Vol. 9 #1 / January 1, 2017
In this Issue:
- Tarot Tip: 7 Stages of Consciousness Spread
- Tarot School Aphorism
- What’s Gnu?
- Guest Article: Tarot Counseling, Skills, & Ethics (Part 2)
- PsychWise: Narcissism and Tarot
- Upcoming Events
Welcome to a new issue of Tarot Tips!
And a special welcome to our new subscribers.
Happy New Year! Welcome to 2017! The dawn of a new year
brings about change or improvement to our lives. While some
changes are continuations of things from previous years,
others are of the type that we intend. These intentions can
be behavioral, environmental or sometimes even physical.
At the start of any new year, an improvement to physical
wellness comes to the top of many resolution lists. The new
year can also be a time to reset and refresh our outlook for
the year ahead. This requires an overview of where you are
now, where you have been, and the path of progress or
evolution you intend.
In this issue the tip features a 7-position spread based on
stages of consciousness as one travels the path of spiritual
evolution. In PsychWise, Dr. G discusses narcissism and
tarot readings, a topic you don’t want to miss; and our
guest columnist, Katrina Wynne offers the second part of
Tarot Counseling Skills and Ethics. We also have lots of
information on upcoming activities and events.
And one more thing...
We wish you all good things throughout the year ahead.
May your blessings be many, and may you find joy in
your work (and play!) with tarot. We look forward to
helping with your studies, and perhaps having the
pleasure of your company at Readers Studio. Let's
make 2017 a year filled with loving connections and
With love and gratitude on the tarot journey,
Consciousness is a word that has been used to describe
Ruth Ann, Wald, Gina & Elinor
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STAGES OF CONSCIOUSNESS SPREAD
by Gina Thies
levels of awareness of internal and external stimuli.
Whether used in exoteric or esoteric traditions, stages or
levels of perception and/or ascension define consciousness.
Issues explored in tarot typically concern day-to-day
activities or problems that often require more immediate
resolution. During more negative times, regardless of how
spiritually evolved we come to think of ourselves, when our
sense of normalcy or stability is interrupted, there is a
tendency to “dip” into lower areas of consciousness.
Interestingly these levels of consciousness also are
believed in some models to correspond to the stages of our
Here, levels of individual or personal consciousness are as
defined by Richard Barrett’s Seven Levels Model, which is
based on Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. These levels
focus on needs that can range from positive to excessive.
• Survival (Safety/Protection)
• Relationship (Sense of Love and Belonging)
• Self-Esteem (Self worth/Respect)
• Transformation (Becoming authentic self)
• Internal Cohesion (Finding and aligning with your purpose)
• Making a Difference (Send of purpose actualized with others)
• Service (Selfless devotion while pursing passions or purpose)
In readings, we examine how individuals can get their needs
met, or how to understand the lay of the land in their current
situation. In a spread using these levels as guideposts, much
information can be gained about all these issues.
The cards are positioned in a vertical column, starting at
the bottom with positions 1, 2, 3. Card 4 is in the center,
and then come cards 5, 6, 7. Card 7 is at the top.
Position 1 (Survival)
In this position your disposition toward health, nutrition,
sustenance and financial stability are the focus. For
instance, in matters of the heart, this could point to who
or what may be providing these needs. In career or business
matters, value in assets or value to organizations may be
considered. Fear, anxieties and natural instincts would also
be under consideration in this position.
Position 2 (Relationship)
For this position one would examine the importance of
communication, interaction with others, co-habitation,
loyalty, harmony and acceptance. How one feels is
highlighted, as are how one comes to love, one’s passions
and need for love and belonging.
Position 3 (Self-Esteem)
In this position, you would look at factors that reflect a
sense of pride, self-definition and respect.
Position 4 (Transformation)
Here, we explore how well we manage conflicts and find a
harmonious balance with higher and lower instincts. Finding
one’s own voice and authority would be under consideration
in this position.
Position 5 (Internal Cohesion)
Authenticity and the pursuit of deeper knowledge would be
highlighted here. In some cases, spiritual topics would be
the focus. An appetite to “know thyself” may be felt
with great urgency
Position 6 (Making a Difference)
In this position, selflessness and compassion are brought
into focus. It is no longer a matter of “me” but of “we”.
