Parades, Baton Twirling, and Tarot

People often ask how I came to be involved with the Tarot, in the same way that someone might inquire about how a person met their spouse.  “How’d that happen?” – emphasis on the “that”– is what people really want to know.

In the mind of many, since the thought of reading Tarot is about as remote as having gone to the moon and back, an assumption is often made that this particular area of interest has been with a person all their life. This was not the case for me.

I began the college years with intentions as a math major… you heard right. It was the early ‘70’s and my dad advised getting into the computer field. Dad was an IBM-er and was aware that these monster machines were the next big thing.

Had I listened, I’d be sitting on a beach in Cancun right now sipping a lifetime supply of margaritas and being tended to by an adorable cabana boy…..but I digress.  

You live long enough and you can see how one thing leads to another, not in any regular or expected pattern, but that choice #1 has led to choice #2, and on it goes until you find yourself at the present moment.

I can look back at my college years and see seminal bits of clarity that would eventually feed the stream of Tarot: an interest in Art History and the intrinsic power of images and symbols; the realization that any work focused on traditional sciences, facts, and/or figures held no allure (precipitating the inevitable disappearance of computer technology from my resume;) a post-graduate project where alchemy, art, and Carl Jung’s psychology converged.

Much more interesting stuff here! 

But before all this, before college and even before high school, there was baton twirling… and an experience whose relevance echoes through the work as a Tarot reader and teacher. (Who’d have thought?) 

It was somewhere in the mid-1960’s. On Saturday mornings we’d travel to the neighboring town of Johnson City where twirling class was taught by a 16-year old who was just about the coolest girl I’d ever seen. Sherrie was confident and popular and got to hang out with boys and drink soda by the cement wall at the side of the high school during breaks. I couldn’t wait to be sixteen.

One year, the town of Johnson City asked Sherrie if a twirler from her class could lead the Memorial Day parade down Main Street, a procession which would include the usual collection of Girl Scouts, veterans, and community groups, in addition to the remainder of the baton class. And so auditions were held, and we all were expected to try out.

There were probably 20 other girls in the class (boys were not included in baton class in the mid- 60’s). By no means was I the best twirler in the crowd, but I got the gig and knew that I would. 

It wasn’t because of my stellar abilities with the baton, but rather that the others were best able to follow my particular lead and tempo; the most cohesive unit was created as I guided the pack from front and center. I borrowed a pair of white majorette boots and off we went.

In this instance, being flamboyant, flashy, or even “the best” wasn’t as important as being steady, consistent, and reliable. What a great lesson to have under one’s belt when engaged in a non-traditional, highly specialized field (Tarot) where people with a wide variety of personalities and skill sets converge!

For my part, it has been inordinately helpful to remember that I don’t have to be the best Tarot reader on the planet in order to be effective. I am fully aware that there are scads of people who know more about the Tarot than I could ever hope. This doesn’t mean that good work can’t happen in my own sphere of influence, nor should it stop me from trying.

The memory of parading down Johnson City’s Main Street in is a reminder that it’s just as important for people to be able to follow your lead (in Tarot-terms, to grasp the guidance, wisdom, and support in the message of your words) as it is to be the brightest star in the sky.

 Today’s tip then, in case you needed another reminder: Being yourself is always the best bet.

PS: Don’t let the similarities between the two images pictured here escape you!

Tarot card image The Magician from the Rider-Waite Tarot deck, (c) US Games Systems Inc.


Yard Sale Documentation Project 5-26-12

This is why I need a hatchback.

You can see that today was a good day — here’s the pile of stuff that was crammed into my new BFF the Versa which, by the way, I’ve decided to name BlueBelle.

In a mediocre year, today’s outing would be a contender for “Best Over-all Day of the Season” (see YSDP 4-21-12 for a review of the categories) but I hope we haven’t peaked quite yet.

Today’s was a four-hour excursion, the treasure du jour being a child-sized wooden table and 3 chairs that Kate picked up for Vera. This is a sentimental purchase, something Kate enjoyed as a child and something she’s wanted to share with her own daughter. The search for a suitable counterpart has been on for quite some time.

We found the set early in the day and hemmed a little about the price and the fact that it needed a new coat of paint and did Kate really have the time to take on another project but it’s really cute and it’s sturdy but they’re selling it on behalf of a neighbor so I’m not sure if they’re flexible on the price and so what do you think?

We left it behind, and 45 minutes later were heading back for it with fingers crossed. Turning the corner we saw it sitting there, waiting for its next owner like a pet at the rescue shelter. By this time the hemming was over and the buyer was happy. Do I really need to say that she paid $10 instead of the asking price of $15?

