to digitally record your reading. For both in person or Skype (online) readings, recording is allowed for personal private use, but requires whatever device or system software you choose to use. If this is your choice, please have this functional and tested before the reading.

Please note that we no longer offer cassette tape recording, in the last while the availability and quality of cassettes and tape recorders has become limited and unreliable. If you wish to bring a cassette recorder that's fine but please have it tested and ready to go before the reading appointment.

Over the last few years, more and more people are using their smartphones or other devices that they bring with them to audio record the reading. Also saving a picture of the layout and / or individual cards is a great way to carry the mindfulness of a reading on the go and most devices have a camera function that will work for that. For Skype readings I send you a picture of the reading layout by email at the beginning of the session. Here's some things to keep in mind:
  • Readings are private, personal and confidential, any recording of readings is permitted for private, personal use only.
  • Please be familiar with how your device works beforehand, if you have an Iphone I can help (to a degree) with that. Most devices are fairly similar so these suggestions should help but I'm not a tech expert and we don't want to detract from your reading time by having to figure out technology.
  • I presently have chargers for IPhones 4 and 5 as well as for Blackberries, and most Android devices but it's best to make sure your device is fully charged beforehand.
  • We recommend you first put your device in "Airplane mode" this means you will not receive messages, text or phone calls during the reading as they are an interruption both to the process as well as recording. This is found in "Settings". You will need to turn Airplane mode off following your reading to reconnect to your services.
  • The recording application "Voice Memo" (in Blackberry it is "Voice Notes") is usually found in the home screen file called "Utilities".
  • We generally start recording after the shuffling and cutting of the cards.
  • Following the reading if you wish to photograph the layout of the cards or a specific card, feel free to use the camera function of your device.
  • *NOTE* The reading will be a fairly large file on your device, if you store a lot of other information such as pictures music etc. please make sure you have sufficient memory to record, also as the file is large you can generally only transfer the file manually (when you hook your device by it's cable up to your computer or other device).
  • Sorry we cannot be responsible for any technical problems around the recording of a reading.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Finding your purpose

A little Vlog post here about a topic that comes up a great deal these days in readings. "Finding your purpose"  is not as complicated as some gurus and costly coaches would have you believe. I have found that for many of us it is present in a lot of what we are already doing. There's some work at times in untangling it from our life scripts - which we can learn to identify and change - or it is sometimes buried under our other circumstantial struggles but there's glimpses of it we can begin to see right here and now.
In spending some time away from the city recently, in an area full of nature and history I've been doing some reflecting on this. In most instances our grandparents didn't have this dichotomy, they lived with a true sense of purpose. For many purpose was simply survival and looking after what they could. Nowadays along with purpose we hear another buzz word "entitlement". These things get complicated and we often think we have a very daunting task to "connect with our authentic self" (there's some more buzz words). I believe, as I mention in the video, that if you want to know your purpose it is there on your kindergarten report card. It's what got you a gold star for sharing. It's what your friends appreciate about you and  it's also what gets you in trouble when you put it in the wrong place.
One of the problems with so many of these life coachey things like "The Secret" is that people often turn to these resources because they are finding their lives (and selves) unacceptable and want escape. It's good to want improvement but it has to begin where we are. When you begin with you - warts and insecurities and all -and see those things as a key to compassion for yourself and others, you find a great starting point for creativity, passion and that gets you somewhere starting from the present. Without that willing recognition though, however great the book, teacher or program is, it will sit half read or undone.
There's a lot of great stuff out there that's free or reasonably priced on how to wake up. There's some great practitioners, teachers and mentors that are ethical and that can be very helpful. At the same time from another perspective I HIGHLY recommend checking out the following  article online at Bitch Media  called "Eat Pray Spend" as it talks about the downside of some life change programs that don't really offer a lot of substance. Personally as both  a practitioner and a fellow seeker it's important to question, challenge and take my own medicine. I am blessed to have friends on the path that teach me through sharing and keep me in line.