Position 7 (Service)
A passion for making a difference turns into selfless acts,
and these hopefully lead to lifetime fulfillments. Managing
a plethora of information, skills and knowledge is typically
mastered. This position serves as the key to understanding
life purpose and missions.
This spread can be very helpful in examining issues both
large and small, both immediate and long-term.
Tarot School Aphorism
KEEP THE PARTY GOING!
It's time for our annual Tarot School Holiday Party!
This year it's on Wednesday, January 11th.
Once again, Sasha Graham and her talented husband,
Bill Brady have created a wonderful and whimsical
"movie poster" announcement / invitation!
If you're in the NYC area, we'd love to see you there!
Be sure to RSVP to: Sashatarotdiva@gmail.com to get all the important details.
P.S. If you haven't seen Stranger Things yet, we highly recommend it.
by Katrina Wynne, MA, CTM, CTI, CLC
TAROT COUNSELING, SKILLS & ETHICS
Part 2: Understanding Boundaries
“Boundaries define who we are to ourselves and to others
as a clear delineation of our space, be it emotional,
psychic, spiritual or physical. Respecting your own as well
as a client’s boundary is a significant concern within the
Tarot reading relationship.” — An Introduction to
Transformative Tarot Counseling, by Katrina Wynne
When engaging in a session with others, the reader, in
addition to their knowledge of the Tarot cards and skill in
reading, has a responsibility to care for details around and
within the session that influence its quality and
effectiveness. For the second segment in this 3-part series
on Tarot Counseling, Skills, & Ethics, we turn our focus to
“Boundaries”…for the reader as well as the querent. I
could write an entire book on this important topic, but for
now will share some highlights with you in the Tarot Tips
Here is a partial list of counseling boundaries excerpted
from my book, An Introduction to Transformative Tarot
Counseling with additional notes:
Consent — client and reader approve the conditions of
their reading. This includes the type or purpose of your
service, arranging an appointment time, and agreeing to the
duration of the session. If either of you wish to extend the
session time, you can renegotiate the time/price or create a
follow up session.
Payment/Exchange — along with the consent to work together
is an agreement on the exchange for your service. Be clear
and consistent when quoting a price for each service.
Depending on your level of trust or confidence in the
transaction, a deposit or full payment can be requested when
the appointment is made, with a refund policy that is
readily available for review.
Privacy — the reading is offered in an appropriate
location. Sessions can be provided in a secluded area, such
as a private office, or a psychic fair surrounded by other
booths. Even public settings can feel private if arranged in
a sensitive manner.
Psychic space — honoring the client’s limits on
information or topics. The cards or your intuition may be
screaming about what could be important information in the
reading, but the client determines what they are open to
receiving. There are ways to test the boundaries in the
moment by asking the client if they are open to receiving
information that may be disturbing, etc., before sharing
Confidentiality — no disclosure of the client’s name or
personal information by the reader. The exception to this is
if you request permission to share information. Be sure to
get a written or recorded release from the client and be
specific about what you can share.
Dual relationships or roles — when a reader has two or
more kinds of roles (family, friend, co-worker) concurrently
with a client, watch for any conflict of interest. Many
readers get their start my practicing with family and
friends, but it is paramount to honor their boundaries and
keep their confidences.
Conflict of interest — tainted by the possibility of
favoritism or personal gain. Remaining neutral and silent is
a great counseling skill. Also, knowing when to speak up
about possible conflicts between yourself and your client,
and making a referral to another reader on occasion, if
Scope of practice — working within the reader’s area of
expertise or professional credential. If you are not a
health, financial, or legal professional, best not to slip
into that role. Be prepared to make referrals to appropriate
professionals that you trust.
Reader’s self-disclosure — revealing information of a
private nature may or may not be appropriate. Readers are
often tempted to share stories from their own life, or a
previous client’s story, to illustrate the message of the
reading, but discretion and honoring confidentiality should
Here are important questions you may wish to ask yourself:
• What are my boundaries as a reader?
• What will I not do in a session?
It is important to do some soul-searching on your part to
determine the most honest response to each of these
questions. I believe that to be your very best as a reader,
you need to know your limitations as well as your gifts and
expertise. Having this clarity and transparency will
naturally attract those clients who will appreciate your
I highly recommend having promotional materials ready to
distribute, or posted on your website. They can include the
Code of Ethics — a series of statements that reflect the
tone of your service, your values, and your boundaries.
