Tarot Continuing Education – MidSpring Tarot Blog Hop 2019


This hop’s theme was proposed by Joy Vernon, asking us how we further our tarot knowledge.

Oh dear. What should I write? Of course it is important to further our knowledge of tarot but it is very difficult to define exactly how one should do it. Some people prefer books, some prefer practical teaching… so what could I write about that is useful for everyone? Let’s start with something everyone has access to, thanks to online shops.


I love reading books and time to time I find really good ones that defer from the cliche of listing card-by-card meanings with a few in-use examples. What I appreciate in a tarot book is innovation; it doesn’t have to revolutionise tarot reading, but it should provide enough food for thought, or quirky little interpretations or spreads I never thought of. A few titles I’d like to mention…

1. Academic books

  • Caitlín Matthews – Untold Tarot
  • Benebell Wen – Holistic Tarot
  • Joav Ben Dov – The Open Reading
  • Rachel Pollack – 78 Degrees of Wisdom

2. Quirky books

  • Camelia Elias – Towards the Art of Reading
  • Sasha Graham – 365 Tarot Spreads
  • Jamima Renee – Tarot Spells

3. Fun books

  • Italo Calvano – Castle of Crossed Destinies
  • Theresa Reed – Tarot Coloring Book


I think forums are a great source of knowledge. There’s always someone who sees things differently than me, and their new approach can teach me more about the cards than just practicing my readings with my same-old.

TABI‘s members only forum for example is a great place to start. At a very reasonable price, it has a vast amount of threads with years and years of discussions about tarot, and a very friendly and helpfuld atmosphere. There’s monthly practice questions going back for years that you can give a go and get feedback to; there’s the Free Readers’ section (TABI offers free tarot readings to the public) where you can read real life readings – of course the querent’s name and any data that could identify them are taken out. This subforum is one of the most valuable as you don’t only have a chance to learn about card meanings and interpretations, but also about how to handle difficult readings, how to deliver an empowering and meaningful reading, and in general about how to be an authentic tarot reader. Even if you are an established reader yourself, there’s always something you can learn from others.


TABI also offers an online course that lasts about six months and gives people a good foundation to read the cards. I absolutely recommend it.

Other than that, the World Divination Association (check them out on Facebook!) offers lots of courses on divination methods from playing cards to bone reading. I am planning to attend some of those in future!


Whether you are artistic or not, doing tarot art or creative exercises teaches you a lot. You could create your own deck, or just roughly put together a concept for the Major Arcana with your favourite biscuits paired up with the cards. You could watch your favourite show on TV and think about how the characters’ personalities reflect the cards, or just attend a family pick-nick and think how your grandma is such a Queen of Swords! Whatever you do, making new associations to the cards helps you further your knowledge and understanding of the tarot.

For me, painting cards for the 1917 Tarot project was a huge step along my tarot journey. Thinking through the theme, deciding on the composition and actually painting images for the cards I have chosen was a real adventure, and I can’t recommend doing something similar enough. You could choose a card you don’t fully understand and try to paint it. I bet you’ll have it cracked by the time the paint dries on your canvas!

Well, this is it from me. I can’t wait to hear what others do to continue their education! Let’s hop on to the next blog, shall we?



The Five of Flags for the 1917 Tarot



I am just so in love with this! The image has gone through a lot of changes , from a doodle-like MsPaint picture to the final image of the Five of Flags (Cups) of the 1917 Tarot!


The woman on the picture holds on to the idea of the Tsar and pre-revolution Russia, ignoring the progress the country has made under communist rule. Who is she? A former noble, grieving her lost status? Princess Anastasia, grieving her murdered family and hiding her identity? Could she be me (I do have a soft spot for the Romanovs)? I will leave the decision to you, dear reader.

2017 Samhain Tarot Blog Hop – Ancestors

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Ah, the ancestor thing again. I am in a little bit of a pickle here, thanks to our wrangler Jay Cassels.

You see, my family never venerated our ancestors. After my maternal grandmother died, my mom used to go every 1 November to the cemetery and spend a few moments at her mother’s grave. But never visited anyone else’s – well, her brother’s after he died. I doubt she knows where her grandparents are buried and she had a rocky relationship with her father so there’s no chance of her going to his grave (I never even knew him, so you can imagine).