That’s my girl.


Perhaps I should add a category to the list of “Honorable Mentions” previously listed: Most Amazing Setting for a Yard Sale

In such a category, the location at which I picked up the two oak side tables in the photo would be a tough one to beat. We’re talkin’ waterfront property, and I mean take a step or two off the lawn and you’re on the rocky coast of Maine. Spectacular. The beautifully warm day and the ocean air made the atmosphere almost intoxicating.

Luckily for me these folks were not suffering from pricing delusions, as they certainly could have had their way with my wallet, that sweet ocean air filled with ozone pouring into my lungs and all. The pair of tables was negotiated at $7.


On we go to the four framed seashell prints. I loved them at a sale in this same neighborhood last weekend when they were $2 apiece. I thought about them during the week, actually, pining over them and kicking myself for being cheap and not getting them since I was now envisioning where in my house they would have looked perfect.

I loved them even more today at the same sale a week later when they were $1 apiece.


Some items walk the tightrope between “kitchy and cool” and “downright tacky and perhaps even ugly.” Such is the case of the metal leafy candle-thingee here pictured. But I like it, it looks good in my house, and yes, one day it probably will end up in my yard sale.


To round out the mix, we have two pairs of multicolored (hand-dipped?) candles, a bracket for the window box that will hang on the front of my house by 5:00 this evening, a lovely antique-looking frame, and a tiny address book for my friend Candice so that she can/will send me postcards from all the fabulous places in the world she visits.

Total investment: $17.50

I mean really, is there a better way to spend Saturday morning?

Three Non-Tarot Ways to Celebrate “World Tarot Day”

You may not have it marked on your calendar, but today is World Tarot Day!

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t know May 25th to be an important day in the Tarot world until I saw it posted by a colleague a few days ago on Facebook.

Nonetheless, World Tarot Day, established in 2003 by Den Elder,  is the perfect opportunity for us all to give some conscious attention to the Tarot: what it is, what it isn’t, why it’s still around, and how it can be used  to enhance our life.

One of the things I like the best about the Tarot is that its symbols reflect the basic truths of the universe: the archetypal forces of growth and change, the undeniable power of hope and imagination, the equipoise between the light and the dark in all its forms, the non-personal (and non-judgmental) energies of attraction and instinct, and the drive toward wholeness.

The Tarot is about Tarot, but it’s really about life, the experience of what we call “reality,” and a way to give form to the question “what the heck are we doing here?” This sweeping glance at the system supports the notion that you don’t have to be a Tarotist in order to celebrate World Tarot Day.

Herewith, then, are three non-Tarot-oriented ways to celebrate the day:

1. Look for symbols. As you go about your business during this day, pay attention to the “signs” along the way:

*Did you oversleep and arrive late to work for the third time this week?
*Did you mis-dial a phone call and end up connecting with an old friend?
*Was there a particular bumper sticker or billboard sign that caught your eye?
*Did you catch the significance of a Freudian-slip kind of typo or slip of the tongue?
*When you ran out of coffee this morning, did you suddenly remember that you were going to give up drinking coffee?

As the events of the day unfold, take the time to ask yourself, “What did that mean?” What larger truth is being expressed by these accidents of fate? It seems magical when we begin to become aware of meaningful relationships between seemingly unrelated events; this is the definition of synchronicity and one of the ways by which the Big U consistently speaks to us. I have an expression for it: “Coincidences aren’t.”

2. Listen to intuition. We have eyes and ears on the outside of our head, but we also have “inner organs of perception,” ones which, for most of us, are much less utilized.

Intuition is instinctive, but it’s been driven into the hinterlands by intellect and reason. On this World Tarot Day, lure your intuition out of the woods and into the light of day. See how you might be able tune in to this innate tool of perception:

*What do you already know without having to be told?
*Did you have an immediate “gut reaction” to anything today?
*Did certain physical aches and pains disappear at the same time as did certain people or events?
*Was there someone who brought forth a visceral reaction in you, either positive or negative?
*Did a little voice whisper in your ear? More importantly, did you pay attention?
*Was there an occasion today to say, “I knew it!”

There is much about which we have awareness that has not yet risen to the surface. Intuition holds this information for us until we shine the light of consciousness upon it. Give your intuitive muscles a break and get out your flashlight!

3. Accept your wholeness. Try not to place  a value judgment on anything today, especially yourself. Things are only “good” or “bad” if we’re attached to one experience over another. Make it a point to accept all that you are, even the parts you don’t particularly like: your strengths along with your weaknesses, where you are as well as where you’d like to be, how much you weigh, the amount of money you have … it’s all OK today, and is part of a larger picture of wholeness.