Tarot (or other service) Philosophy — talk about your
reading style, your beliefs, details about your boundaries.
You can also include religious or spiritual beliefs and
philosophies that influence your work.
List of Services and Prices — be sure to include the
duration in time for each service and its particular price.
Some readers base their price for all readings strictly on
the time period, while others may be service specific, such
as an email reading with two questions. Comparing your
prices to equally experienced practitioners in your area is
a good place to start so you do not over or under price for
similar services. This is a personal choice to consider.
Your prices may vary depending upon whether you have an
office setting or are reading at a psychic fair. The key is
being transparent and up front with your services and prices
in each venue.
In addition, when addressing Scope of Practice issues be
sure to have easy access to your referral list.
Professional Referral List — a list of professionals, such
as financial, legal, mental, and health advisors, with whom
you feel secure in making referrals to clients.
In the February Tarot Tips Newsletter, I will complete this
3-part series on counseling skills reviewing additional
“ethical considerations,” including legal and business
guidelines. Feel free to send questions you may have for me
to the Tarot Tips team.
Katrina Wynne, MA, CTM, CTI, CLC
is an internationally renowned Transformative
Tarot Counselor™ and trained psychotherapist
with 45 years’ experience living the wisdom
Katrina will be a featured presenter at the
2017 Tarot & Psychology Conference!
Contact Katrina at:
www.TarotCounseling.org - website
www.MySacredJourney.org - weblog
www.OracleSoup.org - podcast
The 2017 Readers Studio is coming soon!
Click the poster above
for all the details and
to get on the 2-month Payment Plan!
PsychWise – Tarot & Psychology Q & A
with Elinor Greenberg, PhD, CGP, CPTR
NARCISSISM AND TAROT
I have been thinking a lot about Narcissism lately and many
of the misconceptions that the average person has, such as
the belief that highly narcissistic individuals are actually
more confident than most people. I thought I would share
some basic information about Narcissism here, and then
relate it to reading Tarot.
I am often asked: “Isn’t everyone a little bit
narcissistic?” The short answer is “no,” or at least
not in the same way. From a therapist’s point of view,
there is a vast difference between healthy narcissism
and defensive, pathological Narcissism—or narcissism
with a small “n” and Narcissism with a capital “N.”
To avoid confusion, I prefer to reserve the word
“Narcissistic” for those people who are continually
pre-occupied with regulating their shaky self-esteem.
Here are some useful basic definitions that demonstrate
Healthy normal, narcissism: This is a realistic sense of
positive self-regard. It is relatively stable because it has
been earned. It is based on recognizing one's actual talents
and having overcome significant obstacles. It also involves
recognizing where we have fallen short and where we lack
expertise or talent. People with healthy self-regard can
tolerate being wrong and they can apologize to others.
Pathological, defensive Narcissism: This is actually an
attempt to shore up one's shaky self-esteem by insisting
that we are unrealistically perfect, special, unique and
entitled to special treatment. This is a defense against an
equally unrealistic idea that we may actually be totally
worthless garbage. When someone is using their sense of
specialness as a defense, they cannot tolerate being
criticized, are hyper-sensitive to anything that does not
reinforce their sense of specialness, and are unlikely to be
able to muster enough self-support to apologize to anyone
for anything.This type of Narcissism is an adaptation to an
early childhood situation that reinforced the idea that
anything less than special and perfect was not good enough,
and where public shaming was used to control the child’s
Narcissists are like everyone else: some are charming,
witty, intelligent, with a great sense of humor, and do a
lot of good out in the world; others are the opposite or
somewhere in between. But all Narcissists have a few things
• They are preoccupied with self-esteem regulation.
• They continually build Status Hierarchies in which they
place everyone they meet either above them or below them.
• They compete to defeat (They take a sadistic pleasure in
publically defeating opponents and shaming them).
• They use Grandiosity (“I am special”), Devaluing
(“You are worthless”), and Proximity to anyone and
anything they consider prestigious (“This is special”)
as their major ways of supporting their self-esteem.
• They are low on empathy.
• They are highly sensitive to anything that they regard
as a slight to their sense of perfection and importance.
All of the above makes true intimacy very difficult for
people with Narcissistic Adaptations and they rarely have
successful long-term marriages.