September Atmosphere

September brings such a lovely change of atmosphere to Winnipeg's West End, from the returning students at the University of Winnipeg to the rich and vibrant community that is always around the neighborhood of my work, family and home. Here's a little video from outside the primary location of my work at Elemental Book and Curiosity Shop, 355 Langside St.
Also note that Elements Restaurant and Bar (similar names) is directly across Langside from us and is open (after being closed over the summer) with a fully licenced patio, perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, dessert or coffee - great for before or after a reading!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Experience and background

Many readers have various forms of experience, maybe reading privately or through structured or independent study. This is all to be respected but it's also fair to ask what sort of experience that is as reading as an interest and reading professionally can be very different. One is not necessarily better than the other. I know some great readers with very little professional experience and the professionals all had to start somewhere!

For myself, although I had some reading experience and learning prior to my reading professionally it is not what I include in citing professional experience. Prior to my working at it, reading was an interest and in one way or another it was part of me as far back as I can remember and it's that way for most readers I know. When I state: "since 1982" it is since I began this as my full time, main livelihood. Someone asked me where I have read professionally the other day, here goes as best I can recollect:

  •  Feb. 1982 to June 1986 -The Chocolate Shop restaurant. I initially worked for descendants of the same family that had this place going back to 1918. Madam Red (Winnipeg's most famous reader) and many other fascinating readers, people and characters had their start there. It was a location famous for readings and still remembered fondly by many Winnipeg people. The first 3 years there were a joy, I had to begin as a fledgling and work my way up (and did) but the last year (1986) was under a new ownership and frankly just wasn't the same. You can buy the name of a business but you cant buy it's experience or spirit. it changed hands a few times since then, went through highs and lows and at times had some other good  readers but is now long gone.

  •  1986 to 1995 - The Eastside Exchange Bar and Grill 177 Lombard (behind the Richardson Building), this was an upscale establishment and I was the main full time reader there from when it initially opened and on for 9 years. This truly gave me the opportunity to develop my approach, establish a uniquely diverse client base and I had the privilege of working with some fine people and fellow readers that I have many fond memories of. However my clients had been asking for some time for a more private appointment based structure so it was after 9 years, time to evolve and change.

  •  1995 to 2012 I worked independently through co-operative shared space at Blackletter Books in a private reading room. The 17 years I spent in this North End location were very rewarding. Working with Jan (the bookstore owner) was also a great experience, I am grateful for his support and the time there.

  •  June 2012 to March 2015 I have continued my independent work through co-operative shared space at Elemental Book and Curiosity Shop in the vibrantly growing West End. I enjoyed working alongside another business and Dominique is a good friend. I appreciate her support and so much of her business and work is an opportunity for me to further learn and share.

  • March 2015 to present,  I am delighted to now be  working by appointment through my own "Reading Studio" at 216-165 Stafford St. at Grosvenor Check out "Contact/Appointments" to book a reading.
 In all this time I haven't taken much time off and although I have had some other side jobs along the way, reading is still my chief work, my passion and my joy. I've seen a lot come and go through all this time. The industry changes, ebbs and flows. I'm looking forward to further adventures, further learning and sharing. Stay tuned for further evolution!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Acceptance is a beginning.

I posted the following on the Facebook page yesterday and people seem to like it so I'll share it here as well. I find sometimes things come up again and again in readings and this results in lessons. I am privileged to share and learn from a lot of people's life experiences. Often in our struggles we hear about acceptance being a necessary thing and sometimes we can think we are doing pretty well because we have some sense of acceptance going on with ourselves and others, but before we get too smug, we have to sometimes ask ourselves who we think we are to NOT accept things. In that sense here's some food for thought about acceptance:
 
  "I've said it before and will say it again, acceptance is greatly overrated and not really a virtue (in itself), especially when you consider the alternative is denial. Appreciation and recognition are the greater things, seeing the innate worth in people or situations especially when they are difficult. Accepting difficult circumstances is important - like knowing when you get rained on...you get wet. Accepting is not about approving or liking what's going on. We have to begin with acceptance but it is only a beginning. "I accept this" is you saying you'll cooperate with reality. Saying "others feel this too" and "what can I learn from this" is where we start finding treasures. That's the start of the real adventure."
 
- In Tarot it is the suit of Pentacles that relates to ownership, owning up and seeing worth and value in ourselves, others and situations. I've used the Ace of Pentacles to illustrate this piece.