The only person in my family who loves going to graveyards is my other grandmother. She says she finds peace there. I find this both strange and beautiful. Although if you think about it, that’s where you are laid to eternal rest…

Back to the topic, in my family we don’t do this lineage thing and ancestors and whatnot. I have no idea what my great-grandfather’s name was. Also, I firmly believe in reincarnation, so I have trouble finding much importance in my current family tree when I have had so many others already. To cut it short, when I have seen the topic of this hop, I got nervous. I know that for my blog neighbour Benebell Wen her ancestors are really important (I adore her knowledge and connection to the craft, she is fantastic!) and that for many ‘pagans’ it is the same… so I feel as out of place as a lamb at the Annual Carnivore Conference.

I asked the cards how could I avoid totally losing face and having to withdraw half day before the hop. I got from the Goddess Inspiration Oracle, Mut; the mother of mothers. Very apt, thank you cards.

So then I asked my trusty old Egyptian Tarot (Mut is the *Egyptian* goddess of motherhood) what can I learn from my mother and my grandmothers. Here be the reading…

1. What can I learn from the matriarchs?

2. In what should I follow their example?

3. Where should I avoid following their example?

1. Ten of Pentacles, Judgement, Death

I can learn from them how to stay whole, and how to keep the family together. I can learn how to resurrect myself from my own ashes and continue on. How to cut away what is not healthy anymore and how to change with times.

2. Justice, King of Pentacles, Page of Cups

I should follow their example in giving myself justice, and judging others righteously. Giving everyone what they deserve. To be self dependent and unshakable. To show my feelings to those who deserve it, and protect myself and mine from outsiders.

3. Queen of Cups, Ten of Cups, Three of Wands

I should avoid being too emotional and emotionally dependent on others. I shouldn’t look for The Perfect Family because it is nonexistent. And I shouldn’t try to be ‘creative’ (dishonest) when dealing with mine. I need to be direct and honest, and tell when I don’t like something.

A lot to think about, Thank you Jay! Now hop on to Benebell on the right or to Joanne on the left, or if you like it random, click one link on the master list! Happy Halloween! Here’s my Thoth pumpkin I carved today. Because of the pumpkin’s curves it is not very visible but I am so proud of it, I had to show it off, hahaha!

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A chat to Rasputin

After my previous post I wanted to know what I would have thought about Rasputin, had I known him in his life. Out with the cards!
1. What would I have thought of him had I been one of the villagers of Pokrovskoye? – Queen of Wands, 9 of Cups

2. What would I have thought of him had I been in St Petersburgh? – Four and Ten of Pentacles

3. What would I think of him now if we talked? – Judgement, Slave (Page) of Wands

A reading on Rasputin
If I’d met him in Pokrovskoje, I would have been secretly attracted to him but would have denied it fervently if asked. It wouldn’t have been proper. And anyway, he was so weird! 🙂
In St Petersburgh I would have been openly attracted to him, lol. Probably mostly physically, although his magic would have been intriguing too! 
And if we talked now, I’d be digging for long buried answers for  long dead questions.
The whole time I have felt his presence behind me. It wasn’t manacing, it felt more like he was interested in what I was doing. Then I have asked him through the cards whether he would mind if I called him Grigorij. For a second the thought of him saying “yeah, call me Grishka” flashed through my mind. At that exact same second the Fool jumped out of the deck. I was laughing so hard! 😀 He must be thinking I’m total bonkers – I am, actually. No hard feelings.

A chat to Rasputin
So after the ice broke I have asked him if he wanted to talk. Seven of Swords – yes, he’s ok. Then Strength jumped out while shuffling:

“I won’t bite” he said.

“Would you consider teaching me?”

It depends. I want to get to know you first to see if you are serious.” – Justice

“What could you teach me?”

Self confidence, emotional and psychic stability. The ability to not give a damn about what others might think. Death, change, transformation, and how the other side works. I could teach you how to handle ghosts.” – Eight of Cups, reversed Three of Swords, Death.
And that’s when it dawned on me. For some time now I have been thinking of reopening my eyes to the spirit world. I have shut down this ability a long time ago because I didn’t want ghosts to appear out of nowhere and disturb me in my ‘adult life’ eg work or bringing up kids. Lately I feel the calling. I feel to see again. But at the same time I had to admit myself that I am frikkin’ scared of ghosts. Then along came Rasputin and asked: 

What exactly is the difference between me and other ghosts?