The significance of symbolic interactions; the voice of intuition; the acceptance of and the natural movement toward wholeness.
That’s the Tarot and a whole lot more, and something definitely worth celebrating.

Card image of “The World” from the Robin Wood Tarot

Tuesday’s Tiny Tarot Class 5-22-12

  On the heels of last night’s fabulous-if-I-don’t-say-so-myself webinar, “Using the Tarot as a Goal-Setting Tool,” I’d like to share some thoughts which became apparent during our session.

The first important point is that although a clear vision and focused intention is good practice for goal-setters, this in itself is not enough to get done the job of manifestation and accomplishment.

Not only do you need a clear eye on the prize, you need to realize that there will be parts of you, either conscious or “un,” that will not want to go along with your grand plan for change. Expect a minor internal revolution at the very least.

The good news is that you probably already have established, tucked away in your back pocket, some of the tools, skills, abilities, and experiences necessary to get you where you want to go. Think of it, you may already be half-way there!

Additionally, you may have tools, skills, and abilities that you never perceived as such; parts of yourself which have gone unrecognized altogether or which have been unseen as a thing of value. Sure, you’re aloof and emotionally distant (Queen of Swords) but you’re aces in a crisis. So what if you’re overly emotional (King of Cups),  you’re just what the doctor ordered when a shoulder to cry on is required. Yes Scrooge, it’s true that you’re stingy with money (4 of Pentacles), but you sure know how to squeeze all the juice out of a dollar.

Perception is everything.

When you consider using the Tarot as a goal-setting tool, no matter what method or layout you may use, it’s a good idea to draw one card from the deck intentionally : the one card which most closely represents the vision, the goal, and the long-term desired outcome.

This card is “P-1:” Purpose #1. This is the bulls-eye at which all the other cards in the reading will be aiming. Choose P-1 with as much clarity and personal will as you can muster, and then draw additional cards to augment the role and illuminate the path.

You’ll find a simple 5-card layout for goal-setting in my “Spreads & Layouts” book, or join us the next time this webinar comes around, where we use 12 cards to build a master plan for manifestation!

I have high hopes for the plans and ambitions that were seeded during last night’s class, launched less than 24 hours after a new moon and a powerful eclipse to boot!


Yard Sale Documentation Project: 5-19-12

Now we’re talking. It’s not like it was anything for the record books, but today’s adventures did live up to what we’ve come to expect by this time in the yard sale season: lots of choose from and some real bargains if you look hard enough … and if you arrive before the good meat has been picked from the bones.

We were at it bright and early, and it was a fine day for saleing — sunny, dry, not too hot, not too humid. At our first stop we ran into a woman with whom my daughter works and her friend, seen here as they were parting with their purchases. No they aren’t sisters, but I think they were having as much fun as Kate and I do with the whole affair. It’s amazing to me how cheery people can be at eight o-clock in the morning.

We found some good neighborhood sales, one where Kate picked up a brand new LL Bean backpack for $5, which is a great deal considering that the thing could have been returned to the main store for a full refund. (It’s a well-known fact in Maine that Bean’s will let you return pretty much anything that’s been used as long as it’s not totally in shreds.)

Part of the fun for me today was testing out how my new Nissan Versa hatchback handled itself, not only with the growing pile of goods we were accumulating, which was the point of getting a hatchback in the first place, but the sometimes-erratic nature of  “yard sale driving.” (It makes sense to spend thousands of dollars to have a suitable yard-saleing vehicle, right?)

“Yard sale driving” is really not good. There are lots of quick maneuvers, short stops, last-minute traffic decisions and bonehead moves involved. If I were behind me in traffic I’d be annoyed.

But when you see a brightly colored sign, or a pile of stuff on someone’s lawn, or a bunch of cars clustered on a side street, or in this case simply a big arrow painted on large piece of cardboard, you’ve gotta investigate … like a bloodhound on the trail of a mass murderer. Apparently this gentleman thought so too, so much so that he didn’t bother to get out of his pajamas before doing his reconnaissance.

We were out for almost 4 hours today. In addition to the goods tallied below, I had my fill of lemonade and cookies during the morning’s trek. Being a mush mom, I’m unable to say “no” to a kid who’s all set to make a quarter on a Dixie cup half-filled with some sort of tepid liquid that resembles lemonade. Especially if there’s been eye contact, I may as well cut the small talk and just fork over the money. Kate finds this amusing, as if I’ve just been hypnotized and said to the kid, “Why yes, I’d love a cup of warm pee.”