Devaluation and the 5 of Swords: Compete to Defeat
In my opinion, the most clearly Narcissistic card in the
entire Rider-Waite-Smith deck is the 5 of Swords. This card
shows a man holding three swords, with two on the ground at
his feet. He appears to be gloating. We see two other men
facing away from him who presumably are the ones that he has
defeated and whose swords he has taken. One of these men is
standing hunched over with his head in his hands. He is not
a happy camper.
I associate this card with the pleasure that highly
Narcissistic individuals take in humiliating their
opponents. Everyone wants to win, but not everyone wants to
shame the other competitors the way many Narcissists do.
Of course, this card can come up in anyone’s reading and
it does not imply that the person has a Narcissistic
disorder. However, if it comes up regularly in a spread
position that is central or closely related to the Self,
then I begin to think that the querent may have Narcissistic
issues and use “Devaluing” others as a primary defense
to stabilize his or her shaky self-esteem.
What does this mean for me as the Reader?
I recommend that you keep the following suggestions in mind
while giving information to your Narcissistic querent about
1. Do not give critical feedback: When dealing with highly
Narcissistic individuals who use devaluation to support
themselves, I am extra careful with what I say to them.
Since they need to see themselves as flawless, they are not
open to any comments—however true—that they might take
2. Skip the advice: Narcissists need to see everything that
they do as perfect or they fall into self-hating,
shame-based depressions. These are no fun at all! To save
themselves, Narcissists blame others for everything that
goes wrong. That is why true Narcissists rarely, if ever,
apologize to anyone for anything. The idea that they need
advice from you creates a Narcissistic injury, which will
create a rift between you, and an unhappy querent who may
then devalue you. And, of course, any advice from you that
implies they did something wrong may be met with rage.
Some querents will angrily stalk out of the reading at this
point and refuse to pay you for the time you spent with them.
3. Be empathic: Say things that indicate that you understand
their point of view. For example, your querent has asked
for a reading about why some friend has disappeared from her
life. The 5 of Swords has come up as the answer. Instead of
talking about how your querent might have hurt her friend's
feelings, you say: “You must have been very disappointed
(or hurt, or angry, or whatever your intuition tells you
that your querent is feeling) when your friend suddenly
disappeared like that.”
4. Focus on Agreement: Agree with them as often as your
conscience allows. Narcissists expect everyone to be on the
same page as they are. They cannot understand that two
people can hold different opinions about the same topic
without one of them being wrong. If you disagree with your
Narcissistic querent, they will take that as a criticism and
go into defense mode: either grandiosely proclaiming how
they know better or putting you down as a worthless Tarot
reader and stupid human being. This will be very unpleasant
for both of you and will diminish the chances of this
querent ever coming to you for a reading again.
5. Talk about their strengths: All Narcissists, behind
their confident façade, are actually quite insecure. They feel
best when being complimented for what they do well. In
psychotherapy, we refer to this as a “strength-based
approach.” This generally works well with everyone, not
just Narcissists; but not everyone needs it the way a
Narcissist does. Point out cards in the spread that show
these positive attributes and talk in glowing terms. This
does no harm, is actually therapeutically helpful by
focusing on what is real instead of mere grandiosity, and
increases the likelihood that your querent will enjoy the
reading and come back for more.
All of the above requires that you pay at least as much
attention to your Narcissistic querents as to the cards in
front of you. This goes counter to many Tarot readers’
common practice. In this case, success is measured by
keeping these querents happy and not further harming their
precarious self-esteem. It is important to spot these
Narcissistic querents as early as possible to avoid
blunders. But what if the 5 of Swords does not come up in
the reading and you have never met this querent previously?
A quick tip: If someone seems arrogant, brags, or insists on
special treatment, I assume until proven otherwise that this
person is highly likely to have Narcissistic issues.
Dr. Elinor Greenberg, PhD, CGP, CPTR
is an internationally renowned Gestalt therapy
trainer who specializes in teaching the diagnosis
and treatment of Borderline, Narcissistic, and
Schizoid adaptations. She has been studying
tarot since 1995 and is psychology consultant to
The Tarot School, where she earned a Third Degree
in Tarot. She is a member of B.O.T.A. (Builders
of the Adytum) and has been certified as a professional
tarot reader by the American Tarot Association.
Dr. Greenberg is the author of Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid
Adaptations: The Pursuit of Love, Admiration, and Safety, which
demystifies the diagnosis and treatment of personality disorders.
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