“OMG Grigorij, YOU ARE A GHOST!!” 

Well done girl...” 
Yes I know what you are thinking. This degree of daftness needs a special talent to manage. But I finally realised that if I can talk to him without soiling my pants, then why couldn’t I do the same with any other common ghost! 
Good for you Kati!
Lesson one, ‘Death’ started, I guess! 😀

Ra-Ra Rasputin Lover of the Russian Queen – Not?

A dear friend of mine has recently took up a fitness challenge, and in order to stay on top of it, she is posting a song on Facebook every day for her workout. One day she has posted Boney M’s Rasputin, and it got me thinking. For one thing, I love this song, it’s one of my favourites from the band. On the other hand, I have always felt it is a little (very) unjust towards Rasputin. Just as most anything in pop culture is. But!

I always had a soft corner for history’s bad boys (and girls), so feeling sympathy towards the “mad monk” is not a surprise – here I feel the urge to insert that he was neither mad nor a monk, but let’s just carry on shall we. I am fascinated by how history is (re)written by those on the winning side, and how a perfectly normal human being can be made a monster. We are not talking about Nero, though; sometimes these bad guys really were monsters, and I am aware of it. But there are sheep wrapped in wolfs’ skins amongst them. So while I find him fascinating, I will try my best to be objective.

Anyway, I have decided to ask the cards about Rasputin and his life. Here are the positions:

1 What do we have to know about his relationship with Tsar Nicholas II?

2 What do we have to know about his relationship with Empress Alexandra?

3 What do we have to know about his relationship with power?

4 What do we have to know about his relationship with magic?

5 What do we have to know about his relationship with us later generations?

6 What do we have to know about his relationship with his family?

7 What do we have to know about his relationship with women?

And here are the cards I got from the Borderless Deviant Moon Tarot:

tarot readin on Rasputin with the Borderless Deviant Moon

1. The Tsar – Eight of Wands

This was a very dynamic relationship full of action, probably a lot of emotions as well. They would interact a lot and Rasputin was known to put ideas into Nicholas’ head through the Tsarina. Although Nicholas II didn’t like him at first, Alexandra has made sure that Rasputin was welcome to the palace, especially after Rasputin has seemingly saved the tsesarevich Alexei’s life. The picture on the card suggests Rasputin has also been responsible for the killing of the tsar and his family, although I highly doubt that it was intentional. He wanted to protect them and given good counsel – that the tsar and the Duma haven’t listened is a different thing.
Update: you know that legend that Rasputin wrote a letter to the Tsar before his death. The Eight of Wands sums it up perfectly. The paper in the raven’s beak is of course the letter. The seven trees that the peasant woman is about to cut down are Nicholas, Alexandra and their five children. Rasputin’s letter said that if he is killed by a commoner, the Tsar and his family will live. But if he is murdered by a nobelman, they will all be dead within two years. We all know what happened next.

Empress Alexandra Feodorovna with Rasputin, her children and a governess.2. The Empress Alexandra – The Chariot

He had an even bigger influence on the Empress Alexandra. The Chariot is the 8 of Wands’ pair in the Major Arcana. It’s like its bigger version. The Empress was absolutely devoted to him as we know, but to be honest, I don’t see any clues of an intimate relationship. He has used her as a vehicle to get where he wanted to be, but this card for me doesn’t mean adultery. She took him to places but not into her bed. She has carried his advices to the tsar and as I said he had total control over her, but that is about it.

3. Power – 8 of Cups

Nah, political power was not in his interests. He wanted to influence the tsar to help Russia. Let’s not forget he was a peasant, the son of a farmer. Although he was uneducated, he was very intelligent and whenever he told something to the Tsar, it always turned out right. He has opposed to Russia entering the First World War, saying it would be disastrous and would mean the end of the Romanovs. We all know what happened to the Tsar’s family. So what I think is, while he wanted to and was influencing politics, he did’t do it for the power. He was a loyal royalist, wanting to save Russia and its ruler.