For me, much of the joy of yard saleing is sharing tender moments such as these with my daughter.

Anyway, here’s my part of the take from today’s efforts:

*A Rafaella angora/lambs wool sweater
*pair of gold earrings (not precious, but maybe from a museum gift shop)
*two ADORABLE painted wooden frogs
(why I had to have these I don’t know, but I love them!)
*pair of outdoor cushions for the porch chairs
*set of Tiffany-themed post cards
* misc. collection of printer paper for photos
* a beach umbrella, barely used and FREE since the seller was tired of dragging it around with her two kids and all their other stuff
* an office chair floor protector that will end up in my yard sale since it didn’t fit under my desk.

Total cost: $7.50
… but that’s not counting the cookies and 3 cups of warm pee.

Relationship Layout:Tarot Tip #37

Sorry, this isn’t a tip about how to have a great relationship. But it is a great tip for how to use your Tarot cards to look at relationship dynamics in a clear and objective manner. (Click here to see the video.)

Relationships are confusing enough without putting enigmatic Tarot images into the mix. This easy layout can be used as a complete reading within itself, or can be used as a springboard for other questions about any  relationship in which you might be involved: the one with your partner, the one with your boss, the one with your mother-in-law… you get the picture.

This video points out an important fact about reading Tarot: You don’t need a lot of cards to get a lot of information.

Life is complicated; reading Tarot doesn’t have to be.

Check out my book Tarot Spreads & Layouts: A User’s Manual for Beginning and Intermediate Readers for lots more simple and effective ways to use your Tarot cards!

Tuesday’s Tiny Tarot Class: The Empress

Since we’ve just celebrated Mother’s Day and because we’re in the astrological sign of Taurus which is ruled by her favorite planet Venus, let’s talk about The Empress.

Let’s say The Empress was about to do some online dating. She can’t help herself — ruled by the planet Venus, all matters of love (and beauty) are at the very top of her priority list. She would choose eHarmony for this project since The Empress is all about collaboration and facilitating harmonious relationships wherever she goes. Her online profile might look something like this:

Graceful, easy-going woman comfortable with herself and her environment seeks compatible partner for long-term relationship and the co-creation of numerous children.  An appreciation for beauty in all its varied forms is a must.

Enjoys gardening, painting, being pregnant, and sharing abundance with family and friends. Prefers the quiet comfort of home over a busy social scene any day.

Favorite color is green (and so is naturally attracted to all trees, especially evergreens), values all kinds of adornment, fine fabrics and jewelry, especially if these involve rose quartz or any-sized emerald. (Save the diamonds for those fancy high-maintenance ladies.) Favorite number is “3.”

Dislikes include conflict, being alone, cold bath water, chaos, plastic, squares, barren landscapes, and far-flung idealism.

A lover of nature and content in any season, enjoys long walks on the beach…hey wait a minute, I AM the beach…and the ocean…and the seashells … and the birds….

Graceful, easy-going woman comfortable with herself and her environment seeks compatible partner willing to bring their own equipment and join her on the beach. 

Empress image from the Rider Waite Tarot (c) US Games Systems Inc.

Yard Sale Documentation Project 5-12-12

Sometimes you have to call in the Higher Powers to break a spell.

Appropriately for Mother’s Day weekend, our yard sale dry spell was broken by an early morning pilgrimage to the annual tag sale at the Church of St. Mary.

Here’s what you need to know about this sale: it’s located in one of the most well-established old money neighborhoods along the coast of southern Maine. Who knows what unwanted treasures were being cast  from the unvisited guest rooms and retired dining rooms of these stately homes!

Although delusions from last week’s outing were still bitter on the tongue, I opted to head out to the hinterlands (anything beyond the immediate city environs of Portland/South Portland) to see what had been surrendered to the cause.

The other thing you need to know about church sales in general is that, due to the expected high quality of the items, the opening moments of such a tag sale can be far from “christian” in nature: there’s lots of rushing and grabbing and possessiveness for those yummy scraps that have been left on the table. It can get ugly.

To this point, here’s a recap of a quick encounter that still creates a twist in my solar plexus:

At the sides of the room along the wall, there were folding chairs set up to display and accommodate goods. A tall man (late 60’s?) was standing between a rack of clothes and a row of these chairs, quietly observing the whole scene. As I moved along the side of the room, my eye caught a nice little signed painting that was sitting on the floor a few chairs over from where this man was standing. I picked up the painting and considered it for several moments: “Do I really like it? Where would I put it? How much do they want for it? Hmmmm. OK yes, let’s see what they’re asking for it.”

As I began to move away, the statue man said, “Not so fast.”

“Is this yours?” I asked.  He just nodded his head. “Well you need to say so,” I replied curtly and with only a fraction of the anger I was feeling. He had let me stand there and decide that I wanted the painting before he told me I couldn’t have it. (This guy must have worked in banking.)  I wanted to kick him in the shins.

Obviously I’m still working through the rudeness and control issues at work there. But onward we go, heading back into town . It’s only 8:15am and already I’ve gotten a few bargains and had a confrontation with the Devil.

Kate and I met up in South Portland and aimed toward what may be the mother lode for a yard saler, the “multi-family neighborhood sale.” Here we encountered kinder folk living in a well-kept cul-du-sac which, despite the McMansion quality of the homes there, had a gentle vibe.

The tone was much calmer here, plus by now it’s 9am and the initial feeding frenzy is over. However, you could tell these homeowners were new to the yard saling game. One dismayed women  commented that there was so much more to bring out from the basement but they didn’t have time before people began to appear in their driveway.

I imagined my daughter saying to herself, in the same way she did during one Thanksgiving dinner as my sister-in-law was explaining how she’d forgotten to make the stuffing but the box full of it was still in the cupboard: “Well go get it, lady!”

All in all, it was a good day. The dry spell has been broken and here’s the tally:

*sheepskin fleece vest
*Fisher Price booster seat for Vera
*book for Vera
*black, grey, silver scarf
*white decorative side table
*pair of 63″ cotton drapery panels for the living room’s summer look
*string of 200 holiday lights in good working order

Total cost to me: $21. 25

Thank you, Mother.

BIG NEWS: Jeanne’s Tarot Radio Show Coming in July

Woo- Hoo! 

Starting on Wednesday July 11th at 3pm EST, I’ll be hosting my own radio show on the Women 4 Women Network, live on internet radio.

The show is called “Clic Tarot,” Clic being an acronym for Clarity, Insight and Confidence. And despite the name of the network, the show welcomes listeners of all genders.

I’ll be doing live readings for call-in listeners, we’ll be learning about the Tarot and how this system of symbols tells its story, we’ll be talking about life and love and work and metaphysics and having an all-around good time on Wednesday afternoons!

Here’s what the radio ad will tell you about Clic Tarot:
Are there places in your life that could some clarity? Are you uncertain about the direction your life seems to be headed? Are your relationships truly meeting your emotional needs? Could you use some insight into an important matter in your life?

Tune in to Clic Tarot with Jeanne Fiorini every Wednesday afternoon at 3:00pm EST, when Jeanne and the Tarot will offer clarity, insight, and confidence about what matters most in YOUR life.

My lovely and talented friend Deirdre worked with my lovely and talented friend Larry to put together an inspired piece of harp music for the background music for the show, the perfect accompaniment for what I hope to accomplish with this project: a sense of clarity, insight, and confidence for individuals and a greater understanding and appreciation for the Tarot.

Mark your calendars for July 11th at 3pm EST, put a star on Wednesday afternoons, and tune in to the perfect way to bring fun and enlightenment into your week.

Woo- Hoo!

Yard Sale Documentation Project 5-5-12

Well folks, although it’s early in the season, we may have a winner in the Worst Excuse For a Yard Sale category (refer to the April 21st post if you wish). This one’s going to be tough to beat.

Advertised in the local paper as “The best moving sale EVER” and held in a tres-chic neighborhood, hopes were riding high that our dry spell had reached its bitter end.

As we headed up the winding wooded ocean side road flanked on either side by well-groomed homes, we stopped at a modest house that obviously was riding the coat tails of “the best moving sale EVER” further up the street. The initial hopeful glance from the car was deceiving since all that was for sale here were a few faded outdoor playthings for kids, two cane chairs with busted seats, and some cardboard boxed in the garage for rummaging.

Oh the dismay and indignation when, only upon reaching the far end of the street and then winding back down the hill, did we realize that this mess was the “best moving sale EVER.” If I’d been aware at the time and not still sitting in my denial about what was waiting for us up the street, I would have taken a photo so that you could share the incredulity, the blatant nature of this cruel and boldface lie, the insulting impertinence to the fact that we got out of bed for this.

Was there a Candid Camera crew lurking in the bushes? Was John Quinones and the ABC truck somewhere nearby?

If this is the Universe’s form of some sort of aversion therapy, it’s not working. It’s only making me more determined to bend this season to its knees by the time November comes.

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