4. Magic – The Star

He was a powerful healer who received his knowledge from ‘above’. He listened to his guts and never had a minute of self-doubt. Good for him! 😀 According to his daughter Maria, he was able to astral travel and heal from a distance. If we can believe Maria, once when Alexei was near death because of an internal bleeding (he had haemophilia, so even a small bruise meant danger) he has locked himself in his room and hasn’t come out for a day, continuously praying or laying ‘unconscious’ on the bed. Shortly after he finally came out, a telegram arrived from Alexandra saying the boy is considerably better.

5. Later generations – 5 of Pentacles

I think it is safe to say he pities us, and thinks we are beggars looking for material goods only. He doesn’t have a good opinion about the fangirls seeking him for sexual pleasures either. At one point of time there was a group of women who took hold of an object that was allegedly his severed penis, and worshipped it as a fertility symbol. Later it turned out to be a sea cucumber but never mind.

rasputin-with-kids6. His family – Seven of Swords

He was dancing on the sword’s edge, as we say in Hungary. He may have wanted to balance family life and ‘work’, but we all know that if your family lives thousands of kilometres from the Tsar in the middle of Siberia, it is just not possible; although he has almost always gone home for sowing and harvest, which says a lot about his attitude towards his family. If not very present, he was at least dutiful. He had three children, a son and two daughters. His daughters were living with him in StPetersburg. I feel he wanted to be a good husband and good father (in the traditional Russian sense), but with all the politics going on he just couldn’t manage it.

withwife7. Women – Queen of Pentacles

My question in my head was: has he really had so many lovers, and was he really into SM? For me this card is a big and definite no. The Queen of Pentacles for me is loyal, loving, respectful, into sensual love making. It would be great to know his wife’s date of birth, to see if she is an Earth sign and if this card represents her. She was sitting at home in Pokrovskoye, tolerating her husband’s absences (not that she had any other options but still), taking care of the house and fields… I think she fits Earth/Pentacles well. Which would mean that other than his wife he has never had anyone. Which is the exact opposite of what we think we know of him. Empress Alexandra was a Gemini, Air, a Queen of Swords. This is definitely not her. Rasputin himself was an Aquarius, just to rule that out. So it seems he was given his bad reputation by his enemies and the doppelgänger they have employed according to his daughter Maria. There were multiple investigations ordered to find any proof of his monstrous behaviour, always ending up unsuccessful and with him back in the Tsars favours. On the picture you see him with his wife Praskovia.

So what have we learned? That Boney M, although an awesome band, is not a reliable source for the study of history.

Stay tuned, I might research ‘Ma Baker’ as well! 😀

Kati’s Tarot Shadow Challenge Day 1 – The Fool

Day One, The Fool – Today we are looking back at your childhood. Remember how you used to feel as a child. Jumping into every day like it was an adventure, being self confident and radiating from the Fool’s absolute lack of self-doubt. Ask your cards to show you five positive personality traits of yours. Only positive! Even if you get a “negative” card, take it as a positive thing. These are your cards that will remind you throughout the exercise that you are a truly good person with plenty of good sides. They will give you strength to go through the challenge.

I will use my Egyptian Tarot by Comte Sain-Germain for this challenge. Note: this is a pre-Golden Dawn deck, so interpretations are of the traditional line.

egyptian, tarot, shadow, work, #katistarotshadowMy cards are – as they are traditionally known:

Two of Cups, Queen of Pentacles, Knight of Wands, King of Pentacles, Eight if Swords.

The Two Cups: I am a great wife/friend. I can love unconditionally. I am kind to people around me and turn to everyone with an open mind. You can pour your heart out to me after having known me for five minutes. (People often do that.)

The Mistress of the Pentacle: I am very supportive towards others, and am – again – a great wife. Comfort is very important for me and I am good at creating it for myself and giving it to others as well.

The Warrior of the Scepter: I can be very determined and can fight for what I want.

The Master of the Pentacle: I am a grounded person who is not very likely to walk on clouds. I can be methodical, make plans, see all sides of the matter before taking a decision. I can save money – to spend it later – if and when needed. I am not miser but I know my limits.

The Eight Swords: I can see into people and situations fairly quickly which helps me with all the judging and decision making of the Master of the Pentacles.


Ah, nice. So many good things about myself, I wonder what’s waiting for me in the next few days…